Thursday, April 30, 2009


After the weather decided to quit being so drippy yesterday, I went outdoors to check on what's growing in the yard. I make these pilgrimmages several times a day, just to make sure I don't miss out on anything--especially evil weeds. Here are a few pictures for you lovers of flora. The iris above was among some divided bulbs my brother-in-law Ken gave us a few autumns ago.

Here's the driveway entry garden. The Mexican feather grass returned, in spite of what the gals at the nursery predicted. The three mums are also popping up again. I've never planted marigolds before, so we'll see how well they cooperate. I threw a few zinnia seeds in this area last week. To be continued.

This is a tiarella. It is Big Bore's favorite plant in our elm tree circle garden.

This is a fern called Athyrium and a heuchera called Midnight Rose. They are in the same plot as the tiarella. It also has lamium, two lilies of the valley my friend Maggie gave me, ivy, and a bunch of white impatiens and white verbena that I hope will start spreading.

The tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils have come and gone but the strawberries are blooming, peonies are budding, and there are many other underground goodies that have yet to make their appearance. Big Bore is growing onions, potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, green beans, black-eyed peas, pumpkins, ornamental corn, turnips, and who knows what else. It's always fun to see what springs up in spring!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Five week ago I wrote that I was going to get back into jogging, and I set a goal to be up to a slow mile without stopping by May 1st and up to three miles non-stop by my 60th birthday in July. Well, last Friday I met the first goal! I’m now jogging a mile, walking a half mile, jogging a mile, walking a quarter/jogging a quarter. One of these days, I’ll strap on a stopwatch and see how pathetically pokey I’m going.

I bought a Pilates CD over the weekend. It’s still in the wrapper, but today I promise to rip into it. Whether it makes it into the CD player is another story.

The guys are done with their part of the work in the kitchen. Now, it’s up to me to do the painting. This is going to be a slow process, but it WILL get finished. Big Bore is not too keen on my idea to paint the cabinets white. “It’ll show every fly speck (true) and it will be too bright, (I love bright) and I’m the one who spends the most time in there,” he reasons. And you know what? I don’t care!! :) End of disagreement.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Carpenters have invaded Casa de la Flaming Bore off and on since last Friday. The kitchen is getting a new countertop and backsplash. I wish I’d taken a “before” picture of the nasty turquoise top and the turquoise and gold speckled backsplash that I have hated since moving in 25 years ago, but it might have been too much of a shock for the camera. Gone at last! It’s about time.

I’ve always wanted a blue (not turquoise!) and white kitchen, and once I get motivated enough to paint the cabinets, I will have it. I like to paint--it’s such a forgiving activity--so this surely will be something I can do without too much difficulty. Brush, drip, and wipe. No sweat.

Having the kitchen torn apart has sort of been a drag. We had to temporarily remove much of the junk stuffed in the top drawers and underneath the sink, so everything is sort of strewn throughout the adjacent plant room and bedroom. Somewhere underneath the utensils and platters and cleansers are some cactus. Who knows what has happened to the telephone.

The work should be done later today, and then I’ll try to clean up the joint. A place for everything and everything in its place--neatness not required. Just shove the doors and drawers closed and hope for the best.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Number 5 on my list of New Year’s Resolutions was fulfilled over the weekend: “Take a class to learn something artsy/craftsy.” I took a day-long crash course in Stained Glass for Beginners at this neat store in Wichita, and, basically, I crashed and burned.

The only thing I was good at was tracing the template of our project on to heavier paper. After that, it was all downhill. I had trouble cutting the paper pieces out with the special scissors, then I had even more trouble cutting the glass. I kept breaking it in the wrong direction, sliced a finger, was afraid I was going to get glass in my eyes, you name it, but I finally got that part done after asking for help so many times that the instructor got exasperated with me and cut out the last piece herself.

Then we had to wrap the edges of the glass pieces in thin strips of copper foil that was sticky on the back side. I was all thumbs with that, too. I couldn’t get it wrapped evenly. I lost count of how many times I started over and threw away wads of foil. By the time I finished, I used up all of my foil, plus the rest of the guy’s next to me, and had started on another pack. Everyone else was out to lunch at this point, so they didn’t see me rip off with the extra foil. All the stray pieces stuck to my shirt was probably a dead giveaway, though.

