Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Not much to report today. I really didn't accomplish much of anything. Just getting ready for Lodge tomorrow night and waiting for another storm to hit. I went to Nevada last night for a Third Degree. I enjoyed it. No matter how many times I see it I get something out of the degree. Different people each time. The Master in the first section did his part for the first time and did an excellent job. The Master in the second section was more dramatic than I am used to but I really liked it. The degree is, after all, a drama and it makes sense to me to have people "play a part' rather than just reciting words. It is good to hear emphasis and see meaning. The person giving the part obviously knew what he was trying to communicate.

Jon was over to change the Kitty Litter. He took Max for a walk and then brushed him. I enjoy watching him with the dog and cat and they both love him. Bailey is nuts about him also but doesn't "hero worship" him the way Max does.

They have promised more snow. Hopefully they are wrong. We shall see.

More Idle Thoughts

Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all"?

The speed of time is one-second per second.

Is it possible to be totally partial?

What's another word for thesaurus?

Is Marx's tomb a communist plot?

If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, and I'll show you a
man who can't get his pants off.

It's not an optical illusion. It just looks like one.

Is it my imagination, or do buffalo wings taste like chicken?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Profound Thoughts

I don't usually think profound thoughts. Sometimes something will pop into my head but it is usually something I have heard elsewhere. Sometimes I wake up in the morning thinking about something interesting. Not profound but interesting. More often than not I think about the coffee that is waiting for me in the kitchen. (I love my timer on my coffee maker.)

This morning there were a couple of things popping around in my head. When I was a kid I used to go to Adel with my family to visit my Uncle Herold and Aunt Fran. They had a record that I really liked. It was called It's In the Book and it was a take off on an old time gospel preacher reading Little Bo Peep. I found it on the internet the other day. You can read it here.

Just copy and paste the above in your Web browser.

The second thing popping around were the seven synonyms. In my church we have seven synonyms for God. They are used interchangeably and all demonstrate an attribute of the Deity. They are Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, and Principle. None of those words suggest that anyone should be put down, discriminated against called names, or bullied. I am reminded of a poem I read someplace and as usual I was able to find it on the internet.

He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

So that is the profound thinking for today. As long as you have Love on your side you will be all right. All will be well.
Have a good day and thanks for listening!

More Idle Thoughts

Experience is the thing you have left when every thing else is gone.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

The shampoo promised me extra body and I gained three pounds.

One nice thing about egotists: They don't talk about other people.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to look
like a 20 penny nail.

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.

How can there be self-help "groups"?

Is there another word for synonym?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bailey and Random Thoughts

Bailey loves to play ball. He is almost obsessive about it. He doesn't really pick the ball up and carry it but rather he bats it with his front paws and rolls it to you. Once he starts he doesn't really stop. I got him about 11 years ago and he has been a lot of company for me. I watch TV and compute on my recliner and he likes to lay on the foot rest leaning up against my leg. Sometimes he thinks he is a cat and climbs up on the top of the chair to look out the window. He also walks along the top of the sofa.

I watched the Oscars last night. I don't know why those people need the validation of a little statue to prove they are worth something. After all they get paid plenty for their work. I have been going to the movies all my life and I enjoy the entertainment but that is what it is. Entertainment. Same thing with sports. Entertainment is good and entertainers do some good things. Many of them lend their names to causes. I think of the work Audrey Hepburn did with UNICEF. Because of her celebrity she was able to accomplish much. That was her real worth. Not some persona she took on for a movie. You don't have to be a celebrity to do something for others and that is the really satisfying thing about life. Whatever you do for others comes back to you. Sometimes the best thing you can do is quietly help someone without thinking of what you will get out of it.

I drove out today to go to the Post Office and pick up a sandwich for supper. The place looks like a war zone with tree limbs down alll over. There was an eerie beauty to it. The ice stuck to the tree limbs held the snow in place all day and so all of the tree limbs were white. The dogs aren't really fond of the snow. Bailey steps outside the door and does his business right there. Max runs out further. Actually he kind of likes it. Rolls around and runs all over the yard. Of course, his legs are longer and he is tall enough that he doesn't get buried in the snow. As he has gone around the yard he has made some paths for Bailey so he get out a little further each time.

The weather people are promising more of the same in a couple of days. No fun. Check back tomorrow and as always feel free to leave comments.

