Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lions, Lions, Lions and LIONS!

I think we may need to count Kristi Bell as our most dedicated member of the United Seekers of Stone Lions. She went all the way to Europe to get these babies!

These all taken in Florence, Italy:




Let's get a closer look at those guys:


Here's one in Lucerne, Switzerland:
lucerne switzerland

(Same lion below--did you realize he was so high? I didn't.)
lucerne switzerland

Another Lucerne Resident. I think this is my favorite of the bunch.
lucerne switzerland

Thanks Kristi!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I've already checked the dollar store. No luck.

So, just around a year ago, I got involved with

A little less than a year ago, I participated in my first ever trade event, met some really great people, and made what is still probably my favorite trade ever.

I traded a scrap yarn afghan and a baby jacket for this handbag.
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I love it. It's leather, it's lined, it's got a hand beaded butterfly. It's expensive, as high quality merchandise tends to be. I could never justify spending the money to purchase something like this, at least not for the foreseeable future. In fact, when the owner of the store and I were working out the trade, I remember feeling a little weird about it, since I was (and still am) more in "diaper bag" mode than "beautiful handbag" mode. I wondered if it would live its life on the top shelf of our bedroom closet, and never see the light of day, or the bright lights of night.

I need not have worried. The fact is, my little purse makes a near-perfect opera bag. It fits a wallet, a pair of binoculars, and a set of keys just perfectly. Add the fact that it looks stylish and I feel stylish when I'm carrying it, and it's just all around awesome.

There is a problem though. It turns out I'm not the only one who likes my little bag.




Something tells me I'm going to have to get creative about this, and soon.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

at least the picture shows a hat that I made

Accounting just isn't flashy.


Case in point: I've worked as the controller for the Utah Festival Opera Company since 1995. Never have I had my name in the newspaper, been interviewed by a reporter, or received any public notoriety for my work there. (though, let's be honest, when you're in charge of the money, do you really want to be interviewed by reporters? I think not. The only time anyone reads anything in the paper about the accountant is when they've done something wrong--usually horribly, terribly, deceitfully, or ineptfully wrong.)

My mother on the other hand, gives one measly class on hat-making, and winds up on page two of the newspaper!

Life's not fair.


(Seriously though--thanks mom, this is awesome!)

Here's the Article:

The Herald Journal:Cache Valley's Daily news
Festival Academy fares well

Classes explore finer points of play production
By Arie Kirk
staff writer

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The Utah Festival Opera Company is about to wrap up its inaugural Utah Festival Academy, and so far the summer program is said to have gotten a good public response.

Pamela Gee, education associate for the Utah Festival Opera Company, described Utah Festival Academy 2010 as “a fun, new adventure.”

The academy, which she said will be an annual event, offers education classes for adults. Classes have taken participants from behind the scenes to the spotlight, and on Tuesday participants learned about the millinery trade, or hat making.

The hats in theater productions are many, Gee said, adding that it seemed a good opportunity to demonstrate the trade. Barbara Corry, milliner and resident of Cedar City, taught the Top It Off class.

Corry, who has made hats for the Utah Renaissance Faire and Southern Utah University productions, taught participants how to make different kinds of hats. With samples of her own work including a jester hat, top hat and garland, she led class members through each step.
There are three different structures of hats — soft, wired and shaped-felt. Corry said she uses a sewing machine for most of her work, but some stitching is completed by hand. Once the hats are made, she said, it is time for embellishment. Corry uses items including feathers, jewelry, ribbons and bells.

“You can do anything,” she told class members. “That’s the fun thing with hats.”

Corry has been sewing for more than 20 years. She said she only makes costume hats. Practical hats, she said, aren’t nearly as fun to make.

“I love fabric,” she said, adding that making hats affords her the opportunity to use fancy fabric.
Corry said to not be afraid when starting a project. If the hat doesn’t turn out, she said to just try again.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” she said.

