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.

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Failed Messiah Religious news never sounded so good.

New York Times. Read the news and be smart.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

OK, so you all want to know about Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. OK, first the movie is not historically accurate. Gibson does indeed place the blame for Jesus' death on the Jews of the SanHedrin, the High Priest and his cronies. That is NOT what happened. First, the San Hedrin would NOT meet at night during Passover. It never met at night period. Second, Jesus could NOT convict himself by his own words in a Jewish court of law. Third, two witnesses one of whom warned him are required to get a conviction. Finally, the Romans, those filthy Edomites, had the power to order executions and did so regularly for such offenses as theft. If a Jewish court sentenced one person to death in seven years, it was considered a bloody court.

So is the Passion antiSemitic, or more rightly, can it be used to stir up antiSemitic fervor? The answer is unfortunately yes, but the reasons don't really have to do with the story of the movie. Now in bigger cities things might play differently but the average joe watching this movie sees the earthquake scene in the temple and thinks that "those Jews learned their lesson." Judaism is an outmoded religion and it has been superceded by Christianity. It is amazing how few people who live in flyover country know any Jews. Remember Jews are less than three percent of the population in the US and we are out of proportion to our numbers in larger cities on the East Coast, around the Great Lakes, and on the West Coast.

Added to all that, Passion is a costume drama. The High Priest and his buddies look nothing like Jews anybody would know today. The Jews of today are the remmant from the Holocaust. They must have updated their religion somehow. They are not the same as the old time Jews in that movie.

If we did not have to worry about the clergy, the Passion, would be a worthless tool for spreading antiSemitism. Unlike the laity, the Christian clergy have a sense of history enough to know that the Caiaphus and his bunch are the theological ancestors to modern Judaism.

The clergy also are not entirely ethical. Who is, but the clergy have jobs to keep and audiences to please, and a good crowd pleaser in a lot of places is the cheap shot. The safest cheap shots of course are those against a straw man that nobody will defend. Caiaphus is an ideal cheap shot target but it's fairly easy to turn the easy cheap shot into a contemorarily relevant one.

A good comparison and one that would unfortunately stick in a working class church would be a comparison of "those rich Jews in North Columbus and Sears Road" with Caiaphus and the other privileged Jews of Jesus time. "Those rich Jews'" idea of community service is to bring the Israeli Philharmonic to Columbus with tickets starting at $68.00 a pop. Now "those rich Jews" are not only vain and self-absorbed, but there's a reason for their vanity and misguidedness. They are rotten to the core. Their leadership long ago which is just as vain as their leadership today committed the unpardonable sin.... Call it a double cheap shot. Passion is great fodder for cheap shot artist clergy.

OK, so what about the gore? Let's just say the makeup artist for this movie and the special effects team need to get an award. Yet, with all this gore, it is very hard to distill a lot of sympathy for poor Jesus. You never get to know him before he becomes the Romans' punching bag and then flogging dummy. He says a few lines from the Bible but you never see enough of him to get to like him as a person and to feel really really sorry for him. After Godspell, Last Temptation, Jesus of Nazareth and several other movies, this is a big disappointment. Mary had my tears a couple of times. She is too young for the role, but she clearly went through hell in a very human way. Peter was real. He goes from denying Jesus to helping him bear the cross, an very impressive scene. The Roman soldiers were real. They were wonderful thugs, from the whip wielding enlisted men to the blase officer who counted out the stripes in the flogging yard. Jesus, on the other hand, was a flesh and blood Mr. Bill doll.

Because Jesus is a nearly mute punching dummy at the center of the movie, he leaves a hole where a wonderfully sympathetic main character needs to be. This makes Passion a very comfortless movie. Just having the name Jesus is not enough. He still needs a character. That is missing.

Another problem with the movie is missing subtitles and having all the characters speak a foreign language. This makes the movie effectively a silent movie and it pushes the acting over the top. What this does for badly needed character development is turn most of the characters into stick figures. Weird lighting and sets don't help either.

Also I wonder about the movie's authenticity. I know movies today are supposed to be authentic. This one didn't feel that way. For one thing, if black garments were available and fancy reds and blues for the wealthy characters, there were other less expensive dye stuffs. Jerusalem was a capital city. The crucifixion in the New Testament takes place at Passover. This means people would be dressed to impress in their finery. That means something better than black and grey chenille bedspreads. Also I think lanterns and lamps of various sorts were invented by then. There was no need with a Passover feast to sit in the dark or near darknes. At least the High Priest and his bunch had plenty of lights.

In short, if Mr. Gibson wants to make me feel sorry for a false Messiah who was crucified two thousand years ago, he doesn't do a very good job. Turning on the lights, putting the lines in English, and getting me interested in a real human character would be a big start. As for the "antiSemitism" historical accuracy would be nice but this is not something the average Christian cares about. The clergy, however, are another matter.

I think everybody should see Passion. Go to a matinee when it's only four fifty please, but see it. This movie is the biggest piece of cheap shot fodder that's been around in a while. We honest folks are going to need to keep some opportunistic clergy of both faiths in line. Having seen the movie will help us counter some of the cheap shots.

Finally, we Jews here in Columbus, Georgia can clean our own house a little bit so we are not the target of cheap shots. Sixty-eight dollar a ticket concerts are not community service! The much maligned New Testament Baptist Church which is next to our schul put up a gym for afterschool recreation to keep kids off the streets. If those folks at the New Testament Baptist Church want to call us rich and out of touch, they may just be right.

By the way for those of you who are interested I payd $136 in dues. That is the cost of two concert tickets. If any one asks me to buy a ticket for the Israeli Philharmonic, I will politely tell them that it was a choice between paying my dues or buying tickets. They cost the same. Classism sucked two thousand years ago and it still sucks today.

by Eileen Kramer

I don't like taking in movies on sunny days but I am sorely tempted to go see the Passion of Christ. It is playing down on Macon Road right near where I go shopping. I have been passing out the URL for the ADL site on the Passion but that has more to do with the smother factor than with the movie itself.

The smother factor can also be called marginalization. Jews are less than three percent of the population. We don't exist. Our concerns don't exist. Our cultural preferences don't exist. If you want to see a good example of a smother visit http://www.sharethelove.org When a child or adult dies, his link is marked with a cross. The owners obviously haven't considered what to do in the case of a Jewish or Moslem family. They don't know that to some Jews, particularly older ones, a cross is an offensive symbol due to all the bloodshed perpetrated in its name. I've dealt with smother when someone in LOTH Spirit Workers of which I am a proud member put up a prayer/memorial board with a huge gauche picture of Jesus with a child on his knee. I countered that this picture ran afoul of not only Jewish but also Moslem and certain Christian (graven image) beliefs.

I've read a lot of positive emails on the Passion and they make me very suspicious. Everyone likes the movie. Everyone wept. We are told the movie will change lives. The movie always reinforces the poster's faith. My suspicion is those going to see the movie with their church groups are being told how to react and reacting according to plan.

Why do I suspect that? A one word answer: substitles. Main stream Americans, at least the boyfriends I have dated, tend to loathe movies with subtitles. Try dragging a boyfriend to a foreign movie that you are dying to see or rent a foreign movie for a cozy night at home. Not one Christian poster has complained about the subtitles or the fact that the movie is not in English.

Meanwhile, both the rabbis in this town including cheap shot specialist, Max Roth, have gone to see the Passion and when it comes time for sermons, well...most of the congregation wouldn't be caught dead seeing the movie. It is too violent. Those people see it. They're happy to have their rabbi's word for it.....

As for the Christ Killer angle, there are cheap shot preachers out there because there is one cheap shot artist rabbi whom I have the current displeasure to deal with. Sure someone somewhere will try it, but the accusation won't come from the rank and file every day Christians here in Columbus. The reason is simple: first we Jews don't exist. Remember the smother. Second, that was way back when and has no connection to now. For most people history just isn't that meaningful, and those Jews back in olden times aren't the Jews who go to those schuls on Wynton and Wildwood.

And as far as the Passion being violent, so what. I love violent gorey movies. If you've read this blog enough, you know I am an afficianado of low entertainment: Phil Hendrie, Dr. Laura, and Art Bell are my regular radio diet and gorey movies are always welcome if I can drag myself to the theater.

My view right now and it is so much hot air, is that the Passion will play itself out and be gone by this time next year. The subtittles will do it in.

In other news, I did my taxes yesterday and will be getting back over two hundred dollars from the federal government. I had to pay the state of Georgia about sixty-five dollars, but I still came out ahead, for the second year in a row. Interest rates in the toilet bowl will do it for you. I have money in the bank instead of the stock market. I just can't get excited about investing and I don't feel like having to worry about my money getting burned. I know I would like to buy some Treasury notes. These are supposed to be worry proof and have good interest rates.

I mean this whole investment thing is a waste of time. OK, you make money, but you did that when you worked. Once you have the money and put it aside somewhere safe where it earns interest, you're not supposed to have to worry about it any more. It's made and it's yours and it grows a bit and that's fine. Anything else and it's like working to earn money all over again. Money that you worked to earn is not supposed to require further work once it's squirreled away.

I put away my Fiesta Ware yesterday. I had to make room for it. I ate some roast squash and later an uglifruit from one of the little spring green bowls. The Fiesta Ware is an even prettier color than it appears in the photographs. I am very happy with it.

And for those who want to know, I've still got the stomach flu. The bottom of my intestines is sore like someone scraped it but I'm not in agony like Thursday. I'm not sre the Gas-X pill did anything last night. I did make it through the night without pain that keeps me awake though. I even managed one of my usual night sweats again, though it was just a little one.

I transferred money to my checking account again which means that in the next day or two, I'll buy Harvey's wedding gift. Monday I'm going to ask for the Monday after spring break off. I really need to leave Columbus on Friday rather than Wednesday so I can finish scoring at the Webleagues. I really can't see making an excuse and I, or rather Haldis or rather Thadea (Haldis will be in transit near the end of that fightint cycle as she returns to Dartmouth from Iowa City) will be available to score. An excuse that covers the two of them is just plain hard to come by.

I have decided to buy a second wedding gift for Harvey and to visit Tuesday Morning some time this week if I can and get a vase there for myself. I haven't picked out gift number two but it is going to have a feline theme since Harvey is a cat lover, and so too is Elizabeth. Pacific Spirit/North Style are very reputable merchants so I'll probably be dealing with them. The first gift will come from the Cleveland Museum of Art's store. My own wedding couvade is on hold until I buy Harvey and Elizabeth their gifts. Then I'll send for the big vase or buy it at Tuesday Morning.

I'm right now wondering how to sneak a pull cart into the theater. I imagine I can just lean it against a seat or just not bring it and use only my backpack and go shopping afterwards that way. And if the Passion reduces me to tears, just remember I love gorey movies and I love foregin movies.

Oh and one more thing, I would love to spend the afternoon making graphics on the work machine where there is PSP8. The Hugs Committee at RAOK is looking for general gifts. I don't like that they are using a free photohosting service for them. Those places are fly by night. I used to use something similar to host a spreadsheet for ZOID and it got hacked. Also, I'm thinking of doing a major redesign of the CALA web site. I'm just sick of Terri's old look that I somewhat updated http://library.colstate.edu/cala I'm the webmistress but the meetings never happen at a time I can attend.

Friday, February 27, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm so sick! It wasn't nerves. I spent last night tossing and turning. I went to bed at 9:30pm. Forget dinner. I hurt too much. I shivered along with having fierce cramps. I could not get warm or stop hurting. Eventually I dozed off for two hours. Don't ask me how because I could not go back to sleep after that. Hertzel, my boy of joy kitty, stayed with me. I now call him kitty nurse. At one point I gave up and got the radio. Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomy guy, was on Coast to Coast with George Nori. I listen to all kinds of radio. By three am I was sitting up and petting Hertzel. Then I needed to do my business again.

I decided that since I was out of bed, I'd take another dose of psych meds and some naproxen for the fever. I don't know if the fever broke, but I stopped being cold. The cramps subsided enough for me to sleep until around 8am.

I scrambled to go to work. I had a class to teach at noon that basicly only I can teach. I had four hours of desk I had to do as well. It's nice to be needed. By the time I got to work, I realized something wasn't right. I wasn't crampy but I was cold and crawly despite the naproxen. I had a fever anyway.

Well I made it through the day at work and was going to go down to CVS on Macon Road to get my meds that I need to pick up. Well, I decided to rest for five minutes in the work room. I put my arm on the table, rested my head on my arm, and fell asleep for an hour and a half.

I managed to read the Friday night service and light shabbos candles. I made green pea soup and pasta for supper and had roast kobacha squash for a side dish. I am neither throwing up nor having the runs with this so I guess I can eat a normal diet.

