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Friday, August 29, 2003 AD
Happy birthday to me! :-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/29/2003 01:07:00 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, August 28, 2003 AD
%$*@# Verizon!
Verizon changes my IP address about every other day, which makes tracking visitors to my site very inaccurate. Ah, well...I get what I pay for and I'm getting free DSL now that I have my 'puter at the church, so I guess I ain't got no real cause for complainin'!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/28/2003 11:08:00 PM • Permalink
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Wednesday, August 27, 2003 AD
Did I Miss an Announcement?
Russ R seems to have gone AWOL again. Did he say he was packing it in?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/27/2003 10:02:00 PM • Permalink
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Stall, Escort, Stall
Well, that was pretty dumb of me. I just assumed that racket and the tendency to stall were caused by the same thing, so I neglected to mention the stalling to the garage guys. Guess what? Yep. The racket's gone and the stalling's not. Ugh...I'm sure it would have cost me a lot less in labor if they'd looked at both at once. Oh well, I'm at least going to putter along for a couple more weeks 'til I'm due for an oil change and have both of those things done at once.

I'm ever so grateful to my friend Arlette for carting me back and forth to the rental car place and the garage two days in a row. I rent from an independent shop and one of the guys is on vacation so the other one couldn't come pick me up as he usually does. So I actually had to ask for help, which I find very difficult to do. Hate to be a burden and a nuisance, y'know. Thank God for friends who are willing to help and even cheerful about doing so!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/27/2003 08:26:00 PM • Permalink
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 AD
Run, Escort, Run
My car's in the shop. A new belt and belt tensioner are needed and then it'll supposedly stop making that awful racket. It started making the racket on my trip, but it was a fairly subdued racket. This morning the racket reached an intolerable volume, necessitating the trip to the garage and the rental of another car for the day and the billing of another couple hundred bucks to my poor credit card. I'm ever so grateful that it didn't get too bad while I was travelling -- a mercy, indeed!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/26/2003 03:28:00 PM • Permalink
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Sunday, August 24, 2003 AD
'Run, Lola, Run'
What a stupid movie! To watch when you're trying to wind down before bedtime, that is. I didn't know anything about it before I rented it. It was on my brother's list of recommendations. Definitely a film you don't want to know anything about before you see it the first time, so you can be surprised. (Well, one useful thing to know is that 100,000 Deutsche marks = U.S. $55,700. Or would if Deutsche marks were still valid currency.) Good stuff. Or, as Lola would say in Deutsche, gut schtuff. Or sumpin' like dat....

And it gave me and David something to talk about when he came over yesterday to dig a grave for my kitty. I was really glad to get her out of the freezer. To my friends who have been discussing burial this week on a certain forum, and what happens to decomposing bodies, gee, thanks. :-/
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/24/2003 12:22:00 PM • Permalink
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Blogs Sans Comments
I've added Bill and Toni C's blogs to my list. They're forum friends from years past. They need comment systems so I can argue or agree with them as needed.