Gee said the Utah Festival Academy is one of three educational programs offered by the Utah Festival Opera Company. Great Choral Conducting is offered at 9:30 a.m. today. Backstage Magic, the academy’s last event, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 4.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Road of Good Sunshine

I was recently asked to answer the question, "What song most resembles you and/or your life and why."

I tend not to like phrases that contain the words "most", "never", "always", "best", or others along that line, and if pressed, I'm afraid that I can't really come up with a song that most resembles me or my life. However, here are three songs that I relate to, followed by hopefully-not-too-rambly explanations of why.

God Bless the Broken Road: It took me what seemed like ages and ages and ages to find my Eric. I had to go on more first dates than I even want to think about. I had to endure more set-ups than I even want to think about (which is why, if you're reading this and you're my friend and you're single, I've probably never tried to set you up.) I cried more tears than I even want to think about. (I also had a whole lot of fun, living a mostly-carefree single life, traveling, socializing, doing what I wanted when I wanted. That doesn't really line up with where I'm going with this song though, so we'll leave it for now.) However, all those first dates and set-ups and tears were part of the road that led me to where I am now. And, I've gotta say, where I am now is a pretty darn good place to be. So, I have to be grateful for that road, and I am. Here's a link to the song. (Cheese alert: Some of the pictures and additional words are a little over the top for my taste)

For Good (from Wicked): I can't hear this song without thinking of my dear Heidi. We became friends within two months of the time I moved to Cache Valley, and ended up being roommates for nine years. We got married within one year of each other, and gave birth to baby girls within a year and a half of each other. I still remember some of the chats we had, one of us leaning in the door frame of the bedroom of the other, laughing over the days quirks, exchanging opinions, venting, exploring each others thoughts. I learned so much during those nine years, and I'm still learning.

There is at least one glaring difference between the lyrics of song and my life though. There's a part that says, "Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but because I know you, I have been changed for good." Well, perhaps Elfaba and Glinda couldn't say, but as for me I can certainly say if I've been changed for the better, and the answer is an absolute positive YES.

Here's a link to the song.

Of course, I can't write a whole post, listing only two non-peppy songs. Not Charlotte, the girl who almost lives, breathes, and eats peppy tunes. So, the last song that somewhat resembles me?

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(boots pic here)

Walkin' on Sunshine--(by Katrina and the Waves): Why?

Because sometimes I do.

Oh-p.s. I've got two sources who tell me they've got pictures of lion statues in countries other than the U.S. You know what that means? USoSL is going international baby! Oh yeah!!!! Stay tuned for pictures!

(Kristi, mom, and Becca--come through for me, okay? Don't leave me hanging here.)


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Team Sokka

Today we spent the day attending a Cantwell Family Reunion. There was great food, and displays of artifacts from people I've only heard about (because they died years and years ago), and a water slide and a fishing pond and some really cool soda bottle/bike tube/pvc pipe rocket launchers, and as is always the case in a Cantwell gathering, lots and lots of chatting. We commiserated with Leslie and Jake over the fact that the Last Airbender movie has received such bad reviews, and how disappointed we are that such a great series has met such an anticlimactic end (if it is, in fact the end, of which we are not convinced). Then we proceeded to review our favorite characters (mine is Sakka) and favorite episodes (mine is the one where they attend the play about themselves). Good times.

Then we came home and lazed around while Heather took her nap. My mom's in town, and I helped her set up a blog for her upcoming school board re-election campaign. Once it's all live and ready to go, I'll probably share the link here. I know, you can barely contain the excitement. I mean, really, what's more pressing than the make-up of the Iron County School Board? Anything? I thought not.

Then I made hummus and flatbread (for a change). Mom had spent the morning deep cleaning our kitchen, much to my joy and a little bit to my embarrassment (but only a little bit). Working in that kitchen was an absolute dream.

All in all, a good day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Then and Now

I was just doing a little organizing of my pictures on the computer and I ran across these two.