Idle thoughts of a retired person

I planted some birdseed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

I had amnesia once -- or was it twice.

I went to San Francisco. I found someone's heart. Now what?

Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.

All I ask ... is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.

If the world were a logical place, men would ride horses sidesaddle.

What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?

They told me I was gullible and I believed them.

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he'll never be able to merge his car onto a freeway.

Two can live as cheaply as one, for half as long.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Poem

I was sitting at HyVee one day and having a cup of Starbucks and I looked up and saw this elderly couple walking down the aisle. Both were tall and elegant with gray hair but what impressed me was the manner in which they moved together as they walked. It was almost as if they were dancing and thus was born the following poem. It is one of my favorites.

Dancin’ The Slow Dance!

They came down the aisle,
Side by side,
Arm in arm.
Left foot right foot,
Forward together,.
They’re dancin’ the slow dance now.

Not for them intricate steps of a Tango, Rumba or Waltz,
No Boogie Woogie, Charleston, or Cha Cha Cha
He doesn’t sweep her around the floor or dip her way back,
But they still move together,
Slow dancin’ to the music of life

You can tell theirs has been a long dance
The way they move together
A joy to watch for those who see.
(Most don’t see them).
Just an old couple moving slowly through the store

But there is rare beauty in their movement
Side by side,
Arm in arm,
Left feet forward.
Right feet forward
They’re slow dancin’ the last dance together.

Jay Cole Simser
January 11, 2005

No Joke and Jokes

Well here is the snow...that's no joke. And now for the jokes..

21. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
22. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison was a small medium
at large.
23. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
24. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
25. Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.
26. When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she'd
27. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
28. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
29. Acupuncture is a jab well done.
30. Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


We have ice here and about an hour ago the power went off. I can’t cook supper. (I have a T-bone waiting in the refrigerator) Can’t use my phone (wireless) Can’t get the car out of the garage (door opener is electric) Can’t read in the dark. Of course I have a flashlight and will use that. Can’t web surf. (even though the computer is battery operated the air port and modem need electricity.

It is incredible just how much we are dependent on electricity. Even the house will get colder soon. I had to use my cell phone to call in the electrical out and the answering system at the power plant informed me that it did not recognize the number of the phone I was calling from. Evidently they have a system whereby they know who you are when you call. Sort of a more sophisticated caller ID.

I do have another phone. When I was first starting out teaching I purchased a “chest phone” and it still works. I plugged it in and got a dial tone. At least people can call me.

The animals don’t like the silence. Cassie just jumped up on the chair and the dogs are barking at every little thing they hear from outside. Such fun. I have used 5% of my computer battery power typing this. If I put the computer to sleep the power will last longer. The other night I was typing something and all of a sudden the computer screen went blank. No matter what I did I couldn’t get the screen back up. Eventually I realized that the cord had come loose and I had been computing on battery power all evening. I jiggled the cord and it started up. Took forever to generate a full battery again.

I think I will go fix a salad. At least I don’t need electricity for that. The steak will just have to wait. Everything is either canceled or postponed tonight. The play we were going to is off. Churches are canceling services for the morning. I think perhaps that is the thing to do. But I did write today’s post – (such as it is) and can upload it when the juice returns.

It is back on now. I can watch TV, read and make tea or coffee. There is enough snow and ice here that everything is canceled. Even church tomorrow. Oh yes, and I can do laundry not. Off to work.

More Word Fun

11. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
12. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
13. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum
14. You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
15. Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.
16. He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
17. Every calendar's days are numbered.
18. A lot of money is tainted. 'Taint yours and 'taint mine.
19. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
20. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

Friday, February 23, 2007


This was the picture of me taken at Acanthus last Monday night. The Brother who took it wanted to have the pillar growing out of my head. It actually isn't too bad a picture for an old coot. It looks as if I am carrying the weight of the world on my head. Either that or balancing a flower pot with a globe in it on my head.

I had Eastern Star School today. Every year they come to the Chapter and spend the afternoon helping us to do our work and to do it well. For the past several years Jean Koss has been our District Instructor and she is good. She is kind and helpful and never makes you feel like you are a dummy. She also has a good sense of humor and I really like listening to her instruct.

I am always grateful for the friends I have made through the Masons and Eastern Star. They are some of the best people in the world and if I had never joined I would have missed our on knowing many of them. But I will tell you I am glad to be home and in the recliner ready to watch TV.

