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Saturday, April 30, 2005 AD
Carter and Lisa, Sittin' in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G
That was the scene depicted in the photo on a wedding invitation I received a few weeks ago. Today I attended the happy occasion and witnessed these two friends, so well matched in the kindness and generosity of their spirits, commit their lives to one another. Loverly. Started crying before the thing started and dabbed at my eyes off and on throughout the ceremony. I'm a sucker for a good story, and boy meets girl is the best story of all. I love weddings. Wedding receptions, on the other hand, seem especially designed as a method of torture for introverted spinsters. They present not only the stress of largely unstructured social interaction, often with strangers, but the whole big, fat, in-your-face reminder that it's not your wedding is somehow keener at the reception than during the ceremony. Today I had the good sense to chat with everyone I wanted to chat with (the event was at FCF), greet the bride and groom, and then hit the road. At the last wedding I attended, Jen and Bob's, I made the mistake of staying too long. Not only did I need to leave the building and take a walk once to get away from the whole social aspect of things (I find myself doing that fairly frequently at large social gatherings to deal with my semi-panicky tendencies), but I further tortured myself by watching the dancing. It had to be square dancing, which is the only kind I actually like, though I'm not very good at it. And the very last dance had to be the Virginia Reel, which is not only my favorite square dance, but the one regarding which a friend and I made an informal pact several years ago -- if either of us gets married, she will have the Virginia Reel at her reception. That was pretty much my cue to get out of there before I lost it. Anyway, due to my early departure today's event held no such tortures for me, and henceforth it shall be my practice to leave wedding receptions as early as possible. And God bless Carter and Lisa! Hallelujah!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/30/2005 09:25:00 PM • Permalink
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Anybody Ever Made Tab Curtains?
That's what I'd like in my house. I found drapery rods I like at Home Depot, and ordered those last night. I think I want to do very simple white cotton curtains to keep things light and airy. So my questions are: Can anybody point me to instructions (online, or a reference book) on how to make them? I'm thinking tab curtains would be a pretty easy project for a novice seamstress (I almost typed sewer, but didn't like the looks of it!) since they're all rectangles and straight seams...is that a reasonable assumption? Any fabric suggestions?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/30/2005 04:50:00 PM • Permalink
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Anybody have recommendations for online sources for wallpaper? (The real stuff, not the desktop background stuff!)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/30/2005 09:44:00 AM • Permalink
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Thursday, April 28, 2005 AD
Goldilocks and the Three Minds
(A little story I wrote several years ago.)

Once upon a time, while driving through the forest in the Chevette her fairy godmother had made out of a pumpkin, Goldilocks ran out of gas.

“Oh, bother!” said Goldilocks. “Even if Prince Charming were to ride by, it’s very unlikely he’d be carrying a gas can in the saddlebags of his white horse, so I guess I’ll just have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs and walk back to that gingerbread filling station I passed at the edge of the woods.”

Needing something in which she could carry gasoline, Goldilocks opened her hatchback and considered the options before her.

First, there was a ball.

“This one is too closed!” she sighed, and sadly shook her yellow curls. “I could never get the gas in or out of it! Then I would never make it to grandmother’s house with this basket of food!”

Second, she considered a bowl.

“This one is too open!” she said. “Some of the precious fuel might slosh out as I walk back through the woods. Or something might fall into the bowl to make the gasoline impure or ineffective. I can just see me accidentally concocting some potion that would put me to sleep for a hundred years!”

Third, a bottle caught her eye.

“This one is just right!” she cried with joy. “It has an opening, so I can pump the gas into it and pour it easily and precisely into the tank when I return. And the opening is narrow enough that I can cover it if necessary, thereby protecting the contents from things that I don't want to contaminate it. I can choose what goes in and out of this bottle, and when, and where.”

Of course it occurred to Goldilocks (who was pretty clever, for a blonde) to first rub the bottle, but since no genie from Triple-Wish appeared to grant her a tank of gas, a magic carpet, and seven-league boots, she set off on foot to fetch the gas.

“And next time,” she made a mental note, “I'm going to take the shortcut over the bridge no matter what price the troll charges!”
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/28/2005 10:54:00 AM • Permalink
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 AD
Plumbing Question
Anyone ever bought their own drain snake? I just spent $98 this morning on a clog. Home Depot has this for 20 bucks. You shoulda seen the wad of hair they pulled out of there. Looked like a dead hamster. Blech. And it's bound to build up again eventually. Just wondering if these snaky doohickies are fairly idiot-proof. I don't plan to rush right out and buy one this second, but I'd like to have a plan in mind for next time rather than forking over another hundred dollars for five minutes' work.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/27/2005 10:38:00 AM • Permalink
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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 AD
Ah, If Only 'Twere Me!

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Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/26/2005 11:08:00 PM • Permalink
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In case anyone's still wondering, I am very much out of the depression I was in a few weeks ago. I guess my follow-up post was a little obscure, so let me reiterate with a little more clarity that the kindness of my friends at CREC was an effective balm to my sin-sick soul. God used them to display His love to me in just the way I needed it. I continue to be amazed by the blessing this dear congregation has been to me. Speaking of which, I will finally be interviewed by the session next Tuesday evening, and (I think this is the plan) received into membership the following Sunday. I can hardly wait to become an official member.

A conversation last evening:
Me: Eric said he and one of the other elders would come interview me next Tuesday.
Me: Yeah, that oughta give me time to hide my Buddha statue.
PWSNBN: And be sure to erase that pentagram from the floor, too.

