Wednesday, September 30, 2009


(Warning: Do not read if you think Sarah Palin is a political goddess.)

Well, we finally know what was really behind (former) Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's resignation last July. After swearing she had her state's best interest at heart, but saying she couldn't yet reveal her grand plans for the future, we now learn it has to do with BIG BUCKS. After her announcement, the crafty ex-guv apparently took off to California to "co-author" her bio and then went to New York City to sign an $11 million contract with Harper Publishers. Now we have arriving on bookshelves: Going Rogue: An American Life.

Well, if Mrs. Palin turns over her massive book earnings to the State of Alaska, then I'd say she really does have her beloved home's best interest at heart and more power to her. But, if she pockets that money, then shame on her. Of course, one only has to open the dictionary to find the definition of "rogue" to understand what possibly motivates her:

rogue--1. a dishonest person; scoundrel. 2. a playfully mischievous person; scamp. 3. a tramp or vagabond.

Take your pick.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I love watching "House Hunters" on HGTV, but I always get cracked up at how picky some of the hunters can be, usually women.

"There's only one sink in the master suite bathroom!" (Big frown.)

"We'll have to gut this (perfectly nice) kitchen and start from scratch." (God forbid if there aren't granite countertops and travertine tile flooring at 40 bucks a square foot.)

"No dishwasher!! That's just not acceptable!"

Somehow I have beaten the odds and managed to live to be 60 years old without ever owning a dishwasher, other than myself and whomever I happened to be living with at any given time. Now, I can see the sterilization value in having one, but I've just never lived in a place that had one or had the burning desire to rip up the kitchen to accommodate one. So, it's dishwater hands for the Flaming Bore.

I actually don't mind washing dishes all that much, except when Big Bore goes on a cooking spree and dirties up every pot and pan in the place. This tends to happen about three or four times a week at Casa de la Flaming Bore, in which case his own built-in wash, rinse, and dry cycles go into overdrive. He knows better than to ask me to wash dishes when he goes on his cooking binges. That's simply not acceptable.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Yesterday one of my former students had a Facebook entry about how ancient it made her feel to know that she’s older than some of the Kansas City Royals baseball players, one whose birth date was listed as 1986 on the stadium Jumbo-tron. She was a high school graduate in 1999, so she’s probably all of 28. She shouldn't feel so badly--I invented baseball!!! Okay, slight exaggeration, but I do remember when the baseball team in Kansas City wasn’t called the Royals but the Athletics.

When I was a grade school fan, I’d hop a train in Chanute with Big Sis and Beans and a bunch of other people. We’d get off at Union Station in downtown Kansas City, board a bus, and take a short drive to the Athletics’ ball park, also downtown, to see the local guys host the New York Yankees. This was in the late 1950s to early 1960s when the Yankees were the gods of all baseball and had won a bazillion World Series championships. Casey Stengel was their manager, and among the team heroes were Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Moose Skowron, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford. Oh, man, was I in heaven.

I have no clue how much the fare and ball tickets cost, but Mama Bore somehow made sure we kids got to go on this summer sojourn, and we always had a little extra for a program, hot dog, and souvenir. Decisions, decisions. What would I buy? One year it was a pennant; another year it was a mini baseball bat probably 12 inches long. It was my Beans Protector.

The summer of 1961, Mantle and his outfield teammate Maris were in a friendly race to try to become the new homerun king, hoping to surpass Babe Ruth’s long-standing record. "Sixty-one in '61" was constantly in the news. The Life magazine cover pictured above was on my bedroom wall, north side, and no matter where I lay on my bed I could swear Roger’s eyes were (sigh!) always gazing at me. I was all of 12 at the time. Now, that’s ancient history!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Today I'm making chocolate chip cookies to give to two sets of families who've recently moved into the neighborhood--provided I can keep them out of Big Bore's mouth--the cookies, not the neighbors. My special recipe is called Yearbook Staff Chocolate Chip Cookies because I would sometimes bake them as a reward for meeting deadlines when I was a teacher.