They are threatening weather this weekend and I am so not looking forward to that. Stay warm! j

Words of Note

Starting a new series. (I'm gonna run out of this stuff someday.)

1. A bicycle can't stand alone because it is two-tired.
2. What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway).
3. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
4. A backward poet writes inverse.
5. In democracy it's your vote that counts; In feudalism, it's your
count that votes.
7. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
8. If you don't pay your exorcist you get repossessed.
9 With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
10. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I have a new (single) bed in Cassie's room so if you want to come for a visit it is OK. Of course I will have to get sheets, etc. before you come so give me warning. I wasn't going to get a bed for the room but decided I needed to cover up the damaged floor and it does look better. Cassie investigated the bed when Miles came and brought it in. My friends run the
Consignment Gallery in Gilbert so I went up there to look for a bed. It is not a fancy bed but it will serve if Jon decides to stay here when he is taking care of the animals.

We initiated two new Brothers into Lodge tonight. Has a good turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. It is always nice to have new members and these guys will be a fine addition to the Lodge. Saturday Night we are going to the Theater as a Lodge. The play we are attending is called Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. Since our Lodge name is also Arcadia it seems appropriate. I really like it that the officers are planning some new activities that the Lodge has not done before. It helps build our fraternalism. These guys are enthusiastic and talented. I am proud to be a part of this Lodge.

We have weather threatening to come in over the week-end. that is just crummy but it is still February and it is Iowa so I guess it is to be expected. Tomorrow is the Eastern Star School of Inspection. Time for bed. j

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

I think I have figured out why I was so down today. Tomorrow would have been my mother's 95th birthday. I was very fortunate in my mother. She and my father divorced when I was about four years old and we moved in with her parents. Mom liked to go out and party so every Saturday night my great-aunts would take care of me and I have special memories of them.

Mom was my best friend when I was growing up. She, as a single parent, sacrificed a lot for me and later for my sister also. But she was mine until I was ten years old. (Actually things work out kind of fun for us to remember our ages. I turned 65, mother would have been 95 then my sister will turn 55 and my nephew will be 25.)

Mother was one of those people who wanted everyone to get along and be friends and her friends were life-long friends. Her parents were great examples of that type of friendship. They belonged to a club called "Suitsus" (read that suits us) and they played cards with the same group of people for years. Mother had a Bridge Club that met every other week and these women played cards for over 40 years.

Mom made sure that my needs and wants were met even if she had to go without. She saw to it that I was able to visit her sister in California between my Junior and Senior year in High School because she had been there and knew I would enjoy it.

She loved people and would talk to anyone she met. She "didn't know a stranger." We went to Leech Lake in Minnesota and made lots of friends there. We played a lot of cards. One sister who was up there all summer once made the remark that "Ruth just can't wait to get up there to play cards." This as Mom passed her to go to the Lodge to play cards.

We met a lot of people there and I will never forget some of them. Many drove in from far away and always managed to be there when we were there. Mary Jane and Morrie became a part of our family and we spent a lot of time with them at other times also. Mary Jane's parents became as close as anyone could be to us and we all loved them.

It is because of my mother and her capacity for making and keeping friends that my life was enriched by so many people.

She worked in offices and was very good at what she did. I know that she had to rework a lot of the reports that the farm managers turned into her and "saved their butts" by cleaning up the spelling and grammar. They appreciated her but she was never paid what they should have. i know things are somewhat better today but women are still not paid what men are paid and it is just WRONG.

She also saw to it that I knew how to take care of myself. I learned how to do laundry and sew on buttons because everybody should be able to take care of those things. She also let me cook and while I am not a great cook (like my nephew) I can put a meal on the table and I won't starve.

Mother was also responsible for me joining the Masons. She was a Rainbow Girl (Past Grand Hope) when she was younger and had always wanted to join Eastern Star. After my grandfather re-joined the Masons she was able to join. She said to me that she thought that I "might enjoy" the Masons. During my first year of teaching I noticed a Masonic ring on my principal's finger and mentioned to him what Mom had said. He asked me if I was interested in joining and I said yes. So I joined Trojan Lodge in Marion Iowa in the Spring of 1966 and then drove back to Ames in October to join Laura Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star and became a fourth generation member of the Chapter. Mom was the only regular officer that night as it was a friendship night and having her give me the lecture for Ruth made it a very special evening.

