QC-L Version 4.0

Yes, welcome to my lair of evil thoughts and incorrect speech where I don't let go and move on and I talk about whatever I please. On a blog no one ever tells you to shut up. If you don't like what I say, just go elsewhere.

This blog now has a new background and a new theme. It is also using a remotely loaded style sheet. That is a first. It is lush, heavy, and uses a background that has a theme I have never used here before, though I have used it for pressies. Let the show go on! It always does anyway. And yes, we are powered by Blogger.

I am putting a temporary illustration here until I have a logo for this design. Watch this space.

temporary illustration


The Backfile: this blog's archives.

Ajayu, home of my story, The Sneezeweed Chronicles. Yes, I do fiction.

It will have Oneiro, my own little role play.

Unfettered Soul, my flagship site.

The Silk Purse, my play pretend Brainstorms.

Failed Messiah Religious news never sounded so good.

New York Times. Read the news and be smart.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

I guess I am resigned to spending New Year's Eve alone. Part of me fantasizes about walking down to the Fire House and Scooters, paying the cover charge and ordering a draft at the bar. It might be an experience spending New Year's Eve in a bar full of sloshed Southerners. At least it will be memorable. I remember one year I went bar hopping because I got stood up.

That was back in Utica and I ended up in a little neighborhood place near the abandoned factory. I don't remember it's name any more just what it looked like. It was a chocolate brown flat roofed shingled building with a humorous name. I ate tons of potato chips and kept buying drafts. Someone bought one for me. I didn't get that smashed. There was no champagne. This wasn't that kind of place.

That bar had a working cat named Pookey. Pookey was a mangey black and white tom but smart. He and Georgia, who is now seventeen, would have these long staring fights with both just testing each other's wills. They were not young hot heads even though Georgia was in the prime of life in those days. Pookey died and the people in the bar did not care. I liked Pookey. Yes, Pookey would cross the arterial and find his way down to my house on Tracy Street so he could romance Georgia who of course is spayed. That's why they'd fight.

Hertzel, my four year old boy kitty, who is neutered hasn't settled down like Pookey did. He jumps at Georgia to play and she belts him one. He has a small wound on his face that is pretty much healed from one time when he wasn't so lucky and Georgia belted him one. He deserved it. Hertzel is right now sleeping in Georgia's spot in the closet. Hertzel is white, thickly built and weighs about twelve pounds. His eyes are golden yellow and he has a small, high pitched, mew. When he sleeps he curls himself into a tight ball and he sleeps the sleep of the just boy kitty.

After yesterday afternoon, there was basicly no where to go but up. I redid a webliography at work. Here is the old version.. The new version probably won't be up until after New Year's. I'm working tomorrow, so I guess I get to start on a new webliography, do some weeding, and make a new calendar for my Corkboard Unbound. This is a locally mounted web page with I-frame that replaces Corkboard software that had a piece of malware tied to it. You can learn about Corkboard Unbound here. That means I'll have something to do tomorrow.

I'm also going to weed books. Ramona is out but Giselle, the grouchy and antisocial cataloger is in. Giselle doesn't mind a big load of shelves covered in "weedies." Rachel does. Ramona asked me to hold the weeds. Giselle outranks Ramona. At some point the two of them are going to have to make peace and I hope the boss doesn't get in the middle of it.

I went grocery shopping after work. I have the most beautiful apples and seven poundsof figs. They were selling the figs off at a dollar a package. I bought seven packages of them. I have to run out of beautiful apples some time. I also bought both Cortland and Cameo apples. The store won't buy the Cortland apples in the 3lb bag so I ended up getting fancy apples instead. I begged Publix to get Cortland apples. I didn't count on the Pink Lady apples which they didn't have tonight or the Cameos. I've only read about Cameos in a magazine article. They are a new variety. I hope they are good.

In the parking lot, my neighbor Gene in apt #7 offered me a ride home. He complained about Giselle who also lives in the complex. I told him she was anti-social and grouchy. He complained she wouldn't answer her door. Well that was par for the course. I told Gene that over Thanksgiving Giselle son Elias and his wife came to visit. Gene laughed at the name, Elias. I explained it was Biblical. Giselle had good taste in names.

I came home and found that the big book of poetry I ordered has arrived so I should take the library's copy back to work and turn it in. This way I can put poems up any time I need to. World Poetry (published by Norton 1998) is a great counteractive to glurge. I haven't sicked it on Kaci at Secretangelfriends because it is pretty much her list. You have to respect private property somehow.

Monday, December 29, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

This day started out excellent. Template Depot allows for the creation of new boards and they are up! The old boards seem to have vanished but the thing I created in a fit of anger was there and I made a decent board out of it. My students will have working boards on January 12th. That was the best thing that happened to me today if you don't count coming to work in sweats. I get to do that tomorrow so I'll say finding out that I did not have to write that tutorial was a very good thing.

My day went down hill from there. No, my boss did not yell at me. She is not around. I went to check out my room where I am or was going to teach Libr1105. Well the room turned out NOT to be a lab. I needed a lab. I have applied for one. I right now do not know where I will be teaching my course. I held up printing the syllabi until I have a room. That means some time next week, I'm going to be collating on the office floor. I'll be back in skirts and stockings again.

Then at 3pm I tested the phone for messages. Lou called at 8:15am this morning to say he was going to leave in an hour. If you know Lou you can guess what message I found on the phone. Yes, Lou is not coming until after he delivers his talk at the Dunham Library in Whitesboro, a suburb of beautiful Utica. How do you say jerked around. How do I explain that you do not jerk people around like this. Lou's been out of work, as in work for other people, for nearly a year, and boy does it show. He has forgotten the rest of the world keeps schedules and makes plans and sticks to them and follows through.

Second, Lou is playing me off against his twin brother, Mario. I'd like to get out of the game. I think this child playing off the parents routine is disgustingly immature, and if nothing else, Lou does it well. I wonder if there is a way I could approach Mario. Maybe if the two of us made a united front, we could stop Lou from playing us. The business with the money was a case in point. Lou asked me for transportation money. I sent him a check.

Lou then told Mario either he gives Lou the cash or Lou gets money from his girlfriend (oh the shame!). Then I told Lou to let me pay for the trip so I could make sure he returns to Columbus after the speaking engagement. Don't ask me where the game is tonight. I'll call Lou and find out soon enough. There's no reason not to speak to him.

I am spending New Year's alone and not sure whether or if I am going out. There is one bar/dance place I know of but going there alone is a drag. Worse still this place spawned the drunks who throw things at pedestrians on Armor Road. The place has very bad vibes. That is all there is within walking distance except the sterile yet weird smelling Sheraton. I guess I'll figure something out. I feel betrayed by Lou even though I know he is as dependable as a sodden pee-pee sponge.

I got to tell Diana, our systems librarian, about my little adventure with XML this break, and she said "cool." She wants to put an RSS feed into the library page much like the one I have on the Web Hut. I told her to go to Infinitepenguins.net because they have something she can use. I don't know if she'll go for a remotely hosted solution. That is more my speed. I also thought it would be nice to have an RSS feed going out since our library web site often has announcements and such on it. You know, I bet you could even do an RSS feed for a Geocities or Angelfire page. You'd just have to code it offline and upload it. Now there is one spiffy use of the net if you ask me. It's always nice to learn something new.

OK, I have a confession: I never sent out the Secretangelfriends cookbook so when I get home I'm sending the puppy to Canada. Well not so fast... I have to buy stamps because it is going to take about ten of them to make the correct or a bit too much postage so the thing gets there in four to seven business days. I hate doing any kind of physical swap. It is just too much work. I work for a living. I don't need that much work. The recipes I got were things I'd never make in a million years. No more food related anything except me looking up my own recipes and making them.

I'll get this out late and if Kaci gives me any crap over it, too bad. It's been busy and this has not been my top priority. If any one wants recipes that badly they know where to find them. Besides I am at the moment a little bit ticked off at Kaci for a very ugly piece of mail she sent. It was, I believe a piece of hate mail, directed against Moslems.

I don't want to post it here because it would defile and befoul this fine blog. I know Kaci did not write the email and that if she knew more, she would not agree with it. I rather used to like Kaci. I guess I will again at some point.

Anyway, I have to make a trek to the post office in the dark. I was going out for regular walks when I was on break but being in this windowless office with the bright screen for company makes me lazy and fearful in ways that are positively weird. I think it's because I'm rather upset over Lou. I know that I have my cell phone with me. I know it is not as cold outside as my northern brain imagines. I know I have no late night scoring run. I know all that, but how I know and how I feel are too different things.

Before the break I blanked out on a lot. Today I can blank out on nothing. That is not a good way to be.

by Eileen Kramer

I thought I'd be in bed by now, but you know how it is. Well maybe you don't. I learned about RSS feeds tonight. I set up one for the E-Card Education Center http://tacheiru.us/eec and I found out to get a feed to display on a web site and I did that for the Web Hut http://tacheiru.us/thehut/newhut.html

I'm exhausted and ought to feel good. This is the seventh anniversary of my learning to code html. If html is a language I am amazingly bilingual. I'm not a fancy coder but I can render serviceable work. What more does anybody need. I hope Lou likes the Web Hut. I redid it with him in mind.