In other news, my mommy's arriving tomorrow evening for a week. My house is a bit messy (and that's a bit of an understatement), so I've taken off starting tomorrow so I can get things a bit in order before she arrives. I've been under the weather, so I didn't get much done this weekend toward that end. I still need to get the essentials scrubbed (bathroom, kitchen) and some furniture moved around (bedframes, mattresses, bookcases, dressers) so she can have the hard-as-a-concrete-block mattress she likes and I can have the other one. I may have to wait 'til she get here for some of it, since I don't think I can do the bookcases on my own.

Speaking of Mom, this motto, found in a comment on Scott's blog, fits her to a tee: Use it up. Wear it out. Make do. Do without. Perhaps I'll work it up as an embroidery design for her kitchen in a moment when I'm bored with working on her bedspread (I'm on my sixth square...126 to go!). UPDATE, 6:50 p.m.: OK, so I already started fiddling with it!

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If anyone would like me to e-mail the embroidery pattern in a PDF file, e-mail me (valerie-at-kyriosity-dot-com) with the word EMBROIDERY in the subject field. You'd have to use some kind of transfer paper to get it onto the fabric, but I could send the outline to trace. It'll be a couple weeks, at least, but I'd love to share it if there's any interest!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/26/2005 05:56:00 PM • Permalink
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A Profound Ethical Question
I have a running list of folks I've met first online and then in person. At the conference last weekend, I was able to add Amy, Julie, and Amber (no link) to my list -- numbers 52-54. I also met Greg, Meg, Chris, and Doug, but although I'd read each of their blogs, we'd never interacted online, so I don't think I'd technically "met" them. Do I get to add them to my list, or would that be cheating? My conscience is deeply troubled over this critical issue. ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/26/2005 12:37:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, April 23, 2005 AD
How to Get a Ridiculously Huge Spike in Your Site Referrals
Get Amy to mention you in a post.

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My previous one-day record was 270 visits. Amy's link knocked that out of the park to nearly 400 on Thursday. And she calls me the celebrity. Ha!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/23/2005 09:17:00 PM • Permalink
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Friday, April 22, 2005 AD
Poetic Pummeling
"After Tetzel had received a substantial amount of money at Leipzig, a nobleman asked him if it were possible to receive a letter of indulgence for a future sin. Tetzel quickly answered in the affirmative, insisting, however, that the payment had to made at once. This the nobleman did, receiving thereupon letter and seal from Tetzel. When Tetzel left Leipzig the nobleman attacked him along the way, gave him a thorough beating, and sent him back empty-handed to Leipzig with the comment that this was the future sin which he had in mind. Duke George at first was quite furious about this incident, but when he heard the whole story he let it go without punishing the nobleman." (Source: Luthers Schriften, herausg. von Walch. XV, 446; Stolen from Upriver.)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/22/2005 03:25:00 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, April 21, 2005 AD
Even Smaller Victory
I did some major blogroll trimming. If I cut your blog, please don't hate me...I just had to get things down to a manageable level here.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/21/2005 05:29:00 PM • Permalink
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Make the First Move
"I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness."

A while back, a couple friends of mine met at a conference. Each of them later reported back to me, "I found so-and-so a little cool." Almost the exact same words from each about the other. I wish I could go back and ask them both, "Well, were you warm first, or did you warily wait to gauge the other's reaction?" If nobody makes the first move, smiles the first smile, reaches out for the first handshake, warmth will most assuredly not ensue.

This is one of those things I need constant reminders of. Being pathologically introverted myself, I know the temptation not to make the first move. I like to hide in the corner, and then complain that no one was nice to me. I like to start out assuming that no one will like me, and then pout when no one does. But in Christ that's not a righteous option. My shyness is too often nothing more than piggish self-protection. How many times have others come away from an encounter with me thinking, "She was rather cold"? If courage is fire (as Mr. Disraeli evidently said), then a little social courage could go a long way toward warming not only myself, but those I meet.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/21/2005 02:59:00 PM • Permalink
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Small Victory
Well, I don't seem to have the post-vacation desire to give up on my blog, but as of about noon today, there are no longer any televisions in my house. There's one time-sucking, sewage-spewing temptation out of the way!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/21/2005 01:16:00 PM • Permalink
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I'm terrible about remembering to take pictures, but here are the three I got this weekend, Robert and Kim, Greg with Energizer Baby, and Amy with their next youngest:

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This was after the Bible Study on Tuesday, so the littl'uns are pretty de-energized at the moment, but by the time we got back to the hotel, they were up and at 'em for another hour or so of playing in the lobby while the grown-ups talked.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/21/2005 07:42:00 AM • Permalink
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Wednesday, April 20, 2005 AD
I tagged along with Amy and family as they looked at a couple investment properties yesterday. At both stops I got to stay with the baby while Amy and her Rocket Scientist (be sure to read his post about clueless mommies...good stuff!) looked over the real estate, and the three older children either went along with them or played nearby. Both times, my charge, whom Amy calls "Energizer Baby" (get it? Charge...energizer?) was a perfectly sweet and content child as long as she was with me...and then started crying immediately upon her mother's return. "Go away, Mama! I want the nice lady!" At least that's how I chose to interpret things. ;-) Actually, the poor thing is teething and has a cold, so it's a wonder she wasn't wailing all the time. I think "Energizer Mama" would more apt. Amy is A Woman With Ideas, and spunky to boot.

