QC-L Version 4.0

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

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

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

temporary illustration


The Backfile: this blog's archives.

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

It will have Oneiro, my own little role play.

Unfettered Soul, my flagship site.

The Silk Purse, my play pretend Brainstorms.

Failed Messiah Religious news never sounded so good.

New York Times. Read the news and be smart.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am sitting here suspecting that I have finally gotten sick from drinking bad water. Remember, water in Utica, New York has a colliform advisory on it and I filled up the good old water bottle with it and drank it anyway, figuring I would take my chances. Now a good forty-eight to seventy-two hours after my last swallow of the nasty stuff which doesn't taste bad, I have crawly skin, chills, ache all over and my intestines hurt. I thought the cramps I have been waking up with were just irritable bowel aggrivated by caffeine (I love those big Arizona ice teas with ginseng and honey.) Now I am thinking it was and is something else.

This is my own damn fault. Anyway only one of us is allowed to be sick here and that other one, Lou, my boyfriend, is sleeping on the day bed in the living room. He sleeps sitting up because he has a bad back. He doesn't like the big queen size bed in the bedroom. He complains that the cats sleep there. I remind him that Hertzel likes the day bed which I call the "boy bed."

You probably want to know about the trip. Travelling is great but I have had more than enough of it for a while. For some reason I do these hair shirt tours, and this one was the hair shirtiest. The six mile walk in the middle of the night was exciting and pleasant. I had to wait ten minutes at the Econolodge near the bus station. Anything for a clean well lighted place.

The bus originated in New Orleans and went straight through to New York City. The hour layover in the Gryehound station in Atlanta was murder. I wanted to go back to sleep and did just that. I dozed through the rest stop at Carnersville, GA and then slept all the way to Anderson, South Carolina. I had a seat mate with whom I had a conversation. She was only twenty-one, had kids, and was divorced. She was a noncustodial parent. Her name was Casey. I dozed off and Casey got off the bus in Greenville, SC. Casey was replaced by a plump woman who wanted two together, not front and back for her five year old and herself. I volunteered to switch and so ended up next to an absolutely silent young Hispanic or Arab man with a mustache and a black plaid shirt.

The bus was local for much of the day. Somehow I made it throgh the mandatory cleaning stop at Charlotte, North Carolina and I remember Greensboro, NC as a pretty place because it had a large modern partially outdoors transportation complex. It was too bad we did not stop at Greensboro on the way down. It seems like a lovely town.

After Greensboro, I slept all the way into Virginia. I remember the names of towns and did not open my eyes for them. I woke up around Lynchburg, Virginia and stayed awake for a half hour meal break where I bought rubber bands and found a very clean rest room. I wanted rubber bands so I could reseal a shoe box that held the next batch of food and an unstable container of veggie chips. I had sealed the box with packing tape. Yeah...I know...dumb.

I woke up outside of Washington, DC. It was a pretty ride in but the wait was rough. Our bus was a young bus filled with Hispanic men in their teens and twenties. They were quiet and polite enough but they were pigs in the worst way. By the time our little house on wheels (A Greyhound bus is a little house on wheels!) reached DC, it was a pig pen with soda spilled all over the floor and bottles not put in the plastic bags for trash which Greyhound provides and trash not taken off the bus and thrown away. It took extra long for them to get the bus ready due to its filthy condition.

The New York Express loading area, is designed for New Yorkers who don't form lines easily. Today I stood at the lunch table which we have during our speaker presentations and waited on an incredible line that I felt like butting into because forming a line for a table of munchies is dumb. I'm a New Yorker at heart. The express area in the DC station has a few seats and kind of an alcove where New Yorkers can stand in a mob instead of forming a line. This worked out quite well.

I slept through most of DC and woke just in time to see the New York City skyline. It was about four in the morning. We came through the Lincoln Tunnel and into Port Authority. I decided to wash my armpits and change my shirt and got yelled at by a janitor. The bus for Utica boarded in the long haul area due to the early hour of the day. It was a long wait. Drivers took pains to separate the lines and if there had been more of us, someone would have put up ropes to encourage a line rather than a mob to form. It didn't matter in our case. I had two seats to myself.

This time I stayed awake for a while. The sky was grey. It had been raining and still was. I dozed off in New Jersey and woke up as the bus came through Suffern and got on the Throughway at Harriman. The trees were not longer coming into leaf and the sky was a wonderful and dramatic grey one does not see in the South. The landscape was pretty as an impressionstic painting. It was not the land of the dead I imagined. I was glad I had brought my winter coat and hat with me. I was going home!

Best of all, Lou was right there to meet me when the bus pulled into Union Station, in Utica, New York. I spent most of the day with Lou and Mario. They needed some time to load the car so I got to go walking up into Deerfield on the North Side of Utica. I stayed on North Genesee Street. That is where most of the motels are. I made Lou take me up Genesee Street once. This is the main drag. It was good to feel the old memories stir. I lived in Utica longer than I have ever lived anywhere in my adult life.

Sunday morning the trip reversed. We got a later start than I would have liked. Lou and Mario wanted to have big pricey breakfasts in Friendly's. I drove the waitress nuts ordering raisinbran with a banana. It was a good breakfast though. We set off down Rt. 12 which is a sad place to be because I remembered making the ride five and a half years ago with the kitties in crates in the back of Lou's Saturn which I called Seal Tail (as in seal brown like the points on a sealpoint Siamese). The present Saturn is known as Mossy Tail, but currently its name is Filthy Tail because it is encrusted with disgusting Central New York road dirt.

We traveled all day through Pennsylvania which is very rural and lonely and grey. As we hit Maryland and West Virginia I pointed out the first trees showing signs of coming into leaf. By the second day when we were in Virginia, I pointed out the narcissus growing in beds in the middle of the road. The narcissus are finished in Columbus and still a good three to four weeks away from blooming in Utica. That meant there were no narcissus on Lou's parents' grave. I planted those pheasant's eye narcissus. I'll have to get a picture of those for this blog.

By the time we hit the Carolinas trees were in blossom. I fell asleep and awakend frightfully sore. Travelling 2400 miles in four days just makes you incredibly sore. As we emerged from South Carolina into Georgia, Lou suggested a visit to the DeKalb Farmer's Market. I said yes. Then Lou said no. I accused him of diddling me and told him that getting off the interstate (He was incredibly road hypnotized by then) would do him good. We would also avoid rush hour traffic. I found the Ponce De Leon exit and we went out to the market. We have tons of last chance chametz that we have to devour but that is OK.

I was too tired to cook last night. I made leftovers and gave Lou a sandwich and made frozen green peas, the last of the frozen chametz. I had a devil of a time explaining to Lou why we were not buying any more bread. One of the goodies we brought back from Utica was a five pound box of plain Janes (plain matzah). It's five one pound boxes. I also have about three or four pounds of fancy matzah. There were no plain Janes to be had in Columbus.

Some time this week we get to enjoy stringbeans almondine since there is a fairly big bag of blanched almonds leftover from the trip food. These will be the last stringbeans for a week. Tonight, Lou who doesn't feel good did not make sauce and pasta so when I came home from work, I dug out the cornmeal and baked corn bread. I always make cornbread when Lou lives with me. We had cornbread, and a huge plate of crudites and I made peanut butter miso dressing to go with them. Oh how much chametz can I kill.

Well, today I went to work. I was able to teach but ended up spending way too much time cleaning out my email. We had two speakers. Neither was that good. I was just not in the mood for speakers and the free lunch that comes with the deal was a mistake. I am so glad I am not on Erma's cookie team. They provided feh cheap food fancily served. I'd rather serve expensive food on cheap plates. My mouth and belly know the difference. Besides expensive stuff looks good.

I am feeling a bit less shivery since I took two (yes two...) Naproxen. I'll wear a warm nightie tonight and wake up soaked in sweat. Lou may come in from the living room in the morning. Seeing him there sleeping sitting up in the dark is singularly depressing.

In other news, Savannah http://www.caringbridge.org/ar/savannah did not die while I was out of town. They have found some ways to make her feel better. She is capable of speech and eating a bit. They can reduce her seizures with medication. I doubt she will rally, but this is going to be a long haul. Yes, I signed the guestbook at the site too. This is a place where strangers' signatures are welcome, so if you have the fortitude to do this sort of thing, stop by Savannah's site and sign the guestbook.

I think I can't really convert any one around here into a Bridger but I'm not sure why. Are Bridgers born rather than made? I'm using regular RAOK pressies at Savannah's site by the way. Savannah and her mom are both female so the pressies are appropriate. That second photo on the front page of Savannah's site is of a tatoo that her mother had made. It really doesn't look like Savannah. Lisa also has a tatoo of a unicorn on her chest. Savannah asked her to get it so Lisa, Savannah's mother, got it. It's kind of a crazy last request to want your mother mutilated, but then again what does a seven year old know. There is no photo of the unicorn yet thogh it may be back on the photo part of the site.

Don't attempt a 2400 mile overland trip in four days. You will feel like I feel now. I'm glad I somehow managed to teach today. I bridged and even did some site fight voting. I even managed to cook a nice dinner for Lou and me. It could be a lot worse.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Georgia is on the floor so I can blog. It is too late to call Lou now. He goes to bed with the chickens. I'm on my own. It is T-two hours and ten minutes until I start heading down town. I haven't been this excited about staying up all night in ages. I'm packed. Everything seems heavier than I expected it but that is OK.

My back and shoulders are sore from too much computer work in awkward positions. I am desperately craving a hot bath. I could run one and fetch my soap out of the toiletries bag or just find another bar of soap. I have plenty of soap in the apartment. I'm not sure why I want a hot bath. I think it's because I'm wound up so tightly, I can't find a way to be comfortable in my own skin.

I hope and pray that Lou shows up...oh you reminded me. Going to put the cell phone in the charger. I'll be right back...Whoops...got soap for the bath instead. I tell you I think I am going crazy, but that's OK. The cell phone is in the charger now. There is nothing like a juicy cell phone. Cell phones are among the great inventions of our time. It is wonderful never to be out of touch. Of course I was in touch all over Lou today, but hey it's been crazy you have to admit. It looks like I'll be going to a post funeral luncheon at the Stronichs so I have to bring a skirt and nice sweater, a black skirt and black patterned sweater and black shoes. This was an unplanned for event. I hope Lou's family when they see the flowers realizes I am a good girlfriend to Lou. Mary Stronich at least thinks so. She thinks Lou and I should tie the knot. I think that's sweet.

I am going to put all the nightmare scenarios out of my head and concentrate on tying up the loose ends prior to getting out of the house. There remains one web site competition to score and a hot bath and not much else. I'll check to see that the cats have very full food bowls. Georgia is resting by the waste basket which is good since typing on this keyboard gives her seizures if she is on the desk. She gets twitchy and then it just takes off out of control. She's had one full blown seizure and it was one too many.

I just scritched her face and now she is sleeping again. She looks peaceful and relaxed. I'll miss having her in my bed tonight. I'll miss my bed tonight period. Saturday night I'll sleep in a bed with sheets and so too Sunday night. I'll be back in my own bed Monday night with the furries and Tuesday I teach. Around and around it goes. I will need a vacation to recover from this vacation, but I am trying not to think of that.

by Eileen Kramer

OK, here it is 7:16pm. I've avoided calling Lou for three hours. That feels good. I weeded fifteen books and am feeling somewhat better. I'm listening to the BBC which is covering a John Kerry rally at which Robert Dean is speaking. It is great to hear all the whooping in the background. I haven't heard whoops on any political news show probably ever. The whoops sound so sweet. We whooped at the peace rally. Whooping is a collegiate thing. You don't hear it much away from students and campuses. A lot of the Deaniacs are students or former students or recent students, so they whoop.

It is interesting to hear the interviews on the BBC too. I washed my fruit plate and cleared off most of my desk. This office will be clean to return to. I am still planning to go down to the mall and buy a pink tie for Lou. I saw a really pretty one for him in Rich's. I am also going to withdraw more money from my savings account. The reason is simple. If something goes very wrong with the trip north and Lou vanishes or walks off, I want to be able to buy a bus ticket home. Getting trapped will suck mightily. I must not let this happen. Always have a plan B. I hope Lou does remember to pick me up and comes to get me. Once we manage to link up, we might have a very good afternoon. I have to stay optimistic. I'm scaird. There I said it. I'm not scaird of walking at night. That is a nobrainer. You wear comfortable shoes and keep your hands free and your wits about you. Meeting up with a boyfriend who doesn't have his head screwed on straight is another story.

I don't want to sit around the apartment and wait. This night is going by so slowly. I feel so worried and scaird. Packing will be a nitpicky job, but once I get down to it, it will go fast. The last task will be a net one. I score a web site competiton under another name and the scoring can't take place until after midnight. I also have to revise several pages as part of the scoring.

I have a book to read on the bus. I won't be bored if I can't sleep. I have plenty to eat. I should make it to Utica in one piece. I am scaird of what will happen when I get there. I am really scaird.

by Eileen Kramer

Everything has gone utterly and totally crazy vis a vis this trip up north. Tuesday night Lou lost his great aunt, Ida Poccia. She's not really his aunt but he knows her and he is Italian and he has extended family and I've been on the phone with him off and on all day. I'll be carrying a black skirt and a pair of shoes with me so that I can dress to go the funeral should Lou's plans change. He is attending the visitation and then coming to get me. I ordered flowers and put Lou's and my name on them. I was going to include Mario's name. Mario is Lou's twin brother, but Mario is unreachable. I got the Bright Morning Bouquet. Here is the URL for it.


Yeah, I know money spent like water but I am the girlfriend taking Lou away from his extended family so I have to show I am a good girlfriend. I am a good girlfriend. We've had this trip planned by weeks. Ida is a DISTANT RELATION of Lou's. You get the idea.

1:40-1:45am the adventure begins. I am so tense now I am bouncing off the ceiling. That is OK. It beats feeling sleepy. I don't have to clean the apartment tonight so I am thrilled to pieces. Cleaning the place last night was a coup of the first order. I can go out tonight and buy Lou a tie if I want. I also need double A batteries for the walkman but I don't think I'll bring the walkman so I'm set. It's just a long evening, a long ten hours until I can get going. I am impatient but that is probably a good thing.