My cookies were frowned upon by certain powers-that-be at school because there was some archaic rule in the Student Handbook forbidding parties in the classroom. So, I argued semantics.
"We're not having a party. It's a reward for the kids getting their pages done on time."

"Don't you expect them to make their deadlines?"

"Yes, I do."

"Then they don't need to be rewarded."

Humbug. I forged ahead, figuring I'd be the first teacher in history who ever got fired for insubordination due to chocolate chip cookies.

But cookies were not the only treat upon which yearbook staffers dined. One year, probably 1997, we had a cinnamon roll contest. There were five entries and Dr. Jon, or maybe it was his mother, was declared the winner. Dr. Jon, although a lean athletic machine, loved to eat. In fact, his yearbook work box had more food in it than pages. I am proud to report he is a real doctor now, but I don't think he's specializing in nutrition.

Another year for St. Patrick's Day we had had a Green Reward. All treats had to be green, provided they were sweet and fattening. No spinach and broccoli allowed. There was lime sherbet punch, sugar cookies swirled in green frosting, green apple caramel suckers, mint chocolate ice cream--well, you get the picture.

I rued the day that Rockin' Robin graduated because she always brought my favorite snack to Reward Days--Rotelle Cheese Dip. Yummmmmmy! I missed RR and her dip so much that I decided to make it myself once she was off to college. Now, you'd think there would be no way I could muck up two ingredients in a crock pot, but my dip just about caused an insurrection among the staffers. It was horrid!! It looked like badly burnt baked beans. No one dared try eating it, and I didn't blame them. I had to chisel the cheese out of the pot and then soak the pot for several days to get it clean. After that, I went back to chocolate chip cookies. A safer bet.

So, whenever I drag out my Crisco-smeared recipe for Yearbook Staff Chocolate Chip Cookies it is always with fond memories of sharing great food (with one burned exception) with great students. Here's hoping for great neighbors who will reward me with sweet smiles.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Big Bore and I have been playing with straw, corn husks, and pumpkins this morning and have our little fall display pretty much done. The ruby mum is starting to bloom--ah, beautiful!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Yesterday two guys came to the house to install the new blue floor tile in my new blue and white kitchen. My important job was to make sure the cats stayed out of their way. I figured this would be easy--the noise would keep them on the back porch and, although we have a cat door from there to the kitchen, I was certain they would stay put with their food and litter boxes. Wrong.

The first freaked-out escapee was Little Bit, but he just zipped to the walk-in closet to hide, so that was no problem.

Next up, Muffin ran through the kitchen and out the front door when one of the guys was leaving. She didn’t quite know what to do once she made it outside, however, so she was easy to catch, and I then locked her in the bathroom and kept my fingers crossed that she wouldn't leave any of her special Muffin Messes.

Then, Critter came through the pet door and dashed into the bedroom. Quick, shut the door!

That left Fluffy the only cat remaining in the back porch. Dear, sweet, half-blind, scared-of-everything Fluffy.

“You’re going to have to make sure no more cats come through the kitchen for the next 30 minutes or they’re going to get their feet all sticky, and it’s hard to get off,” one of the flooring guys said.

“It’s under control,” I said, my fingers crossed. Three were shut away and Fluffy would absolutely NOT come through that pet door. I guaranteed it.

And, bless her heart, she stayed put. At least we have one child who behaves herself and does what she’s told. The other three--incorrigible.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Last evening I was walking around the track while the junior high football team was nearby at practice. This group of about 20 boys was running and running and running sprints. I wondered if this was their “reward” for losing their game last week.

When the torture was over, they removed their helmets and pads and headed to the locker room, crossing my path. They were led by #64, a studly type who was a good 6’2”, 200+ pounds--still running, easily. Following him were two boys about half his size, struggling to keep up. The rest didn’t even try. I feel sorry for the poor kids who have to go up against #64 in blocking drills. Scary. Very scary.