And speaking of bloggers I wish had comment systems so I can argue or agree as needed, check out Rick S's picture of Elizabeth Anne at one year, a point on which I definitely agree! ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/24/2003 11:59:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, August 22, 2003 AD
Oh! That's Cool!
I just realized that since Jon fixed SP, comment counts show up on all posts, even in the archives. Good move!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/22/2003 09:26:00 PM • Permalink
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Been Listening to Keith Green
I hear more questionable theology in Keith's music these days than when I first came across him 20 years ago, but is there anyone in CCM today who has that much heart? He once defined a Christian as "someone who's bananas for Jesus." Keith sure seemed to be bananas for Jesus...and I'm still encouraged by him to be bananas for Jesus, myself. Alas for the days beofore gross commercialism destroyed CCM!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/22/2003 09:23:00 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, August 21, 2003 AD
My First Foray Into E-Bay
I'm 26 minutes away from winning my first EBay bids -- two saris in colors that would work with how I want to decorate my living room and dining room. Or I might use one for a dress if I get it. I got carried away and bid on another item that I probably shouldn't have, because it would have to be shipped from India for an exhorbitant fee ($16). That bid was too impulsive. I hope somebody else bids more!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/21/2003 09:22:00 PM • Permalink
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A Question I Keep Asking That Never Gets Satisfactorily Answered
I've asked this question in various contexts and from various angles off and on for a couple years now. Thought I might as well take another stab at it here. The gist of it is, does conscience trump authority, or the other way around? To clarify, I mean in regard to debatable issues and human authorities. To narrow it further, I'll specify local church authorities. We'll place the type of issue is somewhere between the deity of Christ and the color of the new carpet for the fellowship hall...I'll let the reader decide where. Is an issue ever small enough that one should set aside genuine qualms of conscience and "support the worship and work of the congregation" in that instance? At what point is an issue big enough that one should set aside the congregation and obey conscience? Is there a safe middle ground where one might not raise a fuss, but not actively support some decision or practice? What think ye all?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/21/2003 12:01:00 AM • Permalink
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 AD
What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Kitty Kitty
1989ish to August 18, 2003

She did "not go gentle into that good night" but raged, raged against the sticking of a needle into her backside. My left elbow looks like a pincushion where she bit me several times and my right wrist looks like I tried to off myself where she got me with her back claws. I slapped on some Harry Potter bandaids (don't laugh! they were on sale!), one of which had Fawkes on it. Perhaps he shed a tear or two for quicker healing. After we did the deed, I took Debbie out to dinner to say thanks, and then we came back to my house and watched "K-PAX", which was very sweet. She left at around 10, and I headed off to bed, but of course I couldn't sleep. I got back up twice...flipped channels, ate the leftovers from dinner, cried...finally was able to sleep after about 1 o'clock.

My last kitty, Studley (he came with that absurd moniker and was quite unequipped for the service for which he was named), died in 1987. He was a sweet, wonderful pet. So why am I so much more miserable over the demise of this nasty, evil beast than I was over him? Perhaps because I was so much more responsible for her than for Studley. Perhaps because I feel guilty about the rage I was in the night before. Perhaps because it wasn't so clear that this was the right thing to do this time (though Debbie and a few others assured me it was). Perhaps because I'm 16 years older. Perhaps because I watched a big, fat syringe full of phenobarbital pumped into her heart (the backside needle was to knock her out so she wouldn't feel this) rather than just dropping her off at the vet's. At any rate, I'm a pretty sad critter today. God's grace is sufficient, to be sure, and I'm not grieving to the point of despair, but I'm sad.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/19/2003 11:47:00 AM • Permalink
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Monday, August 18, 2003 AD
An Issue With an Illustration
Rick Saenz has written on the HSC weblog (which has a nice, clean new design, by the way) about sheep and pastures. I wonder though if the picture is quite right. I wonder if the sheep shouldn't be painted outside a fence that marks off a small no-no zone from the vast freedom of the Shepherd's pasture. I think we could still have the three categories of sheep, but the third group would be broader and freer if the picture were painted this way. Not huddled at the center of the enclosure, but gamboling on the green hills all 'round. I think this reflects the description of Eden, where there was bounty and freedom and just one forbidden tree.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/18/2003 10:57:00 AM • Permalink
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The crowning jewel in my joyful journey was heading up to bed last night and discovering that the object on which I had so longed to rest my weary body had been used as a litter box. An e-mail has been sent to my vet tech friend. If she can't come within the next couple days, I'm going to go ahead and pack up the kitty and take her to the vet to be dispatched.

Of course this was also the crowning jewel in the little character assessment I mentioned yesterday. My gentle and quiet spirit expressed itself with great volume and creativity of vocabulary, and I would surely have killed the little wretch with my bare hands had I been able to lay hold of her. But even in the cooler-headed warmth of a new day, I know that the time has come to put the cat down. I just can't have her destroying my house.

