Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MY MELTDOWN, PART TWO

When Big Bore got home from work Saturday night, I met him at the driveway and showed him all the branches/limbs I’d put at curbside after the tree-trimming hit men left. As he was wigging out, a police car drove up and parked. Uh-oh!

“Did the tree trimmers tattle on me?” I asked the officer as he got out and approached us.

Yes, they had, the officer said, and I wasn’t the only one complaining. He agreed they had butchered the tree BUT we had a bigger problem to resolve. It seemed that the branches I’d moved to curbside were sticking out too far into the street, and I could be ticketed for impeding the flow of traffic.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” I said, along with some other choice words. The branches were probably sticking into the street about three feet from the curb. I thought they weren’t impeding anything. But, no, he wasn’t kidding.

“Well, if an ambulance happened to come through and a car was coming in the opposite direction….”

“The car would yield the right of way,” Big Bore said.

I was ranting on and on about how petty this was. I couldn’t believe I was going to have to move the branches again, and how the $#%@! trimming crew should have moved them in the first place--and for some reason Big Bore started complaining about the dogs in the neighborhood.

Oh, well, there was no use arguing. We moved the blasted branches the requested few feet, and the bewildered officer left, satisfied that we were law-abiding, hell-raising citizens.

I have written a letter to the local sheriff asking him why cars and trucks are allowed to park on the neighborhood streets since they stick out from the curb much farther than the branches were during my alleged crime in question. Two of the vehicles that are regularly parked on the street near our house belong to the city and the county--driven by the town animal control officer and a deputy sheriff. Are they not “impeding the flow of traffic,” too? Those vehicles are much more dangerous than a bunch of branches, for sure. I’m sure he’ll come back with some vague tree law that prohibits branches from being in the curb--even if they were cut down by Westar’s band of merry hoodlums and not the homeowner. But at least I’ll have the satisfaction of bitching some more.

Oh, and I have a letter ready to send to Westar, also. I want the company to know that 3/5 of their highly paid tree crew were nothing but gawkers who stood around twiddling their thumbs while on the time clock. If they are going to rat on me, I can rat back. Don’t mess with the Flaming Bore!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

MY MELTDOWN


Well, I should have kept my big flapping mouth shut Saturday about having nothing to do since the weather had put a cramp on my plans. Right in the middle of my closet cleaning, Big Bore announced that we had a major problem in the driveway, and if we didn’t take care of it, he wouldn’t be able to take the car to work. I thought he was kidding until I took a gander outside and saw a huge tree limb collapsed across the drive. On with the coat and gloves and out we went to clear the path. He sawed and I dragged the icy branches to the side of the driveway entrance.

It was what happened AFTER he went to work, though, that really chapped my ass royally. I kept hearing a motor running outside, so I finally took a look out the window and totally freaked out. A tree trimmer was topping off (as in butchering) the same tree and big branches were ALL OVER the front yard and on top of my beloved garden bed around the base of the tree. No one had the common courtesy to come to the door to advise me they thought the tree was a threat to a power outage and the trimming was necessary; they were apparently just planning to do a Hit and Run.

I immediately stepped outside to see what was going on. A man wearing a hard hat told me Westar had sent them around town to clear the way for the electric lines, blah, blah, blah. He claimed that sparks were flying and lights were flickering. I told him my lights were fine and I’d seen no sparks when I‘d been outside that morning clearing the fallen branches, and I sure hoped they were going to clear everything they’d cut down onto my yard and put it all by the curb rather than leave the holy mess they were making.

“No, we don‘t do that,” he said.

Now, mind you, there were five guys present from two vehicles. One was trimming the tree from a cherry picker, the guy talking to me was sort of telling him what to do, and three others were just standing around talking.

“You mean to tell me that you’re just going to come here, ruin my tree, and then leave it for me to clean up?” I was madder than I’ve ever been in life. Seriously. The hell word was flying.

“That’s what we’ve been doing all over town,” he said.

So, I went inside, put on my coat and gloves again, went back out, and started the clean-up process while the loiterers were still hanging out.

At one point, I guess one of them started feeling somewhat guilty and asked, “You want some help?”

“No!” I said, fuming. “I want you to leave! --And I sure hope Westar is paying you guys a lot to stand around and do nothing!”

If all this isn’t bad enough--wait until you read Part II. To be continued….

Saturday, March 28, 2009

SAD SATURDAY

Oh, woe is little me. Not only did KU lose its basketball game last night, but we also had a visit from Evil Ice and my plans for the day are down the tubes. I was going to trek to Andover to sample some free intro classes from the community college there--Pilates, Zumba, and Turbo Kick. But, instead, the weather kicked us in the solar plexus. The classes have been re-scheduled for next month, so I am moping around trying to decide what to do as a replacement activity today. Gardening is out, that’s for sure.

