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.

Monday, November 2, 2009


My favorite Techno Wizard has my ailing computer fixed and ready to pick up later today when his store opens. Seems I fell for a bogus but official looking screen message about my computer having some viruses, but it didn't UNTIL I naively clicked "fix it." I think he called it I-BOT, as in I BOUGHT the stupid line.

I buzzed up to Emporia yesterday to treat G-Ma Pam to a yummy Blondie dessert at Applebee's for her upcoming birthday. Aaaaaah! So delicious! So decadent! So filled with sugary calories! None of which we left on our plates. I've known Pam since junior high days. Her claim to fame was that she turned 18 before anyone else in our class. The elder stateswoman. Ironically, she ended up being a kindergarten teacher and she looks and acts just like she's 5 years old. She's amazing!

Big Bore and I are headed down to Central Arkansas tomorrow for a few days of R & R in the Ozark National Forest. We've never been to the spot where we're going, Petit Jean State Park, but the pictures of it on the Internet look cool and we'll be staying in a lodge, not a tent!

Until Friday, this is The Flaming Bore, happy about soon being reunited with her computer and ready to to hit the road tomorrow. Over and out.