Right now I would give my right eye teeth to get in touch with Lou again. I may try he and Mario one more time but it feels like too many times. I got book for my trip, made my signs, have the cat sitter, the hotels, the water and snacks worked out. It won't take that long to pack. I have the paperwork on restaurants in Roanoke and vicinity and the phone number of the funeral parlor where Ida's visitation is. It is a secret, family-only visitation. It will be weirdly intimate for Lou. I won't arrive in Utica until it is over. The funeral starts at 11am, just when my bus arrives so I probably will miss that too. Hopefully matters will be calmer by Saturday afternoon. I'll baby Lou as best I can when I am tired and keyed up from a thirty hour bus ride.

Oh boy, this trip is going to go schplat. In other news, Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding invitation has arrived. That means I can go ahead and order their wedding gift and then get the UNRegistry back in action. That should be fun. Right now I'm doing the buyer's remorse thing looking at flower sites. I don't think I did that badly. It's just I didn't do it systematically enough for my liking. I already have Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gifts picked out so ordering them is just going to be so much work. What is that they say, "the anticipation is greater than the event." I am going to clean this office up before I leave work today. I want to come bak to a clean well ordered place. It seems the least I can do before slipping into the abyss. With the death in Lou's family, the Orpheus analogy seems disgustingly apt.

Anyway, I had to find nicer arrangements once I got to looking. Isn't that how it always is. I think I am going to take a break and clean up the office. Savannah http://www.caringbridge.org/ar/savannah is still alive which does not surprise me. I think she will die while I am on my way to see Lou. Well, I have my life to live and I don't really know Savannah's people. I feel bad for both her and her mother, Lisa, but in the end, they are just a web site. If we were on an email discussion list or shared a web forum, it would be different but Lisa is effectively like a TV channel broadcasting her sorrow. Her story is compelling because she writes and writes again and writes well. Abby's story was compelling because it is horrific.

I just spoke to Mario and that felt good. I'll give Lou a wait until tonight though I'd like to have at least some approval from him. I'm not ging to get that so I'm stuck. I could try again. It doesn't hurt to call the answering machine. I think weeding books though would be a better idea.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It feels strange to blog in the morning, but I have time for it now so up it goes. I conked out last night, and when I got up both scoring and vote exchange awaited me. Fun fun fun. They got done. The blog got left in the dust.

Before I get further, here is something very annoying. http://www.artsmia.org no longer sends postcards. You can fill one out but it does not arrive. The trouble with anything on the net is you have to keep it up. I complained given their contact form. Of course this morning it still isn't fixed. This is one of the nicer postcard spots on the net. It is sad to see it down. Allposters.com and my own mill look better and better, but that isn't saying much.

Meanwhile, I survived Staff Development Day. It was even pleasant. We had team building activities that included making a book with a whole punch and dowel, wrapping one group member in toilet paper, and walking with books on our heads. None of this is real work. None of this is worth squat, but it was fun and everyone got a t-shirt which I'm going to wear when I go up north to see Lou.

Giselle who said she would cat sit is not at work today. I am tempted to call Pets At Home and tell Giselle she lost the job. Getting to Gislelle at night when she won't answer the door is near impossible. Being anti-social has its price.

Gene, the man whom I thought dropped off the map after I emailed him that I was Jewish sent me a "friendship gift." It was a cross. I am going to give it to Lou. He can wear it. No, I don't think Gene is trying to proselytize me. Gene is also barely literate. Our paths just crossed and he kept talking to me. I am trying to figure out what to send Gene back in the way of a postcard or email. I really don't have much to say to him. Complaining that I don't wear a cross after I rubbed his face in the fact I was Jewish really doesn't do much.

Gene is a lost soul. Lost souls are not funny. Lost souls are not pathetic except in the blandest way. Gene is Gene. There is not much I can do about him. His hand writing remind's me of a child's printing. His address is listed as Steamboat Road in Emory, Texas. I suppose I could look up Emory, Texas on a map. Gene says he does odd jobs for a living. I have a neighbor who does the same thing. It depends what the odd jobs are whether one can make a living at it.

I've been avoiding proof reading a webliography. I figure I ought to get that done before I write more blog....

OK, time for some real tallk. This is painful. What comes to mind is the Orpheus and Eurydice myth with the male and female roles reversed. I am thinking of the trip to Utica later this week. It is still almost winter in Utica though the crocuses are blooming. Lou is huddling, miserable, overweight, and depressed. He came down with the flu just in time to make this trip and of course he hasn't been eating right for months. Everything in Utica is grey and black. It is always night there. It is dirty, sad, old and dilapidated. It is springtime here in the south. I am descending to Hades to rescue my boyfriend and I feel miserably unequal to the task. All my money and all my patience and all my love (yes, let's include that) are nothing compared to the overpowering darkness of the northern under world. There, I said it.

The more I look at this trip, the scarier it feels. I just went to get some tea in the break room and I realized that I have to be careful about drinking the water in Utica. It has a colliform warning on it. There is no money to completely fix the water purification system in that town. Utica is bankrupt. I drank Utica water for many years and drank it right after drinking Syracuse water and don't remember getting sick so maybe it will be OK. I am tempted to get some water purification pills. I over time no doubt acquired immunity to whatever bugs live in Utica water. I know this because I ate popsicles and drinks ladled out of buckets in Mexico with no ill effects. In five years in Columbus, I have lost that immunity. That is a scarey thought.

OK, I'm going to do some proof reading for real.....

Well the webliography has been proof read. Yay! Time now to go to put up a new marquee announcement for the Faculty Research forums. I am enjoying one of the net's sicker offerings. http://www.justacountrygirl.com If there were Vogons in real life, they would create so much network traffic visiting this site that its server would throw it off for exceding bandwidth. I mean this poetry is so terrible, it is good. It includes: badly strained rhymes, maudlin themes, religious triumphalism, and every now and again Grandma bears her fangs. Yes, you can send this little beauty as an e-card. Who let this biddy on the internet? She's probably quite decent in real life. Only where she has unlimited rights to the soap box does she let her worst side show etc....

You still have to wonder though, about her daughters and garnddaughters and nieces (the younger males are watching the ball game or fixing the car.) . I can picture them gritting their teeth and making her name a byword. I can also picture the younger women in her church chafing away as younger women do around biddies.

Monday, March 22, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I skipped a day and so much happened. This is the kind of thing that goes on when you go up to Atlanta on the spur of the moment. The trip to Utica is a much more logisticly challenging affair. I'm blanking on it.

What I remember most about the peace demonstration was that Atlanta once you are away from the very hostile sky scrapers is a very beautiful city. I also remember the breakfast I ate in the Subway at 10:30am. When you get up at 4:30am to catch a 7:30 bus you are very hungry for breakfast. The weather finally turned warm. There were signs and banners for everyone. There was music and a whole shmogesbord of radical speakers once I got to the park. The organizations behind the rally probably each wanted their fair haired boy or girl to get up there and speak. As a result, only a tiny fraction of the speeches were abot Iraq and getting Bush out of office.

That was OK, the atmosphere at the rally was utterly civil despite a few token counterdemonstrators who looked a lot less like they were enjoying themselves than we were. I got to sign a petition to put the Greens on the ballot in Georgia instead of having them as write in candidates. The poor woman had to look for the Muscogee county sheet for me to sign. I was her first person from the west part of the state.

The rally broke up around 3:30pm and I headed back to the MARTA station. I rode the train (They don't call it a subway or a MARTA. To me a train is something like Metro North commuter trains or AMTRAK.) one stop with a young man whose brother, a Navy Seal, was killed in Iraq. He had been at the rally. He is very angry and sad. He has a sister who is serving there too and his family has not heard from her in months.

I headed to Whole Foods and bought junk food and nuts for the trip north later this week. I also bought soda for staff day so I don't drink the soda the cafeteria is supplying. The only noncaffeinated flavor they supply is lemon which makes me feel as if I have been cheated. I need something with a dark color to feel like coke. I have decaffeinated cola and black cherry from Whole Foods. Whole Foods own brand of soda is very reasonably priced.

I am packing my own lunch for tomorrow as well. The cafeteria does not offer any meatlless sandwiches in its box lunches so I have to pack my own. There is something very good about a soynut butter sandwich.

My bags were heavy and a rain wind was kicking up as I headed back from Whole Foods to the MARTA station. This is the longest leg of any food buying trip and there was a huge wait for the Eastbound MARTA at Five Points. I got it and rode out to Avondale. Then walked the mile to the DeKalb Farmer's Market under dusky skies. My back and shoulders hurt. I got stayman apples, blood oranges, pole beans, wax beans, red peppers and dry pears in the DeKalb Farmer's market. I noticed the DeKalb Farmer's market now has golden beets and brocoli rabbe (rappini) as well as its Chinese equivalent. Unfortunately, I already had a big bucket of red cabbage salad at home and I'm going north Friday and I already had a very full backpack. It was hard to say no to lots of very good food, including uglifruit, which are the ultimate delicacy.

I repacked everything carefully and got the belly strap out of its backpack pocket. I knew the pack was now heavy enough to need a third strap. I also hefted my bag from Whole Foods in both arms. I was able to carry my food without pain back up Ponce de Leon Ave to the MARTA station. Then it was time to go back west seven stations to five points and south one station to Garnet. I came down the stairs, opened the glass door, scooted up the ramp and got on line at door number two for the Greyhound bus home.

I slept through the whole trip. I arrived in Columbus at 12:30am Sunday. I called for a cab and the driver took a different route home that cost less. I gave him a good tip. I did some urgent web work and slept another eight hours. I got up at noon today. I decided to go to the Archives Open House. It was boring and there was way too much food. It's ok not to overdo the food. Crackers and cheese and veggies and dressing and cookies are fine. Light refreshments does not have to be free lunch. Still, I showed up. What can I say.

Tomorrow is staff development day. I have to go down to the Turner Center which is part of the Business School. We have dumb activities and a motivational/professional speaker. I'll spend a day not doing real work. Yes, I loathe staff development day.

This is a four day week followed by a night with no sleep and a boyfriend who may or may not be as I remember him. I have some trepidations about meeting Lou. He says he has let himself go and I believe him. That is the scarey part.

I have to call the cat sitter tomorrow. I could ask Giselle if she wants the work, but Giselle is.... anti-social. I'll ask her at the staff development meeting if she is there tomorow. She could decide to call in sick. Any one can call in sick for any reason. Let's just put it that way.

I did laundry on Friday so I have plenty of stuff to wear up north. I still have long johns and boots. I even found a box to protect the extra munchies which will go in my duffle bag. We need munchies for the trip down back to Columbus.

I just feel scaird more than anything else. I wish I didn't feel that way. Oh well, I'll get through tomorrow somehow.

Friday, March 19, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm stil patterning away a bit on Ladies Advance. I did not do vote exchange today. I cleaned the apartment. I was off from work. Let's try that again. I cleaned the apartment; for it was filthy. I also did laundry and made very good red cabbage salad that tastes something like dill pickles becase it has fresh dill in it. I even went to Wal-Mart and got a new alarm clock. My old one I think is broken.

I want to get up real early tomorrow so I can go to Atlanta. There is an anti-war anniversary protest there and I would like to go to a protest where for once, someone else does the work. I go to the protests at Fort Benning but that is just once a year and almost a party of sorts. The anti-war protests were one and two person affairs that involved me running interference with the cops. Yes, in Muscogee County (Columbus, GA) you have to file paperwork if you want to demonstrate. My name is in the computer as a dissident. Dissent may be patriotic, but I am not sure I can get on a plane since my protesting was such a public act. Oh well, Greyhound is cheaper.

I like meeting more lefties, especially southern lefties. Frank Myers, the Democratic party committee head thinks I'm a party committee chairman's dream. Hah.... I'm just an active lefty. I'm a raging lefty, but then if we are in any mainstream political party we raging lefties are often democrats. If you want change, any change for the better, you often have to work within the system. I would not call myself a pragmatist. Just put simply: Kerry is not ideal but he is better than Bush and he is smarter, braver, and has more depth of soul and character. Keep praying for the price of gas to go up.

Wal-Mart is always such a human zoo. Actually the whole trip was a human zoo, but one sees every species of humanity in Wal-mart. I guess one sees it at the mall too, but the mall is full of distractions. I saw a lot of servicemen which makes sense since Columbus is the home of Fort Benning. Some were even wearing desert camouflage. Had they returned or were they yet to go to Iraq I wondered? In glurge, the pure hearted young military people and the middle aged peace protestor confront one another and have an argument. I did have an argument with a couple of people when I protested last year but this year, in the mall, the protester who is not actively protesting just minds her own business as do the military.

I watched an interesting mother with two teenage sons on the Wal-Mart they were trying to be good and succeeding only in being pains in the butt and finally succeeded in slapping one another with tennis rackets they were buying. You can get anything at Wal-Mart. Well, almost anything....

I could not find any seeds to grow either romano (big thick pole beans) or wax beans. South of th Mason Dixon line, they do not know what a wax bean is and prefer regular string beans to the big fat Italian style ones. Romano beans in tomato sauce is not a dish that graces Southern tables. Up north in the right places, it is considered a delicacy of the highest esteem. Publix has discontinued its pole beans so I either have to grow my own or buy them in Atlanta and it is too late to order seeds by mail...I think... I could try. I don't think I have the garden space to produce a decent enough crop so it's buy beans in Atlanta.

Why Southerners totally shun wax beans is beyond me. The yellow string beans were always something of a novelty and sold in big boxes just like the green ones in farmer's markets where they also had the romano variety.

I'll go shopping after the rally. I'm going to come home on the 10pm rather than the 5pm bus. This will give me time to hit Whole Foods and the DeKalb Farmer's Market. I have decided I really love four things (I love many people too, but people are not things): food (and cooking), politics, religion, and computers (in no particular order). All the rest, which includes cross country skiing, swimming, and ice skating, I'll do if convenient. I miss not being able to garden in the way I like, but I can make do with containers. Gardening, though, is actually about food though in a way.

I did not do any vote exchange today. That was a good thing. I need that like a hole in the head. I may try on Sunday. The early part of the week is good.

No web work today needless to say. In a way that is good. The apartment really needed to be clean and home worship was good. I stayed focused despite the fact that I was tired. The candles looked beautiful next to the tulip I bought last week. It is a bicolor magenta and white. It is gorgeous, much prettier to the ones that were in the store and open at the time.

We go from spring to summer so fast here in Georgia. I wore shorts today. I'll be wearing cotton pants and no panty hose under them tomorrow when I go to Atlanta. I saw irises in bloom today, and leks of insects, and red clover. I haven't been out when the sun is out in weeks, not since I was recovering from the stomach flu, that awful weekend three week ago I think.