On to the absolute worst part of the lesson--soldering. Since my glass pieces didn’t fit back together snugly like the template, there were big gaps that had to be filled. Instead of nice, thin, smooth mounds of lead locking the pieces together, I had thick, lumpy, uneven spots. Horrid.

Well, hallelujah, 4:30 finally arrived--at which point we were to be done, and I still hadn’t gotten the hanging device or frame attached to my masterpiece. Now, granted, I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t finished, and we were given the option of staying one more hour, but I was tired and hungry and knew there was no point in continuing. Even if I was to do the final steps, there would be no way I was EVER going to display this mess in my house, let alone put it in a garage sale.

Come Friday, when I go to the recycle center, I’m making a special deposit---in the glass bin. And my next resolution is never again to take a stained glass class. Lesson learned!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


When I was in college, I had many wacky cronies, and right at the top of the pile was TB, a basketball player I got to know when he was my neighbor and co-worker on the school newspaper staff. He was cute, witty, brash, and, at times, outrageous beyond belief. When he lost his job as a member of the chain gang for football games because of his long hair, he organized a halftime protest and a sit-in at the local newspaper office. He once orchestrated the “kidnapping” of a large piece of school mascot sculpture, thought to be anchored down on campus, taking off with it in the back of his Pontiac GTO. He wrote ransom notes to the college and eventually drew a map to its location---a wheat field in a neighboring county. The mascot was recovered unharmed.

After he decided to grow up, TB became a teacher and coach in a big city school, settled down, got married, became a father, got divorced, and through it all we somehow remained friends, although long distant ones. His ex-wife got custody of their daughter, Lyric, but TB saw her every chance he got and was totally nuts about her. She grew into a beautiful young lady, was bright enough to attend Yale, and graduated with a degree in theatre arts in 2002.

Lyric then decided to move to New York City to seek an acting career. TB would email friends whenever she was on TV…soap opera stuff and stints on a Comedy Central show. He instructed us to write the networks to demand more air time for the blonde beauty appearing in whatever show she happened to be taping. He was a proud and enthusiastic dad who had high hopes that one day she would be a star.

The dream ended on April 25, 2003. That’s when Lyric’s ex-boyfriend, who had been stalking her, followed her home and shot her in the face in front of her apartment building before killing himself. Maybe you heard about it on TV, as the tragedy was recounted on several networks. With the ending of Lyric’s brief life, TB’s own life was forever changed. His only child was gone. How could this happen? Why did this happen? I sent TB a sympathy card and letter and wondered if I would ever hear from him again.

I did. The only way TB could deal with his grief was to create something positive from his loss. His ex-wife and he saw to it that Lyric lived on. In her death, she became an organ donor and five lives were saved. TB established a non-profit organization, Lyric of Life, which promotes organ donations and supplies financial support to donor and recipient families. A theatre scholarship is also given in Lyric’s name every year. Tonight is the Sixth Lyric of Life Fund-raiser in Kansas City.

Once upon a time, TB’s boundless energy was spent cruising on the crazy side of life. Now, he is devoted to raising money and helping to improve the lives of others, since his daughter never got the chance to fulfill her own potential.

If you would like to learn more about Lyric Marie Benson, go to and click on the butterfly.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Casa de la Flaming Bore has recently turned into a pet hospital. Critter has a urinary tract infection, so for 21 days she’s starting each morning with a mouthful of amoxycillin, which gives her a hissy fit.

The first time I tried to administer the dosage, I asked Big Bore to hold her while I pried open her mouth and shoved in the syringe of yummy pink stuff. She only weighs nine pounds. This ought to be easy. Right? Well, not according to Critter, who totally resisted the idea. I finally got the medicine down her, but not before BB’s belly got clawed--a 6-inch gash. He didn’t get mad at her, though, probably because Critter is his “baby,” but I felt guilty that I hadn’t kept her under better control. Now, not only did I have a sick cat to tend to, but I also had a wounded human to treat.

“Here. Let me put some alcohol on it,” I said, grimacing at the bloody scratch.