The scenario brought back a time when I was still teaching and went to a junior high basketball game to help the yearbook photographers get some pictures. The year was 2003. We had a grand total of seven boys on our team (I double checked the yearbook and this is the truth), and two were sick and absent this particular night. Out from the dressing room comes 20 or so players from Erie, led by some 8th grade beast who was over six feet tall. He had a full mustache, for god’s sake. Talk about intimidating. There was more hair over his lip than on the combined 10 legs of our whole team! Our guys were 1-11 that year. It was one of those character-building seasons.

Junior high is like that. A time of inequities. If the shrimps can just survive the misery for a few more years, their bodies usually evolve into something more respectable, while the big lugs eventually stop growing. Until that miracle arrives, those smaller boys will be running and running and running--trying in vain to keep up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


There was a blurb in the newspaper today about the 70th anniversary of one of my favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz. I would venture to guess I’ve seen it at least 30 times--enough to be able to sing along with all the songs and repeat a good portion of the dialogue. So, here is the probing question for today--who is your favorite Oz character and why?

My fave is the Wicked Witch of the West. I even have a little rubber Wx3 hunched evilly in my bookcase. Her green face, great cackle, and ability to morph from bicycle lady to bitch on a broom have always intrigued me. Plus, she hangs out with a gang of cool monkeys. And I love monkeys! Especially ones that wear cute little outfits and fly!

Oh, there’s nothing like a woman who loves shoes and revels in her “beautiful wickedness.”

Monday, September 21, 2009


When Big Bore moved into Casa de la Flaming Bore three years ago, there were just three items in the refrigerator--a box of Cheez-Its, cottage cheese, and some yogurt. Oh, I take that back. Four things. Ice cubes. He was mortified. Now, the tables have turned. The 'fridge is stuffed and I am the one who opens it in horror. I am certain that half the crap in it could easily be tossed, but it's not mine so I leave it alone. With that said, here are The Top Five Things I'd Like to Trash From the Refrigerator:

1. Two-thirds of a bottle of spiced wine. I can't drink alcohol. BB bought it the winter of 2007. It's fermented ten times over. He's not going to drink it, so.....

2. A huge pack of disastrous raspberry chocolate fudge that BB made last spring. He mistakenly put marshmallow creme in his recipe and it has the substance of a sticky brick. There's no possible way human teeth can chew it. Is he saving this for self defense?

3. A half-pint of a half and half milk product that has an expiration date of July 30. I'm afraid to open it.

4. Have you ever seen what Cool Whip looks like when it's green and fuzzy? I'll spare you what it smells like.

5. A gallon of pickled eggs and jalapenos he made last fall. Half gone. "The greener they get, the more pickled they are," he proudly says. "You can bounce them like a ball." He won't relent. He agrees the rest can go, but the eggs have to stay.

I'm headed to the grocery store. All this talk about food has built up my appetite--for Cheez-Its and cottage cheese. Expiration date well into the future, thank-you.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Today was school photo day for my great niece Maddie, and when I was in Pittsburg yesterday we so-called adults of the family rehearsed her for what to do and not do in order to be picture perfect. She has lost a lot of teeth over the summer and looks a bit like a human jack-o-lantern, which makes her self-conscious. She now has the tendency to want to smile with her mouth closed, BUT we grown-ups love her toothless grin and encouraged her to stick with her usual sweet smile. Hopefully the photographer will click something like this:

I can still recall the drama and trauma of school photo days. I was one who didn't want to show the missing teeth, so in first grade I did the fake smile and looked like this:

Mother usually wanted my hair in a ponytail, but in 5th grade she gave the green light to let it all hang out, provided she got to swirl in the spit curl on my forehead. I loved the long look, but the Bucky Beaver comment:

I was sick the day school pics were taken my 9th grade year. Not only do I look like I'm about to throw up, but the hair is a total disaster. The tight sausage roll flip and head band just make me want to, well, throw up! In large quantities.