I can't be a fourth generation member of the Lodge even though four great grandfathers and two grandfathers were Masons because my father was never a member.

So Mom I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday. I still love you and miss you and wish you were here. I know the last years of your life were tough ones but giving up smoking was a good thing and added some time. And through it all you maintained your loving spirit and caring for others. I was indeed fortunate in my mother. I am a better person for having you as my friend/example/advocate. Your son, Jay


The dogs are on the early daylight savings time. They are getting up early. I may have to close the curtains.

In thinking about my life and where I am in it I think I have a few regrets. My biggest regret is that I have so few "real" friends. Oh sure, I have a lot of acquaintances and people to have lunch and coffee with, but to have a person so close that nothing you can do will put them off is something you just don't find easily.

Our Grand Master and his wife have such a friendship. When you see them together you see the couple "made in God's image" It says in Genesis that "God created man in his own image, male and female created He them." Denny and Janet complete each other and you can see it when they are together.

Lots of husbands and wives are that way. It doesn't always happen in a marriage. Lots of husbands and wives aren't that way. Perhaps it is the reason that divorce rates are so high. It can happen with members of the same sex also. I think of David and Jonathan and Oprah and her friend that she travels with. Not a sexual relationship but a friendship so deep that nothing can destroy it. I am not sure but I think there was a Masonic connected organization at one time (The Knights of Pythias I think) that was based on the friendship of Damon and Pythias - Yes I was right I found them on the Internet at -

I have a few friends that approach that. I remember re-connecting with a friend from college and we just picked up where we had left off so many years ago. We don't see each other that often but we keep in touch by e-mail and that is one of the great things about the Internet. Finding information about almost anything is another terrific advantage. After I get through with this I am going to read more about the Knights.

Anyway, that is my one regret. Not to have a friend who is that close. - Well that is enough of my "pity party" as Ginny would say. Time to get dressed and watch General Hospital

Joke de"jour

How many Shakespearean actors does it take to change a light bulb?
None, because they want to sleep, perchance to dream.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


My nephew Jonathan had his picture on the front page of the Ames Daily Tribune tonight. He works at the Flying Buritto and he and a co-worker were chopping onions. It was kind of neat to see him there.

He came over today and picked up his dog and took him on an excursion to Pine Lake. I think they had fun. Max really adores Jon and I am pretty sure the feeling is mutual. Max behaves well for Jon and watches him constantly when he is over here. His cat also lives with me and she earns her keep by keeping the rodents out of the house. I enjoy having both of them here.

I have enjoyed watching Jon mature into the man he is today. He has a lot going for him and I am very proud of him. He and I used to go on trips when I was a delegate to the National Education Association. He has been to New Orleans, twice, Atlanta, Orlando, and Washington, DC. Of course we went to Savannah, Memphis, Charleston and points inbetween. We also took a trip to St. Louis one time when the Assembly meetings were in Minneapolis. They were great trips and I am lucky to have had him to take with me. Seeing these places with him made it much more enjoyable Being an Uncle is one of the greatest things in the world. All of the joy and none of the responsibility...

I love road trips. It is so much better than flying. This summer my friends and I are going to drive to Houston by way of San Antonio to attend the United Grand Imperial Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine. I have usually driven to these myself and it will be fun to have Glenn and his wife Freddie to travel with.

The numbers keep going up on the counter so I know that somebody is reading this. Hope it is not to boring. And oh yes, the snow is melting and I feel Spring in the air.

Masonic Lightbulb

Q: How many Masons does it take to change a light
A: Four: One to announce in due form the changing of
the light bulb. A second at the will and pleasure to
actually change the light bulb. A third to accurately
record minutes of the bulb changing. And a forth to
talk about how it was light bulbs were changed 40
years ago.

I sent the above out and got these answers back:

I think you missed some. How about the committee of three to investigate whether a light is needed in that particular area and if their report is positive then a committee of three is needed to search for the best price on light bulbs. After the bulb is purchased you need some good Mason to proclaim loudly & at great length that he "could have gotten the bulb cheaper." Adding 7 to your 4, I come up with 11 and I may have missed some.

NY A: Masons . . . change ???
CT A: Can't tell ya, it’s a secret.

Dutch Masonic way:
What electric light??? Are they crazy??