Here’s my list of possibilities in no certain order:

get back to reading the novel Bleeding Kansas (except the title reminds me too much of the game last night)
ride the recumbent bike (if I can get Critter off of it--it’s become her new snoozing place)
clean off my computer table (well, that will eat up a five whole minutes)
clean out the closets
clean the floors

Hmmm. I sense a depressing theme starting here. Nothing like doing one’s spring cleaning when winter is still hanging around like an unwanted. hellish visit from a deadbeat relative. Maybe I should just throw out the welcome mat and go back to bed.

Friday, March 27, 2009

GOT A MATCH?

Lately I’ve gotten hooked on watching another tacky, wacky television show, “Millionaire Matchmaker,” on Bravo network. It features Patti Stanger, a 47-year-old, third-generation matchmaker who is sort of a cross between Cher and Morticia of the Addams Family. She has several minions working for her: the long-suffering Chelsea, whose main job seems to be feeding Patti’s ego and telling her she doesn’t look a day over 35; Destin, a Goth type who sports a huge, spiky Mohawk-do, and his gal pal Rachel, whose own odd look features tightly rolled blue bangs.

The premise of the show is that Patti and Co. go about Los Angeles hooking up the wealthy with their perfect matches, and, of course, chaos ensues. Most of their clients have so many quirks and hang-ups that any sane person would immediately steer clear of them, regardless of their impressive bank accounts. One of them, Sex Toy Dave (lovingly called STD by Patti and her crew), made his millions selling, (what else?), sex toys. To teach him a lesson not to be such a horn dog, Patti hooked him up with an exotic babe who was more than his match. Way more. When she wrapped her thighs around his head and licked his eyeballs, poor STD had no clue what in the world to do with her.

Another client last night was a 41-year-old cougar millionairess who was on the prowl for a young stud. Patti thought she was superficial and injected with too much Botox; the two gals clashed immediately, exchanging verbal bitch slaps, but they ended up all huggy happy by the end of the show since Patti succeeded in finding her a few rare fellas who were not horrified by wrinkles.

Most of her clients, though, are middle-aged millionaire males who are after rock-solid hot chicks in their twenties. High maintenance arm candy. This chaps Patti all to hell, and she does her matchmaking best to show them the errors of their ways, usually to no avail. She even had one of her tight, short skirt-chasing clients hypnotized in an attempt to have him choose women more his own age. You have to give Patti credit for trying.

So, if you’re missing “The Bachelor” and can’t get through another day without watching losers at love trying to find their perfect soul mate, I recommend you check out “Millionaire Matchmaker.” Patti’s brutal frankness about men being ruled by their penises is always worth a few laughs. And, after meeting the wealthy singles of L.A., you’ll be soooooooo happy that, in your own life, you chose love over money.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

KIDS ARE GOOFY

My nephew Brandon and his wife Mary took their kids to Disneyland last week over their Spring Break. Maddie, 5, thought the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was cool, (my favorite, too) and Boomer liked the train ride--he’s nutty for trains, typical 3-year-old boy--but, wouldn’t you know it, the trip highlight for the little ones didn’t even take place in Mickey Mouse-ville. Their favorite “special attraction” during the trip was getting to see the Pacific Ocean.

Maddie and Boomer were apparently fascinated with the tide rushing in and out, and they made a game out of playing tag with the water. And, of course, there’s nothing like romping around in an endless pile of sand. If Brandon and Mary would have known all it took was free water and sand to entertain them, they could have skipped the blasted long lines and the expense of Disneyland and just headed straight for the beach.

That’s the way it always is with little kids, though. Buy them an expensive toy, and they are more interested in playing with the wrapping. Right? And they can find a hundred fun uses for big, empty cardboard boxes. Heck, one of my favorite childhood toys was making stilts out of empty half-gallon Hi-C orange juice cans and a bunch of old rope laying around in the garage. Having races up and down South 9th Street with those crazy cans was a blast, and the noise it made was soooooo annoying!

The best things in life are, indeed, free--or mighty close to it. So, go out and have yourself a goofy Thursday

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ART ATTACK

I’m headed out to Wichita today to scope out a new hobby. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to take a class in something artsy, so I have decided to try to learn how to work with stained glass. Note the emphasis on try. There’s supposedly a one-day workshop set for April 25th at this glassworks store, so I think I’m going to live dangerously and sign up. I don’t have any unrealistic, cockeyed aspirations to be able to create cathedral windows; making a little sun catcher would be nice, though.