He is due to leave Utica tomorrow. Do I believe that? No. I told him he owes me one trip to Atlanta. If he wants to play weedle, exploit, and play one off against the other fine. I'll get a trip to Atlanta out of him.

I finally got up the guts to go into the mall and into stores today. I find the stores after Christmas singularly depressing. They are picked over and crowded. There was something really awful about seeing the long line of people exchanging their gifts at WalMart. Well I bought wrapping paper for less than fifty cents a roll there and also tooth paste. The wrapping paper is plain green and a design of fruits and berries. I can use it year round so this made it an extra good deal.

There is a cold twenty-five cent soda in my fridge. It is caffeinated. I did not drink it. I am patting myself on the back. My irritable bowel is doing a bit better. Did the corn chips help or is it tincture of time? Probably, it's a bit of both. The world goes back to normal. The gorgeous holiday is dust and ashes. That you know what's big time.

I go to work tomorrow, but since we are closed to the public I get to wear sweats. I like that. I haven't had the heart to see if the Template Depot Boards have come back. I suspect they haven't and I'm going to need to craft an alternative tutorial using either Cgiforme or Alxnet. That should be fun but it feels like defeat. This wasn't my fault either which makes me even sadder.

I try not to think about work. It's only a few hours away. I don't mind going back but what I have to do still makes me bitter and sad.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

A day without blogging is like a day without sunshine. We had plenty of sunshine so it's time for some blogging. The biggest news is negative. After all this scrambling around, I am utterly unmotivated to do anything except veg and maybe do some internet stuff.

I made myself take a walk to Cooper Creek Park. I did some meditating by the lake and saw some wierd stuff. That was good. OK, what I saw was an animal shaped like a giraffe but with a face and neck like a ferret.

I ate a ton of blue tortilla chips and feel guilty for pigging out. I also set up a new Web Hut because my boyfriend is coming Tuesday, Accuweather has gotten filthy with pop-ups, and the other one was pretty damn useless.

My intestines are bothering me. I have irritable bowel syndrome. I don't know what I ate that set it off. I do know if it continues I'll end up living on corn meal mush which is one of the few things that helps besides just waiting for it to go away. I walk around with cramps and gas and it's just gross. Let's leave it at that.

Lou and I had it out last night so I did not call him today. He wants to go back to Utica on the 27th of January for his speaking engagement. How do you say Kramer's Hotel? How do you say sucker? Yeah, that's what I feel like yet I look forward to Lou's arrival.

My first seed catalog arrived the other day. It's Seeds of Change which in addition to being a seed catalog is one of my favorite sources for graphics in the online version. Yeah, if I want to make any graphics for use in these forums, I know where to go.

I'm kind of glad Christmas and Hanukkah are over. I enjoyed the holidays, the planning, the cooking, the hustle and bustle but now I'm pooped. I'm pooped even though everything went well. I sleep and don't get enough sleep and want to sleep all day. I have to go to work Monday and face a nonworking Template Depot board that I wanted to use with my class as blogs. I am glad I am signed up to work the skeleton days. I hope I can bounce back to normal.

One of the weirdest things about the holidays is my mother reading the book of Matthew in her motel room. I mean my mom who makes more of a big deal over her Jewish identity than I do and who got upset when I was actually interested in becoming a Christian likes Christianity. Crazy, I don't like Christianity any more and if I did I would simply convert. It's not hard. They are happy to have you. The Jews are also happy to have any one who will return to the faith. Find peers who also believe. They help bolster your faith. Then just go with it. Who wants to be an avid spectator for religion when one can belong for real. Oh well I can see where I get my interest in religion from. That is one sad and scarey thought.

My biggest memory of the Christmas break will be the bus trip to Atlanta. I remember coming home and the long wait in the bus terminal in Atlanta. People were making long trips home and had tons of luggage and the place was crowded for the 5pm bus. This is a local that goes all through the South. I was weighed down and even had stuff in plastic containers which is unusual. There was an Indian "prophet" who said the world would end clensed by fire. I know he is wrong, but I can't reveal my info. I will tell my boyfriend though if he ever gets down here because he might believe me.

There is something about a crowded Greyhound terminal even in the early evening. It is not forlorn. It is busy, but the exhaustion is palpable. Also the Yellow Cab dispatch house was sweet and sad. My windowless office is not all that different except our building is smoke free, I have a 1 gig Pentium on my desk, and I get herbal tea to drink istead of caffeinated soda.

I'll also remember the cranberry beans. Fresh ones are rare and remind me of the ones I grew in my garden. Fresh shelley beans, the kind you have to shuck, just taste better than most other food.

Was the anticipation better than the event? I enjoyed the parties somewhat. I am learning there are a zillion interpretations to Hanukkah. I also am glad I did not spend the holidays alone. I may have to do that next year. I did it at Thanksgiving. There is a learning curve to doing that right too.

Still it's that bus trip home that stays with me now. I guess I knew we would be having that feast after all, a double feast. I think part of me would consider living in Atlanta paradise. I could shop at those stores regularly. It would no longer be a two hour each way all day excursion. My life would be so much better. Is that all it would take? I need to restart my job hunt. Atlanta is paradise.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

I missed schul tonight. I didn't get out of the house until 4:30pm. There is a long and fairly interesting story behind this. I wrote a chapter of To Make the Circle Whole and then I sent an e-card.

This was no ordinary e-card. This card went to an employer who kept me from starving or having to go home to my parents in 1985-86. This was the bleakest and poorest time of my life. I lived in Ithaca. That was the one good thing. I had been laid off which hurt like hell. I ended up working two days a week for the Grunes. Willa was a clinical psychologist and my boss. Willa was so acute she scaird me and such a good manager, I have yet to see her like anywhere else.

She felt worried because I was so damn poor. She had never had such a poor person work for her. On the other hand, Willa could and did get very good work out of me. She put me to work as a cook even though I could not roast a chicken. The reason was the Grunes used creeping slime (vegetable spread that is not margarine) instead of butter or margarine. Mr. Grunes had to have his chicken skinned anyway so I boiled the chicken, pretended it was tuna, and made casseroles from it. She gave me freedom to make what I wanted using a set group of ingredients. She believed I was competent.

When there was something I just plain did not know how to do, Ms. Grunes showed me. This included hanging clothes and wrapping presents. I won't say she was a nice lady. She might have been were I not dependent on her for minimum wage or close to it and if I were not living on $64/week. Your boss when you are that poor can never be nice.

Added to that the Grunes were classy eiganamenchen (very refined) Jews and I'm from a similar background myself. I knew and recognized and coveted all the signs of wealth that surrounded me, the fridge full of dried fruit (daily dessert and I also made a dried fruit pie using the Settlement cookbook raisin pie recipe. The Grunes must have liked the pie. Most people I know are not big raisin pie fans.) Schor's pickled green tomatoes, and other goodies which I took home in my belly. A free lunch and the run of the kitchen do a lot to discourage theft. I remember the cello lessons and the fancy paintings on the walls and momentoes from trips all over the world.

I was just the person who cleaned toilets and faced the sink of piled up dishes with stuck on stuff, stuff that wouldn't be stuck on if someone had remembered to set the dirty dishes to soak. I was getting paid to clean those dishes but the people who pay you to clean stuck on crap off their dishes are not nice.

Ironically, poor as I was, I was not at loose ends. I had been far more at loose ends the year before. I was applying to library schools and chose to do that rather than look for a second job. It was probably one of the best decisions I ever made, thogh it made my life bitter and bleak in the short term. It may have even been the best decision I ever made. Mrs. Grunes and her family knew little about library school. She did not think it a good choice for me. I wasn't all that happy at IST (the library school at Syracuse University), but I enjoyed my work once I got out in the world, and I happen to be a good fit as an academic science librarian at a smaller institution. I guess Ms. Grunes was wrong.

But that woman knew how to manage her servants. I almost thought she could read minds or at least guess how mine worked. My current shrink who is also a clinical psychologist is not so accute. Maybe I would have to scrub floors for him to see that side, though I don't know. He had two fairly intelligent little dogs and was not at all interested in training them. Human and animal minds are not that different, and where they are different it is easy to see. Cats sleep eighteen hours a day, find heights secure, and are a bit paranoid, but we are all mammals in the end.

I taught Willa Grunes' cat, Beelzabub, Beezie for short, to meow socially because Mrs. Grunes could NOT imitate a broop to save her skin. She tried and tried. No broop came out. Beezie happily trilled back at me when I trilled at her. Beezie had some problems so she really didn't have a good social meow. My cat, Stingie, many years later had trouble developing a social meow too. She was damaged from being hand reared so finally at age three, the social meow came out. It took a lot of meowing at her to encourage her to meow back. Stingie's trill was a high pitched thing, but out it came.

Well during Christmas dinner yesterday guess who my mother brought up as part of the conversation. Yes, Willa Grunes. Well, I said I would look her up on Switchboard and see what became of her. She is still in Ithaca and a quick search on Google revealed the email address her husband and she share. I sent her an ecard and let it go at that.

I don't know if she really wants to talk to me. Someone who refuses to become family because she knows that cleaning toilets and washing schmutz off dishes for minimum wage makes you a servant and keeps you one, is not nice. In fact she is downright resentful even if the resentfulness is right and proper which it was.

I remember Mrs. Grunes fondly but with mixed emotions. What can I say.

