Friday, August 31, 2007

August Review/Two Women

There are some things about this August that I won't remember with fondness. For one thing a person I had thought was my friend turned out not to be one and that hurts. I spent a lot of time thinking through the situation and have decided that I still have many friends and he probably wasn't a real one anyway. You help your friends, you don't treat them with coldness. (Note:  Turns out I was wrong.  Still my friend and I am grateful)

I read this in one of the books I read this month.

“ I’ve got a theory. I think most people hate themselves. They may not know it but they do. I have yet to meet a really secure human being; by secure I mean someone who doesn’t need constant maintenance on his self-esteem, usually from outside sources. I know all the self-help books say we don’t need other people’s positive feedback to like ourselves, but that’s bullshit. It’s been my experience that self-love only becomes possible after receiving an inordinate amount of external validation, usually from a person who adores you. And that’s a best-case scenario. I think instead most people get saddled with someone even more bogged down by self-loathing than they are themselves, and the relationship turns into an unconscious, morbidly dysfunctional, please bring-your-own-nails crucifixion party.”
I am not saying that this is true for everyone but it certainly seems that way for me right now. Fortunately some friends have/are helped/helping me through the situation and I will probably be better off not participating in as many activities as I was anyway. I need to stop giving this person free rent in my head and move on. "That should take care of that!" 'Nuff said.

For whatever reason (probably escapism) I read a lot of books this month.

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penny.
Black Order by James Rollins
Gates of Hades by Gregg Loomis
The King of Lies by John Hart
Leave Myself Behind by Bart Yates (The quote above was from this book)
Without Reservations by J.L. Langley
Knights of the Black and White by Jack Whyte
Jack Whyte is an excellent author. I read his series on King Arthur and am looking forward to the second in this series about the Knights Templar.
Speaking of the Knights Templar I also have The Templar Code for Dummies by Chris Hodap that I pick up and read occasionally and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff which is also a pick-up occasionally and read book.
I am currently a little over halfway through The Sanctuary by Raymond Khoury.

My favorite book this month was Alexander McCall Smith's book The Careful Use of Compliments.

I suppose the fact that there wasn't much on Television is also a factor.

I was reminded on one of the blogs that I read that it was ten years ago today that Princess Diana was killed in Paris. She and her boyfriend were being chased by photographers and their driver had had to much to drink and crashed the car. I remember sitting up late to watch it on television. The next days the drama unfolded with the people of the world pouring out their love and sympathy for her sons.

Diana was an interesting person. She was beautiful. No doubt about that. She also knew how to manipulate people and the press. She used them to get her way. She was one of those people (like my former friend) who don't really have to do anything to get people to like them. People just do. I am not going to minimize her accomplishments. She was one of the first to go into AIDS wards and touch those who had this dread disease. She walked where there were land mines and pointed up the dangers surrounding them. She was a great mother to her boys and saw to it that they had as normal a childhood as possible under the circumstances.

People seem to love watching the "royals" and either building them up or putting them down. They aren't allowed to be normal and they pay dearly for their privileges. I also remember the tons of flowers that were placed outside the palaces in tribute to her. I thought at the time that this was just the worship of a person. We tend to do that. We idolize celebrities, movie stars, politicians, etc. and forget that they are just human beings with all the attendant problems and needs as everybody else.

Mother Teresa also died ten years ago. Actually she died on September 5 but the two deaths coming so close together they are linked in my mind. She also helped a lot of people and in her own way I found her very beautiful. Her writings have just been published and in them we find that she held serious doubts as to her faith during most of her life. I find that inspiring. Here is a woman who everyone had revered because of her dedication to her church and to doing good among the poor and yet she felt abandoned by her God. No matter she went right on doing good and she was as deserving of being revered as was Diana (if not more so - after all she did not have a palace to sleep in at night)

Two women who did much good and yet we know they were human beings. Mother Teresa is probably going to be made a saint. That is OK. The idea of sainthood for her will comfort many people. The whole idea of her doubts brings her closer to the idea of Jesus in my book. After all he spent hours and days in prayer and communion and still asked on the cross. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Every once in awhile I run across a phrase in a book that strikes a cord with me. This is from The Tenderness of Wolves.

"Trying to make sense of it is like trying to gather the river in his arms."

This August is kind of like that. Be loved. Hugs, jcs

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mixed Bag

Iowa Grand Lodge has a "Lodge Service Committee" which has an under publicized web site which you will find here.

Tim Bonney references our next Grand Master's Web page on his blog here.

Both sites have a link to my article Seven Steps to Success which was printed in the Knights Templar magazine. I am proud of the article.

A young mason is blogging about his experiences as he joins the fraternity here. It will be fun to follow him as he goes through the experience.

Linda sent me the following. I don't know if you have been following the Vick story (If not, I ask what planet are you living on?) but I really find the entire thing despicable. Those of us who love dogs cannot see how this man could even justify his actions by saying that "He didn't gamble on the dogs." One of the things wrong with our society and is some respects all societies is that some people think that they can do anything they want and get away with it. Leona Hemsley comes to mind in that respect but at least she made sure her dog was taken care of. (I do think that $12. million is a bit much, however - Bailey only gets $3,000.) So we have both ends of the spectrum this week.
I think it is entitled - "A Jury of his peers."

I am not going to comment on the political spectrum and hypocrisy of the politicians in our society but I will tell you that I have decided to support Governor Bill Richardson in the pre-caucus time. I find him to be reasonable and balanced and I think he deserves a good listen.

I have re-discovered native American Wisdom. A friend and I were discussing death and dying and he wondered about how the indigenous people took care of their elders and dealt with death. So, I googled and found some interesting sites. I had forgotten about how wise the people we stole this land from were.

In an earlier post I mentioned diversity training with Ruth Ann Gaines One of the sessions had a group of native Americans come in and demonstrate some lessons from their religion complete with drumming. It was an awesome experience and even though we were in a modern classroom at the Area 11 center I could feel the presence of something surround us as they sang and drummed.

Here are some quotes.

Honor the sacred. Honor the Earth, our Mother. Honor the Elders. Honor all with whom we share the Earth:- Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones, Swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people. Walk in balance and beauty. Native American Elder
Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children. Ancient Indian Proverb
When you were born, you cried
and the world rejoiced.
Live your life
so that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice.