Amy and Greg treated me to dinner at a local Mexican place (La Carreta?) and then we went on to the Tuesday night Bible study. Now I am a Tuesday night Bible study junkie -- I own a dozen tape/CD sets, each of which I've listened to two or more times, bought another set this weekened, and just ordered two more that Rick's got on clearance (if you're tempted, may I recommend "Spirit of the Fruit" parts 1 and 2?). So I was pretty excited to get to be there in person. RC's style is fairly interactive, and I have a habit of talking to the recordings as I'm listening, so I had it in mind to sit in the back and keep my mouth shut to avoid embarrassing myself. Happily, the Energizer Family chose the back pew anyway, so I was able to follow through on my plan as we settled in for a lesson on "It is easier for a camel to go the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." It is part of an as-yet-untitled series on six things the Bible teaches that Reformed folk don't believe. ("Hydrocortisone for Reformed Hives"? Maybe not....) Dr. Sproul, however, was not content with my obscurity, and asked me a question to which I initially responded stupidly ("What is that acronym?" "Duuuuuuuh....") until he clarified what he was asking ("What is your acronym?" "Oh! EGEATP!"). So for the second time this vacation I was simultaneously very embarrassed and very pleased.

And now, home again, home again, hippity hop. One of RC's illustrations in last night's talk was regarding the waning excitement we tend to have toward things like vehicles, and how that betrays our waning gratitude for the good gifts God gives us. My car is 10 years old, has about 177K miles on it, and is rattling to beat the band every time I turn. Let's just say that I think I will manage to be excitedly grateful for it if it gets me home!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/20/2005 11:27:00 AM • Permalink
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005 AD
Conference Social News
  • Had dinner with Robert and Kim on Friday.
  • Met Julie Austin and Billy Joe Jim Bob Freddie George Bubba Howard and their respective spouses (and Julie's kiddos) Friday evening.
  • Had lunch with Amy and Chris and Meg (link?) and their respective spouses and offspring on Saturday
  • Had dinner with my would-have-been landlords on Saturday.
  • Had breakfast with Amy and fam on Sunday (actually, I'd already eaten but sat with them after they came down to eat)
  • Drove Doug Phillips and his assistant and daughter to worship. I didn't know for sure I'd be doing this 'til 6 a.m., so I'd done some early-morning scurrying to empty my car of clutter and trash, run to the gas station to vacuum, and give it a once-over with Windex. I knew it wasn't up to Vision Forum's we-look-like-we-never-get-dirt-under-our-fingernails-even-when-we're-digging-for-dinosaurs standards. And then there's that dreadful rattle it's developed (I'm thinking tie rod ends), for which I kept apologizing. And of course Doug was very gracious about it, saying, "We call that character." And I dropped a name during the brief journey. And I took the wrong exit, necessitating more turns, producing more hideous rattles, but we made it in one piece and on time.
  • Sat with the Saenzes during worship
  • Easily spotted Kelly M's brother after the service (he was bewildered at how I might know him...his wife remembered Kelly mentioning me)
  • Attended the St. Peter third Sunday picnic. Surprised myself by being quite the social butterfly. Spoke with some St. Peter friends and quite a few visitors, including one young lady who asked, "Are you the Valerie from the squib?" Yep. Doug's assistant told me Doug was looking for me. Uh-oh...he's going to sue me endangering his daughter's life in my rattletrap of a car! No. He'd found out from RC that I was single, and wanted to pray for me. So he dragged RC over and they both prayed for me, and I was embarrassed, but, of course, deeply appreciative. RC said he's been praying not just that God will send me a husband, but that He'll send me a husband who will move me to St. Peter. (Uh-oh. If certain other people are praying otherwise, I hope the Lord doesn't split the difference and send me to D.C.!) Was one of the last to leave the picnic, and was therefore available to be invited, along with another visiting family, to the Cs' home for more munching and fellowship. We were later joined by the Rs, who brought along another family of visitors. A bonfire and good conversation and singing ensued.
  • Spent most of Monday being perfectly lazy, then went to the Sprouls' for dinner. Here's a view from their front porch, courtesy of Doug's blog. And that doesn't even begin to capture it. RC had to go and ask if I'd been online via the hotel's business center. Hadn't occurred to me 'til then!
My plans for tomorrow (tonight, really) are to attend the Tuesday evening Bible study. I may head home straight afterward to save the cost of another hotel night. Of course I'd have to check out in the morning and find someplace to amuse myself the rest of the day. And since I've already been up far too late tonight, and am having this car trouble, perhaps it would be foolish to attempt an all-night drive tomorrow. We shall see....

