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Saturday, July 30, 2005 AD
How To Imprecate Yourself
A few months ago, in some sermon or other, Eric hammered home the point that we are our own worst enemies. That got the wheels turning in my head and I began to wonder, if I'm my own worst enemy, how can I use the imprecatory Psalms in the battle against my sinful self? I'm certainly not yet an expert on the matter, but the outline of an understanding is beginning to form in my head. This has been helped by a couple of other sources: Doug Wilson, somewhere on his blog, or in a sermon, or maybe both, reminded me that when we pray imprecatorily, we are first and foremost to be asking God to destroy our enemies as our enemies by granting them repentance. And Dave Hatcher, pastor of Eastside Evangelical Fellowship in Seattle, earlier this year preached a sermon series on the first 10 Psalms that I am finding extremely helpful in shaping my understanding of how to use the Psalms in general, as well as in this particular way.

And in a more general sense, something key about self-imprecation in general struck me tonight: I have a dreadful temper, and most often it is self-directed (or computer-directed, but that's a whole nother kettle of kittens). I will often yell at myself in streams of invective in which the words "stupid" and "idiot" figure prominently amidst other vituperative vocabulary that I will not repeat here. Tonight it occurred to me that those words are addressing deficiencies of intellect, which is not really the problem that needs addressing. I need to learn instead to scold myself with words such as "unbeliever" and "rebel," and I need to call myself not to get it right according to my own standards, but to repent and acknowledge that I have fallen short of God's standards.

In other words, all that self-directed viciousness is just a clever disguise for self-centeredness (somebody, I think Eric again, was talking about that recently, too). I do not make a good god. I make a really nasty, capricious, scary-not-in-a-holy-way-but-in-a-horrific-way god. The way to tear down that idol is not through enhancing my self-esteem ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"), but by directing my attention away from myself to the One True God through worship. Self-imprecation that is not to that end is ultimately self-glorification.

Practically, this means that I need pretty much to always have a Psalter within arm's reach, or a hymnal bookmarked in the section with hymns of adoration. And then I need to use them throughout the day -- to stop and sing when things are going well and when things are going not so well. To constantly be directing my attention back to Him.

"I have set the LORD always before me;
       Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved."
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/30/2005 09:05:00 PM • Permalink
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Friday, July 29, 2005 AD
This Is Nifty...
...if a bit too new-fangled for a manufacturer called Back to Basics. I don't have a toaster at the moment...maybe I'll keep an eye out for one of these on sale. (Link from Paulo)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/29/2005 11:10:00 PM • Permalink
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Of Course. What Was I Thinking?
So I'm on my way home last night, and decided to pop into the Safeway to pick up a few things. They had a lot of their 2-liter sodas on sale for $1, so I thought I'd pick up a few bottles. I got a couple Diet Cokes with Lime, and then headed for the Diet Dr Pepper. But there was none -- the one gap in an entire aisle wall of soft drinks. Then it dawned on me: I was trying to find Diet Dr Pepper at the closest grocery store to the home of Karen A., the world's leading consumer of the product. Next time I'll be sure not to shop within a 10-mile radius.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/29/2005 03:47:00 PM • Permalink
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Monday, July 25, 2005 AD
Reflections on a Mother's Passing
Seth Ben-Ezra has posted from his reflections in the 10 days following his mother's death two years ago this month. These seven posts are beautifully worth the read. Start here.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/25/2005 10:16:00 AM • Permalink
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Saturday, July 23, 2005 AD
I unpacked about half my books. The mildew was getting to me -- itchy eyes and throat. I took a Benadryl. I feel a little disoriented. I think I need to go to bed....
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/23/2005 09:59:00 PM • Permalink
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'Family Worship' V. 'Family Devotions'
In response to Mark's question, I use the terms interchangeably. In my recent post on the subject, some of the families mentioned use "family devotions." And none of them does the exact same thing as any of the others. I can't make myself worry about that too much.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/23/2005 07:41:00 PM • Permalink
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Happy Thought, Indeed
So I go upstairs with the intent of starting to open boxes of books and restore them to their bookcases, only to discover that the cases have no shelves. But I quickly remembered that I'd put them in that most obvious of places -- the closet!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/23/2005 05:42:00 PM • Permalink
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Happy Birthday, 'Harry'
Daniel Radcliffe, the young man who plays Harry Potter in the movies, turned 16 today (HP's b-day is July 31). I finished listening to the 19-hour audio version of HP and the Half-Blood Prince at half past midnight last night, even knowing I had to set the alarm for 5:30 this morning. Whew...now I can go back and read all those spoilers I've been so fanatically avoiding.