A new, wild photographic innovation was made in 1965: school pictures in color! Now, we had something else to worry about--what to wear that would flatter our own coloring. I don't know why I thought I'd look stunning in red and white, but at least the flip was much improved from freshman year, even though in spite of two years of braces the front teeth still had that oh-so-unattractive bucked look.

I hope Maddie has a great school photo experience, keeps her eyes and mouth open, and doesn't have to correct the dingy photographer when he says, "Put your lips together." If that happens, I expect her to assert herself with, "Mom and Grandma and Aunt Nancy said to keep them open!" We'll find out the results in a few weeks when those packets are handed out, for better or for worse, and Maddie comes running home screaming, "We got our pictures back!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It’s Homecoming week in our fair town. Oh, man, am I glad I’m retired! You see, a number of the high school teachers are required to supervise class float building, and we’re talking the world’s worst floats ever. Seriously. As in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust.

Each class is given a small stipend for supplies…maybe $25.00. I can’t remember. And the kids have four hours to create their masterpieces--two hours on Tuesday night and two hours on Thursday night. The sponsoring teachers pick one night to chaperone and pray for the best. Most float building episodes consisted of three or four kids who would work in vain while 30 or more of their classmates hung around doing nothing, or, worse. We sponsors mainly did crowd control to make sure everyone got home alive.

Probably my most memorable stint at float sponsoring was when I showed up early on a Thursday night, only to find that the principal-approved theme for the float had been changed and the side banners read: “Wildcats are Pussies.” This slight alteration obviously got by the brain-dead Tuesday night sponsors but not the Flaming Bore. I ripped up the signage before the principal could stop by and have a heart attack, much to the sadness of the artists, who were flabbergasted at my destruction. Actually, I had to admire their Animal House chutzpah, but there was no way “pussies” was going to make it to the parade. By the time this same class got to be seniors, all they did for their float was sit on an unadorned trailer bed and eat pizza.

After I’d put in about a dozen or so years of the dreaded float building sponsorship, I somehow convinced the other teachers that I would oversee the class hallway decorations, instead. I didn’t care if this involved WAY more time; usually only three or four artsy girls showed up to do the halls, and their work was never an embarrassment, like the floats usually were. A great exchange in my book.

So, when I toodle downtown for the Homecoming parade tomorrow afternoon to see who won King and Queen, it will be with great fear and trepidation to also have my eyeballs subjected to the presentation of the class floats. I hope I am pleasantly surprised, but I’ll have my lifeboat ready.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


In yesterday’s big city newspaper there was a sidebar story about a Wichita couple who had been robbed of a wallet, jewelry, and shoes. But this was not any usual, ho-hum crime scene. The victims, a male and female, both age 44, were inside a downtown Dumpster engaged in “an intimate moment,” according to the police report, when their belongings were taken.

Now, I’ve heard of lovers picking strange places for their sexual activities, but a Dumpster takes the cake, hands down. I don’t even want to think about how unromantic such a setting would be. What was wrong with these people? Were they so hot and bothered that they couldn’t wait to find a more appropriate place to have their “intimate moment?” Like the express line at a Quik Trip, maybe?

I asked my friend Da Judge if such nutso behavior is legal, and he said it probably was okay, as long as the lovebirds were out of public view. At least he was unaware of anything in the statutes about Dumpster “intimacy” being against the law. I trust Da Judge's judicious ruling. He actually is a judge.

So, there you have it, folks. Next time you get in the “mood” while you’re out and about, just head on down to the nearest Dumpster in your community and have at it....but be sure to keep your wallet, jewelry, and shoes in a safe place.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Do you ever wake up in the morning with a song stuck in your head and it just won‘t go away? That’s what happened to me today, but this tune is not one you’ll recognize unless you’re the lovely Dr. Maureen reading this. (Sit down immediately Dr. M. or you will fall flat.) It’s the “Cwens Song.”