Now, I am not exactly what you’d call an artistic person. I struggled through two years of junior high art classes, one of the lowlights of my educational career. A close examination of my 7th grade report cards show semester A’s in everything except art, where I squeaked out a C-. About all I recall making were a pencil drawing of a penny loafer, which was not bad--at least the teacher could tell it somewhat resembled a shoe--and two of the absolute ugliest ceramic pieces you’ve ever seen in your life. One was a parallelogram-shaped, spotted banana peel-colored thing, for lack of a better word. The other was a blue pot made of coil strips. It was supposed to be smooth and symmetrical, but mine was lumpy and off kilter (sort of like me!). I tried to improve its appearance by cutting out cool words and phrases from magazines and Scotch taping them to the big blue lump. Stuff like: “Wow!” “Far Out!” “In a funk?” “I love The Beatles.” Profound. I wish I knew what happened to these masterpieces. I suspect Mama Bore put them out of their misery as soon as I ran off to college.

Anyway, I’m going to see if I can cut it working with stained glass, although I fear the only cutting is going to be to my hands. Perhaps I’ll create a new art form? Blood-stained glass.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BONES OF CONTENTION


A few weeks ago I underwent a bone density test procedure. The results recently arrived in the mail. Although I’m doing okay for a woman in my age and ethnic group, I’m a standard deviation below a “young white woman” of age 30. Well, no shit. Since I’m almost twice that age, I am happy as a lamb to be just one deviation below the age-30 standard, but the doctor recommended I start taking Vitamin D and Fosamax, regardless of my euphoria. (Taking calcium is out of the question, according to the urologist who removed the evil kidney stone last year.)

Osteoporosis runs on Mama Bore’s side of the family. She has a tiny frame and the broken bones to show for it. I have the body build of the Germans on the paternal side of my gene pool--big feet, big legs, big mouth…you name it and it’s attached to a bunch of big bones. I used to consider this a curse, but now that I’m no longer a “young white woman” I have come to embrace the idea of being a sturdy kind of gal.

This past weekend, Big Bore told me he admired how I seem to enjoy working hard outdoors (as opposed to working hard inside, which I definitely do not do!). He said this as I helped him build up a compost pile, crawled under the spruce tree to rake out leaves, and hauled around mulch. Even though I’ve evolved into an “old white woman,” my deviated bone density hasn’t slowed me down too much when it comes to hanging out in the yard. I think the D in Vitamin D stands for Dirt.

Monday, March 23, 2009

ABSOLUTE GENIUS


According to America On Line, there is a 6-year-old boy in Ohio who has an IQ of 176. He can recite the alphabet backwards, name all the 50 states, and can list the US presidents in chronological order. Big flippin’deal. I can do that, too, and my IQ is considerably lower than his! He can also tell you what day of the week any date was, going back to the year 2000. So what? Who needs to know that Feb. 28, 2001, landed on a Wednesday, anyway? Have him get this country out of debt. Then I’ll be impressed.

Well, you can just imagine the can of worms that this “news” opened up in Cyberland. Average Joe jerks just like me were offering up their sarcastic reactions in droves. Here was my favorite:

Gosh, that just pisses me off that a six-year-old is way smarter than I am. I can't even remember how many states there are. Nothing like a snot-nose kid correcting you every time you make a mistake. These are inequalities in life that there's not a damn thing you can do about. This kid can be the real Slumdog Millionaire. "How many spots on a ladybug? Everybody knows that; it has twelve spots." "You are absolutely correct for the grand prize of $20 million dollars." That's not a bad day's pay for a six-year-old who can't tie his own shoes or wipe his own behind. Dammit all to hell. This kid had better put that alphabet crap away and figure out how to turn lead into gold or build a time travel machine. Otherwise, his useless mental parlor tricks are just wasting my time. At least he can impress his future girlfriends by always memorizing their birthdays. Women just love that sort of crap. This punk kid is gonna get a job before I find another one.

Aaaaahhhh!! Thanks to AOL, geniuses are no longer the only people around who know it all. Smart asses of the world, unite!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

DAY TRIPPER


I headed northeast early Friday morning to watch basketball on TV with Three Docs, One Scott, and a lovable load of cats and dogs, none of whom bit me, although Scott came close. I don’t recommend taking cloud pictures over the steering wheel while driving 65 miles per hour, so do as I say and not as I do.

Dr. Maureen and I exploded with a few naughty words during the KU-North Dakota State game, but since KU led most of the way we didn’t require resuscitation or a bar of soap with which to wash out our dirty mouths. Here’s a picture of Dr. M telling Margie and Murray that only those wearing KU shirts get a celebratory cupcake, although the bottle of beer was free for the asking.


We took a walk to wind down after the game. I thought this neighborhood topiary was pretty darned cute. I hope I can find a nursery around here that sells big bunny bushes because I want one in our yard just like it!


Dr. Maureen gave me this stylish KU tattoo. I forget what she said would remove it…something toxic, I do believe. I think I’ll just let it wear off or display it permanently, whichever comes first.