In other news, I talked to my boyfriend today on the cell phone and learned that when he gets down here, early next week, he will only stay until the twenty-fifth of January. Why? He has a speaking engagement back in Whitesboro, just outside of Utica. He sells self published books and makes a pittance. He also told me how this is his profession, motiviational speaker/author. I told him it doesn't pay enough and he needs a paying job. He refused to budge. OK, so this is going to be Kramer's hotel. I felt like telling him that I am not a public convenience. I did tell him he missed Christmas break by farting around up in Utica.

Actually Lou was doing a lot more than farting around. He has been behaving like a spoilt adolescent, playing his twin brother, Mario, off against me. I sent Lou money for the trip down. Yes, I did. I'm not ashamed. Lou then put Mario on a guilt trip saying that either Mario gave him the money or Lou would be taking money from his girlfriend, me. I told Lou he did not want to cash my check because I would expect him to stay in Columbus once he arrived. Mario on the other hand financed a round trip so that Lou would end up in Utica. Mario expects to get Lou back. If Lou had his own money he would not have to do any of this shit.

I find the whole business wearisome. I told Lou I work Monday and Tuesday, so Lou is due in Tuesday night. I'll believe that when I see it. I'll get a trip to Atlanta out of Lou and a fridge stocked with more Atlantean delicacies. Lou is good for something and if he is going to exploit others, I may as well join in the fun.

Friday, December 26, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

My mother has come and gone along with Christmas. I wish I had a digital camera because she gave me this incredible, ornate, and fancy music box. It is a carousel with a velvety top and detailed horses, lights, and pictures. It plays fifteen old timey tunes and fifteen classic Christmas carols. The music which is electronic is awful, but the carousel of course is neat. You have the option of turning off the music and just watching the horses so no problem. I need to spend more time in the living room. Mom liked the tree.

We ate two huge meals and a few snacks. I didn't burn anything and everything tasted good except the shriveled black olives. They were funny and hard. The lemon olives were good. We used up all the jicama and all the marinated grilled zucchini. We managed to eat most of the veggie sticks, blue corn chips, and moqua squash. The salsa is not my favorite and I'll probably throw it out eventually. I got through two thirds of the fruit salad. The cookies are hardly touched. That is sad. Most of the two casseroles the wheat berry and cranberry bean bake and the cauliflower au gratin are still there, but I'll eat those. Most of the kale and parsnip medley is also around.

We talked a lot about my brother's wedding. It was good talk, but sitting here now and for reasons I can't admit even on this blog, I think it was ninty percent hot air. Mom can talk a very good game though so I enjoyed it.

She ate like a bird, but not as fussily as I expected. That is a relief. She felt very skinny when I hugged her. She has put on some weight which is good. My mother has Graves Disease and was down to eighty-five pounds at one point. She was also really crazy at that point too. Being hyperthyroid does that. She's a lot saner now but she could use more meat on her bones.

We'll go bouncing back to our separate worlds. I won't have any more feasts to plan for a while. There are services tomorrow and I am determined to make them. I am also out of cat food so need to go to PetSmart and get another bag of Iam's Active Maturity Hairball Reducing Formula. This cat food is the reason for Georgia's continued good health. She gained four ounces this year.

One of the scarier things is a lecture on muscle wasting from your cat's vet. Georgia is holding her weight and a slight gain does her good. She is down to one immunization. Mom boggled at Georgia's seeming good health. I learned on the internet that cats who do lots of barfing from hair balls often have an underlying inflamatory bowel disease. If, however, the cat improves with a change of diet and hairball remedies, the vets usually don't test, since testing is painful and often just tells you what you already suspect. Georgia responded to the Iams so that is where we leave it. She still throws up about twice a week, but she does not lose her appetite due to upset stomach so she holds her weight.

I lost two cats young, so having Georgia in fairly good health at age seventeen is a blessing. I've been thinking a lot about blessings. I have spent Christmases alone so I am really grateful for having had my mom here for company. I enjoy entertaining. I enjoyed seeing her enjoy my presents. I am glad she did not notice I left the price on one of them. I am grateful the weather was good. I am grateful for mom's talk about the wedding though I still think it was hot air. When you have something good, drain that cup to the dregs and don't even think about those who don't have except to offer to share. You'll be on the short end of the stick soon enough because the stick has more short ends then long ones. Maybe it branches.

I'm slowly returning to life on the web. I scored ZOID tonight and even made an interesting pencil for Rabino. I also updated the E-card Education Center. I even made it a blog. I have another chapter planned for To Make the Circle Whole. I just need time to write it plus I need to write to all my mailing lists. Well, buying catfood comes first tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

I fell asleep at 9pm and awoke nearly two hours ago. I realized ZOID needed to be scored. That took twenty minutes. ZOID is a very streamlined operation.

The apartment is nearly ready for my mother. I need to wash down the dining room table and put a new cloth on it. This one is gold and I bought it at Chapmans. I thought we would have Lou here for Christmas, but he no showed. Long involved story there. It's nothing serious. He may be here before New Years. Maybe....

Georgia was all over the kitchen counter last night when I was cleaning up. I guess she decided she wanted to be part of the scene and help out. She is a 7lb. 4oz half Siamese blue cream kitty who has copper eyes and a really big meow and a very friendly personality. She is fearless. She turned seventeen two weeks ago. She woke me up at 1am with a yowl that turned into a broop.

All the gifts are wrapped. The fridge is full of precooked, parboiled, cut up foods for making two casseroles and a stir fry and soup for Christmas dinner. Christmas eve dinner is mostly munchies, sandwiches, and soup. There is a huge relish tray (to die for!) planned for both events. I picture my mother arriving tired and hungry. She has to get up at 4am to take a 6am plane from Westchester Airport. The terror alert which is orange scared her a bit. I think it is a case of the boy who cried wolf or a public relations ploy. Call me cynical. When was any one in our family ever afraid to travel etc....

I missed a perfectly good warm day getting this apartment clean. I hope my mother doesn't find all the food too rich, too salty, etc... I'm behind on all my mailing lists. I mostly just read though I finally wrote a chapter of To Make the Circle Whole. I actually have an idea where I want the plot of that story to go.

I got to walk the labyrinth down at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church on Monday. That was fun and sad because the thing is not being kept up and there is gravel scattered in several of the wrong places so it is hard to find out where the paths are supposed to be. I ended up sitting in the middle of the labyrinth and falling asleep until some jerk honked his horn. "Are you alright?" he asked which is what they always ask. I was until he woke me up.

Would you believe I am still short diet soda and toilet paper. Winn Dixie is open twenty-four hours. Do I feel like a predawn supermarket run. I feel like meditating and maybe sleeping a few more hours, not that I am tired, but my bed is nice and warm. I hope my mom has interesting things to say. I have to get in touch with the moochie neighbor when I find out what time we are eating the two meals. I figure I'd let mom choose.

Yeah, I'm not blanking on all those mother-daughter dynamic type things. She's going to bend over and be tolerant. I'm twisted in pretzels to be a good hostess, well kind of sort of. I'll be glad to have the days after Christmas all to myself. I'm not sure what I will do with them. The blankness will feel good. It will be nice to let the apartment get messy again. It will be nice not to have to worry about cleaning it up. Sorry, it was not fun, and even with all the work and time and energy, it will never be good enough.

I guess somewhere in all of this I caught up on my sleep. I guess that is a good thing, but once one catches up on sleep one does not care any more, at least I don't. Sleep is something made to be taken for granted.

Well, it is not raining and I ought to dress and go to Winn Dixie but part of me is still saying no thankyou. I think I'm going to listen to that part of me right now.

Monday, December 22, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

I have to write this to heal or at least to straighten things out in my head. Here it is over twelve hours later and I am sorting out the phone call with my dad. It hurt to hear him brag about my brother's upcoming wedding. I mean weddings when they aren't yours are nothing to brag about. He's hosting the rehersal dinner. He thinks Elizabeth is a lovely catch. It sounded exactly like something out of Bronte, good connections, excellent education. I reminded him that Elizabeth was currently unemployed. It's just a statement of fact.

The wedding is scheduled for May 22nd at the Union League Club. I don't know if it is at night or in the afternoon. I do not move in the circles that are running this wedding. My parents have yet to figure out that I dropped a social class. I didn't do it intentionally. It happened when I went to library school and did not marry a wealthy man and lived in Upstate New York.

My father is hosting the rehearsal dinnerat Boucheron on 59th Street. He says sixty to eighty people will be there. I suspect this is a French restaurant. I ate in Loutece. I remember taking home the coke bottle. I used to like coke when the "grownups" had coffee. I was eighteen so no longer a kid but I never acquired a taste for wine. I acquired one for beer. I also never aquired a taste for mixed drinks, and lost my taste for coffee.

I realized this morning, that my father's gesture though costly (Money impresses me but only to a point. My bills are also green on one side and black on the other.) will not be particularly impressive. Dad is going for the fanciest place not the most beautiful or impressive food.

I know food, as a middle to upper middle class Jew from the New York metro area, I know food. Food, good fancy elegant food, is the first thing a discretionary dollar goes for and even people of modest means (and I'm not all that modest. Just sort of middling but solvent) provide the finest provender they can afford when it's company time. I've seen this at schul dos where afterwards the ingredients in the salads are recorded and recounted in the bulletin.