The kindness of the St. Peter folks has been remarkable. The congregation provided plentiful palate-pleasing provender for the superfluity of picnickers. And the sundry individual hospitalities with which I have been blessed have been very much appreciated. I haven't had any second thoughts about my decision not to move, and I am eager to be back worshipping with my friends at CREC next Sunday, but I sure do wish I could be in two places at once. I will have to find more excuses to visit!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/19/2005 01:19:00 AM • Permalink
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Conference Lecture Notes: Super-Condensed Version
There was, of course, much more good stuff taught at this conference, but these were the two-by-fours that hit me most squarely upside the head...and/or or other parts of the anatomy:
  • We are the Lord's gold. He refines us because we are precious to him.
  • Job 36:15 (ESV): "He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity." (Pesky pronouns. None of the others has those bys. I hate it when translations are so radically different and it's impossible to discern what's the right one, but I think this is true even if it's not what's intended by the verse.)
  • Fear of God = faith = believing God
  • We don't deserve sanctification. It's a gift of grace. And God decides, not us, how quickly and in what ways we will mature.
  • Growing in grace is growing in the ability to see Jesus.
  • RC talked about praying, "Lord, whatever it takes," regarding his and his family's sanctification, and enumerated some of the trials that have since come Sproulward. I realized that though I've prayed similarly for at least 15 years, it's usually been, "Lord, whatever it takes. Oh, and here's a list of what it'll take." Now it's not wrong to pray specifically, but it is wrong to presumptuously assume I know better than God how to do His job, and it is wrong to rail against Him when He does things His way and not mine. I realized that I've spent a whole lot of time rebelling against His chosen means and often flat out refusing to obey in this area or that because He hasn't met my list of demands.
I was also listening today to one of my favorite recorded RC lectures (the third in this series). There were several points in the lecture that dovetailed nicely with the conference:
  • The Father loves us just as much as He loves the Son. When David opened the door to let Bathsheba in, when he gave the order to have Uriah killed, God loved him as much then as He loves His Son. I think I especially needed to hear this to keep from being overwhelmed by guilt regarding my previously mentioned newly unburied rebelliousness.
  • A husband and father who does not love his wife and children as Christ loves the Church is telling lies about Him. Considering that I was lied to consistently and egregiously in this way, it is a marvel to me that I know any truth at all about the Lord.* God can manage, without even the means He usually ordains, to make me see even a little of who He is, and I'm trying to give Him orders about how to accomplish my sanctification? Puh. Leeze!
I am so very grateful for my Lord's sovereignty, which makes naught of my resistance, and His mercy, which makes naught of my guilt!

*EDIT: I should have said, "Considering that I was lied to consistently and egregiously in this way, it is a marvel to me that I do not remember a day I did not belong to Christ." How did He do it? And why? And why do I doubt that He who began a good work in me, against all "odds," humanly speaking, will be faithful to complete it? "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/19/2005 12:06:00 AM • Permalink
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Monday, April 18, 2005 AD
Sat in the hotel lobby yesterday morning waiting for Amy and her lovely family to come down to breakfast, and CNN was on. Horror after horror repeated and repeated: 2-year-old stabbed to death, 13-year-old's body found, mom attempted to kill 6- or 7-year old. Finally there was a piece about some New Jersey social service agency that had gotten top-notch professional photographers involved in taking photos of kids in the foster care system in hopes of attracting adopters. But even that depressed me. We are so image-oriented that we have to use eye-candy to get people to have compassion on needy kids.

Then at the picnic after worship I got to see the triplets -- a hard to place trio adopted by a St. Peter family about a year and a half ago. I also happened to be visiting St. Peter in October 2003 the Sunday those babies were baptized. I tried today to think of any other event I've ever witnessed that was so beautiful. I'll let you know if I ever think of one.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/18/2005 11:40:00 PM • Permalink
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Friday, April 15, 2005 AD
I'm Off
But you already knew that. I'm leaving now to drive to Virginia for the HSC conference, and will return on Wednesday. Behave yourselves while I'm gone, and try not to have too much fun without me. I make no promises to reciprocal behavior. ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/15/2005 07:12:00 AM • Permalink
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Thursday, April 14, 2005 AD
Back to Square One
The first square of my mommy's bedspread:

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The pattern calls for 182 squares (13x14), but my square actually turned out bigger than the 5.5 inches it was supposed to be (Heidi will understand what a shocking thing that is!) so I think I'm going to keep going at this size and refigure the dimensions. (Yeah...it'll take 132 squares.) The design is from a 1934 pattern book.

Here are a couple embroidery projects I did in years gone by. The Bible cover was started back in my PCUSA days to fit the NRSV I was carrying then. Happily, it fits my NASB, too. ;-) I don't know if you'll be able to see the stitching, but it's all teeny-tiny satin stitches -- about a millimeter wide -- to create the over/under effect of the knotwork. The design is pieced together from a few different historical sources -- I have notes somewhere, but can't remember them off the top of my head -- plus a few of my own modifications.

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This cover was originally made for my Greek New Testament -- hence the alpha and omega design (no...it's not a rootbeer advertisement!) Of course by the time I finished the embroidery, I'd forgotten all the Greek and the NT was no longer in regular use. So I now use it on my 1928 Book of Common Prayer. I did the design. The fabric was left over from a dress. The sewing on the dress and both covers was done by my mom. I've never had much of a relationship with sewing machines...I seem to prefer my needlework freehand.

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And as long as I was taking pictures, I thought I'd post this one of the journal Samantha made. Does anyone recognize the painting? i'd love to know more about it. I plan to take the journal this weekend for conference notes. I hope Mrs. Sammycakes approves of employing it in that fashion.

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Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/14/2005 10:34:00 AM • Permalink
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Rick's recent post on hospitality reminded me of one I wanted to write on the topic.

The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenia (filoxenia, I think, if you have the Symbol font installed, and aren't on Firefox, which seems to refuse to render it), literally "love of strangers." We have an opposite word in English: xenophobia, fear of or aversion to strangers or foreigners. And Jesus uses one of the root words in Matthew 25:35: "I was a stranger (xenos) and you welcomed me."

Rick notes that whilte what we usually call hospitality -- having friends over for a meal -- is certainly a good thing (and I would add that it is not an abuse of our English word), it really isn't biblical philoxenia. The simplest way American Christians could attempt that sort of hospitality, it seems to me, would be to be prepared to invite visitors to lunch after church on Sundays. Don't wait 'til that new family's been visiting for a month before waiting to have them over for a meal. Rick paints another corner of the picture when he notes that hospitality is about using your resources to meet a need that the other person cannot easily meet. The church is more than a meeting on Sunday morning, and a newcomer simply cannot meet his own need to experience the fuller community of the church.