Strange huh...Well it's 12:06am. I want to meditate before I sleep. I suppose I should get this blogged. Gene, never wrote me back after I told him I was Jewish in a letter. I guess I was either too different for him or he is an antiSemite. I don't care to find out which it is. I did not expect our correspondence to end so prematurely or so abruptly. I might write him but than again I might not. Doing more stuff in the real world feels good. There are times I forget that meat space exists.

by Eileen Kramer

Considering how wiped out and miserable I've been feeling lately, I feel pretty good right now. I just learned there's an anti-war protest in Atlanta. I want to go. It is noon on Saturday and reachable via Greyhound and MARTA. I can go out on the 7:30am bus and come home on the 10pm so I can get in some shopping. There is no point in going to Atlanta and coming home empty handed. I will probably buy trip food and some sodas to take to the staff development day on the 22nd.

This feels like a great deal all around. Of course my apartment is a mess and the Shabbos bride is coming tomorrow night. I feel bad not showing for schul Saturday but heck, the rally is important and home worship makes my life more flexible. It would be nice to have some really good nuts and dried fruit for the Atlanta trip and some good stuff to eat at home the days before.

I tell myself I'll be good about all this. I'll do laundry and clean the apartment and be a perfect little drudgeroo tomorrow. I'll even avoid recruiting further vote exchange. Yeah it's a bad habit and don't I know.

ZOID is scored and put to bed hours ago. The eleven day week is over and a three day weekend looms ahead like a reward. Jose at Reed's Jewelers put a new battery in my watch. It only cost seven dollars and he admired my watch too. I guess I get to keep the watch which now seems to be running accurately. I also bough Lou a lovely kelley green tie with blue squares and tan swirls on it. The most expensive ties have their pattern woven in to them. They are things of true beauty. I even found some lime green ties. One might look good with a navy blue sport coat. Lou's new tie will go with a blue blazer and white shirt. When I am down and feeling blue, I go out and buy a tie for Lou.

They even have yellow cell phone skins at the mall. I've wanted a yellow skin for my Nokia 390 for ages. Oh well....traveling to protest is much better than getting and spending.

Part of me even wants to go to work tomorrow to finish proofreading a webliography and send it to Diana, the systems librarian. So close and yet so far.

The blog wrench with my class is a failure. Every time you move a board, you have trouble with people adopting it and that includes students. I feel bad about this but Vestris' remotely hosted boards collapsed. What could I do.

I have the days off and the hotel reservations for the trip. Now I have to call Sandra Bain at Pets at Home and get her to look in on the fur babies. A cat sitter fee is part of the cost of going north. That's why I like day trips to Atlanta.

I tell myself it won't be so bad tomorrow. I'll do laundry. I am going to leave the stinky bed alone because I want to do it on a night that is closer to the night before I leave for Utica. I want it to still be pretty fresh when Lou and I return. I'll just pray that Georgia doesn't barf a hairball on it. Georgia barfs where she will and there's cat vomit all over this fine apartment. The kitchen is a wreack. I'm going to make marinated red cabbage before I clean everything up though. It will feel strange to awaken to an early alarm. I'm not sure I can do it. I am so wiped out. Oh well...we'll see what happens.

Hertzel, my sweet white boy of joy kitty, is washing himself as he uses the kitty pillow for a bed. The kitty pillow is a cotton pillow with kitties on it. Hertzel is quite fastidious. Right now he is biting between his toes na dcleaning his underarms, that space under the front paws. He is a slow and careful washer. He also likes to groom other cats and even me socially. Georgia will come looking to get licked. That shows you. Hertzel has learned to make a little mew or broop when I talk to him. He learned by watching Georgia. I think cats learn better from their own species.

Oh well I guess I better blog today's entry and go to sleep. I am holding off on Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift until they send me an invitation. I got a save the date card so I'm probably just impatient. Oh well, getting Lou down here and ready for the big event is priority one as they say.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Oh lord, I'll be lucky if I get in to bed by 3am. Lucky for me there's RC Cola. I thought I was caffeine free. Well that didn't last. I'll make it somehow. Anyway, I talked a lot to Lou tonight. I also had an email nightmare tonight that took forever to get through more or less by brute force.

Talking to Lou was interesting. I found out how much weight he put on. I don't want to say but it now will make me profoundly sad to see all those pretty polo shirts in stores and know they won't fit him. I mean this kind of thing gets women to lose weight. We had a long sweet talk. Lou is sick. Lou can do a real mind/soul-body separation. Me, I think of physical things and aesathetic things all day long.

I am not sure how well Lou and I will get along. Lou has really aged in addition to putting on weight. This worries me. I don't mind a fat boyfriend but an old one who acts like an old man is simply not sexy. There I said it. Sorry, that's how I feel. I am hoping Lou will regain his youth once he is in a warmer climate and with a girlfriend rather than a twin brother. I know this is a classic recipe for disaster, but I'm not looking for a total change, just a little one.

This capturing business is the end of the earth. Part of me knows this. I can't do more than this. If it doesn't work out after the capture, it probably never will. Lou could not get himself down here on his own. Lou had many months for that. I am capturing him. He is agreeing to it. That is a start, but once here, he has to adjust to living with me and I have to decide if this is really what I want. I know it's late for deciding but I am an optimist and I like Lou. There is a lot of potential there.

We've been lovers and friends for fifteen years. This is a long relationship. His mother's illness did a job on it and on our sex life. Lou has both lost and gained weight. Lou lost a job he thought he would love. He was fired. Lou has gone through a prolonged period of unemployment. Lou may be clinically depressed. Lou and I at one point had a good sex life and a really good relationship. I think we can recover that. A change of scene probably won't be enough though.

Lou has learned to eat Chinese food (major concession). Lou does not know how to swim (pain in the tail!). Lou refuses to take me dancing (DAMN!). I don't share Lou's fears and come from a family where showing fear is considered most unseemly and wallowing in it is unspeakable. If Lou confesses fear, I tell him to shut up. I don't believe fear should receive sympathy. Well, not exactly that, but if you are scaird of something you can say it but you better not act scaird when the time comes. The expectation is that whatever it is you are scaird of, you are going to do anyway. Lou revels and wallows in his fear.

He is also a terrible hypochondriac. We have a joke about this that I won't repeat here. I come from a family where hypochondria is impossible. If you say you are sick, someone will offer you medicine. When I was a kid if you were ill in the morning, you were told to take aspirin (If there had been stronger NSAIDs around, we would have eaten those once we hit adult size.) and get dressed and see how you felt then. My mother would even pack especially digestible lunches if you had a stomach complaint. If I stayed home from school it was because I got sick enough that I looked awful at night, undeniably awful. Yes my family was anal enough to make the stay home decision the night before. Usually I was good and sick at that point so it was a good decision.

The only thing you got if you got sick was whatever you wanted to eat. That was considered medicinal, though if you did not ask for sick foods it was looked down on. When Harvey ate MacDonalds when he had a sore throat, my mother bought it for him but disapproved the choice. I remember being fed my favorite Dannon yogurt flavor, orange-pineapple, when I had a sore throat and was on antibiotics. The enzymes in the yogurt were considered good against the side effects of the antibiotics. I ate all kinds of soups, jello, etc... One of my favorite sick food dishes was hamburger and scrambled eggs or onions and scrambled eggs, though I also have memories of barfing this food up do to mucus from tonsilitis.

Lou comes from a family where illness is a great way to get attention. Lou who does have some health problems though nothing that couldn't be fixed if he worked at it, tries playing the sick card with me and he is told it will go away, the warm climate will do it good, take something for it, etc.... These are all variants of "sht up." Some things are bad things. Some things get dismissed.

In my family courage and toughness are rewarded. A few years ago I worked out a killer itinerary (as in no time to pee and a missed train would have wreacked havoc) to get from Oxford England to Annecy, France. I had five years of French in high school but my ability with the language is shakey. I can read signs and ask simple questions. Well not once did my mother say, I'm worried about you. She said you can do it. Good luck. I think this trip is a wonderful idea. She was totally supportive. When in Redmond Station at 6am the schedule nearly snapped due to a missing train schedule and crumby signage, I scrambled. I did find the platform for the train to Victoria Station and sweated bullets while the young woman found my Flexi Pass which was in the wrong cubby, but once I got on the Eurostar the trip held together. At 4pm I arrived in Annecy. My mom did the right thing.

I did lots of practice for the trip. I found my way to the Eurostar gates in Victoria station and went over the RAR (cross town train) trip from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyons to pick up the Grande Lignes train to Annecy on paper. I wrote out and memorized the itinerary right down to counting the stops, but not once did my mom try to dissuade me. She supported me and I in turn did what I needed to do.

Lou gets frightened when he travels and he just wallows in it. I can remember a cross country Greyhound trip (I got Lou to do all kinds of travelling.) where he called his brother from every rest stop. I knew he was scaird, but what could I do. I didn't want to make it worse. I remember the trip we made to the Grand Canyon where we had the whole schedule worked out perfectly from Utica to our room at the Bright Angel Lodge, yes right by the canyon. Eat your heart out all of you. We got off the Greyhound and walked to the Navajo Trails bus that went into the park. Lou boggled. His fear gave way to bogglement, but the last night in Flagstaff (We had a midnight bus out), Lou got panicky on the streets. He told me about a fantasy he had of dying in the desert. Lou always has fantasies of dying.

I told him it was in his head. What else could I tell him. In my family, no one ever voiced anything like that because it got no attention. There has to be a more effective and constructive way of dealing with someone who has been trained to give in to fear.

I imagine Kramers get scaird of travel, though not all that much since most of us like the challenge of planning a trip and going somewhere new (We also all have excellent senese of direction and like finding our way around strange places.) and they get scaird of lots of other stuff, but they find a way of talking about it that rationalizes it so they can get out of doing something their scaird of, if they really are too scaird to deal with it.

Lou comes from a very different background. Somehow he knows I care for him a lot. Maybe I love him, but this whole relationship thing is so complicated, I am not sure any more. I guess when we live together again I'll know. I use him very badly though and at times he uses me.

I'd like to see him able to wear a size extra large polo shirt again. It's a physical issue of gross proportions. I'd like to have nookie regularly even if we have to schedule it. Busy people have to make time or it doesn't work. Yes, Kramers are as anal as it gets. We are born schedulers and arrangers. For any one who is curious, I am the first born of two first born parents. I also am an ESTJ. I think at least one of my parents is an ESTJ.

Organization is a supreme virtue. The eighteen year old awaiting her parents on parents weekend feels confident saying that she needs to work on a paper in the morning and will see her mother for lunch. She says wher and when they will meet. The twenty-one year old who is graduating is expected to make restaurant reservations for each parent (since the divorced parents will not eat together. Another story...) The seventeen year old away from home for the first time is expected to make travel arrangements and call back with an ETA when her grandmother dies. That same seventeen year old is expected to have all her stuff packed whem mom comes to get her at the end of the summer.

Lou wasn't raised like this. Lou will simply sit there with his shit all over the place when it ought to be together. I proceed to get it together for him and he complains. Well he left it lying around.

This sounds great doesn't it? I wish I knew what to do. I mean we both kind of know this stuff though Lou would put it differently. Lou is a nonmaterialist and a dreamer and that is cool in its own way. I don't know. It's 3:24am. Time to get some sleep.

Yeah, and I know my life is all over the place with half finished projects and no job hunt. My shit is utterly not together. I figure the projects are leisure and I can leave them dragging any way I please. I'll feel better with a real night's sleep and after this eleven day week is over.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Work has slowed down. We are heading into spring break. It is the end of an eleven day week. I am dependent on others for data for the interloan analysis, also known as the data entry project. I just don't feel like writing about work tonight. I managed not to go to the honors convocation because I had a 1-3pm desk shift. That was a good thing. I think even if I graduated with honors, the last way I'd want to be rewarded is by having to sit through another set of speeches. It was assessment day so my class was canceled.

This is maybe why I don't feel like talking about work. After work, I finished or worked to a stable state, a project that I'll likely back burner and touch again in a few days to weeks. Visit the forum which you can click at http://tacheiru.us/raokg I did the design work on this. It's an ultra feminine style but still nicely assertive. Anyway, there are not many Vestris/Agnes boards that look like this. Vestris/Agnes is a programmer's toy, made by tech weenies for tech weenies. The odd thing is all it takes is a knowledge of static html to get the remotely loaded or home loaded version customized. I made a few mistakes that I will have to fix. Some of those links in the table are impossible so the program is refusing to read them. I'll either have to find other links or redo those tables. It's an eyesore but everything works.

I am going to use the same motif for all of the RAOK Guestbook Committee site except the galleries. I think I will leave those be and just clean up the mistake in Gallery 2. I'll be redoing this over the next few days and probably some time during the three day weekend I have coming up.

I found out when Publix would put out their matzoh and it's a week from tomorrow or rather today. That's part of being a Jew in the south, worrying about matzoh and assuring a supply. That means no run to Atlanta. The big trip is the weekend after next. I need to confirm the days off with Callie, the boss.

I managed to buy a watchband at the mall tonight. This is a humiliating experience. Jewelry stores are set up to intimidate though they are nice in Reeds. I remembered that. The watch place no longer sells bands. Many jewelry places no longer do. Reeds is an old fashioned store and the lady was real nice. So was Jose who put the new band on. Yes, the band came with installation. It is my third watch band. My watch has a life time battery which is its fourth battery. The watch has had fifty dollars worth of junk put into it. The watch cost only twenty-five dollars to start with. I won't throw the watch away. My mother does that. Not me. I think it is bad luck to get rid of a working watch. If your watch still works, you are meant to keep it. Anyway, now I know my watch won't slip off my wrist when I go up north on the bus to capture Lou.

That is a big plus. I also have an email buddy for as long as I feel like having one or until he gets tired of me. His name is Gene Wade. He signed the RAOK guestbook. He said he was facing surgery a week from Monday. It is for skin cancer. He asked the RAOKsters to pray for him. I'll do that tonight. Because I'm head of the guestbook committee I rounded up his signature (That means I put it in a letter with the vital data) and sent him an e-card. He wrote me back.

If you want to consider the cup half full, Gene is the one in a hundred guestbook signers who writes back. I can only remember two or three others who have and most of these have had administrative questions dealing with RAOK.

Gene, is weirdly illiterate. He seems to own his own computer, but is utterly unsavvy. His spelling, grammer, and syntax are atrocious. His last name is Wade so English seems to be his first tongue. Other than that I know nothing about him other than that he is at least twenty-five, claims to be tall, slim, and white, and straight.

