Thursday, February 28, 2008


I have a terrible confession to make. I am an "American Idol" junkie. Since the TV series kicked off in 2002, I've been there--from all the painful auditions to the glorious finales. I consider myself the 4th judge on the panel, right alongside Randy, Paula, and Simon, giving my opinion to anyone who will listen, which is usually the cats.

My reason for worshipping Idol is that, once upon a time, I imagined myself as a famous singer. When I was in college, I dreamed of being the next Mary Travers, the long-haired blonde in the folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary. I liked her Bohemian look, swishing that stringy hair all over the microphone. Cool. When I couldn't find a Peter and Paul to team up with, I decided on Karen Carpenter. I loved her rich voice and dreamy ballads. Not having a piano-playing, songwriting brother like her dear, Richard, however, that idea went out the door, too. I eventually decided maybe I'd just better stay in college and sing along with the radio. Fame, afterall, does have its downside.

So, it was a touch of nostalgia during last week's "American Idol" when a female contestant sang The Carpenters' song, "Superstar." It starts out, "Long ago, and oh, so far away...." Big Bore, who happened to be watching the show with me, which he occasionally does, surprised me by saying, "Oh, that's one of my favorite songs. Karen Carpenter had the best voice."

Then he totally blew me away when he added, "You know, when I first met you (1978), you reminded me so much of her, with your long brown hair and bangs. You still do."

"Wow!" I said. "You're kidding! When I was in college I wanted to BE the next Karen Carpenter!"

I felt so flattered, having finally achieved my own little merit of musical recognition, even it was just due to my Karen-ish hairstyle. And I now have a fan club base...of one person. Is it ever too late to chase one's wild dreams? If the TV network executives ever decide to create "American Idol: Washed-Up Old Timers and Has Beens Edition" then I'm signing up!


My school gal pal Maggie is a saver, just like I am. Last week she excavated her archives and came up with a real gem, in my opinion. In her high school memory book was a picture/poster of The Dawgs advertising a jr. high dance at Fredonia's Teentown. What a relic!

The Dawgs were four musically inclined high school guys who aspired to become the next Beatles, like every other garage band in the country in the late 1960s. I'd forgotten about them until seeing Maggie's treasure. It appeared that the picture of them had been taken atop the South Mound in Fredonia, or some other outdoorsy locale. They had the serious, pseudo-sexy pose down pat, as well as the required tight slacks of the time. I don't remember swooning over them, but they provided ample noise and that was the main idea.

Teentown was a dance hall on the 2nd floor of a building downtown. It was opened after home football and basketball games (records played) and also for special occasions (live bands). Here is where I learned The Twist, The Jerk, The Swim, The Monkey, The Dog, The Dirty Dog, The Hurky Jurky, and the list goes on. Some nights I was among the queens of the dance floor, and other times I was huddled in the girls bathroom with the other wallflowers. Teentown was our educational facility for developing social skills of the highest order, from sneaking kisses to dealing with rejection.

I think Teentown died along with the break-up of the Beatles, or a state fire code ruling that the place was a fire trap. It's been long gone, and The Dawgs never made it super stardom. If I tried to Twist and Jerk these days, I'd probably end up in traction. Every generation has its special music and dance crazes, but I think ours was the best. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I've been under the weather the past few days...went through the whole routine of urine test, blood test, etc. Am now armed with medicine and feeling better, but I am NOT good about waiting for test results. I fret myself to the point that I become sicker. I want the news instantly. And I want good news. What a demanding bitch.

Big Bore took over my dishwashing chores for a day, which was nice, and he made me chicken noodle soup that I wouldn't eat. He wasn't mad; that just left him all the more to eat. One thing I can say about Big matter if I look like hell, he still finds something nice to say about how I look. Last night, it was my ponytail. Doesn't take much to please him. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Eureka has lost its first soldier to the war in Iraq. Bryant Mackey was killed Wednesday when a grenade struck the vehicle in which he was riding. I didn't know him but taught his older brother and am acquainted with his parents. I feel so sad for them.

There's been a big fuzzy gray cat running around in the neighborhood lately, and I keep thinking it might be my long-lost Shadow cat who has been missing for two years. It was on my front porch this morning, but when I went outside to try to get a closer look, it took off. I've set out some food for it, so maybe it will come back. Okay, so I'm a hopeless case.

It snowed again last night. The only good thing about it is that it covered the ice rink on the driveway, so now I am less apt to fall on my face. I tried going for a walk yesterday but only made it around the block before I relented to the ice and gave up. I then walked around the yard looking for tulips and daffodils peeking up from the ground. Dream on.