Cwens was a sophomore women’s honorary/service organization at Kansas State College, now Pittsburg State University, back in the dark ages. At the end of my freshman year, I thought I needed to be in it, which was a total mistake, so I applied to join this exclusive club and was one of about 20 gals accepted. (Dr. M. is two years younger than I, so she didn’t achieve Cwen-dom until 1970.)

Most of the members were in sororities, Greeks, and I was afraid to speak to them because they wore snazzy clothes and had perfect hair. I latched on to Barb, another token independent, also known as “poor,” and we sat at the back of the meeting room, where we were basically ignored, and laughed most of the time.

It turned out that Cwens, Anglo-Saxon for Queens, was some sort of half-baked secret society. The officers became special queens who were given oddball names, like Wealtheau and Frerauru. We had to address them as such: “Wealtheau, there are 16 members present.” “Freauru, there is a large stick up your a**.”

Meetings started with a ridiculous creed: “I am a Cwen, I am a lady, and therefore am I bound.” Barb and I would play around with the words for our own mumbled version: “I am a Cwen, I am lazy, and therefore am I round…”

The previous year the Cwens wore a snappy outfit on the days of their meetings, so I was hoping to at least get some prestige out of the whole experience to boost my self-esteem, but, no, no, the year I belonged we basically wore a red potato sack. Most of the girls had the 100-pound model, but my lumpy bag was closer to 150-pounds. It was horrid. I dreaded every time I had to pull it over my head and stuff myself into it.

But, my, don’t I digress? What about the stupid song? Well, the melody wasn’t so bad, if you were in church, but the words were sappy deluxe. “From the plains of Omega chapter to the kinship we hold dear, we pledge to you our service and devotion through the year” blah, blah…“sincerity” blah, blah… “beauty” blah, blah, “truth” more blah, blah...“I’m a Cwen and I’m a lady” blah, blah. Gag me with a scepter and crown.

So why did I not just drop out of Cwens and donate the red potato sack to the Salvation Army, you ask? Well, Mama Bore had instilled upon me the value that once you begin something, you ride it out to the bitter, ugly end. So, I did. And now 40 years later the cursed Cwens melody is somewhat sloppily imprinted on my brain. Yes, “I am a Cwen, I am a lady, and therefore am I bound” to go nuts today with that damned song in my head. Help me, Frerauru!!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


There’s a new comedy on Fox network tonight that I want to catch. It’s called “Glee,” and it’s about a bunch of misfits who reluctantly make up a high school chorus. Sort of the antithesis to the old show “Fame,” I suspect.

I’m interested in seeing “Glee” because back in the day, as we old timers say, I was a second soprano in the Fredonia High School mixed chorus, as it was called. Thrown in with a group of 60 or so kids, I was a loudmouth, enthusiastic singer. So much so that our director decided I should do solos and be in a girls trio. My lack of confidence put an immediate nix on the solo singing, but I went ahead and agreed to be in the trio--mainly because the girls who sang soprano and alto (Susie and Teresa, a year younger than I) had fabulous voices and my mediocre one would just get lost in between theirs--at least that was my plan.

So, my sophomore year our teacher teamed us up, our moms made us look-alike outfits, and we sang everywhere--for smiling, polite ladies at the Methodist Church, for bored old men at the Lions Club, and for secretive, be-fezzed types at the Masons, where we were stashed in a secret room before our performance and then brought into this huge decorated, incensed auditorium. “Geesh! I never knew this was above Thomas Jeweler’s!”

The whole point in having us do all these music gigs in Fredonia and surrounding territory, even the Greenwood County Fair in Eureka, where we got $20.00 second place money to buy material for our costumes, was to get experience so that we wouldn’t suffer from stage fright when it came to competing at the State Music Festival in the spring. It was okay to muff some words in front of the friendly Kiwanis group, but god forbid if we made a slip at State!!!

In theory it was a great idea. In reality it worked fine with the lovely Susie and Teresa, but I was a hopeless case. Come the day of State, my stomach was a mess--maybe because I knew I was the weakest singing link of the 2/3 talented trio. We had to sing two songs--fancy stuff, of course; nothing your run-of-the-mill audience would know, but the three judges were savvy to every note and word. Before we even got to the stage, I was already anticipating the critiques: “Too bad your second soprano isn’t as strong as the soprano and alto.” Aaaggghhh!!!!