My instincts also tell me he is powerfully lonely. He is polite. If he included the slightest sexual come on in any of his correspondence, I would simply not write him back and if it got really ugly, I would send him a cease and desist letter, but that's not going to happen. Gene responds amazingly and gratefully to the attention he has sought out. I give it freely in return.

If I put aside stereotypes, I know as little about Gene as he knows about me. He is from a different part of the country, a city I only passed through on a Greyhound trip to somewhere else. He may be from the rural area outside Dallas. That is real terra incognita. Gene has access to a computer in a private home. I can tell that by the time stamps on the email. He is accessing the net at a time of night when libraries and perhaps even cybercafes are closed.

Where I come from and my background may be as strange to Gene as his is to me. I am curious just to get to know Gene. I feel he reached out and we are communicating by the shearest of chance. This is the one that is not supposed to happen. In real life, Gene would be invisible to me and I might not be invisible to him (due to the fact that I sometimes have a backpack and pullcart which makes me stand out) but I would not be the kind of person who would interest him.

Yet here we have started talking. My job is to stay polite and help Gene open up and talk about himself with confidence. Gene's job is not to proselytize or come on to me sexually. That is what I say our jobs are. Gene might not have this all thought out or have it thought out very differently.

I owe Gene a letter. I probably will not write it until tomorrow some time because it is getting late. I'm not sure what I want to say to him other than to tell him that I am Jewish. I said that a fine gentelman like him would surely not try to convert me. He said he did not go to church either. I think that he thinks I am a lapsed Christian rather than a Jew.

I went window shopping for ties for Lou. I realize that it is not a good idea to buy ties over the internet. You have to feel the material. Some ties are textured. Ties are also as expensive as shirts. Also a lot of colors are missing. There are very few bright green ties and no salmon colored ones and not many orange ones. I am not sure why this is. One can wear a green tie with a white shirt and grey suit or brown suit or green suit if it is the right green. One would think men would get tired of white/grey/red and want the opposite end of the color wheel. Lime and kelley green and salmon pink must still be female colors. Tertiary colors must be female. There aren't many teal ties either now that I think about it. Are men really raised that differently?

This is too big a quesiton to ponder at this time of the night. I need to get a letter to Gene and get myself to bed. Thanks for listening/reading.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It's too noisey in here to write. The mp3s are blasting away. It must be a Monday night thing but all I can think of are either the things I have to do at work and all the stuff I've been missing, graphics and recreational web design. There are only so many hours in the day.

Tonight I cooked. I made cabbage salad with peapods, fresh dill, and apples. It was going to have jicama in it too, but by the time I got all the brown peel off and started cutting it up, I found it was brown inside. I pitched it. That made me sad. I also found one bad tangelo and one bad apple. Raunchy produce at the prices I pay is utterly distressing. I'm thinking of a trip to Atlanta on Saturday. I' not sure what I would buy besides matzoh. I'm not sure where to go to get matzoh. I haven't seen the matzoh in Publix yet and I'm getting worried. Lou and I will bring matzoh down from Utica.

Another depressing food issue. Gretchen called to get menu preferences and I discovered there was not a single meatless sandwich, only a salad. I think their salads are feh. This is our food service at Columbus State which has gone from tolerable to crumby in the last three years.

I told Gretchen I'd bring my own lunch. Hopefully I'll have soynut butter in the house. Tomorrow I get peanuut butter and pea pods. Raw pea pods are one of the world's best delicacies and I am an expert on delicacies. The peanut butter is Publix old fashioned. It is salty but not hydrogenated and it tastes pretty good. You have to like crunchy peanut butter though.

Getting soynut butter involves a five mile walk to Country Life or a trip to Atlanta where I buy it with other items. I'm not really at the point when a trip to Atlanta would be worth it except for matzoh. I'll be off from work Friday so I'll make the trip to Country Life and hopefully they'll have soynut butter. This is my favorite sandwich filling. I will miss it sorely at Passover since it is chametz.

I haven't bought anything online either. Every night you hear a litany of the things I didn't do, but so it goes.

I had a good dinner tonight, albeit a late one. I sleep better on a really full stomach any how. Years of working second shift did that to me. I had the cabbage salad, penne with TVP mushroom artichoke stew, and a tangelo for dessert. I found the bad tangelo when I put my bag lunch in the fridge for tomorrow.

Tomorrow I want time to do graphics. I have to go sit thorugh honors convocation which is boring. I think I'm going to get bamboozled into going. I'm going to try and plead a scheduling conflict. I mean I have to endure graduation. Isn't that enough. I hate being made to go to things where I'm a warm body. I have better uses of my time than to be a human maniquin.

Ah I finally turned off the music. I think I'll come close to washing out tonight. I am weary. I know some time tomorrow I need to work on the Middle East webliography, more data entry, and weeding. It is nice quiet work for a nice quiet day. Things could be worse. It is day nine of that eleven day week. I guess being weary beats being angry.

Hertzel came in to visit and actually announced himself. My big sweet, neutered tom with white fur and yellow eyes is finally learning to meow socially. He is learning from Georgia. He sees the results it gets her and wants to imitate it. He even answers my questions with cute little tom cat squeaks. He is one of the sweetest cats I have ever had. We begin each day with a snuggle under the covers. He purrs himself to sleep with me at night. If I'm in a bad mood when I get up, he and Georgia, blue cream half Siamese alpha girl kitty, set me straight. Hertzel and Georgia are co-alphas which means they get along very well. Successful cats like successful people are pleasures. Hertzel is washing himself now. Even though he is a clean boy, he adores the smell of my stinky sheets. Go figure.

I won't have to cook tomorrow night so at least I can work on graphics. One of the people who signed the RAOK guestbook has started a correspondence with me. I may end up doing a bit of freelance web work for him. I wonder what kind of a web set he might want. Oh well...all this stuff kind of piles up after a whie.

The gentleman whom I'll call Gene, is barely literate and I think he's a bornagain Christian. He is in Texas. I don't know much else about him except that he is due to have a skin cancer operation (right above his eye) on the twenty-second of March and that he wants prayers. That is what he says. He got a get well soon/you are in my prayers postcard from me because he signed the RAOK Guestbook. I am the head of the RAOK Guestbook Committee, so I was just doing my job. Gene must be very lonely indeed. Oh well....

Monday, March 15, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I can feel pretty good tonight though I think I have a cold. A cold is a minor thing and nothing to worry about. I bought groceries which is good because I ran out of cooked food tonight. Tomorrow I get to cook up a storm. I also get to make a graphic for the Hugs Committee. One of the members of RAOK Circle of Friends is undergoing chemo. No wonder I said a cold is a minor complaint.

I got up the courage to sign Abby's guestbook. She is my first Caringbridge.org death. I have mixed feelings. When I did see Abby out of body, she was in an area where the sun seldom shines. She was out at night walking along a beach towards a big sandbar/causeway that led to a lighted ship. The sky was the color of charcoal and full of clouds. Abby talked of sea monsters and gargoyles. None of this sounds particularly good until you remember that in the ICU the lights are always on. A person who spent days in the ICU might crave night, especially if she is a spirit with well developed dark sight. I did not think gargoyles were particularly pleasant but they fascinated Abby. I told her they were just made of stone.

I don't know if I'll see Abby tonight. Seeing Abby doesn't make me exceptionally sad. I can see all the places she is (Yes folks this is present tense) scarred up/wounded. Being as ill as Abby was changes you. Dying young changes you. The how of it is not something I fully understand. I just know pieces of it.

I worked today and worked with Martha whom I like. Martha loves to sew. She is a retired school librarian and one of the part timers. It was busy but I had only one challenging reference question. Yesterday I had several. Tomorrow is day eight of the eleven day week. Yeah, I'm hanging in there. I've been off caffeine for two days and am still craving the lift that only caffeinated soda can give.

Tonight after endless letters back and forth to support, I got my Agnes software for making boards registered. This is great because the boards no longer have an ugly line on the bottom. I'll be able to go out and work on making a board for the RAOK Guestbook Commitee. I want to redo the templates (six html pages) to give this board a whole new look. Once I get the board pages designed, I will use the same or similar designs on the public pages and inner sanctum. Our old design is more than a year old. It will be two years since I took over the RAOK Guestbook Committee in April.

This hasn't been a bad weekend. I haven't bought much on line including Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding present but I haven't seen invitations from them either.

Lou needs ties. He was surprised when I recommended a red one, an orange one, a green one, and a yellow one and possibly a pink one. My reasoning went like this. Lou will end up with a dark grey or dark blue suit. He likes white shirts. He does not have much of a choice of color at his weight. If he lost twenty-five to fifty pounds having a choice of shirt color would be a big plus.

Shirts cost less than suits so having a varied shirt wardrobe gives you more choices on a budget, but since shirt colors are limited, why not have a variety of bright and pretty ties. Remember with a dark suit and white shirt, a lot of colors are possible. I know all of this sounds very female. I envision these as rep ties, designer ties, and ties with paisley winkies on them. No novelty ties. I think they are tacky. Lou asked what he would use an orange tie for. I told him sometimes one gets sick of red and orange goes with grey and very dark blue just fine. Different moods have different colors.

And speaking of moods, I got to complain about the state of the daikon radishes in the Publix produce department. I also picked up the last bag of empire apples and got a nice hard jicama. I learned, much to my sadness that pole beans have been discontinued. I guess roma beans in tomato sauce is not a big dish down here in the South. I've never seen a wax bean in Publix. I guess they were discontinued too. Maybe waxers are a northern thing. Maybe I can still buy seeds to grow some waxers or pole beans out front. Fresh beans are nice, though shelly beans beat snap beans. Fresh shellies that you shuck yourself (be they cranberry beans, black eyed peas, or pinke eye purple hull peas or asparagus beans) are one of the universe' great delicacies.

In other news, the scab fell off the sore I liked to squeeze on my leg before I went clean. I've been clean nine days now and am angry a lot less often. I go through spells of it still. Now I know there is no sore to go back to. I don't know how I feel about this because I fantasize about relapsing. This is different from actually trying to relapse. It took way too much work to get clean for me to want to undo it but the thought that I could always go back was comforting. Now, I know that's over.

I don't really like being clean in the beginning. There are too many fist through the wall days and way too much angry feeling. Squeezing my poor scab was a comfort and now I'm bereft. I know that sounds very weird, but that is the way it is so I get angry.

Right now I am trying to tell myself that is alright that I won't sleep in. Tomorrow is an early day. I had not weekend because the work days cut the day right in half. I got downtown which is unusual though it was spooky. I straightened out a lot of web stuff. There are groceries in the house. Why am I complaining? Could time itself be that precious? Maybe it's late and I need to rest.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Lot's of good news. Where do I start.... I bought the ticket for the bus to go see Lou tonight. I had to sign off on the ticket being nonrefundable. They make you check it over real well. I'm leaving on a 4:20am bus. I will not sleep the night of March 26th. Such is life.

Walking back from downtown Columbus felt sad and depressing. Downtown Columbus except for one strip of high class bars is a wasteland at night, convenience stores, a few fast food places, and the rest of town is closed up tighter than a drum. I saw a couple of derelicts. We minded our own business and got along just fine. I was glad to return to residential neighborhood. I walked twelve miles tonight and am full of energy from all that exercise.

I met several cute kitties, including a tabby boy who almost got hit by a car. Talk about a heart in your throat moment. I am glad my kitties are indoor only. I thought about the poor tabby boy's human.

I also finally got an administrative password for my Vestris board. Vestris/Agnes boards come with inadequate documentation, this was par for the course. I then put in a board creation password. That worked. I still can not, however, register my board. This URL: http://www.vestris.com/alkaline/certify.html comes up with a 404 error so once again I wrote Alla at support. She is wonderful. In a few days and well in time for next time I teach Libr1105 Anges/Vestris will be fixed and working and fully registered. It is secure tonight so that is a start.

I wrote two poems for my card center project. So far I think it will be called Honor Cards. Honor your friends and family. Honor your coworkers. Honor cards are ad-free, pop-up-free, and malware free. Best of all there will be Jewish holiday pages in abundance or as much abundance as I can provide. I am going to invite all the RAOKsters I know who like graphics and this sort of thing to contribute. They'll get full attribution and a way to show off their work.

All this is back burner though. The RAOK Guestbook needs a roundup. I still need to buy Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift, and the apartment is fast turning into a wreack. At least Georgia and Hertzel are happy.

And yes, I am thinking about Abby http://www.caringbridge.org/va/abbyallies too. I have to put a sympathy graphic in her guestbook, and then unless the parents choose to keep up the page it's over. That is OK. I did not know Abby until she was zonked out with drugs and dying. Thankfully she died very sedated and paralyzed. I am not close and can drift away. Abby was my first Caringbridge death that I cared anything about. They say these things are an occupational hazard of being a Caringbridge groupie.

I'm not sure I'm up to a sympathy card tonight. I just want to post this blog and get some sleep. I'm planning either to buy groceries or walk to Country Life before work. Country Life is not open in the evenings so if I sleep in, it will be buying groceries. I guess I need fruit and peanut butter.

Yes, Passover is coming so this apartment will need to be flipped over too. I am blanking on that one. I guess that is a good thing. Well day six of the eleven day week was not so bad. Tomorrow is day seven. Talk to me near day eleven. My life is usually a ragged mess at that point.

Friday, March 12, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I thought I'd be in bed now but instead I'm just writing my tail off. There is something very wrenching about those Spaniards taking to the streets to protest the ETA (that is probably who did it) bombing of commuter trains. The Spanish were ninty percent against the war in Iraq despite the fact that their government sent troops. There are people like Phil Hendrie who would like to see this bombing make the Spanish pro war but the Spanish have their own homegrown terrorists as do we. Any one remember Timothy McVeigh and the militia movement? Are they still out there, those militias? How about abortion clinic bombers, and then there is the sniper in Ohio

Nice bloody stuff to discuss, but most of it is a sad side show. This morning I learned that Giselle Crosby, our cataloger and head of technical services will not be getting her contract renewed. I wish I could talk more about this but this is heading into off limits territory. Yes, I self-censor this blog where certain matters are concerned.

I wish I knew what I could do for Giselle. I passed her apartment tonight (She lives in number twenty-two. I live in number three here at the world famous Cedarwood.) and her bedroom light was on and her living room light was off and it was only nine pm. She clearly did not want company. Besides I had a potted tulip for shabbos. Yes, it's tulip number two and I think it is yellow. I was afraid Giselle would think it was for her. Besides Giselle was being her anti-social self or going to bed with the chickens.

