Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Monday night, the world came crashing down on me. My computer has a corrupt file and I can't get on the Internet!!!

I visited my local computer guru the next day, and he couldn't do the work without the recovery disk(s). That led to a mad (as in crazed) search of the house, including the basement, with no luck. Back to the guru.

"Oh, you probably bought your computer when Hewlitt-Packard didn't include the disks with the purchase. You'll have to call and order them."

He helped me locate the HP assist number and I went back home to make my frantic call.

Now, those of you who've ever called a 1-800 service number know the routine: after you get an English-speaking line, a robotic voice asks you 10,000 questions and when you've answered everything correctly, you either get disconnected or are lucky enough to get a real live voice. I got the live one on the second try. Of course, he was from India and I had a difficult time understanding him. Repeating himself numerous times, his message came through:

"You need to speak with the Parts Department. I'll transfer you."

"You have reached the Parts Department. We are sorry, but we are closed now. Our business hours are........"

Well, today I finally got through to the Parts Department. The conversation went well until there was a struggle to find the serial number of the computer. I gave the extremely patient HP parts dude every number on the blasted thing EXCEPT the number he needed. Big Bore finally interceded, with flashlight and magnifying glasses in tote, and located it. My hero. The disks are ordered and will be here within one week.

Until then, I am Internet-less unless I come to the library, which is where I may be camping out for the next few weeks.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Almost two hours of the afternoon yesterday was devoted to my obsession for picking up aluminum cans. Yes, folks, now you know why I call myself the Flaming Bore!
This sickness developed over a year ago when Big Bore was recuperating from arterial bypass surgery to his right leg and needed to walk a mile or more for daily physical therapy. He preferred walking out in the country, and we almost immediately noticed how the roadsides were littered with beer and pop cans. It soon became our mission to clean up Greenwood County! We would multi-task: get exercise walking and bending, clean up the messes left by inconsiderate, law-breaking slobs, and then sell the cans for gasoline money so we could afford to keep driving out in the country looking for litter. Talk about recycling!
Since then, it's just been one big aluminum Easter egg hunt. Every once in awhile, we've hit the Mother Lode and found dozens of cans tossed doubt a party spot for teens or a rest area for oil field workers too lazy to pick up after themselves. We've also found other treasures: an unclaimed lottery ticket worth $10.00, a new pair of gloves, interesting looking rocks for our garden. Of course, we've also found a few snakes, animal remains, and horse patootie along the way.
So, as the #1 Bore of all Bloggers, I want to highly recommend that you readers become environmentally aware, join me in my war against lowly litterbugs, and pick up the aluminum cans dumped in your little part of the world. You will feel pride in fulfilling your duty as a decent human being. Just be sure to de-contaminate with a long, hot bath when you return home!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Ah! Winter was interrupted yesterday! The snow and ice relented to a sky full of sunshine, the wind was at a whisper, and the temperature soared to the mid-50s. I was overjoyed. After cleaning house all morning and then watching KU's basketball team blow Nebraska out of Lawrence, I put on my sweats, laced up the Nikes, and took off for my first long walk/jog of 2008. It was just what I needed to shake away the cabin fever and recharge my batteries. Five miles around the outskirts of town...walk/jog/walk/jog...a relaxing pace. Before long, the tension in my head was released and the pesky clicking in my bad right ear started to subside. I felt like a new person. I hope to do it all over again later today.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Once a week, Big Bore and I visit the local recycling center with a car-trunkful of newspapers, plastic bottles, cans, etc. It is our little way of being good citizens.

I was the driver during yesterday's trip, which is unusual for us, as he is typically the captain of our ship. I'd been doing some other errands solo, however, so when he joined me to go recycling, I just remained behind the wheel of the car. Bad decision. After we made our deposit, I had a bleak announcement.

"Oh, crap! I didn't leave the keys in the ignition. Do you have them?"

"No. Did you check your pockets?"

"Yeah. They aren't there." I was looking for three keys on a 4-inch-long ring. How could I lose that? "You know, when I was dumping the plastic bottles, I thought I heard a different sound. Maybe they slipped in the bin."

"Well, let's go check," Big Bore said, shaking his head.

