Monday, April 30, 2007

Telephones and Random Rants

I am not crazy about telephones. One of the things that annoys me is that people think they can call you any time they want and you should answer. I have friends who never answer their phone. They just let it go to voice mail. I should do that. My mother would leap up at the sound of the telephone and make a dash for it.

Another annoyance is the business person who is waiting on me as a paying customer and leaves me to answer a telephone. I have been known to walk away and they lose the sale.

People driving down the road on cell phones are a danger to everyone on the road. The ones who walk around talking loudly on their cells are just annoying.

I don't like to talk on the phone. One of my former students calls me up and while I would enjoy visiting with her she seems to always call when I am right in the middle of watching a show.

I did put myself on the "do not call" registry and that helped but I still get annoying political or charitable solicitations. I just respond that "I don't respond to telephone solicitation" and hang up. I know they are just making a living so I do try to be cordial... That is the word my Aunt Fran used when she had to speak to someone she didn't like.

Today the Neilson people called me and I did say that I would be a Neilson family and let them know what I was watching for a week on TV. That is going to be done by e-mail so it should be all right. The best way to get in touch with me is by e-mail as I usually answer that and check it often.

My cousin Tracy suggested that I see if I could get an NEA discount on my computer. I called the Apple Store and after going through their menu I got through to someone and yes I was eligible even though I was retired. So before I went to Acanthus I made a trip out to Costco to get gas and then went and got my discount. $166. Thanks Tracy.

I already save a lot on my car and home insurance through Member Benefits. It is great to belong to the greatest Union in the world. Those menus that you have to push are also annoying. I made a mistake and called the Credit Union before they opened. I had made a deposit and the girl put the money in the wrong account so it had to be transferred and I couldn't do it from home banking. Their menu of available responses is particularly annoying.

Acanthus Dinner and being "ditched"
They had a dinner to honor the Shrine Potentate tonight. He is a Past Master of Acanthus so the place was filled with members and ladies. I enjoyed my dinner (especially the peach cobbler) and the company immensely but I was disappointed that all of the officers took off and "ditched" me after Lodge. I tried calling my friend to see where everyone was but he is the one who doesn't answer his phone so I just came home early. Very disappointed and not nearly as much fun.

The Secretary down there told me I need a hobby. It seems he read my blog until 1:30 in the morning. (It is not for nothing that I subtitled this "the most boring blog on the Internet.") I guess there must have been something interesting in it for him to spend that much time reading it. I used to write poetry but for the past few years the muse has not hit me. Therefore, I decided to blog. One, it gives me an outlet. Living alone I have no one to complain to. Two, my sister moved to Missouri and this gives her a chance to keep up on what is happening in my life. I do like it that there are so many hits on the counter but no one really ever comments. So, except for the occasional jab I don't know if anyone really likes my blog or not. Some friends do mention it to me.

Anyway it is fun.

Jon came over to let the dogs out but since I was home he didn't have to. He cut his finger again.

It was 88 degrees today. Too hot. Supposed to be cooler tomorrow -The June bugs are back.
Whenever I hear them I get a creepy feeling. When Ginny was a baby we went on a picnic one June. I know that there were June bugs on the fried chicken and I ate some. Ugh - Be Happy.

My Generation

Ginny just sent me the link to this video. I obviously lost most of my saved humor so it will be sparse until I get things going again.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

First or Last? - Busy, Busy, Busy

OK, Today is Sunday. That is really the first day of the week. Saturday is the last day on which we are supposed to rest. There wasn't much rest today. I read at church and then came home and did some more downloading on the computer. I am trying to get the new computer at least up to almost where it was before. I am missing most of my pictures but I did save them to a disk so they are not all gone.

Then this afternoon I drove over to Tama to the Casino to meet Glenn and Freddie Holmes to talk about the trip to Texas this summer. They have a new van and it should be fun. I always enjoy the Red Cross of Constantine meetings. I much prefer to drive. While there I will get to see Marion Olson who lives in San Antonio and then I will see Amy and Lee on the way home.

The drive over was pretty the grass is green and the trees have a dusting of green on their leaves. The trees with flowers have burst open and we have red and white all over. This is my favorite time of year.

I spent the rest of the day working on rewriting some things which I had saved on a flash drive. I have the preliminary minutes for Thursday redone.

Oh yes I cashed a check at the credit union and the girl put the money in the wrong account so I have to go down and get that straightened out. I also have to call mastercard. when I got home they had telephoned me to verify that I had charged the new computer and it sounds like I may have been charged twice. I shall have to check on that. And I have to call AAA to order a Triptik for the summer trip. That plus three trips to Des Moines this week. Busy, Busy, Busy. It is warm. Be Happy. The snow has melted.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


What an exciting day! Ha!
Last evening my old computer crashed. I was/am shook up about it. But I had had it for a long time and had gotten a lot of use out of it. So I got up this morning and drove down to the Apple Store and purchased a MacBook. I got a black one and I think I am going to like it.

Unfortunately they told me that nothing was able to be rescued from my old hard drive. However I am still going out to Beacon on Monday and see if they can work their magic on it. In the meantime I am limping along and will have to rebuild some things. My old computer had Microsoft Office on it and this one only has a 30 day trial so I will have to spend another $400. to get it back. But I am going to wait and see. I did purchase another copy of Appleworks because I like that program and can do a lot with it.

Then I went down to the new grocery store in Des Moines. Gormet no less and lots of "stuff" I got some crackers and mints and then went to the Olympic Flame and had a Gyros for lunch.

The afternoon was spent fretting about the computer while I watched the Scottish Rite 30, 31 and 32nd degrees. They were very nicely done. I especially enjoy the 31 as it is set in Ancient Egypt. The guy who played the part of the God Atum did the best job.

A very nice steak dinner and then I was on my way home and guess what??? the gate to let us out of the parking lot was broken and we were stuck in the parking lot for about 20 minutes. Got home in good time and have been working on the computer. Not much to do. Tomorrow I have to drive to Tama to meet Glenn and Freddie. Actually after spending all this money on the computer I think I should stay home and skip going to Texas. Oh well. It's only money. Stay warm - Be Happy.

Friday, April 27, 2007



Kestrel (top picture) is Ginny's cat and lives in Missouri. Cassie (bottom picture) is Jon's cat and lives with me. He comes over and visits her and cleans her kitty litter. She and Kestrel have one thing in common. They like to climb up on things.

I bought a basket to keep the dog toys in and Cassie likes to sleep in there. I would let her sleep with the boys and me at night but she climbs and there are some tings in the bedroom which she could knock over. It is part of her character. She gets upset and she walks around and knocks things around. It is frustrating. I have had to put breakables away but she is more fun than they are.

She also likes to eat plants. I had a couple of red carnations given to me and had them sitting on a table beside my chair. Next thing I knew she was up trying to ingest them. So I moved them to a smaller table. She is affectionate and crawls up to be petted and purrs. She seems to like men and when the Lodge treasurer comes over to pick up the checks she goes right up to him and butts her head against him to be petted.

She would like to go outside but I really don't think cats should be running loose so she doesn't go out unless Jon is over and he takes her out. She likes to go out on the back porch and she will sit out there for hours.

I have had several cats. I prefer dogs but cats are easy to have around and I do like them also.

You can see I did not have much to write about today. Enjoy the weekend as it gets warmer and warmer. Stay Happy!

From Charlie B

My wonderful girlfriend and I had been dating for over a year, and so we decided to get married. There was only one little thing bothering me. It was her beautiful younger sister.