If it were my bucks, I would have found a Japanese restaurant and had a buffet of assorted sushi and similar rolled up things for the rehearsal dinner. I'd make sure some had ingredients in them other than raw fish though there would be raw fish there too. Most Jews like sushi. If you go easy on the wasabi and dip it in the soy sauce it tastes like lox and rice rolled up in something crunchy and for appearance, Japanese food is the most beautiful in the world. People would think it weird until they got there then they would remember what pretty food was served.

Of course there is also question number two: What if Harvey had married a working class woman or more likely a teacher, nurse, social worker, with famly of reasonable but not excessive means, a Denver family or a family from the Midwest. All of dad's posturing would come off as pretnetious once the awe wore off.

The family if it were really assimilated or not Jewish would probably get accused of scimping on the food since WASPs are not as food fetishy as Jews. I dated a WASP boy who was old money once and I introduced him to such everyday delicacies as Shop and Save's frozen limeade. I explained how my mother always bought the finest grade of ground beef for our hamburgers even when the family was not yet wealthy. My mother also always cooked up a storm and had her man in the produce department, just as I have my woman in Publix produce department and make trips to Atlanta for la plus ultra produce, munchies, and other delicacies.

Yes, I'm a child of my class, but no longer completely. I still wondered if my father would brag so if the girlfriend had not come from a wealthy New York area Jewish family. I also feel bad for my brother. He went out west to get away from this family. Now he is heading right back into the trap. I thought geography was supposed to free you. It helped free me -- well partially.

by Eileen Kramer

Well, here it is after midnight. The trip to Atlanta always recedes much faster than it is planned. This was a successful trip. I ended up with two flavors of olives, roasted marinated zucchini, cranberry beans, dinosaur kale, mandarin oranges (fresh ones) and much more.

I start cooking tomorrow. I went to the boss' house party today. It was mellower than I remember it in other years. People talked library and education stuff. The boss' daughter, Tiffie, was home from England and she talked about all her art and music pursuits. The tree had a Kewpie doll head on the top of it instead of a star. Well my white tree (ooooh white tree!) has a teal colored bow made from a bandana on its top. I think my tree is prettier.

I spent most of the evening on the phone. I learned when my brother is getting married. May 22nd at the Union League Club. My father has not been able to do this for me so he is kind of drunk on the whole thing. He also liked the tea bread sampler I sent him from Wolferman's. I know my dad has a certain kind of sweet tooth. Sometimes old knowledge is good knowledge.

I'll say it right here so no one gets confused later: my father is psychologically abusive. My mother feared that he would hit her once we kids were grown and out of the house. He beat on my brother, at one point at least, giving him welts. My brother in turn beat on me and was and still is psychologically abusive. My mother did nothing to stop any of this until I was nineteen and refused to come home one spring break. My family is an ugly dysfunctional mess. I'm glad I live 1,000 miles away from them.

I found two very good words to use with my dad tonight: "BUTT OUT." I feel good about that. I am way behind on cleaning and wrapping presents. I finally caught up on sleep. I was on the phone all over the place today: mom, Lou, dad. I hope Lou leaves tomorrow in the am as he promised. There is no promise he will stay. I bought Lou coffee at Whole Foods. I will pick up coffee filters for his machine tomorrow. I'll also get the other groceries I need to cook. I'll do the salsa, salad dressings, and wheat berries tomorrow. I'll also clean the living room and guest bathroom. Then I'll wrap the presents and also pay the bills. Yes, some things always come around.

I spent way too much time today with web site competition politics that I fear will only grow uglier. Sometimes we get the Christmas presents we deserve. It is karma fine tuned and far away from the drama one expects.

It is cold in this apartment and I have a raging headache. This apartment is as drafty as a frozen swiss cheese. The head ache is just there. Hopefully I won't sleep all day. I am starting to unkink in places after a twelve day week and a bit of sleep deprivation. I have strange dreams at night but that does not really matter. My cats are unused to me sleeping late. They paw and nuzzle and make all kinds of noises. I pet them or try to hide under the covers. I can get Hertzel quiet if I put my arm around him and let him snuggle close. Georgia must have attention. She demands it.

I'm way too tired for a day that was not that strenuous. I think it's the competition politics. They have left a foul taste in my mouth. I need my strength for other endeavors.

Friday, December 19, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

I should be asleep. I am scheduled to get up at an ungodly hour to take the bus into Atlanta to do the treat shopping. I have a hand written copy of the list. I guess that will do. Rochelle from my schul asked what I do with the packages. I have a backpack that can hold a lot and two arms. The last mile between the DeKalb Farmer's Market and Avondale MARTA station is the worst. The pack has a third strap. Carrying capacity will be at a premium tomorrow.

I think my rabbi is dogmatic and nobody cares. I carry a very different story around about Judaism and Jewish things. I nearly got told off by Rochelle when I told her my family celebrates Christmas as well as Hanukkah. In the United States Christmas is a secular holiday and I even have a tree. It's a white tree. Got that folks a genuine white tree as in "oooooh you've got a white tree!&qot;

Rochelle rather snidely asked me if I have invited any Jewish friends to my home for Christmas cheer. I said I hadn't becase I'd been inviting colleagues and a neighbor who are at loose ends and I don't know any one in my immediate circle of potential invites who is Jewish. I quickly made amends by inviting Rochelle who of course will be out of town.

I'll repeat it. If I knew any Jews at loose ends I'd surely invite them. Why not. It's a meal and exchange of gifts. I'm even putting dreidls in my mother's stocking. Yes, I have dreidls, wooden ones. They were just lying around on the table as decorations. Dreidls are like hens' teeth here in Columbus. I remember a dreidl in my stocking as a kid. I was impressed because it had regular numbers on it instead of Hebrew letters. I have no idea where my mother got it.

I figure I'm not a "lonely Jew at Christmas" so I get both traditions and am doubly blessed. That's a good feeling. I ended up with close to fifty persimmon squares and I gave a dozen of them along with about fifteen to twenty fig cookies to Julie, the mooch. I also invited Julie over for Christmas cheer. Julie listens to the tackiest Christmas carrols. I love Christmas carrols but the garbage on Sunny 100 (Yes, Clear Channel) gives carrols a bad name. They play wonderful jazz and classical Christmas music on the local NPR station. I also have some good CD's and one tape of holiday music. Julie's musical taste is in her mouth.

Anyway, I talked to Lou tonight. It looks like he won't cash my check so his brother may be financing the trip down. I have to check the Accuweather forecast for him. He gave me an ETA of Tuesday or Wednesday. Having Lou here would be nothing short of fantastic though it means no rutabega at the Christmas dinner table.

Lou also no longer knows his clothing size. Poor Lou, he must have gotten very fat. I hope he hasn't damaged his health too badly. I must strike people as very uncompassionate. I'm sorry. I am not sure what to do about a suffering boyfriend whom I love but whom I want more than I love. Does that make sense?

I hate dealing with people who just let themselves go and get depressed. Depression is contagious. I am thinking about the weekend Lou and I did nothing but sleep. It was one of the weirder experiences of my life. Apparently I am susceptible. I try not to let myself get infected.

by Eileen Kramer

OK, this entry is late and with good reason. I baked fig cookies tonight. These are challenging to make beacuase they are rolled or patted cookies with dough that needs extra flour and chilling not to become a sticky mess. These are kitchen wreackers, but well worth the work. There are ninty of them in a bucket and plastic bag on top of my fridge.

I'm a bit sick from eating cookie dough. I had a nap. I don't have a circadian cycle any more. I have an 8am appointment with the shrink. You know what I am going to feel like, but I did wash my hair so I look good. I don't want him to know what a wreack I am after a twelve day week. Come to think of it, the shrink always sees me after a twelve or eleven day week.

Yes, I made it. That part feels good. I also treated myself to some Christmas/Hanukkah presents. I ordered three CD's from Insound and got my very own copy of World Poetry from Powell's. I finally decided that I should own this book. It is the source of most of the poetry I post to Ladies Advance. It keeps our poetry high quality and classy instead of the glurge you see forwarded around most of the net. I also like that the poetry covers a full range of human emotions.

I never thought myself a poetry fan, but necessity is the mother of invention as they say. I'm going to try to read Bronte and several internet articles forwarded by friends. I may bake some more cookies tomorrow. It feels like I'm going all out for Christmas but so what. I've said it before, I find the holiday hustle and bustle stimulating.

It shocks, surprises, and saddens me that there are people who refuse to make Christmas and get down if their whole family doesn't show up. They should try spending Christmas alone for a few years. A twosome is two enough and even a onesome is one enough. I remember a great big calabaza squash I stuffed one year. It looked spiffy on the big broiler pan which tonight doubled as a cookie sheet.

Actually I have more than two customers for the cookies which is why having more of them isn't a bad idea. Some of the cookies will be a house gift for going to my boss' house party on Sunday. I also have a neighbor who lost her boyfriend. He was in a bad way from a heart condition and stroke. I just had to take one look at him to know he wouldn't make it. The neighbor is also a terrible mooch who owes me $180. Yes, folks you got that figure right. How do you say sucker.

The problem is there was a genuine dying boyfriend in her apartment and now she is a genuine bereaved mooch. I figure bringing the mooch some cookies can't make matters worse. I may even invite her in for some Christmas cheer though she has family in the area and she won't like the vegetarian Christmas fare that will be on hand in this apartment.

