Thursday, December 31, 2009


Yesterday I had an appointment with a new family physician, Dr. Bishop, also known as my 6-year-old great niece Maddie. Santa brought her a physician’s kit, and after earning a medical degree in record time, she set up her home office. I was her third patient of the day. She checked me in and was ready to hear my complaint.

“I have a broken toe,” I told Dr. B., who was professionally dressed in her blue scrub top and shorts.

“Well, let’s take a look.” She removed my fuzzy sock and did about a 3-second double take. I wasn’t like her other patients of the day with their make-believe maladies. I really DID have a sorry looking toe. She quickly regained her composure and began gently pressing on the toe.

“Does this hurt?”

“Oh, yes, yes, Dr. Bishop! Can you fix it?”

“We will need to wrap it up,” she concluded, quite businesslike. She took an Ace bandage to my toe, but when it proved cumbersome, her nurse, AKA: Mom, advised her to wrap the entire foot.

That done, and quite nicely I might add, the doctor gave me a shot or two or three in the arm and then gave me orders.

“Now, you must rest your toe tonight. The next two days you may jog, then the next day after that you should rest again.” She repeated the instructions about 10 times and then checked for my understanding by making me repeat them back to her.

“If your toe still hurts after that, call 9-1-1. Or you may call me at 232.…”

I enjoyed my visit to Dr. Bishop’s office very much. I didn’t have to wait in the lobby for an hour and I didn’t have to be humiliated and shocked by getting on the scales to be weighed before the doctor would see me. And the best thing about it: when I asked how much I owed her, she said, “There is no charge.” Now, that’s my kind of medical care--a FREE clinic! I can’t wait to return for my follow-up.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Late last night, from 10:15 PM to 12:30 AM to be exact, I drove 65 miles from the big city to my home---in a snowfall. Yes, it took The Flaming Bore 2 hours and 15 minutes to go 65 miles because I was scared I was going to slide off into oblivion and never be seen again until after the meltdown. Making it worse, I couldn't find my glasses--just my sunglasses I'd used earlier in the day. My advice: don't wear sunglasses after dark. In a snowstorm. When it's foggy out. I was better off just jamming my own nearsighted eyeballs against the windshield.

I had a passenger in this ordeal--my great nephew Bo, age 16, who slept through the first half of the drive. That's how confident he was that his weather-challenged dear auntie could deal with any peril that came my way. I forced him to stay awake during the last stretch through the Flint Hills and look for the white line on his side of the highway shoulder because I was having a heckuva time finding it--and any semblance of a pathway, for that matter. As we snailed our way down the hills, my hands formed a white-knuckle grip around the steering wheel and I prayed for Divine intervention.

We finally staggered into the driveway over two hours after starting our little Nightmare on Highway 54. "Eureka! We have found it!" I'll tell you why this time of year is called a "Winter Wonderland." You'll wonder how in the hell you ever made it home!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Big Bore and I refuse to become Twitter-ers on the computer, but we don't mind having REAL twitter-ers hanging out in the yard. We have plenty of feeders around, homemade and store-bought, that he keeps filled with sunflower seeds and other bird-type cuisine. Here is a friendly Golden Finch or two having Christmas dinner. And, yes, I stayed inside to take this picture. Being out in the cold weather is truly for the birds.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Since the winds died down somewhat and the temperature soared way up to 20 degrees, Big Bore went outside this morning to remove some snow drifting in the driveway. I, of course, continued to remain inside. When he saw me "reverse window peeping" at him working, I got a big shovel full of snow in my well-protected face. I need to find more willing subjects for my camera lens.

Friday, December 25, 2009


We didn't do much on this Christmas Day, 2009. The weather was frightful--cold, windy, and snowy--so we cancelled plans to venture to Pittsburg and stayed inside. We exchanged Christmas cards, making sure to convey kind words to each other, and frittered the day away watching television and eating Big Bore's Fried Taters.

I took this picture of our spruce tree from the warmth of the bedroom, although I did dare to go outside a few times on the front porch, bundled in a blanket, looking for the big city newspaper. No luck. Somehow I went an entire day without Sudoku or the other puzzles in the paper that never arrived. Amazing.

We got the cats six orange ping-pong balls for Christmas. They are already missing in action--not the cats, but the balls. I figure I'll find one in the middle of the night when I'm sleepwalking to the bathroom, fall flat, and break another toe or two.

No dreaming of a white Christmas for me. I'm dreaming of a heat wave.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It's official. Big Bore has become a Gleek. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it's a person who is crazy for the TV show Glee, about the escapades of a high school glee club and those who love and despise the students who are in it. I am to blame for his Gleekiness, as I watched the show first and he sort of got lured into viewership because he likes the music.

So, how do I know BB is a Grade A Gleek? Well, tonight he was watching Glee--and it was a rerun we'd seen before. Moreover, when the glee club finished singing Queen's "Somebody to Love," he applauded--not just a polite clap-clap, but a hearty, big-time ovation. He loved it. Even the second time around. So did I, but my big left toe was throbbing, so I didn't feel quite so enthusiastic. (By the way, the big toe clip art from a few days ago has been replaced by the real broken thing. I dare you to look at it without saying, "Ouch!" Or, perhaps, "Yuck!" is a better description.)