“That’s going to burn like hell!” he protested.

“Oh, bite the bullet and suck it up. I don’t want you to get an infection.”

He obeyed and took it like a man. Since then, though, I’ve been administering Critter’s meds solo while BB is at work. I don’t want to risk anymore “Me-Ouch”-ing from the Big Bore. I can only deal with one whiner at a time.

Open wide and get well, little Critter. I hope your UTI isn't contagious.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


The camping/hiking trip to Devil’s Den State Park, Arkansas, was a merry time. Big Bore made terrific campfires and the headband lights we bought for the cave worked well. The only rough spot was the air mattress we used for sleeping in the tent. It’s a nice one with its own pumping device that is simple to use. But here was the problem: Big Bore said we wouldn’t want it aired to the max.

“We’ll slide off of it.”

I was skeptical, but willing to give it a try. After all, he’s the Eagle Scout and I bombed out of Brownies.

Well, that first night was like being on a waterbed during the sinking of the Titanic. Every time he moved, I went rolling out to sea. He agreed he’d made a bad call, and the next night we slept much better on a totally pumped-up mattress. Everything else went pretty well. The hiking weather was perfect and we got a nice workout.
Above are some cave pictures. We didn't make it all the way to the end--the spring rains made it damp and slippery inside, and BB and I were not willing to risk a nasty full-body slide into some dark hole. Next, we have Fire and Water:
These last two are some scenery shots. I'm not sure what the pink flowers are--maybe azaleas? Whatever they are, I sure wish they were growing in my yard!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The free exercise classes I took last Saturday were a blast, although the next day I sorta felt like I’d been hit with a wrecking ball. Here’s the lowdown:

Turbo Kick--My early years battling with Brother Beans prepared me well for this class. He was always kicking my ass! There was actually more punching than kicking--punch, jab, uppercut--man, I got into it. At one point I was in such a zoned-out groove that I imagined myself to be a professional boxer. Outta my way, sucka! Bam!

Pilates--Holy crap! I’m about as flexible as a bar of iron. I can see where these exercises would be great for strengthening my back and stomach muscles, what’s left of them. Some of the stretching felt really good, but other moves were murder on my back and neck. And I was so stupid--when the instructor said, “Feel that burn in the back of your thigh?” I said, “No, not really,” so she came over to get me in the proper pilates position. “Oh, yeah! I’m feelin’ it now, baby!”

Zumba--This was the class I liked the least, mainly because it sort of requires a sense of rhythm and dancing and moving the hips and booty in ways my hips and booty have never moved before. Half the time I was just watching the instructor, trying to get the steps down pat. About all I could really do well was the marching. The other thing I didn’t like about it was the music. I’m not much for the Latin melodies, except for an occasional Santana. I’ll pass on this one.

After I got home Saturday, I planted over 100 flowers, so my body was ready for a good night’s sleep before we took off for Arkansas the next day. Two nights in a tent and one day of hiking. More on that tomorrow.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Recently Big Bore and I stumbled upon the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show on WGN. We were both big fans of the program back in our squirrely days. Big Bore even owned a Bullwinkle cardboard stand-up at one time, and I still have my “Peabody and Sherman School of the Extremely Clever” T-shirt. And who can forget Fractured Fairy Tales and the Dudley Do-Right segments on the show? Classics.

Well, anyway, the running story on the R and B that we saw a few nights ago was about the flying squirrel and goofy moose going to college, specifically Wottsamotta U. They had football scholarships, even though the university was going through tough financial times. The board of directors met to cut the academic budget in order to pad the athletic fund.

“Where can we save some money?” one asks.

“Let’s fire all the English teachers!” another suggests.

“What a great idea! Our students already know how to speak English!”

Having once pontificated upon the finer points of wrestling with our language, I had to LMAO on that one!

Of course, the evil Boris, Natasha, and Fearless Leader had to enter the picture to muck up the football team’s road to glory. Long story, but take my word for it, it was funny--and full of the usual bad puns, as Bullwinkle falls for a hard luck line that Boris’s “Sweet Booby” (Natasha) dangles his way.