I got back home before dark. Today I’ll be watching the basketball games all alone, if you don’t count the cats, since Big Bore is at work. Spewing profanity at the TV is no fun, however, without a sidekick. :(

Friday, March 20, 2009

THREE DREAMS

1. Before I had gall bladder surgery in 2007 and kidney stone surgery in 2008, I used to jog…a LOT. Even when I had back surgery in 1997, I was running again within a few months. But the last few years have kicked my butt and I’ve slowed down to walking. I told Big Bore the other night that I really miss jogging and I finally feel like maybe I could try it again.

So, the past few nights I’ve been doing a walk/jog/walk/jog. I haven’t yet rolled into a ball of pain, so I’ve decided to maybe set a few goals and declare them in my blog, so maybe I’ll be more motivated to stick with the program. I want to be able to jog a mile nonstop by May 1st and do three miles nonstop by my 60th birthday on July 3rd. Maybe. I won’t have a speed goal--just distance.

2. Big Bore had another sleep talking episode last night:


“That cardinal is being mean to that robin.”

“What?” I asked.

“That cardinal over there is being mean to the robin.”

“What’s it doing?”

He tried to explain but the words weren’t coming together--mumbling, sighing, pausing. It was something about a line tied around the robin’s leg so it couldn’t return to earth.

“You’re not making any sense,” I said.

“Oh, I’m just f***ing crazy.”

“Well, I’ll second the motion to that one.”

End of conversation.

3. I’m off to Kansas City for a TV date with Dr. Maureen and Co. to cheer on the Jayhawks. Sure hope we have something to cheer about or we’re going to spend March Madness being f***ing mad. Adieu.









Thursday, March 19, 2009

DANCING WITH THE DAFFODILS

I’m off to take Mama Bore to the doctor and don’t have time to write, so today I’m borrowing from my personal poet pal William (“Billy,” to his friends) Wordsworth (1770-1850) to accompany a vase of daffodils (real) presently on display at Casa de la Flaming Bore. Enjoy! We’re only one day away from Spring!

"Daffodils" (1804)

I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WE CAN DIG IT

Temps in the seventies yesterday + Big Bore having the day off work = YARDWORK!!! We cleaned out the garage, planted a tree, turnips, and onions, raked leaves, fertilized, watered, made a few trips to the town dump, and went to the neighborhood greenhouse to take a gander. T-minus two days until Spring is here, and we’re ready to get growing…except BB was complaining by day’s end that he had a sore muscle in his neck. Whine, whine. Poor baby.

We try to divide the responsibilities with our gardening. I do shrubs and flowers and, in general, just play in the dirt. Big Bore is responsible for veggies and trees. He is also in charge of all heavy lifting. My rule. ...And that pretty much explains why I don’t have any sore muscles to complain about today! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MARCHING INTO MADNESS

Forward march! Let the games begin! The opening of the NCAA basketball extravaganza is only two days away, and I am getting myself ready--mainly by washing all my KU shirts.

I have been a basketball groupie since junior high days, and I still have the score sheets in an old scrapbook to prove it. In college, my roomie YellowHorse was also a fan. She even dated a few of the guys on the Gorilla team, so we’d traipse off to the out-of-town games, regardless of bad weather or near-empty billfolds. We were hooked on hoops.

I am going to Kansas City Friday to meet up with Dr. Maureen, back to her Midwestern roots from North Carolina, and we will be watching the KU-North Dakota State game on TV at the home of another Dr. Maureen near The Plaza. My ear plugs are packed. If KU does well, there will be lots of hooting and hollering, and if KU doesn’t do so hot, the air will be polluted with profanity. Dr. Maureen can drop deadly F-bombs with gusto, and I’m not so bad myself, but here’s hoping the ‘Hawks will keep us behaving like the ladies we pretend to be.





Monday, March 16, 2009

DOGGONE IT

When I was walking about the neighborhood yesterday, I came upon an unusual yard sign I’d never seen before. It wasn’t a For Sale sign or a political promo. This one read: “Why do I pay my taxes? Our children can’t play in our yard because everyone and their dogs DOO!!!” Doo was underlined twice. Well, amen to that. It’s not the “dog logs” that bother me so much, however, as the incessant barking and the annual dog bite that I always seem to get.

In our little block, there is a German Shepherd, two bird dogs, four miniature yappers, and a huge black something that looks to be part Lab/part monster. When one starts barking, they all join in like a chain reaction from hell. The good news is: I’ve never been bitten by any of them. Those incidences have happened during my walks about town.

Whenever I see a dog running loose, I freeze. If the owner is outside, he or she will invariably say, “Don’t worry. He won’t bite.” And I reply, “Yeah, that’s what the last person said right before I became dog food.” Most dogs just don’t like me. (Dr. Maureen, yours are an exception.) Maybe I smell like a cat, and that’s why they chase me down. I don’t know.