HGTV (Home and Garden) is my favorite weekend network. I love watching yards and homes being transformed. Since retiring, I'm always coming up with projects for my own little piece of the world. Big Bore especially likes the outdoors ones, plus he likes to find new uses for old things. He also loves feeding birds. We have the fattest blue jays and cardinals in town.

Twenty-six days until Spring!

Friday, February 22, 2008


Today is February 22nd, birthday of our favorite face on the one-dollar bill, George Washington, AND birthday of my favorite face to laugh with, Big Bore. He got an early present from me last month, so when Mama Bore and I were doing our Wal-Mart gig Tuesday, I was just there to get him a card.

"Aren't you going to bake him a cake?" she asked.
"Oh, he's dropped a hint to the cooks at work to bake him one."
"What's his favorite cake?" she asked, headed to the bakery section.
"Angel food with strawberry frosting."
"Well, that's the easiest kind there is to bake," she said, reeling out all the ingredients.

Mama Bore knows I am the world's worst cook. Growing up, I never had the inclination to stay in the kitchen to learn a trick or two from her. I wanted to go outside and play. Nevertheless, I became quite skilled at playing and quite clueless at cooking. When Big Bore became my housemate, he went into shock when he opened the refrigerator and found just three items: cottage cheese, yogurt, and Cheez-Its. I'd purchased a brand new oven six months earlier and had yet to turn it on.

So, I had no argument with Mom when she decided to buy Big Bore a big angel food cake made by the loving hands of Wal-Mart, and a tub of pre-made Pillsbury strawberry frosting. The least I can do is slather the icing on the cake. Surely I can't mess this up too badly. I've kept her present to him hidden, with plans to give it to him this afternoon when he gets home from work. Last night, he said that one of the cooks promised him a cake today, but I'm sure he won't mind having a second one. Big Bore has never been one to turn away good food. Especially from angels.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


It is has now been two years since Big Bore and I adopted Fluffy. She'd been languishing in a cage at PetSmart in Wichita for over a month, and I just couldn't stand to see her in there any longer, so we took her home---matted hair, bad eye, and all. She was a true Fraidy Cat, not sociable at all. The adoption worker said she'd been abused; our vet said she was blind in one eye, most likely having been kicked, the optic nerve severed. No wonder Fluffy shied away from us.

Well, we eventually got all the mats cut and brushed out of her hair, but it took a lot longer for her to warm up to us. Over a year, in fact. Now, though, she will lie on the sofa with me, nudge us to pet her, and she has become a best playmate to Critter and Bits. They stampede about the house like wild horses, sometimes traipsing over us. It's hilarious to watch them.

I write about this because yesterday, when in Wichita, I stopped by PetSmart to buy some cat food and litter and to look at the cats there that are up for adoption. There were so many and, of course, I wanted to take all of them home. I told them how good looking they were and that someone nice would adopt them. Was anyone listening in and laughing at me? Aw, who cares.

If I had a huge house, I would probably have more cats. I would take in all the strays that nobody wanted and give them food, shelter, and love. People would whisper, "There's the Crazy Cat Lady of Eureka." It would be a noble title.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Last night I got an e-mail from a friend on the east coast that had the following subject label: "A little background on Obama...I don't know how truthful it is but you can investigate." Now, I have yet to decide for whom I'll cast my Presidential ballot in November, so I decided to read the "background," even though I had my doubts about its authenticity. The caveat: "I don't know how truthful it is...." seems to wave a big, fat, red flag in my mind that I'm about to read a bunch of hooey.

Much of this background I'd already heard from Obama, himself, before....about his parentage and religious upbringing. What jumped out at me was the statement that when Obama was sworn in as a United States senator, he refused to put his hand on the Holy Bible and insisted upon using the Koran, instead. "Muslims have said they will destroy the US from the inside out. What better way than through the presidency." The e-mail ended with something to the effect that it's all factual and can be verified on, a website that seeks the truthfulness of
e-mail rumors.

Well, I hightailed it to, and guess what I found? The statement about the Holy Bible/Koran is NOT the truth, and the website has no clue who got this all started or why snopes was used as a verification resource. How many people will get this same e-mail, not check it out, and automatically think that Obama is the devil in disguise?

This is not the first time I've checked out the veracity of e-mails I've received and found they were false information. My suggestion is: If you don't know whether or not a potentially libelous, slanderous, harmful statement is true, don't pass it along to the rest of the world. And if you just HAVE to forward some e-mail, make it a dirty joke, instead!