And, while I'm on the subject of football--we’re kicking off pretty soon for some Arkansas camping and caving, so this blog will be taking a time-out for a few days. As you struggle to cope without the benefit of being bored by The Flaming Bore, may the Moose be with you!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Later this morning I’m driving to Andover to attend some one-time only, free exercise classes-- compliments of the community college there. Pilates, Turbo Kick, and Zumba are on my schedule. I’m hoping my body will enjoy at least one of them, so I can purchase a DVD or two and conduct my own secretive workout sessions in the privacy of Casa de la Flaming Bore. If not, I will just turn into a slug. A sorry….sad….slow….slug.

And, speaking of slow, I’m still working toward re-starting a jogging regimen. On March 20th, I wrote that I’d be able to jog a mile non-stop, slowly, very slowly, by May 1, and three miles non-stop, slowly, very slowly, by my 60th birthday in July. Right now I’m up to 1/2 mile non-stop and can do three miles going 6 blocks jog, two blocks walk, 6 blocks jog, two miles walk, etc. Slowly, very slowly. Remember how Superman is described as “faster than a speeding bullet!”? Well, I’m faster than a speeding slug!

Friday, April 17, 2009


My day didn't begin the way I wanted, so I had to quickly call, "Overs!" and get it back on track. You remember "Overs!" don't you? It's what you yelled when you were a kid playing jacks with your friends, and you didn't like the miserable configuration you'd been left with when you'd tossed the metal jacks out onto the sidewalk. They would be stacked too closely together to give you a fair chance of getting safely through your "ones-ies" or "twos-ies" or whatever level you were on. "Overs!" Swipe those suckers back up fast and try again!

So, when I woke up this morning, shuffled into the living room, stumbled over Big Bore's Sponge Bob foam pillow that Little Bit drags around, turned on TV, and heard the blaring introduction to, you guessed it, the infernal "Sponge Bob Square Pants," show on Nickelodeon (BB's favorite), well, I had to call, "Overs!" I quickly switched to my beloved rock music channel, tossed the pillow on BB's easy chair, went back to the kitchen to fix some green tea, and re-started the day.

Now, I can't stand the taste of green tea but, for some reason, it seems to like me. Since I started drinking it in January, my clicky tinnitus has calmed down considerably and my use of the seizure medication for my ear muscle has, likewise, been reduced significantly. So I drink three cups a day and put on a happy face. I feel like I now have a new lease on life--my own, personal "Overs!"

Go out and have yourself a merry little TGI-Friday and remember: If you mess up something the first time round, don't give up. Breathe deeply, smile your goofiest Sponge Bob smile, and just... start over!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I couldn’t let a season of American Idiot, er Idol, go by without making some passing comments. During the auditions, I picked Adam as my favorite--not because I dig his Goth look, but because he can carry a tune to the Outer Limits and back. And little 16-year-old Allison puts any of the current Pop Tween singers (whiny Miley Cyrus, are you listening?) to shame. She’s sort of a reincarnated Janis Joplin with a bad dye job. That being said, Adam and Allison have been my 1-2 picks since the get-go.

The reason I like this show so much is that once upon a time I considered myself a fairly good singer, but now I’m just a musical terrorist--as in awful. I still like to try to sing, but what comes out of my mouth is just “dreadful,” as Judge Simon would say. Sometimes I am totally amazed at how horrid I sound, so I try to compensate by doing fake voices that are intended to entertain/mortify Big Bore. One is country hick and the other is opera-gone-wild.

In spite of my loss of vocal sex appeal, I can still sing on key and my ringing ears recognize any note even remotely “pitchy,” as the Idol judges call it. My response is much like what one experiences when hearing fingernails scraped along a blackboard. I cringe, and every hair on my body stands at attention. But this reaction doesn’t keep me away from the TV set on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, although I have to admit that when Whiny Miley was making her guest performance on AI last night, I had to switch channels to Bravo because listening to Kathy Griffin drop F-bombs was easier on my ears.