I don't think I'm going to schul tomorrow. I am clearly not myself. I am a bit crampy now but not as bad as last night, but that's not saying much. I just took another dose of naproxen (400mg...) I'm glad I was not hurting so much today. I hope I can sleep tonight.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well I should really take a powder on this blog because I'm too tired to write anything that is approachingly coherent. I hardly got a nickel's worth of PSP today. I taught a very loosened up bunch of bio students for Biol 2285. That was great. I had a few lively ones and gradually they all loosened up. Some of the reason is that the science students have the best lab on campus. It's not the fanciest or the most modern lab. It is three rows deep and it has a bring your own paper printer and a nice big white board and a handout table. What is great about the lab in Lenoir is it is the science students' own lab and club house. It is their comfy turf. This helps loosen up a class. It is also a good Libr1105 clubhouse because the clubhouse atmosphere carries over.

It was cold, wet, and rainy tonight. It thundred for a bit and rained hard. The AM radio has static in the broadcast from nearby storms. So much for my dose of Phil Hendrie and Art Bell.

I lost another dead wood student. This is good. I'd much rather see students with W's than F's. I got done the paper grading and the blog grading. Vestris had a hardware related downage that came back up in a few minutes. Vestris is the new provider for the class board. They have been in business forever and I am confident they will stay up in the long haul. An occasional downage in the winter just happens. The downages are short lived. You are always going to have short lived downages with a board.

I started another webliography. This one is Earth Sciences. After this one there are four more webliographies left to revise before this year's cycle is done.

Erma is also speaking to me though now she does most of her work in the workroom. Her office is too full of junk and the work room table is hers. Fine, she can keep it. The work room can be quite a site. Erma has both student employee and a high school volunteer working for her. I have to do all my own scut work.

So far no one has said they like the new marquee display for the Faculty Research Forums next week. That makes me very sad because I worked hard on this on Monday.

I bridged three sites today. I hit Savannah's site. Savannah has diffuse pontine glioma and her mother is an eloquent writer. Julianna has leukemia and her father has a weird sense of humor. Julianna has also had a relapse. Then I visited Cheyenne's site. Cheyenne also has diffuse pontine glioma. Her dad is not that eloquent and I may or may not be back there.

Aidan's site has not been updated since February 3rd. I suspect the site has been abandoned though it is too early to say so. I'm not sure what the protocol for an abandoned Caringbridge site is.

And this just in. Another Bridger has just signed the RAOK guestbook. This is the first one in over a month. She is one whom I don't recognize. It will be interesting to bridge over at her site. Bridging is signing a guestbook at a Caringbridge site.

Angels of Kindness also had a real life casualty tonight. Someone was actually in need and bothered to fill out our form. The fellow RAOKster was bereaved, having lost a favorite uncle a month ago. I sent her an e-card. That felt good.

Well here it is 1:41am. Tomorrow night I'll try and clean the apartment for the Shabbos Queen. I'll be going to schul Saturday morning for the first time in two weeks. Tomorrow night and Friday night after home prayers, I'll have to set up for two competitions, ZOID and my team at Webleagues. It was a good week off.

Unfortunately, when I sent the sympathy card I took a look at my RAOK sympathy pressies. I have four of them and they are all at least two years old. I guess I need some more. Spring flowers would be oh so nice. Well, I better make sure I have plenty of change in my wallet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am waiting for the soup to heat. Georgia is sleeping in a nest in the closet. Hertzel is guarding the kitchen. I got through today's class and found out I lost a student. She is dropping. She has done no work all semester so this is a good thing.

Tomorrow I work an extra long day because I have to be at work an hour and a half early. I have a Noon Biol 2285 class. This is a once a semester ritual and I have all the materials made and collated. Tomorrow is also the day to grade work and xerox new material for next week. A one credit class is a never ending cycle. I don't know why I find that comforting tonight.

I hit the PSP at work today. Graphics soothe me. Gerry (GMP) suggested that I keep a dish in my office and stick a nickel in it every time I make something in PSP that is not work related. So far there is twenty cents in the dish.

I also groomed the earth sciences webliography and figured out how to use Diana's spreadsheets so Erma and I can continue the interloan data processing project. Hopefully some time Thursday I can start entering the data. This is sweet because I get to listen to streamed audio while I do what is essentially wonderfully mindless work.

I may also be able to weed again if Giselle, the cataloger, gets Ramona, the paraprofessional, to process some of what is already on some very full shelves already. I told Giselle that if you work where we do long enough, you have to go over to the dark side. It's a survival strategy. She didn't like my telling her that, but being on the dark side is just a practical measure. You are not going to launch a periodical moving project that requires the boss' approval while the boss' secretary and right hand woman is recovering from an auto accident and you can't weed if the weedie shelves are full up.

At least my cookie team is sane. Cynthia at circulation heads it up and we do all business by email. Cynthia listened to me and I got to buy something I thoght we should serve. I did not mind bringing home two bags of veggie chips from Atlanta. I may even bring in my fruit bowl as a serving dish as long as I get it back eventually.

More work should mean less PSP though part of myself says I can work smarter rather than harder. I need the PSP. I've also needed talk radio in the form of the immortal and not dead yet Phil Hendrie. His homophobia tonight made me cringe but listening to those poor deluded callers who think the voice of the guest is the voice of a real person and not Phil Hendrie playing a part that is designed to irriate, annoy, and upset the audience. The callers have fallen for the gag and for them there is no mercy.

Phil Hendrie touches all kinds of taboos. One of my favorite characters was a man who wanted his wife not to have another child because babies are not good for one's sex life. Saying this apparently is taboo even though on child free fora couples' decision not to have children is sometimes predicated on marital happiness. "If we had a child we'd have less time for each other," is how it is said. I believe the character on Phil Hendrie also complained about divorced mothers with kids and how junior competed for attention. I've again heard complaints about dating "divorced breeders" on child free fora. I did not realize how out in left field these ideas were, at least with some of Phil Hendrie's more clueless listeners.

I am watching the leadership transition at RAOK. It's in Candi's hands now and she has redone the web site. I don't know if I like the new design better. I was just getting used to the lilacs. I went into the Gift Gallery this afternoon and found pressies with the words: "random acts of kindness" on them. Now RAOK was given a legal letter from another organization that registered that phrase as its service mark, so I ended up purging countless images from my galleries.

Well I ended up mailing Candi a letter with copies of all the legal particulars including the name and address of the other organization and a copy of the trademark registration. Apparently no one bothered to debrief Candi. Candi also asked after Gerry E. Drahn. I told Candi I would give her the whole story if she wanted it or needed it.

The story is this Gery was the first RAOKster to be thrown out for fraud. When Gery and I first crossed paths it was through her husband who was appealing for help. Gery was a psychologist in the Netherlands who had been raped by a patient at the institution where she worked. Something felt funny about this plea so I checked it out further. Why would a husband be infantilizing his wife in front of strangers? That was what I was picking up in the tone of the letters.

I figured if a psychologist is raped by a patient it is news. I still get packages of news from Holland that I signed up for as part of my research on Gery Drahn. It also turned out there really was/is a Gery Drahn. There were web sites that had her conference papers. She indeed was a psychologist and worked in Freisland. This only made me more suspicious. What was a well connected professional woman coming to an organization in America and Canada for support when she undboutedly could get support from colleagues, her country's national health system, etc...? I suspected someone was spoofing Gery's identity in a bid for attention.

Gery was not asking for money so I kept my concerns to myself. I had no problem with Gery's husband asking for guestbook signings. Of course Gery's husband and later Gery herself came back asking for e-cards and/or guestbook signings again and again. Guestbooks are very useful things. Gery, it seemed, had developed some sort of nonspecific female trouble or psychosomatic illness/psychogenic illness from the rape. All of this was fairly believable. I kept signing the guestbooks.

Now RAOK has a systemic flaw. Back when I joined up Angels of Kindness (formerly the Care Committee) handled support and we had customers, sometimes as many as ten a week. Support was handled with a piece of form mail, the message on which, only the committee members ever saw. Most members asking for help were surprisingly reticent. They gave few if any details about the illness in their family or their own state of mind. Depression and illness in family were the two most common reasons for seeking support.

Changes in leadership, server problems, a broken form, poor web page maintenance and a few other things made the Angels of Kindness a much less popular committee than what they once were. Also there is now a competing committee, the Hugs Committee. Yes, I'm on both of these committees. Hugs makes web pages for members to either celebrate their triumphs or for support. The sad occasions for personal pages well outnumber the happy ones. The problem is that Hugs makes web pages for members who are well known and often very very good at getting attention for themselves. The recipients have their portion in this world or so to speak.

Though the Hugs Committee did not exist at the time that Gery was cutting her teeth at RAOK, there were ad-hoc support pages and then when Hugs got off the ground, Gerry was the recipient of a Get Well page http://raok_hugs_committee.tripod.com/hugs/gery/ and Patchwork Friends, another committee, did a graphic quilt http://www.angelfire.com/stars3/gerye/ . I donated a graphic to the get well page. By now Gerry had cancer. Gery's story was holding together poorly to say the least, but graphic gifts are just electrons.

Gery pushed matters too far. Last fall she signed up for a service that donates stuffed animals to cancer patients. The people who ran the service vetted Gery and ooops.... Let's just say my suspicions are partially confirmed. Gery E. Drahn did not have cancer. The organization also got in toch with RAOK. Gerry got booted out for fraud.

So what is the moral of the story? First, realize that those who most need attention and those best at getting it are often not one and the same. Disbanding or changing the focus of the Hugs Committee might be a very good idea. Hugs, more often than not, helps those who if not least in need are best at getting their needs met. If a member is in need and good at telling her own tale, let her do it on her web page through the boards and mailing list, and last but not least, she can fill out the form and get her guestbook signed or cards sent. No one should have a page built for them except under truly exceptional circumstances. If members want to donate gifts, than we can have pages built around topics to use up members energy, galleries, a gift shop of pressies, and of course a postcard mill.

I don't think the story of Gery's fraud and expulsion went out beyond the committee leaders and at the time Candi wasn't one. Being kind does not mean being a sucker and being kind, especially doing support work, leaves you callused in places where you did not think calluses could grow.

By the way, if a person who is not naturally reticent genuinely needs support, a good way to give it to her might be to ask her to do her own web page and put her story into her own words and then provide the publicity that she can't provide herself. Usually those who can tell their own story articulately and/or who can build their own pages to tell that story are not helpless. I did memorial pages for both of the cats I lost in 2000. I simply wanted to tell two very tragic stories, and actually do a bit of "awareness" on Evander's page. I chose to go the "palliative care route" with him and a lot of owners of a terminally ill pet don't realize that this is a real option. I would not have wanted any one making pages for me. I have had one member of the month page made for me. It was purple. I don't remember much more about it.

I guess Candi knows all about Geri because she did not write me back. Maybe she does not want to know. Maybe it does not matter.

Monday, February 23, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am so tired, I can hardly write. ZOID and Ladies Advance are taken care of. I have not bridged today but feel it would be good for me. I don't know why I am so tired. I did not do that much at work today. I did get the marquee for the Faculty Research Forums up. Yes, it's "forums" not fora. Light refreshments are served after every lecture. Callie was not around so I could not tell her. Callie is the boss, the top of the chain of command.

Erma did not come in until 6pm and did not bother to say "hello" to me. This means it is the beginning of week two of our not speaking to each other. We have a new part time reference librarian out on the desk. She is fresh out of Clark Atlanta and she is a tiny thing. Erma likes her but Erma is not all bad. The new librarian is very new and there is a lot she does not know how to do. I ended up hunting down a government document and helping a student find more information on the same topic. I also helped a student in a science writing course today and helped another studnet find piles of criticisms on Tartuffe and a group of students find tons of information on salmonella. Yes, microbiology textbooks are wonderful.

Reference when it is busy and productive makes sense. I just wish this business with Erma didn't hurt so much. It is sapping my productivity. I dragged myself through the astronomy webliography and before I turned around my PSP8 was out and I was working on perfecting a technique for making photos into paintings. I came out with two fantastic speciimens, one of which I may actually use. When I was off the clock, I made two more graphics.

Graphics are one of the few things that soothes the pain because intrinsicly they make so much sense. I took the two graphics and put them in my gallery of postcard images http://tacheiru.us/unfetered/pgall.html

I talked with my provider for tacheiru.us and partially straightened out a billing problem. I will straighten out the rest of it tomorrow. I learned the reason my order for Fiestaware did not go through over the weekend was that Macy's had raised the price. I ordered a service for four from Penney's instead. Good ole Penney's. Since I have to buy Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift, further getting and spending is on hold for a bit.

blue vase for Harvey and Elizabeth I do have Harvey and Elizabeth's gift picked out. I haven't bought it yet. I may buy them a second gift. The gift is not really expensive enough to be from Lou and me so a second gift is in order. I think I know what that second gift will be. It will be cute and almost a joke present, a little cat letter holder or miniature table from Pacific Spirit. Pacific Spirit is a very very reputable merchant. The blue vase, by the way, comes from the Cleveland Museum of Art. If you can't trust an art museum, whom can you trust?

I don't have the energy to touch the novel. I did touch Ghostletters. It was not that hard to do. In another place and time it would have been good for me.