Well, somehow I survived the performance and somehow we got a I rating, but here’s what I remember most about State: my nervous knees were knocking to the beat of the music. Not just a little tremor now and then--serious, continuous shaking that I had no control over which to stop. I honestly thought I was going to collapse into a big ball of stage fright. I was never this way with the Fredonia Hospital Auxiliary. Why was this happening now?

The first song was slow, so the quivering wasn’t likely as noticeable, but the second number was allegro…presto…vivace all the way!! My knees were in overdrive! It wasn’t just my imagination, either. Afterwards, my friends in the audience made sure to tell me just how pathetic I looked. That’s what friends are for, you know.

The following year, I did okay at State with the trio. I was no longer a rookie, and the teacher had increased our number of civic performances for even more experience. By the time I graduated, I suspect everyone in town had sat through our shows so many times that they knew the words to all our songs by heart.

So, when I sit down in front of the TV tonight and tune in to “Glee,” it will be with terror-filled memories and with glee in my heart--that try-outs aren’t required to watch it.

Monday, September 7, 2009


The latest Entertainment Weekly celebrates The Beatles by listing their 50 best songs--not according to sales but in the opinions of the magazine’s music writers. Apparently the decisions were based upon a lot of arguing, and blood, sweat, and tears. Ooops. Sorry. Wrong band.

The song that garnered the top spot was “A Hard Day’s Night.” Not my fave, but EW said it was special because the lyrics represented the lives of the Fab Four during their 1964 tour of the United States. “The song hints at the weariness” the group felt as “unwitting passengers on a manic locomotive” being “chased by a mob of screaming, ravenous fans.”

I, too, recall, that those girls who loved The Beatles were crazed. Okay, had I not been stuck in Kansas and had I lived anywhere near New York City at the time, I would have been in hot pursuit, as well. Alas, I had to be content with parking in front of the television on Sunday nights to catch the group on The Ed Sullivan Show. At the time, “I Saw Her Standing There” (#29 on the EW list) was my top Beatles song. When the Liverpool Lads warbled, “….well, my heart went boom when she crossed that room, and I held her hand in mi----eee---een….” I was certain they were speaking of me. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

As I’ve gotten older, my Beatles best picks have gone from their energetic songs to their ballads: “With a Little Help From My Friends,” (#40), “Blackbird” (#18), and “If I Fell” (#22). I especially like the latter. It’s about the risk one takes in falling in love. Haven’t we ALL been there before? “If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true and help me understand, ‘cause I’ve been in love before, and I found that love was more than just holding hands….”

Well, in 1964, about all I ever did was make googly eyes at guys, only dreaming that I could get past first base (hand holding) with them, much to my mother’s relief. And apparently The Beatles didn’t do much more than that, either, because in 1963 they made it big with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (#43). What gentlemen.

Ah, to return to the simpler times of sweet, innocent love. After all, "Yesterday" (#3) "was such an easy game to play."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Ten sure signs that summer is on its last legs:

1. I’ve packed away my swimsuit that I never got around to wearing in the first place.

2. There’s only one lively sunflower plant left in the yard.

3. When I went out riding on my bike Sunday afternoon, wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants, I didn’t get sweaty.

4. Big Bore and I are having serious discussions about what we want to plant in the yard next spring.

5. The fields of corn are no longer bold green. More like anemic yellow.

6. Everybody stand up for the kickoff! Football season has arrived!!

7. When I wake up at 6 AM, it’s still dark outside.

8. August is toast.

9. Halloween costumes and candy are already for sale. (Time to dig out my witch outfit from the bowels of the closet.)

10. What’s worse, Christmas catalogues are arriving in the mail.

Twenty-one days left and counting. Enjoy it while you can. We’ll all be whining about ice and snow before you know it.