Lou got the check. He complains it makes him feel uncomfortable. I told him to stop complaining. I mean I forked him over the cash the least he can do is say thankyou and not let me know he feels uncomfortable. He wants to come down and this is the way it has to be done.

Now the wrangling about leave times and ETA's begins. Lou can't get organized. I've got a Christmas and Christmas Eve dinner to organize, presents to wrap, and an apartment to clean. I wish I had more sympathy.

Friday night I set up ZOID. Saturday I head for Atlanta and buy the goodies. I need to print off two big grocery lists. Friday night is also the Hanukkah party at my schul. Sunday is the house party at my boss' house. Monday and Tuesday I cook, clean, and wrap. Wednesday at 11am my mother arrives. After that, who knows. Poor mom is getting stuffed with food, feted with presents, and hopefully entertained by Lou. That should work. Julie will provide more entertainment, and I don't mean Julie my colleague. I love being home for Christmas and doing the entertaining. I used to do it for Lou and his buds in Utica every year. I remember those days. Maybe this will be as good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

As long as I'm still here, I'm going to enjoy myself with my graphics.

little red riding hood I made these for Angel Wolf at Super Packin' PSP. I'm in a siggie swap there. I guess a little fun will cheer me up before I go out to get that margarine and those persimmons. What a night this has been.

a green mug That's what this is. It's an attempt to write a name on a cilender. I didn't think it came out so well. Oh well I'm showing it off anyway. I did this once before elsewhere. I'm going to take a breather and do more blogging tomorrow.

by Eileen Kramer

Well I talked to Brian Sniff at Templatedepot.com (Thank God for cell phones etc...) and found out that they are moving servers. The boards/blogs are coming back. Hopefully they will be back by Christmas. If not they'll be back by the New Year. I don't have to change my syllabus or tutorial. I feel very relieved.

It's always nice to start a day off with some good news. The E-Card Education Center now has a forum of its very own. It has some kinks in it but it is up. Right now I'm debating whether to descend into the valley of the shadow of death also known as the Flowgo forums. Yes, I scrambled my ISP # and a fake address to get a password. I have it tucked away. You know what I am going to advertise. I wonder how you spell hopeless. A good rip and tear sight, however, makes people angry. Pissing off dummies though is no fun and these folks are not particularly bright and I think some of them may be Flowgo staff trying to keep the conversation professionally stimulated. How do you say fake.

My question is if I raise a stink by running into the valley of the shadow of death, will it be a big enough stink to get my new web site a ton of visitors. Bad publicity can be great publicity or you can be one more dead site by the side of the road.

I just checked Super Packin PSP and found I have two new sig tags. I don't know when I'll use them. They are animated. Animated sigs are something I have no desire to make. I'm not sure why.

It is comfy here in the office and cold outside. I feel bloated from all the Chex Party Mix I have eaten in the last day or so. Sandra downstairs makes it and boy is it good. It's gone now and good riddance. I am still coming apart at the seams. I wish this feeling would stop. I feel jittery and am a bit scaird of what thoughts I will think once I get started walking in the dark. I know I'll be better off for the walk downtown.

And yes, tomorrow is the LAST day of this twelve day week. Maybe then I won't feel so crazy. I just wish I wouldn't feel so frantic and painful. As of 6pm tomorrow, my time is my own. I have to keep remembering that. Maybe then I will feel better. I have sort of stopped believing that.

I really like it when it gets quiet in here and I am all by myself. I learned about proxy servers today so I could scramble my URL. You really have to know someone to get a nice free proxy server to use or have the right tools. I'm not downloading any tools so that is sort of the end of that. Still it's interesting to learn and in some ways easier than I thought it would be.

I just have to hang in there. It's one more day to go. My mother is coming. I want to do a good job hosting her. If I don't, I'll never live it down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

I'm hurting physically, sore shoulders, tired eyes, belly not yet complaining from too much junkfood but bellies are always slow to complain. I did something this afternoon and evening that I had been wanting to do for a long time. I have pages like this and like this lying around my domain for a long time. This is a very big chunk of web space so I break it up into different sites, sort of like owning my own Geocities. I finally have a short enough domain name that this makes sense.

Well I finally pulled the whole idea together. Two Flowgo cards in quick succession from another list finally made me do it. Here it is. I know, you are not the sort to send e-cards of any stripe. Too bad. A lot of my friends are. Besides, sending e-cards is not a dumb pursuit.

Anyway the tone of the site is somewhat educational. If people think for themselves, they are better e-card consumers. Do you believe I haven't looked at Yahoo in hours. I guess I should go check on the news. Be right back.... OK, the news is the same news as always.

I got done the data entry and found out my partner already knew about the problem. The boss is out of town until after the first of the year, so the project is stuck. I half filled the weedie wagon. Elias, Giselle's son is visiting so I may talk to Ramona who is still on the job and see if she can handle more weedies or if she wants me to hold off since she is stuck processing the last batch I gave her. Weedies come in batches of around forty to fifty these days. Weedies are books being discarded. We have a lot of old stuff in our collection that has never been weeded in recent times.

This is the first night I don't have to Christmas shop. I won't have to cook due to all the junk food and I like it when I'm all alone here at work in the quiet spot I have here in this office. I distributed my cards and office gifts today. Job one is done. I made a list of the food I will need to buy in Atlanta on Saturday. It doesn't look like much but I don't have that much carrying capacity. Real logistics are worrisome. I wish they weren't that way.

I wanted to put a web board on my new site, but the one I have lying around is not working. Template Depot web boards all appear to be down due to some kind of software error. I guess I'll learn about this in the morning. I hope it clears up. This is the first downage they've had in months and they are what I'm going to use with my students. How do you say major crisis.

I am blanking on this one defensively. There is nothing to do but wait. I could check it but it is still down and it is late enough at night that it won't be up probably until noon tomorrow. Tomorrow, I send out a call for fighters and Friday night after the Hanukkah party I set up for ZOID. I catch a bus to Atlanta on Saturday and buy the goodies on the list. If I can stay in the groove without going crazy, I'll be just fine.

Well the board is still down. Damn! I am scaird. I don't mind the data entry being stymied but discovering that my students have no blogs and no way to get them is a problem of proportions. We can start with an emergency board of some sort at least for the first few days. I just sent in a help request about the "vanished" board. I remember what Alxnet's support was like when we had board downages with them last semester. Well since I have permission to use boards with ads, I just may go back to Vestris. Pop ups and all, they do well with long posts.

I do not want to walk students through putting up their own Vestris boards. The set up is complex, not hard if you are an html veteran but for newbies it would be a pure nightmare. I guess this is where it stops. I need to come down and get grounded in some odd way. I have two more days of this twelve day week to endure.

I've been sleepwalking. I had a feeling something had happened when I woke up and found myself petting the cats, one of whom was purring melodically and washing me. That was Hertzel. Georgia purrs too but Hertzel purrs as he snores which is a sweet sound. I had my arm around him. I wondered how we had all gotten together before the sun rose. I had a feeling something had happened but did not know what until I saw my slip was gone. This feeling of coming unglued at the seams is not a good one.

At some point I am bound to crash. I just wish I knew how badly and where. Right now I don't even want to go home. I'm not sure what I want. I don't even want to sleep or mind the pain. I have vanished into this screen. I did start out with a very good idea five hours ago and just kept working to pull it together. Now the idea needs some publicity and I have to figure out how to walk away at least for now.

At least it was a relief from watching the news. The crowing and the smugness of our side nauseates me. This is a complex country (Iraq) and a complex war. Nothing simple is going to solve it and any country that can't field a decent police force or keep the power going twenty-four hours a day can't provide the security for a war crimes trial any one is going to respect. The issue is purely pragmatic.

Well I'm going to eat some of that chocolate cake in the break room. They'll never know who ate the white elephant party leftovers. Too bad for them. At least no one took them home. I'll come back to myself eventually and if I don't I'll fall asleep and sleep walk again. I sure wish I'd find my slip.

Monday, December 15, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

No midi downloads tonight. The site I got them from is good but something in the smart unzip interferes with this blog. OK, I can't keep my eyeballs off the news. I hate when I get like that. I was like that when I was protesting the war in Iraq. I kept waiting to be proven wrong and for them to find weapons of mass destruction. Here it is eight months later and all they found was Saddam Hussein and all they have is an occupation. Plenty of good news articles today. I feel weirdly well informed. I guess that is a good thing.

I got half way through the data entry for a project today. We only have about three hundred cards and there are 1,100 slots in the table. Something is off and I'll have to confer with my partner about it. She loathes data entry so it is my job. I can do it quickly and I get to listen to the BBC World Service which is terrific news or to Epitonic if I care for music. That is a big plus.

I filled three shelves in tech services with "weedies." I started another round of weeding todau, but didn't get too far. I love getting rid of old books. A current collection is a great collection! It even says that on the Weedie Wagon.

I'm supposed to go down to Eckerds where they are having a sale on Christmas cards tonight. I need another box. I'm going to be spending all evening signing and eneveloping the cards. They'll sit in people's mail trays and rot. Office gifts are what they are. They are evil things. They are useless things. You can guess where most of them are headed. Some people give to everyone here. Some give not at all. I don't want to say more because there are some things one should not say on one's blog.