My prospective sister-in-law was twenty-two, wore very tight miniskirts, and generally was bra less. One day "little" sister called and asked me to come over to check the wedding invitations. She was alone when I arrived, and she whispered to me that she had feelings and desires for me that she couldn't overcome.

She told me that she wanted to make love to me just once before I got married and committed my life to her sister.

Well, I was in total shock, and couldn't say a word. She said, "I'm going upstairs to my bedroom, and if you want one last wild fling, just come up and get me." I was stunned and frozen in shock as I watched her go up the stairs.

When she reached the top she pulled off her panties and threw them down the stairs at me. I stood there for a moment, then turned and made a beeline straight to the front door.

I opened the door, and headed straight towards my car.

Lo and behold, my entire future family was standing outside, all clapping!

With tears in his eyes, my future father-in-law hugged me and said, we are very happy that you have passed our little test.....we couldn't ask for a better man for our daughter. Welcome to the family."

And the moral of this story is:

Always keep your condoms in your car........

Thursday, April 26, 2007

They are back! - And other musings...

I love dandelions. I know they are a nuisance but I enjoy them. This one is growing just outside the back door so it wasn't mowed when the lawn was mowed. There is a story in my family, probably apocryphal, that when some of the family moved to Iowa from Ohio they brought a box of dandelion seeds with them. I doubt that it is true but if it is we can blame one of the Coles for all the dandelions. Just a pretty little flower that some people hate but I have always liked the underdog.

We had Lodge tonight. It was for a Master Mason degree and the degree was well done. It is an exciting time to be in Masonry. More and more young men are discovering the fraternity and there is a lot of growth. I was speaking with the Deputy Grand Secretary tonight and he was telling me of many success stories around the State. One Lodge which had three active dues paying members has 13 new petitions.

Masonry has a lot to offer the young man of today. I was surprised to read on one of the lists that I belong to that there are many different rituals used around the world. Whatever the ritual they all have a great experience and derive many benefits from joining with Brothers.

I found my TV remote for the bedroom TV this morning. I lost it the other day and all I have been able to do was turn it on and off and change the channel. I knew it had to be somewhere and I woke up this morning and felt between the headboard and the mattress and was right there. I channeled my friend Su. When I lose something I sometimes ask her where it is and she can usually tell me. Today I just thought "what would Su do?" I used my intuition and there it was.

I am tired tonight and I must do the minutes from tonights meeting so I will stop now. There is a lot of water around Ames. Flooding at the Hunziker Youth sports Complex and the North River Valley Park is a river. It is not as much as '96 but still enough to be exciting. They have Duff Avenue closed at the Railroad tracks so you have to drive around to go South. I used Dayton to go to Staples so I could get some ink and business card stock so I could print up tickets for our Table Lodge.

Stay warm and Be Happy!

Will Rogers on Growing Older

First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.

Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

Sixth ~ I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.

Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.

Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

Tenth ~ Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it's called golf

And finally ~ If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Secretary's Day and Random Musings

My friend Bob Kelly took this picture and sent it to me for Secretary's Day since he knew I was a secretary. I think it is an absolutely beautiful picture. You can see more of his pictures at his Blog, Bob's Photo Adventures. He is a very creative photographer and I have "stolen" several of his pictures to use as backgrounds for my ever changing desktop.

I went to Des Moines (again) today to the Des Moines High Twelve Club meeting.  I was curious about the High Twelve Club. I got to sit with some of the guys from Acanthus and I enjoyed myself.

When the politicians who spend millions of dollars to get elected to a #150,000. a year job, look you in the eye and tell you something you don't have to believe them. Don't worry I am not that naive. I didn't believe them anyway.

Speaking of politicians. I am really not enthusiastic about any of them. John McCain announced today that he was running for President. I watched him on The Daily Show last night. He was rude, and argumentative and no way would I vote for him. I told someone that I really didn't want any of them to win. If they want to be President I don't want them in there.

Mitt Romney appealed to me for awhile. I liked the fact that he had saved the Utah Winter Olympics. However he has changed his tune to appeal to the conservative element and so I don't trust him. I guess I will sit it out to see who it all shakes down to and when they make their nominations I will decide. Rudy looked good in a dress but I am not sure he has a chance to get to the Oval Office. Fred Thompson was number 3 on the poll on AOL and I found that amazing. I know he was a Senator but I don't particularly like his character on Law and Order.

I guess that John Edwards is my front runner but his hair looks too good to be real.

One thing that irritated me at the high Twelve meeting was the table grace. To me a table grace should be a time to give thanks for the food we are about to eat, the chance to come together to be in a fraternal way. This was a sermonette about how we need to get God back in the schools. I just get upset with those who think that it is all right to post religious doctrine in the schools and claim that this will solve all of societies problems. America is a multi-cultural society and that is what makes it great (if it still is after Bush has trashed us all over the world) the idea that all of us fit together in a kind of crazy quilt which is beautiful and comforting. All of the religions should be respected and if (so-called) Christians have their way we will have prayer and Bible readings in the school and those who are Muslim or Jewish or Hindu or Wicca or some other religion will not be respected. I think that religious instruction is good but it belongs in the home and in the church not in the public school.

Both yesterday and today when I drove down and back to Des Moines I drove in rain. Not gentle rain but hard driving rain. Now we have flood watches out. Some of the creeks were out of their banks. I was reminded of the Floods of 93.. I remember them well. I had been to the Iowa Research Lodge # 2 meeting and had met S. Brent Morris
who was the speaker and author of the book "A Radical In The East" which the Lodge published that year. It is being re-issued as the book for last year and the book for this year is Chris Hodapp's Solomon's Builders. Research Lodge is the best bargain in Freemasonry and you can join for only $15.00.

I also got into a discussion about Capital Punishment (I am against it) - all in all it was a very stimulating meeting.

Will Rogers Humor

Got these from Ginny who got them from Sue, who got them form ???
Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash with Wylie Post in 1935, was probably the greatest political sage this country has ever known. Enjoy the following:

1. Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco.

2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

3. There are 2 theories to arguing with a woman...neither works.

4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

5. Always drink upstream from the herd.

6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back in your pocket.

8. There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

10. If you're riding' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.

11. Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier'n puttin' it back.

12. After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral:
When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I had decided to blog about TV tonight and while looking for an image I found out that this is national turn off TV week. I guess that is all right but I am not turning off my TV. I am selective about what I watch anyway (yeah right!) but I enjoy it and it is entertainment.

I get tired of TV and I don't have it on all the time. I know some people who have their TV sets on all the time. I suppose it is for company. I know some people who leave their TV on when they have company. To me that is just plain rude. I go out after Lodge in Des Moines to a place which has a giant TV on the wall. I try to sit with my back to the TV because I find it distracting. I notice that some of the Brothers inevitably are watching the TV. It pulls you in. (Especially if there is a Hooters Beauty pageant or baseball game on the screen.)

I much prefer to watch a show by myself or with one other person when that is the main activity. I have been known to multi-task with the TV on because either the multi-task is mindless such as folding or stuffing envelopes or the TV program is really mindless and I am not really paying attention to it. I used to be able to read a book and watch TV at the same time.

I really like some shows. Boston Legal is probably my favorite. It is "off the wall" at times but it is articulate and it brings up some of the same issues that I think about. I also like The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. There are some good dramas on that I enjoy also NCIS and the Law and Order CSI shows come to mind. I am really looking forward to The Closer when it comes back on.

There are also some which have lost me. Medium is one of the ones that I no longer watch. I used to enjoy it but lately it has just lost me. Heroes also fits into this category.

TV also is a picture of the people who are running or trying to run our country. When you see some of them you can just see the patronizing or the rudeness and I just can't support them.