White Elk

I love this last one:

Cherokee Prayer Blessing

May the Warm Winds of Heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your Mocassins
Make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the Rainbow
Always touch your shoulder.
Mom had a plaque with the last five lines on it. I wonder what happened to it?

You can find more Native American Wisdom at this site.

One more thing.  I see where the Ames Schools want to become "World Class" schools.  We were talking about that 20 years ago.  The more things change the more they stay the same.  Also we used to have a Curriculum Director - now we have an Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction.  Seems like the Schools are just as impressed with titles as the Masons are.  Oh well!

One nice thing about blogs is that you can go way back to the very beginning and edit them when you want to and the greatest thing about the computer is the delete key.  Deal with it.

Enjoy your day. Be loved. Hugs, j

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ginny wants a Rant

My sister said in an e-mail that she missed my "rants" so here goes.

I used to be a smoker. I started in college. I remember when I first started I sneaked around so my grandfather and mother (who both smoked) would not know I was a smoker. My grandfather started smoking cigars to kill the smell of the animals he was working on as a veterinarian. (I used to watch him do a post-mortem on a hog and I don't remember the smell being that bad.)

Actually smoking was common in my family, My grandmother smoked and many other relatives were smokers. Nobody thought anything about it. I sure didn't. Smoking was commonly done all over the place.

My grandfather's brother Uncle Lew took me aside one time and took out his wallet. I was still in grade school at the time. He took out $100. and told me that it would be mine if I never smoked until after I was out of school. I made it (sort of) but he died before he could make good on his promise. I say sort of because a buddy of mine in fifth grade in Atlantic, Iowa rolled p some paper and put some kind of weed and tried to smoke it. Our lungs were burned.

Speaking of Atlantic - one consequence of smoking was the time my mother set the house on fire. My step-father was sleeping out on a cot in the dining room because it was so warm that night. Mother went to bed and lit a cigarette. She evidently missed the ash tray and caught the mattress on fire which in turn, caught the curtains on fire. They heard my mother scream three blocks away. The firemen came and put the fire out. My sister was still a tiny baby so it was probably the summer of 1952 when it happened. We were lucky but there were some funny moments. All of us tried to put the fire out. Running right through the bathroom to get to the water in the kitchen. The lady who lived upstairs came down the steps and saw my step-father (who slept in the nude) and realized that she was topless. I got water with a frying pan and tried to beat the fire out with a feather pillow which caught on fire and we had feathers all over the house to clean up.

A fire that wasn't funny was when my cousin Jan took up smoking again after quitting. She had gained weight and this was an attempt to lose weight. Evidently an ash dropped into her recliner and after she went to bed the chair and then the house caught on fire. She burned to death trapped in her bedroom Both her boys escaped (not without injury) but they lost their mother.

As I said both mother and I used to smoke. We did not think anything of it and did not realize then just how obnoxious smoking was. I quit the first time when I joined the Christian Science Church and the method I used worked quickly. I took a baggie and filled it with cigarette butts and ashes. I carried it around with me and when I wanted a cigarette I opened the baggie and took a whiff. It didn't take long to not want to smoke. I also kept a half a carton of cigarettes in the freezer so that I knew that I could go and have one any time I wanted.

Of course food tasted better and things smelled better and I gained weight. Later I left the church and took up smoking again. I was fine with this for a couple of years until I realized that I was coughing and hacking and not enjoying it so I went through the process again. and food tasted better and things smelled better and I gained more weight but at least I got rid of the cough.

How much did I smoke? Was I truly a smoker? I was truly a smoker. I smoked almost three packs of cigarettes a day. I could suck in the smoke of three cigarettes in one fifteen minute break. I was not like my cousin Chris who only smoked three or four months of the year and them put them away. I was hooked.

Well, I quit and I am glad I did but I became ultra sensitive to the smell of smoke. When kids who lived in a house with smokers would bring in their homework I could smell the smoke on their papers. When around people (even today) who smoke I can smell it on them. The other day at Quizmos a woman was in her SUV out in front and when she finally came in she stood next to me. I could smell the smoke on her.

If I loan a book to a smoker I have to use Fabreeze on it and air it out before I can read it again. I stopped checking out books at the library for the most part because of the cigarette smell coming out of the books. I try to sniff them first now. But that is my problem. Another part of the problem is going out to eat. It is not a problem in Ames as much because we had a no smoking ordinance for awhile and most restaurants have not gone back to allowing smoking on the premises.

It is different in other cities. I once ate at the Drake Diner in Des Moines and thought sitting out on the patio would be a nice thing. It was until a woman with a family came down and sat right across from me and proceeded to light up. As she spewed her obnoxious aroma in my direction I asked to move inside which was non-smoking.

So there we were I had quit smoking but my mother was still a smoker. And it got worse. She would light a cigarette up and as soon as it was finished she'd light another one. She knew something was wrong with her health but (like me) she didn't want to face it so she just kept smoking more and more. I finally took her to the doctor for tests and it came back that she had COPD. She was told to "quit smoking" and I can still hear the panic in her voice when she asked how she could do it. I told her that she could quit smoking and that she could do it so that her grandson could grow up with a memory of her. So she used my method and it was cold turkey and she resented it for the rest of her life. She was mad at me when we moved and I threw the stored cigarettes out. ( I really believe she intended to take up smoking again).

When people would come for a visit she would encourage them to smoke even though she knew the doctor did not want people to smoke around her. I finally had to put my foot down about that. I can still remember wend we had visitors at the house and the woman was a smoker. I got up one morning and the whole house reeked of smoke. We lived in a split foyer home and I had the downstairs. I opened up every window in the downstairs to air the place out. Martina said something about the smoke when I came upstairs and I told her that I had already opened up the downstairs. (I wasn't a very nice host.)

Thanks to Dr.'s Fawcett and Gohman my mother had years tacked onto her life. Her color got better and she was able to leave a memory with her grandson. They loved each other (even if he did think she cheated at cards). She did have to carry an oxygen bottle around and we had to have a machine in the house to help her breathe and in the end it killed her, but, she was with us for at least six years longer than she would have been if she had not given up smoking.

Me, Yes, I quit and I am glad I did. I had dreams of buying cigarettes and smoking them for years after I quit. I think that if I were to take it up again I would be right up to three packs a day in no time at all. They are probably the most addictive drug of choice around and I am glad that it is becoming less and less acceptable for people to smoke.