But back to Glee. I've read somewhere that the average Gleek is female and 11 years old. I'm keeping that piece of information from Big Bore. He has enough problems to cope with as it is--living with me being right up there high on the list.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Christmas 1953, Big Sis was still playing with dolls at age 10; The Flaming Bore, age 4, cashed in with a doll and teddy bear; and Santa brought Beans, 7, a nifty pair of ear muffs. Didn't take much to make him happy in those days.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Last night I made a booboo. I have a clunky old VCR, over 20 years old, on a top shelf in my walk-in closet, and when I was scrounging around looking for something, the recorder fell onto my left big toe, covered only by a sock. On the Flaming Bore Pain Scale, with 1 being a hangnail and 10 being an oversized kidney stone ripping into my gut, this one ranked about an 8. The screaming and carrying on was so loud that it awakened Big Bore, who came dashing into the scene of the accident. He’d also heard the thud of the VCR and thought I’d fallen.

“I’ve broken my big toe!!!” I wailed and explained what happened, while limping into the living room. “Get me the bag of frozen peas, quick!!”

He hustled to get the cold veggie pack for me.

“Here. Prop up your foot.”

I continued moaning--loudly, in my best dramatic flair, working it for all I could. “Ouchy! Ouchy! It hurts!” We removed the sock to make a direct application of the ice--and I was disappointed. The toe was red and purple, but it didn’t look nearly as badly as it felt. I was expecting it to be a bloody pulp flattened into a “toe pancake.” So, I elevated and iced and turned down my suffering a few notches.

The damned toe is still throbbing this morning, but I’ve found an old pair of Nike leather sandals that will work in case regular shoes don’t fit, and I’m ready to drag myself out into the world. If I don’t put on a happy face, BB says he’ll just put me out of my misery--so I have to suck it up, swallow a bunch of pain pills, and get with the program. They shoot horses, don’t they?

Friday, December 18, 2009


Violins, please! Grab your Kleenex! “Like sands through the hourglass….” Back in the fall of 1967, when I was a freshman in college, I got hooked on a silly soap opera called Days of Our Lives. It seemed like half the gals in Tanner Hall would congregate in the dorm basement TV room at 1 PM to watch the shenanigans of the Horton family. Dr. Tom, the patriarch, was the chief physician at Salem General Hospital, and his wife, Alice, was the chief busybody in town. Their adult children, Mickey, Laura, and Bill, were always engaged in some caper of tragedian proportions, as were their grandchildren who eventually came along. This was in the time before VCRs and taping shows, so many of us would work our class schedules around Days. Earning a diploma was secondary to missing a single melodramatic minute of our favorite soap.

Christmastime was always special at the Horton household. Specifically, Tom and Alice would decorate their tree with ornaments bearing the name of each family member and then reveal some historic hysteria that had occurred in that person’s life once upon a time. Nothing like reliving trauma in order to whip up a little holiday cheer. I haven’t watched DOOL in over 25 years, and I think Big Sis, also once a rabid fan, gave up on it long ago but still tunes in to the annual “Let’s decorate the tree and tell a sob story” show.

Which leads to some of my Christmas present purchases in 1982. That year I had scrounged through a bunch of el-cheapo mail order house catalogues, trying to find potential presents, and there they were! Personalized glass ornaments for sale! What a great gift this would be for Sis, her husband, and two kids! I quickly ordered her family and myself what has come to be known as the Days of Our Lives Christmas Balls. As each of her five grandkids has come along, another personalized ball has been added to the tree--ho-ho-homemade ones that I craft myself, although they aren’t as jazzy as the original style, which I can no longer find for sale. None have ever broken. Amazing.

When I was talking with Big Sis on the phone last night, she mentioned that the younger grandkids have recently been having fun identifying the family names on her DOOL Christmas ornaments. Maddie is reading now, and Boomer assumes that every ornament with a “B” is his. In the name of tradition, I’ve recently made a new one for 4-month-old baby William, which will be ceremoniously added to the tree next week. Here’s hoping there’s no horrific tale of his conception or delivery to go along with it, a la Tom and Alice. --May all the days of your life be happy ones, little William.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Yesterday I went to Mama Bore’s house to continue my cleaning quest, and, when I felt like I was ready to drop, I bopped over to the home of one of my BFFs to recover with coffee and conversation. And lo and behold, another BFF was in town and arrived shortly after I did. I have known Nancy Sue and Cheryl for over 54 years. Actually Nancy Sue and I initially became acquainted in a hospital nursery when she was six days old, but that doesn’t count. Anyone who has known me since first grade and still speaks to me qualifies as a Best Friend Forever.

Growing up, Nancy Sue lived a block away--half a block if we cut through the alley and the Monicals’ yard. Cheryl was two blocks on down across the highway. There was a vacant lot next to her house that was ideal for various kid activities, and her garage was where I learned the finer art of that classic game, Spin the Bottle, one rainy day. Nancy Sue had a real playhouse in her backyard, and next to it was a fine tree for climbing. My house was across the street from the football stadium. If we weren’t in my bedroom with a telescope watching the guys, we were conveniently out in the backyard waiting for them to come by.