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Wow! Did that ever go by fast!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Lebanese are on to Something

Welcome to another segment of Those Quirky Cantwells: What We've Been Eating.

What have we been eating lately, you ask?

Well, I'll tell you.




I know, it sounds a little odd, considering the white-bread, All-American family that we pretty much are. It's like we've gone all middle-eastern or something. Nevertheless, I love them both, and they're both relatively nutritious, so what's not to like about that?

Eric is actually too good for Hummus, and only rarely indulges in the flatbread, but as you can see below, Heather is a big fan of both.

Smart kid, that.

And, just in case you're hankering to try some of this for yourselves, here are the recipes I've been using:

(which is sometimes called Naan, but I can't bring myself to call it that because even though it's really good, it doesn't even compare to the Naan that we can get at Tandoori Oven)

(I found the recipe here, and modified it ever so slightly)

(If you want to see some fun pictures of this recipe in process and then the finished product, click here, and then again here for the whole wheat version. Sheena, who writes the blog I'm directing you to is a professional photographer, and her pictures are so fun that I didn't even bother trying to take pictures of my flatbread in process, knowing that I'd just direct you there anyway.)

1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp. quick rise (also known as bread machine) yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I use non-fat)
1 egg

In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. (I just dump it all into the Kitchenaid, and set the timer for 5 minutes)

Stir in the flour, salt, oil, yogurt and egg and stir, then knead until you have a soft, pliable dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size; about thirty minutes. (Again, I just add all the rest of the stuff into the Kitchenaid, turn it on for five minutes, then remove the dough hook, put a towel on the bowl and set the timer for 30 minutes)

Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces and on a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin circle or oval. (I just grab a small bunch of dough and roll it out. I usually end up with about 8 pieces, but sometimes I end up with more.)

Cook each dough circle on a nice hot non-stick skillet until blistered and cooked, flipping as necessary. (When the surface has big blisters and is golden on the bottom, flip it over and cook until golden on the other side.)

Makes about 8 naan.

(I found this recipe on the label of the Canned Western Family Garbanzo Beans)

2 tsp. Minced Fresh Garlic (the minced garlic I use isn't fresh)
1 can Garbanzo Beans, drained with the liquid reserved
4 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (my olive oil isn't extra virgin)
4 tsp, Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Salt

Puree garlic, beans, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and enough reserved liquid (for me, it
's about 1/2 a cup, give or take) to reach the desired consistency.

(I use a food processor now, but before I had saved enough pennies to purchase this beauty from, I just used our blender. It worked all right. )

(To be clear though--the blender was fine. However, now I love love love my Hamilton Beach 70610 Big Mouth Food Processor. Just fyi.)

(Hamilton Beach--don't you want to pay me for that little ad I just did for you? Hmmmm?)

(What about you, Overstock?)

(Tandoori Oven?)

(Western Family?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

after hours

Sometimes, I get surprised by how things turn out.

(Shocker, I know.)

Last Saturday at around 3:30 p.m. I started down the road to just such an occurrence.

The 2010 Corry family reunion was winding down. The horseshoe tournament had been played and won, the talent show was over, people had taken down their tents and packed up their sleeping bags. We started breaking camp, rolling up tablecloths, sweeping the cement under the pavilion, and taking the kids on the annual "trash walk".

Saturday afternoon at the Corry reunion. It's a bittersweet time. For reasons that will probably become apparent within the next paragraph or two, we (meaning my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, husband and daughter) don't come off the mountain until Sunday morning. However, nearly all of the other attendees head down sometime between noon and six p.m. on Saturday. This year it was earlier than usual. By four-thirty, we had the mountain to ourselves.