I hate ending a vacation more exhausted than when I began it. Now I guess I'd better go remind myself that God is sovereign and good even when Valerie's whims and pleasures are not being catered to!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/18/2003 09:43:00 AM • Permalink
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Sunday, August 17, 2003 AD
Got home a little before three this afternoon. So far still vowing never to leave Baltimore again. Next month's planned Chicago trip is not looking likely. Just can't stand the thought of that much driving after the misery of this trip. So much traffic. So much lostness. So much frustration. So much exhaustion. So much locking myself out of my car at the Taco Bell on Elm Street (nightmare, indeed!) in Fishkill, N.Y., and bursting into tears at the payphone when the triple-A operator told me it might take two hours for someone to rescue me. Happily, the truck came within half an hour, but I was feeling utterly defeated. Nope...doesn't take much, does it?

On the other hand, maybe I should drive to Chicago by myself. Nothing like this sort of stuff for shining a spotlight on all my character flaws and giving me an opportunity to learn the patience and contentment I am so sorely lacking. Sanctification via vacation, I suppose you could call it.

Whuppin' Cindy at Scrabble by over a hundred points did bring some consolation. ;-) But mostly I'm just really, really glad to be back home on familiar streets.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/17/2003 04:55:00 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, August 14, 2003 AD
I'm posting from my cousin's house. I'd forgotten how very, very slow the Internet can be. I'm such a spoiled brat. My heart goes out to those of you who have no other choice.

My usually eight-hour drive up to NH turned into an 11-hour trek. The first 150 miles or so went by at a snail's pace of less than 40 mph. And my world-renowned directional sensibilities kicked in. If there was a wrong exit to be taken, you can be sure that my keen eye found and took it. Many thanks to the two young guys at the Burger King somewhere in New Jersey who pointed me back to the Turnpike. I still managed to miss it and drive 70 miles out of my way, mind you, but I was grateful to them none the less.

So far on my vacation I've been watching movies ("The Royal Tenenbaums," "Catch Me If You Can" and "The Importance of Being Earnest") listening to HP5, and sewing with my mom. Haven't cracked a book all week, lazy beast that I am, but sewings easier to do while watching and listening. Mom and I popped down to my cousin's to babysit his two youngest. I was planning to read while we were here...really I was...but then Randy asked if I wanted to go online and, well, you can guess the rest!

I'll be leaving tomorrow for home via Williamsport, Pa. This will be the second time I've managed to land tehre on Little League World Series weekend. They're calling it the Cal Ripken series. How's this: I'm from Ripken's team's town, I've been in Keene, N.H., two days in a row (one of the teams playing in the series is from Keene) and I'll be in Williamsport tomorrow. And I don't even follow hockey!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/14/2003 07:01:00 PM • Permalink
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Sunday, August 10, 2003 AD
Northward Ho
After church today I'll be heading to NH to visit my mom. See y'all next weekend!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/10/2003 08:33:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, August 08, 2003 AD
Only for Harry
I can't think of anything else that would have induced me to go to my office in the middle of my vacation, but the folks at buy.com mistakenly sent Harry V (not to be confused with Henry V) to my office address (my usual shipping address) rather than my home address. Since I'll be leaving Sunday for an eight-hour road trip, I was more eager to retrieve the inimitable Jim Dale's audio recording of Ms. Rowling's latest treasure than I was to avoid my workplace. 26 hours and 30 minutes! I shall keep myself amused in both directions and a bit in between, methinks. And at 28 bucks and change, with free shipping, I consider it a bargain indeed. Were I of the feline ilk, I'd be purring right now.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/08/2003 04:06:00 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, August 07, 2003 AD
One-Month Anniversary
My friend Arlette and I have been praying together on the phone every morning for a month. This has been a delightful and transformative discipline for both of us, and I hope we will continue it for the forseeable future. God is good!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/07/2003 05:44:00 PM • Permalink
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Wednesday, August 06, 2003 AD
More Thoughts About Nüdity in Art
Rule #57: Never jump into an online conversation if you don't have time to finish the discussion and fully explain yourself.