I lose my keys around the house on a daily basis, and I could sense his exasperation, but he was trying to keep his cool, which wasn't difficult since he didn't have on a coat and it was REALLY cold out. When we'd left home, I had suggested he bundle up, but he'd poo-poo'ed the idea. The job wasn't going to take all that long, or so he thought.

We started digging through the bottle bin, but no keys. I traced my steps around to the glass bin and back to the car, while he kept excavating plastic. Of course, the spare car key wasn't with us. It was at home, 12 freezing blocks away. I knew who would be chosen to make the miserable trek--the dumbo wearing the coat who had lost the keys! A no-brainer.

Before heading off into the northwest wind, I decided to make another search of the car, this time looking farther under the driver's seat. Ah ha! The lost was now found! It crossed my mind not to say anything about it for a few more minutes, just so Big Bore could enjoy the cold in his
t-shirt a little bit longer, but I decided not to be that mean since he hadn't called me any names...yet...or bopped me on the head with an empty Pepsi bottle.

"I found them!!!!!!" I shouted victoriously.

We laughed all the way home.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Before I retired, my favorite book to teach was John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men. It's about two friends seeking to buy a little patch of land and turn it into their haven...a small farmhouse, a few chickens, and a vegetable garden. "We're gonna live off the fat of the land," Lenny dreamily tells George.

Every once in awhile, Big Bore and I take a drive out in the Flint Hills for our own quest. We pretend that we have lots of money and are seeking to buy 5-10 acres where we will build a cabin, plant a vegetable garden, and have a few chickens. We don't exactly plan to "live off the fat of the land," but it would be nice to have a little retreat away from home. I could tend to my flowers without having to listen to the neighbors' dogs get into barking matches, and Big Bore could watch storms roll in over the prairie.

Yesterday, following a visit with Mom in Fredonia, we took one of the long ways back to Eureka and meandered through the countryside again. At one point, Big Bore stopped the car at the crest of a hill so we could observe the valley below. Even the stark winter views were breathtaking.

We both know it's not likely we'll ever own property in the hills. Time is not on our side, and the money sure isn't flooding out of our savings accounts, but it is still nice to think about it...and to slow down for an hour during the day to appreciate the beauty that is off the main-travelled roads.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


In yesterday's local newspaper there was an article about a woman who has been the secretary for a law firm here for the past 50 years. Amazing! How many people can claim such a loyal work history? Certainly not I. Heck, if I continued to be in the same job I had 50 years ago, I'd still be delivering newspapers for the Fredonia Daily Herald. Now that's a scary thought.....

The absolute worst aspect of being a paper carrier was being chased by dogs. Not even the fastest Schwinn in town could get past some of them. I once had a hellish encounter with a German shepherd that caused me to lose control of my bike during a frantic getaway. I ended up sheltering my body with the fallen bike, crying, until the dog lost interest, then got up on bloodied knees to pedal myself home. Even today, just seeing an untethered dog practically puts me into a catatonic state.

As if dodging Rin Tin Tin five evenings a week wasn't enough, we carriers had to make collections on Saturdays. While most customers were willing to pay the going rate, 15 cents a week, and some of the "rich folks" even paid a month in advance (60 whole cents!!) there were those cranks who made life miserable.

"The paper costs too much!"

"There's never any news in it!"

"I can't find my punch card!"

"I can't find my billfold!"

"I'm busy! Come back later!"

Geez, it was only 15 cents. What was the big deal? I just wanted to get the collections made, pocket my few bucks profit, and have the rest of the day to play with my lucky, non-paper carrying friends.

You know what? That lady can keep her lousy job of 50 years!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CALL 9-1-1

Yesterday afternoon, I jerked awake from a nap with a startling revelation: I hadn't re-filled the prescription for my Tegretol. Oh, no!!!!!

Tegretol is what keeps my maddening tinnitus less maddening. Without it, my right inner ear turns into a raging Geiger counter.

I had no vehicle at the time, but I was convinced I could walk to the pharmacy--if I wore about 100 pounds worth of parkas, or better yet, I could call the local taxi service. I grabbed the almost-empty pill bottle, ready to roll, when I discovered the prescription had EXPIRED on Dec. 22, 2007.

