A perfect sea urchin

My Evil Thoughts

Welcome to where I air my evil views, proud, uncowed, unbowed, and absolutely evil, superficial, and ignorant. Get used to it. To return to the main blog page, just click here.

Temptation and Where Did my Winter Break Go?

I haven't had a vacation this long in probably a year. I don't remember much about my break last year. I remember a break a few years ago when I went to New York on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. This year, there is no Christmas and there may be no New Year's. This has to do with Christmas and New Year's Eve falling on Shabbos. Of the two, New Year's Eve is harder to give up. I love going down to Five Points and watching the peach drop and the fire works light up the sky.

I am an absolute sucker for fire works and big gatherings that watch them. I remember with fondness, the press on the MARTA train coming back. I remember dancing in the rain one fourth of July. Can I give all that up for religion?

I'm horrified to find out how much I've slept this week. When I open my eyes at nine in the morning, I feel guilty. When I look back on this week I feel less guilty. I have caught up fully on PHP and even moved slightly ahead of where I was back in April. This means, I will return to work without any lost ground. I have kept this blog, mostly the fiction part of it, but the story is ready for a new plot twist, and no, you're not getting any spoilers.

I have just finished a photo shoot for Second Life and made Iyoba two new dresses. That is not very many. I started a new family of turtles, a necessity since I need some nonconsanguinous F1 eggs to breed with my existing F1's some time early in the spring. The baby Petable turtles are very cute. In the kitchen, I have made pasta pomadoro salad and pear vinagrette dressing and a new kind of corn pone made with mashed parsnips instead of cream style corn.

I only got bored yesterday. I finally went for a long walk after writing so much fiction, I felt ill. I did not feel that ill, just disoriented. I walked down DeKalb Industrial way. Yes, this was one very, random walk. I ended up finding a street called Jordan. I followed it and it took me back to North Decatur. I thought I would end up on East Ponce, but North Decatur was fine with me. It was a pleasant way to kill time.

I am less bored today if more tempted. I think I'm going to take advantage of the end of the afternoon to give some extra corn pone to a friend who lives off of East Ponce. It's a lovely day outside, and the walk will do me good. I can stop for cappacino or Coke on the way back and thus continue to indulge my addiction. Happy New Year and Shabbat Shalom.

Eileen H. Kramer -- December 31, 2010

Stepping on the Tail

I only caught the tail end of this, and it was as expertly coded as when WASPs say: "This is not New York City." In this case the code words were religious, Edom and Ishmael. I thought it was a strange choice, since by tradition, Edom has meant the Roman Empire and by extension perhaps modern Europe. Besides as any reader of Failed Messiah will know, Israel is not enforcing its civil rights laws with necessary teeth. In this case, it's a few very rotten apples that are spoiling the entire barrel, but if we can get our hands on those rotten apples, we have a right to chuck em or throw them in the road for the cars to run over.

Yes, you can want to imitate the rotten apples, but if that's what you want, well you're a rotten apple too. At least those who run my Modern Orthodox (which is not an oxymoron) the rabbis don't say certain things on the bimah. The bimah is the podium, but it's placed down in the first two or three rows of seats on the men's side. What can get said at Shabbos tables though is often both more extreme and less polite. A suggestion of committing ethnic clensing or genocide against either Israeli Arabs or Palestinians is an example of those less polite things. Saying the world is only 6,000 years old give or take a few centuries, is another. Talking about nuking Iran, is probably just ugly politics, but let's not leave out North Korea if you want to talk that sort of talk.

When one slides from suggesting something vile to religion, often saying that the present decadence, in this case the lifting of Don't Ask Don't Tell in the military is a sign of the messiah's coming on th heels of smugly suggesting the unmentionable, means you have slid well away from the spirit of our religion if not its particulars. You blow my theories about personal work making one more moral in one's dealings with the outer world. I said quite politely that all this eschatology left me cold. I don't feel it is Judaism. I feel it is occultims disguised as Judaism. Besides you don't win any friends accusing people of being utterly vile. If they're utterly vile, you have a duty to walk out or write them a poison pen letter afterwards. I have done it, but this time it was guests being vile not the host. That's an odd situation.

