Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Raptors or Birds of Prey - Photos by Bob Kelly

Birds of this category include species such as: hawks, eagles, buzzards, vultures, osprey, owls, and falcons. The photos which follow are of two phases of the Bald Eagle, and a falcon called the American Kestrel.

It takes 4-5 years for a Bald Eagle to get its characteristic white head and tail, and until then they are classified as a juvenile, even though they may be the same size or appear larger than an adult. The juveniles have a mottled appearance of brown, black, and white, in various patterns, and their beaks and talons are black instead of golden orange as in the case with the adult species. The Bald Eagles prefer to eat fish, rodents, or small animals, or dine on carcasses of dead animals. In Ames, the river near where these Bald Eagles hang out is frozen over, so on this day they were out in a corn field, eating what they could find....perhaps mice or rabbits.

The American Kestrel is a beautiful little raptor bird about 9-12 inches long, with a wing span of 20-24 inches, and a weights of 3-4 ounces. It is one of the most colorful members of the raptor family, and has the ability to hover into the wind while keeping its eye on the prey below and then swooping down for the kill. Their prey is usually small rodents, lizards, or large insects. They often perch on poles or wires, watching for their next meal.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Miles on Monday

Miles was over for a visit this week. Jon is doing student teaching and also going to school and he felt guilty about leaving him alone for 10 hours a day.  So he came over and had fun with Cassie and Bailey.

When they lay down beside each other the other day I had to get some photos of them because it was the first instance of their sleeping together that I can remember.
Snuggle Buddies 
They had been to the groomers and it wore them out.

When Jon came over Saturday night to pick him up he put him through his paces.  Jon has taught him to respond to hand commands.  Sit, down, shake, stay and come.  It is fun to watch him and he is getting good in the sit/stay.

Then they played a little and then he went home with Jon.  It is a little quiet around here.  Have a great week.  Hugs, j

That is one of Cassie's beds under the desk.  It used to have a nice cover on it but Miles tore it off and used it as a toy.  She likes it in that spot right between two of the radiators. I have hot water heat and that is a lovely warm spot for her.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ginny sent me this.

Too Busy for a  Friend.....

One day a teacher  asked her students to list the names of the  other students in the room on two sheets of  paper, leaving a space between each  name.

Then she told them to think of  the nicest thing they could say about each of  their classmates and write it  down.

It took the remainder of the  class period to finish their assignment, and as  the students left the room, each one handed in  the papers.

That Saturday, the  teacher wrote down the name of each student on a  separate sheet of paper, and listed what  everyone else had said about that individual.  

On Monday she gave each student his  or her list. Before long, the entire class was  smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never  knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I  didn't know others liked me so much,' were most  of the comments.

No one ever  mentioned those papers in class again. She never  knew if they discussed them after class or with  their parents, but it didn't matter. The  exercise had accomplished its purpose. The  students were happy with themselves and one  another. That group of students moved  on.

Several years later, one of the  students was killed in
Vietnam   and his  teacher attended the funeral of that special  student. She had never seen a serviceman in a  military coffin before. He looked so handsome,  so mature.

The church was packed with  his friends. One by one those who loved him took  a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the  last one to bless the coffin.

As she  stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as  pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math  teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he  said: 'Mark talked about you a  lot.'

After  the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates  went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and  father were there, obviously waiting to speak  with his teacher.

'We want to show you  something,' his father said, taking a wallet out  of his pocket 'They found this on Mark when he  was killed. We thought you might recognize  it.'

Opening  the billfold, he carefully removed two worn  pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been  taped, folded and refolded many times. The  teacher knew without looking that the papers  were the ones on which she had listed all the  good things each of Mark's classmates had said  about him.

'Thank you so much  for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can  see, Mark treasured it.'

All of  Mark's former classmates started to gather  around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and  said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top  drawer of my desk at home.'

Chuck's  wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our  wedding album.'

'I have mine too,'  Marilyn said. 'It's in my diary'

Then  Vicki, another classmate, reached into her  pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her  worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry  this with me at all times,' Vicki said and  without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I  think we all saved our lists.'

That's  when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She  cried for Mark and for all his friends who would  never see him again.

The density of  people in society is so thick that we forget  that life will end one day. And we don't know  when that one day will be.

So please,  tell the people you love and care for, that they  are special and important. Tell them, before it  is too late.