Very difficult question to answer, for first you must determine how many Brothers will be asked to join the committee (which of course must be cleared first with the District Inspector and if there are multiple lights in contention, the Grand Lodge will have to be contacted to ascertain whether or not any infringement of the applicable Masonic Codes are possibly being invaded and if that is potentially unlawful under the jurisdiction procedures then the entire matter must be held over for the next Annual Communication where each viable Lodge may have the opportunity to offer their own unique input on the matter) that would henceforward be titled Lights: A Necessity In The 21st Century? .

Sometimes it's easier to just turn the lights out and practice Parking Lot Masonry.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Trip to Acanthus and Ramblings

I went to Des Moines tonight to a Third Degree at Acanthus Lodge. I had a great time. Of course, I had to make an excursion out of it. First I went out to Costco and got some gas and some band-aids and a couple of wash cloths. they don't make much money from me.

Next to the Art Store to replace the Cross pen that I had lost. It writes in black, red and also has a pencil. I got to thinking that someone should invent a "thing" which you could carry in your pocket and if you got more than five feet from your pen it would alert you by chiming and playing a recording of "you forgot your pen, dummy" Oh well, I have weird ideas.

Then to supper at my favorite (currently) restaurant Chef's Kitchen on Beaver. I had a super salad and Barbecue Beef.

Then to Lodge. Got to see a fine degree. Many Brothers I knew and there were a lot of new ones. The degree was really done well. Ron L. did one of the best King Solomon's I had ever seen. They have a dinner before Lodge every Monday Night. There were 33 brothers there to see the Degree. Marty Jacobs from Arcadia was also there.

I took my digital camera down and had several pictures taken ---However as usual they looked like me so they went into the trash.... I was looking for something to put on MySpace because the current picture isn't very good. Besides it was taken when I was heavier. I moved my belt in another notch the other day. did I mention I was on a diet?

I do have one picture of me that was taken at the York Rite College meeting by Frank O. but I don't have it scanned into the computer. I guess I will have to try to figure out how to do that.

Have you ever "Googled" yourself? It is kind of fun. I got the idea from Craig Ferguson who is always mentioning "googling" himself. So I tried it and there were several places with my name. It was interesting to find myself quoted in a TrestleBoard from out west. One of my poems is copied entirely on somebody's MySpace in North Carolina. It was strange to see it there. Glad he liked it. It is the one on "Is Masonry a Religion" You can find it on my poetry page. It is linked on the left.

Speaking of links. My friend Bob Kelly has some great pictures at Bob's Photo Adventure also linked at the left. Go take a look at them. Thanks for reading and as always your comments are welcome. j

Hymns for All Professions

Dentist's Hymn: Crown Him with Many Crowns
Weatherman's Hymn: There Shall Be Showers of Blessings
Contractor's Hymn: The Church's One Foundation
Tailor's Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy
Golfer's Hymn: There's a Green Hill Far Away
Politician's Hymn: Standing on the Promises
Optometrist's Hymn: Open My Eyes That I Might See
IRS Agent's Hymn: I Surrender All
Gossip's Hymn: Pass It On
Electrician's Hymn: Send The Light
Shopper's Hymn: Sweet By and By
Realtor's Hymn: I've Got a Mansion, Just Over the
Massage Therapist's Hymn: He Touched Me
Doctor's Hymn: The Great Physician

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Musings on the Weekend

I had a really good week-end. I practiced at Church Saturday Morning (I am Second Reader) and then slipped down to the movies to go see "Music and Lyrics" with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.

I really liked the film although some would classify it as a "chick flick". I don't know why people do that. It was a romantic fun movie with little sex and almost no violence in it. Drew Barrymore has matured into a fine actress and Hugh Grant has great timing and is fun to watch as an aging pop star given a chance to write another song and make a comeback. Just a fun afternoon and then I went out and bought the CD.

Last night I worked on my "My Space" page. I don't know why I have one of these but some of my cousins have them and it is a way to keep up with what they are doing. It is exciting to learn something new. It is not much of a page but was fun to mess around with.

Yesterday the Intendant General called me up and we made plans to attend the United Grand Imperial Conclave in June in Houston. I have never been there and we are going to drive to San Antonio first as Glenn and his wife have never been there and it is one of my favorite cities. I went out and did a Mapquest on the trip. We will come back through Dallas and I hope to see Lee and Amy on the way back.