One of the Masonic lists I am on helps sponsor the "Masonic Week" in Washington D.C. some of the members were bemoaning the fact that they couldn't smoke in the Hotel any longer and were speaking of the "pleasures" of smoking and having a cigar now and then. That is fine with me. I avoid smoking places and if I do go there I come home and strip off my (now) smoke smelling garments and throw them into the wash immediately. There is nothing worse than a reformed smoker. This says it all:
Country-western songwriter and entertainer Sollie "Tex" Williams, a heavy smoker best known for his tune, "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette," died after a year-long battle with cancer, his daughter said. . . . her father, who was diagnosed a year ago as having cancer, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, dropping to about a pack a day before he died. "He tried to quit, but he couldn't," she said.

Now I'm a fellow with a heart of gold
And the ways of a gentleman I've been told
Kind-of-a-guy that wouldn't even harm a flea

But if me and a certain character met
The guy that invented that cigarette
I'd murder that son-of-a gun in the first degree

It ain't cuz I don't smoke 'em myself
and i don't reckon that it'll hinder your health
I smoked 'em all my life and I ain't dead yet

But nicotine slaves are all the same
at a pettin' party or a poker game
Everything gotta stop while they have a cigarette

Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette
Puff, puff, puff until you smoke yourself to death.

Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate
That you hate to make him wait,
But you just gotta have another cigarette.

In a game of chance the other night
Old dame fortune was good and right
The kings and queens they kept on comin' around

Aw, I was hittin' em good and bettin' 'em high
But my bluff didn't work on a certain guy
He kept callin' and layin' his money down

See, he'd raise me then I'd raise him
and I'd say to him buddy ya gotta sink or swim
Finally called me but didn't raise the bet!

--Hmmph! I said Aces Full Pal -- I got you!
He said, "I'll pay up in a minute or two
But right now, i just gotta have another cigarette."


Now the other night I had a date
with the cutest little gal in any state
A high-bred, uptown, fancy little dame

She said she loved me and it seemd to me
That things were sorta like they oughtta be
So hand in hand we strolled down lovers lane

She was a long way from a chunk of ice
And our pettin' party was goin' real nice
And I got an idea I might have been there yet

So I give her a kiss and a little squeeze
Then she said, "Travis, Excuse me Please
But I just gotta have a cigarette."

I am not going to go into the health hazards of smoking - they have been known since at least 1947 and all packages have warnings printed on them. I don't miss smoking but I sometimes miss the sociability of smoking but there are other ways to be sociable. So that's it Ginny- You got your (rather lengthy) rant. Be loved and tell Bruce to quit smoking (yeah right!) Hugs, j

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Poem


I was reminded of this which Tammy shared with me years ago. I think (I know) sometimes I feed the wrong wolf.

Cherokee Wisdom
Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a
battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son,
the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow,
regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment
inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope,
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then
asked his grandfather,

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The One you feed."

I don't usually put up political comments on the board but this was just to perfect not to share.

Be loved, jcs

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Musings

OK, I rode the exercise bike this afternoon. General Hospital was putting me to sleep and I needed to stay awake. I am a little sore from Saturday's ride so I did not ride as fast. But it was all right.

I had lunch with the Edward's retired teacher's bunch today. They are a good group and I enjoyed the lunch. We ate at Gateway and I had a Mediterranean salad.

I am catching up on some Secretary/Recorder things but it will probably take me until tomorrow. I have DeMolay board tonight so I am going to that.

Last night I went to bed at a reasonable time. Bailey brought his Birthday present to bed with him. While I watched CSI:Miami he played with it. I thought he would settle down when I turned off the light but pretty soon he was down on the floor and "worrying" it and growling and fussing. So, of course, I had to get up, put on my "boot" and go to find out what was wrong. The ball was stuck under a small brass bound chest and he "had" to have it. Well he didn't get it. I dug it out and it had to spend the night in the hallway by itself. Needless to say it had me awake and I was awake for about another hour. I did sleep until 8:00 AM this morning. (Thank heaven I do not usually have to get up in the night). I have a new book to start toight and just finished a great one. Leave Myself Behind by Bart Yates of Iowa City. (Don't ask to borrow it.) I am waiting for three more that I ordered and am going to Borders to look for one that was advertised in the New Yorker.

You may ask me why I don't use the library more? (Then again you may not) The last time I went there I got a book, was excited to read it and then had to take it right back. It had previously been borrowed by a smoker and it reeked like the bottom of an ashtray. As most of you know I am an a-hole about smoke so I sprayed it with Fabreeze and took it back to the library.

Last night I wrote a new poem and Jon was over.

Be loved, Hugs, jcs

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Web Site

Click on the picture to go to a Web Site based in Russia. You probably can't read it but the animal pictures are great!   
Note:  Link does not appear to be working (Aug. 28, 2007)
Bailey and Max watched me ride my exercise bike today and Bailey loves his stuffed soccer ball birthday present.

Be Loved. Hugs! jcs

Congratulations Ruth Ann

Ruth Ann Gaines, was a 2003 National Teachers Hall of Fame inductee. You can read about her here. Today she is being honored by being inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. It is a well deserved honor and I congratulate her. It has not been often that I personally know someone who has received this honor. I know Ruth Ann. In fact, I took two classes from her. One was the sensitivity training (human relations) course that all teachers in Iowa are required to take and the second was a multi-cultural awareness class. That class taught me about all of the cultures that make up a part of our society and that exist as a part of the greater culture of our country. It was an incredible experience.

In a time when those trying to be elected to our highest offices are using their politics to divide our country and when many people complain about multi-lingual brochures at the State Fair. This woman and people like her stand out as shining examples of what we should be. She enriched my life and I am sure the lives of countless others. It still seems incredible that it was on this date that women gained the right to vote in 1920. (less than 100 years ago).  It was long overdue and they are still fighting for many rights.

Congratulations, Ruth Ann. It is a well deserved honor and I am proud to call you my teacher and my friend.

Be loved. Hugs, jcs

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Bailey

On August 25, 1995 Bailey was born. I did not get him until later but that is his birth date. He has become my best friend and I spoil him. When I was looking for a name for him I came up with Bailey's Irish Gizmo. That stands for BIG and while he was not large he is BIG in my heart. He sort of looked like the Gremlin Gizmo from the movie. I realized later that the only other Yorkshire Terrier that I had been around belonged to my friend Bob Bailey. Bob was killed by a train on New Year's Eve in the late sixties. I still miss the fun times we all had.