I've got an Atlanta trip planned for Saturday and I'm off on Friday. Somehow this twelve day work week is going to end. I put the boyfriend's check in the mail this morning as soon as I got to work. It comes with a nice note. I hope the weather holds so that he can drive down from Utica. Yes, folks that's Utica, New York, 1,100 miles away.

I need to start listing all the food I will need for the two Christmas meals I'm making. The getting organized part is easy and fun. I am blanking out the drudgery of cleaning the apartment. Yes, it's going to be spick and span. I still have a few more gifts to buy.

I called to make a reservation for my schul's Hanukkah party. Yes, you have to do this. No, all I got was the answering machine. Well, I made the reservation and have the gift for the less fortunate. I swear there will be no date with the break room couch. I won't be at work Friday. This twelve day ordeal ends. It's not realy an ordeal. It's just I want a whole day that is all mine. It's that simple.

Anyway, the phone call got me thinking. My schul has office hours that are 9:30am to 1:30pm. Fine, I have a phone in my office and can make personal local calls from work, but what about a member who works in a store or a more regimented office. She is out of luck unless she gets to a pay phone or her cell phone on her lunch hour.

Even after they were supposedly open, I still got only the answering machine. So be it. One of the ways the priviledged in Columbus Georgia defend their priviledge (I can't spell and I'm not starting now) is by scheduling things so that the hoi polloi either don't know about them or can't get to them. My synagogue's office hours are a very good case in point. The Judaica shop is a better case. I want to buy a few dreidls and doo-dads for my mother's stocking. To do this, I need to call Carla Goldman or Bitch. Bitch is the schul president and she comes by her name quite deservedly. Well, I don't think either of them work days and getting into the schul on a typical weeknight poses problems. You can't sell anything during shabbos. Do all of you see what I'm getting at?

Then there's the Hanukkah party. You have to make reservations but how do you know to make reservations? You have to get the schul newsletter. If you aren't on the list you aren't going to know. In fact you are not even going to know that the party is scheduled for Friday at 6:30pm. The party is not advertised in supermarkets or the newspaper. No flyers go up and if you call the schul when it's not open which is most of the time, you get a recording that says services Friday night are at 8pm. So if you walk in off the street looking for fellowship this Friday you are going to find services breaking up just when you think they are beginning.

Now in the retail realm we have a whole bunch of cherished and pricey little mom and pop businesses down near Weyracoba Park. I've been told they're pricey. I wouldn't mind visiting them and seeing if they had something I want that I could afford. Maybe they would. Maybe they wouldn't but they are open Monday through Friday nine to five. I work days most of the time. Any one who works days full time is pretty much out of luck as far as shopping at these high class places goes.

I still cherish the look on that hoighty toity woman's face when I told her not that I couldn't afford her twenty-five dollar house tour (I was flush.) but that I had to go to work. When you are in the upper crust, you find a way to schedule your work so you can have fun, go to your fancy stores, etc... and of course you know your house of worship's secret schedule and the secret location for its events.

There is a very good reason that the uppper crust here in Columbus uses time rather than money to isolate itself from the rest of us. My money, my northerner, Jewish, liberal, anti-classist dollars are every bit as green and as much legal tender as theirs. I have the twenty-five dollars for the house tour and might even be able to buy something in one of those fancy stores. I'm sure they do have sales. I like shopping in good stores. You just have to keep your eyes open and not get ripped off.

But one thing I don't have as a typical very middle class working stiff from outside: time. Forty hours a week, usually in the day time I am working. I can't go to fancy luncheons even if the food was worth eating and the company worth hanging around with. I do go to AITP lunches and usually turn my nose up at the chow and eat my bag lunch, but AITP meets on campus though it's full of those who work at the real life TSYS Castle, AFLAC, and other big businesses. The top of the line IT professionals don't have to hurry back for a 1pm desk shift. If the meeting or presentation drags on, I just miss some of it. The IT crowd can take a longer lunch hour.

I can't attend day time meetings or training sessions for volunteers. Sorry, I'm working. I can't go to stores that are not open evenings and weekends. There's a reason Wal-mart does so well, and that Publix boasts that it will never be a twenty-four hour supermarket. Publix is the ritzy supermarket and I rush to get my shopping done there before it closes.

I feel like I walk around armed with a crow bar to keep the gates of priviledge open at least part way. Some gates are not worth opening but a few are. Schul on Friday, secret Hanukkah party, here I come.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

OK I am editing this post and going to publish it.

OK, let's try this a third time. I was downloading midi and they were messing up this blog and wiping out my entries. OK, the big political news outruns any of my personal news.

First, Saddam gets points for sincerity. Think about it. Getting captured on the field of battle or being shot to pieces are both honorable. Being dirty means you were living as rough as the least of your men. No special treatment for you. Getting captured or killed are occupational hazards of a violent resistance. Selling out is ugly, and very demoralizing to those who follow you. Now the world knows Saddam Hussein for all his bluster put his money where his mouth was. The world is a complex place and it is possible to be a brutal scum bucket of a dictator and a sincere fighter at the same time.

Second this capture happened way too early for an Iraqi war crimes trial. The Iraqis don't even have a functioning police force in most of their cities (I think some of the Kurdish cities in the North are exceptions.) and one third of the army we are trying to rebuild there has quit. How are they going to set up the kind of respectable court that can do a war crimes trial even ten months from now.

Also the leader is captured, but the occupation goes on, and the first primary in which Bush can get no votes. (We don't have any Republican primaries) is a month away. By the time of the Republican Convention, this will be old news. The occupation if it is still encountering trouble will have generated plenty of new news to take the fizzle out of the flashy victory. In other words, as a propaganda coup, this capture happened way too soon.

OK, enough politics. I went to Country Life today. They had the edamamme my mother likes. I'm going to make wheatberry edamamme salad for Christmas dinner. Yay! They did not have the veggie sticks I wanted for Christmas Eve. I'll have to get those in Atlanta. The same goes for Roastaroma. I got blue corn chips and rice snaps. Columbus is like that for specific food stuffs.

I know there has been a lot of getting and spending on this blog but this is the holiday season. I am not spending Christmas alone this year. That is an occupational hazard of being single and hundreds of miles from family and of being a spoilt academic who is used to doing her traveling in January. My current employer has short breaks. The getting and spending is a count your blessings kind of thing. Every time I have a holiday chore or task, it is a delight. I like the holidays' hustle and bustle and being able to host my mother and possibly my boyfriend is a big treat.

I found I don't have enough Christmas cards for all my colleagues, I will have to get more tomorrow night. I also need to send Lou some transportation money. This is our secret. You don't know Lou so it's OK for you to know but my mother is not going to know. It will be good to have Lou down here again. I miss my boyfriend even though we will spend a lot of time getting used to each other. I am not sure why I am not cutting a check tonight and right now. I guess part of me knows what it is like when Lou walks out on me. My apartment has a revolving door on it as far as Lou is concerned. I think I love Lou if I know what love is.

I also have to write my mother. I don't know what to say. It is fine to think of hosting her but we don't live in the same worlds. It is easier to write to this blog any day of the week.

Oh and one more interesting and fun thing. On my way back from Country Life where I went before I came to work (Yes, this is day 8 of a 12 day week) I saw this well heeled woman at a covered bridge table on the lawn of this fine old house. There were people lined up at the bridge table doing some sort of paper work. I walked up to see what all the fuss was and learned that these wealthy folks were going for a house tour. The tour cost $25.00 and consisted of seven well decorated old and elegant houses in and around Weyracoba Park/the St. Elmo Historic district. The woman warned me what the tour cost. I could have afforded it but I told her I had to go to work. Talk about speaking another language. I guess one of the risks of putting a table on your front lawn is you attract riffraff like me.

Yes, tomorrow is a work day. Tomorrow I start doing a pile of data entry and when I get bored I'll do the spread sheet for next spring's class. I don't have to cook tonight. I'm not even hungry. I need to do my hair.

Here is one rather interesting article on Saddam Hussein. Yes, I can't keep my eyes off the news tonight. Despite what evil things people say about Yahoo. They do very well bringing late breaking developments.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

I never made it to schul last night or this morning. I dozed off on the break room couch and woke up three hours later. There is something very inviting about the breakroom couch.

I still got plenty done though today. I went shopping for groceries and stocking stuffers. I managed to get both though the stocking stuffers of which I still need to get a few more cost more than I wanted to spend. I am starting to plan out Christmas and Christmas eve dinner menus. My clueless mother does not realize that outside of big cities the world closes down Christmas Eve. Lou and I have had some terrible experiences trying to eat out the night before Christmas, and that was in Utica, New York. Here in Columbus, Georgia one can only imagine.

I have to call Lou tonight and I have to transfer money to my checking account to lend him some for the trip. I'll do the transfer on the way in to work tomorrow or just after. That check has got to go into the mail pronto. Lou and I also have to talk food.

The reference desk was every bit as dead as I predicted. In fact, it was worse. Finals are about half over and most of the students are finished or at home. I had one reference question and a lot of work signing community people on to the machines. The weedie cart is all processed. I have other plans for tomorrow. I'll get through this weekend and the remaining four days somehow. Yes, I am exhausted. Do I sound that way?