Last year I was bitten by a little Shih Tzu that was being walked from a leash and approaching me on the street. I told the owner what a cute dog she had, and the damned mutt charged at me and put a hole in my sweat pants. In 2007 I ended up in the local hospital emergency room after a wayward terrier ripped into me.

Big Bore thought I was exaggerating about how dogs don’t dig me until he witnessed it…twice. Last fall we were on a hiking trail and a couple passed us, their dog on a leash, and it charged at me, growling and snapping. The surprised owners said they’d never seen it respond that way before. Just a few weeks ago, a dog of one of BB’s friends practically yanked me out of the car as I rolled down the window to say good-bye. If I hadn't quickly pulled back, my face would have been bitten off. Startled, BB, too, said he’d never before seen the dog, which is a BIG dog with BIG teeth, in attack mode. Leave it to me to bring out the beast in them all.

I don’t know the people down the street who have put up the sign, but I can sympathize with them. I think we need to get together and form a support group. Maybe we can get the local animal control officer to help us before we come down with a case of distemper. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. And I’m having a serious case of indigestion.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

CAT TALES

You know it’s a slow news day when one of the Top Headlines of America On Line is: “Woman Finds Cat Living In Couch She Bought.” Of course, I’m interested in anything cat-like, so I clicked on the link yesterday and learned about a Seattle woman who bought a used couch for $27.00, took it home, heard weird noises for a few days, and finally figured out there was a cat inside her recent purchase. Callie the Calico was reunited with her owner, hungry but unharmed, a few weeks after the sofa had been donated to a second-hand store. The end.

The 160 responses to the story were ever so much better than the actual “news” itself. A lot of people wrote about their own cats, giving graphic details about their experiences with cat odor. Several more got into a debate over who loves cats more: Democrats or Republicans. Here’s a sampling of some of the other comments:

“That woman should thank her lucky stars that cat wasn’t a diamondback or cottonmouth.”

“Meowch!”

“I showed that article to my own cat and he said, “What a dummy.”

“I once knew a man named Joel Katz.”

Wow! A couch that costs $27.00 and comes with a free pussy. Where can I buy one?”

“This is why I have a dog. A dog would have shredded the entire couch trying to find a way out.”

“A cat tail to remember.”

“I used to have a cat that could play the violin, sing ‘La Traviata,’ and do the moonwalk--all at the same time!”

“Big deal. I once heard that same cat sing, but he could only do ‘La Traviata’ in English and not Italian.”

Well, so much for AOL’s hot news of the day. I need to rush off with an even bigger deal. My oldest cat Little Bit turned 14 last week and I have to take him to his driver’s ed. class. Later!

Friday, March 13, 2009

HAIR'S LOOKING AT ME, KID

I have nothing of importance to say today, so I’m just gonna talk hair and blog up this picture of me when I was pushing two. I look like a baby house maid, don’t you think? Mama Bore loved to give her daughters pompadours when we were little whips. Fortunately, by the time we got into grade school, she lost interest, thus sparing us the humiliation of boys joking about that odd lump of hair on top. For the next few years I had a plain ol’ pony tail.

The worst hair-do in Flaming Bore history came in third grade, when Mom decided that my long, beautiful hair should be cut and permed. She was having another baby, which meant no time to deal with my longer locks. What a disaster. I looked like I’d put my finger in a light socket…permanently!



Thankfully, my hair grew fast and I was back to a pony tail the next year, all the way to 9th grade. During the entire mid-1960s, I had various shorter styles…the flip, short bouffant, rat’s nest, whatever. I was back to long hair, though, throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s during my hippie chick era.

From the mid-1980’s and for the next 20 years, the hair got shorter and shorter. It seemed that the more time I devoted to my job, the less time I had to piddle with hairstyling. When I started to think about retirement, I was practically bald. Teaching will do that to a person.

The minute I turned in my resignation, I started to let my hair grow again. So, I’ve sort of come full circle and am now back to pony tails. I don’t care if I’m too old for the look. I feel like I’m back to being “me.” And don’t worry. There’s absolutely no way I’m rolling a pompadour onto the top of my head.

TGIF! Peace out!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

MY DEEP, DARK SECRET

Not too many people know the ugly truth about my educational background, and I’m not proud of it, but I was a kindergarten dropout.

Back in the 1950s, the public school had yet to offer kindergarten in my fair town, but there was a private one available, run by John and Hazel Youngmeyer. Auntie Hazel and Uncle John were a rather rotund, older couple who operated a kindergarten out of their big brick house, just a few blocks from where I lived. In my mind, their joint should have been renamed Youngmeyer’s House of Horrors. I hated kindergarten!!