Bailey moved into my home and into my heart. My mother had died in January of that year and the little guy filled a void in my life. He crawled into my bed and still sleeps with me. That is OK until we get a thunder storm (which I used to be able to sleep through) and he has to bark at every lightning bolt and blast of thunder.
Bailey likes to play with his soccer ball. He has to have something in his mouth when he does it. I have photos of him with a stuffed banana and even a pop can while he is pushing his ball around. He even pushes the little balls around rather than just fetching it. When I have company he becomes a pest and tries to play ball with everyone in the room. He is fair and takes turns with everyone.
When he is not playing he is usually sleeping and leaning up against my leg on the foot rest of the recliner. When he wants to go outside he will get up and climb up and lick my nose. He also loves to go for a drive and usually sits on my left leg with his nose either sniffing the air vent or peeking out the window. One time he escaped and my friend Dorothy Hinders found him over by Meeker School. She saw him and brought him home. I am still grateful for her rescue.
I think you can see why I like him. My nephew and sister make disparaging remarks about him but that is because they like Max (Jon's dog) best. So Happy Birthday Buddy. You love me no matter what I do. I know what I am getting you for your present but I haven't picked it up yet because you would have already gotten it.


I almost forgot. Bailey's Buddy reached another milestone today.  It has now been read on six continents.  I finally picked up a reader in Africa. Someone from Egypt (one of my favorite places) read my blog.  Welcome. 


My friend Ken Davis has this posted on his blog
23 AUGUST 2007
A practiced imagination

"I would rather have in my science class a young person who was raised on fairy tales and Harry Potter than a person who spent elementary school science classes measuring the growth of bean sprouts in styrofoam cups on the classroom window sill. We all know that bean sprouts need sunlight and water; that's common sense. But it requires a practiced imagination to appreciate the spinning loom of the DNA that makes the plants what they are. . . ."
--Chet Raymo, Science Musings
Posted by Kenneth W. Davis
I, of course, have copied it here because I totally agree with it.

(Speaking of Harry Potter, my copy has been returned and is available for loan - I also got my (signed) copy of Solomon's Builders back and it too, is available)

Science is fun and it is fascinating but imagination is most important, even in Science. In fact, the people who have (and use) imagination are extremely important to everything. Where would we be without it?

I think that imagination is the greatest gift our creator has given to us. Animals can appreciate many things and even express intelligence and love but I am unaware of instances where they have expressed imagination.

Because of imagination we have been able to create and accomplish much. In our lodge R.W. Brother Bill Yungclas gives a lecture on the trowel. Part of it mentions the creations of the beaver, the spider and the bee. He talks about the incredible creations of the beavers dam and the spider's web. Then he mentions that man came out of the caves and began to build in the sun. (obviously, you know I am paraphrasing here) He says - "In man there was a divine spark." That divine spark is imagination. Because of the architect's imagination we have been able to create giant cities and beautify our world. We have built highways that connect our cities. We were able to build machines which can carry us around the world quickly and efficiently. We have even been able to take a trip to the moon.

Sometimes that imagination operates in an individual. Leonardo Da Vinci comes to mind. The Museum of Science in Boston has a web site where you can learn more about him or you can just look at the picture to see some of the incredible results of his imagination.

When I read a book I use my imagination to bring it to life in my mind. I fill in the blanks and actually make it more vital and vivid than just the words on the page would allow. I draw pictures in my head and the experience is more wonderful. I always prefer to read a book before I see the movie based on that book. I think perhaps that people who do not read much have poor imaginations.

In our Lodge work the candidate is blindfolded. This enables him to use his imagination as he undergoes the initiatic experience. I think the experience becomes much more meaningful because of his being blindfolded. Otherwise he would be distracted by looking around the room and seeing a bunch of guys (thank me for not saying "old men") sitting around watching him and the initiation takes place mostly in his mind.

Imagination also works in group settings. People working together bounce ideas off one another and can accomplish more as a team than otherwise. In fact, some say that TEAM stands for Together Each Accomplishes More.

Back to Harry Potter for a moment. J. K. Rowings used her imagination to put together a world of wizards, witches, magic and muggles. She has entertained millions of us (and become very rich) by using her imagination. She along with others who have used their imaginations have greatly enriched our lives.

I had a student named Craig once. He used to sit and look out the window. He was using his imagination. Unfortunately, I couldn't let him do that all day so we developed a signal to bring him back. I would use the word "butterfly" and he would get back with what we were doing. Not a terribly creative way do do it but it worked.

Another unfortunate thing about imagination is that we can imagine things about others which are not factual about them. People used to make assumptions about me because I was obese (lots bigger than I am now) - Actually inside I have always been thin. (That was using my imagination.) You can also imagine that they like or dislike you when in actuality you don't really know. Even when they tell you one thing they may mean another. So imagination can be a bad thing. You can see someone on the street and assume that they are a danger to you when they are really not (or vice versa). So, imagination can also get you into trouble.

We would not have our world as we have it today without imagination. It was the imagination of the pioneers that brought them to this continent just as it was the imagination of their predecessors that kept them close to land and away from the "monsters" of the sea. It was the imagination of the founding fathers which enabled them to build our system of government. They took ideas from here and there and put them together in their imaginations and built them into a system that (for the most part) works.

Sometimes imaginings are beneficial sometimes they are not. I think we have to test our ideas in our minds and in reality and try them out.

Some of the things which we need to set our imagining to are:

Global warming and the environment. We can no longer imagine that these are not real problems or that they do not effect us. We dare not ignore them any longer.

Peace and prosperity for all. There are far too many places in the world where there is fighting or the people do not have enough to eat. The world can sustain its population but we will have to cooperate and use our imagination to solve the problems.

Renewable and sustainable energy. Let's face it folks the world is eventually going to run out of fossil fuels. This problem can also be solved if we work together but we have to decide it is in our best interests to do so.

Religious differences. One of the biggest problems with religion is that people seem to think that they have the only way to salvation and that everyone has to believe the same things. Some of these differences just need to be released. In the Masonic Lodge each person has his own conception of Deity. We do not discuss religion in the Lodge. The world needs to be more like that. I don't really think the God cares if we are a Catholic, a Methodist or even a Buddhist. There is enough diversity in the world that we just need to find some way to live and let live.

Let's put our imagination to work on things which will help solve the world's problems. It can be done. If we believe (as did the Mayans) that the world will end in 2012 then we don't need to take any action. If we don't believe that (and I am one who does not) then we really need to use our imaginations to work together to make this world a better place.