One of the people at the table asked what eschatology was. I explained. It really isn't part of Judaism, except peripherally. If you want to learn, study Talmud, Tanach, read Chumash. Better yet, since most of the perpetrators are male, move to Decatur and keep kosher where everything is not handed to you. Learn to fix kosher food by living off the land. Centering yourself in the present with your actions and concentrating on your own ethics, will clean house painlessly.

That said, I'd like to ask the guests who wanted to commit mayhem because Moshiach is coming: "What would Moses think?" He led a force to commit murder and mayhem against polytheists who oppressed our people. He also married a Midianite. He and Joshua received genuine orders to commit genocide with God on our side. Those orders have come to be a curse to mankind ever since, but Moses and Joshua had to deal with them. What would Moses think of this conversation, assuming he had a debriefing or just knew world history since he was prescient at least according to Rashi and the Midrash? Would he be shocked? The Moslems and even Christians to some extent are monotheists. The genocide command in Deuteronomy was a one off, or at least most right thinking people think it was. Even the rabbis said that the children of Amalek whom we are commanded to wipe out are so interspersed we can no longer find them. In other words, though we may harbor foul thoughts in our hearts, we have no religious excuse for carrying them out.

It gets even better. Moses lived when warfare was man to man. The cavalry had to use chariots instead of riding horse back because there were no stirrups yet. What would he think of the industrial style warfare that began with World War I or the burning of Atlanta? General Sherman said: "War is Hell." He got it right, but he had no compunction against doing plenty of collateral damage on his march to the sea. Could General Sherman have been Amalek? Certainly any side that can carpet bomb another, lets Amalek fly its planes. The rabbis were right. Amalek is very much too hard too find, but also too easy. Ask the civilians in Gaza. It's just way too easy to become your enemies.

Now, that would have all gone over like a lead ballon on the Shbbos table, but it is here now, and I'm preaching to the choir, but at least I'm saying what needs to be said. What really surprises me is we did not talk about baby Moshe in his basket of reeds on the nile. That is an iconic picture. I remember drawying it when a friend of mine had a Passover coloring book that told the story. It was such a powerful tale. The creators of Superman ripped it off when they sent the baby superhero to Earth in an experimental rocket ship.

Moses was an adopted child. He belonged to two worlds. A curtain of anonymity separates him from the tales of Genesis. We are no longer shepherds. We, Israelites, are builders, makers of bricks, slaves in the field. Our former glory is nearly erased from living memory. Enter the adopted child, the palace Israelite pet of Basia. Enter the young man looking for his real roots, which like freedom are easy to forget. There is a reason Joseph named one of his sons Manassah or forgetting. It is easy to forget freedom. It is easy to forget the relationship with the past that makes us whole. This is a much better conversation then eschatology, and it doesn't matter that we read the same old parshiot every year (the same old Scripture portions!), because the Torah is a great work of literature, and if you pay attention you will see something different each time, depending on your mood. You will see it even if you are half asleep. You need to stop looking at a future that will not bend the world to your will and serve it like a fine slice of pizza fixed by Miss Snood down at Johnny's by the Decatur MARTA station. You can't eat that pizza because it's not kosher. Put it aside and concentrate on yourself, your actions, your own soul, your own Scripture, and then let's go out with the message in us.

Eileen H. Kramer -- December 26, 2010

Long Time Gone

One of the things I like about the split blogging formats is that if a blackout happens, it happens in this section, and nowhere else. The reason that the blackout happens is that there are events in my life that are quite simply unbloggable. Because QC-L Forever! is a public blog, I have to careful about what I write, and some topics are just plain off limits.