On Monday I am going to the big city, and guess what?! I’m gonna have lunch with two more BFFs!! That’s right. Since first grade I have also been pals with Rat and Maggie. Rat lives in Vermont now, but we still try to meet up when he’s back in the Midwest because together we will be forever linked by surviving the Big Hideous Sledding Accident of 1955. Maggie didn’t live in my neighborhood, but we still shared the same wacky, wicked sense of humor. We spent most of sixth grade carrying a heavy-duty crush for a guy who was a senior. We’d sit on the school steps every morning waiting for him to drop off the little sister of his blonde bombshell girlfriend, who was always cozied up next to him in his cool black Ford Fairlane, just so we could get a glimpse. Like we stood a chance--or would even know what to do if we had one. Sigh.

I probably have a dozen First Grade BFFs I’m still in touch with, along with a number of other pals from junior high and high school. Big Bore, who grew up in the city, envies my small town roots and longtime friendships. And for good reason. If you want to make yourself feel better physically and mentally and emotionally and every other way, just try being with a BFF.

(P.S.--That's Nancy Sue with her eyes closed at the far left. Cheryl is three girls over with the curls hanging over her forehead, and Maggie, with pigtails, is next to her. I'm the closed-mouth one three girls over in the jumper. Rat is the big smiler--far right, middle row. That nice smooth forehead of his was probably never the same after our sledding accident.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Big Bore is a lover of most things feathered, so recently he crafted some little houses for his bird friends out of pieces of used wood that were in the garage. He would much rather be outside puttering around than hibernating with me, where the air is warm and full of cat fuzz.

He hung this wren hotel on our little Golden Raintree, which Mama Bore gave me about three years ago when it was the size of a 12-inch high toothpick. We nursed it along in a pot for a year and then transplanted it in the backyard, where it is starting to look like an actual tree, at least it was back in October when the yard was alive with color.

Now, as everyone knows, I hate cold weather. On days like today (5 degrees when I awakened) I do my best to stay inside and look at the messes I need to rearrange. I did, however, try doing some yard work this morning and lasted about 30 seconds, tops, before retreating back indoors, eyes dripping. It’s back to cleaning up after Big Bore and the cats. No fun, but at least I’m not in danger of turning into a human ice sculpture. Sporadically I take breaks to check my email and count down the days until spring, although it’s not even officially winter yet. We have ninety-five
days to go. The birds and I hope time flies.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Fred Astaire glided across my TV late last night in Holiday Inn. When I was a kid, I always planned to have a boyfriend who was light on his feet like Fred. We’d go to dances and part the crowds with our dazzling display of elegant moves. Applause, applause!

The only good thing about my ability to do a graceful waltz, however, was that all my friends were equally as bad. Our idea of slow dancing at Teentown was this: girl puts her hands atop boy’s shoulders and boy puts his hands at sides of girl’s waist and then they both shuffle their feet in circles, trying all the while not to destroy the other’s toes. If they were more than “just friends,” the girl’s hands wrapped around the back of his neck and the boy’s hands slid behind her waist and then made clumsy attempts at butt cheek grabbing. The feet, however, stayed the same. No one ever stepped aside to watch any high school Freds and Gingers at Teentown. There were none.

Seeing Fred Astaire waltzing and tapping across my TV screen last night was such a rush. He looked so elegant. His partner was long-limbed, with a 20-inch waist, and she flowed into his arms. Oh, how I long for the day when a dapper, Fred-like kind of guy taps me on the shoulder and murmurs those sweet words I’ve been longing to hear for decades. “May I have this dance?” He sweeps me off my size 10 tennis shoes and we go fluttering away to the admiration of all those around us. No butt groping required to get me feeling light-footed or light-headed with Sir Astaire.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The Bore family does not have a traditional Christmas tree. Cats and Christmas trees do not mix well. Instead, we have some sort of tree plant decorated with plastic red pepper lights and red ball ornaments. We go all out. The base of the plant has Arkansas white rocks around it to prevent the cats from mistaking it for a dumping ground, if you know what I mean. Muffin has already rebelled by making her deposits on the floor around it. She is a clever one, that Muffin.

I got this whatever-you-call-it plant/tree about two years ago from a friend. It was a “rescue.” Big Bore has re-potted it a few times, supporting its fragile branches around a piece of wood. It thrives outdoors in warmer weather, but hibernating inside during the winter months makes it droopy and sad. Sort of like me. The only Christmas present I want to find beneath my tree is spring.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last night Big Bore and I settled down in the living room to watch basketball on TV, KU versus Radford. Here’s how the game started:

BB: Where is Radford?

Me: It’s where Richie Bay teaches.

BB: Who’s Richie Bay?

Me: He’s my old hippie friend from college who’s now an art professor.

BB: Name doesn’t strike a bell.

Me: He’s the silk screened green face on that old T-shirt I wear when I’m painting.

BB: Oh, okay, I know who you mean. So where is Radford?

Me: It’s two hours from where Maureen lives. (He knows Dr. Maureen but he’s never been to her North Carolina home.)

BB: Does she live on the coast?

Me: No, the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest part of the state.

BB: So, where is Radford? (He’s trying to stay patient with me.)

Me: Virginia. Southwest part.

BB: Thank-you.

I think our conversations would be much easier on Big Bore if I’d just get right to the point, but it’s too much fun to string him along.

P.S. KU won!!!! Big! No question about it!

Monday, December 7, 2009


We went to Botanica in Wichita Saturday night to see the Christmas lights. We'd heard about how pretty they are but had never gone before, so we hopped on the reindeer sleigh and went for a ride. The above picture was taken at the entry to the gardens. The trees below were somehow placed in the pond, thus the nice reflection.