What would I say to Erma if I could bend her ear? I'd tell her we still have that ILL project to finish. Not finishing that or not progressing on that will bring our little problem to the attention to those up the chain of command. Now Erma has time temporarily on her side because Vicky, Callie, the boss', seccretary was in a car accident. Callie is short staffed and preoccupied. Callie does not need the garbage between Erma and me and the data entry project is far from her mind. But that's not going to be forever. My rear end is not going in a sling because Erma is not speaking to me!

I'd also tell Erma that what she is doing is grossly unprofessional and unfair and it shits to high heaven. It hurts not to tell Erma any of this. It hurts to bite my tongue. I don't think speaking any of the above except the stuff about the data entry project will do any good.

When something spirals this out of control, where does it land? It lands no where good. I am glad Callie does not know what is going on...yet. I don't want her to know ever.

Probably one of the most intelligent things I could do is start a job hunt again. I want to get out while I can. Maybe elsewhere my supervisor/colleague will at least be sane. I am just too tired and irritated to start anything though. Making graphics is more or less the best I can do. Pitiful isn't it. Even all the food runs to Atlanta and all the Pirates of Penzance don't help in the end.

I was listening to the Pirates of Penzance CD this morning as I was getting dressed. I realize that I think I know enough about how to put up a marquee display with custom graphic that I may be able to write a handout. This is part of my yearly goals. I was particularly mindful as I put up the display today. I think if I can think up one new thing and implement it with Julie gone and Erma not speaking to me, I'll feel a lot better about the job and myself.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I survived a trip to Atlanta that went off without a hitch except that I felt dazed and tired the whole way out. That kind of happens when you get up at 4am. One of the more memorable parts of the trip was hanging out in the bus station waiting for the 5pm home when I sat next to a family that was lined up at the wrong door. This happens more than it should because the Atlanta Greyhound station is an utter zoo. I explained that the bus that would go to Memphis where the father and daughter would change before proceeding on to Norman, Oklahoma was probably not my bus. The bus that passes through Columbus where I live takes a much more southerly route.

Well, father and daughter got to the right door but not before I got to show the little girl my wood ear mushrooms, some of which I'm eating right now in soup. They are black but really really mild, milder in fact, than ordinary white button mushrooms. They are one supreme delicacy. They fascinated the little girl.

I also got to play show and tell with the mushrooms when I was a "walk up" customer for the cab trip back home. The dispatcher in the yellow cab house said he liked mushrooms but had never seen any like the wood ears I was importing or the dried oyster mushrooms. There used to be good oyster mushrooms in Columbus. Then there were no oyster mushrooms and now when there are oyster mushrooms there are lousy ones. We are heading back to no oyster mushrooms. This is not a gourmet mushroom town. Mushroom soup/stew is a staple dinner dish in this house I think it is a fairly standard ethnic staple.

I want to write about Caringbridge tonight. I just bridged which makes me feel very good as if I am catching up with things. Aidan's page http://www.caringbridge.org/il/aidan has not had an update since February third. Whoops! I'm still supposed to visit it once a week and sign the guestbook because I have adopted Aidan through http://www.sharethelove.org

Tonight, I saw the owner of the following web page signed the book with an inspirational poem. http://www.catchanangel.com/ There is nothing wrong with this web page except there is no way to turn the embedded midi off except by hitting the esc key. The problem is Aidan is recovering!!!! In fact, my Aidan was never mortally ill. He's a child with cerebral palsy who had a selective dorsal rhizotomy to improve his walking ability.

I often wonder what Aidan's mother makes of all the voyeur types who know nothing of her or her son except what she chooses to write but who nonetheless visit the site and sign the guestbook. I know that Aidan's mother did not initially create the site. It was his Aunt Tracy. The site used to have a different background and email address. I am not sure the site would have ever been given to the adopt-a-kid place, sharethelove.org, if Aidan's mother had been in charge the whole time. Aidan's mother more or less just inherited me.

Actually I think the background on Aidan's site is godawful. It is not that it features a border of crosses. Yes, I'm Jewish, but I am broad minded enough to know that there are Christians in the world and crosses might be popular. I also like and use a lot of yellow in my own web designs. It is just that the background border looks like cheap plastic, vinyl, and styrofoam sort of mixed together. I would love a go at redesigning that background. Maybe one day when I feel really frustrated, I might try doing a custom background.

Of course, there is no way I could do such a background for real. Aidan's mother refused to open a postcard I sent her via email. The card company which was Corbis way back when used to send a message when cards were opened. Well if Aidan's mother is not going to even open any e-cards I send her, she clearly wants nothig to do with me.

Other caringbridge sites I enjoy are http://www.caringbridge.org/ar/savannah Savannah's mother, Lisa, is a very good writer. She gets to the point of a lot of thorny bioethical issues and psychosocial issues. Her daughter is hanging in there too which is kind of nice. Savannah has an incurable brian tumor but so far the doctors are able to control it. That was the latest news as of about five days ago.

http://www.caringbridge.org/ny/mjpurk is a different story. She has type I SMA. Yes, folks that is type I spinal muscular atrophy. Children with this aren't supposed to live past the age of two. MJ is sixteen years old. Of course with better supportive treatment, type I SMA children can even live to become adults. This is another bioethical conundrum. Type I SMA children and adults are close to physically helpless. They need an attendant to help them dress, pee on a bedpan, and sometimes eat, yet they are also mentally normal or even brighter than average. They can graduate from high school and do all manner of sedantary activity. How do you say serious quality of life issues. How do you say SALVAGEABLE.

I say Harriet McBryde Johnson. She's an SMA adult (not sure if she is type I or type II) who practices law and is a disability rights activist. Here is Harriet McBryde Johnson at her finest.


I may put the URL for this article in MJ's guestbook. Actually, I only bridged at Aidan's site tonight. I hope to do more bridging later in the week. I'm blanking about work this week and just realized I need to go to sleep. I've slept most of today so I'm not one bit tired. Monday is the easy day. Tuesday is Libr1105. Wednesday and Friday are the Bio Research Methods show at noon. That's one show repeated twice. I am not sure if Erma will start speaking to me again. As absolutely right as I know I was, I am not sure if I would have moved that garbage off the work room table. On the other hand, if it wasn't one thing, sooner or later it would be another. Erma has no one full time who is an equal to fight with but me. It would be nice though if it were not now.

I have been thinking of the data entry project, also called the interloan data project that Erma are I are supposed to be working on. I get stuck with all the data entry but that is not so bad, because I can listen to music, the BBC, or Talk of the Nation or Diane Rheim while I do it.

You know I even asked the good folks in the media center (Instructional Technology Services is its official name) why they have Fox News on all the time rather than the BBC. Penny said that Sandra, who is the head of Instructional Technology would have to sign a special permission slip. One would not think such a slip would be hard to get and the BBC has much better, as in more extensive, world news than Fox. Also the BBC is much less biased, but that is another story. I listen to the BBC for my news when I'm in my office. If one wanted a REAL ALTERNATIVE to Fox, I'd go for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.).

Well here it is nearly 1am. That's not all that late for me since I do my best work at night. The Fiestawear order fell through and I have a lot of billing questions to deal with due to a domain switch at Readyhosting.com I'll have to make two nerve wracking phone calls tomorrow. Phone calls are much more nerve wracking than doing stuff over the web. I guess it is a sign of the times. Once I get the Fiestawear order straightened out, I'll update the UN-Registry. I don't think I really want fine china but I do want that vase and some table linens. If and when Lou moves back in with me, I intend to use the dining room a lot more. I also have to buy Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift. I noticed they forgot to ask for a vase on their registry. Having a good vase for cut flowers is a very useful and beautiful thing and it makes your whole house more elegant.

My wedding couvade has made me do a lot of thinking about how I want to live. I wish I could give up eating in front of the computer but I guess it is just too lonely to eat in the dining room. I'm going to see if I can find a really good book to keep me company. It's a shame to have a beautiful dining room with chairs and still pretty fresh flowers in a vase and not be able to use it. My vase is a rather awkward handkerchief vase. That's the shape. It's also a weird shade of grey. I want a larger more stable vase where I don't have to cut down any cut flowers because the vase is short.

Well that's it for tonight. Take care.... all.

Friday, February 20, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I should have been in bed an hour ago. I want to get up at 4am to make the early bus to Atlanta. It's a 7:30am but downtown is six miles from here.

I managed to get the apartment cleaned up for the Shabbos Queen. There is even a bunch of fresh yellow mums (assorted kinds) in the grey handkerchief vase which has enough water to be stable. Georgia likes to eat flowers, but mums aren't poisonous even to her at age seventeen. There are even clean sheets on the bed. Home worship went well but it got off to a late start because I had to finish with the laundry which was delayed due to my being nearly out of detergent. I got detergent from Publix along with the flowers.

I was off from work today. I really need this three day weekend in the worst way. I am not thinking at all about work which is a very good thing indeed since there is not much I can think that is good right now.

I found a CD I have of the Pirates of Penzance and played it three times while I was cleaing the apartment. It felt good to hear the music again. I guess I am a real Gilbert and Sullivan fan or maybe the music makes me very profoundly nostalgic though I am not sure for what.

When I told Gerry (GMP=Gerald M. Phillips), one of my principal spirit contacts, that I had been to see the Pirates of Penzance, he gave me a very sad sweet smile. It was not a bad run except I had trouble holding a trance due to a killer headache that has since cleared up of its own accord.

I also got my RAOK Birthday Buddy today. She has a web page. Her name is Anne. I don't know her from other places which is excellent. I just sent her her card for tomorrow beause if I'm going to be in Atlanta she needs to get her card tonight. I hope she is not on late. Oh well she'll have one card in advance and one on Sunday and then it will even out and get smoother from there.

It felt good today to do all kinds of menial stuff. Of course today was not entirely uneventful. I opened the window to air the house, but the screen has not been secure since I broke into the house three weeks ago when I locked my keys in the apartment. Well, Hertzel or Georgia knocked out the screen and two indoor only cats escaped from their eternal lock down.

I went out cat hunting and found Hertzel sniffing away on a neighbor's steps. I brought in the wastebasket I was emptying and closed the window and then tracked Hertzel down to behind the shed at the far corner of the complex. I scruffed him and held him and broght him in.

I knew Georgia would be tougher. I tried looking for her several times and finally found her in the grass beyond the trees at the back end of the complex. She was in the grass and weeds of what was an old garden/farm, eating grass and looking like a grey dappled stone which makes sense since she is a blue cream kitty. I busted into the woods to come after her and didn't bust in any too quietly. Then the construction on the other side of the street got noisey. Georgia predictably vanished. I looked and looked for her but did not see her again. Finally, in disgust I headed toward the apartments and there on the sill of the window from which she escaped sat Georgia with a look on her face that said "How come this window isn't open when I need it?" I guess the construction noises spooked her and made her want to come inside. She is very afraid of certain kinds of noises. I picked her up and brought her in without any squirming or struggling. She always likes to get a ride. She is that kind of kitty.

I think the cats enjoyed their time outside. I wish I could let them out more often, but I lost two indoor outdoor kitties in 2000 and my heart has been broken twice. Twice is two times too many. The cats remain indoor only. It's just not a safe world out there, and Georgia likes to eat carrion and garbage both of which make her sick. Hertzel has run away once. That was one time too many too. I love my furr children and want to do what is right for them.

Well here it is four and a half hours until morning. Let me post what I have and get into bed. I even know what I want to buy in Atlanta. Now I just hope all goes off without a hitch.

by Eileen Kramer

I saw the Pirates of Penzance tonight and it was a free show. Remember a long while back. This is what motivated me to get a new ID to replace the one I lost when I either trashed my wallet while sleepwalking or else the wallet was stolen. I still don't know which. Now I hardly remember any of it except that it was very good. When I was very small, I had a record of Gilbert and Sullivan songs. I listened to it over and over. Snatches of Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics still reside somewhere deep in my brain.

For reasons that are not really all that complicated, I often see a stage or theater when I have spirit contact. It was hard to realize I have not seen a live performance of anything in several years. Well is what I see on the other side "live?" That's a bad joke.

Now I hardly remember the show. I came home and put both ZOID and my team at webleagues to bed. Putting comps to bed is complex work. It involves everything from counting votes to editing multiple web pages to locking down ballots. There is a spread sheet to fill out for ZOID and graphics to make as awards for both competitions and then there is the ZOID schematic. All of this is a lot of work late at night.

It dawned on me while I was watching the Pirates of Penzance, that I have been through one hell of a week. Loss is the name of the game. I come in to work and there are no reference librarians to talk to. There is Mary who is a paraprofessional and sometimes Randy, the other para, but Erma is not speaking to me. Julie is gone due to illness. Paula up and quit months ago. The rest are part timers and not always around. Reference row is a desolate place with closed doors of offices, half of which are empty. This is for real folks. This is happening to me. All the PSP8 graphics in the world don't take it away.