Sora, by the way, has a post on "The Gospel in Harry Potter" that I highly recommend. Also, there's a good, spoiler-filled (you have been warned!) discussion going on at Barlow Farms. In case anyone's wondering, I agree with Pentamom's take in comment 16.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/23/2005 05:28:00 PM • Permalink
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A Moving Tale
My friends are so good to me. When I was in the throes of moving a few months ago, my friend Joan let me store a whole buncha stuff in her basement. When it became apparent last weekend that I needed to get it all out of there ASAP (dampness had caused mildew, and some things were already ruined), I sent out an all-CREC e-mail requesting moving muscle. At about 7:15 this morning four kind gentlemen -- Jeff, Brandon and Tyler A., and Mike M. -- showed up with two sizeable vehicles to tackle to job.

But no good deed goes unpunished. As Jeff was parallel parking Brandon's car, some brilliant fellow-denizen of my fair metropolis decided he couldn't be patient enough to wait out the process, and pulled around, managing to side-swipe the vehicle. Happily, he hadn't done much damage to Bran's car, but of course I felt bad that here they were helping me and suffering this hassle as a result. Especially when all three A's started yelling at me, "We wish you'd gone ahead and moved to Virginia!" OK, so I completely made up that last bit.

The gents made quick work of it, hauling everything from the basement to the front yard and organizing it into the two tanks...er...SUVs. We were back at my house a few minutes past 8, when the phone rang. Oops. I hadn't realized that the key Joan left me wasn't a spare, but her only means of reentry to her home. I couldn't rush right back, since they'd just started unloading, so I asked her to give me half an hour. And the guys were so efficient with unloading (I was waiting for someone to pronounce "fragile" in the proper way. Mike was the one to finally oblige. Must be leading all those trips to Europe for Rockbridge that's made him fluent in Italian) that I was actually able to make it back there that quickly. But oh ye of little faith! Joan wasn't there. Had gone to run an errand, I suppose. I couldn't get the key to work again, so I sat down on her porch to wait, and pulled out my Bible and started reading some Psalms. I'd made it through 23 (sung that one, actually), 53 and 83 when I thought, "I think I'll try the key again." So I stood up to do that, and there was Joan sitting in her car, out of sight behind a hedge, waiting for me.

We quickly discovered that the reason I couldn't open the door is that I'd turned the knob, which isn't connected to the bolt, for which I have a key, but to an old lock that isn't quite defunct enough. Joan, having been through this before, disassembled the knob and started poking with her key to disengage the lock. The key wasn't quite long enough, so I went to my car to find something that might work. I looked in the trunk, and in a couple plastic bins in the back seat (I hadn't let the guys unload my car because I didn't want to take the time before heading back to Joan's). I was still hunting when Joan yelled, "I wish you'd gone ahead and moved to Virginia!" Er...I mean...I was still hunting when Joan yelled, "I got it open!"

I came in for a drink of water, we chatted for a bit, met her new sort-of next-door neighbor (he bought the house where Jocelyn and Greg used to live, but he's planning to rent it out), and then I left to head home. Only when I got to my car I couldn't find my glasses. I'd taken them off when I sat on the porch to read. They weren't in my purse (which I searched three times). They weren't in Joan's house. They weren't in the front seat of my car. They weren't in the trunk. I was just about to sit down and cry, "I wish I'd gone ahead and moved to Virginia!" (no, not really), when finally, on our third search of the plastic bins in the back seat, I found them. I'd evidently hooked them to the front of my shirt while I was reading, and then they'd fallen off into the bin when I was hunting for something to help open the door.

We then decided to go out to breakfast. Joan recommended Pete's Grille -- evidently yet another of those Baltimore landmarks I've never heard of -- so we drove there, parked, fed the meter, and discovered that the place was closed for vacation. We ended up instead at Dunkin' Donuts, where we ate without further incident.