Monday, February 18, 2008


Today is Presidents Day, so here's a list of how close I've become to our Chiefs over the years:

1. Saw Lyndon Johnson for a nanosecond in a 1966 motorcade in downtown Denver. "Was that him?"
2. Saw the White House and monuments to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln when making a speed tour of Washington, D.C. back in 1985.
3. Been to Mount Rushmore a few times.
4. Been to Eisenhower Home and Museum in Abilene, KS.
5. Been to Truman Home and Museum in Independence, MO. Bought a magnet with Truman's famous line: "The Buck Stops Here." It's been on my refrigerator for about a dozen years.
6. Been to the Texas School Depository Museum in Dallas, TX, sight of JFK's assassination.

Geesh---I guess that's about it. I'm collecting the Presidential Dollars. Does that count? I own a Grover Cleveland campaign mug, circa 1888, which is kind of neat. That's about all the Presidential ties I have, though. For reasons that are best left unwritten, I don't see myself dashing off to Arkansas or Texas any time soon to view the Clinton or Bush treasures...but I wish them a happy day, nonetheless.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Yesterday's blog leads in to this one. A few years ago, I read Stephen King's novel Cell, about cell phone users who turn into zombies. "Ah hah!" I thought. "Another good reason not to own a cell phone!" A few more reasons, perhaps more realistic, are as follows:

1. I am not in an occupation that would benefit from having a cell phone. Since I have retired, my main job is to feed the cats and clean out their litter boxes twice a day. So far, the cats have not had to summon me with their little cell phones to get this done. A simple "meow" suffices.

2. I have not had a roadside emergency since June, 1973, north of Dallas, Texas. Since then, I have been through 47 states, from coast to coast and border to border without a hitch. Now, I don't want to be jinxing myself here, but I think one breakdown in 44 years of driving doesn't really merit me rushing right out to Cellular One.

3. I don't have a burning desire to find out what my friends and family are doing every minute of the day.

4. If I do have the burning desire to find out what my friends and family are doing, I can get off my lazy ass and walk the 15 feet to the regular phone.

5. I'd rather spend my money on something I really want or need--like food, shelter, and cat litter.

6. It's just one more damn thing for me to break or lose.

The End

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I've decided that the Presidential candidate who gets my vote in November will be the one who disrupts my life with taped telephone campaign messages the fewest number of times.

Since retiring, I've found that I enjoy my free time more and more and I want to be bothered less and less. So, when the phone rang a few weeks ago and I answered to, "Hello, this is John McCain...." I was tempted to hang up before another word was spoken. Then, I got to thinking: "My gosh. This man spent over five years in a Vietnamese POW hell hole in the name of my freedom. Surely I can give him a minute of my time." I listened to Senator McCain's canned message, he politely thanked me, and that was that.

But the next day, when the telephone rang in the middle of my favorite television show, Jeopardy!, I was less enthused when I answered to the voice of, "Hello, this is Cindy McCain, wife of...." I cut her off quicker than you can say, "I'll wager a true Daily Double, Alex."

Jeopardy! is sacred in this household. I watch it three times a day, Monday-Friday. When Big Bore isn't at work, he watches it with me. We predict how well we will do with the designated categories, shout out our answers, wager make-believe cash for Final Jeopardy, and give each other "low-fives" from his recliner and my sofa when we do better than the real contestants. Alex Trebek is our game show god. Do not disturb during Jeopardy!

So, that's my voting theory for this year. If those candidates call to solicit my support at the polls, they better make it during a commercial!

Friday, February 15, 2008


Big Bore and I decided the best way to treat our cabin fever was to rent an actual cabin overnight at nearby Toronto Lake and do some hiking. It was just what the doctor ordered! We had a beautiful front porch view of the water, went on three different hiking trails, played cards, listened to music, talked, laughed, danced, and ate ourselves silly.

My favorite hiking trail was the last one we took this afternoon, Overlook Trail. It was rocky, still icy in places, up and down. Being a nature boy, Big Bore liked identifying trees, birds, nuts, animal tracks, you name it. Me--I enjoyed trying to get us lost off the trail, which didn't take much effort. It is safe to say that had I been hiking alone, I'd still be trying to find my way back to the car.

I'm ready to do this again!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


All throughout my grade school years, Valentine's Day was built around a shoe box of love. Each kid would decorate his/her box in red and white and pink construction paper, hearts flowing, then slit an opening in the lid for valentine delivery.