In the case of last week, nothing bad happened. I was not involved with the law. Work runs smoothly as a clock, but there were still things going on about which I'd prefer the world not learn.

Now I'm faced with the tough task of restarting a stuck section. That is not easy. I can tell you about Hertzel, my boy of joy, neutered white kitty. He truely is a boy of joy. He is the cat that soothes grieving hearts and the caregiver kitty who washes the sick with his raspy, little tongue. He washed me last night after I had a hot flash that could have heated all of Atlanta. Others suffered in the cold while I burned up as I walked down Ponce. Seeing the others made me realize: "whoops!" I'm lucky that hot flashes don't really bother me, but like the "whoops!" you can't help but notice them.

The problem with hot flashes is that if I have a bunch of them, I often have an upset stomach afterwards. My stomach jumps around. I can feel nauseous. I can get heartburn if it is right before my period. The culprit is Celexa because that gave me heartburn right before my period, even before the perimenopausal wonkiness started.

If this sounds like I'd like to reboard the ship of misery, you are absolutely right, but others have it worse. There are people on diets so restrictive, they have to watch every morsel they put in their mouths. I think if someone offered me a choice of medication or a diet that was that restrictive, I'd grab the meds. So far no one has offered me that choice, and being that I go to Kaiser I probably won't get it. My doctors at Kaiser are young, and you want young doctors because they are up on the latest trends. When they hand out nutritional advice, which they do in spades, they tell me to eat certain foods not avoid foods. The one exception is papays. When they come back into season I can only have one every other week. Even then the doctor did not say "no" outright.

I spent most of yesterday ramming around Atlanta shopping. I did not get up to Dunwoody to buy another pair of Top Siders, but I did find rye flour in the third store where I shopped. I also managed to replace a really good spice mix. Then I tromped all the way up Ponce to the North Avenue Station. Despite schedule changes, the Number Two MARTA bus is still unreliable on Sundays. I saw the 4:25 pm bus running a good fifteen minutes behind schedule, and those kind of delays snowball when there is only one bus on the line as there is on Sunday.

I went for my High Octane Mocha and drank it walking into the station and on the train to Five Points. I took another train home to Decatur and had minimal wait times. Of course while I was walking up Ponce, the hot flashes turned themselves on. It was amusing and would have even been pleasant. It is lovely to feel warm when it is cold out, but two blocks from the North Avenue MARTA station a bum started following me. He soon pulled abreast of me. I don't really mind requests for money. When I am out amusing myself on a Sunday afternoon, I figure that I'll be paying one beggar or another. You can't spend money on yourself without the beggar tax. I prefer paying street musicians, but most beggars only know how to play the nervy question.

This bum, however, was not interested in money. He said he was on the official welcoming committee. I told him I was all ready an Atlanta resident. He said he was one too and had lived in the city since 1952, when the city was still segregated, I now realize, and ten years before I was born. Then he tried to sell me his scarf. I told him I all ready had a scarf. Then he said he wanted me.

The trouble alarm went off. It goes off quietly, as quietly as a hot flash. It's just there. Panic is not a part of it. I replied to the bum that I did not want him. I was not interested. Bluntness has its place, but he was still sticking to me like glue. I looked around. I've dealt with this situation before. Priority one os to get rid of the harasser. If you get rid of him, you solve the problem, and the situation cannot and does not escalate.

We were at a traffic light. It was red. We said nothing to eachother. The bum walked agains tthe light and crossed. I did not follow him. Instead I turned left. I would have had to go this way anyway and sure enough, the bum did not follow. I turned right again and walked down to the AM PM Minimart for my well deserved high octane mocha. The bum was gone. If I mmake this sound easy, it was.