Be loved. Hugs, J

Cute with Jay

If you need me today, I'm afraid I will be unavailable.

I am going to be standing in front of a mirror practicing this look.

And once I have it mastered...

I should be able to get away with absolutely ANYTHING!

Thanks Linda

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lodge Night/ Update on BS and other things

Two guys are drinking in a bar. One says, "Did you know that lions have sex 10 to 15 times a night?" "Shit," says his friend, "and I just joined The Masons!!"

Thanks to Kevin for sending this to me. he came over to Arcadia tonight for Lodge. We started at 6:00 and had three First degrees. For one of them the Master was a Masonic Instructor. For the other we had someone who is working to be one. The third was a Past Master who was the Uncle of the candidate. All three degrees were very well done and the new Brothers expressed their gratitude. Arcadia Lodge is fortunate to have them as members. Next week we have a Thursday off. Anybody want to do something? I have been thinking about going to the Texas Roadhouse.

Tim Bonney's Blog.

Excellent post today. Read it here.

Harry Potter
Larry brought the Harry Potter book back tonight. Anyone who wants to borrow it let me know. Of course if you are one of my European readers you will have to pay the postage.


The testing strips for my blood sugar machine came today and yes, the strips were defective. They didn't work. I took my blood sugar tonight with the new strips and it was 114. I celebrated by having the banana split after lodge tonight. I also got some really nice cartoons in an e-mail and the following seem appropriate. I am looking forward to having the exercise machine. Hopefully it will help. My headaches are getting better so that is a good thing. Hopefully as the next few days go by I will have something more interesting to write about. Right now things in my life are such that I just don't feel much like writing. I guess you could call it blogger's block. Have a great Friday and enjoy your life. Be loved. Hugs, j

Good Advice

I recently received the following in an e-mail. Seems to be appropriate

The Thought for Today

Handle Every Situation
Like a Dog.

If you can't Eat it or Screw it.
Piss on it and Walk Away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When is A Man A Mason?

When is a Man a Mason?

Joseph Fort Newton answers this question in the last paragraph of "The Builders," probably the most popular of all Masonic books, in these words: (highlights mine)
"When he can look out over the rivers, the hills and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope and courage, which is the root of every virtue.

When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic and as lonely as himself; and seeks to know, to forgive and to love his fellow man.

When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea even in their sins - knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them and above all, how to keep friends with himself. When he loves flowers, can hunt birds without a gun and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child.

When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When starcrowned trees and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead. When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response.

When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and see majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into a wayside puddle and sees something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin. When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. When he has kept faith with himself, with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song; glad to live, but not afraid to die!

Such a man has found the only secret of Freemasonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world."

The above is one of the most profound statements about Freemasonry I have ever read. I know I have posted it before but it is worth repeating.  We should all read it once a month. 

The following is another statement that says a lot to me. I am currently using it as my e-mail signature:

I sought my soul but my soul I could not see, I sought my God, but my God eluded me; I sought my brother, and I found all three.

Remember you are loved. Hugs, jcs

New Link

There is a new link in the Brother's Blogging list on the sidebar.(Arte Real) Brother Chris asked me if we could exchange links. While mine is not strictly a Masonic Blog there seems to be enough Masonry on there that he thought Masons would be interested. Anyway I am honored to be "linked" and hope you will check his site out. He is from Canada so some of it is in French but most of it is English so go have a look.

Lewis Black is a Funny Man

And God knows there are times when we need a laugh. Note - some of the language is ---well you figure it out. I have often wondered where these guys get their ideas.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Update (Mostly for Maryjane and Ginny)

The doctor's nurse called today. It seems that my higher than normal readings on the Blood Sugar (read that BS)  may have been caused by a glitch in the accura check.  The reading at his office was 123 while the reading on my meter that morning was 187.  So I took it up to Walgreens and now have a new one.  We will see if it works. (IT DIDN'T SO IT MAY BE THE STRIPS. THE COMPANY IS SENDING NEW ONES BUT THEY WON'T GET HERE UNTIL THURSDAY.)  Still does not explain the headaches and general feeling of malaise.  (I PROBABLY HAVE AN EXPLANATION FOR THAT BUT AM NOT SHARING.)
While I was waiting at the pharmacy I went up to Flame N' Skewer for supper.  Bob and Evy were there and it was good to see them.  After I ate I looked across the way and saw the Bow-flex store.  Dr. Jeffrey Horowitz had suggested that I exercise.  So I went in and came away with a new exercise Bike which will be delivered on Saturday.  So there will be a new piece of furniture to dust when Shirley comes.  We will see how it works.  It has arm thingies (yeah, I know that is not a word) so it should help.  If I get rid of some of my gut and keep the blood sugar down it might help.  I understand that exercise can help get rid of diabetes or at least help control it.  I would like that.
I should have plenty of time to exercise as I am getting out of several Masonic organizations and obligations.  I hate it but it has to be.  I shall miss my friends at Acanthus.  
Remember you are loved.  Hugs,  j

Back to School

For thirty-eight years the new year began for me not on January 1 but rather the last part of August (Actually when I first started teaching it was the first part of September but it gradually crept up earlier and earlier.

I drove through campus town the other day and noticed large groups of young people out and about, walking to and fro. I was in Staples behind a man and his daughter purchasing school supplies. She was going into the middle school and the father was bemoaning the fact that some "ridiculous teacher" was requiring 1 centimeter graph paper and Staples did not carry it. I actually kind of agreed with him. If a teacher is going to put something on a supplies list he/she should make sure it is available. They had a ton of stuff. I think it gets more and more expensive to go to school each year. I think her back pack was $80. (Whew)

I used to really like this time of year. New students and a new beginning. Now it is just another time of the month. But what got me to thinking about it was the following list which a friend sent me about the college freshmen who are entering college for the first time. I think you will find it interesting.

How This Year’s Frosh Will Make You Feel Older

The class of 2011 is arriving at campuses all over — and inspiring plenty of professors to wonder why the new students seem younger every year. For a decade, Beloit College has been helping out with its annual Mindset List of gentle reminders of what new students grew up with and what they never experienced.