First off, other than Brother Beans, I wasn’t used to being around boys who tortured me. For some reason, my pony tail became a pulling magnet. These real-life Dennis the Menaces couldn’t keep their hands off my hair. Worse than the 5-year-old thugs, however, was Uncle John himself. I was terrified of him, and it didn’t help that he threatened to put all bad little boys and girls in his deep, dark basement. Now, I was all for hair yankers being shoved down the steps and locked up for the rest of his natural lives, but I wanted nothing of it for myself!

After three days of me sitting on Aunt Hazel’s lap crying all afternoon, Mama Bore, though skeptical, took mercy on her baby and let me drop out--against the advice of the Youngmeyers, of course. Mom said they warned her that she was opening the door to all sorts of evils by letting me have my way, and I would be poorly prepared for first grade.

Well, as it turned out, no harm was done. I loved elementary school and Mom breathed a sigh of relief that I was not deprived of a first-class education by missing out on hell house, er…kindergarten.

Fast forward. ---A few years ago, my childhood pal Rat was home from Vermont and we went riding around our old stomping grounds. He happened to drive by the Youngmeyer’s home.

“Oh, god, wasn’t Mr. Youngmeyer scary?” Rat said. “I was always afraid he was going to send me down to his dungeon.”

“You mean I wasn’t imagining that?” I replied. “All these years I thought maybe I had just made that up as an excuse to drop out. Mom never seemed sure that I was telling the truth.”

I made Rat take a beeline to Mama Bore’s house to repeat the story.

“See, Mom, I wasn’t lying to you,” I said. “Mr. Youngmeyer DID threaten to lock us in his basement.”

It took about 50 years, but I was finally vindicated. Who knows what would have happened if I’d sucked it up and stayed at Aunt Hazel and Uncle John's. Why, I might have suffered some kindergarten-induced trauma and been admitted to a loony bin…where I’d most likely still be living in the basement, crying like a baby, and pulling on my own hair. Fortunately, I got out before any possible permanent damage was done. Now, instead of feeling like a kindergarten flunky, I consider myself to have been the smartest kid in the class!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?


I was on the go yesterday and finally crashed to watch TV at 8 PM…only to find that I couldn’t crash because every cushion in the living room was consumed by a cat. I ended up sitting on the coffee table. I know better than to push aside one pussy cat, let alone all four. Posted on our bulletin board in the kitchen are “The Ten Unalienable Rights of Cats,” as follows:

I have the right to walk over your face at any time, day or night.
I have the right to wake you at three in the morning if my food dish is not filled to my satisfaction.
I have the right to inspect any grocery items that come into my home.
I have the right to inhabit any paper bag or cardboard box for as long as I wish.
I have the right to nap at any time and place I darn well please.
I have the right to assist in changing the bed linens and to chase the phantom creatures that hide beneath the sheets.
I have the right to sleep on top of any appliance that is warm.
I have the right to your complete attention any time you sit down to read or work.
I have the right to tip over water containers I deem unsuitable.
I have the right to be loved, petted, pampered, and entertained because, as you know, the best things in life…purr.

Should you err in your ways, I shall graciously forgive you. After all, you are only human.

Signed, THE CAT
That pretty much sums up life around Casa de la Flaming Bore. I have to run now and go take care of litter box duty before somebody throws a tantrum.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

I spent yesterday afternoon in Wichita with my childhood gal pal Maggie. It was sort of a belated birthday get together, as she recently hit the big 6-0. Not wanting to wallow alone in her ancient age, she gave me an early birthday card, four months in advance. It was a cool Fancy Nancy card.

If you don’t know Fancy Nancy, you must go to a bookstore or library and get acquainted. She can be found in the children’s department. Nancy is a diva in training who tries to impress others by dressing up in frilly duds, wearing a tiara, hanging out with a posh pup, and occasionally speaking in French. But underneath the fa├žade is just a plain ol’ klutzy kid. I love Fancy Nancy because we share the same name and we both have the uncanny ability to make a grand mess out of just about everything.

Fancy Nancy is one of the Big Four of Literary Nancys. There’s also Nancy Drew, Girl Detective; Nurse Nancy of Little Golden Books fame, and comic heroine Little Nancy, the perplexed, chunky chick friend of Tubby Tompkins. I take pride in having the same name as these wonderful book babes. I’ve never solved a crime or saved a life, but I can sort of relate to Little Nancy since she’s usually pissing and moaning about something trivial. It’s Fancy Nancy, though, who truly has my heart with her goofball escapades. If you haven’t yet become friends with the newest of Nancys, you must make it a point to do so. Ooh la la! Mademoiselle Fancy is tres magnifique!