This next picture is at Candy Cane Lane. When I was at this enclosed area in October, it was filled with butterflies and pansies.

There are a bunch of big poinsettias like this next one in the Shakespeare Garden. See the statue in the background? I don't know who it is supposed to be. Certainly not Lady Macbeth.

We end our tour at the arbor, strung with blue, purple, and green lights that make it look like bunches of grapes. It's actually a lot cooler in person. Behind it was a light show that blinked on and off to some Manheim Steamroller Christmas selections. Our favorite was a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night." When it finished, Big Bore asked me if I had any little tears in my eyes, because he sure did. Yep. And it wasn't from the cold.

If you live in the area and have never been to Botanica at Christmas time, I hope you will have time to stop by. This weekend will be its last viewing for the season. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Yesterday as Big Bore and I were leaving Pet Co. in the big city with our new and improved cat litter pans, we both thought we were hallucinating. In the parking lot approaching the store was a person, gender uncertain, with the following get-up: long, flowing platinum hair, Elton John glasses, white fur stole, white hot pants cut up to the butt cheeks, black fishnet stockings over legs up to the eyebrows, and shiny gold calf-length boots with high heels. BB and I both did a double take, as did the man following us. BB started chuckling. She/he then turned and looked at the single man before entering the store. He looked away and hustled on to his truck. Yikes!

“What the hell was that?” BB asked. “A cross dresser?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s 38 degrees out and no matter if you’re female or male, it’s too cold to be prancing around in hot pants. Even if you‘re buying pet stuff.” We were both dressed in two layers of winterwear.

Big Bore thought she/he was probably just fishing for a hookup of a sexual kind.

“At a pet store?” I asked.
"Well, this IS Wichita," he said.

Fortunately, we were too hungry to return inside the store to check out the hot pants further. I don’t profess to understand the world of high fashion. Or low fashion, whatever the case may be. I don’t wanna know. Not even a nibble.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Muffin, our diva cat, has this “thing” about loving to ride with me on my recumbent bike. Often when she hears me pedaling, she dashes into the living room and hops up into my lap. Then she rubs all over my face, demanding kisses. I’ve given up trying to figure out what this means in her language. I don’t think there’s an animal behavior book that has a chapter on exercise-biking cats. She rides until I get tired and cruise to a halt. Sometimes when I'm not on the bike, Muffin will just sit on it and wait for me--"Hey, tubby person, get your butt over here and let's go for a ride!"

Friday, December 4, 2009


I don’t suppose I need to point out to you the fact that Christmas movies started showing up on TV the day after Halloween, but I really don’t mind. ‘Tis the season to be jolly should be year-round and not just limited to December. We watched our first Christmas movie of the year a few nights ago--National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I didn’t laugh at it as much as I did the first time around in a Wichita movie theater 20 years ago, but it was still amusing at times. I tried watching Polar Express last night but couldn't stay interested in it, even though a creepily-animated Tom Hanks was in it.

I am partial to A Christmas Story. It’s the one with the lovable Ralphie and his quest to have Santa bring him a Red Ryder b-b gun. Starting on Christmas Eve, it runs for 24 hours on TBS, and you can bet I’ll be watching and LMAO at Ralphie’s escapades, his little brother Randy’s goofiness, their father’s groveling, and their mother’s ditzy-doodle exasperation with them all. I NEVER get tired of seeing this movie. There are too many hilarious moments to name just one, but one of them is when the boys go to a department store to talk to Santa and when it’s their turn they freak out. Probably doesn’t help that Santa is buzzed on booze and bitchy-tired of the job. Another funny scene is when Dad wins a prize that comes to the house in a big box marked “FRAGILE” and he pronounces it “FRA-GEE-LAY,” thinking it’s an Italian import. --See, I told you I couldn’t stop at giving just ONE hilarious moment in the movie.

I can’t wait until Christmas Eve. Seeing Ralphie once again is the best present of them all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


My longtime pal Rick sent me a nice email yesterday about who is most important in the world. It’s not the rich and famous but those who make an impact on your life. The email said few people remember the names of the Nobel Prize winners, or the richest people in the world, or the last five Miss Americas, etc. True.

There was a time, however, many decades ago, when I could recite the names of more than five Miss Americas. I would get so excited about the big pageant in Atlantic City that I would pretend to be a judge and keep a score card. Mama Bore would watch the TV show with me, knowing full well that I, her no-talent, buck-toothed third child, would never achieve the ideal status of a Miss America or wear any type of crown for that matter. But she never rubbed it in.

Years later, in my twenties, I found a kindred Miss America-viewing spirit in the Library Lady. By then, though, it was more for kicks than for any admiration. At the time, even the Miss Kansas pageant was televised. I think we quit watching after one contestant’s grand finale to her talent presentation was doing the splits atop two kitchen chairs. Now, you might ask, “How does a human being do this?” Well, she started by having the backs of the chairs close together, balanced on the tops, then gradually spread her legs until she landed into something that was well beyond splits. She still had a smile on her face, but Library Lady and I were grimacing for weeks afterward.

I think the Miss America pageant started going downhill when host Bert Parks was canned. That “There She Goes” song just wasn’t the same after he was pushed out. It also didn’t help that a few winners had to give up their crown due to having nude photos in their resumes, shamey shame. The major TV networks dropped the show and it ended up lost somewhere on cable. I haven’t watched it in over 20 years. So, Rick is right. Being a Miss America is nothing in the grand scheme of life.