My friends are so good to me. I'm glad I didn't go ahead and move to Virginia!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/23/2005 05:11:00 PM • Permalink
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Sunday, July 17, 2005 AD
Thanks, Angie!
Pursuant to my July 14 post, Angie brought a package of fancy paper clips to me at church today. And they're mine -- all mine, I tell you! I'm not sharing any of them, so keep your paws off!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/17/2005 09:51:00 PM • Permalink
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Family Worship
Since I live alone, family worship is not something I get to experience very often. In fact, the first time I participated in family worship was about three years ago when I had dinner a couple times with RedGecko and Fissiped and their folks in their temporary home before they moved to Alabama. Both of those times I was moved to tears. When I visited the family in Alabama after Christmas 2003, I again enjoyed family worship with them during the days I was there. I've also managed to be at the Sprouls' twice or thrice for family worship, too. And in the past few weeks, as I've had a couple opportunities to enjoy the mid-week hospitality of a couple families from church, I've been reminded of what a great joy family worship is.

Anyway, just wanted to say "good work" to those husbands and fathers out there who shepherd their families in this way, and to encourage those who don't to consider starting. It will be a great blessing to your families...and to any stray critters like me who happen to have wandered into the sheepfold on a given evening!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/17/2005 09:39:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, July 16, 2005 AD
A Meme for Firefox Users
In Firefox, the autocomplete function in the address field orders the drop-down list by frequency of visiting, rather than in alphabetical order. So rather than even using my bookmarks, I've gotten in the habit of just typing in the first letter of the site I want to visit, and using the down arrow to select it. So I thought it would be interesting (either that or a completely foolish use of time) to check what's my top site for each letter of the alphabet. The results are as follows, except that in the case of password protected sites, and my work site, I've chosen the next most popular link:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

(There wasn't anything for Q or Y.)

Some made the list because they don't have a lot of competition, others because I visit them multiple times per day, and a bunch in between.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/16/2005 05:21:00 PM • Permalink
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You Go, Girls!
"When he came in here, he knocked down a beehive and sent the bees flying all over."
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/16/2005 12:38:00 PM • Permalink
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Friday, July 15, 2005 AD
Forwarded from a Co-Worker
"When I got home last night, my wife demanded that I take her out someplace expensive. So I took her to a gas station."
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/15/2005 02:10:00 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, July 14, 2005 AD
My New Self-Diagnostic Question
"If I'm still doing this when I'm 80, will I look like a crazy old lady?" That's a question I asked myself today about one of my sillier idiosyncrasies: I never put the pretty paper clips on things I give to other people. You know...the ones that are color-coated. I hoard them. I realized today, as I was digging through my clip tray for plain silver ones to assemble some collated print-outs that if I were an 80-year-old lady doing this, people would think I'd gone 'round the bend. Then I realized it's not really any saner for a 37-year-old lady to be obsessing over paper clips. It's just selfishness. I want to keep all the nice, pretty things for me, and not share my toys with the other children. It's a petty, petty thing, but it reflects something sinfully askew in my heart. By the time I got to the end of my collating, I was using the pretty ones. And if you catch me hoarding when I'm 80, before you cart me away, first tell me to repent.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/14/2005 06:21:00 PM • Permalink
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005 AD
I Can't Believe I've Never Noticed This
On the back of a penny, it says "UNITED STATES oF AMERICA." Like that...with the small O and big F in "of." (But not with the bold, italicized D...that's just to indicate a corrected typo.) Quarters and dimes use all upper-case. I don't have a nickel in my purse to check. Isn't that weird? And ugly? Why would they do that?

The only reason I noticed is that I'm staring at enlarged scanned images of pennies that I'm using to create pie charts in an annual report. Did the same thing last year, but never noticed it then.

Oh, and my captions for the income and expenses charts are "Every penny counts..." and "...and we count every penny," which I thought was pretty clever, eh?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/13/2005 04:08:00 PM • Permalink
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005 AD
Note to Self
Remember to pray.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/12/2005 10:59:00 PM • Permalink
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In Case Anyone's Wondering
Everything's Going Exactly According to Plan. (Thanks for the link, Mrs. LFL!)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/12/2005 10:58:00 PM • Permalink
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My New Diet Pills
I've discovered a correlation between the consumption of Pepto Bismol chewable tablets and weight loss. Over the past few days I've experienced elevated levels of both phenomena. Therefore I should consume much more of the pink stuff to get really skinny, right?