The night before the big day at school, I'd get all my assorted cards in a row and decide which friend would get which card. The better the friend, the bigger the card and sweeter the message, of course. A so-so friend got a smaller card with a fairly generic message. I never left anyone out. Everyone in the class, even creepy boys I couldn't stand, would get a card from me.

Teachers would allow us time to make the rounds with the valentines to make deposits in the shoe boxes. At the end of the day, we'd bust into them and read our cards. We girls, being catty and materialistic, would then count and compare what we received. Whomever had the most cards and biggest cards had bragging rights. Queen of Hearts.

The older we got in grade school, the less inclined the boys were to participate in this annual ritual of love. This didn't make the "heartless" among us girls very happy. By junior high, the whole valentine delivery deal was just a sweet memory of the past. Giving valentines was only for little kids. We were too mature for such childish activities....but secretly I wished I was a kid again, decorating a shoe box.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


After I dumped my button pals (see yesterday's blog) I had a neighborhood full of make-believe friends. My favorite four were Wiwi Kanini, a French visitor; Jampson T. Bluster, who lived in our alley with her mean big sister Trudy; Schla-Schla Good, a poor child who lived in a drain pipe in our front yard; and Lobbie Geebins, who lived in an elm tree with her brother Rusty and sister Lynn. There were also the three Barnelli sisters and the twins, Madys and Gladys, but they were just acquaintainces, not close buds like the Fab Four.

I remember talking aloud to my make-believe friends, complaining to them about my real older brother and sister. The imaginary ones had their own phantom gripes to share. Mainly, though, we just played in the yard or raced bikes together. I always won, of course.

The make-believe bunch were no secret to my real family. I don't know at what point I told them, or why, but my mom and siblings all knew about my gang of pretend pals. I don't even recall being teased much about them. My mom had her own make-believe friends, Doris and Dorlee, when she was a little girl, and my brother had his miniature Johnny glow-in-the-dark doll, so I guess they figured it was okay to have conversations with the air. Eventually, though, the make-believe friends made way for real ones. Real ones are much better.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Before I ever had real friends or invisible make-believe friends, I had button friends. They lived in my mom's button jar and came in all sorts of beautiful shapes and colors. I would dump the buttons from the jar and sort them into ones, blue ones, yellow ones, etc., then find ones that looked alike. Sometimes there were large, medium, and small ones of the same style and color, so they became a family. Buttons that were a same style but different color were relatives. It was all quite scientific, like genus and species!

My favorite activity for the buttons to do was to have weddings. Button family and friends of the bride and groom would sit in lines of "pews." The bride was always a white button, of course, and the groom was a black button. Bridesmaids were the same color, style, and size of button. As I write about this, it sounds totally bizarre and, in fact, many years ago my mom told me that my father and she had argued about my button friends. He apparently thought I needed psychiatric help, while she thought I was just being creative. She won out.

I don't think this phase in my life lasted more than a year, but I still dig buttons. I've made bracelets out of them, glued them on flower pots, stuck them on cloth calendars, whatever. Diamonds are not this girl's best friend. It's buttons!!

Monday, February 11, 2008


Periodically, Big Bore talks in his sleep and I try to engage him in conversation to delve deeper into his dream world. This morning's chit-chat went as follows:

Sleep Talking BB: How much do I owe you?---Nothing yet.

Me: Owe who?

BB: (garbled) Schlu dog.

Me: Snoop Dogg? Snoopy?

BB: No.

Me: Lassie?

BB: No.

Me: Rin-Tin-Tin?

BB: No. Computer Dog.

Me: Computer Dog?

BB: Yeah.

Me: Who's Computer Dog?

BB: I don't know.

End of conversation. When he awakened thirty minutes later, I asked him if he remembered his dream about Computer Dog.

BB: Sort of. He was an animated character driving a little car.

Me: Is there really such a cartoon?

BB: Well, yeah. (duh) In my dream.