Next week’s Idol show is featuring disco songs, and I am getting sooooooo excited. I’m hoping that the guest performer will be Barry Gibb, of BeeGees fame, because about thirty years ago I had a crush on his tight leather pants, gold chains, and chest hair. Looking at him gave me a genuine Saturday Night Fever. Not only will I be singing along with the contestants, BUT I’ll be able to put on my disco shoes and shake, shake, shake my booty, too. Wow! A double whammy! I can’t wait for rehearsals to begin!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It’s official! As far as I’m concerned, there will be no more cold weather!!!! I’m stinkin’ tired of it. I’m through playing the revolving indoor/outdoor game with the ferns. They are out to stay! So are the cactus. And the coleus. And the sweet potato vine. I’m ready to keep my fingers crossed and get on with the growing season, regardless of what the weathermen decide to predict. How’s that for being confident?! Or foolhardy.

Yesterday afternoon, some of us from the Garden Club cleaned up our little park area downtown between two buildings. We weeded, pruned, and planted, and within just two hours the area was looking good. We’ll take turns watering and weeding until frost--in the fall, of course!! (Remember: no more cold weather until then!!!) Last Saturday I tended to the day lilies and weeded at the library. I’ll also be watching over Mama Bore’s garden area when I bop over to Fredonia each week. That’s enough for my achin’ back to do.

Friday I’m going to the flat sale at Stone Creek Nursery and load up on impatiens, petunias, marigolds, and begonias. That will complete my purchases for the spring--maybe. I’ll come home and dig, dig, dig, plant, plant, plant the rest of the day and get my fingernails grimy beyond recognition. I’m not a gardening glove kinda gal. I’ll wait a few weeks before planting the zinnia and morning glory seeds and the caladium bulbs. Then, we’ll have to wait many more weeks for them to pop up outta the ground. Nothing like practicing the art of delayed gratification.

Big Bore is Vegetable Boy. He knows The Flower Girl has an important new garden policy this year that he must follow to the letter at all times: “Look. Don’t touch. Especially with your big flappin’ feet! If violations are made, the next thing I plant is going to be my foot in one of your tender body parts. Dig it?”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I don’t have much to groan about today, so I’m just doing a photo blog of something hanging on the wall at Casa de la Flaming Bore--a print of a painting by Phil Epp, an artist from Newton. When Big Bore was working on the new hospital there a few years ago, he “discovered” Epps’s work in the rotunda. Flint Hills scenes and clouds seem to be his forte. Big Bore says this picture reminds him of his own life at the time we got back together--sort of a lost soul alone in a storm. Living with me is not always calm skies, that’s for sure, but at least "lost and lonely" are no longer in his vocabulary.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Big Bore finally went ballistic about the neighbor’s dog Saturday night. Its incessant barking has been building up to a boiling point in both of us for quite some time, so I wasn’t too surprised when, after an hour of trying to get to sleep, he got out of bed spewing every expletive in Webster’s Dictionary of Really Profane Words and called the local law enforcement center to complain about his peace being disturbed. And when an officer did not arrive as quickly as BB felt reasonable, he called again. Don’t worry, he put a self-imposed restraining order on his language when he called.

Now, the barking annoys me, too, but I wasn’t the one trying to sleep and having to get up at 4 AM to go to work the next morning, so I was somewhat calmer about it all. I put on my shoes and walked over to the neighbor’s place myself--something I’d been thinking of doing for months. I mentally rehearsed what I was going to say so I wouldn’t sound like the lunatic raving inside our house. I got my speech all worked out nicely, but then no one was home, so my practice in politeness did no good.

Next, I went to Plan B and tried to locate the neighbor by calling one of his relatives. No luck there, either, but there was the possibility that one of the family would come over and shut the dog in the garage. I didn’t insist upon it, but this was a temporary answer to the problem. In the meantime, a police officer arrived to tell us what we already knew--no one was home. If nothing else, the officer got to have the pleasure of hearing ol’ Barky in nonstop action and Big Bore’s complaint would be on record.

In about 10 more minutes, the neighbor’s relative must have come to our rescue because the dog finally shut up. Ahhhhh. Big Bore was off in dream land in no time. I finally hit the sack around 1 AM and got my wake-up call, as usual, from the dog--back in its pen--howling mournfully at 7:30 AM. I keep on telling myself that listening to its noise box is better than being bitten and shredded to pieces, so maybe I’ll just try Big Bore’s standard mantra he regularly shouts out the window to our canine neighbor: “Shut the f--- up!!!!”