Mama Bore still considers me her favorite middle child, my cats adore the hand that feeds them and cleans their messes, and Big Bore thinks I’m the hottest 60-year-old on the block. One can’t ask for more.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


In the news recently was an article about the alarming increase in Type 2 diabetes in children, which apparently is related to an increase in childhood obesity. I’m no medical researcher, but I think these problems are probably due to another increase--in hours played on Xbox-360. Kids gotta have their video games! Sedentary lifestyles.

I’m glad I was never tempted by all these sit-down gadgets and gizmos when I was a kid. Mama Bore’s constant mantra was: “Go outside and play.” In other words, “Get out of my hair!” When I was underfoot, I just made more messes for her to clean up, so it was much easier for her if I was outdoors.

I took her orders to heart. Our big backyard was a playground for softball, hide-n-seek, and shadow tag. The front yard driveway and sidewalk were used for games like hopscotch, lemonade (what‘s your trade?), mother may I, and jacks. The neighbor boys had some trees in their yard that were great for climbing. And, of course, I had a bike--one speed only. I became excellent at all these outdoor activities because I got lots of practice. Have I ever learned how to correctly make a bed and iron clothes? Well, no.

I know little kids still like to play outside because when I pass a school at recess time I always see them running around having a blast. So, there is hope. Woe will be the day when recesses are idly spent playing computer games, fingers madly twitching, eyes glazed.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Big Sis and I stayed up Thanksgiving night yippety yapping and somewhere along the line of conversation we started talking about grade school. We had the same 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Rankin, and we started comparing events when we were 6 years old, she in 1949; me in 1955.

“Did you have a rhythm band?” Sis asked.

“Oh, yes, and I always wanted to play the water whistle but I never got to. I was a tambourine. Shake, shake, shake, slap. What’s the fun in that?“ I wanted to run out in the hall to the water fountain and fill up a whistle and make a mess on the floor, which was probably the reason I wasn’t selected to be a water whistle. Too sloppy.

“That’s better than what I had,” Sis said. “I played the jingle bells and all I did was shake my wrist.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s right. The bells were worn on a stretchy bracelet.”

“I wanted to play the triangle,” she said.

Life is filled with little disappointments. That's a lesson to be learned in first grade. There were also sticks and blocks in the band, so it could have been worse for us.

Mrs. Rankin played piano accompaniment for the rhythm band The piano was in the northeast corner of the room. We rhythm makers stood to her right.

“She was a pretty good pianist,” Sis said. I’ll say. Mrs. Rankin could play it, sing, and direct 30 hopeless musicians all at the same time.

“Do you remember the song we did?” Sis asked.

“I sure do. Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing!” We both said it at the same time and laughed.

Those first grade memories are like music to our ears--even if somewhat out of tune.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


When I need some top-notch dessert decorating done, I call on my great niece and nephew, Maddie and Boomer. They jazzed up my Thanksgiving Day sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. Mmm good. The pretty pink cast has been removed from Maddie's broken left arm, so she was able to operate in full force. Their mom tied on some aprons, and Maddie wore her pipe cleaner headdress to complete her kitchen attire. Cookie decorators must be well dressed for the occasion.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I stayed up late last night to watch one of those old black and white movies on TCM--Dark Passage, starring Bogie and Bacall--and I’ve got to say that this flick has the most implausible, crazily impossible plot that I’ve ever witnessed. And, of course, I couldn’t push myself away from the TV set and just go on to bed. No, I had to keep wasting my time and watching because the coincidences are so ridiculous.

Bogie, wrongly accused of murdering his wife, busts out of San Quentin, and just happens to be picked up by a rich artsy chick, Bacall, who thinks he’s innocent because her father died in prison, victim of a similar bum rap. Later that night, Bogie is next picked up by the kindest taxi driver in San Francisco who is tight with a plastic surgeon type who will transform the escapee’s face at 3 AM--for two hundred dollars. I’m not going to explain anymore of the plot because, for once, I’m wordless. Let’s just say it involves blackmail and a few more deaths, accidental and otherwise.

Anyway, the totally funny thing is that right after Bogie accused the real murderer and she fell out of a 7th story apartment window, a climax of all climaxes, I dozed off for a few minutes!! Just long enough to miss the entire resolution. I woke up to the TCM host wrapping it all up and introducing the next movie!

Of course, I had to rush on to the Internet to see how the movie ended. How is Bogie going to get out of this jammiest of jams? In Peru, of course, drinking cocktails with Bacall. The end. They don’t make movies like that anymore. ….And for that I am thankful.

Monday, November 23, 2009


One of my latest ridiculous guilty pleasures on TV is “Leave it to Lamas,” Sundays nights, E-Network. I started watching it because almost 30 years ago I had a crush on Lorenzo Lamas, who was sashaying his hot body as Lance Cumson (how did that name ever pass the TV censors?) on “Falcon Crest.”

“Leave it to Lamas” mainly focuses, however, on his dimwit bleached-blonde daughter, Shayne, although Lorenzo pops in every episode to dispense Ward Cleaver words of wisdom to two of his six children--back to that later.

Shayne goes about Hollywood shopping and getting manicures with her younger, half-sister Dakota, brunette. They share the same mother, Michelle, who appears to have overdosed on collagen, breast enhancement, and possibly some drugs--I’m not sure about the latter. Maybe she just naturally looks like she’s been on a seven-day binge.