The News channels are just nothing as far as I am concerned. They have become personality driven repetitious and they drive me up the wall. I used to go visit friends and we would watch the CNN channel and it was good. I enjoyed the idea that I could see things that were happening all over the world. That has all changed. I get my news from the Internet and from Newspapers.

The most important part of the TV is the remote. I have lost one of the remotes. Fortunately it is the one for the Bedroom TV. I really like the looks of the Hitachi 42 inch TV my friends have but it is way more expensive than I am willing to pay.

I guess I will have to stop blogging now. David Letterman just came on and I have a book to read.

Rain all day - April Showers you know. I am ready for the May flowers. Stay warm.


Thanks to Doug P. for sending me this.

Van Gogh came from quite a large family, and most of us don't know anything about the others. Just in case someone asks you about the others sometime, this may help you.
His dizzy aunt---------------------------------Verti Gogh
The brother who ate prunes---------------------Gotta Gogh
The brother who worked at a convenience store----Stop n Gogh
The grandfather from Yugoslavia--------------------U Gogh
The cousin from Illinois-----------------------Chi-ca Gogh
His magician uncle-----------------------Where-diddy Gogh
His Mexican cousin------- -------------------- A Mee Gogh
The Mexican cousin's American half-brother----------Grin Gogh
The nephew who drove a stage coach---------Wells-far Gogh
The constipated uncle----------------------------Cant Gogh
The ballroom dancing aunt------------------Tang Gogh
The bird lover uncle---------------------------Fla-min Gogh
His nephew psychoanalyst-----------------E Gogh
The fruit loving cousin----------------------------Man Gogh
An aunt who taught positive thinking------Way-to Gogh
The little bouncy nephew-------------------------Poe Gogh
A sister who loved disco--------------------------Go Gogh
And his niece who travels the country in a van (you guessed it!)--------------------WinnieBayGogh
And there ya Gogh!

Great Day!

I actually got a lot done today. I had to get a letter out for St. Bartholomew Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine for which I am the Recorder. I got that taken care of and some ledger business for the Lodge and then went to Des Moines for Acanthus Lodge.

We started with a wonderful ($4) ham dinner with scalloped potatoes and green beans and then went upstairs for a Fellowcraft degree. It was done beautifully. I love the stair lecture that Ron Linehart gives. Very meaningful.

After Lodge we went over to Christopher's for the "after Lodge discussion group" Brian P. came in and we had a good visit. He mentioned that what was happening there was real Masonry. The guys sitting around in a free form discussion that ranged from the beauty pageant on the big screen TV to the Ascension Day service coming up in May to the Grand Lodge "Lodge in a Box" which we are borrowing to use the end of May. They ended discussing the distance satellites are from the earth for satellite TV with a little conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure. All in all a great day, I had my lawn mowed, my house cleaned, the weather was perfect and I was with good friends. What more could a guy ask for. Be Happy

Monday, April 23, 2007

Puns - (Last one for now)

36) A plateau is a high form of flattery.

37) Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

38) When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

39) When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

40) Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

41) Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

42) Acupuncture: a jab well done

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. I used to celebrate Earth Day by having my students design a project they could do to improve the environment. Some of them cleaned up areas which were full of waste junk. They kept track of the different types of material they found and graphed it to share. They took before and after pictures of what they were doing.

Others planted flowers and kept track of the growth of the plants. Some of them even got their parents involved and graphed the amount of oxygen the plant would add to the environment. Many times they planted the flowers around their homes but at other times they did it in a more public place.

The idea was to get them to think about their environment and their own personal impact on it. We took the entire month to do this and at the end we had presentations to share what we had done. Oh yes, the presentations had to be prepared using recycled material. No fancy paste board for this one.

Some of the students really "got into the idea" and others did the minimum. Typical for fifth and sixth grade (or any other age for that matter). I always enjoyed seeing what types of projects they would come up with. It was open ended and they could design their own project and carry it out. I never tried to assign much homework but this project was entirely done outside the class day. It didn't hurt them to do it and hopefully they gleaned something from the experience that made them better custodians of the environment.

The Ames Community Schools used to have a project called Project Eco and three times a year classes would be taken to the woods to study nature. Nancy Kurrle was the Eco lady and she was marvelous. It did not matter what age of student she had with her she related to them and taught them a lot. She now teaches at the Ames Middle School and she is just as creative and gets her students outside to study the environment. She is a passionate teacher and she communicates that passion to others. I was lucky to have had her as a partner when we went out on these trips.

I think the impetus for Project Eco was the Sixth grade overnights which we used to do at the 4-H camp over by Luther Iowa. These were the idea of another passionate teacher, Laverna Larson. We would take the students out and we would have a great time. One of the days we would have projects designed by the teachers and the second day we would have experts who would come in and help share their love of the environment. It was one of the greatest times each year. A lot of work but well worth it.

We would go, rain or shine, and the fact that it is raining right now with the attendant new rain smell may be what brought this to mind. I love rain, especially heavy rain in the woods. We would climb down to the creek for some of our activities and if it was pouring down rain we would get wet. I mean drenched. There is nothing more beautiful than a may forest in the rain. We don't usually go out when it is raining but I am ever grateful that I had the experiences I had as a teacher in the Ames Schools. It is sad that they no longer do these activities. Today's students will not have that chance and they will be poorer for it.

Below are some Earth Day links. Read them and then design your own Earth Day project. Preserve, protect and defend your environment. We can't do everything but we can all do something.

The Wilderness Society Earth Day site

Earth Day Network

Kaboose Earth Day (for Kids)
EPA Earth Day site

pun's VII

31) He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

32) A calendar's days are numbered.

33) A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.

34) A boiled egg is hard to beat.

35) He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Busy Saturday

I went to Des Moines today for the Grand Master's Class for the Order of DeMolay. Every year the State Association of DeMolay Chapters puts on the Initiatory Degree and the DeMolay Degree for the current Grand Master of Masons in Iowa. It is one chance to see the degrees done very well.

The Order of DeMolay for Boys is a Masonic sponsored organization for young men between the ages of 12 and 21. It is a wonderful organization and grounds them in Masonic principles with out being preachy. Before the class they have basketball games and tournaments and stay overnight and have a great time.

I had to be down early for a meeting of St. Bartholomew Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine (another Masonic organization) and when that was over I drove out to Costco to get gas. It was almost 10 cents a gallon cheaper there so it was worth the trip out to get the gas. I had some time to kill so I just hung around and did nothing special.

Then it was back to the Scottish Rite building for a wonderful VIP snack buffet before the degrees. These kids do marvelous work. They are the cream of the crop and it was evident that most of them had really practiced. I was most impressed with one young man who was a last minute substitution. He did not know the part when he came down to the meeting so he learned it that day and did a great job. I wish I could learn that way.

The day concluded with a prime rib dinner and it was good but since I have been dieting I am not really into eating that much. Oh well it wasn't too bad a deal.

Jon was here when I got back and he played with the dogs and we had a good visit. He showed me an interesting site aobut the Tenth Dimension. He is such a good kid. He does need to get his graduate school work started. He pointed out that it has been just about one year since he graduated. I think he is tired of working in a restaurant. He said that the Flying Burrito had done about three times its usual business today. It is Veishea week-end. So far things have gone smoothly for Veishea this year. It is such a nice festival. It was 80 degrees in Des Moines today. Feels wonderful. A few more days of this and we will have flowers on the trees. My grass is about ready to mow. Thanks for reading this. Be Happy!

Pun's VI (Will they ever end?)

26) Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A flat miner.

27) When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

28) The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

29) A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

30) You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A great teacher!

This morning I made a pilgrimage to my old elementary school to help present the Arcadia Lodge Masonic Teacher of the Year certificate to Charli Hanway the Kindergarten teacher.