Tomorrow if I get up early enough, I'll go to the Greyhound station and buy a ticket for Utica for the twenty-sixth. I told Lou that I already had the time off from work, and needed to make arrangements so I could travel. His coming down on the 26th when I am coming up on the 26th would be a singularly bad idea. You don't just trash somebody's travel plans and plans made a week or two in advance are more or less made in stone. Lou, I need the lead time to make arrangements. I need to make cat sitting arrangements and get the time off from work. Besides you have a long history of not following through on travel plans. If I don't come and get you when I have a window of opportunity this will be the last window of opportunity before Harvey's wedding and I need you with me then.

I have decided that Lou and I will go uptown to the Cloisters before the wedding which is an evening affair. We'll get back to our hotel late in the afternoon and dress and go to the wedding which is only either three or eight blocks away from our hotel. We can take the subway up town. I have a Let's Go for New York City. It is worth its weight in gold.

Of course our plans may change. I keep imagining Lou getting sick in New York or paralyzed with fear and then unfortnately, absolutely no fun to be around. I get pissed off when Lou gets like that.

Home worship was quiet and went well. This apartment could be cleaner, but though I'm clean nothing else is. I fell off my diet and will now have to go through the hard part (I'm craving a daily hit of caffeine and sugar again and the deprivation will be intense.) again. My diet is a perpetual thing. I've lost about twenty pounds so far. I may have gained some back with what I've been eating lately. Blech...

Home worship is all I get because I work this weekend. Saturday will be day six of the eleven day week. I'm not blanking on this. I am looking forward to not having to get up with an alarm clock. I am actually grateful. I can be grateful and angry at the same time. It's not that hard.

I have a headache and I am tired. I don't know how the morning tomorrow will go. I spent a lot of time at work cleaning malware off my hard drive. I ended up with an unplanned revision of http://tacheiru.us/eec I'll probably make another revision placing unlinked URL's for the Flowgo sites in the Hall of Shame instead of the link that is there presently. I don't know where or how I picked up the malware. Flowgo is a big site. I picked up the malware, at least one piece of it and the hardest piece to remove, by sending two Flowgo cards. Apparently one can catch this malware just by walking through the site. I made one trip back to Flowgo to get a list of their sites but with the browser security and privacy provisions turned up to their highest levels. This will be the last trip to Flowgo on either the work or home computer.

The next update will be done from the public terminals in the library. These have Deep Freeze on them. Deep Freeze will destroy anything that is downloaded and reset the registry the right way. I will make sure of this before starting the update. Since Deep Freeze activates on reboot, I can check for the malware and see if I picked up anything. Apparently this is relatively new malware loaded on in February of 2004, right between the updates.

I still feel violated. I cleaned up my own mess and think I did a good job of it. The malware was only partially loaded. It could have loaded a lot more junk.

The malware has made me do a lot of thinking. People like ready made e-cards as opposed to blank ones. I happen to be at the other end of the spectrum but that's what makes horse racing. I think I might send ready mades if I could find cards I wanted to send. I have unmetered bandwidth and web space to burn. I have PSP 8 on the work machine. I used to be the glib sort who could turn out poetry. I found a send-it-on remotely hosted script. I am hopelessly lazy where CGI is concerned. Yeah, another project, a ton of projects and no time. I have even less time than it looks like here.

The thing is graphics make me sane. Like spirit contact, I long for time to just sit at the graphics bench and come up with something new. Today I was straightening out my machine and grooming the Middle East webliography (It's not my area but it got thrust on me.) because I felt guilty about all the time it took to clean off my machine which I shouldn't have gotten dirty in the first place. For the record, I think I was off the clock when I sent two Flowgo cards. Sometimes a little bit gets the computer a lot dirtier than you'd expect.

I guess I need to avoid the caffeinated soda and prioritize my life better and yes, I need to buy Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding present.

by Eileen Kramer

I feel antisocial unless I blog though I know I should be sleeping. I have a shrink's appointment in the morning. As odd as it sounds, things are barely under control. The class materials are xeroxed. The grading of paper assignments are done, and the grades on the little "works citeds" were fully a whole letter grade, though I don't assign letter grades, than usual. I've lost the chaff and kept the sweet wheat.

I even had a chance to show one of my students the advantages of a clean index today. We found things on ERIC that eluded us on Academic Search Premier. We even used a pearl search to get the subject heading. A pearl search is where you take one appropriate reference and use its subject heading(s) to search for more of the same. Pearl searching is intuitive and effective.

Searching is fun and teaching searching is fun because good searching is magic and the world fits together smoothly and logically in one big map. That may be an illusion or it may operate that way in libraries. There has been good indexing for about a hundred years. That's long enough to create at least one fairly large orderly place.

I do a lot of computer help and trouble shooting. People ask me for rote steps and I blank because I don't know long rote procedures. I just know where to start and have a basic idea of what causes trouble. From there I make an educated guess and often find the right answer by looking one or two places. Reference is all about making educated guesses and relatively rapid ones without a lot of cogitation.

Refernece work is very cool. I was angry earlier this evening but I am not angry any more. I think sleeping a couple of hours this evening helped. I lay down to meditate, did meditate for a bit and then dozed out of the trance and woke up just in time to put the Antarcticans to bed. Except for the litter pans, I did not clean the apartment which is not that bad. I threw out the dead flowers in the dining room. The vase they were in was a mess but it is drying on the counter now.

Theresa, one of the part timers wants me to teach her academic reference. She says she does not remember GALILEO which is our state wide database system. She also says she slept through reference class. I was shocked because reference is about the most important class you have in library school. Even if you can search for yourself, doing research for others, is different. If you were a science major (Biology and Society in my case) you know absolutely nothing of how the average college student does research. That wasn't you. Nearly all your library research was major related and you got to use some arcane and specialized tools (CSA/Cambridge Scientific Abstracts) plus BIOSIS/Biological Abstracts. Reference taught you the basic tools you never touched, the ones outside your major. The other person who taught me a more basic kind of science reference was Polly Miller at Sci-Tech at Syracuse. She taught me about CBE style (Cornell Arts and Sciences was/is not a style guide school.) and General Science Index. Polly and the crew at Sci Tech (Lockie, Tom, and Leslie, but mostly tom and Lockie) also taught me a bit about citation verification, enough to rub off on me and thinking on my feet and trouble shooting.

Not everyone gets a Liz Liddy teaching them reference or a Tom, Lockie, Polly, and Leslie showing them how to do reference even though what they do seems miles away from anything you can do. I was very lucky and had no idea at the time.

On a very different note, Erma, my supervisor did show up at work today. She had a cane and could hardly walk. She banged up her knees very badly in the parking lot. She left early to go to the doctor. She had so much meds in her she was bleary eyed. Erma and I both drag our sick tails to work when we shouldn't.

I got the history of science/general science webliography to Diana and it will go up in a few days. My annual activity report is finished and ready to go to Callie, the boss. I want to do a small weed and may treat myself to it. I want to make a big space of time and sit and redesign a vestris board for the RAOK Guestbook Committee though a roundup comes first. I think I found the image I want to use in the design too. It doesn't matter that I don't have time for this project. I tend to dream and plan and then do what I please on impulse. I am still graphic hunting though.

Reading Caringbridge.org pages distresses me sometimes. It's amazing all the things that just plain go wrong in modern medicine. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Sometimes the cure becomes the disease. Sure people say these kids are brave, but often their drugged senseless and they're too young to tell the doctors "STOP!" It's the bravest person who like my former colleague Patti's friend Georgie said "I don't want chemotherapy."

I haven't seen Abby out of body and that is fantastic. I believe she is still alive. I hope there is an update on her soon. Hertzel is sitting like a big meditative kitty statue. I don't have to get worried that the key board disturbs him. I have to take Georgia off the desk or my lap if I am going to type or the tapping makes her twitchy. From there it can escalate to a full-blown seizure. Hertzel is just purring away, a low snoring purr. He is such a people cat. He is twelve pounds with gold/green eyes and all white fur and a big pink nose and ears like pink and white shells. His tail is thick as a broomstick and he has a big tom cat neck and boy kitty titties on his belly. He is washing his sweet face now. He is a a lickie play fighter and a social groomer too. He is a very sweet boy.

Well it's nearly three am. I still have that 8:20am shrink's appointment. Maybe I'll ask him about the angries. I've been clean about a week and right now is one of the few times I haven't been angry at someone or something. I know I'll be angry again in a few hours or some time tomorrow.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well, I'm up late beacause I like to be up late and because I was just updating the E-Card Education Center http://tacheiru.us/eec I needed a new forum and this is my first locally hosted Vestris forum. The header and all the files that make up the forum were already mounted and played with. My big Vestris project and site revamp will wait a bit. I can't do everything in one night.

More disaster has struck. Erma, my supervisor, hurt her knee in the parking lot. She will be out tomorrow and I will be the only full time reference librarian on hand. I am so far behind at work I can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is a very good thing because that the bulb in that light is about to go out. That is also a very good thing because the light only illuminates a brick wall. You can see why it is good not to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A person needs to cling to some sort of hope.

Erma was also out today and I had to give a class. I came to work and found myself with two appointments. As a result, I barely got the Libr1105 work graded and nothing is xeroxed for the next class. We have a two week break due to assessment day and Spring Break so that is good. I will be glad to have this yoke partially off my back. Students can use the time to catch up from the terrible work load I inflict upon them.

I have a raging headache and fear I am coming down with a cold. I can't afford to be sick. Maybe that is how this eleven day work week will end. I need fresh flowers for Shabbos and tomorrow night I get to clean up for the Shabbos bride.

I think it's official Flowgo has blacklisted me or else they just don't get along well with Everyone.net I'm not going to figure that one out tonight.

I worked second shift today. I managed some spirit contact. I straightened out a couple of sticky billing situations and paid for the Ladies Advance email list. I also took a hot bath and made vegetarian curry which tastes good but with polenta it tastes weird. I'll make some pasta for it. I have no rice in the house but may buy some on Saturday or else I'll make wheat berries. I need to use up lots of stuff before Passover.

Right now this morning could have been eons ago. I just want to sleep. I don't even care about spriit contact except I know I will miss it. Gerry (GMP) and I had the best conversation this morning. I told him that if I were to run across him today as he was when he was alive I probably would want nothing to do with him. I'd consider him a waste of my time. Then I asked if in my present state he would find me worthy of friendship. He said that a team was needed to handle me. Yes, I had changed. Yes, we are still loyal to one another. Yes, we are still friends. I guess that is what counts.

At least the students' grades are reported and Haldis scored her team at Webleagues. I have not checked Abby's page for some time but no news may well be bad news. Wait there is an update at http://www.caringbridge.org/va/abbyallies I have not seen Abby out of body and that is a relief, not that I mind. She's a great kid and a piece of me understands her better than most people would. A long time ago there was a train leaving in a small town in West Virginia and I was under it. Little girls should not play on railroad tracks.

Languishing in a hospital bed is an indescribably awful experience. When is it time to say "stop?" The doctors think something can be done, so it is proceed at any cost. This has been going on for days if not weeks. It is every bit as horrific as the scourging in the Passion of Christ except it is real and there is not one thing that is redemptive about it.

I thought about adopting another Caringbridger today but decided I just plain have a plate that is too full. This one would be an adult with lupus which is what my supervisor, Erma has besides a hurt knee. Erma is my supervisor though and not a bridger. Erma also did not learn she had lupus until she was thirty years old. Erma has kidney damage due to high blood pressure and arthritis from the lupus. Erma is on an exchange diet for the kidneys which is similar to the low protein diet given a cat with bad kidneys. MaryAnn, the cat I grew up with, had bad kidneys and had several pretty good years due to the exchange diet. My mother had to make baby cereal and use it to cut Purina canned tuna cat food. This was not the greatest food, but MaryAnn would eat it.

Georgia at seventeen is alive MaryAnn died five months after her seventeenth birthday. Georgia is also in much better shape despite her inflamatory bowel condition (severe hairballs). Georgia mews and broops me to bed every night. She sings almost as she makes a nest next to my head. I hope her stomach will be quiet. If it's not quiet I can hear it growling. It is a very weird sound.

Having an old cat is a blessing. Having a reasonably healthy old cat is a wonderful blessing. I ought to count my blessings, but I would like two or three uneventful days in which to do the counting. I feel as if I have been hit by a truck.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Let me turn off the music. Give me silence. I am too tired to think, but who says I have to think to write. Alise surprised Ghostletters this afternoon by saying that she and Dov, her boyfriend, love the tapped cell phones because they can listen in on one another but would like control of the evesdropping mechanism so they can have an occasional quiet conversation. Naama wrote to a demon and asked if he caused the Karch's quadruplets to be conceived. Naama had a hand in that too but that is another story.

I somehow got through class today. I am going to have to give students a lot of help in the library this week. I did a rotten job. I think I was just too tired. I still feel disgusted about having to move the students to yet a third board/blog provider. Proboards might be worth using next year, though I have other plans.

At 7:30pm tonight chaos of a more positive kind came through. I was still at work when I learned that Readyhosting.com my provider of rented space had installed Agnes.exe for me and I could go set up my boards. Agnes which comes from Vestris.com still has a few holes in it, but I think I'll get them patched up soon though I have plenty of time. I don't feel comfortable supporting my own web board software but will by fall. This time no one will close down the service. If I can get the holes patched, I will be able to offer a community board for my students that I know is stable. Of course by next fall Templatedepot.com may also be stable. The new board is just a mouseclick away from http://tacheiru.us/eec I have a registration pending. By tomorrow afternoon I think that one will be out of the woods. That will feel very good indeed.

I did some graphics today and sat through a long search committee meeting. There are things going on at work that I can not write about on this blog. I am going to have to leave it at that.

It is cold again. I dragged out the winter coat and wore it to work. Tomorrow is a late day so I can sleep in. I need the sleep. I may do some cooking in the morning. I'm not sure what I'll make. I may cook Thursday night as well. If I get up early enough, I'll go to a health food store called Country Life. It will be good for me to walk five miles each way in the fresh air and sunshine. It smelled strange to have to run heat again.

Abby's page at Caringbridge.org http://www.caringbridge.org/va/abbyallies is not updated. I worry. I also tell myself that it could be good news. Just because you sign someone's guestbook doesn't entitle you to a place in their life.