This was REALLY not good. I had to call the pharmacy and call my doctor's office with my emergency. My doctor has had recent heart surgery, so I had to explain my problem to his staff, a lengthy chore in itself. All was finally resolved but not in time for me to get the pills until this morning. So, last night I scrounged around looking for wayward pills that might have fallen out of the bottle. I got out a flashlight, peered under the dresser and bed, searching for a tiny white pill that would keep the ear from going ballistic. No luck. I ended up taking just one pill instead of two at bedtime so I would have something left for this morning.

This is the LAST time I will let this happen!!!! Honest.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Last weekend Mom Bore and I were driving to Independence, so we had plenty of time for quality conversation, such as why we liked Howie Mandel as host of "Deal or No Deal" and what the heck was going on with the plot of "Desperate Housewives." Finally, I turned the topic to something of a more serious nature: the race for the presidency of the United States.

"Who are you supporting for president?" I asked.

"Well, you know who I really want is George Clooney," she said sincerely.

"George Clooney isn't even running, Mom! He's an actor," I laughed.

"Oh, but he's so cute. And don't you like his voice? No one else has a voice like George Clooney. It's so unique. Can you think of anyone else with a voice like his?" Mom asked.

"Well, I guess not, but that doesn't exactly make him presidential material," I countered.

"You know who I really want for president?" Mom asked, without waiting for my response. "Al Gore. He was robbed the last time around!"

"But, he's not running, either, Mom," I said.

"Well, he should. Those Bushes just robbed him. And I'm not going to vote for Hilary, either. She's just a big fake," Mom said, getting more worked up.

So, what do you think of the "American Idol" try-out shows?

Monday, January 21, 2008


The weather last night for the NFC playoff game in Green Bay, Wisconsin wasn't exactly desirable, -4 degrees with a windchill of -24. I was beginning to feel sorry for the players having to perform in such frigid conditions until I read somewhere that each of them would earn $20,000 for showing up. Now, that's a lot less than most of them make during a regular-season game, but still no small change for a few hours work. Heck, for $20,000 I'd strip naked and turn cartwheels in the endzone. Well, I can't do cartwheels, so maybe just spike the football in the endzone. That's more my speed.

If the Giants win the Super Bowl, brothers will have quarterbacked the championship team in subsequent years. What are the odds of that happening? The parents of Peyton and Eli Manning must be very proud of their sons. They seem like humble and humorous young men. If they turn out down the road to be steroid-using, animal-abusing, wife-beating, game-cheating crack smokers, I am really going to be disappointed.

Will someone please take a pair of scissors to commentator Terry Bradshaw's hair? What's left of it. It looks like he is wearing a clown wig, with the bald top and stringy long thatch at the bottom. Either trim it or buzz the entire head. If he was my husband, he wouldn't get out of the house with that goofy looking hair. Maybe that's why he's been married and divorced three times. Bad hair.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Last night I walked into a time warp.

During my late teens, occasional Friday or Saturday nights were spent driving from Podunk-ville Fredonia nine miles east to even-more-Podunk-ville Altoona. There, at the intersection of Highways 75 and 47, leaned a little dive known as the Mountain Oyster Shack. The dining area inside was smaller than the average living room, with just three booths, a few tables, and maybe six bar stools at the most. If your English teacher was asking for the opposite term of "fancy," then the M.O. Shack was a solid answer. It was the kind of place where you could toss peanut shells and just about anything else on the floor, and no one would care. Plus, the cow fries were the absolute BEST, and I mean that under no uncertain terms. Tender and drowned in barbecue sauce. A four-star restaurant could not serve 'em up any better.

Well, a few years ago at the Fredonia Homecoming, some friends and I decided to head east to see if the ol' shack was still standing, and it is, albeit under a different name, Prairie Nut Hut. Since then, groups of us have made this trip to our own little Mecca, and last night was one of those nights. From the minute I opened the squeaky front door, it was like being home again. Nothing much has changed. The seating is the same, the floor is still littered, and, best of all, the mountain oysters continue to be exquisite. Even stranger, when I removed my eyeglasses, my classmates from 40+ years ago started looking the same. The laughter was familiar, and no one was at a loss for words. Conversation ranged from grade school jacks competitions all the way up to the current standings in the Big 12. Pictures were taken; promises were made to do it all again.