This program is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of Iowa and each Lodge in Iowa is asked to choose a Local Masonic Teacher of the Year and then they submit material to the Grand Lodge and an Iowa Masonic Teacher of the Year is selected. Our Lodge selected Mrs. Hanway as our Teacher of the Year and in my opinion it was an excellent choice. I taught with Charli at Edwards for many years before I retired and while we were at opposite ends of the building I always found her to be an extremely competent professional.

We made the presentation in front of her students and they were all excited for her. It was obvious that she was a caring, loving teacher. She will be honored at a dinner at the Lodge later in the year.

The Masonic Lodge has always supported public education and this is one of the ways they show that schools and public education are important to them. Congratulations Mrs. Hanway, It is a well deserved honor!

Pun's V (They just keep coming and coming)

21) A backward poet writes inverse.

22) In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your
Count that votes.

23) A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

24) If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

25) With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Royal Arch Masons

Tonight I had the honor of taking the part of Jeshua in the Royal Arch Degree. The Royal Arch Degree actually completes the Master Mason Degree and as such it is an important part of Masonry. I have not done the part for about 20 years because I just sort of drifted off and became inactive. But we have a District Deputy Grand High Priest who is also the High Priest of Ascalon Chapter #139 of Des Moines and he has reinvigorated the Chapter. There were six candidates. All of them friends from Acanthus. They were impressed and they will make great additions to the Chapter.

Much better feeling tonight than last Monday. It is late and the boys are pestering me to go to bed. Thanks for listening, Stay warm (It was beautiful today) and Be Happy.


1. He slowly opened the door to his locker. He hung his police uniform on the hooks and took out his suit. It was Lodge night.

2. He watched as the last employee left his business, locked the building and made the evening bank drop. He then headed off with a whistle on his lips and a spring in his step. It was Lodge night.

3. The young man helped his wife clear the table. He then said good night to his children and snuck into his room to change his clothes. Upon leaving he smiled at his wife and kissed her. It was Lodge night.

4. It had been a hard day. Navigating through the complexities of the legal system was rewarding work. It was also tiring. Normally he would have been headed home for a relaxing evening. But tonight was not normal and he felt none of the usual fatigue as tonight was Lodge night.

5. Life had not been pleasant since his wife died. His family lived far
away and with each passing year it became harder and harder to do the simple things in life. And most of all he missed his life long partner. Tonight he felt a little less pain and life didn't seem nearly as bad. It was Lodge night.

6. The accident had been terrible. But there was some consolation that his skills as a doctor had saved a life. Still it would not be easy and there were possibilities of complications. But for a while he could place his worries in the hands of others as tonight was Lodge night.

7. It is hard looking for work when the job market is scarce. Each day he faced the nameless horde of people who continue to tell him that he was not needed. He faced rejection and the possibility of hardship at every turn. Tonight he knew he was wanted and needed, it was Lodge night.

8. He sat alone in the small room wearing clothes that were not his. He had received warm welcomes from a number of men he didn't know and a few he did. Now with an ancient relic of a bygone age they told him to wait patiently, yet he looked forward to it with anticipation. It was his first Lodge night.

9. From all walks of life we come. We donate our time to an age honored tradition. We donate our money to help those who cannot help themselves. We gather in fellowship and part in peace. For a while we can lay aside our differences and worries to bask in our shared experiences. We can talk with men who are our equals, men who work to better themselves. And we serve as mentors to our newly-raised Brethren

Tonight is Lodge night and I am glad I am a Mason.
Author Unknown

Pun's IV (They just keep coming)

16) If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

17) A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

18) What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway)

19) A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

20) Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lawyers and my Will

Some time ago I wrote a Will. I named someone my executor and he said he would do it for me. As things go several years later I changed my mind about some things. One of the things I did not change my mind about was the fact that I did not want a funeral. My cousin (who was going to be my executor) kindly informed me that after I was gone they would do what they wanted.

My great aunt was an Episcopalian and she had requested no service also. She had her reasons and I have mine. My father's second wife told me that her son (a minister) had held a graveside service at the time of her committal. This was not right! Whatever her reasons her wishes should have been followed.

I do not like funerals. In my church we do not hold funerals. There can be a Christian Science service at the funeral home but I am not fond of this type of event. So I requested only a Masonic memorial service or no service. That is my desire. So I decided to make some changes in my Will (key word here people is MY) I asked someone else to be my executor. So I wrote my lawyer with my new wishes and the new executor. I had forgotten something so I telephoned him and his response was that he had it on his "to do" pile. Now I had asked him to begin making these changes last summer and nothing had been done so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I took my old will and opened a new document. I then proceeded to type the old will into this document making the changes I wanted as I went along. I had it edited for typos and printed it off. Then I took it to the Credit Union to get it witnessed and notarized and they kindly informed me that I would have to bring in my own witnesses. So I called the business office at the Ames Schools and they notarized my will and two of my friends witnessed it. So it is all signed and in my safe deposit box.

My great-grandfather Underwood was a lawyer so I guess I was "channeling" him. My grandmother always wanted me to be a lawyer. Perhaps I would have more money if I had become one but I kind of like it that I was a teacher.

I also want to be cremated. At one time I thought about having my ashes divided up into vials and given out at the funeral and asking people to take them with them on their vacation and spread them where ever they happened to go that year. But as far as I am concerned they can be dumped in the Skunk river or buried at the cemetery.

My grandmother taught me a valuable lesson about death. Her brother Carrol had died in California and his body was brought back here for burial. As we were walking away from the grave after a short graveside service she made the remark "That's not him in there!" That concept has stuck with me. My grandmother was not a Christian Scientist but she had a copy of Science and Health and I think realized that there was a lot of truth in it. "Man is not material, he is spiritual." I believe we go right on to the next level of existence and the lessons we don't learn here in earth we will continue to learn.

Be Happy! j

Pun's III

11) We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

12) When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U C L A.

13) The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number
on it.

14) The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on
shaky ground.

15) The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

Flags are beginning to be flown at half staff for the students and teachers killed in Virginia. It is very sad and very hard to think about. All of the potential of those kids now lost. Just as the potential of the over 3,000 men and women killed in Iraq has been lost.

After we reached 2500 dead in Iraq I wrote a poem entitled "Potential" It seems that part of it is appropriate at this time.

What would they have been?

What would they have done?
Think about it!
2500 women and men.

Wives, husbands, mothers, fathers,
Teachers, lawyers, doctors,
Builders, inventors, bankers.
Scientists, activists, counselors

Sons and daughters, Brothers and Sisters
Think of the void they leave.
Think of the changes in our world
Because they are no longer with us.

The killings in Virginia are tragic but no more tragic than the killings around the world.

The only connection I have to Blacksburg is that one of our Eastern Star Members lives there. Marion Bemis lives there. She moved there many years ago. She and my mother were good friends and had lunch together at least once a week. I am thinking of her now and sending good thoughts her way.

Here in Ames we are in the beginnings of the annual Veishea celebration. This is a really neat event held at Iowa State University. It is student run and is a showcase for the University. There is a parade and a lot of fun. We also had riots and at least one death at Veishea time. I remember that after the first riot the next year the media was playing up the idea that we might have another one. I think that they were responsible for some of the subsequent problems. A couple of weeks ago there were letters to the editor complaining that we were going to have riots at Veishea.

We did not have them last year and there is no reason to expect that we will have them again. The University and the Police too a lot of time and effort to study the problem and come up with solutions. It is unfortunate that so often the expectations become the reality. Most of the students in Virginia Tech and Iowa State University are "good people" and they just want to lead a quiet existence and prepare to live quality, productive lives. Lets help them to do that. Stay warm and Be Happy!