I read an article once by a fellow -- I don't know if he was a believer, but he certainly had some insight we could use -- who had done a personal survey of various churches, rating them on various factors. They got points for how well they did music, preaching, etc. But the most points they could get for one factor -- 50, I think -- was for an invitation to lunch after the service. Sadly, I don't think this fellow was ever able to award those points.

Why is that? Why is hospitality to strangers such a rarity among American Chirsitians? I think we are good at excuses (and I've used most of these at one time or other, so I'm preaching to myself here!):
  • "I can't prepare a meal ahead of time not knowing whether or not or how many might be coming to lunch!" We're confusing hospitality and entertainment. The point is not to produce an impressive meal. Having sandwich supplies on hand that you could serve to guests on Sunday or use for your own family's lunches through the week wouldn't be that hard.
  • "I can't afford it." Oh, please. What a lame excuse in this nation. Why is it that we so often hear visitors to poor countries remark on the hospitality they experienced there -- people sharing out of what little they have? Remember the story about the baboons?
  • "I would have people over, but the kids would annoy them." Someone actually said this to me once. First of all, you are betraying your own belief that children are a burden an a nuisance, and your assumption that others think likewise. Second, you are depriving your potential guests (the comment was made in the context of a discussion about showing hospitality to single folks in the church) of something they really can't provide for themselves -- the learning experience of observing a godly family in action and the blessing of being able to participate in family activities.
  • "The house is a mess." Here's my Grade A, Number One excuse. And if we turn it on its head we see why poor housekeeping isn't just a personality quirk, it's a sin. It gets in the way of obeying God's command to be hospitable.
  • "We're too busy." Well, stop being so busy. Like unto the previous point, if something you are doing is keeping you from obeying God, then it is sin.
And the list could go on, but you get the gist.

After-church lunch is just one simple way of showing love to strangers. What are some others you can think of?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/14/2005 10:34:00 AM • Permalink
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Snippets of Relevance, Old and New
Paulo makes note of the Heliand, "an epic poem retelling the Bible as a Germanic saga, transforming church-speak into rephrased Saxon. For example, 'Lord, teach us to pray' was interpreted as 'reveal to us the runes.' And we thought the TNIV was bad."

Thomas has a photo of a sidewalk chalk advertisement for "KICK-A** WORSHIP" at Kansas University's Danforth Chapel. Well, if you're going to approach the Lord God Almighty with such an irreverent attitude, I suppose you'd better be prepared to get your a** kicked.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/14/2005 12:35:00 AM • Permalink
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005 AD
Nifty Site
Ethnologue.com: "An encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 6,912 known living languages"
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/13/2005 10:08:00 PM • Permalink
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An Accomplishment Heretofore Unequaled in the Known Universe
Or at least in my universe. I am leaving the office to go on vacation and there are only 10 e-mails left in my inbox! I have archived, filed, answered and deleted hundreds and hundreds of messages today. Of course there will probably be hundreds more awaiting me upon my return, but I am still going to enjoy this one brief, shining moment of organizational sanity!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/13/2005 10:08:00 PM • Permalink
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On a Mean Streak
Scene One
This morning I stopped by the grocery store on the way to work. As I walked in, I noticed my neighbor and close family friend Miss Gloria with her back turned to me. I reached out and slowly started pulling her cart away from her. It took her a second, but she reached out and put her hand on it. I kept pulling. Finally she turned around and was about to get indignant when she saw it was me. I got her good!

Scene Two
Joanna to Fred (who's wearing a loud yellow T-shirt): You look bright today, Fred.
Fred to Joanna: Thanks.
Me, hollering from my desk: Just to be clear, she's only talking about your clothes!

Hehe...that's me...spreading joy wherever I go!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/13/2005 02:20:00 PM • Permalink
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Oh Dear
Now I'm even going to be allergic to my blog!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/13/2005 12:18:00 AM • Permalink
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005 AD
Valerie the Druggie
Took a Benadryl last night. BIG mistake. I am still in La-La Land. (Karen, my empathy for Brandon has increased exponentially!) Today's concoction, which finally seems to be having some effect on my symptoms, is Sudafed, Claritin and Tylenol. (Actually, it's the store brands for all of these things, but I'm too lazy to type out Diphenhydramine, Pseudoephedrine, Loratadine and Acetaminophen.) Me want sleeeeeep!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/12/2005 12:46:00 PM • Permalink
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Beholding Is Becoming
This is part of my sermon notes from this past Sunday. I posted this in a comment on Amy's blog, but thought I'd post it here, too. The text was Romans 12:2, "Don't be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
We're not to be squeezed into the world's mold. This age has a pattern of thinking and living, and desires us to conform to it. Look back to Romans 1:20ff to see what the world's pattern is like -- substituting foolishness for grateful submission to God; giving themselves to stupidity; exchanging truth for lies. Christians tend to be oblivious to the fact that the cultural influences of our day want this for us.