If  you've received this, it is because someone  cares for you and it means there is probably at  least someone for whom you  care.
Thanks Ginny, I love the story. j

Saturday, January 28, 2012


My cousin's boy was baptised recently.  Family and friends in attendance look like they had a wonderful time and he looks like he enjoyed himself

The Puppy Rescue Mission

Picture and banner from the Puppy Rescue Mission Web Site
I read about the Puppy Rescue Mission which brings dogs back to the United States from Afghanistan where they are found.  The dogs are not treated well by Afghanistans who think they are unclean and will abuse and shoot them  Our soldiers find the puppies and adopt them and want to bring them back to the United States.  According to the Web Site some of the dogs will go on missions with the soldiers and many have saved the lives of our troops.  I recommend that you go to the web site here and read their stories and then make a donation to help with this wonderful mission.  (It is tax deductible.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Found For Friday

 A husband and wife are on the 9th green when suddenly she collapses from a heart attack! "Help me dear," she groans to her husband.

The husband calls 911 on his cell phone, talks for a few minutes, picks up his putter, and lines up his putt. His wife raises her head off the green and stares at him.

"I'm dying here and you're putting?"

"Don't worry dear," says the husband calmly, "they found a doctor on the second hole and he's coming to help you.

"Well, how long will it take for him to get here?" she asks feebly.

"No time at all," says her husband. "Everybody's already agreed to let him play through."

The Red Cross have just knocked at our door and asked if we could help towards the floods in Pakistan. I said we would love to, but our
garden hose only reaches the driveway.

Being a modest man, when I checked into my hotel on a recent trip, I
said to the lady at the registration desk, "I hope the porn channel in
my room is disabled." To which she replied, "No, it's regular porn, you sick bastard."

A buddy of mine has just told me he's getting it on with his
girlfriend and her twin. I said "How can you tell them apart?" He
said "Her brother's got a mustache."

You can say lots of bad things about pedophiles but at least they
drive slowly past schools.

My girlfriend thinks that I'm a stalker. Well, she's not exactly my
girlfriend yet.

 Words forWomen to Live By in 2012:

Aspire to be Barbie - the bitch has everything.

If the shoe fits - buy them in every color.

Take life with a pinch of salt.... A wedge of lime, and a shot of tequila.

A woman and a man are involved in a horrific collision, but amazingly both escape completely unhurt - though their cars are written off.

As they crawl out of the wreckage, the man sees the woman is blonde and strikingly beautiful. Then the woman turns to the man and gushes breathily: 'That's incredible - both our cars are demolished but we're fine. It must be a sign from God that we are meant to be together!'

Sensing a promise, the man stammers back, 'Oh yes, I agree with you completely!'

The woman goes on, 'And look, though my car was destroyed, this bottle of wine survived intact, too! It must be another sign. Let's drink to our love!'

'Well, OK!' says the man, going with the moment. She offers him the bottle, so he downs half of it and hands it back.

'Your turn,' he says.

'No, thanks,' says the woman, 'I think I'll just wait for the police.'

 An elderly lady was invited to an old friends home for dinner one evening.

 She was impressed by the way her lady friend preceded every request to her husband with endearing terms such as: Honey, My Love, Darling, Sweetheart, etc.

 The couple had been married almost 70 years and, clearly, they were still very much in love.

 While the husband was in the living room, her lady friend leaned over to her hostess to say, 'I think it's wonderful that, after all these years, you still call your husband all those loving names'.

 The elderly lady hung her head. 'I have to tell you the truth,' she said, 'his name slipped my mind about 10 years ago and I'm scared to death to ask
 the cranky old asshole what his name is.'
 On his 74th birthday, a man got a gift certificate from his wife. The certificate paid for a visit to a medicine man living on a nearby reservation who was rumoured to have a wonderful cure for erectile dysfunction. After being persuaded, he drove to the reservation, handed his certificate to the medicine man and wondered what he was in for. The old man handed a potion to him, and with a grip on his shoulder, he warned, "This is a powerful medicine. You take only a teaspoonful and then say '1-2-3.' When you do, you will become more potent than you have ever been in your life and you can perform as long as you want."

The man was encouraged. As he walked away, he turned and asked, "How do I stop the medicine from working?"

"Your partner must say '1-2-3-4,'" he responded, "but when she does, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon."

He was very eager to see if it worked so he went home, showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine and then invited his wife to join him in the bedroom. When she came in, he took off his clothes and said, "1-2-3!"