Michelle and Lorenzo have another offspring on the show, AJ, who mainly scowls, smokes cigarettes, and lies around the house. Wally Cleaver he isn’t. More like Eddie Haskell on downers. He is rumored to have once had an affair with Lorenzo’s fourth wife, now ex-wife, Shauna, a Playboy has-been who looks to have O.D’d on more bleach, collagen, and breast implants than Shayne and Michelle put together. Nevertheless, having once both romanced the well-endowed Shauna, Lorenzo and AJ have a strained father-son relationship.

Since I’m mainly interested in Lorenzo giving advice to his two spoiled brats, I’ve continued to watch the show. I have to give him credit. He has managed to keep his rockin’ hot body after all these years and has not turned into mashed potatoes like most of the men over 50. He even still has his flowing locks.

Somewhere along the line, however, Lorenzo has turned into a biker boy from the hood. He always has a bandana wrapped around his head, struts about in leather biker pants with a chain hanging out of a pocket, leather V-neck cut shirts, and he sports an earring or two. He still has a legitimate career, however, making appearances at biker shows, talking about his life at nightclub gigs, and starring in B movies. Maybe C and D movies is more like it. I don’t know. Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus doesn’t exactly sound like A material. His biggest fan is daddy’s little girl Shayne. While on one of her shopping sprees, she and her little doggie Maddie take time out to try to get Lorenzo a star on Hollywood’s Walk-of-Fame. How sweet.

Lorenzo’s bulk of sage advice goes to the lackadaisical AJ. Last night daddy talked him into starting to pay back the 8 grand he’s owed his granny for a few years. A noble gesture, although one gets the impression that sonny boy is only doing it because the camera is rolling and because the money is actually from the allowance he likely gets from this reality show. Dad also makes AJ include a sweet little note with the cash. When Lorenzo flies off to New York to give the envelope to his mother at her birthday party, he acts like it’s some big surprise. “I don’t know what’s in here, but AJ wants you to have it.”

Meanwhile, Shayne shows up at Granny’s house, failing to tell Lorenzo that Dakota and she trashed their New York City hotel suite the night before with pillow feathers and champagne. Maybe that will be the topic for another episode--after Lorenzo gets the bill.

I have some advice for Lorenzo: quit marrying bimbos and having kids. Get on one of your Harleys, head for the hills in your tight leather threads and chains, and, LEAVE!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Big Bore and I headed out to Cross Timbers State Park for some hiking yesterday afternoon. The first trail we walked was our favorite, Woodson Cove, which we re-marked in June as volunteers for the park. We decided to walk the loop in the opposite direction than what we’ve always taken before, and I became totally discombobulated. I was also thrown by all the crunchy leaves--mostly white and red oak--that covered the pathway.

If you’ll look closely to the right behind BB you’ll see two of the blue marks we left five months ago. Going on a hike with him is always an adventure because he is constantly stopping to point out what I would normally miss: signs of deer and other wildlife, holes in trees, bird feathers, nuts, etc. Even the smallest of berries will grab his attention and admiration. He has a special appreciation for the beauty in the outdoors--except for snakes and spiders and poison ivy and skunks.

About all I ever look for are unusual rocks, so I tried getting more involved in our recent nature hike by asking gripping, relevant questions, as in:

“What would you do if all the sudden an elephant came stomping through the woods?

“I’d be surprised, that’s for sure,” answered BB.

“What about a giraffe?” I asked.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said, already getting annoyed with me.

“What would you do if a dinosaur started chasing you?”

“You’re goofy.”

I think I’m going to have to work on my line of questions before our next outing or he’s going to ditch me in the wilds with two quick words: “Get lost!”

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The cute little Cub Scout down the street came by last night to peddle the latest fundraiser. I selected something decadent with caramel popcorn, almonds, cashews, and pecans. I’m taking bets if it will last beyond a day once it is delivered to Casa de la Flaming Bore next month. I started salivating just looking at the order form. After we talked business we talked cats, since Muffin, our blonde, blue-eyed diva, was making circles around his ankles. He fell for it and began petting her and talking to her.

“You wanna cat?” I asked.

His dad laughed. “We have plenty.”

“How many do you have?” I asked the cute cub.

“Five. One inside and four outdoors.”

“Yikes! Never mind. That’s enough.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that St. Nicholas Street, our street, has been identified as a safe haven drop-off spot for all things feline in our town. At six blocks long, it has become a cat magnet. My theory is that the roaming fuzz balls see the word “St. Nicholas” and think Santa Claus, gifts, and good cheer. And, after all, isn’t St. Nicholas the patron saint of cats? Hmmmm. I think so :)

If you’re a homeless cat, or if you’re a cat shopping for a better home than what you have, or if you’re just a good scout selling sweet treats, come on over. This is Easy Street.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


(Profanity Alert! Warning: Do not read if you are offended by spewing profanity, even though it’s somewhat censored.)

If you want to bring out the absolute worst in me, put me in front of a TV set when KU basketball is on the air. My potty mouth got a head start last night when the game, scheduled to start at 9 PM, was put on hold because the preceding Michigan State-Gonzaga game on ESPN wasn’t over. In fact, it was one of those nail-chewing, back-and-forth contests where the last three minutes stretch out for about 20, what with fouls and time-outs.