This got me to thinking that Big Bore had come up with an idea for the next cartoon great. Computer Dog!!! A mild-mannered bloodhound by day who repairs computer glitches, but, by night, a caped super sleuth who sniffs out cyber crime and puts the megabyte on bad guys. Identity thieves, sexual predators, eBay scammers. He'll have a sidekick named Mouse and a girlfriend, Cookie. You just wait. It'll be a sensation. Remember where you heard the idea first.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Yesterday was my mom's 84th birthday. Since I'm germ-ridden right now, we decided to wait until next week before I take her to Independence for lunch at Arby's, shopping at Wal-Mart, and a drive around the Riverside Park and Zoo. Every month or two we do the same routine. When it's warmer, we park the car at the zoo and make the rounds--checking on the monkeys, birds, and the little South American donkey with its swayed back. We tend to talk to them like they are old friends and toss peanuts to the monkeys....just like we did fifty years ago. Mom was a divorced, working parent trying to raise five kids alone, but she always took time to treat us to trips to Independence. The summertime carousel rides ("I get the red horse!") that cost a nickel back in the 1950s still cost a nickel, but the mini-train ride has gone from a dime to a quarter. Can't beat a deal like that.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Well, there has been a shift change, and our sick baby Big Bore is now being attended by Little Bit--ass sitter extraordinaire!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


It's Day #3 for Big Bore's nasty cold. This calls for extreme medical measures! Dr. Muffin to the rescue! After waving her tail into his face several times, she got comfy and has been doing bedside guard duty all morning. He is clueless. Who said dogs were man's best friend?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Big Bore is enduring Day #2 of a miserable cold. He was sent home from work this morning, which didn't surprise me, but I was secretly hoping he'd get to stay so I would have some respite from his sneezing, nose blowing, moaning, deep sighing, and GERMS!!!!!!! Trying to cheer him up with a chuckle, I showed him the Family Circus cartoon in the newspaper. Little Jeffy is asking his mom why he can only "breave" through one "nozzle." I thought it was hilarious. Big Bore groaned and rolled over in bed. To make up for my insensitivity, I took the trash bin out to the curb--one of his weekly chores. Never say I lack compassion.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Monday was such a warm, beautiful Kansas winter day--how could it change so quickly? Last night I awakened to flashes and rumbling--and they weren't my bodily functions. How could we be having a thunderstorm in February? It rained and rained and rained, let up a bit during the day, and now it's raining again. The sump pump is in overdrive, as is my cabin fever. Twice today, I pretended it was summer and ate ice cream. Perhaps tomorrow I will put on my swimsuit, drive down to the swimming pool, and sigh.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Awhile ago, a former student called to ask if he could come over tonight and brainstorm ideas for the Comp. II class he is taking at the nearby community college, on-line. I got him through Comp. I last semester, so bring it on, baby!! This time, however, he doesn't know that I have an ulterior motive. I bought a new All-in-One printer/scanner today and...drum roll...he's going to get to set it up for me. Of course, he doesn't know this yet, but I'm sure we can strike a deal!!! As long as he gets home in time for the KU basketball game, everyone will be happy. Wish us luck!

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Wonder why the NFL chose Tom Petty to be the halftime entertainment for this year's Super Bowl? He a sang a few of his mellow oldies and was off the stage before you could say, "Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake starring in Nipple Gate." Now, don't get me wrong. Tom's okay, other than the fact that he is an avid hunter who enjoys killing Bambi types. But, good grief, he's almost as old as I am! Maybe that's why he was selected. The NFL didn't want any more nipples to detract from the football game like last year. Just Tom and his innocent guitar and a few of the Heartbreakers behaving themselves in the background. Ah, the times they are a changin'.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


My personal most mortifying moment in history was when I tried out for 7th grade cheerleader. I should have known better to even remotely think that I was cheerleader material. Only three girls would be elected, out of about thirty who were trying out, and I came nowhere near possessing the Three C's of Cheerleading---cuteness, coordination, and cartwheeling. I did, however, have a loud mouth and lots of energy, so in my pathetic 13-year-old mind I met the qualifications.

I was put in a group of three other girls, and we were assigned to do the following cheer:


It was the absolute worst!!! How could we do a cheer that had the word BUST in it? All the boys would laugh. Worse yet, we had to worry about keeping our own busts from flying under our shirts every time we did the dramatic B-U-S-T BUST 'EM leap. But I couldn't let that stop my enthusiasm for trying out. I just HAD to get elected cheerleader. It would be my key to popularity and boyfriends for the remainder of my life.

Well, to make a long story short, three cute, coordinated, cart-wheeling blondes were elected cheerleaders from our class. I was relegated where I belonged all along--yelling with the Pep Club. I never again tried out for cheerleader--my tender ego couldn't handle sure defeat--but I found other talents to get me through high school. I was a swell speller. That counted for something.

Nowadays, girls in our local junior high school don't have to try out to be cheerleaders. They just show up for practices and they're IN. I suspect this policy has a great educational benefit: it eliminates all the busted hopes of many insecure 7th grade losers so they can concentrate more on their popularity and boyfriends.