Old places and old faces are like your favorite pair of shoes....comfortable.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Do men ever grow up? Although Big Bore's television viewing typically consists of The History Channel, Jeopardy, and classic comedies, he is also hooked on (and I write this with a sorrowful heart) Sponge Bob Square Pants!!!! The name of this bizarre cartoon character is never just stated calmly. No, it's always shouted in a high-pitched, annoying voice. Sponge Bob Square Pants!!!! Well, being the Crabby Patty of our household, I want it known that I can't stand this show!!!! Thank-you very much. Now, I feel better.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Yesterday when I was maneuvering my car through the ice and snow at the ALCO parking lot, I noticed a funny bumper plate in front of me: "I'm a mean old German. That's why I'm called a sauerkraut." I chuckled aloud and thought back to the sourest Kraut I ever knew, my Granny Graham, who I will identify by name because she died in 1988 at age 96 and is no longer around to sue me for defamation of character.

Granny Graham's parents were German immigrants who "came over on the boat" in the 1800s. Life wasn't easy for her. During the depression she raised five sons, 4/5 of them hooligans in my mind, and she outlived two husbands. She ran a restuarant in Fredonia when I was a kid, and after she retired she inflicted Sunday dinners upon relatives.

"You're getting chubby!" she would announce to everyone as my older brother and sister and I came shuffling inside her house. She'd then proceed to heap on our dinner plates enough fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy to feed the Western world, and she'd stand over us piling on seconds and thirds. Once we'd consumed about 10,000 calories, we were free to go. Our only salvation was that she had not forced German liver sausage on us.

Granny Graham's cold liver sausage was her "piece of resistance." The sight and smell of it was enough to drop an entire army. I always had a good excuse prepared for not eating it, as did my siblings, but she'd still wrap loaves of it up in aluminum foil to send it home, like a party favor. It was never eaten. Our dirty little secret.

There was one concoction she made, however, that I truly loved and that was her sugar popcorn. When I'd go over to her house on an occasional Saturday night to watch wrestling matches on TV with her, a boatload of popcorn topped with Karo white syrup was mandatory.

Now even at age eight I knew those wrestling matches were choreographies of fake violence, but Granny Graham was convinced that it was all real. She would cheer her favorite wrestlers and yell expletives at the bad guys, sometimes in English, sometimes in German. The latter intrigued me, and I insisted upon knowing the translations. She was only too willing to be the teacher. Before long, I was the only 3rd grader at my school who was fluent in German cuss words.

Decades later, these lessons became quite handy when I was the high school English teacher to a German exchange student. Early on in the school year, upon receiving back an assignment, the boy looked at his grade and unhappily blurted out what I recognized as an expletive in German.

"We'll have no more of that, young man," I said sternly to him.

He immediately turned red in the face, knowing he'd been had. "How did you know what I said?" he asked.

"I had a German granny who taught me every swear word in the book," I exaggerated.

The other students were quite impressed. "What'd he say? What'd he say?"

"None of your business," I responded.

"What'd you say?" one asked the exchange student.

I glared at him. "Nein," he said.

That was the first and last time he used his German profanity in my class--at least within earshot.

It helps to be a sauerkraut.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Well, it snowed again last night. Not enough to have any fun with, though. We had one real doozy last year, so Big Bore and I went outside and made a Christmas tree out of snow and played snow baseball. The tree lasted one day--neighborhood thugs did a drive-by that night and busted up all the snow creations on our street. I retaliated by making a smaller version in the safety of our fenced-in backyard, and it lasted until the spring thaw.

We had enough snow and ice a month ago for some quality sledding, but we never saw any kids taking advantage of it. Mama Bore in Fredonia observed the same thing.

"Where are all the kids with their sleds?" she asked. "I used to see bunches of them traipsing by when it snowed."

"Ah, they're all at home text messaging their friends or downloading dirty pictures on their computers," I told her. "They're a lot more sophisticated than we were when we were kids."

For the past 50+ years, she has lived near the base of the South Mound in Fredonia. Now, the streets leading up to the South Mound were once Sledding Central in the winter time. There were, and maybe still are, three different paths to go down: the one-block long, steeper Carney Street, the two-block long curve around 7th onto Robinson, or the two-block curve around 7th on down to Washington, which was the highway through town. The city crew workers would put chat down at the Washington base to prevent nasty run-ins with the big rigs. Every once in a while, we would sled on past the barricades there and say a little prayer that traffic would be light. I can't recall any lawsuits.