In other news, did you know that coconut milk can cause quite dramatic intestinal distress? For our fellowship dinner on Sunday someone, having learned that I am quite fond of Thai food, made a red curry coconut soup that tasted very much like the dish I usually get at the restaurant near my office. I liked it so much that I went back for seconds. And then I coined a phrase: "Too much of a good thing." Although the most violent stage of my reaction -- the "O Lord, please let me die now" stage, as I like to call it -- was over within an hour or two, this evening is the first I've felt rather back to normal. I would say I've felt Tuckered out, but I don't suppose it would be fair to blame the hosts, so I'll say rather that I've been a little (Mc)Peaked since Sunday afternoon. Of course the real test will come the next time I go to the Thai place: will I be able to order L6 again, or will this experience have left me with an aversion to it? Ah well...if so, there's always L14 and L16...not to mention all the other Ls I haven't yet sampled!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/12/2005 09:40:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, July 09, 2005 AD
The Hair! The Hair! The Huge, Horrible, Hideous Hair!
Was it Jonathan Barlow who noted that filmmakers, when attempting historical accuracy, will likely still be betrayed by the current fashion for eyebrows, leaving their movies with a dated look despite their best intentions? Well, the people responsible for "Persuasion" seem to have been very zealous in their attempts to avoid such subtle inconsistency. No one would ever notice the actresses' eyebrows under the enormous bouffant coiffures with which they were afflicted! And half the costumes look as if they were made from polyester. The whole production screams "1971!" as loud and brazen as it could be screamed.

And what was that geriatric creature doing cast as Anne? Emma Thompson, too, was a decade older than the Austen heroine she played, but 37-year-old Anne Firbank could have passed more easily for a character ten years her senior than for 27-year-old Anne Elliot. (And I note here that I am 37, and therefore can have nothing against the age in principle.) Not to mention that she got the part all wrong. No one could believe this Miss Elliot capable of being persuaded by anyone, even eight and a half years ago. She was far too much the self-confident patrician. And I'd like to have smacked her every time she wrinkled her brow in such a way as I suppose was supposed to make us sympathetic to her, but merely made her look idiotic.

As for Captain Wentworth, I didn't feel very strongly one way or another, but I'd certainly rather look at Ciarán Hinds. (Yes, I know it's shocking, but I do have my shallow side!)

The two performances I liked best were Captain Harville and Mrs. Croft. And I liked Mrs. Croft in the '95 production, so I was surprised to see a rather different portrayal of the character that I liked as well.

Six Degrees:
  • Admiral Croft was performed by the actor who played the major in "The Duchess of Duke Street," and I confess it was hard to get past that. Unfortunately, I think he played the two men much the same, which worked much better in the major's case than in the admiral's.
  • Henrietta Musgrove was Violet Effingham in "The Pallisers."
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/09/2005 07:57:00 PM • Permalink
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Friday, July 08, 2005 AD
Blogging Stats
In light of my last two posts about stats and anniversaries, I was particularly appreciative of this post on the Baylyblog. I'll repost my comment here:
I think it is our nature to turn just about anything into a competetive game. Whether or not our relative success or failure at that game gives occasion to inflated or bruised egos is less the fault of the nature of the game than of the nature of our hearts. I think it's possible for a blogger to be a good sportsman, enjoying the playing of the game, delighting in any victory, but not letting it go to his head. Of course it's also possible for a blogger to be an arrrogant bully when his fans fill the stands or a whining crybaby when nobody picks him to play on their team. I suspect that most of us are somewhere in the middle. I, too, have felt the temptation to put stock in my stats as if they really counted for something important. But although I have had to recognize and do battle with that temptation, I haven't wanted to give up altogether my Sitemeter, my Truth Laid Bear membership, etc. because they also happen to be jolly good fun. So I suppose my conclusion is, "All things in moderation."
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/08/2005 09:34:00 AM • Permalink
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005 AD
A More Significant (and Accurate) Milestone
Today is my three-year bloggiversary. Thanks for reading, everybody!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/06/2005 10:17:00 AM • Permalink
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005 AD
I'm Not Sure Who It Was

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Sorry, JOB, you were actually 100,001.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/05/2005 04:03:00 PM • Permalink
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Watch the Ticker
My Site Meter counter should turn 100,000 today. Hope it's not a Google bot or something that takes it over the top.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/05/2005 01:44:00 AM • Permalink
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Monday, July 04, 2005 AD
I'm working my way (well, "working" probably isn't the most accurate term..."playing," more like) through the DVDs I ordered in May. Here are a few random thoughts so far:
  • "The Jewel in the Crown" -- Addictive, yet very difficult to watch. The second episode, in particular, included just about every disturbing emotional element that could be crammed into an hour. I dreamt about that episode all night (I woke up once or twice and was dreaming about it each time, and then again in the morning). I rarely dream about things I've been watching, so it must have touched quite a nerve somewhere. One of the oldest dreams I can remember was a recurring one I had when I was very small -- 5 years old -- about being falsely imprisoned. (Yes, I was an odd child...the child part, at least, has changed.) So stories of injustice and persecution have always been very difficult for me to watch or read. I take them personally. And I tend to avoid them if I know what's coming. I've never, for instance, seen "Schindler's List," because I've learned simply to stay away from Holocaust stories altogether if I can.