“Sonuvabitch,” I moaned. “We’re going to miss the start of the KU game.”

“If you’re going to get started on one of your swearing binges, Critter and I are going to bed,” Big Bore announced.

“Well, it pisses me off that I’m not going to see all the game. Hell, this other game could go on for another half hour. If it’s tied after regulation play, I’m really going to be steamed.”

“Calm down. All your whining isn’t going to get KU on TV any sooner.”

Okay, so I shut up, sort of, until KU and Memphis got on the screen, about 7 minutes into play. The score was closer than I wanted it to be, every KU player but Cole Aldrich was in a slump, and it wasn’t long before the air in the living room turned blue.

“What the f--- are you doing?” “Well, f---!” “Get the f---ing ball!” You catch my drift?

“It must be the German in you. You are a German monster!” Big Bore said to me at some point mid-f---. Would you talk like that if you were at the game?”

“No, but I’m in my house and I can say anything I want.”

“Fraulein Monster,” BB said. “That’s what you are.”

Ignoring him, I rambled on. “I wish that f---ing Dick Vitale would shut up,” I said about my least favorite sports commentator of all time.

“Is he the one who sounds like Yogi Bear?” BB asked.

“Yeah, he just keeps on yapping.”

“Oh, just tune him out,” BB suggested.

“Hey, maybe that’s what you should do with me-tune me out,” I said and then turned my attention back to the game. “Who’s guarding that guy? Sh--!”

“Goodnight, Fraulein,” BB said at halftime.

Damn! It’s no f---ing fun watching a KU basketball game by myself and not having BB around to annoy!

(P.S. KU won, by two points. Too f---ing close!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


A brief drive along the edge of town yesterday was a reminder why I would never want to be a cow. Cows have it bad--very bad. They have to remain outside and tolerate the weather, no matter how cold and wet and crappy it may be. Many of them end up on someone's plate--anything from a hamburger to a filet mignon. And, worst of all, they have huge hips! In India, cows are sacred. In our country, they are just herded into the slaughterhouse. Cows get no respect. Woe is the life that is spent in a frigid field sadly waiting to become a menu selection at McDonald's.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Today's blog title is borrowed from this morning's newspaper. The picture comes from my backyard. I'd say someone at the weather bureau made a tiny miscalculation!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Last night, as I was driving home from the big city, the urge to pee kicked in. Damn that Diet Coke from Quik Trip. Damn the coffee at Border’s. Damn all the water I drank at home before I left because the doctor says fluids will help to prevent any more kidney stones. Here I was between El Dorado and Eureka having to pee so badly I could practically taste it.

Now, those of you who know this stretch of highway might be saying, “Hey, Pee Head, there’s a rest stop about 10 miles east of El Dorado. Just go empty your bulging bladder there.” But I quit stopping at this particular place at night after a blood-curdling incident about two years ago when I pulled over to throw away some leftover Taco Bell and a cat leaped out of the trash receptacle just as my hand was going in, which almost scared the liver out of me--and the cat. The rest stop is poorly lit and you never know what’s lurking behind a bush waiting for some pathetic woman traveling alone with a pee urge.

So, I would forge ahead. I could do this. When I was a teacher, I had trained myself to “hold it in” for long periods of time since leaving 15-20 teenagers alone, unsupervised in a classroom, was against the rules--and rightly so. I wasn’t going to risk chaos just to relieve myself. --Onward to Eureka. If I got really desperate, I would pull over on a side road, grab the roll of Charmin in the backseat, and hope that no friendly deer or coyotes were nearby.

I made it down Cattleman’s Hill, then Reece Hill--nine miles to home. I began working out the math in my head. Let’s see, at 70 miles per hour until I reached the city limits, I could maybe be in the bathroom in less than ten minutes. I could probably do it. And if worse came to worse, I could stop at the ALCO at the edge of town. No, that wouldn’t work. Once I got out of the car, I’d probably start to gush and I’d have to run through the parking lot and in the store with my fingers plugged between my legs, and that would not be good. I’d keep going.

Past ALCO, over the bridge, into the city limits. Aaaaah! Then, boom! My car tires go over every damned rut and pothole that greets drivers into town. Crap! Hold it in, hold it in. I can do it. One more minute, one more minute. “Sonuva”--I manage to perfectly hit the one and only stoplight in town!! Hold my breath. Hurry, hurry, hurry! On my mark, get set, eight and one-half more blocks to go!

Well, the end of the story is that I rolled into the driveway, dashed out of the car, threw open the back door of the house, stumbled over a few cats, and got to the bathroom just in the nick of time.

I think it would be a heckuva lot easier just to invest in a box of Depends.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Tuesday afternoon Big Bore and I went to one of my favorite places, the park and zoo in Independence. We were feeling quite guilty and full from having lunch at El Pueblito, so what better way to work off the calories than playing on the big ol’ train engine and talking to the critters.

Have you heard of the novel and subsequent movie called The Horse Whisperer, where this cowboy-type communicates with horses and solves all their problems? Well, I am a Monkey Whisperer. Actually, the noises I make are more in the range of smooching, but the monkeys seem to love it and we engage in meaningful conversation. Big Bore doesn’t find any of this the least bit odd because he likes howling at the peacocks and talking to the bears. No other human-looking primates were around, so we could be about as goofy as we cared to be.