More PUN-ishment -II

6) When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

7) The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium
at large.

8) A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

9) A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened

10) Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Not my best work

I went down to Acanthus this evening for an Entered Apprentice Degree. I was to give the extended Apron lecture. It is very nice and I usually do a pretty good job. I had recited it three times today and yet when it came time to give it to the candidate I had to be prompted three times. I just drew a blank. It wasn't one of those "the candidate won't know the difference. I just don't like it when that happens. People were kind but I am not satisfied. They probably won't ask me to do it again. I have given the same lecture twice in Arcadia and gotten through it fine. Oh well, I guess that is part of doing work in Lodge.

I also spent yesterday getting a letter ready to go out for a Family Potluck Picnic to be held on June 30 at Big Creek State park. I got the cover letter from Charlie today and stuffed the letters while watching General mindless activity over another. I hope there will be a good turnout for the Picnic.

Tomorrow I have to go to Johnston for a investigation. I have York Rite on Wednesday and the Royal Arch Degree on Thursday and will be in Des Moines all day on Saturday. The boys will think I have moved out. Jon was here when I got home. He comes over on these days and lets them out and plays with them. Right now Max and Cassie are playing with each other. May runs around her. She jumps and teases him. They are fun to watch.

I took my suit pants down to be altered. Bruce told me that they were about two sizes to big for me. That is a good feeling. To celebrate I purchased a smaller pair of pants. I am now back down to some of my smaller clothes and have been wearing my belt in a notch. You may leave congratulations in the comments.

Speaking of things you can do. Every day you should click on The Hunger Site and then work your way through the other sites there to give for free. The advertisers there give money for each person who logs on and clicks. It only takes a couple of minutes and you are doing good and the best thing is that it doesn't cost you anything. Try it you will like it. Warm and nice today. Be Happy!

More PUN-ishment -1

1) I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

2) Police were called to a daycare where a three-year-old was
resisting a rest.

3) Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's
all right now.

4) The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

5) To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Random Rants

Religious expression

You know, I am pretty religious. I believe in God and I believe that He communicates with us by nudges or angel thoughts which come to us when we need it but I don't believe that Jesus plays golf with us. Of course, I guess he could but he didn't carry a golf club as the Scots hadn't invented it yet. Some guy from Iowa won the Master's Golf Tournament last Sunday (Easter) and I am glad for him. Why, oh why, did he have to go on record that he "felt" Jesus right there beside him when he was finishing the course? And he is not the only one. Athletes and others are always screaming "Thank you Jesus" when they win something.

I just don't believe it! I go back to when Jesus said "Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees" and went on to tell them that "they had their reward" -- they were the ones standing on the street corners telling everyone to look at them to see how pious they were. I get irritated by these folks and also by T-shirts and bumper stickers purporting to tell me that "When the Rapture comes, this car will be driver less."

I also think that answering machine messages telling me to leave a message and "God Bless You" fit into this category. I think these people want us to believe they are righteous and holy and many times they are not. I see evangelists who tell us to "come to Jesus" and to "hate the sin but love the sinner" who would just as soon kill the sinner. I really think they are in for a big surprise when they pass to the next level of awareness.

My mother had a deep faith. She did not always go to church but she always treated others as she would have wanted to be treated. I never remember her putting any one down. I never remember her calling anyone a name. Her parents were like that also. They lived their faith. They didn't wear it on their shirtsleeves. I try to be that way also but I fall short. I am grateful to God for everything I have experienced and have been given. But I try to express it quietly. I wish others would also.

Letters to the Editor
I generally look these over and I have noticed that there are certain people who just have to write their thoughts and get them in the Newspaper - over and over again. I like to express my opinions also and have found that putting them in this blog has almost completely gotten rid of my need to send a letter to the Editor. Besides the dumb editor never put them in the paper either. Perhaps more people should try it. Very therapeutic.

2 Cents worth
That a column in the paper where people can call in and leave short one line (usually pithy) comments on just about anything. They are kind of fun and they are anonymous so you never know who it was that said something so you just have to call in and respond. It is kind of fun.

TV -
There is so much junk on TV that it is easy to skip watching things. I think in my case it is just habit. Be that as it may be I do love Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, NCIS, Boston Legal (especially), Numbers, Criminal Minds and The Closer. I really don't like the reality shows that put people on and give them things just to watch them cry. I think Judge Judy has a terrible ego and she is uncivil to those in her courtroom. I like Rosie but I liked her better on her own show. I wish I were able to watch Torchwood but I am too cheap to get BBC America. Also the Tudors (Showtime) or Rome. I did rent the first season of Rome and will rent the second when it comes out on DVD.)

There have been some really good movies this past year. I love going to movies. (Always sit on the back LEFT.) However there is a lot of just junk out there but I don't go to them so it doesn't bother me.

I guess that is enough for me for today. It was a beautiful day. I had a very productive time of it. I have 112 letters addressed and ready to go. Went to Lodge practice and of course read Second Reader at Church. I'm happy - You be that way also. j


5. "They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen."

4. "This is just a 15 minute power nap they raved about in the time
management course you sent me to."

3. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the Whiteout. You probably got here just
in time."

2. "Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you put
your ear down real close?"

And the NUMBER ONE best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your

1. Raise your head slowly and say, " Jesus' name, Amen

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday April 14, 2007

I got up early this morning and went to Des Moines to go to the Scottish Rite. It had been years since I had seen some of the degrees and I wanted to refresh myself. I know they had made some changes but I was impressed with the work. The men did their parts well and they had a very attentive class.

The Scottish Rite is one of two Rites which go beyond the basic Masonic Lodge. They are additional degrees which explain and explore some of the concepts first presented in the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees. When done well they are impressive and important for your continued Masonic Education. The other rite is the York Rite and it is the one I have done the most work with but I appreciate both of them and I saw some fine degrees today.

Now I am back and I thank my Aunt Jo for letting the dogs out around noon and Jonathan for coming by around 3:00 to let Bailey out and take Max for a walk (and bringing him home muddy ) Now I have to get busy and take care of some business that needs doing. Thanks for reading my blog. Stay warm and be happy! j

Friday, April 13, 2007


My friend Tammy sent me the following. I think it fits in with what I was talking about yesterday and I don't really have anything to say today. I worked on dues notices, and other things that needed doing and really didn't think about anything worth ranting about so I share this joke. Tomorrow I go to Des Moines for Scottish Rite and probably won't blog in the morning. Have a good day, Stay warm and Be Happy. j

Once upon a time in a land far far away,
a beautiful, independent,
self-assured princess
happened upon a frog as she sat
contemplating ecological issues
on the shores of an unpolluted pond
in a verdant meadow near her castle.


The frog hopped into the princess' lap
and said:


"Elegant Lady,
I was once a handsome prince,
until an evil witch cast a spell upon me.
One kiss from you, however,
and I will turn back into the dapper, young prince
that I am.


And then, my sweet, we can marry
and set up housekeeping in your castle
with my mother,
were you can prepare my meals,
cean my clothes, bear my children,
and forever feel
gateful and happy doing so."


That night,
As the princess dined sumptuously
On lightly sautéed frog legs
Seasoned in a white wine
And onion cream sauce,
She chuckled and thought to herself:


I don't BLEEPIN' think so.

Part II - Pets

I used to have a sign on the door which said "This house is maintained for the security and comfort of my pets. If you don't like it just leave."