I wonder if the demon wrote back to Naama on Ghostletters. That might be funny. I like the person who writes the demon. In Ghostletters parlance she is a scribe and her name is Lisa. Lisa is a good scribe. There are also pissy scribes. Amateur fiction does that. Scribes are an elite bunch.

Tomorrow I catch up on all the work I forgot about. Tomorrow I grade picky works citied lists. Tomorrow is going to feel like crap. Maybe by afternoon I'll be in better spirits. Who knows.

One annoyance is my watchband broke so I am watchless until I go to the mall and put more money into a new band. The watch which cost twenty-five dollars has a thirty dollar lifetime battery in it and has gone through two other batteries and I think this is watchband number four. Yes, for real. I believe it is bad luck to throw away watches. My mother would have thrown the watch away a long time ago. The watch is six years old. I refuse to part with it until I lose it and when I do lose it, I will be very very sad.

I am feeling paranoid about the payments for tacheiru.us having gone through. I need to check to see if my debit card has been billed. I will be doing the happy dance if it has and doing the phone call to the toll free number if it's not there. I guess I should bite the bullet before I go to bed. You can tell that tired as I am, I don't feel like sleeping.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I ought to check Abby's page at Caringbridge one more time http://www.caringbridge.org/va/abbyallies There were no new updates as of about 7pm and I tell myself that no news is good news. I know for what I am waiting. It's an awful feeling.

Of course this has been an awful day. Here it is. You can see for yourselves.


My class is once again losing its board/blogs. This is the second time this semester. I am not only angry. I have a real reason to be angry. I set up Proboard. They are well known, name brand, and I just hope and pray they hold out for six more weeks. I feel sick about having to go in front of my students and tell them..... "we lost our board again." This one wasn't my fault. Everything was working. The board software was seven years old. The more I think about this, the angrier I get. I wish I knew a journal that would publish a paper on coping with disaster in a one credit library course. This course has been an unmitigated disaster.

By the way a failure with WebCT or anything else campus supported (even a partial failure by the way) would be every bit as disasterous if not more disasterous. Lack of support is not a problem. My class has a new board and the posts have been moved there already. I know the drill for switching boards. Because the boards are NOT password protected. I simply have to link in a fresh one and we are ready to go. It will still feel like jerking the students but it's a fast yank. If something goes down that I can't support because someone else is doing that job, then I'm dependent on those people to get that thing fixed. If they don't fix it to my satisfaction, I'm stuck.

I started out with options today and was able to make choices. I also knew what to do first (save the data). To their credit, Vestris, allowed for an instant download of all posts and gave a week's notice. Templatedepot.com (which has come back but is no longer trustworthy.) gave less than twenty-four hours.

That still doesn't keep me from considering David Block who runs Vestris to be a total asshole. Here is his web site.


He killed my class' board and then went out skiing, the no good bastard. I chewed him out good on the support board, but I think a nasty email is in order.

I dealt with David when Vestris offered guestbooks without decent documentation. The guestbooks were among the best on the market. I fixed one up for my mother with a sidebar that featured Goldwyn Smith Hall. My mom is a Cornellian (and an Artsie too!). She adored her custom Cornellian guestbook. It needed to be cleaned out though and the posts edited. I asked David a simple question and he gave me a real snotty answer. He loathed guestbooks and after a while Vestris got rid of them.

By contrast, Brian Sniff, at Template Depot was a prince to deal with . I will probably use Template Depot boards for personal projects but I will not be letting students anywhere near them until summer at least. Six months stability and a good disaster plan are essential. And yes, both Template Depot and Vestris had good histories of being stable before they went down.

Looking at David Block's blog just makes me very very angry and hurt. I would like to spit in his face right now. I would like to drag him up to the third floor of the library tomorrow at 4:30pm and make him look into my students' eyes and tell them why they are inconvenienced once again. No he'll be out skiing, drawing, and partying.

The problem with writing a poison pen letter to David Block is that I am going to be writing it in my official capacity. You get the rest of the idea. Basicly, what I'd like from David Block is an apology to my students. He has given them one more hassle in a course that is already way too rigorous. A board is a board is a board, but the interface on Proboards is a bit different than the open style Matt Wright design. The messages and the posting link are on separate pages. You click an icon to go from one to another. I may have to demo it just in case. Board changes hurt the least computer savvy students in the class.

And speaking of not computer savvy, I helped a student email articles to herself today. She returned to the library frustrated she could not open them. It turned out she needed Adobe Acrobat on her machine. She has an older machine much like my home machine. I told her not to worry Adobe runs just fine on older machines. I showed her where to get it. She is thinking of doing her big project on this so the extra articles will come in handy. I just realized we teach how to reach Galileo at home but never teach students where to find Adobe Acrobat. Well learn something new every day. Too bad a student has to suffer so that we may learn.

I don't feel like going to bed. I miss playing around with graphics. I look at the small change in the dish on my desk at work and think I wish I had more than a nickel now. I know I don't want to make adoptions for RAOK. I never use them myself. If I want graphics I make them. If other people want them, usually one size never fits all. People want something specific. My page for Caringbridge kids that I visit is on hold because I am watching Abby's site very hard. Yes, I think this has stopped being voyeuristic.

As for the blueberry pie, I gave it to my neighbors in Apartment #12. I will miss it. I had a piece for breakfast. I had leftover veggie potato chips and soda for lunch. I was either going to get fat or malnourished this week and I don't want to end up in either state. The pie will not go to waste and I did get to eat two pieces of it. I threw the last of the chips away. I made brocoli rabbe with stew veggies and stringbeans tonight. It was quite good. There is enough polenta and green peanut sauce for the next night or two. Then I'll make curried TVP and vegetables to eat with more polenta. My irrirtable bowel is going to the pampering resort. I feel like my sweet old kitty, Georgia, who enjoys the Iam's hairball formual so much because it sets so well on her poor little old cat digestive system.

I guess I have to go to sleep sooner or later. This is the end of day five being clean. It still sucks. I notice I am not thinking about squeezing that scab, something I do a lot when I'm not clean. I do more thinking about it than doing it. I'm not even thinking about it right now. I'm thinking about how my shoulders hurt and how dark and cold it is at night. I'll wear my winter coat to work tomorrow. I wonder how I will last out this eleven day week.

Monday, March 08, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

The bible study put on by my schul was not that bad. I rather liked it. I did NOT like the fact that I ate one piece of my blueberry pie and Florence, AJ's wife who has parkinsomism (The rabbi's wife is also named Florence.) ate another. I have six pieces of untouched pie in my fridge. Now, I ask all of you how often to do you get home made blueberry pie for dessert? That's what I made. Yes, I used canned blueberry pie filling, but so what. This is March. What else would any one use. There may be blueberry pie recipes that use frozen blueberries, but I did not have time to do the research.

The problem is generational. Old people have smaller appetites and most of the people who turn out for anything the schul runs are a generation older than I am and I'm forty-one, soon to be forty-two but I still have a young person's appetite.

Sweets, home made ones esepcially, are part of a covered dish dinner, and home made fruit pie, even with canned filling is high on the treat scale. Really good fruit pie (home made and fresh) does not need to be reheated (hot pie is gross) or dolled up with ice cream, whipped cream, or cheese. It's good just plain at room temperature. It's not plain. It has real pie fruit in it. Blueberry pie filling is expensive. I can remember eating blueberries in syrup (similar to pie filling) in a dish as a treat as a kid. My father and I preferred sweetened fruit treats to chocolate or to all those rich desserts done up with candy. Fruit pie is a holiday dish.

Well it's going to be a holiday all this week. I feel as I have cast pearls before swine. I suspect that the desire to indulge in food (not something one does every day because it loses what makes it special) like the desire to indulge in sex are deeply related and both wither with age. This makes me scaird. I want to stay young as long as possible. I hope they come up with something to combat the effects of aging. They might, in my life time. I'll gladly line up to be a guinea pig to try it. I know some old people still make love, but they don't do it as much. I imagine there are some old people who pig as well, not all the time, but once in a while when there is a special occasion. Are pigging and making love related? I think they are at least symbolically.

And if you are an old person, please don't take offense. I'm an unhappy cook and I have to vent. I worked hard on that pie. It is worth the paragraphs I devote to it. Well, I am not going to throw it out. It will be either breakfast or lunch all this week. I'll just skip something more nutritious so I can eat it.

I bridged three times tonight. Aidan http://www.caringbridge.og/il/aidan has a new update. It is not good news but at least it is news. Yes, I'd still like to do a custom background for Aidan but that is a no go for a lot of reasons.

Then we have http://caringbridge.org/va/abbyallies This is the little girl whose sufferings remind me of those of Jesus in the Passion of the Christ, but of course like the thousands who suffer every bit as badly in real life for all kinds of reasons, Abby's suffering helps no one. It just plain hurts. I pray "God's will be done" on this one. She has been made as sick by medical science as by her disease. Parents will do everything to save a child, and sometimes, maybe that is the wrong decision. Sometimes it leads to where Abby is.

By the way, if Abby recovers, I'll be the first to cheer. It is wonderful to be pleasantly surprised. It is more than wonderful. It is stupendous. Realistically though, my gut feeling says that Abby is not going to make it. I'm not laying odds. I'm just going with my gut.

I saw Abby when I was channeling last night and this evening. I feared the worst. I've sometimes seen living people out of body. I think all of us do this when we dream and Abby is zonked out on all kinds of paralytic and sedative drugs, so she'd be an ace candidate for a "dream share." Well the dream share made me hysterical, for want of a better word. Abby was with a baby faced (He'd hate to be called that since he has too much gravitas) former ambassador to Lichtenstein. I don't remember his name. It was something like Collin/Colin or Rollin. I'd recognize him again if I saw him. He had a lover named Griffin. They lived in a big stone house with lots of books on the walls and their general classiness and education impressed Abby. They had showed Abby around including a visit to a foot bridge made of an interesting material that looked like a cross between paper mache and concrete all interspersed with little bits of ribbons and colored paper.

The bridge scaird me. I told Collin and Abby that if the worst had happened I would not believe the news if they told me. I was adamant. I was frightened. Griffin snapped the link. Thankyou Griffin. I went to find Abby's page and signed the guestbook tonight. Abby seems to be hanging in there. She's zonked out thank God but she's still on a respirator. She still has pneumonia. Her liver is still not normal (A virus attacked it after a bone marrow transplant), her gut was bleeding. She was bleeding all over her back and neck. That's all I have right now. Isn't that enough?

I'll keep checking Abby's page every day. This way if I encounter her, I will not be so scaird. I don't help her by being scaird. Savannah http://www.caringbridge.org/ar/savannah is my third bridge kid tonight. Her mother is eloquent and Savannah is having a good time though the steroids are making her into a little tyrant. If Savannah is dying, she won't do it tomorrow, and her quality of life is fairly decent. Abby's quality of life is pretty much in the toilet bowl right now.

Bridging helps me be less angry. I slept tonight for several hours. That was all I wanted to do when I got back from the Bible Study. I think the sleeping has to do with an upset stomach. I ate food I was not used to yesterday. I also think it is an effect of getting clean. It's a way to dodge all that anger. I don't feel angry now. I think I slept it off.

This is day four of being clean. It's not getting any easier. That hurts. I will be without a viable scab to squeeze in about a week. I will still dream of having one and wanting one long afterwards. Being clean has no morally redeeming qualities in the short run. Being clean in the short run is way more trouble than it is worth.

I keep saying I should try twelve-step. Given my endless history of getting clean and relapsing (With the meds, I'll be good for at least fiveor six months of being clean which is better than the one to six weeks without meds, though the last time I ran out of meds I stayed clean for twelve weeks!) something that would keep me permanently clean is very attractive. I don't even know where to begin. I don't think there are any twelve step programs for self-mutilators. Back to square one.

I'm not all that impressed with the Bible study we are doing. Maybe when I do the independent component I'll feel better. I want to find the Babylonian Creation myth and read it in its entirety. It features the slaying of a seven headed dragon. We now live in the dragon's belly and are made from her blood. I don't have to tell all of you how absolutely cool this sounds. Tiamat, the amazing dragon whose parts make the world, is a legendary semi-divine monster in the D&D monster manual and book of gods. Who says Babylonian civilization is completely dead. Who says it was not cool, maybe cooler than Judaism. Cooler does not mean better but one must recognize cool where one sees it.

I guess this is one more job to do on top of working eleven days straight. I also haven't ordered Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift yet. I've left the UNRegistry strictly alone. The energy has to start going towards a successful boyfriend capture the end of the month. This wedding is far away but I can't pig too much or I won't be able to get into my dress. Time to feel guilty. Yes, indeed.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I've been on and off the net all day. I ate like a pig and drank as much as I could get a hold of at the schul Purim party. There was not much chance to get wasted even though I wanted to. The pigging was another story. I ate tons of chopped liver and crackers. I normally don't have meat. I don't want to think of what I did to my poor irritable bowel. All this was on top of a couple of cold Cokes. I hit every trigger in the book and then some. I'm not sick yet, but a bowel will take a while to find out what hit it.

At least the menstrual cramps have finally worn off. That is good. It was sunny today, perfect schul walking weather. I dealt with a lot of anger today which right now has disappated. I think I either drank it away or else wrote it away on Ghostletters. I had Dr. Karch, the physics professor from Hell, make an ass of himself at a Purim party. What Alise and Naama who wintnessed the performance don't know is that he switched cell phones on Alise. He switched both Alise' phone and the phone she is supposed to give to Dov. The new phones are wire tapped so Dr. Karch, and ultimately Alise herself can hear what is said about her behind her back.

Haldis got her team ready for fighting and put up this page http://www.thewebleagues.com/antarcticans/running.html Boom Boom the competition owner is out of town and the cumulative spirit points have not been updated for two and a half weeks. Haldis had to do something. This was a lot more trouble than it looks like. You'll just have to believe me.

The story of Esther read at the schul tonight was CENSORED The real story ends with Haman being hanged for an attempted rape of which he is NOT guilty. Esther entices him on to her couch to plead for his life and then screams for the guards or for Ahaserus who upon seeing Haman in that compromising position assumes the worst. How do you say entrapment and palace farce. Also the rabbi left out the last chapter of the tale in which the Jews have their own night of the long knives against all their enemies. Bloody revenge is hard for modern Jews to swallow but leaving out uncomfortable parts of a story is not a good idea. They were left in or put in for a reason. They are there to teach. Tomorrow or late tonight, I'll read the whole book of Esther. I don't feel like showing up at schul at 9am to hear it read in Hebrew since I don't read Hebrew anyway.