Probably everyone who ever grew up in Fredonia has his or her own sledding accident story, and my big one was a fabulous tandem curb jumper with my pal Rat. All day long, it seemed, we had been taking the 7th Street route down to the highway, but adding our own little twist. Once we rounded the first block, we would jump the curb at Robinson and then sled through all the yards, including his own, on to Washington. Rat was the steering man on the bottom, and I was the giggling weight on the top.

I'm not exactly sure what went wrong on what turned out to be our last leap of the day. We either got too much air, or not enough, or Rat just oversteered, but we ending up slamming, and I do mean slamming, into a guide wire. Instant WHAM!!!! Then we went rolling off the sled. I don't remember crying--pros like us tried not to cry--but we both went home to our moms to nurse our wounds. The next day at school I showed off the best black eye in my life, while the Rat was absent. In fact, I think he was home for several days recuperating from the jolt. Fifty-plus years later, we still laugh about it. At the risk of sounding like my cranky Grandma Bore, "Kids these days don't know what they're missing out on!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The first song I ever remember singing in school was "Sixteen Tons." It was made famous in 1955 by Tennessee Ernie Ford, with his rich baritone voice, and made infamous by the 25 screeching sopranos in my first grade class. It's not easy for 6-year-olds to come across as aging, depressed coal miners, but our teacher apparently thought we could pull it off, so "Sixteen Tons" was going to be the entertainment for one of the PTA meetings during the school year. Nowadays, such a selection would be considered inappropriate for children and the school board would be barraged with complaints, but Fredonia, circa 1955, was not in a litigious mood.

Our version of "Sixteen Tons" came with accompaniment from some of the rhythm band members, those who played the wooden blocks and could keep time with the music. One student played the somber role of the laboring miner, hacking away at make-believe rocks. The rest of us sang: "Sooooooome people say a man is made out of mud...." We had no clue whatsoever what the words meant. Who was St. Peter and why would he be calling me? How could "....I owe my soul to (dramatic pause) the company store"? What's a company store? What's a soul? "...Another day older and deeper in debt." Hey, in those days my biggest debt was a quarter for a week's worth of school hot lunches.

Well, regardless of the challenges we budding Hit Paraders gave her, our teacher forged ahead and got us ready for our big PTA gig. I remember actually being quite excited about it because I had a special role. As soon as the rhythm band blockheads and fake miner did four beats, I was to do a solo--consisting of one word, "Sooooooooome...." then the rest of the singers would join in. It was quite an important role, of course. Without me being lead vocal, it would just be one jumbled up ball of mud for that poor ol' miner.

The big evening arrived, we hit the mark, and the 1st grade class at Mound School gave the best performance in PTA history--in my mind. No silly, cutesy kid songs for us six-year-olds. Not only could we sing serious, passionate lyrics, but we also did our own accompaniment (blocks) and choreography (fake miner). We were weary coal miners, and we received enough polite applause to wipe the serious Sixteen-Ton-frowns right off our faces. Tennessee Ernie, himself, would have been proud. Those lousy 6th graders would have to give us some respect from now on.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Do you remember your first kiss? Who were you with? Where were you?

My first kiss was with a fellow 8th grader in the alley behind my house. We'd been to a junior high dance at the National Guard armory building, three blocks away. Although this was not an official date--we'd arrived separately--we danced a lot together, so I suppose walking me home was the manly thing to do. We barely spoke to each other, but held hands along the way. When we got to the alley, he just abruptly pulled me into the entrance and layed a smacker or two on me. Then it was on to the front door, "Good Night." I went directly to my bedroom, sat down on the bed, and shook all over. What was all that about? Would I get pregnant? This young stud and I would never kiss again. In fact, I don't think we even looked at each other again except at Sunday School. Lord knows, nothing lascivious went on inside the Methodist Church! --Now, I don't remember my second kiss, or third, or on down the line. Just that first strange kiss and my last one, of course. A peck in the kitchen while Big Bore was cooking chicken and noodles awhile ago. No shaking on the bed after that one, for sure.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Big Bore is out of town tonight, so he will not have the pleasure of watching me watch the Jayhawks play basketball tonight. I am a couch coach/cheerleader. I tend to get overbearing, especially if it's a close game. If KU is 3o points ahead, which has lately been the case, then I'm not quite so bad. Saturday the Big Bore was shaking his head when I put a hex on Nebraska's free-throw shooting, but when the hex actually worked, he was shaking his head even more. Perhaps he deliberately left so he wouldn't have to listen to me rant and rave tonight. Surely not. Rock chalk!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Our local home extension agent had a new year's article in the paper about how we should all resolve to laugh more. She wrote that there is scientific research showing that laughter stimulates the brain to release chemicals that increase healing and happiness and reduce pain. Well, I'm all for that. So, here are 10 things that make me laugh:

1. The movie A Christmas Story. I've watched it so much, I have parts memorized, but I never fail to laugh throughout the entire movie. "Fra-gil-ay!!!"

2. Barney Fife (Don Knotts) on The Andy Griffith Show. His hopeless efforts in trying to recite the U.S. Constitution or make a "Citizen's Arrest!" always crack me up.

3. Singing silly duets with Big Bore. Classics or made-up songs, we are masters at ruining them all. Our favorite is the grade school oldie, "Playmate, Come Out and Play with Me." The idea of this huge man singing about his "dollies three" climbing up an apple tree is ridiculous in and of itself.

4. Watching kittens play and slide on the floor while playing ball hockey.

5. Going to the Independence park/zoo to see the monkeys.

6. Unintentionally saying or doing something so dumb that I have to laugh at myself for being such a total goofball. Like the way I maneuver a car out the driveway. Big Bore and my mother do not find this one so laughable, however. "You're going to hit the tree!!!"

7. Gross e-mail cartoons, like the one of the hefty repairman using duck tape to conceal his butt crack. Yes, I admit to laughing at that one.

8. MAD-TV, most of the time.

9. The production of "Pageant" at Cabaret Old Town in Wichita. If you haven't seen it, you must go.

10. Being with my friends. They don't even have to try to make me laugh. It's automatic.


Saturday, January 12, 2008


Friday, January 11, 2008


"There's a critter in the garage," Big Bore #3 announced the night of October 30 when he got home from work.

"What kind of critter?" I asked. "Four-legged?"


"It's not an opossum, is it? I hate oppossums!"


"A raccoon?" I once had a raccoon take up residence in the garage a few years ago.


"A pony?"

He laughed.

"I give."

"A kitten!" he said triumphantly, and I figured he was kidding.

I dashed outside to see if this was a trick or a treat. I could hear it before I could see it, and it sounded like a hungry cry baby. I finally saw a scrawny Tabby in one corner of the garage. Now, I'm a pushover for kittens, but I knew there was no room in the inn. Big Bore and I already had three indoor cats, and we had agreed, with the last adoption in February, "No more cats!" Still, we couldn't let it go hungry, so I fed it--with the plan that I'd set out to find its home the next day if it was still in the garage.

Well, of course, it was still around the following morning. Cats know a good deal when they've found a sucker, so I took a picture of what I determined was a she-kitty, made flyers, and went door-to-door in the neighborhood trying to find its real home. No luck. Next, I took the flyers to the vet clinic and posted one on the grocery store bulletin board. Still no luck. After a week of providing room and board for this odd little critter in th garage, I put an ad in the newspaper. Who was I kidding? The only person who called about the ad was a lady wanting to now if I'd take in a few more strays. Yikes!

Big Bore #3 and I began discussing what we were going to do with what had now been given a name--Critter, of course. We could call the animal control guy and hope for the best, or we could keep it as an outdoor cat. We settled for the latter--until the first cold night in November.

"Well, who's going to be the meanie who makes Critter stay outside tonight?" Big Bore asked.

I was stunned. This was coming out of the mouth of a dog man, who had moved in a year ago without a single cat hair on his belongings. He had come to have a change-of-heart, however, when he had arterial bypass surgery. His constant, faithful companion throughout the months of recuperation was Little Bit, a gray cat I'd had for eleven years and who had never before been much for socializing with anyone but me.