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets

1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.
(That's why they call it "fur"niture.)
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: Dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3 Are easier to train
4. Usually come when called
5. Never drive your car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
8. Don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions
9. Don't wear your clothes
10. Don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and
11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I was watching "The View" this morning. Yes, I know! I don't usually watch it but I was catching up on my taped shows from last night and when my shows were over this show was on when the tape was over. I got "caught" by the subject. They were talking about Don Imus' remarks about the woman's basketball team. One of the women said that he would not have said what he had said if it had been a men's team. That he was "sticking it to the women" - It got me to thinking about how society treats women and has treated women.

Mrs. Adams wrote to her husband during the time of writng the Constitution for this country to "remember the ladies." Of course they didn't. It would be a long time before women could vote or even hold their own property in this country. In much of the world today women are still subserviant to men and must have a man speak for them. Even in this country women are not fully vested in our society. Yes, they can hold and inherit property. They can enter into contracts. They do not, however always make as much money in jobs and professions as men do.

I was watching Cold Case the other night and I saw a show about a woman sufferagette who had been murdered. It brought back to me the story of these women who had to fight to get the right to vote. How they were treated by men who were threatened by them - who tried to keep them down and not allow them to be a part of society.

When I was teaching I asked my students about a line in their social studies book. "Women have made great advances there are even two women serving in the U. S. House of Representatives." It was very close to that. Yes, we had an outdated textbook. I asked them what percentage of the population were women. They told me 50%. I told them it was more like 52% and if that was so I asked them. "How many women should be serving in the House?" When I put it that way I made them realize that women were (and still are) under-represented in our government. I told them to go out and get involved and get themselves elected to office.

Yesterday I wrote about the Eastern Star. The state organization is run by a Worthy Grand Matron. Several of these women have become good friends of mine and I am amazed at their executive ability. In other countries women such as Margaret Thatcher and Mrs. Ghandi have been Prime Ministers of their countries. They were incredibally talented. And just look at what Queen Elizabeth has done. She has dedicated her life to her country. I am a great admirer of her and of these great women.

The church I attend was begun by a woman. Mary Baker Eddy was the most original thinker of her time and she founded a church and started a daily newspaper and gave of herself to the world. Whether or not you agree with her you have to admit she accomplished much. And she accomplished it before women could vote or even have a voice in a man's world. Against all odds she began a movement which is world-wide today and has blessed countless lives.

I know several women who are still walking three steps behind their jerk husbands. Husbands who treat their wives as if they did not have a brain in their heads. They aren't allowed access to the "family" funds. Some of them have to learn how to handle the household finances after their husbands pass on. Actually some of them take over after their husbands die and surpass them in accomplishment.

In some countries women go from their father's house to their husband's house and are not allowed even the freedoms they have in this country. I understand that Saudi women are not allowed to drive cars. Even worse than that some cultures practice female circumcision so that they cannot even enjoy pleasure from the most basic of human activity. When I was travelling around Mexico with my friend John by bus, a young lad climbed on the bus and offered to sell us his sister. She was not even ten years old. Many women are sold into slavery around this world.

All of this is just WRONG! Until women have equal rights and protection under law and the law is enforced things are just WRONG. I still don't understand why the Equal Rights Amendment did not pass. it should have. It should be the basic law of this country that all of its citizens are Equal under our law.

In the first chapter of Genesis it says "And God created man in his own image. Male and female created he them." Co-equal. Created He them, not from Adam's rib but from equal substance. Until mankind recognizes and acts on this idea (Houston) we have a problem. Just look around you and see how many women follow behind the men. I prefer to see them walking side by side. Dancing the dance of life as equals.

Stay warm and be happy, and thanks for listening.


To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats, The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate of food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack.

Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry
About this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years --canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Eastern Star

Today I went over to Boone to attend the Eastern Star Masonic Home Board meeting. I enjoy this activity. This is the second year of a five year term on the board. The home has been there for 100 years and is an incredible operation. It has several levels of care from those who are fully mobile to full care. I ran for the Board so that I could give something back to the Home. My grandmother's sister spent her last years in the Home and it was a good experience for her.

I am a fourth generation member of the Eastern Star. I remember when my grandfather rejoined the Masons and my mother could join Eastern Star. She had been a Rainbow Girl serving as a Grand Officer in 1930 and had loved it. I think she loved Eastern Star more. When she joined the Chapter was when she told me that I "might enjoy" the Masons which turned out to be an understatement. After I joined the Masons I took a personal day off from school and came to Ames to join Laura Chapter. Hugh and Virginia Hossle were the Matron and Patron when I joined and it was guest officer night. Mother was the only regular officer who participated in my initiation and I can still see her standing there giving me Ruth's lecture in her long white dress. It is a very special memory for me.

The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization for women and men in the world and has chapters all over the world. They have a headquarters in Washington DC and if you are ever there it is well worth taking the time to stop and take a tour. One of our Iowa Past Grand Matrons was the Right Worthy Grand Secretary and lived in the mansion which had belonged to Mr. Belmont who used it for entertaining. It sat vacant during the depression and the Eastern Star purchased it full of treasures such as a 24 carat gold covered piano and a collection of Tiffany vases.

I have been Worthy Patron of Laura Chapter nine times and still enjoy the Order and especially the friends I have made over the years. Rob Morris is the person who wrote the original ritual of the Oder and he did a good thing.

We had crummy weather today and I was grateful for my four wheel drive when I went over to Boone. When I came back it cost me $40.00 for fill up the gas tank. Ouch! - Stay warm and Be Happy

Indispensable Man

I have had this poem around for ages and I think it says something important for all of us to think about. Not really a joke but since it is snowing outside this morning that is enough of a joke.

Sometimes, when you're feeling important,
Sometimes, when your ego's in bloom,
Sometimes, when you take it for granted
You're the best qualified in the room.

Sometimes, when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfilled hole,
Just follow this simple instruction,
and see how it humbles your soul:

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining
Is a measure of how you'll be missed.

You may splash all you please when you enter,
You can stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you'll find in a minute
That it looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example
Is to do just the best that you can;
Be proud of yourself, but remember.
There is no indispensable man.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thinking about God

Today I attended a funeral for one of our Lodge Brothers. He had been a fireman and the fire chief gave a wonderful eulogy. He used one of Jim's favorite poems. It is entitled The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis and you can read it by clicking here.

The minister did not know Jim personally so he preached a sermon on "someone he did know - Jesus Christ." I found much to think about because of what he said. Much I did not find something I could accept. To me God as Father means that he loves us with a Father's love. All of his creation in all time and not just a select few. In the first chapter of Genesis it says that God created man in his own image. Male and female created he them... and then it says that he beheld everthing that He had made was "very good." So while we may fall short humanly - spiritually I think he accepts and loves us unconditionally.

Jim was one of our Past Masters and we had a Masonic funeral service at the grave site. I was the master for the ceremony and I know his wife appreciated the service. She has been a long time friend from Eastern Star and they had moved to Branson, Missouri after Jim's retirement and had moved back to Ames last year. I find these harder to do when I have known the Brother but the message is one of hope and I am proud to be able to do it for the Brother and his family.

Then this evening I met a new friend. Shirley Paulson is in Ames to deliver a Christian Science Lecture to the College of Seniors class at Iowa State University. She has a Web site here. This vivacious, vital woman felt the need to go to a seminary (Methodist) to learn how to talk to others about Christian Science. She was very interesting and the conversation flowed throughout dinner at the Gateway and she gave me a lot to think about and some leads to study.

It has become obvious to me over the years that most people do not understand Christian Science and are usually prejudiced against us. I personally find it a wonderful religion and it has helped me through many, many problems over the years. It is refreshing to me to learn that she is searching for ways to hold conversations about Christian Science with liberal and conservative Christians.