I can't believe I have a whole day to myself tomorrow. Weekends are such wonderful things. I may walk to the river or just do Country Life and the supermarket. I have some good salad ideas. There was fresh rappini in Publix but it won't be fresh by late tomorrow afternon or I can't count on it being fresh. If it still is I'll buy it and cook it off. There is a Bible Study at a house on Sumack Rd. which is close by. I'll have to cook something. I'm thinking of either baking a cake or making a vegetarian pot pie which means I have to wake up early to buy the ingredients. There was a chocolate beet cake recipe on Brainstorms that I am thinking of chasing down. I'd have to go out and buy baking chocolate and eggs, but stores open early. Other stores stay open late. A pie is another option. Someone warned me about the kashrus of Publix' pies. I replied I planned on making a pie myself.

Well I just mixed up some oil pie crust. It's a new recipe though it's an old Settlement recipe. I have no pie filling Winn Dixie is open all night. If I can roll out the pie crust successfully, I'll make a late night supermarket run and finish the pie either early in the am or very late tonight. Winn Dixie is one hour away by foot through some lonely country but I think they sell pie filling. I want either cherry or best of all black berry. Blue berrry would be be good too. Pineapple exists but is very hard to get hold of. That's one you wish you had but never find. Fruit pies blow most other pastry out of the water. If I can manipulate the pie crust successfully I want to make a criss cross pie. That will look impressive. I'm sick of all these prissy old people on diets and people who have forgotten how to bake. It's time for some serious bakage. Is that a word?

I don't feel like sleeping anyway. You know what weekends are for. They are for crazy things like midnight trips to Winn Dixie. My stomach is starting to bother me. I have no desire to taste what I am cooking. I am cooking strictly from rote with no sensual pleasure. I am bouncing off the walls again.

I forgot how getting clean gets under my skin. It's still under my skin. I wonder how this ends. If I do't relapse, I get normal again in a week or two. Does it really take that long? A week or two feels like forever now especially given that Monday is the start of an eleven day week. Recovery sucks. Recovery sucks. Recovery sucks. Relapsing happens, but recovery sucks.

OK, I'm going to test out that pie crust and see if she flies. If she doesn't rip up too badly, I'll have a pie ready to go and then it's just a trip to Winn Dixie to scrounge up some sort of fruit filling. Well, the bottom crust is filled but the crust dough is warming so I set the last bit of it in the fridge. I have to roll this out on a plate, clean up the mess, put on pants and sneaks and head over to Winn Dixie. I should be back about 3am and with luck the pie can be done and cooling either right before or right after I sleep. This was not the worst idea I've had. I have a hunch I'll get stuck with pie in the house when I'm trying to lose weight which means I'll stick it in the break room for the same reason and see if I have any takers for it there. I kind of feel unfair forcing food on people who are also trying to lose weight. I throw away most of what I bake even though I think it tastes good but for tonight, I can have fun.

And yes, I am fixing to do the schul do after all the angry I went through. Go figure on all of this. I am caving big time. Was it the booze. Is it me. Is it getting clean that got me angry in the first place? I wish I knew. I don't make space for any emotions. They just force their way in and then they leave and other emotions take their place. I figure if the do sucks, I'll just say "I told you so." If it is decent, I'll say I was glad I went. I can't lose. No, I'm not an optimist. I am just good at rationalizing my stupidity. Besides, I like getting invited places. Invite me and I go anywhere.

Friday, March 05, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It's midnight and if I don't want to drag myself all sleep deprived to schul, I had better get to bed. I don't feel at all like reading the parsha. I don't really feel all that much like going to Saturday services except it's been three weeks since I last went and I know services are good for me. Fellowship even in its present strained state is still a plus. That's what I tell myself, but of course why then don't I want to read the parsha.

Home worship went well in its quiet kind of a way. On one level, do I really need a schul. I did here back from Mr. Myers, the County Democratic Chairman. He said with my previous experience I was a "party chairman's dream." I'm not that big a dream since political experience does not port from one region to another. I also work full time and don't drive a car but he does not know that yet. He'll find out. I'm on the party email and snail mail distribution lists so that is a start.

Part of me is thinking: why do I need a schul? Is it not more trouble than it is worth. I can read the parsha here at the house and study commentaries. I have a siddur so I can worship right here. I do like the singing at synagogue services and the comaradery around the oneg/kiddush table. That is not a lot left to like.

Part of me wants more time to meditate and get in touch with my spirit friends. That is rewarding. If you don't do this you'll just have to not know how good it feels. I washed out last night and don't want to wash out tonight. I feel a bit bereft.

Yes, I'm not quite myself physically either though I'm in much better shape than last Friday. Having a period may make me uncomfortable especially the first forty-eight hours but a period is not an illness. I am sore and I want to sleep a lot. I slept for three hours on the break room couch after work. It felt wonderful. I should just bring night clothes to work and sleep there. There must be something very good about that break room couch. I think the vendnig machines make a very pleasant vibrating sound that lulls me to sleep. Most of the time very good things are also very simple.

I added a new page to Unfettered Soul http://tacheiru.us/unfettered/raok11.html You've seen some of the pressies there. In fact I think you've seen all of them. Two you haven't seen are on http://tacheiru.us/unfettered/raok10.html I won't have to make any more gallery pages for a while. Both the Brainstorms/Caring Bridge page (second page) and this page are only partly full. The border for the RAOK page is camass. I always wanted camass graphics so now I have them.

There are camass that grow on Lou's parents grave. I planted them because they do well in moist soil and the cemetary soil is sticky and wet. The camass in real life though are nearly white. They were light blue in the catalog but color you get always varies. You don't see camass that much in the East. They are a nice flower though and the ones in pictures are nearly always blue. They are a challenge due to their spikey shape. I can't tell you the source for the camass border but it turned out really interesting so I'm happy with it.

I'll probably be making more pressies, but I've got another graphic project hanging fire at the back of my head. I want to redo Aidan's page http://www.caringbridge.org/il/aidan Go ahead and laugh but I think that background is atrocious and it's not the cross. It's the styrofoam effect. Of course Aidan's mother has not updated the page in more than a month and she never opened an e-card I sent her. I can however make a page about Aidan and MJ and Savannah with links to their regular pages and guestbooks. I get to do the graphic design then. I'm not sure how the parents will feel about my using their kids photographs but I could just leave those out. A name in caligraphy or decoration would do the job well enough. The three kids all have very public pages so links should be no problem. This project is just in the planning stages by the way.

And now for an unrelated piece of news, the data entry I had worked on all week is done. I'll have to do a different kind of data entry next week but that gets to wait two glorious wonderful days off. I love weekends. I love them more now that I do home worship on Friday. I used to dread being alone on the weekends. Well next week, I have no weekend. I'm starting a dreaded eleven day week on Monday. I'm going to feel like a wrung out rag by the end of it. Blech....

I am trying not to think about this last weekend before the long week. I am not blanking this one out too successfully. I did not write Ghostletters today. I will probably write it on Sunday when Alise gets to hand a cell phone off to her beloved Dov, her boyfriend whose racist mother and sister would not let her see him. Alise is a West Indian high school senior and her beloved Dov is a Lubavitcher Chasid. Turn up the theme from Romeo and Juliet or better yet, Endless Love which is one of my favorite movies. Alise is a lot smarter than Jade is. I have seen Endless Love six or seven times. My mother hates it. I adore it. One of the great things about Endless Love is that neither main character dies at the end. The boy goes to jail and Jade stands by her man and continues to love and visit him. The movie is not called Endless Love for nothing.

I also have to figure out how to have Jumanah Malcha respond to Naama who has been having empathetic nightmares about some very sad scenes in Jumanah's life. Jumanah is in foster care because her parents were disappeared post 9/11 Fiction is wonderful but there are only so many hours in a day.

I have also not decided what to do after schul. Sometimes I grocery shop but I could go another day or two. I may go to the museum or the river or the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. Tomorrow night Haldis has to set up for Webleagues so I have to be back up here. Competitions put one on a very rigid schedule. I haven't told my fighters where they are going. That is the next job for me. I just want a night and maybe half a day or a bit more off before the yoke slips on my shoulders again.

Georgia and Hertzel helped me with services tonigh by purring and meowing. They are cute this way. I don't mind petting cats and praying at the same time. The flowers in the vase have seen better days. Thursday before I put ZOID to bed or Friday right after work I'll buy another bunch at Publix. Next shabbos the flowers will be fresh.

I'll discuss Lou's capture with him this weekend. I put in for the days off I will need. I may buy the bus ticket this weekend. I still haven't bought Harvey's wedding gift yet, but I may take care of that this weekend too. Oh well...it feels great to be playing hooky from Webleagues for one evening.

by Eileen Kramer

There is a newsletter from my schul that is leaving me very sad. My rabbi can't do anything but take Zionist cheap shots and I'm stuck with him. His presence and the fact that it's not getting any better, is curtailing my involvement. I go Saturday mornings. I am going to avoid the Megillah Reading (I can do that here at the house) and Havdollah. The "do" at a member's home is off limits too. It's the rabbi's "do" now.

Thisis not one I can fight. I could if I wanted to of course, but quite frankly the fat cats like the rabbi and what he is doing. I'm outvoted. If I want to pray there are still services I can go to, but people who like what this rabbi is doing are not people I can really be friends with. I'm stuck.

I want to do something Sunday that is every bit as good as the Do. I may go to another matinee. I may go bar hopping Saturday night. Remember bar nights. I might go up to Atlanta. Why not??? Every trip does not have to be to buy food. Sometimes there are liberal religious activities in Atlanta. There are protests and similar events. My energy belongs in making friends with people like me.

By the way, it is not antisemitism when the other side accuses you of wrongdoing that may be true. The Hague's complaint about the Apartheit wall/wall of separation is not antisemitic. You may disagree with it, but it's a legitimite grievance. Israel's human rights record on the West Bank stinks. Saying that is not antisemitic. My Israel right or wrong plays way too well here in the nice safe south. So too does Christian bashing which is often thinly disguised classism or racism.

I am glad I grew up in the north where there was a larger and more diverse Jewish population. I stayed Jewish because I could find my way back to my faith without finding crap like this. Had I been raised Jewish here in the South, I would have converted to Christianity as a way to find a liberal church. I know it can be better than this.

Part of me is thinking about attending services in either Atlanta or Birmingham occasionally. Staying overnight in either of these cities would be expensive but I could afford it from time to time. One of the good things that has come out of my current schul situation is I take responsibility for my religion. Home services on Friday night help with this, though there are some Fridays when I'm so dog tired, it's a wonder I get through my short Shabbos celebrations. Saturday morning I go down for the service at the schul. Sure the rabbi is there, but he sort of has to stick to the Torah portion and a longer ritual partially neutralizes him.

I have finally realized after five years and after er...uh...paying my dues twice that I need friends outside the schul. This schul is any port in a storm. It is the only schul in Columbus to offer a traditional service. It's a run down flea bag of a port. It's all the reasons people consider organized religion and often organized Judaism second rate. I wish I were Christian. I just might try that church next to the schul. Those were the folks that put up a gym to keep kids off the streets. Those folks know what virtue is. We Jews are too into fat cat classism to know...at least here in Columbus.

In other news, I may be getting to the bottom of the data entry at work. That is good because then it starts again with a different part of the spread sheet. With a bit more work, it will be possible to start doing those pivot charts again. Of course the data is so different from one year to the next that well...I think I'm collecting bad data. Maybe I can convince the boss of that and get this project stopped.

I guess that really is wishful thinking. I sent a letter to the County Democratic Chairman requesting the chance to volunteer for the Presidential campaign. This is a start to finding friends who are like me. Volunteering at the local nursing home may also help. Even going to Atlanta would be good in this regard.

The schul situation has not really gotten any better since midJanuary when the crisis first broke. Home worship combined with Saturday services is a stop gap. Seeing the newsletter tonight reminded me I'm in the wrong place because there is no right place or I have not found the right place. The Unitarian church was not for me, but other things might be.

The other reason I'm suddenly bothered very badly about the schul situation is that I'm clean for the first time in months. I've been clean for a little over twenty-four hours. I'm a self mutilator. I take meds that sometimes help me stay clean, but I get cagey and secretive and haven't been clean for months. Well, the spot I like to squeeze on became badly infected a few days ago. I cleaned it with peroxide and anti-biotic ointment and it is healing. I have not squeezed on it in twenty four hours. Getting clean hurts but usually I take a good hard look at the rest of my life and deal with some of the stuff I didn't want to deal with. This can be anything from cleaning out my office at work to attacking the schul problem. I am profoundly angry and restless tonight and yeah it's probably PMS too. I wish I would get my period and have done with it.

I finally made some pressies and I wrote to Ghostletters today. All of that helps, but I wish I could go to a schul potluck and not have to worry about enduring the rabbi's cheap shot parade. This time around it's going to be how Jews are the opposite of Pagans and how we are better than they are. I asked the rabbi what sort of Pagans he meant the first time he said this. He said he meant polytheists. Gee, I did know or know of some polytheists. I asked which ones he was referring to. Santerros don't seem too different from the rest of us except they are a bit more fatalistic (It's in their doctrine from what I have read. They do a lot of divination.) Hindus invented the caste system but that was a long time ago. Ghandi was a Hindu too so it's more complicated than one thinks. Tibetan Buhddists can also be polytheistic. So too can Wiccans and none of these are particularly into human sacrifice, at least not in modern times.

The rabbi said that Jewish culture was diametrically opposed to the Pagan culture of the NearEast which was blood thirsty enough to sacrifice infant children....Whoa...Wait. Usually when one culture springs from another they are more similar than different. The Sumerians/Babylonians were NOT into human sacrifice. They were NOT Aztecs. They were into writing down long ethical codes....Hmmm....they are very similar to Jews. In fact, the Bible borrows some legends from them.

Now there are things that make Judaism superior to polytheism: the lack of a need for a big buerocratic priesthood; It can be just a person and his/her God. Then there's the fact that with only one God, you are much less likely to be a mere pawn in His hands. Less fatalism is a very good things. Myths can be more human centered too which leads to heightened respect for the individual. Also if the idea of montheism was born in Sumeria and who is to say that Abraham originated it (It could have existed long before he made it popular), it is just as old as the nature and fertility worship that Wiccans say is the oldest religion.