Rule #58: If you disagree with what someone says on a forum, let her know there. Don't drag it over to another forum to beat her over the head with. That's just tacky.

Those aren't rules about nüdity in art, but about Internet etiquette. And I'm breaking both of them. 1) I may not be in town long enough to respond to everything that might arise from this post, and 2) I'm obviously criticizing on my blog the guy who dragged my comments from one forum to another to beat me over the head. The links in the above rules provide some background for what follows. Here are more good thoughts on the topic.

1. I never once found myself lusting after a nüde model of either gender sex. Anyone who has that problem to a greater degree than with the general public, and finds he cannot quickly overcome it, ought to switch to landscapes or still lifes. I hope I would have had the integrity to do so.

2. I would rather draw women than men. Women's bodies are just more aesthetically pleasing to me as an artist. Doesn't mean I've got any desire to jump into bed with one. That illustrates the possibility of differentiating between something being aesthetically pleasing and being sexually provocative.

3. There is, to an extent an acknowlegement of sexuality when drawing a nüde, because you are drawing sexual organs. At least unless you do the thing my drawing teacher used to roll her eyes about -- leaving blanks. Something tells me that the students who did that might have been having more trouble differentiating between the beautiful and the merely sexual.

4. I acknowledge that others might be more prone to stumble in this area. I have the utmost respect for anyone who does have such a tendency and guards himself by avoiding nüdity in art.

5. I wish such folks could imagine that it's really possible that there are others who do not have such tendencies -- to believe us when we say so and to refrain from accusing us of being little better than pĝrnĝgraphers.

6. I will respect such folks by refraining from exhibiting my nüde drawings in public places where they might be stumbled upon unawares. I would not put one in my living room, or in my offices at work or church, or on my blog. I might, however, at some point hang one in my bedroom, where strangers are unlikely to wander, or post some on a separate page of my site, with a clear statement of their presence. I'd have no objection to their being hung in an art gallery, though I've no reason to suspect such a thing will ever befall them.

7. This places some responsibility on the shoulders of the folks who are more likely to stumble. If you can't stay out of a clearly denoted "nüde art area," your problem is more than a propensity to stumble; it's a discipline issue. If you were someone who felt the need to abstain from alcohol, I wouldn't wave a beer in front of your face, but neither would I pour all my beer down the drain for fear you'd fall into sin. All sorts of things can tempt people, so it'd be very difficult indeed to create temptation-free zones.

That's all for now. I may add more later.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/06/2003 04:14:00 PM • Permalink
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Monday, August 04, 2003 AD
1. What color are your kitchen plates?
Corelle "Meadow" -- discontinued pattern that I bought from an estate sale. I got the eight place settings of Correlle (two sizes of plates, cups and saucers, and bowls), a little corner cabinet, a vacuum and a lamp about 10 years ago for fifteen bucks, as I recall.

2. What book are you reading now?
I tidied up my bedroom last week and picked up about 40 stray books from the bed, the floor and the furniture on either side of the bed. Some were of the devotional sort (Bibles, prayerbook, hymnals), some were of the reference sort (dictionary, concordance, etc.), some were books I'd actually finished (see list at left) and most were books in some state of incomplete readness (see list at left, plus probably a dozen others). I do have a wee bit of a bad habit of starting more than I finish!

3. What's on your mouse pad?
A jug of water. Oh! You meant what's printed on it! It's the freebie that came with my Dell. I use a Wacom tablet, so the pad is generally unused unless some other poor soul has need to use my 'puter and can't handle the stylus and tablet.