If I sound experienced, it is because I have dealt with worse. Fourth of July 2004 or 2005, I walked back from downtown Columbus. As the crowd thinned out, a man in a white pickup truck began to follow me. He asked if I wanted a ride. I told him no. He asked if I was all right. I said I was in my coolest voice. In other words: "get lost!&uqot; A few seconds later, the man in the white pickup truck passed me again. Rinse. Repeat. This happened a third and a fourth time. The man in the white pickup truck refused to take a hint.

I knew I was fast approaching the railroad bridges beyond which lay a lonely stretch of closed stores, and the the good neighborhood of Weyracoba Park. I did not want to pass through the bridges and beyond with white pick up truck following me. I also knew this was fast getting ugly. Again, I did not panic. I knew that right before I crossed the bridge was a gas station where I frequently bought sodas from an RC machine. They had good cherry coke. I also knew they were open 24/7. I walked into the parking lot and up to the attendant's booth. I was glad the attendant was female. I asked for the bathroom key. I also told her my situation. I said that if the man was still following me when I emerged from the john, I would call the police. I went to the bathroom and hid for ten minutes. I lost the jerk and headed on my way.

I'm not sure what I would have done if the jerk had continued to follow me. I might have called the police. I could also have called a cab. Either way, I would have stayed near the booth. And don't ask me what would have happened had there not been a booth and a gas station. My answer is there would have been something else. Yesterday it was a left turn and there were restaurants and bars that were open. Suffice it say, it is amazing how nature can call you at just the right time. A lot of jerk control is simply knowing your surroundings and not panicking and then using those surroundings to your advantage.

Now you are going to ask me what do you do if you have to deal with a jerk in a strange city? Believe it or not, I have done this too. This was back in 1989 in Memphis, Tennesse where I was a tourist. I was also a female with a backpack which in the south paints a target on your back. It also, however, gives you free hands and lets you make a run for it should you ever need to do that. Even if you don't have to run, having free hands makes you move more confidently and be less of a target. Well, the Memphis jerk thought I was a runaway. I wasn't. He wanted to meet me somewhere. He seemed polite enough so I suggested we go out for Baskin Robins which was a few blocks up the road from my motel. He agreed and then he suggested that he wanted more.

I said in a loud voice that I was clearly not that kind of a girl and in this age of AIDS what fool would risk anonymous sex. He accused me of making a scene and fled. Clearly he had accosted the wrong female.

I think a lot of women panic or are afraid to make scenes. I had no problem making a scene and part of me just knows to stay calm and think my way out of any jerk problems. The only thing against which I can not defend myself in this way is either the flasher (These use the element of surprise), or someone who might overpower me physically. To handle this last category, I am a careful night walker. I did not know how careful I was until I lived in Columbus and found people not doing what I was doing. I thought this was something everybody knew, but they don't. Quite simply, when walking at night, stay out of the shadows. Well lit streets are your friend, and keep moving. To go home from Publix on Macon Road, I would walk under the store overhang which was lit and through a corner of the hotel parking lot and past the MacDonalds which was well lit, down a small stretch of Macon Road and then through the Lewis Jones parking lot and up on to Norris which is very safe residential neighborhood. None of this sounds extraordinary except I was following a path of light. I did it by instinct. An unfortunate woman was raped behind the Denny's which is a big dark space. I wondered why she had gone there or even parked a car there. If I had to park somewhere and come back to a car late at night, I would put the car close to a lighted overhang or in an empty but well lit spot. You want to make sure any one who might mean you harm has nowhere to hide and that you see them first, because if you see them you can either stay away or run.

I'm not an expert on self defense by the way, I'm an expert at getting out or staying out of situations where I might have to defend myself. I'm also a nightowl. Days are too short in the winter, and in Columbus, food rotted unless you brought it home at night. I'm not much of a coward, but I don't throw all caution to the winds either.

Yesterday's episode with a bum did not frighten me. These kinds of things happen in an urban environment. The only thing that might scare me is witnessing a street fight which I saw once. One of the victims tried to get on the MARTA Two bus all bloddy. The driver refused to let him ride. I'm not sure why. Fortunately, street fights are rare. The one I saw on Ponce has been my only fight, and no I would not go to the rough kinds of bars where men fight for fun. That's just not for me.