Monday, March 9, 2009

QUICK CHANGE ARTIST



I got to play with the little kids over the weekend. Maddie, 5, enjoyed putting on a fashion show while I served as her project runway announcer. Her bedroom is an explosion of taffeta, organza, and fancy netting, all dressy outfits that she can switch with the blink of a hurricane’s eye. Brother Boomer, 3, tried to get into the act by wearing old Halloween costumes. At one point, he took off with Maddie’s blonde wig, she grabbed it back, and the fight was on. Their slam down was reminiscent of my own long ago battles with Beans, except in this latest fracas the girl was the victor. This pissed off Boomer, and he stormed off crying, nursing his ego in his daddy’s arms.

I never was much for playing dress-up when I was a kid, but I still see a lot of Maddie in myself. She delights in irritating her brother, her mouth never shuts up, and when it comes to using coat hangers, she’s clueless. She’s a chip off the old auntie, if there ever was one!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

PASS THE SALT AND PEPPER, PLEASE


When judging at a high school speech tournament Saturday, I had the misfortune to hear the world’s worst original oration, a persuasive speech with a 7-minute time limit. The competition started out innocently enough. One girl stated that the ACT test is not a valid predictor of success and should not be used by colleges to determine admissions. Another competitor discussed the need for national health coverage. Then….well, there was the “Don’t Eat Babies” girl.

This poor, misguided child discussed “….the eating of babies in 16th century Ireland” to combat starvation. No, there was not a reference made to Jonathan Swift’s scathing ironic essay, “A Modest Proposal,” which sarcastically advocates what she was presenting as a fact. But, it’s what followed that was even more ridiculous. “Some of our nation’s leaders are suggesting that eating babies may be the answer to our current economic problems.” On what planet is this girl living? “I think this is terrible and should not be done,” she remarked. “It’s just disgusting.” Well, duh! It doesn’t take much persuasion to convince me not to order "Toddler, medium rare," from the menu. Where’s the argument here?

Big Sis judged the same speaker during a different round and was equally bewildered. Why the heck was that girl’s teacher even allowing her to present such a dreadfully bad speech? We both gave her the lowest ranking possible, as in “poor.” Sis and I agreed that the best part of this so-called oration was that it mercifully only lasted for two minutes. Fortunately, that wasn’t long enough to ruin my appetite.

Friday, March 6, 2009

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET...


GROW!! I may be jumping the gun, but I spent a good part of the daylight hours yesterday soaking in the sun (80 degrees!) and playing in the yard. Actually, working is a better description. The result: three big bags of leaves and straw that had been blanketing various garden areas. Underneath were daffodils and tulips peeking into the world. I can’t wait to get annuals planted, but I don’t want to get too eager too early. A late freeze could be lurking. :(

GO!! I’m off to Pittsburg pretty soon to be a judge at the forensics tournament I blogged about last week. All of my great nephs and my great niece live in the ‘Burg, so I’m looking forward to acting silly with them and taking pictures. Big Bore has to work; he’s going to hold down the fort and do litter box patrol…I hope.

DON'T FORGET to spring forward Sunday. Get ready to set your clocks up a notch. Don’t you just love Daylight Savings Time?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

THE RIGHT TO BARE ARMS

Well, the latest great debate out of Washington, D.C. isn’t about the economy or the war in Iraq. It’s Michelle Obama’s choice of attire for her “official White House portrait.” Last night when I saw the America On Line link that read Is First Lady’s Dress Too Risque?, I clicked on it faster than you can say, “Leather hot pants and a bare midriff.”

Man, what a letdown. Now, for those of you who haven’t yet seen the picture, she’s wearing a basic black dress. No, it’s not short, and it’s not low-cut, and it doesn’t have any peek-a-boo cutouts. It’s (for shame) sleeveless!!!! How dare she show off her bare arms! Where is her dignity? --the fashion critics ask.

Since I haven’t worn anything resembling a dress in four months, I don’t profess to be an expert on style, but I can’t, for the life of me, understand what’s wrong with Mrs. O’s choice. I love my scrawny, 11” biceps, and I have drawers full of summer tank tops to prove it. If I had well-toned arms like she has, I’d be showing off those babies every chance possible. It's not as though we're living in a Puritan society.

I could maybe understand the big to-do if her arms were bearing garish tattoos that say something like, “Born to Raise Hell,” “Democracy Sucks,“ or “Republicans Rock,” but it all looks pretty harmless to me. I think the D.C. Fashion Police need to calm down and make their citizens’ arrests elsewhere--perhaps look in the mirror and nitpick on themselves.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

IS YOU SATISFIED?


Attention, class!! Today is National Grammar Day!! English teachers, unite! (Even the retired ones.) When I tuned in to the Rock Channel on TV this morning, though, the first song lyrics I heard were The Rolling Stones', “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction….” Agony. It’s going to be a long day. I hate it when people make millions from butchering our language!