Erma and I need each other. We really need each other. We are the only full time reference librarians left. We did not do anything to drive the others away. Bad luck has brought us to this situation and nothing else, but now we don't speak to each other. I don't want to think about this any more.

I did nothing for the Shabbos Queen. I have all day tomorrow off so I am going to put this apartment to rights and even go to Publix and get another forced flower to have for three weeks. I threw out the particolored tulip because it died and Georgia, my seventeen year old blue cream half Siamese alpha girl kitty, was eating it. Georgia doesn't eat fresh flowers but she likes them when they dry out.

Saturday is the food run and I need to get two bags of veggie chips in Atlanta for the Faculty Research Forum. I'm on a new cookie team. The "teams" are so we can have teams. This job of putting out refreshments could be handled every bit as easily by the Party Committee. Yes, we have such a thing or a standing committee, or if the boss' secretary hadn't gotten into a car crash a from which she is now recovering, the boss' secretary could make the arrangements. No, we have to have teams because teams are fashionable, only our teams' job is punch and cookies.

Cookie teams are a scream. If I were in the right kind of mood, a less cautious one than at present, I could tell you all kinds of great cookie team stories. Oh heck, let's have a couple of cookie team stories: First, there was the cookie team that brought in a silver punch bowl. Talk about doing up the free food. The teams competed with each other. Then there was the team that refused to compete. They got doughnut holes, potato chips, Crystal burgers, and the guy at Duncan Doughnuts let our business librarian (who has since left us) borrow the Duncan Doughnuts banner which he tied up for a decoration over the food table. John, our former business librarian, now teaches full time in the business school.

The cookie team I am on appears to be somewhat sane and functional. I am grateful for that. Everyone has a say. I will be happy to give some precious square inches to two big bags of veggie chips from Whole Foods.

It feels very strange to have three days of freedom after an eleven day week. I guess tonight started out good due to the Pirates of Penzance. I also have enough quarters to do laundry in the laundry room across the road. Will I be ambitious enough to wash my sheets? It will be nice not to have to set up a comp tomorrow night. I think Webleagues is on break so it is a double off week.

It will feel strange to spend tomorrow cleaning the apartment and getting ready for shabbos, even if it is only a bit of home praying Friday night. My schul sent me a letter asking for dues. I may actually pay some. I loathe the rabbi, but I want to support the only traditional schul in Columbus.

I also know I have to get back to To Make the Circle Whole and start revising. It takes too much concentrated energy right now. I am just too tired. Maybe a good night's sleep and some decent spirit contact will change things. Who knows...

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm thinking about Ghostletters right now which is good. I have a story about the descendents of Ilia DaJabne, the "real" Mary Magdelane. Ghostletters stories get like that.

I know this is not much of an introduction. I assembled the last of the four chairs tonight. That means I can order something else that's in my UN-Registry http://tacheiru.us/unfettered/unregistry.html My right wrist is sore because handling tools like allen wrenches, screw drivers, hammers (I cheated!) and other wrenches is not something I do every day. I am proud that I got all four of the chairs up. The last one had mismarked left and right legs. I don't know if I would buy these chairs again. They are cheap but they are mine and they are pretty and red.

Erma said three polite monsyllables to me at work. It's not much better and probably won't be for a long while. Erma can get really angry. Menwhile, Giselle, over in cataloging thinks we can get the scholarly science journals on the "News Stand" side of the unbound area to the &quuot;Current Serials" area and the popular science and other journals sitting in "Current Serials" area back to the "News Stand." I made her up a list that I'll give to her tomorrow. The idea of this small project tickles me pink in a weird way.

Meanwhile, I have everything xeroxed and collated for my classes next week. That really feels good. I threw out the dead tulip that was so pretty when it was in its prime. That made me feel sad. I will go and get another flower or bunch of cut flowers after work tomorrow. It will be good to run an errand that gets me away from the groove that runs between my house and work. I made braised kale tonight and scorched some of it. I must be very tired. I don't feel it though.

My next step with the UNRegistry is to order that Fiestaware. I looked at wedding planning web sites today. I guess my wedding couvade is acting up. I found out that the kind of wedding I want is called an informal wedding. It's kind of a misnomer since the bride often wears a suit or very good dress and the groom a good suit. Informal weddings can be quite tasteful and sometimes more tasteful than their formal counterpart. I guess I learned something. Lou has ideas about getting married but when I mention weddings, he dives under the desk, heads for the hills, and that's what he does over the phone. God knows what he'd do in person.

I'm braced to get my secret birthday buddy to spoil. I hope everything over at RAOK goes off without a hitch. I think it is very important to support Candi, the new leader who is also the organization's founder. That is one of the reasons I am becoming a more active RAOKster. Of course I have that food run planned for Saturday but I'll set up a card to go out while I'm away in Atlanta getting and spending for comestibles.

The thing I am most looking forward to is sending my birthday buddy (RAOK is having its fifth birthday) graphics that I custom create. This is much better than the Siggy Swap Games at Super Packin' PSP, not that there is anything wrong with the siggie swap games. Well actually there is one thing wrong. The siggies are way to large for my personal use anywhere I would care to use them. I've also got character separation problems that have sort of crept up and bit me from behind with Super Packin' PSP. So far it's all pretty quiet, but I want for it to stay that way so I need to be active elsewhere.

I must have eaten too much dinner because I have an upset stomach. I'm going to skip dessert and hope this food goes down. I need a hot bath tonight and maybe my spiritual life will stay good. I know you hardly ever hear about my novel. I'll get back on it when I get the energy. I've never revised a novel before. Maybe that's why I'm thinking about Ghostletters.

by Eileen Kramer

Well I got home after teaching two classes and an early shift at the reference desk and found a big box with two more disassembled chairs in it. I managed to put one together tonight. Its mate is in the living room. I have early morning desk shift and two competitions to score tonight. There is no way it is getting done until tomorrow.

I survived two classes. I think the preplanning and a lot of xeroxing helped. Now the cycle starts again. Next week, I have the biology research methods class. It's a double show, Wednesday and Friday. I don't want to say more about work. I can talk about the little things but big issues....

Erma finally said a few polite words to me today. She said exactly two of them, but the score is up from zero. The work room table is also reasonably clean, not that I have a lot of collating to do for next week. Most of the collating is done. I also won't be snowed in with grading tomorrow so I can work on the astronomy webliography.

Erma makes me think about my old supervisor, Liz, up in Utica. Liz finally quit her job with a nervous breakdown. It was one of those things every one saw coming in retrospect and the sort of butt of bad jokes that Liz was, it was just a punch line. All I know that if Liz was as angry as Erma has been, she would never be able to keep her mouth shut. It takes nerves of steel to ice someone.

I don't know what is making me want to write about work so much. I guess it is the long week I am working. I keep telling myself Saturday is Atlanta. Saturday is Atlanta. It will be good to be out on a food run. Of course I'll have my secret RAOK birthday pal by then. OK, it's time to torture myself and see if my entry for the RAOK birthday contest is up yet. It probably isn't. I decided not to do the siggie swap games at Suer Packn' PSP. I have character separation issues, am finishing an eleven day week, and have a food run planned. All in all, it is not a good time to be making sig files for someone.

I had two spirit runs back to back last night. The first was good and the second was excellent. It is hard to explain what happened or where I was or what I did without a lot of background that I don't feel like writing. Really good runs don't follow each other so it will be a while until I experience anything that intense again. There are times when I'd like a whole couple of hours with any of the spirits I work with. An average run lasts twenty minutes or so. An average run is a thin trance that is easy to break. I don't know how I would feel coming out of a two hour run and I don't know how to have one. I know there are people out there who do know about that sort of thing or at least profess to know. I got a lot of good meditation advice the summer after I had benign and pleasant spirit contact but that was back in 1995. My spiritualist contacts feel distant from me now. I'm on a couple of email lists but mostly the folks there seldom if ever talk about contact/out of body experiences. I'm stukc as a solitary practitioner.

Well I have two more days until this eleven day week ends. I have a full stomach. I am going to have to live with a disassembled chair in my living room until tomorrow night. The tools and bolts, screws, etc... are waiting. I'll get to it for sure. It will be nice to have all these chairs. Now to find someone to sit in them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It's pasta fazool time. I know it's really pasta e fagioli. That's this week's dinner and the first course is spinach salad with gorgonzola dressing. I feel Italian, probably northern Italian, but Italian all the same.

My RAOK birthday party graphics are up at this web site. I also registered for the Secret Birthday games and have a graphic to go for the birthday present contest. The theme is the thing you always wanted and never got for your birthday. For some reason for me, exotic travel always heads up the list, and yes, I've seen the movies Fitzcarraldo and Burden of Dreams at least four times, so you can guess what I want. I'll upload the graphic tomorrow so all of you can get a look at it.

In other news, Erma did not speak to me all day. She is also giving the cold shoulder to Mary, the paraprofessional who was on duty Friday afternoon. This used to be a stinging punishment but with the net and PSP 8 on my work computer and with the fact that I am actually busy sometimes, I can just pretend I'm busy, or I can stay out of Erma's way, or I can go in Erma's way and see if she has thawed yet. She hadn't thawed all day. I don't know when she will start speaking to me. We are the only two full time reference librarians left so she better start talking to me. And no, this is not going up the chain of command. I don't want to say why.

My other pair of chairs did not arrive today. I was relieved because I did not feel like spending the evening putting them together. I am also worried because I paid for them. I'll call Penny's catalog number at the end of the week and find out the wherabouts of my chairs if they haven't shown up yet. I ordered four. I have two. I'm sitting on one.

RAOK is having trouble with its web board. I feel bad about this because they don't deserve it, but then again who does most of the time. I think they just overload its capacity. RAOK has always run on a shoestring and it's more than possible they just excede usage maximums. It's funny because at one end of the spectrum boards can be used like blogs for fiction and at the other they wear out their welcome with traffic.

Tomorrow I have to do a GALILEO workshop and teach a class for which I need some manipulatives, most likely push pins and other things, so students can have a go at indexing. I ought to bring in something edible for this job, but I never think that far ahead. I did the demo with Julie present last time (This is Julie the information literacy librarian who is now home sick.) and she was amazed it worked live. I did not care if it worked. If it did not work, I would just have repeated it with different students and prompted for questions etc... She thought the demo was very cool. Now that I have to do it tomorrow I am thinking of her and feeling a bit sad.

Of course with Erma giving me the frigid shoulder it is good in a way that Julie is not there because it would get to be not only two on one but white on black. Erma and the paraprofessionals are both black not that this usually matters, but when people form alliances and give each other cold shoulders it does.

I just packed a bag of demo props. Somehow I feel a bit better about tomorrow. I don't want to think about how tired I'll feel in the evening with a ton of stuff to grade. Getting students to do work even when they get graded for it, is a challenge. I mean if you are in a course you are supposed to hand in assignments. Students just forget the board is there and their own blogs are there. Sorry, a one credit course counts too. OK, enough late night ranting.

My spiritual life is again in shambles. I blame it on switching sleep schedules. I napped tonight and was too cold and uncomfortable when I first started to get contact and then woke up and found it was nearly midnight. Not good.

I keep reminding myself that the food run to Atlanta is Saturday. Saturday feels as if it is an eternity away.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm waiting while the pasta e fagioli (pasta fazool) heats up so I can have a well deserved late night dinner main dish. I made the pasta e fagioli this morning as planned. Work was so busy I hardly sat down, and a lot of the reference questions were routine. That was OK to a point. I am glad my English was not like the writing course many of these students have. I guess that is part and parcel of my Cornell degree.

I did a lot of work with Netlibrary and our OPAC terminals filled up most of a trouble sheet with crashing and rebooting spontaneously. Still it was not a bad shift. The problem is of course that I have had no weekend.

Here is a gif that may not see the light of dayOf course I have another small problem. Candi forgot to put my graphics on the RAOK birthday gifts pages. She said I could send them again and she has the first three. This last was a bit of post work inspiration.

It has an interesting story behind it. I'm not much for PSP tutorials but I found an easy and productive one for turning a color photograph into a pencil sketch. If you know anything about copyright this is one very useful tutorial. If you make three changes to a graphic that you find, it is yours. There is only one problem. Suppose one wanted a color photograph to look like a painting or pastel sketch? I tried variations of the tutorial technique which requires multiple layers and came up with something that looked like ocher, sepia, or sienna, but nothing that looked like a nice bright water color. Well tonight I found the trick. You make two duplicate layers. Desaturate one layer by a percentage and then make a negative image, dodge the layer, and use a gaussian blur. The inside layer gets multiplied at about a fifty percent transparency. Believe it or not all of this works. The tulips in the middle of the graphic came from a water color. The nice thing about this technique as opposed to those that produce sienna/umber (These use black and white points turning them colored, a fairly controlled method of colorizing along with the original dodge and burn black and white sketch method) is that you keep a broader range of color, and the colors are brighter.