Eileen H. Kramer -- December 20, 2010

Sun, Cold, and No Snow

Over the weekend a water main broke. It was the first water main break of the winter. I did not expect it to happen so soon or so close to home. The water main broke at the corner of East Ponce and Trinity in downtown Decatur. I heard about it after Shabbos via a recorded call that said Decatur was under a "Code Red" emergency. Unlike the Federal government, DeKalb County has not abandoned color coding for disasters. Any way, this one merited a code red since some neighborhoods were without water. My neighborhood was just fine.

Still, I am not surrpised that a water main broke. It had to happen sometimes. It always happens the way flat roofs up north collapse. Cold weather takes its toll. Still I did not expect it last weekend. I haven't been to see where the city is repairing the break. I only know that it is a no-go zone for pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

I've been concerned with the world shrunk by cold, nipped toes, cold spots on the backs of the hands, skin stiff, hurting, and hard, skin cracked and bleeding. When I take a shower, I fear I'll freeze. I turn the water up to nearly boiling. It's a wonder I don't get scalded. When the sun is out and the wind is down, I rejoice. I turn my face toward the sun, and am surprised how bright it is. This is after all the deep south even if it is in the deep freeze. When I do my library shift for Second Life, I wear sneakers over my slipper socks and a warm robe over a short nighty with a pair of old, torn sweats beneath it. I hold off the cold. The apartment is of course drafty.

All this cold of course comes without the reward of snow. It is also too warm in the daylight to use my cross country skis even if there were snow. Sunday night, I briefly dreamed of skiing in the street on Monday. Monday morning, the streets were bone dry and the wind whipped and howled. A howling wind sings a song familiar to any one who has lived up north. It is a sound almost like a chorus in a minor key. It sings against building walls, in alleys, and in teh branches of trees where it strips the last remaining leaves.

Sunday it sleeted and snowed enough to stain the ground with a temptation. Kroger was jammed with people stocking up. Then last night, long after the "danger" had passed, there was a power surge. The whole apartment went pitch black. I tried to figure out how to reach a candle and decided to keep peeling the tangeine I held in my hands. I'd deal with the matches and candle, after I peeled my fruit. First things first. The power came on just as I finished peeling the tangerine.

There have been little power surges on and off all week. I come home and find the computer off and the clock on the stove flashing. Everything else works normally. I still have heat. This last is very important. I reset the clock on the stove. I restart the computer, and life goes on.

Eileen H. Kramer -- December 14, 2010

The Pack at the Top of the Stairs

There it was at the top of the stairs to the east bound MARTA trains about about seven forty on a frigid December morning, a tote bag and a backpack, one black, the other gunmetal grey. Books spilled out of the tote bag as if it were hastily dropped. The backpack looked more carefully put down. The owner of either of these articles was nowhere in sight. When I went downstairs to catch my train, the platform was empty.

In a way that was relief. I expected some sort of law enforecment to be there. I glanced on the tracks all was quiet. The board above the platform said I had eight minutes to wait for the train. I glanced on to the tracks. Blood on the tracks may be a pretty metaphor, but there was none this morning. I also did not see or hear any one moving around and carefully dodging the third rail.

A MARTA train platform is nearly a dead end. There is no where to go but on to the next train. Whoever had dropped his pack, might have caught the train that came about ten minutes before my arrival. Chances are good that he or she had paid his/her fair, using his/her Breeze Card to let him/herself through the station's electronic gate, but if he/she were just going to catch a train, why did he/she drop everything and remove his/her backpack as well.

If he/she were not racing toward his/her doom, which quite frankly was my first thought, someone would have had to be chasing him/her and if a train came, the pursuer and pursued would have boarded together. True they could have played hide and seek by running from one car to another at least when the train made frequent stops or both run out of the train at Avondale and chased eachother through the streets of eastern DeKalb County.