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Here's an email I received yesterday that has some words to live by:


*Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
*Walk softly and carry a big carrot.
*Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
*There's no such thing as too much candy.
*All work and no play can make you a basket case.
*A cute little tail attracts a lot of attention.
*Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.
*Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.
*Some body parts should be floppy.
*Keep your paws off other people's jellybeans.
*Good things come in small sugar-coated packages.
*The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.
*An Easter bonnet can tame even the wildest hare.
*To show your true colors you have to come out of your shell.
*The best things in life are still sweet and gooey!!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Easter Sunday is just a few days off, and forgive me, Jesus, but I have always been gaga for Easter egg hunting. Big Bore grumbles that it’s a pagan ritual--point well taken--yet he’s always foaming at the bit to load up on the malted milk chocolate “Easter robin eggs” this time of year, so go figure. I told him he can’t badmouth searching for Easter eggs if he’s going to consume them in mass quantities.

When we were kids, we always had an egg hunt in our yard after we got home from church. As you can tell by the above pictures, Big Sis and Beans weren’t quite as enthusiastic as the miniature Flaming Bore. Our town had an egg hunt for kids on the old courthouse lawn. One year I found a special blue egg (nothing plastic in those days) hidden at the base of a big elm. It had a #6 written on it, which meant it was a prize winner. I was just shaking in my shoes with excitement, and when I went to the bandstand to see what I’d won--wow!! A bag of Hershey’s kisses from Self Service Grocery! I’d never won anything before, so I was in victorious chocolate heaven.

I quit believing in the Easter Bunny the year Sir Rabbit went overboard and left me a red wagon. I rationalized that a hippety-hopper could possibly leave me colored eggs, but there was no way in hell he could drag a Radio Flyer up the porch steps.

Another memorable Easter was the time it rained and I hid the eggs inside the house for my younger siblings. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep a list of where I’d placed the two dozen hard-boiled babies, and I hid two of them so well that they were never found--until a few weeks later when we sniffed them out. Uh-oh.

When I taught school, I would have an Easter egg hunt for the yearbook staff. These were plastic eggs with mini peanut butter cups and extra credit slips inside them. I had fun hiding them, and the students--ages 15-18--never complained (to my face, anyway) that they were too old and sophisticated to be looking.

Here’s to Easter egg memories. May none of yours be rotten.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I’ve been doing some interior painting recently, which called for dragging out my Richie Bay shirt.

Richie Bay was a college acquaintance who definitely marched to the beat of a different drummer. He was a hippie-dippy art major who publicized himself by silk-screening his image on cut-rate T-shirts. To own a “Richie” was a privilege--in my world.

The hovel in which Richie lived off campus was decorated with breast prints. Basically, Richie had just lined the walls with newsprint. He would have female friends come over, take off their tops, paint 'em up, and have them press up to the paper. Voila! Instant art! He wanted to do me in metallic blue. I was too much of a prude. Today, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

I don’t know whatever became of Richie. He was a New Yorker, I think. And he had a big mouth that rarely was quiet, so surely someone has heard from him. I do know where the 40-year-old Richie Bay T-shirt is--in my closet. It’s a good shirt to put on when painting and making messes in general. The holes and stains on it make no difference. Richie would be probably be proud to know that his green gaze is still crazy looking after all these years.

Here’s to you, Richie. I wish I had let you do that breast print. Metallic blue is one of my favorite colors!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Well, my swell computer decided to have the 24-hour flu but finally came back to life a while ago. I had decided to go to the library to blog from one of its computers this afternoon but got too preoccupied painting window sills. Speaking of the library (like the transition?), I recently got another big box o' books from Dr. Maureen, After I read them, I donate them to Library Lady so she can continue her quest to keep our fair town literate a bit longer.

I finished reading one of Dr. M's mysteries this morning--Bad Twin, by Gary Troup, who, in a mystery of his own, disappeared with a jet-full of passengers over the Pacific Ocean in 2004, shortly after the novel was published. Seems he was on a book promo tour, returning from Australia, when the plane in which he was a passenger went down. Adding to the weirdness are some strange coincidences in the book. His protagonist once uses the word “oceanic” as an adjective, speaking of the multitude of problems he’s encountered on the case; the airline for Troup’s ill-fated flight was Oceanic. Troup has his main character on a plane en route to Australia, when the woman next to him remarks how “deadly vast” the Pacific Ocean is. Toward the end of the book, there is a paragraph about mortality and destiny. It’s almost as though the author is writing about his own fate. Kinda creepy.