I know I am talking like a PSP addict, but making graphics is one of the most soothing things around. It even beats sleeping in, and that saying a mouthful right there. It even beats eating.

It is weird that I may even be starting this week with enough sleep. Of course after two classes nearly back to back on Tuesday, they'll be scraping me up off the floor again. It will be an interesting and energizing week to say the least and I am acting optimistic.

I signed up to be a secret spoiler for the RAOK birthday games and I also am going to try to make something for the graphic contest. I am glad Candi is at the healm of RAOK once again. That is a good change indeed.

Tomorrow morning is apt to be cold by Georgia standards. It is hard to believe that a month from now the narcissus will be finished and the tulips and azaleas will be blooming. A month from now feels like forever. I just hope the sun comes out tomorrow instead of the endless clouds. The damp weather is good for my eczema and little else.

And I don't have much of a black mood tonight. We were too busy at work for me to develop one. I'll be facing Erma tomorrow but most likely we just won't be on speaking terms. She always wants to know how the weekend went. It could have been a whole lot worse is what I'll tell her. Oh well if she doesn't ask how the weekend went, it's her problem. The weekend goes whether she asks about it or not. I don't think Erma will go to the higher ups on this because she is guilty for letting the work room become a pit and contributing to its filthy state. Her pack rat nature is known to the boss just brings it more to light.

Oh well if I want a spiritual life, I need to head off to bed. I guess it's time to publish this blog and get it out of the way. Next Saturday is another Atlanta run. I look forward to that. I haven't heard from the rabbi or rebbitzen about accompanying them to Atlanta. I suspect our schedules just don't mesh.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Where do the black moods come from? I can blame it on the weather. I have not seen the sun in two days. I can blame it on the fact that Erma, my supervisor, is angry at me for boxing up her papers so I could reclaim the work room table. Erma, that table belongs to both of us as well as Randy and Mary, the paraprofessionals. Erma if you want to be a packrat, that is fine, but when your garbage starts flowing into spaces that are not entirely yours, expect to find it boxed up.

The rest of the work room is a wreack. Julie when she was here used a student and the two of them got it clean. Now it's just as bad as if she had never been here. Of course if I try cleaning up the work room, it's going to send Erma flying. I don't care if she's senior to me. I just want a work room that doesn't depress me every time I walk through it.

By the way, with the exception of collating very large projects and giving the full time reference crew a place to meet, very little work gets done in the work room. It is the place where we interview new job candidates, but it is also a junk storage pit which it doesnt' have to be. There is a very good cure for junk. Throw it out.

I had two students from another college today who were working on MSW's. They were learning the kind of research that undergrads at some schools do. They had a scavenger hunt that was weirdly thorough but also pointless as are all scavenger hunts. A big plus was the women enjoyed their topics.

I had a cople of biology students and I had a high school kid who needed to find out when it becaome possible to use technical means to detect a fetus' sex. This happened quite a while ago but the seletion technology in its most primitive form was not on the street until about 1980.

horseI sent this graphic to Candi on Thursday and have heard nothing from her. I hope she got it. This is one of the graphics for a super secret project celebrating RAOK's birthday.

Now for a Valentine's Day Rant. Bah humbug and bah triple humbug! When did it start and why did we let it start? It started some time during my life time. People are sheep which is why it started. Someone, the floral industry, the gift industry, the retail industry, and let's not leave out the greeting card people, turned Valentine's Day into another gift event. I don't mind giving gifts, but I don't need to put the bite into any one else to do so. The supermarket was filled with tacky gifts and people were buying them like crazy tonight. The lovely cut flowers that are usually available had been replaced by ugly mixed bouquets wraped in red foil.

Well, I'm not replacing the dying tulip until midweek. By then there will be a fresh shipment of flowers and plants. Yay! I'm due to go up to Atlanta next weekend and they have the most gorgeous cut flowers and plants at both the Farmer's Market and Whole Foods. I wonder how practical it would be to bring something like that back. It won't be too practical, given that I am shopping on a Saturday and I want the flowers for the next shabbos.

And speaking of shabbos, guess how much tickets are to see the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra that the rabbi has helped bring to town and is so proud about? Sixty-five buckeroos, minimum. Who can afford that? It makes bringing a family prohibitive, and there are no discount tickets for children. I bet the Atlanta Symphony doesn't charge so much for tickets. Also the concert is on a Monday night. I mean for sixty-five dollars it could at least be on a weekend. I can go see a band at the Loft for all of five dollars. Even if you throw in one well nursed Guiness, that is still a fraction of what the rabbi is charging and he is asking the congregation to sell the tickets! I think my schul comes straight out of Dilbert.

Oddly enough, the black mood has dissipated, at least for a while. Maybe the big dinner, cooking, and being back in my own apartment makes me feel better. I think a good night's sleep will help as well.

Friday, February 13, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I won't have time to finish with this post so I'll write in stages. I was too tired to blog last night and am still wiped out today. Somehow I've made it to the midway point in an eleven day week and I don't know if I'm going to last. I'm due on the desk in eight minutes. I'm totally beat. A reference question this morning actually had me cringing with fear. I surprised myself when I solved it. I have no idea if it's busy or dead out there. I still don't have anything picked out to take with me and I keep saying I should at least have some weedies or a desk book or something. I guess it will have to be a magazine.

I basicly just want to sleep. I don't even care if my house is clean for shabbos. It's not. The cat litter pans are clean though. The tulips are wilting. At least food is already made. What I need is a trip to the break room couch. What I want to do is crawl into bed. I feel dazed and numb. That is no longer a good feeling. More later....

a graphic that never saw the light of dayAnd yes Tu B'Shevat was last week, but this graphic never saw the light of day and I feel like putting it up. I'm back. I cleared the work room table and it looks much cleaner in there. Since I had to move a colleague's stuff, I have to get in touch with a colleague about where I put it. This is Erma my supervisor who is the colleague. It is just a bit after 5pm now so I may try in half an hour or so to get in touch with her about the moved stuff. I boxed up the papers real carefully so they are safe and sound in a former colleague's office that has morphed into a dumping ground. I had to move Erma's stuff or I would have had no where to collate a fifteen page document. We now have enough packets for the workshops we are doing next week and in March. I need to get working on the materials and outline for a bio research methods class I teach near the end of the month. It is always later than you think.

I go through stages when I feel really crumby. One of them is now. My cold came back. I've had no sleep. I'm working this weekend. I feel like a wreack because I am a wreack. I still owe a guestbook run at RAOK and I am looking at two web site competitions that need setting up. Maybe if I take a nap either at home or on the break room couch, I'll feel better. I'll feel good enough to do everything every one wants.

I adore RAOK's new web board. Candi gave Bravenet the boot. Now, this very tired afternoon, I am thinking about site fighting again. That is a very bad sign. My avatars are heading me into enough trouble as it is. The character separation has become thin and frayed quite unintentionally and getting the avatars fighting elsewhere would only complicate my life in ways that could really hurt.

I'm sad the Web Brawls is permanently out of business. I know that running a comp can be a drag at times, but Web Brawls was probably the most successful reform split from Site Fights. ZOID is the most radical. Web Brawls remained a small competition, but it spawned Fantasy Fights and indirectly several other competitions. Golden Elite is an indirect descendent of Web Brawls or at least like most later competitions, it emulated their reforms: more uniformity between the teams, better communication with the fighters, no neopotism, and nonelimination fighting. I am sorry to see Web Brawls gone.

I am teaching this semester and have a very full plate. I do not have time to fight. Besides it is always the same. The designs are old before they come off the line because most staff are former fighters who have never had the time to turn inward and work on their pages. When they get time, they use graphics rather than html. The site fighting community does not know a lot about html and fighters hang with other fighters so they don't learn from their peers. Ladies groups are a bit better in this regard, but not that much. I love RAOK and LOTH but the technical innovation goes on elsewhere.

When larger ladies groups encounter me, they tend to make me technical muscle and also give me guard duty. I'm serious about both of these roles. A good guard needs to applied measured but assertive force to vandals and other undesirable types and not to fly off the handle. Guestbooks need to be cleaned up and moderator's notes are a very good idea. I also use my html knowledge on the guestbook.

It's good to see that RAOK has gotten more careful about security with the new board and with me handling the guestbook. We are still and probably always will be (as always as anything on the net gets) be dependent on Yahoogroups due to our large size. LOTH went to a paid board system but it is just not the same. LOTH also has a different character. There is more advertising of businesses allowed in the newsletter so that changes the feel. RAOK technically does not allow these things and for the most part, the newsletter does not include them nor does the board. Neither group allows discussion of the news of the day.

I've decided to let the incident with the movie, Passion, (not Peter Gabrie's album, the movie made by Mel Gibson) go. I got in my remark and the thread stopped abruptly. I can live with a cease and desist order if it is not one sided. I will be living with RAOKCircleoffriends@yahoogroups.com for a while yet. I'm glad I dd not complain to RiRi, the list owner.

Well here it is 6:29pm. I'm going to try calling Erma again and then later tonight. I'm not really in the mood for shabbos. I think I'm just too tired and have too much very routine web work ahead of me. Also I work tomorrow. I wonder if a good night's sleep will change things.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It's two in the morning and I'm finally eating supper. It's been one of those days. Working second shift gives me a later schedule. The good news is all the materials and there are tons of them are xeroxed for next week's class. Students are doing their work. One student is catching up, and things seem marginally under control until the next big crisis. You know that has got to come soon.

Two of the four chairs I ordered arrived. I will wait a week to see what happened to the other box of chairs. They come two to a box and have to be assembled with screws, bolts, allan wrenches, and washers. Since the chairs are made in Malaysia, the instructions were written by someone whose first language is not English. The diagrams in the instructions are arranged right to left for starters. Also you are asked to fix parts of the chair together. I think the person writing the instructions meant affix. That is a strange choice of words.

Well, one chair has a loose seat because I did not put the back flush to the seat when putting in the wood screws. If the back comes off, I'll redo it. This is one of those times I can really use a battery powered screw driver or are they electric. I'm a typical female with only hand tools in the house. Fortunately, I had a phillips head screw driver to finish putting the chairs together.

the ghost crane flies I updated the UNRegistry to reflect my new acquisition. I got a compliment from Candi, the new leader at RAOK http://www.theraokgroup.com on how I've been managing the guestbook.

RAOK also has a new board and I got to make an avatar for the board. It's a paper crane. It is wonderful that RAOK has more or less cut its ties to Bravenet. I will not touch Bravenet with a ten foot pole. They have been guilty of everything from privacy invading pop-up ads to opt-in by deceit in guestbooks. Who needs them.

I am glad to see Candi back in charge of RAOK. She is the organization's founder. She has a good sense of how to please the membership. This is RAOK's fifth leadership change. Due process, which I have unfortunately tasted, and the lack of an activity requirement and the ability to survive the changing of the guard, make RAOK different from just about all other Ladies Groups. If you want to try a Ladies Group, even if you are male, try RAOK. They really are a class act.

If any one is curious what I am eating for supper. I am having lima bean, fennel, and rice salad. I had a lot of leftover brown rice.

The bicolored tulips are definitely on the way out, but I don't have the heart to replace them. I guess I have to do that. I could always exile them to the bathroom to let them die in there rather than throwing them out. This will be a very hectic shabbos because I work this weekend.

Given the past three days, I don't even care that I work this weekend. It is funny how crises and putting chairs together can give you a different sense of perspective.

I talked with my mother last night and asked her what people do to make weddings and other rituals affordable for guests and she said they don't do anything. Those who can not afford to come, simply don't. I think my mom is wrong. Just because she does not know someone who has thought of these things, doesn't mean other people are not concerned. I wish I could find a good book on wedding planning which includes less costly alternatives and nontraditional (though I shudder at the word) alternatives.

I found out that my brother is telling my mom negative things about his fiancee. He has to learn not to do that. They are a couple and they are going to be married. I think they are a terrific match for each other. They are both a pair of greedy, materialistic twits from what I can tell, but face it, why should a woman with different ideas waste herself on my brother. She would make both him and herself unhappy. I surely would not want to marry either my brother or his fiancee, but I don't have to. Elizabeth is the right woman for the job. It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it. Take my brother please.

Well, I guess I won't bridge today. I guess I need some sleep. This has been a very long and interesting day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Some days bad news just plain explodes. This was one of them. Some time before 10am I got a letter from Templatedepot.com which provides my students' blogs. They are shutting down all their forums which means my students blogs were going to die on Wednesday.

I began a rescue attempt downloading everything the students had written this semester. About 11:00am I began customizing six pages of html for a Vestris board that would act as a substitute for the blogs. I got the Vestris board working and then realized some of Bona's, one of my student's, work was missing. I went to find her blog and discovered that it gave a 404 error. It was gone.

I phoned Templatedepot.com and ended up talking to Brian Sniff, the owner. He turned on the blogs again so I could rescue the last of Bona's work. The other students' work had already been rescued. I also xeroxed the template depot blog closing announcement on to orange paper. I do not ordinarily use either colored paper or red ink with my students. I braced myself for my four thirty class after cutting and pasting the students' work on to the Vestris board.