Immediately, he was the manliest of men. His wife was excited and began throwing off her clothes and then she asked “What was the 1-2-3 for?”

And that, boys and girls, is why we should never end our sentences with a preposition, because we could end up with a dangling participle.
 Arcelor-Mittal Steel, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO. The new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers.

On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning against a wall. The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business. He asked the guy, "How much money do you make a week?"

A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said, "I make $400 a week. Why?"

The CEO said, "Wait right here." He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, and handed the guy $1,600 in cash and said, "Here's four weeks' pay. Now GET OUT and don't come back."

Feeling pretty good about himself the CEO looked around the room and asked, "Does anyone want to tell me what that goof-ball did here?"

From across the room a voice said, "Pizza delivery guy.”
 A mechanic who worked out of his home had a dog named Mace.

Mace had a bad habit of eating all the grass in the mechanic’s lawn, so the mechanic had to keep Mace inside. The grass eventually became overgrown.

One day the mechanic was working on a car in his back yard and dropped his wrench losing it in the tall grass. He couldn’t find it for the life of him so decided to call it a day.

That night Mace escaped from the house and ate all the grass in the back yard. The next morning the mechanic went outside and saw his wrench glinting in the sunlight.

Realizing what had happened he looked up the the heavens and proclaimed......

“A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound that saved a wrench for me!”

Thanks to all who shared their jokes this week (and before)  Hugs,  Have a great week-end.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mr. President...A very human side.

With all the attacks on Mr. Obama I feel the need to post three pictures I have seen recently. They show a caring human side to a man who is constantly attacked and vilified by hypocritical Rebublithugs who constantly tell lies and half truths and will do anything they can to keep him from winning a second term. A man who is constantly under pressure to do the best he can for all of the people of this nation.  I feel he is in the office because he wanted to do something for our country...I don't always feel that way when it comes to those running on the other side.

 Well, I don't always like his political stances but I do love his humaness and the way he relates to people,  The hug for Gabby - rushing to make a phone call to the father of the rescued American and the fist bump with the janitor all tell me that while he is President, people are more important to him than his ego.  He engages with them.  He a man who against great odds has still been able to accomplish great things for our country.  I am glad he is in the office and I will vote to keep him there and every lie that comes out against him just stiffens my resolve.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts

Miles on Monday on Tuesday

Jon took the "boys" up to the groomer.  Miles hasn't been over for awhile and I missed him. Cassie missed him also. She didn't have any one to play with so she even tried to get Bailey to play with her.

I picked them up and brought them home and the first thing MIles wanted to do was to check out "his" back yard.  He made tracks to the door and ran all around in the snow.  He also likes to eat the snow.

Then it was off to the corner to check on the neighbors (or maybe it was the rabbit that had just jumped over there.  You have to look close to him as he is a "winter" dog with his coloring.
Checking thing out!

Making the rounds.
Things seem to be fine.  Think I'll come in now.
I want a treat, please!
Come ON!  Please!
Nap time.  See you later

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen statement on Senate Bill 6239 to allow same-sex marriage

Washington now has the votes to pass Marriage Equality.  I am pleased for them. Every right which is enjoyed by one set of people should be available for all. This is not a religious issue.  It is a humane one,  Congratulations to Sen. Haugen for her courage and wisdom in making this decision.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen statement on Senate Bill 6239 to allow same-sex marriage, issued after today's hearing:
"For several weeks now, I have heard from the people of my district. They've shared what's in their hearts and minds.
"I have received many letters, emails, phone calls, very heartfelt, from both sides of the issue. I've also received a number of very negative comments from both sides.

"For some people, this is a simple issue. I envy them. It has not been simple or easy for me.

"To some degree, this is generational. Years ago I took exception to my parents' beliefs on certain social issues, and today my children take exception to some of mine. Times change, even if it makes us uncomfortable. I think we should all be uncomfortable sometime. None of us knows everything, and it's important to have our beliefs questioned. Only one being in this world is omniscient, and it's not me.

"I have very strong Christian beliefs, and personally I have always said when I accepted the Lord, I became more tolerant of others. I stopped judging people and try to live by the Golden Rule. This is part of my decision. I do not believe it is my role to judge others, regardless of my personal beliefs. It's not always easy to do that. For me personally, I have always believed in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That is what I believe, to this day.