Today (after church) I went to Eastern Star practice and then Lodge practice. Actually we all sat around and visited more than we practiced but it was great to be with these folks and I enjoyed the time with them.

At the movies I was watching the previews and got to thinking of how many of the movies show the stories of people who work to accomplish something they have a dream about. It reminded me of the speech I heard earlier this year given by the young man from Iowa who climbed to the top of Mt. Everest. He spoke of having an "Everest Dream" and how important it is for everyone to have one of these. Something you set your sights on and then work to accomplish it. Right now mine is to lose 100 pounds. I took my belt in another notch today. It feels great.

i know there are some people reading this thing. I put a counter on the bottom and it says 75 have read it. If you discount the 30 or so times I have checked it to edit it or to add a post that is a pretty good number. I hope you are enjoying it. j

Humor on T- Shirts - Last One

47) The Meek shall inherit the earth, after we're through with it.

48) Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

49) HAM AND EGGS - A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.

50) WELCOME TO SOUTH CAROLINA - Set your watch back 20 years.

51) The trouble with life is there's no background music.

52) The original "point and click interface" was a Smith & Wesson.

53. We Strive for Mediokrity

Saturday, February 17, 2007

T. S. Parvin Award

Last Year marked the twenty-fifth year that the T.S. Parvin Award has been given. The award originated because I read a book while I was Sentinel at an Eastern Star meeting. In that book I learned about the remarkable man who was T. S. Parvin. The germ of an idea was born and I mulled it over and came up with a way to honor not only T. S. Parvin, but also an Iowa Mason. I took the idea to the Iowa Conference for Masonic Cooperation as the vice-president and it was accepted. Brother Jerry Marsengill came up with the idea that the award should not go to those who had been previously honored with a Grand Office and that was accepted as a part of the motion. Thus the award was established. It was my honor to help present the very first award to J. Kent Zickefoose.

The spirit of the award is described in the following paragraphs written by John Harris Watts, Grand Secretary Recorder of the Grand Chapter and Grand Council.

T. S. Parvin came to Iowa as a handicapped young man, and became one of the best-known Masons in the world. He was the first Mason in Iowa to hold the office of Grand Secretary, Grand High Priest, Grand Master of the Council, Grand Commander, and Grand Recorder of the Grand Encampment (National). As founder of the Iowa Masonic Library and the State Library of Iowa, he left his mark on both Freemasonry and his adopted state. He was one of the founders of the Iowa State Education Association and served as its president.

The T. S. Parvin Award, established in 1982 by the Iowa Conference for Masonic Cooperation is presented annually to an Iowa Mason, who has not previously been honored by having been elected or appointed to a Grand office in any Masonic body. (Nor higher than the 32 degree in the Scottish Rite), and who best exemplifies the spirit of Masonry which was lived by our distinguished Brother who said, “I want to be remembered among Masons as one who gave the Fraternity the very best there was in him, not thinking of reward in dollars and cents.”

A committee composed of the Grand Master of Masons, Grand High Priest; Grand Master of the Council, Grand Commander, Sovereign Grand Inspector General 33o and Chairman of the Iowa Conference chose the recipient from nominations submitted from all parts of the state.

The recipients of the Award are listed below.

1982 - J Kent Zickefoose, Capital Lodge No 110
1983 - Carl J Van Sickle, Otley Lodge No. 299
1984 - Stanley G Schreiber, Hiram of Tyre Lodge No. 203
1985 - C Warren Delk, Auburn Lodge No. 592
1986 - Donald R Hankens, Speculative Lodge No. 307
1987 - J Neil Chicken, Faith Lodge No. 179
1988 - Arthur D Alber, Southgate Lodge No. 657
1989 - Charles L Jones , Northern Light Lodge No. 266
1990 - Laurence E Kynett, Emulation Lodge No. 255
1991 - John W Mathes, Waveland Park Lodge No. 654
1992 - Delman L Bowers, Waterloo Lodge No. 105
1993 - Aaron L Lake, Davenport Lodge No. 37
1994 - Rex L Brammer , Mosaic Lodge No. 125
1995 - Paul K Mc Crea , Montague Lodge No. 117
1996 - Jerry F Monroe, Adel Lodge No. 80
1997 - George S Eichhorn, Acorn Lodge No. 601
1998 - Robert Lee Goeken, Grove Lodge No. 492
1999 -Howard H Geddes, Adel Lodge No. 80
2000 - Frank C Osdoba, Twilight Lodge No. 329
2001 - Orrin J Oliver, Charity Lodge No. 197
2002 - Henry N Wallace, Mt. Olive Lodge No. 79
2003 - Melvin C Price, Kingston Lodge No. 676
2004 - Madison M Tomfeld, Herman Lodge No. 273
2005 - R. Wayne Stanfley, Dubuque Lodge No. 3,
Tri-State Morning Lodge No. 673,
Julien Lodge No. 551
2006 - Don Davis, Great Lights Lodge No. 181