"I'm sorry," I told my students. Templatedepot.com was my choice. Because it is unsupported software, I support it at Columbus State. When it fails, it is on my watch. I am responsible.

I made sure they all knew how to reach the new board. Several said their blogs were still up. I said that would be unlikely to last twenty-four hours.

This morning it hurt. Now the pain is a very vague memory. I'm not even tired any more. Seeing the blogs gone will hurt. Finding an inbox of 404 reports will also hurt. I told Diana, our systems librarian, about this because she forwards the 404's to me. At 1pm tomorrow (I'm on second shift and this is an eleven day week) I'll remove the Student Blog Locator from the syllabus. I have a page already prepared. I only need upload it.

My mother thought my rescue attempt was great. My students looked relieved. I just feel tired. Putting out fires does that.

Today I remembered my calculus (Math 111) professor sophomore year at Cornell. His name was Dr. Kennier. He gave a hard prelim and we did far more poorly on it than he had hoped. He apologized, said he had arranged with the math department to give a makeup and he explained again how the bell curve works. This was a class of 1500 students taught in three shifts of 500. I don't know if he had responsibility for more than one shift. I only had to apologize today before eighteen students but I heard Dr. Kennier's voice in my own head as I stood in front of my students.

Dr. Kennier was an instructor. I estimate now he was in his late twenties/early thirties. Math professors must have been awful prima donnas because they did not team teach. This was common practice for large science courses at Cornell with as many as five professors dividing up the lecturing duties and an army of TA's handling the sections and grading.

Team teaching takes cooperation, but it also makes high quality larger classes doable. If we fused the libr1105 syllabi and taught the course as a team (three librarians) we could probably take a hundred students a semester without having to go entirely web based or even remotely web based. Web-assist or web-enhanced would be fine, but we would not lose the human touch or the ability to resort to labor intensive moves like assigning papers.

But the math professors I had, lectured us all semester, solitary at the bottom of a lecture hall filled with several hundred struggling souls, a true mixed multitude of artsies with four to five years of high school math under our belts. Artsies are students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Math 111-112 was a distribution requirement, and yes it was calculus. I had a very good TA both semesters. That was good because when I took 112, the professor simply could not lecture to a large group. I'll talk about Dr. Fuchs some other night.

A graduate student in physics whom I was dating at the time said that Dr. Fuchs was a sweet old man and that he had him for some kind of higher mathematics and liked him a lot. I can kind of understand this now. Dr. Fuchs' troubles were that he was incredibly cryptic and disorganized. He did not explain what each variable meant. This is a big help even to artsies taking calculus. He was not clear in his use of the board. Mathematics is a second language on which I had (still have all things being relative) a very shakey grip. That I had any grip at all on this language amazed me, but I think I was pretty much like most of the other people taking Math 112 except I was a year older. Dr. Fuchs did not do an adequate job of translating math back into half understandable English. Of course in a small course full of graduate students who are truely fluent in mathematics Dr. Fuchs problem would vanish.

I think of Dr. Fuchs every now and again alongside of Dr. Kinnier, Dr. Ferger, Janet Funk, Dr. Srb and Jeanne the TA and quite a few others because these people taught me how to teach with caring and rigor but without leaning on rank or taking away a stuent's freedom. I refuse to take attendance. No one took it at Cornell. CSU students deserve the same level of diginty. It's my job to see that the infrastructure of my course works, and that it is robust enough to run on older machines and that students don't lock themselves out due to lost passwords when content does not need password protection anyway. Do you get the idea?

I feel like I owe all the Cornell faculty and TA's through whose hands I passed twenty years ago. I also feel I owe my site fighting experience. Teaching a one credit course is not that different from running a competition or team. Grading is weekly, the web site needs to be maintained, and face it when something breaks you are responsible.

I kind of liked putting out fires today. I liked the feeling of rushing headlong and not having to worry or second guess, just doing what would work and what I knew needed to be done because I knew it was right. It's not often I get to fly with that degree of speed and certainty. It's a strange place in which to be.

I've been landed for hours now. It is after 2am and I need some sleep. Tomorrow is a sort of half holiday because I work late shift. I don't know what I'll do with my morning off. I haven't bridged, but I'll get to that maybe tomorrow.

Monday, February 09, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

OK, Georgia's off the desk so I can write. She gets twitchy from the typing at the computer and once had a seizure where she more or less twitched herself off the desk. Georgia is my seventeen year old, blue cream, half Siamese, alpha female kitty. She's a good sweet girl and I hate putting her off the desk, but it's drafty in the apartment tonight so she's sleeping in the closet on an old bedspread folded on a cardboard box. Her face is just shadows.

This was a gruelling day at work. I had four hours of desk that I liked plus two hours of library faculty meeting. Talk about not being able to catch my breath. I stayed after work to do graphics. Gerry (GMP), one of the spirits I work with thinks that doing graphics is good for me. He is right.

I've been feeling decidedly weird lately. I've been sleeping badly and having nightmares and anxiety dreams. I'm glad in a way to wake up and not thrilled with the idea of going to sleep except that right now I am rather tired. Well, sleep is still hours away. I have to score over at Webleagues, and can't start that until midnight.

This is day one of an eleven day week. I am blanking about teaching tomorrow. I have other thoughts about my class, but don't feel I should write them here.

Anyway, the graphics did lift my mood. I could do some real good reference librarian stuff on the desk including a search that made it look easy. I talked a young man out of some interlibrary loans that were for items too obscure to obtain for free. We had materials on his subject in the library. That helped a lot. I taught a young woman how to use bound journals and she found two thirds of the items on her list. You get the idea of the kind of work I do.

Gothwalk resigned from ZOID. Actually resigned is too formal a word. He gave ownership of the mailing list over to me and left the list which means he is no longer a member. I wish he had given a bit more notice. He is replaceable. Any one who is as gone and inactive as Gothwalk is replaceable. I did find his Live Journal and linked it to this blog. That felt good. At least I know he still is working so that probably means he is all right.

My mom wrote me that my Uncle Steve who lost his wife a couple of weeks ago is dating. She thinks this is all right. I think this is too soon. She thinks it is weird too. I have to write to my mother and have no idea what to say.

Harvey's fiancee sent me 500k worth of two photos of Mattie, the dog and Ira, the cat. I made Ira into a postcard image. I gave Harvey part credit for the photo. I wish those two would learn how to resize pictures. Sticking half meg of mail into someone's box is rude. The animals were cute and I do have a 25mb inbox, but I have a finite inbox. I wonder what Harvey thought of what I did with Ira's picture. Ira is the cat. I'll post my doctored image of him here. I scraped off the background and put him on a big red pillow. He looks cuter that way. Ira has long black fur with water marks. I think he is a natural smoke. He is a shy neutered tom who is a good hunter. Mattie, my brother's dog, is a spayed female Australian Shepherd with one blue eye and one brown one. I'm glad Elizabeth and Harvey have fur children. The poor fur children are going to have to be boarded when the two of them go on their honeymoon.

Ira on a red pillow I am struggling to figure out what in my life is out of place. I feel raw and keyed up. No wonder I've been having nightmares. My students' stuff is graded. I made some nice graphics which soothed me for a bit. There are bicolored tulips that are on the way out in the dining room. I managed to post both poetry and a recipe to Ladies Advance, a list/group I own.

OK, I'll give you one thing that has me mildly bent out of shape. People on RAOKCircleoffriends@yahoogroups.com were promoting Mel Gibson's movie, the Passion of Christ, and I am Jewish. They were promoting it unreservedly. I wrote to the list and gave them the link to the Anti Defamation League's web site and said that I had concerns about the movie. That was all. A post comes back from the group's leader saying that arguments over religion and politics are frowned because they could inadvertantly hurt someone's feelings.

Well where was the group leader when people were advertising Passion? My link was educational in nature. If that's going to hurt someone's feelings, than that someone doesn't belong on line. I'm letting this one go. No crit lists are bizarre things. If more crap like this flies, I'll just dump the list. If any one asks why I'll say I am too busy. I feel strongly like giving the owner a piece of my mind, but know it is an utter waste of time to do so.

There I said it. I still haven't figured out what to write to my mother. I know that bridging my be a good idea as well as eating more dinner. I miss Gothwalk. I've missed him for so long I've given up on missing him. Maybe I'll put on ICQ and see if Josh is around and tell Josh the news. Josh won't take it the same sentimental way I will because there is not a sentimental bone in his body. Such is life I suppose. So it goes. I'm glad I did those graphics.

by Eileen Kramer

Well, I added two new links to this blog. I decided it was about time and I found an old friend. I doubt he will ever link to me and that is sad. Such is life. I also decided to finally retire the red headed woodpecker. She is a fine bird, but she has served her time. The new image on this blog is of King Christian X of Denmark as he rode unarmed through the streets of Copenhagan during the German occupation of his country. This was a subtle gesture of defiance against the German occupiers. In Denmark well over ninty percent of the Jews survived due to the Christians' willingness to help them flee to safety. Whenever any one who is Jewish wants to bash Christians, let them think of King Christian X.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Sorry I skipped last night, but I needed to go to bed at what for me is a reasonable hour so I could walk seven miles to go to the Unitarian Church. Well I went. It wasn't awful, but it's not for me. They don't know the first word about reverence and respect. At least at my schul they do things properly or try to do it up. That's important. We don't eat before our services or take cups of coffee even into the small sanctuary. We call a prayer a prayer.You get the idea.

My schul may have it's problems but it's the best alternative here in Columbus, GA. The rabbi gave a cheap shot less sermon. The kids were elsewhere so he felt no need to simplify. The Old Testament can be bloody and war like. I forget this when I read it on my own because I read it selectively. Triumphalism, even one's own religion's triumphalism really sucks.

Of course the loudest voice in the parsha this week was that of the desert wind. After the Hebrews danced and celebrated the drowning of Pharaoh's troops in the red sea (How do you say GLOAT?) they found themselves wishing for water. Yes, the desert too is God's creation and the desert can kill. The desert is also very beautiful. Rule one is always when there's blood on the tracks, you're next.

I haven't done a thing with the UNRegistry. I did go through my silverware though and look at vases. I can get a vase similar to the beautiful one sold by the Chicago Institute Store for a lot less money. I also found out that I have a lot of unused silverware, basicly service for three. I learned that the pattern I bought at the time which I like is called Cordoba and it is by Cambridge. It is also out of stock and difficult to replace. My silverware came out of a bin at Tuesday Morning. It was odds and ends from day one just to make sure I had enough. I did think it was a pretty pattern, but getting a full set out of it is impossible. This is stainless steel stuff by the way. I haven't even tackled the problem of buying silver yet.

Anyway, it is cheaper to start over and I found a good pattern that is not only really inexpensive, it is handsome and will go with the china I want should I ever buy it. I have to get those images up on the UNRegistry and also I need to order that Fiestaware while it is still on sale. Get and spend without end! Well it is fun, at least the shopping part of it.

Wait until I have to put those chairs together. Anyway, I am starting to feel some empathy for the rabbi. He is a dislocated northerner like I am. He also faces and deals with the food problem by going to Atlanta. They go to Krogers and Whole Foods. They miss rice snaps (also available in Columbus) plus they want real Jewish challah and other Kosher baked goods and certain types of fish. I told them about the DeKalb Farmer's Market and we agreed we might make some trips together. The Rebbitzen complained about the rich cakes and the lack of dried fruit and jam in our pastries. She asked why we served such rich cakes when no one ate them. The old people are all watching their sugar, carbs, or weight and we don't have enough young people to give in to tempation when it comes to the oneg/kiddush table (food served after services). This is one of those denial issues.

Anyway, the rebbitzen asked me if there was wild salmon at the DeKalb Farmer's Market. They have all sorts of fish including salmon but I've never bought any fresh fish there so I've never asked where the salmon is caught or how it is raised. I told her she'd have to ask. Me, I'd buy tilapia filets, or let them steak a whole fish for me and save the head and tail for soup. This last would gross Lou out. No food run is scheduled until the 21st of February. I work next weekend.

It is sunny out but cold today. I ate breakfast in a convenience store on the way to the Unitarians. It was an interesting walk so I'm glad I made it. It is nice to see a new part of the city and being up early on a Sunday morning is interesting. Of course it leaves me with a much longer day than I normally have and plays a bit of havoc with my spiritual life.

Actually I was glad to get up this morning because I had nightmares. They were all about my past. In one dream I had a room, a very grubby dirty room on the fourth floor of the Prospect of Whitby. In the other dream, I met up with Craig Goff, my first boyfriend and we wandered all over this shopping mall in the spirit world. I may do some Googling of Craigie and see what has become of him. It is hard to believe he'd be forty-seven years old. For me Craigie will always be twenty-eight though I won't always be twenty-two. Craigie in my dream though had grey hair still cut in that cute and very becoming 1980's shag.