Well, one night inside led to another until it was time to get Critter spayed or face more critters. We decided that once she healed from the surgery, she'd go back to being an outdoors cat. Three is definitely enough to have inside this little house, after all, even though two of the three were having a blast playing with Critter and we two human bores were have fun watching the newcomer act silly.

Once the stitches came out, however, Big Bore had another startling announcement: "As long as you've gone to all the trouble and expense of having her spayed, I think Critter should stay an indoors cat."

"What? You've got to be kidding. I thought we had agreed that three cats in the house were enough."

"Well, other animals might hurt her if she's outside." Critter was purring in his lap as one of his big hands was nuzzling her ears.

At least for the winter, Critter is staying inside. But four is absolutely enough!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


This morning I had a dream that I was at my hometown movie house, the Kansan Theatre, watching a crime drama. When I awoke, this dream seemed strange because, #1: the Kansan came to its crispy ending decades ago in a hellacious fire and, #2: I was alone in this dream and, in real life, I absolutely never went to the Kansan by myself. To do so would have been a social disaster. Back in the late 1950s and most of the 1960s, I either went to the movies with my big sister, girlfriends, or, on rare occasions, with a date. The first three movies I recall seeing at The Kansan were The Wizard of Oz, Around the World in 80 Days, and To Hell and Back. I can understand why the first two choices made a big impression, but I have no idea why the Audie Murphy World War II saga was such a hit with me. Maybe because it was the first time I'd witnessed carnage on the big screen. How I was even allowed in the Kansan at such a tender age, probably seven or eight, is beyond me. Oh, yeah. Movie ratings hadn't been "invented" yet to protect the young and innocent.

Spending a Saturday afternoon at The Kansan was a cheap thrill. Mom would give me a dollar bill, and since admission was only 20 cents for kids, there was plenty of cash left over to spend at the concession stand. My initial purchases always were the same: a bag of popcorn, a small Coca Cola, and a Butterfinger candy bar. And even after that, I STILL had change left over to get Beach Ball sour candies and another cola for the second movie. I suspect a double feature and all that sugar would go for around $50.00 today. Of course, one must remember that this was in the age before liter-sized soft drinks, a barrel of popcorn, and half-pound candy bars were the norm. Could this be the reason for the current "spread" of obesity? Movie house concession stands are to blame!

The Kansan was a multi-level theatre, but I usually stuck to the floor floor. So did wads of gum. There were two aisles, seven seats in the middle and two seats on each side. If you were on a date or just with one girlfriend, the dual seats were the usual choice. If you were on a hot date and didn't really care to watch the movie, the balcony was the best place to sit/grope. You didn't have to put up with brats running up and down the aisles. Oh, periodically, pests would make a run-through to throw popcorn on the lip-lockers, but the unwritten rule was that the balcony was off limits for the pre-teen set or losers like me who rarely had dates as a teen.

Going to the Kansan Theatre was almost as much fun as going to Kansan Drive-In, but I'll save that experience for a whole new dream.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

BLOG #1-Jan. 9, 2008-OL' WHAT'SHISNAME
Written by Bore #1

Yesterday, I had lunch with another retired English teacher, Bore #2. Actually, we retired together. Conversation eventually drifted to former students, and we found ourselves unable to remember entire names of them.
"What's Trent doing these days?"
"Which Trent?"
"Oh, you know. Trent---he was a senior our last year of teaching."
"Well, there was more than one." I came up with the last name of one of them, but he was not the specific one she was asking about.
"This Trent was quiet."
"Oh, I know which one you mean. He sat in the last seat in the north row of desks when I had him as a sophomore. What was his last name?"
"Maybe if I go to the bathroom, I'll remember."
She took off to the bathroom, while I sat in the resraurant booth mentally going down the alphabet trying to find the right letter that went with this particular Trent's last name. Hopeless. Bore#2 returned from the john, without the last name, so we went on to another student, whose last name we recalled but whose first name was missing in our minds. I came up with his brother's first name, but that didn't count.
"It begins with a T," said Bore #2. "Trent? Travis? Troy?"
Fortunately, a current school secretary bopped in the restaurant for lunch to save us. We gave her the last name and she immediately said, "Trevor."
"Well, I was close!" said Bore #2 triumphantly.
Sure is fun being forgetful.