Now, if I was still teaching, I would use this little story as an example of irony. I was always looking for such oddities to snip from newspapers and magazines for "show and tell." There was a person who was struck dead by lightning while visiting a family plot at a cemetery, and then there was the man who had his first--and last--300 bowling game. He was so overwhelmed with excitement and joy over his perfect performance that he had a heart attack and died right there at the bowling alley. Thirteen strikes and you're out!

A lottery winner who ended up with a lousy life was another example I used. Maybe you've heard this story or something similar. Some poor, deserving schlup wins 50 million bucks and then ends up in the poor house when he radically changes his lifestyle and goes on a wacky spending spree. His kids, now with money to shove up their noses, become drug addicts and one overdoses and dies. In her grief, his wife runs off with a better-looking guy; the divorce settlement consumes half the resources. Taxes can’t be paid, and bankruptcy court takes back the mansion, yacht, and fancy cars. The guy ends up in worse shape financially than he was before the lottery windfall, and he’s emotionally ruined. Now, that’s a bitch of a case of irony!

When I win the lottery, remind me to stay in my one-bedroom bungalow, keep driving the Saturn, and never miss a day of litter box duty. No amount of money will ever keep the Flaming Bore from being a close personal friend of the pooper scooper.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Big Bore and I are planning a little camping trip back to Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas later this month, weather permitting, and he has started making a list of everything he wants to pack. Being the old Eagle Scout, he is hyper organized about this task, like it's some scientific process that requires the utmost precision and skill. Me, I'd just throw a bunch of crap in the car trunk and go.

Actually, I'm quite an experienced camper and, if the truth be told, I've probably spent more nights in a tent than he has--in fact, I've set up stakes in 47 states, but I'm letting on like I don't know the difference between a sleeping bag and a bag of beans. It's more fun that way. He gets to think he's important and do all the work, while I can stand around and do nothing. It's called "division of labor."

T-minus 12 days and counting before blast-off!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME...." (Shakespeare)

Keeping track of the unique (as in goofy) names celebrities give their babies is one of my scientific past-times, and I came across a new one over the weekend. Some guy from the Iron Chef TV show dubbed his daughter: Petal Blossom Rainbow. I think that’s very clever and don’t know why I didn’t come up with it myself as a suggested name for the anticipated addition to my extended family come August. I think Petal Blossom Bishop or Rainbow Bishop have a nice alliterative ring to them. So does Peanut Butter Bishop, come to think of it.

Of course, I had to immediately contact Big Sis Bishop, grandmother-to-be of the expected family babe, to tell her that Petal Blossom Rainbow should be added to the list of prospective names, if a girl is in the making. She said she hated to burst my bubbly head, but a female name had already been chosen--Caroline Rose.

The father of the baby-in-waiting, my nephew, has a paternal great grandmother and maternal great-great grandmother both named Rose. My late great granny Rose was a bud ahead of her time: she smoked, got divorced--twice, and had men “taking care” of her at a time when such behavior was considered scandalous of a lady. By the time I got to know her, though, she was just a little old whit of a woman whose days of hard living were in her thorny past.

--Now, I think flowery names are sweet. There are so many from which to choose. Here are a few bloomin’ good ideas that I think would be fine names for people to pick for their little girls:

Tulip Petunia
Pansy Peony
Chrysanthemum Marigold (a bit long, but she could be called Chryssie, Mari, or Goldie for short))
Daisy Daffodil
Lilac Lily-of-the-Valley
Iris Amaryllis (my favorite--especially if her last name was Willis)