I don't think that's what happened. Whoever left everything behind at the top of the stairs was in a hurry, and too much hurry to wait on a platform for a train. The MARTA platforms by the awy are only apparent, not real dead ends. At either end of the very long platform are gates that block the access catwalks in the tunnels or on the elevated lines. Service crews can open the gates, and someone who is desperate can carefully step around or vault over the gate.

Was this what happened this morning? One of the gates was slightly ajar, but it was at the western end of the west bound platform. I only saw it across the tracks, but then again, one does not have to undo the gate to get around it, and one does not have to travel very far once inside the tunnel. On both the west and eastbound sides, the train emerges into an open cut of land. It is possible to run up the hill and scale the fence or find a hole in it and climb to steret level, or one can just keep following the tracks to the next station, a distance of only a mile or so.

For all I know, there could be secret tunnels and hiding spots in the underground portions of MARTA. Maybe the person who dropped his/her bags was looking for just such a spot. Either way, I hope that he/she got away safely and that he/she avoided the third rails. MARTA is an electrified system after all. I hope he/she is home and warm, wherever home is.

Eileen H. Kramer -- December 9, 2010

Frozen Trust

There is something I do to impress the world and also because it sharpens my memory. I read on the MARTA platform. I've discovered I can turn book pages with gloved hands and I can sit on the cold dry platform just fine. It may be twenty degrees Fahrenheit and feel like it's somewhere in the teens (Who comes up with this junk anyway?) which is not as cold as it seems, but I can read out of doors while I wait for the train. It makes the train come faster, and all the world considers me either half crazy or entirely impervious to the cold, like the gentleman enjoying his coffee and cigarette al fresco this morning down by the Decatur MARTA station.

Actually, I just hate waiting for the train on the heat adopted MARTA platform, and reading makes the time go faster. It really does work. Then there is getting up in a drafty but adequately warm apartment. I don't want to walk around in bare feet. The floor is just too cold. I can't even sit at the computer in slipper socks. Last night, I put sneakers over them and my feet stayed adquauately warm. That was a major relief.

All around in the cold, life goes on. There are pale yellow Christmas lights in the leafless trees in downtown Decatur. A new restaurant called the Decatur Diner is opening next week. It has sat empty but ready to serve, kind of like a ghost bus or train for the last few weeks. My mom even asked about it when she was here to visit for Thanksgiving. I told her all I knew. The place had never been open for business. Well, here in the dead of winter, that's going to change, and it's not even the dead of winter yet.

I went down to Open Door this morning. I had to deliver five pounds of pole bean salad. They have a new resident. The Open Door from the residential side might as well be a monestary. The staff don't wear habits, but they take a kind of quirky vow of poverty without swearing it to any one. They can't visit malls or Coca-cola Center or other expensive attractions. Any junk food they get, they have to share, which is just good manners. I see private, sharable food in their fridge. There are rules about computers and cell phones too. You can see all of this on your site.

While I really enjoy dealing with Open Door and delivering salad once a week, I would NOT want to be a resident volunteer. I know several older peopel who are. I'm not sure I'd be that unselfish. If I were retired, I'd let my muse play several hours a day. I might also volunteer, but I'd want to have fun. I believe it is possible to have fun.

Of course Atlanta's street people did NOT have fun last night and are NOT having fun tonight. The Druid Hills Baptist Church which is kitty corner and across the street from the Open Door is offering emergency shelter, so those with nowhere else to go do not freeze. Open Door gives away blankets and sandwiches. Atlanta is a hard place to be poor.