Many years ago it way my honor to have a part in establishing this award. I am very proud to have done so. Not because of anything I did in starting the award but because of twenty-five Masons who have been honored. Without the award they would still have been recognized by their Lodges but because of it they have been honored by all of the Masonic Bodies in Iowa and we can be proud of each of them and what they have accomplished for Masonry.

Next to the last T- Shirt Humor

One more set tomorrow and then I will have to find something else.

38) STUPIDITY IS NOT A HANDICAP. Park elsewhere!

40) They call it PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken

41) He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead

43) POLICE STATION TOILET STOLEN .... Cops have nothing to go on.

44) FOR SALE - Iraqi rifle. Never fired. Dropped once.


46) A PICTURE IS WORTH A 1000 WORDS, but it uses up a 1000 times the


Friday, February 16, 2007


It is snowing again. I am ready for SPRING! - I spent today getting the mailing for the York Rite Pancake Day ready to go. will mail them tomorrow morning. It was fun to try to stamp envelopes, stuff them with letters, return envelopes and tickets with the dog and cat on my lap. Job is done now and while I was doing it I realized that there is no mail service on Monday so people won't get them until after Tuesday. About 450 of them went out. Speaking of going out, the dog wants to go out and I need to move around. I was going to write something intersting but I guess you will have to put up with this. I will share another of my poems. I was watching Judging Amy one day and they were cleaning out a closet so I was inspired to write this poem.

My Closet
In the rear of my closet
memories of former lives.
Boxed away in crusty cardboard compartments
Waiting for me to re-find them - the
dreams, desires, decorations of my life.

Pulling them out
one by one,
I relive the events, emotions, energies
Of my accumulation.

They bring pictures to mind of
forgone friends and fascinations;
Grabbing my heartstrings and holding them hostage.

I put them away –
unable to part with them

There they will rest –
waiting until they are released once again
from their dark resting place
by me or by my successor
Who will wonder –
“Why did he keep all this junk!”

November 1999

One of my friends at school wanted a copy to put in her closet so that when she passed on her kids would find it when they had to clean out her closet.

Feel free to leave comments.

T- Shirt Humor - Part Three

Yes, I know the numbers are "off" but that is the way they came to me. Here are the next ten.
24) Frankly, Scallop, I Don't Give a Clam (seen on Cape Cod)

26) Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

27) Procrastinate Now

28) Rehab Is for Quitters

29) My Dog Can Lick Anyone

32) Finally 21, and Legally Able To Do Everything I've Been Doing Since


33) West Virginia: One million people and 15 last names

34) FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. It comes bundled with the software.


37) A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cultural Calendar and Musings

I took the plunge and ordered a ticket to see Harry Connick, Jr. at Stephen's in April. I will be in the second row. Very close so I should be able to hear things. I used to go to a lot of the events but got so busy that I wasn't able to go. I have decided that life is too short and I should do more. I have both of his two new albums and love his music.

I am also trying to get out of the house more. I went to the Scottish Rite Annual Meeting tonight and it was enjoyable. I enjoy these guys even if the meeting themselves are fairly predictable. They shared plans with us and it is exciting to see them using strategic planning to rejuvenate the Rite.

I had a long talk with a Brother today who was interested in the meaning and derivation of the word "cowan" which we use in Masonry. He could not find it in a dictionary. I did find it in my Masonic Encyclopedia and it was fun to be able to find it. It is strictly a Masonic word which means "intruder" Now you know something most Masons don't know.

I have wondered about our use of the word "compass" as in Square and Compass. To me a Compass is an instrument which points to the North. In the new Northern Light they call it (or them) "compasses" which is also what they refer to in the Eastern Star when they say that the badge of the Worthy Patron is the "Square and Compasses within the Star." I would be interested in learning more about the word and how it was changed.