For a minute I was sad. Sad as I thought about how an hour earlier the spot had been a bustling busy area, full of kids getting muddy, and women chatting (with a little gossip thrown in), and teens playing basketball, and dogs running around looking for forgotten vittles, and a million other things going on. The Corry's are anything but a timid, shy group. We're yellers. Not angry, cruel yellers, more like boisterous, exuberant, we-just-can't-keep-our-excitement-to-ourselves yellers. For nearly forty-eight hours, the mountain had rang with the yells and shouts and cheers of Corrys. Now it was quiet, nearly eerily so.

And then, just as it does every year, the sadness left, as I realized that once again, we pretty much had the mountain to ourselves. All the land and the green and the grass and the great feelings that were left over after the gloriousness of the main reunion were all ours for the enjoying. For a brief moment I felt gleeful--almost like I was allowed to stay in Disneyland after the gates had been locked and all the other tourists had been forced to go home.

I went up to my parents' trailer and took a shower. Oh sweet indulgence! I played with Heather and two of my nieces.

quirky 7-10

I went on an extended four-wheeler ride, following my dad over roads and trails that I'd never traveled before. This ride was probably the highlight of the weekend for me, and may even end up being the highlight of my summer. Beautiful country, wind rushing through my (helmet-covered) hair, memories of past happinesses, and hopes for future joy all flooded my mind as I drove through that country. I thought of how grateful I was to have my dad there with me, cancer-free, twinkly-eyed, and brimming with energy. I thought of how grateful I was to have my Heather and my Eric back at the camp, good-natured, happy, and satisfied. I thought of about a hundred other blessings that were mine for the living.

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After the 4-wheeler ride, I moseyed down to where my siblings and nieces and nephews were playing softball. The game was over (which was fine with me--I have no aptitude for softball), and we made our way to the newly assembled teeter-totter, where we were all able to ride for as long as we wanted. (We rode so long in fact, that the next morning I was saddle sore.)

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And then it was back up to the trailer for supper, followed by more chatting, and s'mores, and a sing-along around the campfire with the guitar and the songbooks. My cousin joined us with his family, just like they do every year. We sang all the usual songs, Piano Man, Edelweiss, The Gambler, On Top of Spaghetti, Leader of the Band, Feelin' Groovy, and some that we hadn't sung for several years. Darkness fell and the stars came out. Eventually we put away the guitar (my fingers were killing me!), and the children were put to bed. And then we chatted. I don't even remember what we talked about, so it obviously wasn't all that important. And yet, it was important. Ya know?

It was all important, and filling, and just what I needed.

And I didn't even know that I needed it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

quick and dirty (really really dirty)

Eric quote of the day:

"It's a good thing your family reunion is so great, because it's a whole lot of work."
(said about and hour and a half after we had returned home from our camping weekend in Southern Utah.)

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I'll probably write more details later. Briefly for today though:

Camping with an almost-two-year-old in a tent is waaaaay harder than "camping" with a 10-month old in a trailer.

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Continually keeping an eye on a little girl who is smart enough to know how to get where she wants to go, but not smart enough to know that walking into the fire, wandering off alone, or jumping off large logs aren't great ideas, is absolutely exhausting!

A dirty but smiley face paired with a hot chocolate smeared shirt is a much better look than anything that can be purchased at Gymboree or Baby Gap.
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Southern Utah is about as beautiful country as there is (in my opinion).
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Now, I've got about twenty-hours of sleep to catch.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Monday, July 05, 2010

Why I've Stayed Mormon

The summer after my junior year in high school, my parents loaded a whole bunch of supplies and bedding and clothing and their six kids in a brown and tan suburban, and we all left on vacation for Georgia. Five of us had lived in Georgia for three years when I was a little little girl, but by the time I was in the first grade, we had moved to Cedar City, where my parents still live. We'd never been back to the south, and we'd never traveled so far from home together. This was an exciting event.

A big part of our trip was spent in Columbus (Georgia, not Ohio), which was where my father had done his family practice residency period, and which was where I attended kindergarten. Our best friends from those days, the Leukhardts, were living there, and we stayed in their home for a few days. It was great fun. The Leukhardts have a daughter my same age, and although we had corresponded by mail here and there as we were growing up, this was the first time I had seen her since we were kindergartners. So, for me, hanging out with them all was an extra-special treat.