I am reading the Speed of Trust by Stephan Covey Jr. I am reading it in prepration for a workshop at work. The last time I tried reading Speed of Trust it made me livid with anger. Of course the peons don't trust management! I then came up with a million examples of bad faith. I also resented that Covey grew up wtih a silver spoon in his mouth, and really has no idea of what it is life to experience even modest, material privation. He's also a bit of a glumphing jock, whose family all love eachother to the point where they take nothing seriously. My more suspicious family is a lot more serious. Never, would we leave any one by the side of the road in their stocking feet in the wilds of Montana. Never would we pour a bottle of water on a teenager's head at a sporting event in public. We might take the kid in the appropriate gendered restroom and curse him out. We might let him have it in the car afterwards, but that sort of rude action in public...never. When a person's reality is so different from my own, what can he teach me?

This time, I'm handling Covey's book better and even trying to follow some of the principles in it. I still have problems with Covey as a person. I am not sure about what he says about Lashon Hara. He is also a social Darwinist. This is a very big problem. He claims this is a double black diamond world, but double black diamonds on ski slopes are there for a reason, to keep the wrong people off those slopes. Not everyone can be an expert skiier. Some folks are just lucky to make it down the hill. What does Speed of Trust offer for them? What does Covey's "irrelevant" mean. Does it mean fired? Does it mean long term unemployed? What does he propose doing with the irrelevant portion of the population?

The second question for Covey: "How does your philosophy apply to the 'helping professions?'" Burnout is real. Burnout is a danger. What does the Speed of Trust offer as a preventive and an antidote for burnout. I have my own ideas, but I would like to hear Covey's.

There is a final question I have for Mr. Covey, but I will not post it on this blog. Reading Speed of Trust has again dredged up a lot of memories. I wish I could discuss them here, but they are too recent. They are also in the portion of my life that has to stay under wraps.

I wonder if it is possible to write to Mr. Covey care of his web site. I am curious how he would answer the questions. A lot of The Speed of Trust does make sense. This is NOT a backhanded compliment. I have all ready seen some of the fruits of following its precepts. I have no idea how the workshop will interpret this book. I guess I find out a week from today.

Eileen H. Kramer -- December 8, 2010

Frozen Muse

The heat is back on in my apartment, but winter in the Deep South puts you at the mercy of badly adapted, drafty buildings. The cold seeps through the walls. Bundled up outside with my new hat and gloves, I regain my appreciation of nice, winter weather as we called it up north. Indoors I flee from drafts and search for any warmth I can find.

On the MARTA buses, drivers let nonpassengers come inside to get warm while the bus waits and open the bus doors early to provide a warm, waiting spot for passengers. I try not to think about those who use the services of the The Open Door. One year, they let the clients sleep on the living room floor to get out of the cold.

With all of this, my muse has frozen. I seem to be able to write fiction, but I can't think of new ideas for clothes in Second Life, not blouses or dresses anyway. Usually I weep and bleed graphics. I am hungry to join a role play on Invisionfree but I haven't seen one I liked. Many require pictures, as if those writing there can't rely on words.

I just want to be away and lost from myself. I tell myself there are still good things to do. I can go up to Lennox Square and ride Priscilla, the Pink Pig, an Atlanta holiday tradition. Last night I sang Hannaukah songs on the way home from work. I just realized I could go to Publix and Walgreens after work today, but the thought of that trip, even though it means a vital necessity and sardines in jalapeno sauce does not excite me.

I wish I could just snap out of it, but if wishes were horses. I'm actually even enjoying Stephen Covey's Speed of Trust. I'm attending a Speed of Trust workshop in a couple of weeks. I was dreading reading the book, but Covey's smooth prose sooths me. I must be in one strange mood.

I could blame the way I feel on cabin fever. I sleep under full spectrum lights, but I've switched to an energy saver bulb in the computer room. I spend a lot of time in front of a screen as you may well guess. A walk while it is still daylight should cure me if this is cabin fever, but it is cold outside. My favorite place is under all my blankets curled up with two very warm cats. The cats know about sharing body heat. Whoever says cats are dumb has never slept with them.

Eileen H. Kramer -- December 2, 2010