    While I watched the rest of the miniseries with far too few breaks (at the expense of much needed housework), so it clearly engaged me, Hari and Daphne's story was the best part. The rest of the drama had more to do with petty wickedness -- Mrs. Layton and the spoons, for instance -- than Merrick's more overt and egregious abuse of power.

    Susan's bewailing, near the end, that all the building violence between the Hindus and Muslims was the legacy of British presence in India was a little too white-man's-burden melodramatic for my tastes. I am by no means a fan of imperialism (well, except for the Emperor of emperor's sort of imperialism, for which I pray often), and am aware that anytime anybody shows up anywhere they're likely to bring troubles, simply by virtue of being sinful (now there's an odd phrase: "by virtue of being sinful"), but to pretend that the Brits in India were somehow solely responsible for unredeemed human nature taking its course is yet another instance of racial arrogance.

    And why did Ahmed Kasim suddenly have to fill Merrick's shoes at the end? Mysterious marks and thrown stones were always the wicked Merrick's, then suddenly they were the innocent Kasim's.

  • "Luther" -- While I was less critical on this viewing, it still irritates me that they got such a pretty fellow to play the rather potato-faced reformer. And the scene where the singing Katie sashays up to him is still preposterously Broadway-musicalish. I was still annoyed by the preaching-in-the-aisle thing, but less so than I was the first time. But aside from anachronistic silliness and pandering to 21st-century American sensibilities, it was a glorious movie. Tell me the Gospel, and I'll find it difficult to hold too much else against you.

    This may be odd, but it struck me that Andreas was rather a Jesse Jacksonish character, riding on the coattails of a man he with whom he claimed a closer intimacy than he actually had, and opportunistically perverting that man's ideals to his own ends.

  • "Wives and Daughters" -- I think I gulped this down too quickly and will have to watch it again before I can say anything intelligent about it. Except this: Skip the documentary on Mrs. Gaskell's life. I think my effort to block out that heaping dose of feminism has dulled my memory of the film itself.

  • "Mansfield Park" -- While it was certainly a far more faithful production than that horrid 1999 travesty (shut up, The Dane), I still don't think they got Fanny right, and if you don't get Fanny right, you haven't really got "Mansfield Park" right, now have you? Still, I wouldn't cringe at the thought of watching it again.

  • Sense and Sensibility -- Since the 1995 Emma Thompson version is my favorite movie, I didn't really expect to be bowled over by this production. And I wasn't. It seemed as though, with more time to cover more details with more accuracy, they still managed to tell less of the story. There were a couple great differences in plot that I will want to check against the novel, because I cannot remember how things really (well, as "really" as fiction can be) were.

  • "Northanger Abbey" -- The person responsible for the soundtrack of this thing ought to be granted an appointment at dawn with a firing squad. Kenny G-esque saxophone nonsense in a Jane Austen film? Unforgivably gagificacious. But other than that, it wasn't a bad show. Some small irritations, but I'm afraid I just can't get terribly bent out of shape about imperfections in a Northanger Abbey adaptation -- it just isn't as near and dear to my heart as the others.
So there you have it. Fewer thoughts than feelings, I suppose, but I always freely admit that the writing of film reviews is not among my talents.