God says we should instead be shaped by who we are and what He's making us -- be metamorphosed into a different appearance by the renewal of our minds. Why do our minds need renewal? It's not just a lack of information. Teaching the natural man just makes him a more effective, efficient, creative, convincing sinner. The Bible says we need change, not information. Ephesians 4:22 says, "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind." This refers to a change of mindset, outlook, demeanor, viewpoint. Titus 3:5 says that we are saved through washing and renewing (the only other place in the NT where that word is used) by the Spirit. God is beautifying His new creation. The Spirit makes us into what we already are -- holy and righteous. 2 Corinthians 3:18 -- Beholding is becoming. We are transformed by gazing at the glorified Christ. We are awed by the beauty of our Bridegroom and we long for Him. That's what gives us perseverance. Do that, and you will know what else to do.
Eric went on to emphasize the promise of transformation and sanctification. We don't know how, but we know that God will make it happen. Some of us need lots of reminders of that!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/12/2005 11:46:00 AM • Permalink
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Monday, April 11, 2005 AD
Google PhoneBook
Google now has a reverse phone look-up function. Type the number into the Google search enging, and get the name and address that goes along with it. If you want to opt out of having your home information available in this way, search for your home number, then click on "PhoneBook results for...", then click on "PhoneBook Removal Form" to request removal.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/11/2005 09:22:00 PM • Permalink
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Well, I Suppose It Had to Happen Someday
Hell finally froze over.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/11/2005 05:10:00 PM • Permalink
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Still Here
Well, that hiatus I felt coming on hasn't arrived yet. But I'll be gone Friday through Wednesday, so we'll see how I feel about things after a break.

In other news, spring is here in full force. My favorite big, fat bright yellow daffodils are past their peak in my front garden. The forsythia around these parts are riotous. Flowering trees whose names I don't know are singing their Maker's praise with pink and white exuberance. And I'm popping Sudafed like it's candy.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/11/2005 01:36:00 PM • Permalink
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Sunday, April 10, 2005 AD
For Bill G, from the It's a Small World After All Department
I sat next to former EPer and former voice student of yours Jeanette D. at a birthday dinner last night. I've known Jeanette for some time now through FCF, but we just make the mutual acquaintance connection last night. And Nianque visited CREC this morning and joined us for our monthly fellowship dinner. Eventually, after I've met everyone you know, I may actually meet you one of these days!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/10/2005 11:46:00 PM • Permalink
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Help Valerie Buy a House!
Not me...this Valerie. She's put some antiquarian books up for sale on eBay as part of an attempt to scrape together money for a downpayment. If you're into old books, or know someone who is, Valerie's offering some nifty items, and the sale price will go to a good cause!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/10/2005 11:14:00 PM • Permalink
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Follow-Up to Post on Georgia Woman
First, I understand the skepticism. I wrote my first post and then waited 'til the next day to actually publish it because I was a little wary myself. WND seemed like a reputable enough source, so once they had the story, I thought it would not be irresponsible to proceed. And if you will note in the comments to the previous post, a paper in LaGrange did finally cover the story. An Atlanta television station also covered the story. so I hope that will be official enough for folks to believe that Mrs. Magouirk is a real person at the center of a real familial dispute regarding her care.

Second, I received the following from a reader of this blog:
Dear Valerie, I have been reading your blog for about a year now and enjoy it very much. Of course, you do not know me, I don't have a blog to refer you to, so you will have to take what I say with a grain of salt. Which is probably wise anyway since I am not immediately involved in the situation in Lagrange. I do live here, however, and know someone who knows the family. And so I feel a bit like I'm playing the game telephone (where you whisper a message to someone and by the end of the line it's totally garbled.) However it appears to me that the story is not as simple as it seems.

According to one family member, there never was a feeding tube. The grandmother was on an IV but it was making her swell and they removed it and tried to feed her by mouth. However, she refuses most everything and spits it out. The family also says she is suffering from dementia which I don't believe the article mentioned. They moved her to hospice because she has an inoperable aortic aneurysm that will probably kill her (and surgery most definitely would).

From my perspective, the granddaughter has been taking care of her grandmother for some time. The nephew comes into town and turns it into a big media story. Now it could be that he is right and the granddaughter is wrong. But I don't think the whole story has been told. And according to our local paper (Lagrange Daily News), the family (including the nephew) has agreed to abide by the decision of 2 out of 3 doctors evaluating the case.

Since all of my info is hearsay, it is probably not very helpful. And I am not blaming you in any way from putting this story on your blog. I just think it may not be as it appears right now in the media. Could be wrong though.
The writer also noted that "prayer for the family and area churches would be helpful. An elder in my church has some connection with the family and greatly desires to counsel them with wisdom." And she asked to remain anonymous, which I will respect.

Third, it has been reported that Mrs. Magouirk has been taken from the hospice to a hospital where she is now receiving nourishment and fluids. So there appears to be some, at least temporary, resolution to the issue.

Fourth, maybe I shouldn't have said anything about it in the first place, but I didn't write about it to be a source of your daily news. That's not the kind of blogger I am. I wrote about it because it upset me. I'm a journaler, not a journalist. Perhaps that means I shouldn't comment on current events. I don't want to be irresponsible, but neither to I wish to wait for a major news outlet to define reality for me. I'm not sure what standard I should set for myself in that regard. I'm open to cogent recommendations. *Mark your calendars! On April 10, 2005, Kyriosity actually solicited advice!* Just one caveat: Please do not leave a post without your full name, unless you are sure I already know it.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/10/2005 08:37:00 PM • Permalink
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Chatting With Daniel
For those who are wondering if Mr. Stoddart is alive and well, I can at least vouch for the alive part. Following is an slightly edited bit of chat I just exchanged with him:

valkyriosity: hope to be joining my new church this month
w1kL3f: oh yeah...you're part of Doug Wilson's Army now
valkyriosity: lol
valkyriosity: what variety of camo do you suppose is appropriate for the dwa?
w1kL3f: orange
valkyriosity: eek!
w1kL3f: and black
w1kL3f: well, orange for Protestantism
valkyriosity: and black for the dark side of the force