The pastor at the funeral used a piece of scripture in his remarks which we use at the end of every Christian Science service. As I listened to him speak about it I realized that he heard the words he was reading in a very different manner than we do when we use it is our Church. I am encouraging Mrs. Paulson to write a book about "Conversations" On her Web Site she has a series of podcasts with a Presbyterian minister friend of hers. I am looking forward to listening to them.

All in all this was a day where I was led to think more about God and my relationship with him. I look forward to further pondering. I think we see God in each other. I wrote a poem about it several years ago. I share it with you here.

The Smile

The man was struggling with his bicycle outside the store.
His face grimaced as he tried to get his clumsy hands to work.
A homely face – wrinkled with evidence of years of struggle as he tried to cope with an unwieldy world.

You could tell he was used to being ignored.
Most look away from such a face.

But today I didn’t look away.
I grabbed his eyes with mine,
We looked at each other and I sent a smile his way.

The gratitude of his returning smile brightened my day
Later as I drove away I realized that in that awkward, homely smile
I had seen God’s face.

It is still chilly outside, Stay warm and be happy.


1. A day without sunshine is like night.
2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines
19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
20. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, "What the hell happened?"
22. Just remember--if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow

They Let Me In!

Tonight I was elected a dual member of Acanthus Lodge. I have been going down on Mondays as you know if you have been reading this blog and tonight they let me in. I had to go out in the other room to sit while they balloted but it all worked out and I was elected.

The ballot box is a very special thing. In the Maosnic Lodge one person can keep someone from becoming a member of the Lodge. (except in the case of a dual member when it takes a few more) The term for a person kept out is to have been blackballed. To me it is an important device and it should never be misused. I have seen it done a couple of times but it doesn't usually happen as we are careful in our membership. The ballot box is for me an affirmation that we are allowing someone to become a Brother among us. Everyone gives their consent and then the initiation is the actual process whereby he joins and becomes a Mason.

So in reality it is part of the acceptance process and not (generally) an exclusionary one. There was applause when I came back in the room and I felt really welcome. After the meeting several of the members came up and congratulated me. I feel very honored.

It was also fun to go to Christopher's afterward to socialize with the officers and members. All in all a very special evening. Stay warm and Be Happy!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Do The Math

NEW YORK - A public school teacher was arrested today at JFK International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a problem for us," Gonzales said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns,' but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isos Celes used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle.'"

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the president.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Dan Millman wrote this book in 1980. One of my students Jonathan (now Yanni) Ackerman gave it to me to read and I loved it. It is described as "A book that changes lives." I, of course, had to give it back to him so I have not re-read it. However when Ginny moved to Kansas City she gave me a gift certificate for the Unity bookstore and I found the book there. I have it on my shelf.

I was excited to learn that it is now a motion picture and you can read about it here. It gets mixed reviews but I loved it. Not only for the spiritual message which I think is an important one but because it starred a new and improved Nick Nolte. I have followed Nick's career over the years because he was a grade school classmate of mine. I wrote about him when I was in the hospital and my friend Dennis Wendell with the Ames Historical Society has it on their web site here. Not great writing but it is fun to have a celebrity who you remember from going to school with him 60 years ago. Actually I liked his mom a lot and would talk to her from time to time. She was a neat lady and I enjoyed our brief visits. Anyway, he looks really good in the movie and I am glad to see that he is living "here and now and with joy." I know he has enjoyed his journey.

Easter was quiet. My plans to go to Des Moines didn't pan out so I went out to the flying Burrito and saw Jonathan who was working today and then went to the movie. Very satisfying and enjoyable.

I had a comment on the bolg today and it was really nice to hear from a woman in Massachusetts who was googling Craig Ferguson and found my blog. She said she enjoyed my writing and had been reading it for an hour. Her comment follows the poem My Closet if you want to read it. I wonder if Craig Ferguson will find it. He is always talking about how he is googling himself.

It is still chilly here people, Think warm thoughts and be happy. j

Off the Wall

1. Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert have written an impressive new book. It's called "Ministers Do More Than Lay People."

2. Transvestite: A guy who likes to eat, drink and be Mary.

3. The difference between the Pope and your boss...the Pope only expects you to kiss his ring.

4. My mind works like lightning. One brilliant flash and it is gone.

5. The only time the world beats a path to your door is if you're in the bathroom.

6. I hate sex in the movies. Tried it once. The seat folded up, the drink spilled and that ice, well, it really chilled the mood.

7. It used to be only death and taxes were inevitable. Now, of course, there's shipping and handling, too.

8. A husband is someone who, after taking the trash out, gives the impression that he just cleaned the whole house.

9. My next house will have no kitchen -- just vending machines and a large trash can.

10. A blonde said, "I was worried that my mechanic might try to rip me off. I was relieved when he told me all I needed was turn signal fluid."

11. My neighbor was bitten by a stray rabid dog. I went to see how he was and found him writing frantically on a piece of paper. I told him rabies could be treated, and he didn't have to worry about a Will. He said, "Will? What Will? I'm making a list of the people I want to bite."

12. Definition of a teenager? God's punishment for enjoying sex.

13. As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Shooter and Books to Borrow

I went to see "Shooter" tonight with Mark Walberg. He has developed into a fine actor over the years. They are calling him the new Bruce Willis. Personally I like him better. Good action flick with an interesting premise.

By the way if anyone wants to borrow "Napoleon's Pyramids" or "Jesus for the Non Religious" drop me an e-mail and I will get it to you. I also have Craig Ferguson's "Between the Bridge and the River" Funny book from a funny man. Have a Happy Easter tomorrow. j

“God is not a heavenly judge. God is a life force expanding inside humanity until that humanity becomes barrier free.”

John Shelby Spong has a new book our entitled “Jesus for the Non religious.” I just finished reading it. It is appropriate for the Easter season for it resurrects my faith and understanding of God and it brings Jesus back to life for me. Not as God but as the interpreter of God. I suggest you read the book. It concludes with this poem.


Look at him!
Look not at his divinity,
but look, rather, at his freedom.
Look not at the exaggerated tales of his power,
but look, rather, at his infinite capacity to give himself away.
Look not at the first-century mythology that surrounds him,
but look, rather, at his courage to be.
his ability to live, and
the contagious quality of his love.
Stop your frantic search!
Be still and know that this is God:
this love.
this freedom,
this life,
this being;
when you are accepted, accept yourself;
when you are forgiven, forgive yourself;
Grasp that Christpower
and dare to be

Spong says: “ The call of God through Jesus is a call to be fully human, to embrace insecurity without building protective fences, to accept the absence of peace of mind as a requirement of humanity. It is to see that God is the experience of life, love and peing who is met at the edges of an expanded humanity.”

I guarantee that if you read this book you will be challenged to think and you may even come away from the experience with a stronger understanding of the God experience.

You will groan!

A man is dining in a fancy restaurant and there is a gorgeous redhead sitting at the next table. He has been checking her out since he sat down, but lacks the nerve to talk with her.

Suddenly she sneezes, and her glass eye comes flying out of its socket towards the man.

He reflexively reaches out, grabs it out of the air, and hands it back.

"Oh my, I am so sorry," the woman says as she pops her eye back in place.

"Let me buy your dinner to make it up to you," she says.

They enjoy a wonderful dinner together, and afterwards they go to the theater followed by drinks. They talk, they laugh, she shares her
deepest dreams and he shares his. She listens.

After paying for everything, she asks him if he would like to come to her place for a nightcap and stay for breakfast. They had a wonderful, wonderful time.