I have to blame Mama Bore for turning me into a grammar geek. When I was a kid, she was forever correcting my speech. I had the tendency to end interrogative sentences with prepositions, as in: “Where are you going to?” “Where’s it at?” She would respond to such queries like so: “After the to.” and “After the at.” Jeesh! Give me a break! At least I wasn’t walking around constantly singing that old song, “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?”!!

Once I became an English teacher, my whole perspective changed. The most despised mistake in my grammar book was (cringe) misplacing “saw” with “seen.” I always told my students on the first day of school that if one of them came up to me and said, “Hey, Ms. Evans, I seen you jogging last night,” I would flip. Some responded by committing the sin on purpose, just to make my blood pressure hit the roof. Hearing something like, "Me and Mom had a fight last night, so I didn't do my homework" hurt my ears, while that Stoned Mick Jagger and his use of double negatives caused heartburn. Aaaiiiiieeeee!

I must admit, though, that formal speech/writing in school is much different than scribbling out song lyrics. Lyricists may use poor grammar just to get the words to fit into a specific cadence or rhyme scheme. “I Can’t Get Any Satisfaction” or “I Have No Satisfaction” don’t work very well (not, good) with the beat of the song; thus, I’m going to chill out and give musicians special permission to continue mucking up the grammar in their songs. Mick, you preening loudmouth, you won’t get no flak from me today. Class dismissed.

Happy National Grammar Day to everyone else. May your participles never dangle!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

'TWAS BEAUTY THRILLED THE BEAST

Early one morning last week, Big Bore and I caught the last 30 minutes or so of the updated version of the movie King Kong. We both recalled the original having the great ape smitten with Fay Wray, but we didn’t quite buy how this new Kong caused Naomi Watts, the object of the modern gorilla’s affection, to breathe hot and heavy in return. I haven’t seen such sexual tension between two movie characters since Kathleen Turner seduced William Hurt in Body Heat.

Naomi never muttered a single word during the entire grand finale, so her acting chops weren’t really tested. All she had to do was deeply sigh and make googly eyes at the ape. Talk about a tease. No wonder the poor creature had the hots for her.

Making the premise all the more ridiculous, the final setting is in the middle of a snowy New York City winter, and Naomi is running the streets in nothing but a clingy, nylon slip dress and high heels, chasing after our hairy escapee. I thought this was totally absurd, but Big Bore sort of liked the idea of her sliding on the ice at Central Park wearing only a negligee, as did Mr. Kong. They both appreciated the nipply, er, nippy special effects.

I guess one must suspend disbelief when watching such films. It just wouldn’t have been any fun if Naomi had used some common sense and dressed properly for the occasion. Who wants to see a woman wearing a parka climbing to the top of the Empire State Building to have a raging rendezvous with an oversized gorilla, anyway? It just isn’t done! One slip in that slip and she was practically a goner.

But, you know, Naomi has sort of inspired me. Next time I go outside to fetch the paper on a frigid morning, I think I’ll forego the bundled-up look and wear something short and slinky, instead, just to get a roaring reaction out of Big Bore…or the neighbors. It might be worth a few laughs. I promise to draw the line, though, at wearing high heels and climbing onto the roof.

Monday, March 2, 2009

CUTTING THE CHEESE

“Need anything at the grocery store?” I asked Big Bore the other day before I headed out to get some yogurt. It was on sale at the supermarket where he prefers NOT to shop ever since his big pork and beans meltdown last year over its “limit two cans” rule. I rarely make grocery gigs anymore, which is the way I like it, but I figured I’d spare him having to walk into enemy territory.

BB asked me to pick up a block of Kraft cheese, extra sharp. No sweat. I could do it. After all, it was in the same department as the yogurt, so I wouldn’t get lost. I plunked down what I thought was way too much money for a 10 oz. gold brick, over 5 bucks, got my bargain yogurt, and went on my merry way.

Well, the next day BB decided to dig into the cheese with some crackers when he got home from work, but his dining pleasure came to an immediate halt when he tore off the red Kraft wrapper. One end of the cheddar was a not-so-appetizing greenish-gray (above picture is the real deal). I disgustedly dug up the sales receipt and offered to make a return trip to the grocery store to take back the fuzzy stuff, but Big Bore insisted he would do it. I immediately became suspicious.

At first I figured he wanted to have the satisfaction of showing off the tainted product to all the customers around the checkout stand, just to agitate the manager. “Attention shoppers!” he’d shout. “There’s a special on moldy cheese at register two!”

Then it dawned on me the real reason why he was so intent on taking back the cheese himself. I’d mucked up by selecting the crappy Kraft in the first place, so he probably didn’t trust me to select a mold-free replacement. I just do not have the grocery shopping savvy of the resident expert at Casa de la Flaming Bore.

“You want to make sure you don’t get mold again. Right?” I asked.

He said nothing but smiled.

Yep. It’s true. When it comes to the art of choosing cheese, I just can’t cut it.