"But this issue isn't about just what I believe. It's about respecting others, including people who may believe differently than I. It's about whether everyone has the same opportunities for love and companionship and family and security that I have enjoyed.
"For as long as I have been alive, living in my country has been about having the freedom to live according to our own personal and religious beliefs, and having people respect that freedom.

"Not everyone will agree with my position. I understand and respect that. I also trust that people will remember that we need to respect each other's beliefs. All of us enjoy the benefits of being Americans, but none of us holds a monopoly on what it means to be an American. Ours is truly a big tent, and while the tent may grow and shrink according to the political winds of the day, it should never shrink when it comes to our rights as individuals.

"Do I respect people who feel differently? Do I not feel they should have the right to do as they want? My beliefs dictate who I am and how I live, but I don't see where my believing marriage is between a man and a woman gives me the right to decide that for everyone else.

"I've weighed many factors in arriving at this decision, and one of them was erased when the legislation heard today included an amendment to clearly provide for the rights of a church to choose not to marry a couple if that marriage contradicts the church's view of its teachings. That's important, and it helped shape my decision.

"My preference would be to put this issue on the ballot and give all Washingtonians the opportunity to wrestle with this issue, to search their hearts as I have, and to make the choice for themselves. But I do not know that there are the votes to put it to a ballot measure. So, forced to make a choice, my choice is to allow all men and women in our state to enjoy the same privileges that are so important in my life. I will vote in favor of marriage equality.

"I know this announcement makes me the so-called 25th vote, the vote that ensures passage. That's neither here nor there. If I were the first or the seventh or the 28th vote, my position would not be any different. I happen to be the 25th because I insisted on taking this much time to hear from my constituents and to sort it out for myself, to reconcile my religious beliefs with my beliefs as an American, as a legislator, and as a wife and mother who cannot deny to others the joys and benefits I enjoy.

"This is the right vote and it is the vote I will cast when this measure comes to the floor."

Most People

I was talking with a brother, thinking about all the "stuff" that is going on in politics and it reminded me of this poem I wrote ages ago.  Enjoy.

Most People

Most people sing just one song

give just one speech,
have just one conversation –
usually with themselves.

Most people dance
just one dance,
walk just one walk
Go to just one place - many times.

Most Rock Stars give the same concert
over and over.
Most comedians tell the same joke -
although sometimes with different punch lines.

Most Authors who write just one book
can do it many times.

Most politicians have just one idea –
usually some else’s.
If you change your audience no one knows you are boring!

Some people however
Sing several songs,
Dance many dances,
Walk in different worlds.

Some people have endless conversations with many people.

Some people never listen
but others always do.

Some people stand out and stand up.

They are original, diverse, endlessly fascinating shining stars.
Jay Cole Simser

Happy (Chinese) New Year

This is the year of the Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac. Lots of people want to predict what you will be like depending upon when you were born.  Astrology tells me I am a Scorpio.  The Chinese Astrology says that I was born during a year of the Snake.  They want me to believe that I have certain characteristics because of when I was born.  Funny I don't feel determined, forceful, emotional, intuitive. powerful, passionate,exciting or magnetic, nor am I jealous, resentful, compulsive, obsessive, secretive, or obstinate.. Well maybe a little secretive and obstinate. Those born in the year of the snake are supposed to be good mediators, good at business, Keen, cunning, quite intelligent and wise.

Everybody wants to predict the future. Right now there is a program on the History Channel about Nostradamus  who made many predictions.. The thing is who knows and who cares  If we are indeed spiritual beings then our existence does not rely on the material world and whether or not the world ends (according to the Mayan Calendar) we will be held eternally in Mind.  And if not we won't be around to worry about it.  Therefore we should enjoy our lives as best we are able and live to the fullest that which has been given to us... the present....All that really matters.  The gift is the present.  Enjoy your week and be grateful for life and wonder at the life around you. The greatest gift ever given to you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quote for today

"...if teachers dare ask for a raise, this is taken by many as clear evidence that teachers don’t give a porcupine’s posterior about kids. In fact, some say if teachers really cared about their students they would insist on earning LESS money.
If that entire attitude weren’t bad enough, what other profession is legally held to PERFECTION by 2014? Are police required to eliminate all crime? Are firefighters required to eliminate all fires? Are doctors required to cure all patients? Are lawyers required to win all cases? Are coaches required to win all games? Of course they aren’t."  David Reber
Read the entire article here.  It is worth your time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Secret Crown by Chris Kuzneski

It is seldom that I find a new author that I enjoy as much as I did this one.  Chris Kuzneski (who claims that he is not sure how to pronounce his last name) kept me up until the wee hours last night reading this new novel which was released January 12th.