The next morning, she cooks a gourmet meal with all the trimmings The guy is amazed! ! Everything had been SO incredible! !! !

"You know, "he said, "you are the perfect woman. Are you this nice to every guy you meet? "

"No, " she replies. . . . . "

Wait for it . . . . .

It's coming. . . . . . . . . .

The suspense is killing you, isn't it?

She says:

"You just happened to catch my eye."

Friday, April 6, 2007

A Good Friday

Today was a really nice day. I had to go to Des Moines to take a prescription to Spectrum Prosthetics and start the process of getting a new shoe for my right foot. I had a small sore on it and went to the foot doctor and he told me to get the new shoe. Anyway I went down and did a couple of errands and then the event which made the day really good.

Later Aunt Jo stopped over. She had been worried about me as I was so hard to get in touch with this week. Max Bailey and Cassie are nuts about her. She sat on the couch and she had Max on one side (after he settled down) Cassie on the other and Bailey in front. By the time I had gotten the camera out Bailey had moved. Anyway the pictures are here. Enjoy them. Still cold out. Stay warm and Be Happy!

Employee Evaluations - Part III

21. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't

22. "He's got two brain cells, one is lost and the other is out looking
for it."

23. "If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."

24. "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."

25. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."

26. "It's hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."

27. "One neuron short of a synapse."

28. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."

29. "Takes him 2 hours to watch '60-minutes."

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thursday Musings

When my grandparents had their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary they took a family picture. You can see that it was a large group of people and they were literally the glue that held everyone together. The Scottish and Irish heritage was clannish and we all got together whenever we could.

Things have changed. Last Christmas half the "family" went to Minnesota and half went to Texas. I stayed home with the "boys" and Cassie. It was a different feeling. Now it is Easter and yesterday I got invited to the family get-together. I have decided not to go. I have had an incredibly busy week and next week will be the same. I am still dieting and since I have to read at church in the morning I think I will just stay home. Probably not very nice of me but that is the way it is.

Lodge tonight went well. I have minutes to write and other things to do so I am going to make this short and get busy. Oh yes, I heard from Linda W. today. She was trying to get information about where our Church Lecture was going to be held and I could not tell her. I do know that it is part of the College for Seniors and there will be a lot of people in attendance. I have two meetings that day so I won't get to attend. I had a nice visit with her. She is so busy that she doesn't get to respond to e-mail but she sounded great. It was good to talk to her.

Cold today, Not just chilly. Stay warm and be happy. j

Employee Evaluations - Part II

11. "A gross ignoramus--144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."

12. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."

13. "He's been working with glue too much."

14. "He would argue with a signpost."

15. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."

16. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."

17. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other

18. "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."

19. "A prime candidate for natural de-selection."

20. "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Harry Connick, Jr.

What an incredible musician! This is the second time I have had the privilege to attend a live performance of this fantastic musician and his orchestra (or as he calls it his band). From the first trumpet solo to the encore of four musicians sitting around his Steinway playing my favorite song from one of his new albums (I have both) I was in New Orleans Heaven.

I have also had the good fortune to have been to New Orleans twice and if there is one thing that New Orleans is it is music.

Harry Connick, Jr. said that he was very comfortable playing at C.Y. Stephens. He has played there so often that it feels like his living room. Of course, "being a huge celebrity," he said, "his living room was larger than the auditorium."

I was in the second row on the right hand side and that was close enough to see the faces of the musicians. I am sure that they put a lot of time into their preparation but the neat thing about watching them was that they did not make it seem like work. They were having fun. The energy level did not drop at all during the entire evening. They were still moving and dancing at the end of the almost two hours of continuous playing (no intermission) as if they were just starting.

I don't really like the auditorium because it is a little difficult for me with my bum foot to get around and there are places without railings but if you get there early enough it isn't a problem. I took my ritual book along to study while I was waiting for the show to start.

Stephens has a new policy. They sell coffee, wine, popcorn, etc and you are allowed to take it in with you. There was a letter to the editor complaining about it in tonight's paper. I didn't find that a problem but I was upset with the people who walked in after the show had started and pushed past me getting to their seats. I guess they did not know the show started at 7:30. (Actually more like 7:40) I find that rude and if I were running the theater they would have to sit in special seating like the last two rows. But then I can be an old grump.

Anyway it was a wonderful evening and I am glad I went. Stay warm and be happy.

Employee Evaluations - Part I

If you're like me, you've either
worked with or employed some people like these! Supposedly, these are actual quotes taken from Federal Government employee performance evaluations.

1. "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock-bottom and has started to dig."

2. "I would not allow this employee to breed."

3. "This employee is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won't be."

4. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."

5. "When she opens her mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."

6. "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."

7. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to
Achieve them."

8. "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."

9. "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts the better."

10. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tuesday Musings

Cold and windy today,
The wind blew Jean M's dog Buttons off the porch.
I think Bailey would have been blown away also but he is fatter.

Warmer inside.
Eastern Star has two new members.
The officers did a good job.

I am blogging like Rosie today.
Except I spell better.
and I am not feuding with Donald the *ump.

That * was on purpose. Put in your own letter.
I don't understand why people like him
have a lot of money. Seems so mean and nasty.

Maybe that is why.
I used to tell my students.
You can't lift yourself up by putting someone down.

Stay warm. Be Happy.

Three Pictures

One is Great Grandfather Underwood's Past Master's Jewell, Then Great Grandfather' Simser's collection including the watch chain made from my great grandmother's hair and finally some flowers from the front yard. They are the bravest ones as it is still chily out and the rain and wind have beaten the others down.

If a dog were the teacher

GREAT ADVICE! and it is all so true!!

If a dog were the teacher, you would learn stuff like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back in the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout! Run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, then dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Thanks to Maryjane for the above

Masonic Connection

I got home at 1:00 AM last night. Jon was here with the animals watching TV. I had asked him to come by to let them out and give them a break because I went down to Acanthus early.

They had a Master Mason Degree and it was excellent. I got to play a part I had never done before and it was nice. After the Degree the newly raised brother was presented with a Masonic ring which had belonged to his father-in-law who had passed away shortly before he had begun his Masonic journey. His father-in-law's friend came over from Panora, Iowa to witness the degree and make the presentation.

I have seen this happen a couple of times, a piece of jewelry is passed down to someone from a relative or special friend and as happened last night there were few dry eyes in the Lodge. In fact it happened to me. The night I was installed as Master of Arcadia Lodge some 27 years ago my mother's sister, my aunt Jean, got up and presented me with my great-grandfather Underwood'sPast Master's Jewel. He was Master of Arcadia Lodge twice, The first time was just 99 years before I was Master.

It is a beautiful jewel coin silver, highly engraved with both a square and an arch on the bottom. It is about 5 or 6 inches long. I wear it every once in awhile, but I am always very careful in doing so. I was dumbfounded to receive it. Aunt Jean really made the evening extra special by presenting it to me. Later I also inherited my great-grandfather Simser's Masonic Jewelry. He was a member of Nevada Lodge and his daughter gave me his jewelry. Included was a Keystone watch fob hanging from a watch chain made from my great-grandmother Simser's hair. It is intricately braided and something that I don't think is being done anymore. I have seen highly elaborate braided hair in museums.

These incidents point out to me that ours is a fraternity with history. My father was not a Mason but both of my grandfathers were and all four of my great grandfathers. It is awesome to me to think that they also knelt at a Masonic Altar and took the same obligations and went through the same ination ceremonies that I did. I did not know any of them except my grandfather Cole but I feel more connected to them than if they had not been members of our "gentle craft" and I feel honored to be allowed to belong to the greatest fraternal organization in the world. (But then I'll bet most of you knew that."