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A really grainy picture of the Leukhardt kids, the Elliot kids, and the Corry kids--Columbus Georgia, June 1988.
(I'm on the middle row, second from the right.)

One chance comment though, made by Brother Leukhardt (who I suppose I could just call Mike, but when I was little I called him "Brother Leukhardt", and old habits die hard and I can't bring myself to do it) changed the course of my summer. He was driving us around somewhere, and he and my parents were talking about what changes had happened in the area, and specifically in the church, since we'd been there ten years earlier. Among other things, Brother Leukhardt mentioned that Columbus now had its own Stake, which was a pretty big deal.

At the time, I didn't think much of that, but as we said goodbye to the Leukhardts and continued on our trip, the impact of that fact hit me more and more. To explain a bit, congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are broken up into branches, wards, and stakes. A ward is a geographical grouping of between 200 and 500 active members of the church. A branch is basically a group that's too small to be a ward. A stake is a group of wards and branches, generally five to eight of them.

For the next several days, I would think about Columbus and Cedar City and the church as I was falling asleep at night. At the time (1988), Cedar City had a population of around 20,000 people. We had three stoplights, two movie theatres, and two city parks. Compared to Columbus (current population over 190,000), Cedar City was a teeny tiny microscopic blip on the map. Yet, minuscule Cedar City, had three LDS Stakes, four if you counted the one in Enoch, (a much smaller town just outside of the city limits), while nearly ten-times-as-big Columbus had only recently been organized into its own Stake for the first time ever.

That absolutely didn't make sense to me, and as I digested all of it, for the first time in my life, I began to seriously question the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ as I had learned it. The more I thought about it, the more concerned and worried, and even frightened I became. I just couldn't understand how it was possible that if this church was true, as I had been taught and as I had believed, why so few people were a part of it?

We eventually arrived home, and I continued to ponder about it all. I talked it over with my parents, and while they were understanding and supportive, they ultimately couldn't answer my question to my satisfaction. I continued attending LDS church meetings, reading the scriptures, and going about my life as usual, but I did it with a little less vigor and a lot more apprehension than before. It was a hard time for me.

Pretty quickly, I determined that I couldn't go around wondering any longer. I decided that I was going to have to find out for myself whether or not the church was true, and that I was going to need God's help to do it. I started praying more frequently and more fervently. I stopped reading the scriptures, and I started studying the scriptures. As I would read the Book of Mormon every morning, I did so with my whole brain tuned in, paying attention to what was written, and how I felt about what was written. I started praying (rather than "saying my prayers") before I read, and then again at the end of each day, every time asking the Lord to tell me whether or not what I was reading was from Him, or not.

It was a long process for an impatient 17-year old, and it took me most of the summer.

Even so, I received my answer.

I've heard spiritual confirmation stories of Mormons all my life. Many of them feature a watershed experience, a pinpoint moment in their lives, a time when a specific question was asked and answered, a miraculous feeling they received or voice they heard, a time when one minute they didn't know and the next they did.

Others have a different story. They talk about something that's more gradual, less intense, headlin-ey. I'm among that group.

Sometimes, I wish I was in the first group. Sometimes, I wish I could look back on that summer and say that on August 14th 1988 at 9:45 p.m., as I was praying and asking for an answer, that I heard a calm and peaceful voice in my mind say "It's true", and that the voice was accompanied by a feeling of so much peace and joy and happiness that I could never forget it and never deny it.

And more often, I'm grateful for the answer that I received, and the manner in which it came. It happened gradually, and almost imperceptibly, but at the end of that summer, I knew. I knew that the Book of Mormon was a true book of scripture, I knew that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and I knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was God's church on the earth. I still didn't understand how so few people could be a part of it all (I have a few theories now, but that's a conversation for another time), but that didn't matter so much to me, because regardless of the questions in my head, I had the answers that I really needed, in my heart.