The list is the creation of Tom McBride, Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities, and Ron Nief, the public affairs director. The 2007 list is being released today. The complete list, along with past years’ lists, may be found here. Some highlights from this year’s list follow:

The Mindset for the Class of 2011

* What Berlin wall?
* They never “rolled down” a car window.
* They have grown up with bottled water.
* Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
* Pete Rose has never played baseball.
* Russia has always had a multi-party political system.
* No one has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of “liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
* Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always employed more workers than GM.
* When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a possibility.
* They grew up in Wayne’s World.
* U2 has always been more than a spy plane.
* Fox has always been a major network.
* Women’s studies majors have always been offered on campus.
* Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.
* They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike Lee.
* China has always been more interested in making money than in reeducation.
* The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.
* They’re always texting 1 n other.
* They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male professors in the classroom.
* Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.
* The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.

— Scott Jaschik

Remember you are loved. Hugs, jcs

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday Mutterings

Visit to the Doctor
I went to see the Doctor this morning. Ever since I got back from Grand Chapter and Council (as regular readers of the Blog will know) I have not been feeling right. The head ache and general "punk" feeling was accompanied by a gradual raise in my blood sugar. He is not sure. It could be caused by stress or a viral infection. I had to have blood drawn and pee in a cup and he will call me later. In the meantime I still feel crummy. Blood pressure was a little high but he was not concerned about that. He is going to call me when the results are in.

The good news is that I got weighed and I now weigh less than 300 lbs. Down 14 pounds since May 14. I have lost 68 pounds since last August. That along with the continually shrinking waist line gives me hope. Perhaps by next year (If I live that long) I will have gotten down to the 190 I would like to be. Then people can ask me if I am ill.

My friend Maryjane who lives in Minnesota sent me this in one of her e-mails:
"It certainly is great to be getting to our
golden years. A guy told me, that the only thing
golden about our golden years, was our urine! I think
he may have a good point"

I told it to the lab technician who took my blood (and other fluids) and she laughed. Maryjane and I are the same age (almost)

Masonic Honors

The only thing I have ever asked for in Freemasonry was to start through the line in Blue Lodge. A lot of good things have happened to me along the way. I was asked to be a District Deputy Grand High Priest and a grand officer later and eventually to start through the line to be a Grand High Priest. Along the way I received the Rainbow Grand Cross of Color, The Honorary DeMolay Legion of Honor, the General Grand Council Youth Medal and especially the Red Cross of Constantine.

My friend, Jerry Marsengill, had been denied that honor and before I accepted it I asked him whether or not I should accept it. Jerry was a great friend and mentor and I still miss him. He told me to take it because they would never offer it again if I turned it down. So I did. He also told me that there were some Masons who would find out what you wanted and do their best to deny it to you so never let anyone know if you wanted something.

Over the years I have watched this phenomenon and I know it is true and not just in Masonry. Be that as it may, I never asked for anything because, quite frankly, I have never cared. There is only one honor in Freemasonry that I care about and that is being called friend and Brother. unfortunately that honor is sometimes taken from me and when that happens it hurts. So I take myself out of the situation.

I have watched as people who want something "suck up" to those in a position to give them an appointment and have been on the receiving end of that situation. It was amazing to me how many "friends" I had who disappeared once I was finished being Grand High Priest. Sometimes, however we make a friend in Lodge who is good enough to stand by you no matter what. I cherish those friends above all others.

The Scottish and York Rites both have a system of "honors" In the York Rite there is an honor called the KYCH. You have to work to get it. It means that you have been the Worshipful Master, High Priest, Illustrious Master and Commander of your local bodies. Sometimes it can take years to work your way through all of these. If you have been the Grand (whatever) you can have a grand Quadrant on your honor. I have seen Brothers who have all four Grand Quadrants on their KYCH medals. That is quite an accomplishment.

There is also the York Rite College Purple Cross and in the Grand Chapter, Council and Commandery there are other awards given out once a year. One in the Chapter is the Knight of the Royal Arch. One of these was presented to Charlie Smithson this year. The other is the General Grand Chapter Bronze Medal. One only is given per year. This year it went to David Dryer. David is a tireless worker in both the York and Scottish Rite. Any honor he gets is well deserved, as was Charlie's. I congratulate both of them.

Another award given is the T.S. Parvin Award I am especially proud of it because I thought it up and gave the first one. It is distinctive because it cannot be given to someone who has gotten a Grand Office or the KCCH or 33rd degree in Scottish Rite. (that was Jerry's idea and I totally agree with it.) Some of the recipients have gone on to become Grand Officers but not before they received the honor.

I get the Message

Sometimes it takes me awhile but eventually I figure out when someone has "dropped" me or doesn't want me to be around. If I like someone I am willing to forgive and forget much. Sometimes I just "don't get" the message and keep trying to be a friend. Eventually I have to give up. I had a person I thought was a friend and she stopped responding to e-mails and so I just quit. If I call her on the phone we can have a nice conversation and I know from what is said that she has gotten the e-mail so I have to drop that line of communication. It is hard to have a friendship die but I guess maybe that person wasn't a real friend after all. Eventually I get it and stop trying. I think sometimes that my only real friend is Bailey. (Stop the Pity Party jay, no one really cares.)

Click above to go to his Web Site
Over the week-end I read three books ( I do that when I need to escape) and the best one was "The Careful Use of Compliments" by Alexander McCall Smith. Over the years I have read many of this Scottish author's books. This one was a great one and gave me a lot to think about regarding friendships, etc. He must have written it just for me. And a higher power must have seen to it that it got into my hands just when I needed some of the ideas in it. I highly recommend his books.

Hopefully everything works out the way everyone wants it and you get all the honors you want and can read all the books you want. (I now have three more Smith books to find) and you can enjoy good music and the love of friends. You are loved, Hugs, j

For the Groucho Marx fans, I added some of his one-liners below the You Tube movies. You may wish to scroll down to read them. j

Sunday, August 19, 2007


What makes you a Mason?

My obligation.

I took my first obligation as an Entered Apprentice on March 17, 1966 in Marion, Iowa in Trojan Lodge. I was kneeling at an altar similar to this one. I can't tell you exactly what the obligation entailed but I was assured that it would not conflict with my duty to God, my country, or myself. That has proven to be true.

Since that time I have knelt or stood behind many Masonic altars and taken many obligations. Sometimes so many (32 in the Scottish Rite and 10 in the York Rite) that I have forgotten much of what they were all about. I will tell you that in all of them I promised not to tell secrets and that is probably OK because I am still looking for some of those secrets.