Believing in one God does not automatically make you moral. Believing in many Gods does not make you automatically evil. You can hopeully build a freer society under montheism and have a more can-do outlook, but you can do that without condemning the one of the first civilizations to arise on this planet.

When you build yourself up by tearing others down, it's bad news. Maybe I will really call that nursing home tomorrow. I will see what events happen in Atlanta on Sunday. I think I want to own stock on the Greyhound bus company.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Let the Indian music play. I finally crashed on the breakroom couch at work and I don't want to go to sleep at one in the morning. Tomorrow my cookie team springs in to action and I get a free lunch and a chance to watch one speaker before I am deskd at 1pm. I'll be in on the set up of the refreshments. The fancy veggie flavored potato chips are in my office. So too are the reddish brown plastic bowls with rolled over sides. This should be an easy set up, not too much fuss and work and it's over.

Callie was surprised this morning when I mentioned that I flip over the class on Wednesday. My low census for Libr1105 makes this a breeze. Callie, the boss, said she'd be doing it Monday night. Yeah sure.... Well if she would it's her problem.

I feel like Dr. Fuchs who taught me math 112 as much as he could teach. He was a sweet old man according to Bob Meller who had him for advanced math for physicists. I believe Bob. I guess I am benign, but I am woefully out of touch. No more papers. I'm going to put my foot down. The unbalanced workload on a course where I like to portion out the work weekly does not work. A double strength assignment for a final does work.

I posted more to Ghostletters today. My characters loathe all the other characters. It's an age and religion and social class thing. Three or four decidedly middle class high school and college students who are very serious about their academics have a certain disdain for the decadent grownups. The younger girls are from immigrant families and want everything spiffy and in good order. They are good girls and and religious and unashamed of it. They are also nearly the youngest characters on the telegraph which is another name for Ghostletters, though Vijaya (age fifteen) calls the telegraph the trash-a-graph. You get the idea.

Thinking of Ghostletters makes me happy. This apartment is a wreack though and tomorrow night, I put it to rights. Friday the Shabbos Queen shows up. Tomorrow night will be the one week anniversary of the terrible stomach flu. I hope it is gone for good.

Our search committee at work swung into action. I xeroxed nineteen resume packets today and tomorrow morning I spend time reading them. Deciding someone's future which is what a search committee does, is a scarey thing. I'd rather do data entry listening to music. I'd rather weed. I can weed again too, though I probably won't start that again until Monday. And yes the history of science webliography sits on my desk until I have time for it. I am also going to go through my annual activity report and add a few things. I'll probably get a rough draft of it done late this week or early next week. I'd rather do real work than beaurocratic stuff any day. At least the cookie team gets free lunch as do all the spectators at the Faculty Research Forums.

Georgia has not thrown up tonight which is good. She throws up ever couple of days. At least she keeps eating so if she loses some to hairballs that's the way it goes. She is on a special diet so she keeps her appetite and is not made too sick by the hairballs. She's a very sweet personable, skinny, old cat.

This week is going by awfully fast. I guess that is good. I'm glad my taxes and bills are paid. I learned if I take a 4:30am bus on Friday March 26th I'll be in Utica before noon on Saturday. I'll have virtually a whole day with Lou and then Sunday morning we start back to Columbus. It means I don't sleep Thursday/Friday night. Haldis puts her Webleagues team to bed and then I write something here nad then I grab my backpack and duffle and head for the Greyhound station to make the 4:20am bus. I'm really going to do this. Lou is talking about taking off before I leave. I don't believe it. It's really going to happen. I filled out the form asking for the days off. This is going to be it.

I haven't bought Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift yet. You can even buy it after the wedding so I don't know what the rush is anyway. I know my list at L-soft for Ladies Advance needs another quarterly payment and my account for tacheiru.us needs another yearly payment but that is not as bad as a lot of my bills. In other words, I can spend some bucks.

I'd like to go back to Atlanta as well. I may schedule an extra day off to do just that. It might be nice to have some really good Atlanta trip food. I just like Atlanta and would love to go there more often. Oh well....I'll be glad to go to schul on Saturday. I'll be reading the Megillah (Book of Esther) at home this weekend. Purim is a great excuse for rabbinical cheap shots. I'm ducking this puppy.

I wonder if there are enough fat cats who would spend $68 a pop to see the Israeli Philharmonic. I know I wouldn't, but I'm not that big a fan of classical music to start with.

Oh well...I disabled a board at ZOID due to spam problems. I am hoping the spammers will go away when they find the board doesn't work and then I can reopen the board. If not, I'll just find a new board provider. It's been done before. I'm thinking of making another attempt with World Crossing. I'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm listening to American Pie. I finally wrote on Ghostletters. It felt good to come back to my favorite list. I'm doing a semi-Biblical fiction plot where a character who is a descendent of Ilia DaJabne appears. Ilia DaJabne is the "real" Mary Magdelane. She indeed was a concubine/prostitute but she was never stoned to death. She came to Jesus (Joshua Phastis) to have her twin sons legitimized. They would be mamzers otherwise. Mamzers are the Jewish versions of bastard and it is a much fiercer stigma than ordinary bastardy. Ilia is educated, urbane, and Joshua is taken with her. Though he has sworn he would never marry, she becomes his wife. OK, nothing that earth shattering except they conceive a daughter together that Joshua never lives to see. Some time after Joshua's death (In my version of the story, he dies of typhus in the Roman's state of the art dungeon and never gets crucified) Ilia and Paul have a fight over Joshua's literary legacy. If you've ever wondered why Jesus never wrote down any of his teachings, Paul destroyed them (at least in my story).

Ilia decides that with no place in the movement and with the Romans still as in control as ever and as brutal as ever, the thing to do is flee and she takes her young daughter and her two sons and heads east to Parthia and from there south and eventually ends up in the deserts of Ethiopia where the trail grows cold. On some versions of Earth her memoirs, the Road Tales, have survived, but not in ours. Ilia and Shachara, her daughter are nearly forgotten....well not quite....

A middle school girl in Ardsley, New York knows some of the story. From there the plot thickens or does it sicken. Ghostletters is fun but I wish I had more time for it.

I cleaned up the java script in the CALA http://library.colstate.edu/cala page today. It wasn't that hard. I just used two pieces of code to do the very simple mouseover. The page is now Opera compatible and perhaps compatible with Netscape as well. I am glad that Diana, our systems librarian, tested the page in Opera which she is very fond of. She encouraged me to go clean it up and learn this stuff. I usually don't get to learn something new at work.

The rest of this week threatens to sink into administrative and grading bullshit. I learned today that I am laying a three credit load on students (in fact a rather heavy three credit load) on my students. I would like not to believe this but I think the accusation sticks. It doesn't stick because I am giving my students undue work. You are supposed to devote two to three hours outside class for every credit in a course. One assignment per week and one blog question comes to a bit less than that. Figure in the paper which serves in lieu of a final and the course is probably the right weight in theory. I think all of you can guess where this is going and that's not going to appear on this blog.

I made polenta with water cress sauce tonight. The polenta is a bit soft and watery but I like polenta and I'm glad to have it. I feel a bit less creatively blocked since I appeared on Ghostletters tonight.

I also found a message from this group in my inbox this afternoon, http://clicknsave2003.com/IAWC/home.html I am a member due to ZOID http://zc2zc3.st I think the guy who runs this outfit is a real know-nothing, yet comp people are my people. Once you sell your soul to the devil there is no going back.

I am thinking of writing to the leader and seeing if there are any comps that want to do mass market advertising with me. I have dreams of a booth at Thunder on the Hooch (the local Fourth of July festival) and possibly the state fair. Yes, this costs money, but having more than one comp advertising and several of us split costs might work. I've experimented with paid advertising at Google for ZOID and found it disappointingly costly in a very open ended and unpredictable way.

I also got a new member at Ladies Advance. http://tacheiru.us/advance if you are curious. That surprised me since I have been doing absolutely no advertising.

Class tonight had a head count of only seven students. That made me sad to have lost so many. No shows happen near the middle of the semester but I put up adequate signage. I'm tired of being everybody's last class. I thought I did a good job with style guides. It is hard to be excited about them. Next week we do paper indexes. My students are going to rebell en masse. Only kidding but this bunch for whatever reason is a bunch of commuters who want to spend as little time on campus as possible. That puts me and them at odds in the worst way. It can't be helped.

I think with time it is easier to give in. Wait...I don't like where this is going....I worked some on my annual report today too. I suspect I left stuff out.

I still haven't bought Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift yet. I'm not sure why. It just doesn't feel right yet. Tomorrow may be a better day for such things. At least I have the hotel reservation and the dress. I have to ask for the days off for capturing Lou. I'm trying not to think of that either.

I know I get a two week break from Libr1105 after next week. My students will just as soon forget me but that is OK. Having the time off will mean it is easier to go to Upstate New York and bring down the boyfriend.

It is already spring here. Narcissus are blooming. The oaks have fat red buds and some of the crab apples are in flower. This is way too early to enjoy delights that are awaited and savored for several months up north, but it is nice to go outside without my coat on for sure.

Well I need to get some rest. I don't feel much like sleeping. I'm in for another round of cramps any day now. These won't be stomach flu cramps though. This is just my monthly cycle doing its usual. I hope it is not a bad period. I'm guessing I'll have it on or before the weekend. At least my bad menstrual cramps won't hurt as badly as that stomach flu and if they do it will only be for a few hours, not for a whole night and with twinges that follow for several days.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Tomorrow I teach one of the duller Libr1105 classes. I hate doing style guides. I did not know what a style guide was until I was in library school and then I learned only sort of by accident. I remember working with a cheat sheet a couple of times. Otherwise you just copied the format of the bibliography of any book you had handy.

Students are made to use style guides for the professors' convenience in tracking cheaters or because the professors were made to use them as undergrads. The whole thing is an exercise in the rankest make work. Boy does my attitude you know what.

Anyway, I redesigned the http://library.colstate.edu/cala web site today but the mouseover menu has some problems as in compatibility issues so I am going to have to learn to make my own java script rather than get it from a drag and drop site and then tweak it.

I don't know if I'll get to do it tomorrow. It is annual report season at work and I teach and you get the idea. I'll try and squeeze it in somehow. I started the general science/history of science webliography today and found it depressing due to the large number of outdated and no longer maintained web pages. I fear the golden age of the web is through for all but ladies' groups and the like.

I still have not made any graphics for RAOK Hugs Committee, nor have I written anything to Ghostletters or worked on Circle. I feel cheated yet I know I did something creative today. I guess this happens from time to time. I'm going to try to get up early in the morning and vote. I napped earlier this evening which is why I'm up late right now.

I'm not even sure what graphics to make for the Hugs Committee. The Patter Prompter at Ladies Advance fell together in record time http://tacheiru.us/advance The ideas were good and the graphics needed little work beyond transparent backgrounds. Yes, that's flying a Haitian flag. Why not?

How do I feel about the United States being in another war, not that this is really a war? How do I feel about the United States possibly fomenting a coup de tat that takes out a democratically elected leader? I feel sad and disappointed. I don't think this would have happened if Gore were in the White House. This is a heck of a way to begin a month. This is a heck of a thing to happen before a primary that has been decided in a smoke filled or smoke free back room. Give me my ladies groups any day. Give me sight fighting or web graphics. Give me my MP3's on this machine or streamed techno music on the machine at work. Escapism has its points.

One of the most gruesome pictures from the Passion that will stay with me is all of us waiting in the lobby to go in. Passion is a scarey movie and those waiting don't look comfortable. The particular theater where I saw the movie has the most gross looking popcorn. I was looking forward to some nice fresh popcorn. I looked at what they were selling and decided that it was not worth the three dollars. Well here were all these people looking uncomfortable, kind of knowing what they were in for, still munching away at the gross popcorn and drinking their sodas. There is just something weird about that.

I think the Passion gave me a nightmare last night. I was trying to escape from a shopping mall after stealing something when my accomplice named David double crossed me. He grabbed me by the backpack and pulled me down. I got out my house key and prepared to dislodge the backpack and run. He grabbed the key and started jumping on my face. It hurt. A couple of mall security guards broke it up and shoed David away. He still had my house key which meant I suppose he could come after me where I lived. We got on this train, the security guards and I, and they took me home. They had no idea I was a thief.

When I got home I found I lived with my parents, grandparents, and an aunt who died when she was seven years old. She had dread locks too which there is no way she could have had. I lived in a house that was old and three stories tall. It was in new country in the middle of nowhere. I ate pasta that was made into little painted houses sort of like gnocci but dyed with food coloring for roofs and windows and house shaped. They tasted good but I hated destroying something so beautiful by eating it.

Needless to say, I was kind of glad to wake up. Today I was NOT crampy for the first time since Wednesday of last week. I don't have a fever any more either. This is the first time in four days I have been comfortable in my own skin.

Tomorrow, I make polenta anyway. Corn products are good for my irritable bowel and there is no harm in pampering my poor intestines for a bit. I need to find a good simple recipe. I have the yellow corn meal and I know what kind of sauce I am going to make with peanut butter and pureed vegetables. Most nut butters really agree with me in case you are curious. I figure the polenta will be a good change.

By the way, I think Passion will spawn a whole rash of moives about the Ancient world. People will want to see more Greeks and Romans, and related folks http://www.troymovie.com if you don't believe me. I hope this is a good one. It stars Orlando Bloom. I am going to see it. Of course there is a great sequel to Passion, Acts the Movie. Now Paul would be a nice difficult dramatic part to play and the scene where Paul and Silas convert the two Roman jailers would be worth seeing. Way back then, Christians were considered just one more sect of Judaism so the view would be a lot less controversial than Passion. I don't think any one has ever done a movie based on Acts. Of course, if you want a classic Biblical theme that hasn't been on the silver screen in a while, why not do a movie based on the Book of Esther. The Christians tend to portray and play this story dead pan, an approach I prefer because it is good enough to stand up on its own without the humor which means discomfort. Then of course there is the story of the Mighty Macabees, a good one to release around Christmas time. It would feature brave warriors, plenty of swashbuckling and loads of excitement, and if you wanted to stick to the books of Macabees (the whole story) not just the party line, wow what a story! It even has an ambiguous ending. Then we have all the classical Greek tales waiting to be filmed with all their blood and thunder, or if you prefer we have Roman battles.

OK, I'm not crass, but historical movies are very very cool. Even something as problematic as Passion was cool for that reason. I wish it hadn't given me that nightmare though. OK, I hope some of you are up as we go to press here at blog central. Passion was a better show than the Democratic primary will be tomorrow.