I got to work on a very interesting internet project. All Hugs Committee pages for RAOK are interesting. You can see the page here. There are no gifts on it.

wedding gift for Delana You can see the gift I made for the page right here on this blog. It's been ages since I've done anything like that, and since I stayed after work to make graphics, I made several more graphics and mounted them in the RAOK Guestbook Committee galleries. I feel better than I have in days. Graphics have a way of picking me up when nothing else will.

amaryllis thankyou Here is a sample of some of the work in the galleries. Since they are inside of "private pages" I can't disclose the URL. This feels good. There are about six signatures in the guestbook, so I guess a small roundup will be in order in the next day or two.

I got lucky going to the supermarket this morning. Publix still had nice plump string figs so I got some, but they also had bosc pears on sale for .69 a pound and fresh brocoli rabe. That means I get a very nice side dish tonight. Later this week I'll make butternut squash, and I'm going to try to make Cornell beets. Sorry, I don't call them Harvard beets. It's funny how dining hall humor stays with you all these years.

I am really looking forward to this evening off even if making web graphics and writing in my blog are weird ways to spend it. I am going to put on the Christmas carrol CD's and tapes and wrap office gifts tonight and spend some time with my beautiful white Christmas tree. I may even wrap real gifts. A tree with gifts under it is always a wonderful thing to see. Yes, I get into the holidays especially when I am lucky enough to entertain.

I am also much better off than I was last year at this time when I had mastitis that hurt all day long. The mastitis eventually cleared up on its own but the doctor prescribed antibiotics for it anyway. Go figure on that one. Doctors have to make their money any way they can.

I am looking forward to a full house at Christmas more than any one will ever know. I am also looking forward to dinner tonight. By the way, for any one who is interested, my nemisis is back in business. If you are here on this blog and not getting the cut and paste version, you can click on her link. My poor nemisis does not know that I have her blog linked to mine. Well, nemisis, I've been waiting for you. I'm linked to you and I watch what you do. I don't do much with that, but I still like having a spy hole up there in the links section. In case you haven't guessed, nemisis, is one of the reasons this blog is private.

Friday, December 12, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

The weedie wagon is not as full as I would like, but I have no energy to go upstairs and there are plenty of weedies to process for tomorrow. I work this weekend. I am trying to stay neutral about that. Lou asked me to borrow money so he can travel south. I asked him how much he needed. Lou is my boyfriend for those of you who don't know.

I have an evening to look forward to and a morning when I can sleep late, though I want to sleep now. Is this getting familiar. It is an end of the day thing. It is a dark time of the year thing. I wish this were not so. I know I have to leave early to shop for stocking stuffers and a folder/looseleaf for the Secretangelfriends cookbook that I have to make and send to a woman in Canada.

I know I will feel like praying in schul when I get there. Last time we did not make a minyan. This time we may not either. A lot of people here in Columbus, Georgia are afraid of the cold. Not I though the darkness bothers me. I feel sorry for the rabbi when we don't make a minyan. He is sort of stuck with us. We die hards for Friday night must be a special breed. Next week is the big Hanukkah party. Yes, I finally figured out how to spell it right. That is not always so easy with transliterated holidays.

There are plenty of weedie slips and Saturday night I get to grocery shop. I made creamed spinach to have with rye vita and peanut butter for supper last night. I ate very late but managed to do my hair and laundry first. There will be snacks at schul tonight. It is strange to see the oneg table all set out so prettily and so few people to eat what Sam, the synagogue cook and factotum puts together. I don't know what Sam, a working class black man, makes of working for white, mainly wealthy Jews. I'm not wealthy but a lot of the congregation is.

I guess Friday is my time to talk about schul. I forget about it the rest of the week, but that is OK, especially when one is working a weekend. Compartimentalization is a pretty good coping skill. Right now I want a date with the breakroom couch. I can catch an hour's snooze rather than go shopping before schul. The problem is it may be more than an hour's snooze. On the other hand, the break room couch is so comfy.

The moon has been full but the nights have been very very cold, at least for Columbus. The trees are turning lovely colors. It is autumn here at last though it is winter inside me. I know I need to start talking menus and logistics for Lou if he is coming for Christmas. I will be excited to see him. I hope he is not a total mess.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

Time to switch from the virtual to the real. Time to go home with that roll of quarters and do laundry. I'm not sure I'm ready to make the switch. I feel ungrounded and sad. I should feel good. There are still a few loose ends dragging but the course web site is up! I can't remember ever getting it done this early.

In addition, I made a page I swore I owed myself. Here it is. Yes, you can share the joy of the Hanukkah season here too. Share the strength of the mighty Macabees. Listen to a Klezmer tune. You guessed it.

It is cold out tonight. It is nearly Friday. It was a very good day if I weren't so sore and weary I could enjoy it more. Giselle, our cataloger, gave me my own private "weedie wagon." A "weedie wagon" is a cart for loading with books to withdraw from the collection. Giselle wants me to weed! Giselle wants me to weed! I can't believe it. I love to weed, but in the past catalogers have offered scant support. This feels so good.

I did something very good and perhaps very wasteful today. I threw out two unopened tetra pack soups. They said best used by November 1, 2003. Well we know what date it is. I have a way of getting inadvertantly food poisoned so better safe than sorry. Of course I have no idea what I will eat for supper and I'm absolutely not at all hungry which is kind of sad. My stomach is way too tied up in knots.

Getting as many pages flipped into html (They start out as word documents and then I manually add the code) hurt. Last night, I lay down in the break room for half an hour and woke up three hours later. I was so sore it was hard to get comfortable. My shoulders ache from all the time spent at the computer.

I'm blocking out a lot right now. It's defensive. What I am blocking out is that it is the middle of a twelve day week. I work this weekend. It will be straight desk. It will be four hour shifts that cut the day in half. I have Christmas cards to sign and distribute here at work along with office gifts. I have an apartment to clean. Tonight, I'll focus on laundry and getting fed. Tomorrow brings what it brings.

Last night I went to Bath and Body Works to get some of that lotion I got my mother because it soothes my eczema. I bought a different flavor because you know you can't have two the same. Mine is apple and smells real good. Hers is cucumber green tea and it also smells good but it is more her kind of a smell. I also bought a bottle of shower gell for some unfortunate. My schul is collecting those kind of gifts at its Hanukkah party next week.

I'm also looking at RAOK holiday pages that members have made. I put my page in the link box. So far it's the only page that even mentions Hannukah. I've done my thing for cultural diversity. I guess that feels good. One of the pages has the Charlie Brown Christmas theme in the background. Boy that is classy. I found a very good midi for this blog and may put it up. It would be nice for this blog to have some music.

This blog could also use more links, but enough web stuff. It is cold and dark out there tonight. That is December for you. It is the darkest, coldest, and most miserable month of the year. That's all there is to it. Blech.... I really need to get sorted out somehow but I don't see any way so I'll drag myself home and make sure I get some laundry done. It would be nice to have a choice of things to wear to work and creamed spinach. Yes, I have frozen chopped spinach in the freezer. That would be a treat. I'll also make myself take a walk and get some air.

I wish I could get inspired to work on my story but I'm too tired. I'm writing for Ghostletters again and that feels good, but that was a long time ago. This morning was a long time ago. I feel like I'm swimming in dark water. It would be nice to come out into the sun and walk around and be dry for a bit but I can't see that coming. The sun doesn't rise until tomorrow though.

Actually I don't feel that down. I just feel so tired, I'm not sure how I'm going to move. I want to return to the break room couch or my bed. I'm not going either of those places and part of me just has a hard time figuring that out. I guess it gets better soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

This is a productive day. I got six documents flipped into html. I'm working with a part of my course that has a lot of handouts. I have until the end of Demcember to get the entire thirty some odd documents up on the web, and yes these are manual html flips, tedious, but oddly pleasureable.

A colleague just came into my office and found a twenty-two year old video on the backlog. The video was on testicular screening. Yes, that is what it sounds like. She asked if I'd watch it and tell her if it is still good. I should bow down and scrape and thank my lucky stars that we have a cataloger who wants me to weed. This is the first time this has ever happened. I can picture us selling the tape on testicular screening at our yearly book sale. Yes, this goes into the "things I get paid for" category.

Last night, Gene helped me fix the fluorescent light in the kitchen. My kitchen now gives me the third degree but I don't care. I put up the Christmas ornaments I bought in the dollar tree store, the ones I swear I wouldn't buy and I fixed the porch light too. The tree definitely looks better with its fourteen new ornaments. I also got some good news by way of my synagogue newsletter. Next Friday, my friday off after working a twelve day week (that's right folks, a twelve day week) schul is having a Hannukah party. Woo hoo! I'm supposed to bring an unwrapped gift. Well, remember that wonderful Bath and Body works hand lotion I tried. I want a bottle of it so I'm going to buy two, one for the gift and one for me. To give is sometimes more blessed than to receive.

In other news, I made the background decoratives for the border of the Hannukah page. I think I am two graphics, some text, and some html shy of the thing getting put together. I see so many religious Christian pages this time of year, I figure a Hannukah page is in order. Yes, I've settled on the easy way to spell it. Why not.... Transliterations are always tough. This is a nice project and I can advertise it to both RAOK and LOTH.