There were some parts of obligations that stuck with me. In one degree I promised to treat all men as my brothers and to extend to each courtesy, etc. no matter what my station in Freemasonry. Nothing wrong with that. A good thing to do.

The one that sticks out however is the Commandery of Knights Templar obligation. in the first place the Order of the Temple is a very dramatic degree. It involves the taking of libations and glittering swords. All of which is very impressive. But the thing that stuck with me and which I had an opportunity to live up to was that I would forgive a Frater (Knights Templar for Brother) if I found in him a like disposition. The Knights Templar is a Christian Masonic Organization and as such attempt to live up to Christian principles. I tease my Knight Templar friends about things but I really did get a lot out of the Orders and while I wouldn't say it was the best in all of Freemasonry it is right up there at the top.

I had an opportunity to live up to that obligation the other day. A Brother with whom I had had a disagreement came up to me after Lodge and apologized for things which had happened. He was very sincere and we wound up becoming closer and I think we both grew from the experience. I know I feel closer to him. He is also a Knight Templar and I told him that I would remember my obligation as a Knight Templar and put it all behind me.

We had been avoiding each other and I was even considering leaving the Ames bodies because I just don't like to be around strife that much. There is a verse in the Bible which I have used. Abram says to Lot (or it could be the other way around) "Let there be no strife between me and thee for we be brethren, but if you will take the right hand pasture then I will take the left." I have done that a lot - taken the other pasture. Not fun but better than being around those that do not want me around.

I also have a tendency to hold on to grudges for a long time. Not one of my favorite characteristics and one I try to fight but I do. I read this on a blog from a person who was responding to someone who suggested that we need to "prune the friendship tree" once in awhile.

If i trimmed away at my friendship tree...trimmed away all the Blamers, Complainers, Drainers, Shamers, Discounters and the Gossips...who would be left???

I like my friends to complain, argue, cause some drama...i need some drama in my know, good drama...i don't want to sit and have tea and cookies with a positive and happy fart that asks me if I am enjoying the weather and what i plan on cooking tonite for dinner... b.o.r.i.n.g
I think I would like to have him for a friend. At least he would put up with me and not relegate me to outer darkness. I once had a friend (I thought) who wanted me to do something with her. I was ill (turned out to be pneumonia) and turned her down. She didn't read my e-mail explaining what was wrong and we are no longer friends. Sometimes I miss her.

So I get much from my Masonic Obligations. I try to live up to them (when I remember them all) and grow. There is a lot in the Obligations which are just keep the secrets and to help others when they need help. I try to take them seriously. Most Masons do.

Remember you are loved. Hugs, j


Groucho (Julius Henry) Marx died thirty years ago today. I remember him best from "You Bet your Life" In his honor here are a couple of clips. Hope you have a great Sunday. Hugs, j

Groucho was probably one of the funniest and most insightful observers and critics of life and humanity. Here are just few of his observations:
* A man's only as old as the woman he feels.
* A woman is an occasional pleasure but a cigar is always a smoke.
* Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
* Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.
* From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.
* Go, and never darken my towels again.
* I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
* I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
* I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.
* I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.
* I remember the first time I had sex - I kept the receipt.
* I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
* In Hollywood, brides keep the bouquets and throw away the groom.
* Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?
* Marry me and I'll never look at another horse!
* Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
* Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you.
* One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know.
* Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
* There is one way to find out if a man is honest; ask him! If he says yes you know he's crooked.
* Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
* Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
* Why, I'd horse-whip you if I had a horse.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


In the Royal Masters Degree of the York Rite one of the participants gives the following prayer. (It's not ritual so it is OK to share - Highlights mine.) I think it is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard. It says in part:

Let me do my work each day and if the darkened hours of despair overtake me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the sadness of other times...

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. Though the world know me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself. Lift my eyes from the earth and teach me the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself...

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am and not for what little I may possess. and though age and infirmity overtake me and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet, and may the evening's twilight find me gentle, still. Amen

I am not sure I have ever understood prayer. I go to meetings where prayers are given and so often the prayer turns into a "sermonette" telling us how to behave or what to believe. These prayers do not seem sincere to me and turn me off. Other times the prayers are given in a perfunctory manner or (in the case of the Lord's prayer) recited so quickly that there is no time to think about the meaning behind the words.

I was at a High-Twelve meeting and the prayer (table grace) given was so obviously given as a political prayer that it really turned me off for that organization.

Prayer can be many things. Prayer before a meal is a prayer of gratitude (or should be in my opinion), one of thanks for the meal about to be eaten. In a Masonic meeting the ritual prayer asks that harmony and brotherhood be present at the meeting and at the end of the meeting we ask God's blessing on all regular Masons. Ritual prayer becomes just that ritual. Many people do not even listen to ritual.

Prayer of gratitude (thanksgiving)
Prayer of acknowledgement (God is with us and we ask for a blessing)
Prayer of petition (we ask for something)
Prayer of teaching (putting the prayer givers views/beliefs/ onto the listener)

To me I guess that prayer to be effective should be silent, contemplative prayer which brings us into line with the Creator. I don't think that God sits in heaven and cares what stance we take when we pray, nor whether or not we are in a church or on our knees or crossing our hands over our breasts. I think the prayer that is the most effective is the one that puts us in touch with the Deity and it can be given any time, any where, and in any position.

I used to see a lot of people bow their heads in restaurants and obviously say a prayer before their meal. I guess that is all right but I wonder if they were really doing it for themselves or to put themselves up before the world to say "look at how pious I am." (didn't Jesus say something about "When you pray enter into your closet." ?)

I also think that quiet, listening prayer gets answered. I feel that the answer to our prayers comes to us with the still, small voice. Not in a whirlwind or fire but in the quietness of listening.

Some cultures have Prayer wheels that are supposed to send up constant prayers to the Deity. Sorry guys, I just don't think that works. In fact, I don't think most of the things we call prayer really work.

Prayer works when it is sincere, quiet and when we listen for the answer. the prayer above works. But it works because it brings me into line with what I truly want and grounds me in reality. I can forget about fantasies and pipe dreams. I'm not going to win the lottery and if I did how would that change me. (I suppose I could give away more and travel more but really who cares) It certainly won't fix damaged relationships. (That is what I am currently praying for but I don't think it is going to happen). But it does help because it puts things in perspective. It was written, by the way by Max Ehrmann who also wrote Desiderata which is also worth reading and pondering. I love the first part of it:
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
I am going to start remembering how to do those things and worry about getting inner peace and not from others. Perhaps that will help.