Chris is a New York Times best selling author who lives on the Gulf coast of Florida. (I actually thought about moving there once until I had a dream in which I saw a long row of leathery tanned men sitting in Adirondack chairs lined up all along the coast...I wanted the Gulf Coast so that I could enjoy the sunsets being far to lazy to get up and see the sunrise on the Atlantic side - Actually today I wish I lived there as it is freaking cold here in Iowa).  Being an intelligent person he moved there after having been born in Indiana and having lived in northern climes previously..  Previously he was also a football player and a teacher.  Then he took up writing (Actually he wrote his first book when he was in fourth grade) and has many titles to choose from.  He uses some of the same characters in several books but they are not dependant on one another and can be read in any order.  They also seem to have something similar in many of them a hunt for a fabulous treasure.

The Secret Crown introduced me to King Ludwig II of Bavaria.  Known as the mad king (he was eccentric) he was loved by his people and (probably) murdered  by his cabinet.  He was a builder and one of his castles was used by Walt Disney as a model for Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland. (Visit his castles here.) Actually his "madness" in building his castles has brought in millions of tourist dollars to his country so perhaps he was not "mad" but rather just a dreamer.

It is a fast paced novel with venues from Pittsburgh to Germany and Switzerland. There is a lot of action (the bad guys get killed) and you do learn a lot about the King and his eccentricities as you read the exciting story.  It is told without boring you.  That is actually something I like.  Chris has a Facebook page and a Web site where you can take a virtual tour of his books.  I just went to Amazon and ordered 4 more of his books. If someone wants to borrow The Secret Crown just let me know.

R.I.P Dorothy Barton

Readers of this blog know that I serve on the Eastern Star Masonic Home Board.  One of the main reasons I ran for the Home Board was so that could hang out with Dorothy Barton.  Dorothy and I met through the Order of the Eastern Star.  Her daughter Jean is a District Instructor and always gives me a hard time when she instructs.  If she didn't I would think she was mad at me.

Dorothy was a good friend of my mother also. It is strange that my mother died on January 16 and now January 17 was the day that Dorothy passed.  Two great women, both of whom loved Eastern Star and were past matrons and secretary.  Dorothy put in many more years of service than Mom.. in fact more than anyone I knew. She was an officer before I was born (and I am now 70) and had continuous service since she joined.  A remarkable record.  The following is from the Obituary that was published in the Des Moines Register.

Dorothy was born the daughter of Ralph Fletcher and Sylvia Lavina (Ringgenberg) Williams on August 19, 1918 at rural Polk City, Iowa. She was a graduate of the American Institute of Business in Des Moines. On September 14, 1946, Dorothy was united in marriage to Duane Edward Barton and they made their home in Polk City. 

She was formerly employed as a clerical worker with F.W. Fitch Company, Ahern-Pershing, and the Iowa State Fair. 

Dorothy was a member of Sheldahl United Methodist Church and the Polk City Chapter Order of Eastern Star for 73 years, of which she was an officer for 72 years and secretary for 64 years. Dorothy had served on the Board at the Eastern Star Masonic Home in Boone for five years, where she had resided since 2009.

I think Dorothy enjoyed her time living at the Home. Her family came to see her often and she was well taken care of while she was there.  
This is from Proverbs and it fits for Dorothy as it fit my grandmother when I first heard it at her funeral in 1959:

10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Rest in peace my Sister and my friend, I shall miss you.

Friday, January 20, 2012

R.I.P. Etta James

One of the greatest singers of our time has passed.  Link to article here.

Found For Friday

 A psychiatrist is doing rounds in his asylum with a couple of students. They look in on one patient and the psychiatrist says to his students, “Sometimes this fellow thinks he’s a temptress in a Bizet opera, but today, as you can see from his goose stepping, he thinks he’s the World War II head of the Nazi Luftwaffe. What condition do
you think he’s suffering from?”

The first student replies, “Is he a paranoid schizophrenic with a multiple personality disorder?”

The second student says, “No, I think he just doesn’t know whether he’s Carmen or Goering.”
 She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye....
 My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 72. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"
 After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

 A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods."  The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

 My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied
 A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's computer.  She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

Have a great week-end! Hugs, j