T- Shirt Humor - Part Two

11) I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing.

12) Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

15) God must love stupid people, he made so many.

16) The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

17) It IS as BAD as you think and they ARE out to get you.

18) I took an IQ test and the results were negative.

19) Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.

20) Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

I used to take the Valentine's I got from the students and paste them onto an oversized cardboard heart which I could hang from the lights. Over the years there were quite a few of them and they really were kind of fun to hang each year. They brought back memories of the students.

The thing I miss about teaching is the never ending kaleidoscope of students that passed through our school. The students changed over the years and it became more difficult to reach some of them This was not due so much to the students themselves but rather to the way they had been raised. Parents as enablers who did not hold students accountable for accomplishing the required work became more frequent. Fortunately this type of parent was still in the minority but there were more of them and they took some of the joy out of teaching.

There are a lot of students who stand out abong the hundreds which I taught. I still see some of them and they really enrich my life. I hope I encouraged them and prepared them for the future. You see those Hallmark commercials where someone brings a card into a teacher to wish them a happy retirement and that is really a special feeling. When you know that what you have done has made a difference in someone's life, that is the real reward in teaching.

T- Shirt Humor

There are a lot of these so I will spread them out over several days so that I have something to post.

1) My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he

was God and I didn't!

2) I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

3) I work hard because millions on welfare depend on me!

4) Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.

5) I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

6) Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.

7) You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.

8) Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

9) Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

10) Quoting one is plagiarism. Quoting many is research.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Joke de'jour

A teacher noticed that a little boy at the back of the class
was squirming around, scratching his crotch, and not paying

She went back to find out what was going on. He
was quite embarrassed and whispered that he had just
recently been circumcised and he was quite itchy.

The teacher told him to go down to the principal's office. He
was to telephone his mother and ask her what he should do
about it. He did it and returned to his class.

Suddenly, there was a commotion at the back of the room. She went
back to investigate only to find him sitting at his desk
with his weenie hanging out.

"I thought I told you to call your mom!" she said.

"I did," he said, "And she told me
that if I could stick it out till noon, she'd come and pick
me up from school."
It looks as if this is going to be a very plain blog as I cannot seem to find a picture of Bailey that is small enough to fit in the page. Oh well, guess you will just have to put up with my typing.

I have one thought for today -"Snow Melts" and soon I hope. We didn't get as much snow as was predicted but enough that I am glad I have four wheel drive.

Now a little about my poem. I think the world is like The Crow Convention. A lot of what people do is to stroke their own ego.
And the Crows are kind of like everyone - picking and pushing and shoving around to get the top spot.

I also tried to put this on there - - That is the URL for my AOL home page which lists a lot of what I have done. But I could not get it to work.

Since my sister moved to Missouri the house has been quiet. Just Bailey (my dog) and Max and Cassie - My nephew's dog and cat. They keep things exciting at times. Especially when there is noise out in front and the two dogs give stereo barking.

I had lunch with Lee today. I always enjoy being able to go out for lunch. When I was teaching I had a 40 minute lunch period. Not nearly enough time to go somewhere and eat. Let alone have any conversation.

If anyone out there knows how to "sex up" my blog with pictures, etc. Let me know. Of course I doubt that anyone has found this.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Ok, I am taking the plunge. I have been reading blogs for quite awhile and have no idea why people do these but I thought that I would start one and see what happens.

I originally planned to go to a Masonic meeting in Des Moines tonight but the threat of ice and snow scared me off. I am a chicken when it comes to driving in this weather.

Don't expect anything too profound with this. I will put an occasional poem on here and sometimes something else.
Here is one of my favorites:
The Crow Convention

The crows have convened across the way.
Big black birds crowousing with each other.

Hanging out with their crownies.
Strutting around
Chris, Charlie, Carlton, Clarence, and Chip.
Yakking, poking, grabbing and crowoperating.

They’re holding a convention to decide who will be crowned
King of the Crows!
They debate, deliberate and finally designate a leader.
But, as with humans, EGO gets in the way and no one is really chosen.

At the end of the day they fly away to their night homes –

Tomorrow they will convene again – unless it is a Sunday
when they will congregate.

February 17, 2000

You can see I wrote this seven years ago. I had fun writing it. I hope you enjoyed reading it.