By the way you might find this interesting. They have discovered a star with a tail like a comet.
just one more piece of evidence that the Universe is a fascinating place in which to live.

Remember you are loved. Hugs, j

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Feelings

Sometimes life feels like this.

I think that I picked up some kind of a bug at Grand Chapter/Council.  My blood sugar has been elevated for several days,  I have a dull ache in my head and my joints are achy.  I also have low energy and want to sleep a lot.  On top of it all I have a short temper right now and those are all symptoms of something not being right.

Unfortunately I let it mess up a relationship and I feel extra bad about that but have no way to "fix" it so I will just have to live with the consequences of my stupidity.  I would apologize but was told not to.  So the above picture is really appropriate.  Hopefully I will get better so send some "healing thoughts" my way.  It would be appreciated.  Hugs,  (You are still loved)  j

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Obviously my horoscope prediction did not come true. (Although a Virgo did really come through tonight.) My mood is above. It is not a good time to write. Hopefully things will get better.  j

Very Strange & A Dog Story

My Horoscope for today says:
"Keep expectations high and, more important let people know exactly what they are. A Leo person in particular won't disappoint."

The Leo person's horoscope says:
"When you see the value in a thing you can't help but sell it. You'll make a fantastic buyer, agent or promoter. Scorpio and Libra people are honored to call you "friend."

I really do hope it is true. I know this Scorpio is honored to call a Leo "friend"

I have no idea whether the following story is true or not but I liked it and wanted to share it with the 30 or so people who read my blog. Thanks to Sone for sending it. Be Loved, Hugs,  j

Anyone who has pets will really like this. You'll like it even if you
don't, and you may even decide you need one!
Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.' Lucky was
a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a
weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their
luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck
his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would
come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and
there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys.
Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very
particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer.
Something told her she was going to die of this fact,
she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double
mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders.

The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled
with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky?
Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog
through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary
thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him.
The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors
had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks.
Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog
just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When
she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even
make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife
comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.

Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when
she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and
she dozed. When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand
what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt
heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary
realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with
every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing
dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved
mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living
again, walking further and further together every day.

It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky?
He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but
Mary remains his greatest treasure. every day to the fullest. And never forget....
the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones
with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.
They are the ones who care for us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Interesting Horoscope/ Stardust

The Zodiac

Let me start out that I do not normally read my horoscope in the newspaper. In the first place, I don't believe that the "stars" have anything to do with anything. In the second place I don't believe that a generic horoscope can possibly be accurate. With that said they are "spot on" once in awhile. The horoscope for Scorpio (I was born November 13, 1941) says:
"Relationships may hit rocky ground, which ultimately can cement the bonds of love. Home in on all the things you have in common. Instead of seeing where you differ, see how you agree."
I hope it is correct. but you can see it is pretty generic.

It is also interesting to read the horoscope of my friends. Leo and Sagittarius seem to fit what a couple of friends are going through as well as good advice for Cancer (my sister) Jon's (Virgo) seems ok for him also.

Then there is the one in the paper for me today.
"Did you know your sign is associated with eagles as well as scorpions? Eagles don't hang out in flocks and prefer to hunt alone. You'll have luck now whenyou do the same."
Yes, I did know that. I was always told that the Eagle nature represented my spiritual nature and the scorpion my sexual nature (Scorpio's are very sexy (Yeah right)) The comment of not hanging out in flocks does describe me. I am much more comfortable in a very small group of two or three others. I don't enjoy going to one group that I am involved with because some sit at one end of the table and you can't talk with them if you are on the other end.

Mother used to hate it when two of her friends would come over and the husband would talk to me about one thing and the wife to her about something else. I guess I inherited that from her. We both love our friends but I really prefer being with them in small groups.

Speaking of Mother, she was a Pisces, my sister a Cancer and I am a Scorpio. All three are "water signs" and are supposed to get along well together. For the most part we did.

I find it interesting to read the characteristics of a scorpio. Here are some of mine from the site linked earlier:
Scorpios are the most intense, profound, powerful characters in the zodiac. Even when they appear self-controlled and calm there is a seething intensity of emotional energy under the placid exterior.
...In their everyday behavior they give the appearance of being withdrawn from the center of activity, yet those who know them will recognize the watchfulness that is part of their character.
... Their tenacity and willpower are immense, their depth of character and passionate conviction overwhelming, yet they are deeply sensitive and easily moved by their emotions. Their sensitivity, together with a propensity for extreme likes and dislikes make them easily hurt, quick to detect insult or injury to themselves (often when none is intended).
...They are too demanding, too unforgiving of faults in others, perhaps because they are not aware of the shortcomings within themselves, and extravagantly express their self-disgust in unreasonable resentment against their fellows. They do, however, make excellent friends, provided that their companions do nothing to impugn the honor of which Scorpios are very jealous. Part of the negative side of the Scorpio nature is a tendency to discard friends once they cease to be useful, but the decent native is aware of, and fights this tendency.
Some of these characteristics I can see in myself. I am deeply sensitive and I am easily hurt. Sometimes when no hurt is intended. My true friends help me get over myself. Others get tired of me and leave. So I am alone a lot of the time. Sometimes I am alone by choice because I don't really feel wanted. Yes, that is the way I feel inside. Crummy but that is the way it is. I was told recently that I needed to exercise to help my diabetes.

Dr. Horowitz said:
Find buddies to be active with (establishing a support network can be very helpful for adhering to a life-long more active lifestyle). The good thing is EVERYONE knows they should be more active – so it might not be hard to find friends to jump onboard. Try to find several friends for this network, because if you just rely on one friend it is easy not to be active if they happen to be busy .
I realized that I have no "buddies" that I could call on to do this. I have friends but I try not to force myself on them (usually) and rely on them to contact me when they want to do something. I generally go out to movies or out to eat alone - (that eagle nature again) I don't call people on the phone nor to I enjoy talking on the phone a lot. I would much rather sit with a person and visit with them.

I think that this probably has something to do with the fact that I never married. I am not complaining about that. The very idea of a commitment of that nature scared the bejesus out of me.

So I am stuck with me as I am. My true friends will see that and stick with me because they know that I can be a great friend. If not, I guess I will be the loser but I've been there before and I will get by.

I went to a movie tonight. Needed to get out of the house and escape. Stardust is a delightful film and had me enthralled. Just what I needed - unless it was a hug.

Hugs, jcs