I don't really miss Craigie. When you break up with someone there is usually a reason. That is enogh reason not to look for Craigie and try to find him, though Googling him is tempting. Maybe I'll do that and post what I learn.

Friday, February 06, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well here it is Friday night and I nearly missed the Shabbos Queen. For the second day in a row I fell asleep on the break room couch and had a strange dream that I was coaching some kind of drama club play where the actors all had to bang paper cups on the table. I had to make a decorated cup for each actor and this one woman kept losing her cup and giving me a hard time about it. God only knows what this dream means. I remember travelling on a bus with the cast to go put on this play. Funny dream.

Anyway, I got home, lit candles, read the service (I'm so glad I have that old Orthodox siddur), read the parsha so I will be well informed tomorrow. Of course it is any one's guess who the rabbi's sermon and my interpretation will differ. I have a hunch we will have read two different parshas (portions) or at least it will feel that way. Still Saturday services have more meat to them. Some day we start that study group.

I have not bridged today. I do mean to get over to Aidan's site http://www.caringbridge.org/il/aidan and sign his guestbook plus find two other guestbooks to sign. I sort of feel I need the perspective.

the mighty scarlet vase I am chomping at the bit to order Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift, but it is just way too early. I did find vases similar to the beautiful vase pictured at right or a few posts back (depending on where you read this blog.) Here is the URL: http://www.muranoglassusa.com They are around half the price which puts them within the range of an affordable luxury. I do need to revise my UN-Registry. The good that is coming from this is that my apartment will finally have sufficient chairs to seat people whom I invite over.

I've decided that the main element for beating down the money monster is choice and dignity. Lou has several options with regard to a suit: He may rent one. There is a place in Columbus that does that. He may let me buy one or he can wear his sport coat and who gives a good you know what what people think. A sport coat is not pajamas. I'm not sure Lou can diet down to fit into his old suit but that might be another option. The suit is ten years old and in very good shape. Men's fashions don't change that much.

The three best words to beat down the money monsters are "no thank you." The four words that truely put a stake in its heart are "arrangements have been made."

Then I have to remember that I'm not poor! Any one who can pay for their own bus ticket is not poor. Any one who can pay for two nights in a motel/hotel in a strange city is not poor. Who cares if it is not the best hotel and that it's a bus rather than a plane. When money has to search for status, money has no status. Those who can afford to travel for leisure are not poor.

Likewise those who can order chairs from Penney's are not poor. Those who buy anything on sale are not poor. If you can afford to buy something you are not poor. Poor means you have trouble buying the necessities and luxuries are out of your grasp.

I am not poor and I resent being made to feel poor. I thought I wasn't going to rant about money tonight. Well too bad.

I do schul in the morning and I'm hoping I can get on to an early enough schedule to go to the Unitarians on Sunday. I really would like to see what kind of service they have. I do need to pray as a Jew and the solitary practice on Friday does help. My two tone tulip is blooming. It is red with white tips. I'll be sad when it dies which it will some time next week. I hope I can get another forced bulb before Valentine's Day. Flowers are hard to come by that weekend. I work next weekend too so that will be doubly interesting.

I never got around to calling the nursing home. I'll do that on Monday. I'll bring my wheels (my pull cart) to schul on Saturday so I can go grocery shopping after the service. Yes, I'm not entirely shomer shabbos but such is life. I do read the prayers and go to services and light candles though. I hope they have decent oyster mushrooms at Publix. I have beans in the soaker so tomorrow night it's lima bean soup with rice. I ate the last of the miso and peanut butter soup tonight.

I had dried figs for desssert because it is Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish New Year for trees. By the end of the month, trees will be blossoming and getting really fat buds so down here in Georgia this holiday is a taste of things to come.

I have some other figs that are very hard. I bought seven pounds of "string figs" because Publix was giving them away at a dollar a package instead of having them in the dried fruit department of produce as a nice snack food all winter. Well one package dried out and it's in the humidor, a jar with water in the bottom. The figs soak up the water and plump out again.

Oh well, let me get this post out and then off to the bridge. The UN-Registry will get revised later this weekend. I found my silverware (stainless steel. Let's not go over the top here.) pattern picked out so that needs to be added along with a more affordable vase. I'll keep my eye out for an Asofo flag too. That would make a great wall decoration.

by Eileen Kramer

All humor has a bitter after taste like chocolate. So it is with The Unfettered Un-Registry, my answer to Harvey and Elizabeth's dual registry. I finally tasted the bitterness tonight as I was cleaing the kitchen for the Shabbos queen. Her name is Dodi Lee by the way. It's a play on words, I know. Anyway it hit me. Harvey and Elizabeth have no idea that they are pricing themselves out of a lot of people's markets. Now theoretically you could buy some of the less expensive items in the registry, but the expensive hotel suggested on the reservation and the very high priced goods that make up most of the registries are a way of saying: "if you don't have money well too bad..."

Not being able to afford a wedding is a big bona fide excuse for an RSVP NO. Is this starting to feel scarey yet. Lou has been complaining he does not have the clothes. I have told him I'd buy him what he needs. My mother has said she'll pay my transportation and lodging costs. Paying for someone covers up the fact they have less money. This is something that must be hidden at all costs in my family. Sometimes this is a good thing. As long as you're solvent your money situation is no one's business. Taking someone's money means giving up control so the silence can hide a lot, but there comes a point where you can't hide any more. A very expensive wedding with everything suggested being expensive and a need for two expensive costumes for Lou who is broke, an overnight stay in one of the most expensive cities in the world for people coming from out of town etc... can make the fiction of we all have enough so we don't discuss it transparent.

I'm seeing this in Lou and I feel ashamed for offering to subsidize him by buying him a suit and some ties. I am going to tell my mother not to subsidize me. Harvey and Elizabeth will get a gift that I feel is appropriate. I am grateful I am single and childless and manage shrewdly on a day to day basis. I can truely afford to be at this wedding.

Now I invite all of you to see the money monster in action. Here is what attending this wedding will cost:

Yes, folks this is about twelve hundred dollars. If I were struggling to raise a child or without a bank account, I could go punt. Transportation and hotel are the brunt of it, but so too are the clothes and the gifts. What happens when someone can not afford the high costs of a sibling's wedding? How do people deal with the money monster?

I feel wound up and sick as I write all this down. I can afford this. I'm in that grey area for whom this is a huge amount of money for a weekend wedding in New York, but I genuinely can't say no for financial reasons. Are there ways to get married that don't gouge guests, siblings, and family? Sure I've ben acting crazy about this wedding, but you know something, I have every right to be every bit as upset as I've been. Numbers don't lie.

I am sick of money being used to intimidate. I am sick of the silence that surrounds money, no not money, issues of extreme wealth versus those of us who have more modest means. I deal with this crap in my schul where I can not entertain because I live in a rented two bedroom apartment and that is not good enough for the North Columbus and Sears Woods crowd. I have no business being treated as though I don't exist because I don't have enough cash to throw around casually. I have no business being treated as a second class citizen because I'm not as wealthy as the born in Columbus bigwig fatcat from the schul.

What do I do? First Lou and I need to do a better job of talking about money than we've been doing. My offer to pay for things is what I've learned from my family. Lou is right when he says he doesn't feel comfortable with me paying for things. On the other hand, he needs a suit anyway. This is an evening wedding and that's what the men will be wearing. He might be able to get away with his sport jacket and dickies if they are in good shape. If that would keep his dignity, it would be worth it.

Second I need some really good advice for what a wedding gift should cost. I don't like what is on the registry. I don't know enough about what is there or like it well enough to know whether I am getting ripped off. Getting ripped off bothers my dignity. Being forced to buy cheap odds and ends also does the same thing.

Second, while About.com says I should pay what it costs to have Lou and me, that figure does not feel right. Sure it costs them probably close to $300 to feed both of us but the amount of money we need to lay out to participate in this shindig is nearly twice that much per person. This does a job on the simple formula.

If Lou and I ever get married we will hopefully not do this to any of our guests. It is awful to feel and act crazy and then realize it is one hundred percent justified.

Harvey and Elizabeth are a pair of rich arrogant little twits. I hope Elizabeth has twins or triplets. Two sets of dirty diapers is twice as gross as one and the crap of wealthy little babies smells just as bad as the crap of poor ones. I wish you sleepless nights staying up with your little ones because even for the wealthy there are only twenty-four hours in each day. I wish you colds, strep throats and croup with lots of coughing to keep you awake and worried and also stomach bugs. Viruses and bacteria don't discriminate between rich little babies and poor ones. Well some do, but wealthy children are born with the same immune system as those of modest means. I wish both of you wrinkles and the other ills of aging. I'll get them too but your income that is triple mine, won't protect you from them.

And no matter how much money you have, your butt will only fit in one chair at a time. Your feet will each only be able to wear one pair of shoes, your body will only be able to lie in one bed, and you will only be able to eat so much food and drink so much wine. It will be just as cold outside as it would be for me and the sun will be just as hot, and unless you look for some fairly outrageous status symbols, my green stuff and plastic dollar for dollar is the same as yours even if you have more of it. No matter how much of it you have, my one dollar is worth the same as yours.

The only difference is that since I have to be more careful in spending my more modest earnings, I am going to do a damn better job of it than you ever will. By the way, all that cash won't buy approval and the status that you buy in your rarified clique either goes unnoticed or dissolves into ostentation before the eyes of the unititiated.

One last thing since all three of us (Harvey, Elizabeth, and I) had Econ 102 (micro) the marginal value of my dollars is much higher than yours.

Now if I could just figure out a way to slay the money monster before it poisons my relationship with Lou.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

that's a chair! I still don't know what to buy Harvey for his wedding but I do have items number one and two picked out on my registry. I ought to get this and make a page out of it. I want to buy four chairs similar to the one in the picture. Then Rich's has a sale on Fiestaware so that's item number two.

I used my online banking this evening to transfer funds to my checking account so the debit card is all juiced up. I don't know why I didn't buy those chairs tonight. It's not remorse. I talked to my boyfriend on the phone and had a sweet conversation. It looks like we are going to stick to the capture date of March 25th. I'll go up to Utica. I haven't been back in years and I'll be glad to see the old, sad city again.

That'sa ways off though. My students' work is more or less graded. I'll have to watch the blogs daily. This is getting routine. Materials for next week's class are xeroxed and collated. That is a major piece of scut work out of the way.

Oddly enough I've been enjoying mornings on the reference desk. We've been busy and a lot of the questions come from Dr. Lucas' anatomy and physiology students. I can make Medline wail. I know how to browse for grab and snatch assignments in biology and the language of the science doesn't scare me. My undergraduate background is good for a lot of things. It is good to have a "science librarian" in the reference crew.

The wedding vase at Southwestindian.com that I was going to by Harvey and Elizabeth for their wedding is no longer available. I'm looking for something else. The Chicago Art Institute has a lovely flame red murrano glass vase, but bright red is definitely NOT Harvey's color. It's my color. That item ought to go in my registry. They have a nice alabaster vase and a couple of really elegant glass vases. There is a vase and platter set that is blue but I don't think it's all that great. There is another glass vase they may like better. According to http://weddings.about.com I have to cough up between $130 and $200 worth of wedding gift due to the expensiveness of the affair. The fact that clothing, lodging, and transportation all come out of my own pocket too, doesn't seem to matter. I talked to Lou and he thinks doing the in lieu of gifts please make a donation to any of the following charities is a good idea.

Lou and I can be all of one mind on something but when I start talking about getting and spending, Lou cringes. Lou is absolutely the least materialistic person I have ever met. I'm more materialistic than he is but not by a heck of a lot. It's more an aesthetic thing with me.

It will be good to get those chairs though. I'll have to make room for the Fiestaware and the china will need even more room. I'm learning all about museum stores as I shop for Harvey and Eilzabeth. I guess I like shopping. I still haven't found exactly what I want yet... I think I'll get there though.

This is a lot more fun than buying something off the registry though now and again I get ideas for my own registry. In other news, I got a new ID card today. My old one was stolen when my wallet disappeared back in November. I needed a new ID card because the Pirates of Penzanze is coming to campus next week and I get one free ticket with my ID. Well a free ticket to see Gilbert and Sullivan makes it worthwhile to go over to the student union to get an ID. They do it with a web cam and a machine now. They don't have to make ID's in batches of four as they did at Cornell in the 80's or send them away to be made and have them come back weeks later as they did at Syracuse, also in the '80's. It was a real fast process.

The new ID has a picture of the Columbus State clocktower against a copper sunset and my picture in the corner. I even remembered to wear my red sweatshirt to work today because I photograph well in that color. Some time tomorrow I'll order the chairs from Penney's. They're on sale and they're one third the price of comparable chairs at Crate and Barrel. There's no harm in getting a bargain.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I must have wedding couvade. I just wasted the last hour or so looking at china on the web. This morning it was rings. I guess this is a natural thing. The last time there was a rash of engagements and married colleagues, I ended up buying the amitrine ring I wear on my right hand. I love this ring. I sleep in it. I almost never take it off. It is a big fat amitrine. It is a two tone stone, half yellow and half purple and people who work in jewelry stores admire it. I got it as a web only special from Service Merchandise.