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I still know.

Georgia kids photo from my personal collection
prayer photo here.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Why I've stayed Mormon--the background

(This is a long post.)

(You've been warned.)

So, I have a story to tell.

It's a story of a group of experiences I had the summer after I turned 17 years old.

It's a story of a group of experiences that led me to the person I am, the beliefs that I have, and the choices I make today.

But, before I tell that story, I need to give a little bit of background.

If you were to head over to a little blog entitled "Living in Utah", you would find the delightful blog of one of my friends. There Heather (who shares what is almost surely the most desirable name given to any female within the last fifty years) shares among other things, the experiences, thoughts, challenges, discoveries and questions that I suppose are essentially par for the course among people who live in Utah but are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Long story a bit shorter, a few days ago Heather finished two books, one written by a Buddhist, and one written by a Mormon. She then posted some of her thoughts and perceptions about both belief systems, and invited comments from those of us who wished to share. I chose to do so, commenting specifically on: 1)Whether or not churches are creations of God or man; 2)My philosophy regarding the exploration of other faiths and paths of belief; and 3)Where I stand on the issue of man judging man, and the LDS belief that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the earth at this time, and thus the only path to salvation.

I wrote a very long-winded comment which was so long that I had to split it up into two comments before blogger would publish it. You can read it by clicking on that "she then posted" link above and then reading the comments. I won't force you to read it all here.

The main point of my comment that has to do with the story that I'm going to tell though, is this:

I haven't done anything more than a cursory study of any other religion, probably because I haven't felt the need to do so. Not that it wouldn't be interesting and even helpful, but we all only have so much time, and it's not high on my priority list at the moment. That's probably because I'm a happy Mormon. I feel at peace in the Mormon church. I know that it's not a perfect church, and there are some aspects of it that don't make sense to me. The issue of black men and the Priesthood is one of those aspects, and there are a few more. I can live with that though. I suppose it's because the things that I do understand and the peace that I do feel outweighs the areas where I have confusion and doubt.

Heather responded saying (among other things):

As I've explored various religions, I've been pleasingly surprised by how similar they are, which leads me to believe that it won't matter what religion we were, but if we lived compassionately - something I strive for, and struggle with, every single day.

So Charlotte, my question to you would be, what if you did explore another religion and felt the same peacefulness you've felt with Mormonism? Do you ever wonder if you follow the Mormon religion because of the family you were born into and the societal acceptance of it? What if you were born in Israel or Africa and what about those who are Jewish and feel a peacefulness from their religion? From where does that peacefulness really come?

My answer to that question was:

You make a good point Heather. What if the peace I feel from the LDS faith is more about comfort and familiarity than anything else?

To answer your question though, if I were to explore another religion and found that it fit me better, felt more right, and most importantly, if I gained a witness or testimony of its truthfulness that was stronger than the testimony I have of the LDS faith, then I think I would have no choice but the leave the LDS church and join myself with the other one. So far, I've attended Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and 7th Day Adventist Services, and I've done a little exploring of the Hindu beliefs--mainly in connection with a hatha yoga practice. I've found good things in all those places, and I'm glad for the experiences I've had there.

I do think that every second-(or more) generation Mormon should at some point take a long hard look at what they believe and whether they believe it on their own two feet or whether they believe it out of convenience or habit. For me, that happened the summer after I turned 17, and then again, to a lesser degree when I was in the Missionary Training Center at age 22. I don't have time to describe my experience right now, but I'll try to write a post on my own blog sometime this week with that story.

And there you have the background.

If you're still interested, stay tuned for the story.

(Here's a hint:)
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Coin Image found here.

562 Lion Row

I've got ideas rattling around in my head that I want to write abut, but I'm short on time, though long on good intentions.

So, here's a lion pic for today.

USoSL members--press on!!

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