Just a few six-degrees-of-separation notes (I love IMDB!):
  • There was one dancing scene in "Wives and Daughters" in which the gentleman of the lead couple was, I am sure, the same uncredited fellow who led a dance scene in one of the '90s Austen films. I'm just not sure which one.
  • I'm always happy to see Robert Hardy in things, so his General Tilney was one of the redeeming points in Northanger Abbey.
  • Nicholas Farrell was both Edmund Bertram in "Mansfield Park" and Teddy Bingham in "The Jewel and the Crown"...as well as young Aubrey Montague in "Chariots of Fire."
  • A Lady Catherine de Bourghish Lady Cumnor must have come easily to Barbara Leigh-Hunt, who played the waspish Lady Catherine in 1995's "Pride and Prejudice."
  • "Mansfield Park" presented a somewhat amusing juxtaposition: Sir Thomas Bertram was played by Bernard Hepton, whom I know as Thomas Cranmer in "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" in which Angela Pleasance, MP's Lady Bertram, had played Catherine Howard.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/04/2005 01:43:00 PM • Permalink
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Yay! Babies! Yay!
Billy Joe Jim Bob Freddie George Bubba is the latest to lose his "expectant parent" designation on my blogroll. Congrats to the Howards on the birth of Charlotte Virginia!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/04/2005 06:20:00 AM • Permalink
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Saturday, July 02, 2005 AD
I just typed all this out to send to the ladies at church, and figured I'd be lazy...er...efficient (yeah, that's what I mean) and use it as a blog post, too. These recipes were sent to me by Craigellachie, who tore them out of the charter issue of Cook's Country -- a freebie advertisement she got in the mail...twice. So I've assumed that Cook's Country wouldn't mind a little more free advertising.

I also have these in a more nicely formatted Word doc, which I will e-mail to anyone who asks.

Southwestern Pot Roast
Serves 6, with enough leftovers to make Beef Tortilla Casserole.

Corn tortillas are used to thicken the gravy for this pot roast. Vary the heat by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper. Serve with rice or egg noodles. In most markets, you will have to order a large 5½- to 6-pound chuck roast. Alternatively, use two 3-pound roasts (which are common in most markets). If making Beef Tortilla casserole (see recipe below), reserve 4½ cups of gravy and 4 cups of meat.
1 large boneless beef chuck roast (5½ to 6 pounds), tied
salt and pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
4 medium jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
8 medium garlic cloves
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Season roast liberally with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil on 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer browned roast to slow-cooker insert.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to empty skillet along with onions, bell pepper, chiles and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables into slow-cooker insert.
3. Increase heat to high. Add tomatoes and 2 cups broth to empty skillet, scraping up any brown bits with wooden spoon. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and oregano and bring to boil. Transfer to slow-cooker insert.
4. Tear tortillas into small pieces and combine in medium microwave-safe bowl with remaining ¾ cup broth. Heat on high power until softened, about 2 minutes. Puree in food processor until smooth. Transfer to slow-cooker insert.
5. Set slow cooker to high, cover, and cook until tender, 6 to 7 hours. (Alternatively, cook on low for 9 to 10 hours.) Transfer roast to carving board; loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Allow liquid in pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface. Puree liquid and solids in batches in blender or food processor. (Alternatively, use immersion blender and process until smooth.) Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Remove strings from roast and cut into ½-inch-thick slices. Transfer meat to warmed serving platter. Pour about 1 cup gravy over meat. Serve, passing more gravy separately.

Beef Tortilla Casserole
Serves 6-8

This hearty Mexican casserole with beef, beans, tortillas and cheese makes a complete meal. Just add a salad.
1½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4½ cups leftover gravy from Southwestern Pot Roast
2 (14½-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups meat from Southwestern Pot Roast, torn into 1½-inch chunks
¼ cup lime juice from 2 limes
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup sour cream
½ cup chopped scallions
1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower positions and heat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Mix cheeses together and set aside.
2. Bring gravy to boil in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in pinto beans and meat, and warm through. Remove pan from heat, add lime juice and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place tortillas on two baking sheets (some overlapping is fine) and spray both sides of tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Bake until tortillas are very soft and pliable, about 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
4. Spread one-third of beef mixture in greased baking dish. Layer 6 tortillas on top, overlapping as needed. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat to form second layer.
5. Cut remaining 6 tortillas into quarters. Spread remaining beef mixture in baking dish and cover with tortilla pieces. Cover with remaining 1 cup cheese.
6. Bake on bottom oven rack until cheese is golden brown and casserole is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut casserole into individual portions and transfer to plates. Dollop a heaping teaspoon sour cream in center of each portion and sprinkle with scallions. Serve immediately.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/02/2005 02:13:00 PM • Permalink
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Friday, July 01, 2005 AD
Somebody Pass Me a Barf Bag
"Why are we worried about men kissing each other, when we ought to be worried that the entire system refuses to kiss the Son? ... This is what ought to turn our stomachs: 'Jesus doesn’t matter here.'"
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7/01/2005 11:59:00 PM • Permalink
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