This morning I looked at jade rings. Jade is my stone of choice should I ever get engaged. Diamonds are too easily conflict diamonds. There is no way to tell by the time they come to market. I used to want a diamond really badly. Actually my chances of wedding Lou are pretty slim. He is not ready to commit. It's unfair that people getting married get all these goodies and adulation while we poor singles....What can I say.

Anyway, I reserved the hotel room. It only cost $119/night, not the $165/night advertised on the web site. This is half the price of the palace that Harvey and Elizabeth, his fiancee recommends. I called Elizabeth tonight (Aren't cell phones wonderful) to find out about registries. Then I had a look inside. I surveyed a pile of hideous, dull, kitchenware. There is china but no stoneware, silver but no flatware, no table linens, lots of pots and pans. My supervisor who snuck in for a peek, remarked there were niether sheets nor towels. I remarked that the whole business was stupid because both Harvey and Elizabeth have households so except for a few precious things, the two of them should not be in need of household goods.

They are doing what they are supposed to be doing. On the registry list is a four dollar spice funnel, a forty-five dollar roasting pan that doesn't have a top, and a sixty dollar stew pot. Their china pattern is Atlanta by Royal Doulton and it is so formal it looks like they are going to have banquets every week.

I am burning up with envy. I violated my better instincts by going anywhere near the registry. Of course overpriced pots and pans might be all the rage among a certain set. I think Harvey and Elizabeth actually cook, but pots and pans still sit in the drainer or on the counter or when drying and then go back to the cupboard so what's the point.

I am going to stick with my original plans for gifts. I have to find a second gift so as to give something that is the appropriate price. What makes the whole registry business even more obsccene is that in my family, birthdays and Christmas are accompanied by generous cash gifts from my father. Two to three hundred dollars (Yes, it feels like a Christmas bonus) will by a heck of a lot of household goods. There is also Harvey's paycheck. Household goods are more or less every day stuff.

Now if I had a registry....well there is no reason why I can't have one. They cost nothing to set up. Birthdays and holidays come around. Wouldn't one of these be convenient. Single people have households too. Also there's no law against buying oneself presents. The registry could keep me on track as I buy one or two more place settings of Fiestaware (something I've always wanted) or china (I don't know which brand and pattern yet, but I did find several I liked.) or silverware. This would be a paycheck to paycheck deal, a little something material to pick me up every month.

Now for a Ted's of Beverly Hills moment brought to you by my brother's fiancee. She has a lovely sweet voice and she is so well behaved on the phone. I think she and Harvey are a perfect fit. They are of one mind about so many things, if this wedding is any indication. The registry items had my brother's boring lack of taste all over them. Anyway, I told Elizabeth I had booked the hotel room for the wedding. "Well," she said, "You can stay at the hotel or at the club, but the club isn't really a hotel. It just rents rooms to business men during the week. The hotel is really much more comfortable."

By hotel, Elizabeth meant the $240 a night Barclay International. The club is the Union League Club. She had no inkling I was staying at another hotel. Were my family different, I would have told Elizabeth of my find and suggest she keep the Hotel Thirty-Thirty on file for those who find $240 a night a little steep. Unfortunately, tell an Elizabeth is tell a Harvey which is tell a daddy. Daddy is abusive and a control freak. Harvey was abusive until he met his female mirror image. Play B stays plan B. I only share it with the readership of this fine and semi-secret blog.

Well there is your wedding dirt. Class wasn't too bad today. Students managed to find their way to the library for a straight lecture class. The room was hot and did not smell good. Someone must have cut corners on the construction. I lost two students to drops last week and gained one student as an add. She is coming in at week four. I don't know how she expects to make up three weeks of a course but there she was. Poor student.

I mounted the graphics I made this week. There were not that many of them but it was time to get them mounted and I'm out of room at my first Just a Pressie page. The Just Another Pressie Page is located at http://tacheiru.us/unfettered/btcb2.html I found that cute little bead with a face at http://www.africantradebeads.com Now doesn't that beat a triple border background any day of the week.

Hmmm....I may go set up some registries just for myself after all....I'm not sure about that jade ring yet. I do want to give Lou a chance to get that or at least for the two of us to get it together. I looked to see if I had room in my cupboards for a new set of stoneware. Does a single person really need two good sets of dishes. I need two more chairs in the worst way, a cloth table cloth would be nice. God knows when I'd entertain. The schul folks do not consider this fine two bedroom apartment worthy but there is no reason I could not eat my own meals on nice china with matching silverware. Why should I deprive myself of comforts because I live alone.

I'll deal with joining Toastmasters tomorrow. The Y has been waiting until the last bit of the cold goes but I'm on early shift tomorrow and could walk over and invest in joining. This will go a long way toward meeting people so maybe I can entertain. I used to do a fair amount of hosting in Utica but we always ate off disposible plates. Now I'm sort of considered too declasse to entertain and I want all the right tools. Well one starts by being a guest at one's own party. There's always shabbos every week. That reminds me, I have to clean up the apartent tonight and tomorrow night. Maybe having a registry will remind me to keep my apartment clean.

Monday, February 02, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This was a day of doing way too much graphics and treading water in place. That is OK. I had some interesting questions while on the desk at work and I did get the mathematics webliography done. I teach tomorrow afternoon and I'll be up to my eyeballs in grading. The students who are doing their work are doing it well, but a significant minority is doing absolutely nothing. I see the blank rows in the grading spread sheet. I don't want to get blamed. Class attendance has been decent. I don't know what gives students the idea they can come to class and then not do any work.

I weeded books tonight. I am weeding in mental health, an area about which I am not certain. That means I skip shelves here and there. Hopefully I'll be back to more physical stuff soon, but soon may be a while.

Mary put me on the desk schedule for the nine am slot. This means no more breakfast in my office, something I enjoy. I just bring extra fruit to work with me. I can have tea on the desk but no fruit. The desk is the reference desk and I work in one of those places with little rules.

This is not so bad. At least we don't have a dress code, not a written one anyway, and I'm on the publicity committee and no longer on the party committee which I couldn't stand for reasons I won't write here. Reagan, the publicity committee leader, runs a no nonsense committee and he just accepted my article that I wrote for Simon Says, our newsletter like nothing. Wow! I like acceptance. Anyway when Simon Says comes out, I'll see if it's online and give you the URL for my article.

I also did not reserve the hotel rooms for Harvey's wedding. My mom who's a New Yorker says you're supposed to do this early. I have been dreaming of the city but it's not the real city. By city I mean the one and only, the Big Apple. One night Manhattan had this park in it that I now think looks like the Bronx zoo. I walked through the forested path in the middle of the park and in front of this low building with a portico was a man with a goatee and nearly white lips giving a libertarian speech. I ignored the man and was scaird of him the first time I passed. The second time I passed though I engaged him in coversation. He took off his shirt and the nipples on his chest were totally colorless. Anyway, New York City doesn't look like this dream.

Then last night I dreamed I was Francie Nolan in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn except that my mother and father and I and my little brother, Neely, lived in a house in one of the outer boroughs and I got to hear my mother complain about how abusive my father was, my father who was still alive etc... It was a strange take on a book that was very much a part of my adolescence. My mother thought reading immigrant stories was good for me.

I think the New York City dreams are coming from getting ready for Harvey's wedding. My spiritual life is also booming as is my graphic life. I'll probably display some of the graphics here once I have a proper page for them. I try to do three guestbooks a day at Caringbridge.org I think that is charging the spirit contact. I'm not sure I feel like sharing what I am getting. I'm not sure how it would sound when written down. It makes sense to me. It can be translated into words no problem, the problem is my own perception and background are strange enough that what I consider reasonable and what resonates with me might bomb elsewhere. I hope this makes sense.

I'd like to know more before I write this stuff down. Who knows if I'll get to know more. Sometimes I am extremely ungrateful. Actually I'm kind of glad I did nothing about the wedding which is not my wedding anyway. The wedding is months away. It's way too early to catch wedding fever. Besides it's not my wedding. Actually what my brother and Elizabeth are doing is a fantastic excuse for going to a Justice of the Peace and just getting it done on the QT. Weddings, especially expensive ones in distant cities are horrendous impositions. Then again a wedding like Harvey's is one of the best deals going. You can impose all over your family and they wish you good luck and thank you for it.

My bicolor forced tulip is blooming. It will probably have already peaked by next shabbos. I tell myself I clean up this place Thursday for Friday. I also wonder if bar night is dead. I do want to try going to the Unitarians. The gloating and cheap shots on the part of the rabbi are still ugly but I can stand Saturday sermons better than Friday ones. It's not great. I'm stuck with it. OK, time to post this. Then off to bridge.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I never made it to the Unitarians. I guess this flu finally got the better of me. The odd thing is I don't feel particularly sick. In a few hours when I wake up with a night sweat and then when I wake up all shivery and cold, I'll feel sick.

I never made it to Burnham's Shoes either. I decided to try my luck at the mall. After trying on two pairs of shoes and then going down half a size in the second pair (the first pair felt way too wobbly) I got a pair of black sandals that fit. I think I have a black blouse to go under the suit and I managed to find a black evening purse in Dillards so this was my lucky day. It even still feels good writing about this hours after the fact.

This evening was web work out the wazunni. It was time to update the E-card Education Center http://tacheiru.us/eec I put one site in the Hall of Honor with reservations. That site is my own postcard mill. I put three more sites in the Hall of Honor with no reservations. Then the fun really started.

I needed to do an update with all the unscrupulous operators. I did fine with Funnytaf, Supertaf, and Mailbits (TafMaster), but the Flowgo card refused to appear. Somehow my usual email addresses have all been blacklisted. Let's just say I figured away around the blacklist. When it comes to blacklists, my name is legion. Also long distance is the next best thing to being there. I'm not sure how I get blacklisted (unless it's by email address) without blacklisting most of Columbus, Georgia who uses my internet provider which is one of those national ones with multiple dynamic IP addresses.

Anyway, the site is sparse for pictures, but updated nicely. I should check its Vestris board, but I'll save that for a spare moment some time this week. I hope the board is not getting vandalized. I owe RAOK a guestbook run.

I went bridging today. I like Savannah's mother Lisa a lot because she can write and she writes something more than cliches and platitudes. The problem is sometimes she gets sucked in by sentimental BS because what's outside the bull is really pretty nasty. She is glad her daughter just wants to be happy and loved. Therefore, Savannah's values are in the right place.

Hold the phone. Savannah is a nice kid and she's also a very sick kid. She's about six years old and she has been an invalid for around a year. She doesn't go to school so she lacks the complex social life that a normal six year old would have. She also probably can not postpone present pleasure for future gain. This is one of the reasons that adults and adolescents and even older kids can give informed consent but little ones can't. Savannah has little experience and a narrow scope due to youth and illness. That does not qualify her for sainthood or give her wisdom, though she is one very afflicted child whose mother deserves support.

I also did a brave thing at the mall. I asked whether stores carried Lou's size in a suit. I won't say what Lou's size is, but it made me very sad to walk through the mens' departments today. Lou has gotten grossly overweight and looking at all those pretty shirts (Lou needs shirts) and realizing that Lou is out of standard sizes made me sad and angry. I've been heavier than I am now. I've lost about twenty pounds in the last year and a half, but at most I've gained and lost a couple of clothing sizes. I do better in Mrs. than Juniors due to the way I'm shaped, but I've always been a standard size. I can't imagine not being a standard size. It is so sad to see all those pretty shirts and know Lou may not be able to wear them, and men's large size clothing does not have the same pretty styles as standard size clothing. There is no male equivalent of Lane Bryant.

The worst part is that Lou does not care if he has pretty clothes to wear or not. He really doesn't care! When I try to discuss clothes with him. He accuses me of trying to "dress him like a Ken doll." I tell him that when a woman talks about a man's clothes she is thinking of the body inside the clothes, in other words she is talking about the physical end of the relationship. I don't know if Lou believes this.

Some time tomorrow I have to make a reservation for a room for Lou and me at the Hotel Thirty-Thirty for the wedding. Yes, I've got Harvey wedding fever. I also realized I have to pick out two wedding gifts because I don't think what I am planning to buy costs enough for two people to give.

Oh and Elizabeth hasn't told me (and neither has Harvey) where the wedding gift registry is and if it exists. Well, this is a family that likes to keep state secrets. The problem is one can forget about state secrets and well, hey they were secrets anyway.

I'm blanking on Monday. I have no idea what I'll be doing at work except proofreading a webliography and gathering weedies. I'll read student blogs. I lost one more student on Friday. At least I don't get punished for drops. This is a make or break assignment. I saw one of my students in Publix. I don't want to lose this blog entry to a crash do I'm going to copy and paste it, just in case. Hang on....