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/10/2005 12:06:00 AM • Permalink
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Saturday, April 09, 2005 AD
Important Events of the Day
Today is the Idaho Beard and Moustache Championships in Ketcham, Idaho. Here are some photos from the 2003 World Championships. (This guy's my favorite. I like the whole seamless hair/beard mane thing he's got going on.) While I am personally in favor of facial hirsuteness (on men, that is...I need to keep a pair of tweezers handy for battling feminine facial follicular freakishness), somehow being fussy and vainly competitive about it seems contrary to the masculinity it represents. It seems to me that real men would have better things to do than participate in pogonic pageantry. Of course if I lived in the neighborhood of Ketcham, I'd still be tempted to attend the day's festivities!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/09/2005 10:20:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, April 08, 2005 AD
...And Mixing His Metaphors, Evidently
I have never yet heard of catnip causing felines to bark.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/08/2005 06:03:00 PM • Permalink
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How Long Before This Isn't Even News Anymore?
An elderly Georgia woman being starved to death because she's just too old. Her granddaughter, who made the decision contrary to the 81-year-old woman's wishes as clearly expressed in her living will, says, “Grandmamma is old and I think it is time she went home to Jesus. She has glaucoma, and now this heart problem and who would want to live with disabilities like these?” How dare she invoke His name with a subtle implication that He is complicit in this? Murderous and blasphemous. Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3 | Link 4
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/08/2005 11:09:00 AM • Permalink
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Thursday, April 07, 2005 AD
Google Satellite Maps
I live here.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/07/2005 11:48:00 AM • Permalink
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005 AD
New Book and Music
I finally spent my Christmas Amazon certificates on some new music and a book. The book was Caddie Woodlawn's Family. I remember multiple enjoyable readings of Caddie Woodlawn in my younger years, so I was happy to get the sequel. I don't often remember the details of books after I've finished them -- just a general sense of how much I liked them. Of course my memory gets better with multiple readings. One passage I always liked in the first book recounts a talking-to Caddie receives from her father after she'd gotten into some sort of tomboyish trouble and made her mother despair that she would ever display characteristics more typical of the fairer sex. The father tells Caddie that he doesn't expect her to be the sort of silly, frou-frou creature called a lady, but that he wants her to be a woman. Now I'm not sure Mr. Woodlawn's definition of a lady is quite fair, but I appreciated his distinction between useless ornamentality and true femininity.

These are the three CDs I got:
  • New Favorite, by Allison Krauss and Union Station -- This is the most popular of the three, but I like the other two better. If you're an AK&US fan, don't think of that as a slight to them, but as a compliment to the following.
  • Warm Strangers, by Vienna Teng -- I think I first heard the song "Harbor" on a Paste Music sampler. Then I was reminded of it when Jon noted Teng as one of his musical influences. Miss Teng's vocals and piano playing are beautiful -- bright and true. "Harbor" is probably my favorite on the CD, but I also like "Feather Moon" despite the sketchy poetry of its lyrics and the a capella "Passages" even though it is almost unbearably sad, and even though I think I got this accursed spyware while searching for the lyrics, which for some reason are not printed in the liner notes with the rest of the songs.
  • Turn to Me by Bill (short for Belinda) Jones -- This one's my favorite of the three. I discovered it through RadioCelt.com. Traditional Celtic is the musical language that most resonnates with me, and this young lady performs it with the sort of voice I find most delightful -- pure and clear and light and genuine. She combines some venerable tunes and lyrics with more modern ones including her own. My favorite cuts are "Táimse im Chodladh" and "Turn to Me," both of which combine Miss Jones's lyrics with older tunes.

    "The Fisherboy" (track three) is a ballad about a poor little lad who tragically loses both his parents, and is then kindly taken in by a young woman and her nobleman father, who not only foster the boy, but employ him, for which he is most grateful. Can't you just hear the shrieks of child protective services people now? "Exploitation! Child Labor!"

    This sort of situation arises often among refugees -- a child separated from his parents will often be taken in by another family as a servant -- and is always decried as a tragedy. But of course the natural children of the family are probably expected to work just as hard as the fostered children. Of course there are situations where abuse occurs, but they are held up as the norm. To the concerned voices, anything short of a typical middle-class American child's lazy life is tantamount to heinous torture.
As you might guess, I like vocalists, and female vocalists best of all. I had originally planned to get, at Mr. Saenz's recommendation, something by Ginny Hawkins, but now that DHP is selling a couple of her CDs, I think I'll spend my other Christmas money with Rick in a couple weeks at the HSC conference.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/06/2005 09:40:00 AM • Permalink
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005 AD
Hiatus Planning
First, I'm OK. No need to worry. If'n I'da known my previous post would cause so much worry and consternation, I'd not have posted it. Sorry!

Second, thanks for worrying anyway. Your concern is appreciated.

Third, thanks also for all the other kind words.

Fourth, Kelly's right about the blog roll.

Fifth, so is Joseph. It didn't work last time when I took it down. But hope springs eternal etc.

Sixth, Jane, blocking sites on one's own computer is completely futile if one knows the password. And there are other links here that I like to have access to in case I'm away from my own browser's bookmarks. I may, however, once I get my own computer back (and Leslie says it may be this week), install something like Net Nanny that allows you not only to block sites, but limit online time, and get someone else to set the password.

Seventh, Karen, are you any good at thinking up passwords? Also, you have not only seen pictures of my house, you have heard Eric's last two sermons -- well, one of them, at any rate ;-) -- and can perhaps imagine how convicting they have been to me.