4. Favorite board game?

5. Favorite magazine?
I'm not much of a magazine person. I get three -- Gilbert! is the gift of a friend who likes to ply my with Catholic propaganda. Since it's Chesterton, I at least read a bit more of it than her last attempt, Magnificat, which I seldom even opened; C/A, which I usually read a bit of each issue; and ETC, which I usually read a bit more of because it's shorter and not so prone to make me sad.

6. Favorite smell?
I'm not a very olfactory person, so I don't know as I could identify my very favorite smell, but I am rather fond of ones that portend a good meal. Hershey, Pa., is the most dangerous-smelling place I've ever been. I swear you can gain weight just driving through the place!

7. Least favorite smell?
Why is it that potatoes rot so quickly? I had to throw out a bag this weekend that I'd bought last weekend and had already begun to liquefy...ugh!

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Lately it's been picking up the phone, as my friend Arlette and I have been praying together every morning over the phone.

9. Favorite color?
Oh...I can never pick just one!

10. Least favorite color?
The color of rotted potato slime on my kitchen counter.

11. How many rings before you answer the phone?
I usually get Arlette's morning calls on the first ring. Other calls depend on how close I am and whether or not I'm screening.

12. Future children's names?
Sigh...I've been making lists of these at least since I was 10, but it's looking less and less likely that I'll ever get to use any.

13. What is most important in life?
Glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

14. Chocolate or vanilla?
What's vanilla?

15. Do you like to drive fast?
*evil grin*

16. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
Well, the stuffed animal sometimes sleeps with me. And when she does, I prefer that she stay stuffed rather than disgorging her stuffing all over furniture, bedclothes and hundred-year-old books.

17. Do you like thunderstorms?
As long as I'm not out driving in them. And as long as the electricity doesn't go off. And as long as the rain isn't coming through the windows so that I have to shut them and end up stifling.

18. What type was your first car?
1990 Silver Ford Festiva named Aggie. Met her demise when bucked by a Bronco.

19. If you could meet one person dead or alive?
Alive...definitely alive.

20. What is your sign and your birthday?
My birthday is August 29 (just 22 more shopping days!). I usually get all pious and say my sign is the cross, but my Zodiac sign is accurate. ;-)

21. If you could have any job what would it be?
I still have wild dreams of being a housewife, but I'm woefully unqualified for the position. In the meantime, I like the work that I do (communicaitons -- writing, editing, Web mastering, and Web and print designing), I'd just rather be doing it for somebody else.

22. If you could have any color hair, what would it be?
I'm actually rather content with my hair color -- dark brunette. We'll see what I think of it when there's more grey than the few strands I now sport.

23. Have you ever been in love?
Only unrequitedly...and rather stupidly, I might add.

24. Is the glass half full or half empty?
The glass is half full...of toxic waste.

25. Favorite movie?
"Sense and Sensibility" and "Pride and Prejudice" -- can never decide between the two.

26. Do you type with your fingers on the right keys?
And the left keys, too.

27. What is under your bed?
It's actually pretty clean under there right now, due to last week's tidying up. Usually there's dust, clutter and an occasional feline.

28. What is your favorite number?
I can't imagine needing a favorite number, so I've never bothered to have one.

29. Favorite sports?
I don't follow hockey.

30. What is your single biggest fear?
That I've just been kidding myself and I'm not regenerate.

31. Say one nice thing about the person who sent this to you.
Nobody sent it...I stole it from Carmon F. I trust she'll be nice enough not to press charges. ;-)

32. Person most likely to respond.
Some commenter who has too much time on his hands.

33. Person you sent this to who is less likely to respond.
Most of my commenters probably make better use of their time than I do.

34. Favorite music group or singer?
At the moment I guess Fernando Ortega.

35. Favorite TV show?
I like the occasional episode of "This Old House" or "The Antiques Road Show." Right now I'm watching taped episodes of "All Creatures Great and Small."