“Hello, Monkeys! How are you doing today?” I ask three spider monkeys. One is bashful, one is a show-off on the bars, but the other is enamored by me. We start exchanging the smoochy sounds.

“You are so cute,” I tell my admirer. “Look at him, Jeff. He’s smooching back at me. Look, look.”

“I’m looking. He has something weird hanging out of his ass. What is that?”

“Geesh. I don’t know, but whatever it is it’s getting bigger." Yikes! Time to move on. We check out the various birds.

“Miss Swan, you have the prettiest white feathers,” I tell the one swimming after us in double time. “Sorry, we can’t feed you, sweetheart. Park rules. Bummer. Dive for some yummy algae, instead.”

Little Swayback Donkey from South America is in his manger and not feeling sociable today. I ask about his back and wish him a happy day, but he remains standoffish. Maybe the bears will be friendlier.

“You look lonely up there, Mr. Bear. What’s wrong?” BB asks the single bear we spot up a little hill, not at the stream down where we are. “He must be hungry and that’s where they feed him. --Come on down and see us.”

“He’s pacing. He probably wants out,” I say, using my best animal ESP. “Do you want out, Mr. Bear?”

Now I have no clue if this brown bear is male or female, but anything huge and hairy MUST be male. Right?

We ended our visit with a stop at the relic corkscrew slide. It’s been there LONG before I was little but it can still hold up to the biggest of kids, although BB passed on the idea. Not the Flaming Bore, however. I climbed up the ladder, which is still remarkably high, only to find a little puddle of water at the top. I accidentally made contact with it and splattered water that rolled all the way down the corkscrew.

“Oh, shoot!” I yelled to BB. “It’s all wet now!”

“Go ahead. Your sweats will mop it up!”

“But then when we go shopping, I’ll have a wet butt.”

“That beats having a Monkey Butt.”

Point well taken. Down I went. “Wheee!” Two-point landing. Body intact. Time to count my blessings and leave.

“Good-bye, you goofball monkeys! See you next time!”

“Good-bye,” BB and I said back to them.…..

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Boy Scout Trail at Petit Jean State Park is 12 miles long, so we only hiked a short portion of it. Big Bore was an Eagle Scout in another life, but his crickety body can no longer even earn a merit badge for proper saluting.

The Boy Scout Trailhead is adjacent to Davies Bridge, built in 1934. A father-son duo named Davies were the architect and engineer taking all the glory, while the poor lugs with the Civilian Conservation Corps did all the heavy duty. They must have done a good job because the bridge still supports traffic after 75 years.

Some shorter paths were more to our liking, Rock Trail and Bear Trail. Park pamphlets state that bears no longer roam the area, but I could swear I saw one between these rocks (below) waving at me. By the way, I call these Butt Crack Rocks. Use your imagination.

We hope to return to PJ State Park some day to take in the rest of the sights that we didn't have the time or energy to see this time around. Until then, this is The Flaming Bore wishing all your trails are happy ones.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The most popular hiking spot at Petit Jean State Park is Cedar Creek Falls Trail, a half-mile down a rocky pathway laid out by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934, then another half-mile following the creek to the 90-foot falls. Big Bore and I decided to ignore the health warning sign and forge ahead, and we were glad we did. We had soooooo much fun!!

Geologists guess-timate the canyon was carved out about 300 million years ago. I' m not sure how these geniuses take such measures of time, but the stone behind Big Bore in the next two pictures did have a Rock of Ages appearance.

The trail ends at a pool of water below the falls. Do not enter!! We were the earliest birds of the day, so we didn't have to share the area with anyone and could act as stupidly as we pleased. Which we did--mainly with our interpretation of what singing shouldn't sound like. The little gray ground squirrels were appalled at the noise and ran for peace and quiet.

We figured the trip back up to the trail head would consist of heavy breathing and achy legs, but it didn't. In fact, going up was easier than going down. Of course, that may have been because we stopped to talk to just about everyone we encountered, taking their pictures, giving them tips, etc. We also have to give credit to our trusty hiking sticks, which bring a new meaning to the song, "Lean on Me."

Cedar Creek Falls Trail is one of eight trails at Petit Jean State Park. Next up: scenes from some of the others.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Okay, what's going on here? First, my computer gets infected. Then, our AT&T home phone line goes bust, and now my Internet Service Provider is on the fritz. It's a conspiracy! Since I can't download my personal photos here at the library to show off more Arkansas pictures, I am going on Blog Hiatus Status until my home modem is behaving properly. It's the pits, Charlie Brown!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Big Bore and I had a blast during our quick trip to Petit Jean State Park in Central Arkansas earlier this week. The picture above shows the view of the valley as seen from the lodge breezeway. The locals pronounce the park, "Petty Gene," but we preferred our own Frenchy version: "pay-TEE zshawn." Oui, oui. Especially since the park got its name from a young French gal who explored the area centuries ago, posing as a guy. Long story.

The park overlooks the Arkansas River Valley. The locals pronounce that: "AR-kun-saw. We prefer: "Ar-KAN-zuz." The picture above is of some ancient non-French gal who was exploring the ledges of an overlook, while BB was hollering, "Don't you dare get any closer to the edge!"
Below is another picture of the view from the lodge. "Magnificent" or "Magnifique" --no matter where you are from.

Next up: our hike down to Cedar Creek Falls.