Try it for yourself. See what hybrid combinations you can grow from your own fertile garden of a mind!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Friday’s Burning Question: Does super tot Suri Cruise, darling daughter of actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, ever get to wear a T-shirt, jeans or shorts, and tennis shoes? I’m highly concerned about why she’s always photographed wearing a dress--a longish, beautiful, sometimes frilly dress, at that. And fancy, shiny shoes. What’s the deal? Is she always going to a formal play date? She looks so sterile. I’m worried that this child is not being allowed to get down and dirty. She’s probably never had food encrusted on her sweet little toddler face, scabbed up a knee, or spilled Kool-Aid all over herself. Why, I bet she’s never even had sticky sucker hands, either. It’s just not normal! Has she ever exchanged kisses with a slobbery dog, played in the kitty litter box, or squished mud between her toes? I think not. While her mother slinks around in a pair of jeans, Suri’s dressed up like a little princess 24/7!

Well, I’m calling for an official investigation. No normal child should be this clean and neat and uncomfortably itchy looking--all the time!!! Suri needs to have a Dress Down Day, where she’s allowed to look like every other grubby little three-year-old who’s rolling in fun. Since I’m no longer close, personal friends of her parents, or even remote fans, for that matter, I don’t know where to start with my Cruise-aid to Free Suri of her fashion prison. Any suggestions on how to stage an intervention?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


This hot news just in from Hollywood: Former Hugh Hefner honey bunny Kendra (from “The Girls Next Door” TV show on E! Network) is going into business selling stripper poles! The poor girl has been forced into finding a real job since she’s getting married in June and Hef has decided maybe it’s time to boot her from his stable. “My poles are gonna be like Carmen Electra’s poles,” she says, “only better”--whatever the heck that means. Kendra’s poles come complete with an instructional video of mounts, poses, and dismounts. I can’t wait to get started!

Now to be quite honest with you, if I thought I wouldn’t end up crashing into the basement, I would probably buy a stripper pole, if the price was right, as in cheap. When I was a kid, I loved playing on the monkey bars, and a stripper pole isn’t too far removed from our old playground equipment. Right? I think it would be a heckuva lot of fun to learn. I’m surprised there aren’t YMCAs around conducting classes in pole dancing.

Now, if I were to become a pole ballerina, trying to be sexy would be the last thing on my mind. I’m wise enough to realize that my sexy days, if I ever had any, went out the window about 35 years ago. There would be no skimpy Spandex costumes for me. I wouldn’t want to chafe any tender private areas or get 3rd degree burns on my thighs. I’d just show up for basic pole training wearing sweats, hoping to get a good workout--or at least a few laughs--and avoid being put into traction.

I hope Kendra is successful with her new enterprise. There probably aren’t too many real jobs for which she’s qualified. Her resume pretty much consists of being a teen-aged pizza pusher and dental assistant (for a few months) and then seven years experience showing off her implants and laughing--all the way to the bank on Hef’s expense account. Oh, and acting. Pretending to be hot for a geezer 59 years her senior would be excruciatingly difficult. Let’s see. That’d be like me having a 118-year-old Sugar Daddy. Yikes!! I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Lately I’ve been getting a lot of canned phone messages. Yesterday I answered to something like the following: “Do you know someone who is overweight? How about someone who has arthritis or diabetes? Well, do you know that there is an all-natural solution that makes all these problems go away? Scientists have made the greatest discovery of all time. A plant found in remote Siberia in a region called Tiga. A plant with astonishing medicinal properties that lowers high cholesterol and stress.”

If I wanted to continue listening to the sales pitch, I could press one and have my life put on hold forever, so I hung up. Pressing numbers on telephones raises my stress and cholesterol, so I wanted nothing to do with it. Anyway, I already know the all-natural solution for losing weight. It’s a deep, dark secret, and few are aware of it, but here it is: quit eating so damned much!! But depriving myself of yummy treats just doesn’t seem, well, natural. So, I’ve tried to go the way of the second greatest scientific discovery of all time: exercise more!! Unfortunately, my activity regimen, busy as it may sometimes seem, doesn’t negate my massive consumption of the calories Big Bore throws before me. The result: my size 8 jeans are just taking up dead space in the closet because I can no longer zip them up!!

I’ve decided that the only all-natural solution to my weight woes is not to be found in a remote region of Siberia but in my own bedroom. I’ll just quit looking at myself in my frightening full-length mirror!! Problem solved.