36. Ketchup or mustard?

37. Hamburgers or hot dogs?

38. Favorite soft drinks?
Dr. Pepper, Diet Dr. Pepper.

39. The best place you have ever been?
Yellowstone's pretty nice.

40. What wallpaper is on your computer right now?
[Pause while I change it so I don't have to say "The XP default that I never got around to changing."] A pattern of pink and white roses that I concocted a few years ago. At work I have a rather stunning APOD from a few months ago that I'm too lazy to hunt down again right now.

41. What is your favorite fast food place?
Taco Bell.

42. Siblings and their ages?
Two brothers -- 43 and 38.

43. What did you do last night?
Went to a prayer meeting, probably watched a bit of ACGAS, went to bed around 10:30.

44. What did you do for your last birthday?
Sad...very sad!

45. Favorite season/month?
In the summer, my favorite season is autumn. In the winter, my favorite season is spring.

46. High-rise or brownstone?
If those are my only two choices, then brownstone. White clapboard with a wrap-around porch can set me pining. But I do OK with my little red brick semi-detatched.

47. Do you eat the stems of broccoli?
Usually...if it's good broccoli. Sometimes there are a few bits left on the plate.

48. Fun, huh?
Not so's I'd get too excited about it!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/04/2003 07:14:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, August 02, 2003 AD
Tentatively Taking Down the Blogger Rant
Well, the silly system seems to have been behaving regularly for a few days now, so I guess I'll remove that rant from the template.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/02/2003 12:00:00 PM • Permalink
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Hitting the Neighbor Jackpot
Several months ago, I wrote about the departure of my neighbors from aitch-e-double-toothpick. Well, the folks who moved in have been simply marvelous. It took a while for us to start connecting, since they moved in during cool weather and we just never seemed to be outside at the same time to make spontaneous, casual conversation. I did talk with the wife, Ethel, a time or two, but nothing more than pleasantries. Then I left them some cookies back in February, but never heard anything from them, so I didn't know if they'd been received or welcomed.

Finally, a couple months ago, amidst all the rain we'd been getting, Ethel knocked on the door to ask if my basement had been flooded, as hers had. I hadn't checked, but did so then. I had a little bit of water, but it was right by the adjoining wall and had probably come through from her basement. As we talked about how to solve the problem, we determined what we'd need to set things straight and decided to go shopping together to buy supplies. I was grateful for the opportunity to share a bit more conversation than the occasional "Hi" if we happened to be getting into or out of our cars at the same moment.

I also had a chance to meet Ethel's husband, Mr. Henry, around this time. He's quite a bit older, so somehow Mr. Henry seems right for him whereas just Ethel seems right for her. Besides, he calls me Miss Valerie, so it seems right to reciprocate. He's been a gem. When the rains seemed ceaseless, and my lawn guy couldn't always get there on a rare dry day to mow my grass, Mr. Henry twice cut my front lawn. I've returned from work a number of times to find that he's taken my tash cans from the curb back around the house. And when I had a dead battery a couple weeks ago, and was heading out to walk to the station to retrieve my car, he wouldn't hear of it, insisting that his daughter give me a ride.

These folks are an answer to prayer...and moreso. :-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/02/2003 11:51:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, August 01, 2003 AD
I'm on Vacation!
I'm getting ready to leave my office and will not return 'til August 19. Yippee!!!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/01/2003 06:27:00 PM • Permalink
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Probably Heading to Chicago Next Month
My friend Brad will be ordained September 14. It looks as if I'll head out on the 12th, spend the night in Dayton, travel to the Windy City on the 13th, stay with Brad and Shannon and "a grandmother or two," attend the ordination and head back on the 14th, hitting Dayton for another stopover if anyone survives my first visit (I've a reputation with an axe, you know) and actually wants to see me again.

So, is there anybody else along the way between Charm City and the Windy City who'd like a visit from an axe murderer?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/01/2003 04:47:00 PM • Permalink
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