In a more humorous vein, I discovered (well I kind of knew) that I was taking over the vegetable recipe section at the LOTH forums with hard core veggie recipes. A couple of members have tried to put up more ordinary fare and then to talk about it, but I'm prolific and most of the recipes there are still mine.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

This was a long day. I worked second shift, and the desk was dead tonight. A dead reference desk is no fun. Some people say they never get bored. Some people ought to be saints except they're not dead yet. Me, I get bored so give me something to do.

It looks like I may be making a Hannukah page after all. I have four graphics made so far and if I make a few more, plus some background tiles, I just might have a Hannukah page of my very own.

I slept in and had some spirit contact this morning. I love this sort of thing. Then I had to rush to get down to the store. I went to K-Mart and Publix. I got new light bulbs for the busted fluourescent light in the kitchen. I also got twenty pounds of kitty litter. My neighbor, Gene, helps me tomorrow to get the new bulbs into the kitchen fixture. This way when my mother comes, the light in the kitchen works.

I also got some regular bulbs. I want to replace the porch light in front of the apartment. I miss having an outside light in the worst way. I still have a bit of Christmas shopping left, namely stocking stuffers for my mother. I want to get her a couple of dreidls. That means figuring out when the Judaica shop at my schul is open.

I also have a menu to plan, a huge menu to plan. I love this. I adore holidays when I can do entertaining. Just the thought that I am going to do such a mega entertaining as I'll do for my mother makes me feel good when all else should make me feel bad. My mother does not know that this mega entertaining awaits her. She is coming down Christmas even and leaving on the 26th. She does not realize that nothing will be open nearly the entire time she is here. That means I need to plan three or four glorious meals.

My mother is a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I abstain from meat due to kashrus. My mom also won't eat veggie burgers and a lot of perpared stuff. Lou, my boyfriend, and possibly Mario, his twin brother, may also be here. They don't eat tofu and aren't crazy about edamamme. They also aren't into a lot of vegetables. I am going to tell Lou to do his bit or get off the pot as far as deciding to come down is concerned. I have a menu to plan.

I'm thinking some kind of wheat berry salad would be good. I'm also thinking of going to Atlanta and getting the makings of a relish tray to die for. Lou would like cholent. I saw some green sage cheese in Publix. Cauliflower au gratin is one of my favorite holiday dishes as is parsnip and orange salad and carrot pudding. And yes, I should make an apple kuchen too. Cauliflower au gratin made with green sagey cheese would be neat.

I got three and a half web pages flipped on the syllabus web site today. There are lots more to go. I "mind the house" tomorrow while my colleagues take one of our student employees to an unspeakable Southern restaurant. I've lived in the south for five years and the food is every bit as bad as when I arrived.

Of course Southerners, even those from Kentucky, find New York style cuisine incomprehensible. I remember looking for frozen winter squash when my boyfriend and I first came down here to Georgia. Publix fortnately stocks it. There are no buttercup squash in Publix and no kabocha squash either. And most of my colleagues have never eaten a bosc pear or know that string figs used to come threaded on a straw string. Good string figs just arrived in Publix this morning. I think figs and tea is my favorite at work breakfast.

Well here it is 2:02am and I ought to get to bed. So much for my making time for spiritual pursuits.

I also wanted to download SoulSeek tonight. No luck there. And yes, this blog needs music. I just have to figure out what I am in the mood for and embed it. Don't worry, it will be a midi file.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

It's easier to write real life stuff than it is to write fiction at the moment. I should be out in the dark walking toward Publix to get cat litter and light bulbs. I need both. I also need to fix the broken fluorescent light in the kitchen. The problem is that in my complex you are supposed to fix this yourself as in get the light bulbs out. Well that is fine and good, but I stand 5'3" in my stocking feet and the fixture is way up on the ceiling. I've been using the butter dish light (the light over the sink is the butter dish light because the light that was over the sink in the house where I grew up looked like an inverted butter dish.) and the stove light and the dining room light. It would be nice to have a normal light in the kitchen again.

I did get to see my tree today. I even bought it some decorations yesterday. I swore I would not do this but there they were in the Dollar Tree, teal ballies. I bought two fancy ones and two pacakges of six a piece. I figure I can find room for them on the tree somewhere. How do you say Christmas tree obsession?

I was able to make some serious inroads into my Christmas shopping yesterday. I got my mother a sweater and two pairs of earings and a bottle of hand lotion. The lotion when I tried some from the tester, worked so well on my eczema (better than that expensive prescription Ellidel) that I am tempted to buy a bottle for myself. I still have to buy stocking stuffers for my mother. My dad I took care of over the web. My boyfriend and I probably won't exchange gifts. I also bought Christmas cards to distribute at work and fancy soaps to use as office gifts. The mall can still be a great place.

Dillards was like a circus. The make up counter is right at the center aisle that people cross through to get from one side of the mall to the other. Well I saw at least three women getting makeovers and young daughters or nieces beside them. The jewelry counter is full of sale merchandise and there were long lines whenever I needed to buy anything. It was an amazing scene.

I had to work today. I worked 2-6pm. We were moderately busy. I work tomorrow 1-10pm and then it's regular hours (9-6) for the rest of the week. I work next weekend too. How do you say short staffed? We are and I'm subbing. It's the home stretch, finals, December. It's enough to make any one say "bah humbug!"

So now I have to face going outside in what passes in Georgia for cold. It will be dark. I will be hauling ten pounds of kitty litter on my back. The thought of that just turns me off so badly. Blech. I'd much rather be in here writing. I have one more set of emails to check and then I'll hit the road.

Friday, December 05, 2003

by Eileen Kramer

Long time no blog. Well, the impetus to return to blogging is this community. No, you can't come inside unless you are a member....sorry.

Yes, I think exclusivity is cool. I also think inclusion is cool too. Go figure on that one. This blog returns to life in the coldest and darkest part of December. Here in Georgia, it is not so much cold but just plain raw outside. I have a nice big old winter coat that acts as my personal warming unit. I cruise through this hateful weather while native southerners cringe.

This is syllabus season. I am working on this massive project. Yes, it looks like the syllabus got dumped in a can of green paint, but green is one of my favorite colors. I hope the students next spring like green.

Sunday, I put the Christmas tree up in my living room. I boggle at how complicated a Christmas tree is. There is the tree itself that sleeps in a box in the pantry. It is a white tree. It is beautiful even if two small branches have snapped off. It is a twelve year old tree that I bought when I actually owned a home back in Utica New York. I much prefer being a renter but I am glad I have a Christmas tree.

Then there are the four boxes of ornaments, skirts, and other decorations. Everything must be packed just so at the end of the season and everything goes out in a particular order, tinsel and beads first, followed by look alike ornaments. My favorite are a set of a dozen dark teal moon faces that look so sweet in my tree's white branches. There are also break proof ornaments that I bought when I still had Stingie.

I rarely lose ornaments now. Hertzel kitty fell asleep on the bandanna I use for a tree bow in lieu of a star. He just dozed off while all the decorating was going on. Georgia, my other cat came out and sniffed everything. She is much older than Hertzel but she has a more pert and perky attitude.

The tree took several hours to assemble and decorate. I hardly notice it now. I am out of the house so fast in the morning, and when I come home, I'm on the computer. I wonder why I put up the tree in the first place. Hopefully tonight I can slow down a little.

I go to schul tonight. The rabbi likes to play the racism and fear cards. I have to xerox some material for him. He insists that the Sumerians and Caananites practiced human sacrifice and that they are as barbaric as the "Arabs." He does not call Palestinians by the rightful name. I live in a small town and this is the only schul that offers anything resembling a traditional service. I wonder when I will get time to get into the xerox room.

By the way, the scant archaeological and contemporary scholarly evidence does not bear up any of those horrific myths depicted in the Midrash and Talmud. We Jews appear to be descended in a fairly direct line from the Sumerians. Since Sumer was the first western civilization, that makes Judaism exceedingly cool. One doesn't have to rip down other ideas to know your own ideas are great. As for the Caananites, there is nothing deeper than the hatred between brother peoples.

Last night, I went Christmas shopping but the mall is not yet staying open very late. I don't have the stomach to shop at Wal-Mart for clothes or jewelry. I saw a beautiful sweater for my mother. It was a bit pricey but it had all the colors of the sunset in it. My mother is coming for Christmas and I want to make it really good for her. Well the sweater was part wool and I was allergic. I tried it on. It pulled in the armpits, not a lot but it would not have been a good sweater to put over a turtle neck. Also, there are no Dillards in the New York metro area. My mother could not have returned the sweater if it did not fit. Penny's has pretty good women's clothes. I think I may get my mother a sweater there.

I also saw some good Christmas cards in Dillards. They were about thirty percent off, but I still think they were pricey. I'm going to check out a few other stores and then come back and buy the cards. I need to give cards to all the people at work. I also want to get some fancy soaps at Bath and Body Works to give out to my fellow librarians and to the two paraprofessionals at Reference. It is too expensive to buy gifts for the entire staff and we have a terrible White Elephant Party instead of a grab bag or gift swap.

A white elephant party is where we have these awful (they are supposed to be awful) gifts and we draw to see who gets to pick first and then people who pick later can swap their "gift" with any one else in the room. This sounds like fun until you sit through it. How do you say, "waste of time"?

Oh well, I'm going to get back to work. So much for holiday cheer.