Eighth, Carmon's pretty close to being right about Rick. But it's not simple so much as deliberate that's prompting my hiatus plans. I haven't been able to come up with a good, positive, purposeful, intentional reason for doing this. Rick wrote about some questions his family uses when determining whether or not to do something: "Will it help us to raise our family? Will it help us to live in community? Will it help us to worship God?" I'm not even so far along that I have such a clear set of diagnostic questions, but I do know that one of them needs to be about the pursuit of personal sanctification -- becoming a more loving, faithful and obedient child of God. Maybe there's some way blogging can contribute to that end, but it isn't clear to me right now. The opposite, in fact, seems to be the case. Far too much of my time is consumed online, which means that far too little of it is spent in prayer, reading, housework, service, personal worship, physical activity, etc. Frankly, the last hiatus did absolutely squat in getting me to improve in these other areas, but, again, hope springs eternal. Maybe this time God will be merciful and grant me a livelier repentance.

Ninth, other influences include ye olde admonition against narcissistic navel-gazing and lonely soulism (you will recall my little meltdown last week), and the line that was the final straw contributing to last year's hiatus: "Darby, did you know that Miss Valerie spends too much time online?"

Tenth, Joseph, it's called "going Garver." And I don't have a laptop.

Eleventh, I haven't disappeared yet. It'll probably be this weekend sometime.

Twelfth, there was something else on the tip of my brain, but it has escaped me.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/05/2005 01:15:00 PM • Permalink
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%#*&!@ Spyware
And if that's not enought, %*@!& tech sites that inadequately explain how to get rid of it. Take this one, for instance. Not only do half the files they say to look for not exist, the instructions they give for removing DLL files are absolutely nonsensical. And that's the best of the sites I looked at. Most of the others either suggested deleting processes that can't be deleted, or tried to sell me removal software. One starts to get suspicious that the software companies are inventing the spyware to keep themselves in business. Anyway, if anyone has done battle with IBIS toolbar and can point me in the direction of some helpful help, I'd appreciate it.

And yes, I use Firefox for what I can, but it just doesn't work with everything. If they would provide something comparable to the IE Google toolbar, that would be half the battle won. If Microsoft Outlook Web Access ran on it, that would be the other half. And if I could actually play the radio or work with certain plug-ins, that would be the third half.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/05/2005 12:01:00 AM • Permalink
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Monday, April 04, 2005 AD
Warning Shot Over the Bow
I feel another hiatus coming on. Those of you (Phillip) who use my blog roll, I'll give you a day or two to save your favorites somewhere.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/04/2005 02:20:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, April 02, 2005 AD
I Don't Like the Shower Gift I Bought Last Night
When I buy wedding gifts, I check the registry listing and tend to look first for kitchen items. I saw just the right thing on Lisa and Carter's list, and of course Tarzhay didn't have it in stock. Nor the next item. Nor the next. So I got home last night with something from the electronics department. And I'm not happy with the choice.

A couple months ago, when some folks (including Lisa) were helping me pack and move some stuff one Saturday morning, my friend Sharon started recommending a book about decluttering. She was very enthusiastic about it. The books first suggestion is to start your decluttering in the kitchen, because there's no emotional attachment to stuff there.

My response was something along the lines of "i¿...?!"

Perhaps I'm more emotionally attached to the contents of my kitchen than most folks because most of my pots and pans and such have been here all my life, but even so....

My grandmother had a trivet or something on her kitchen wall with the motto, "No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best." Alas, I can hang no such motto in my postage-stamp-sized kitchen, which is not conducive to visiting. But there's a real comfort level that comes with knowing your cooking utensils. You always know exactly which pot or spoon will work just right for a given task. I'm still grieving the loss of an aluminum pot that sprung a leak a few years back. Cooking spaghetti just hasn't been the same since. My dear mom bought up a new pot for me, which is about the same size, but it's taller and narrower and just not the spaghetti pot. Not yet, at least.

Electronics wear out and have to be replaced every few years. Aside from that spaghetti pot (oh, and the pot I left boiling on the stove when I fell asleep) pots and pans can become keepsakes. Quiet, humble, unassuming to be sure -- you won't find my measuring spoons on "The Antiques Road Show" -- but precious relics none the less. I don't want to give my friends their future trash. I want to give them their future heirlooms.

My mother still knows who gave her certain items as wedding presents, even when she might not have had any other reason to think of that person in years, or even remember her. Who's going to think, 40 years after their wedding, of the person who bought them a gadget that went on the trash heap over three decades ago?

I think I'll try to find another Target and make an exchange this morning.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/02/2005 08:31:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, April 01, 2005 AD
I Done Named Me a Dawg
Well...made the winning suggestion, at least.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/01/2005 07:50:00 PM • Permalink
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I Keep Saying I'm Too Old for This...
...and then I keep doing it. Pulled another all-nighter last night, but have a 20-page booklet laid out and ready to go to the printer pending final sign-off from the final signer-offer. And I'm reasonably pleased with how it looks, though more cooperative software and hardware (this machine simply isn't built to do graphics) and more time to be careful would probably have yeilded better results, especially with the photos. Now I'm going to go eat Thai food.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/01/2005 11:27:00 AM • Permalink
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Triply Trivial
I made fine use of my time in March, handily winning Joffre's, Moriah's, and Phisch's trivia tournaments. Actually, considerning it takes about five minutes per day to do all three quizzes, it's not that huge a waste of time. My victories prove that you do, indeed, gotta play to win, as opponents who might have beaten me in the overall rankings skipped days and lagged behind. Now if only I were so diligent in the rest of my life!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/01/2005 01:25:00 AM • Permalink
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