Monday, August 31, 2009


The past couple of years, I've been tossing zinnia seed out and about in the yard. Even though it has no sweet aroma, I like this flower because it has brilliant colors and lasts a long time. Very hardy. You get more bang for your buck, literally, and any dumb-dumb (as in me) can grow them. Here are some zinnias from our yard that have been hanging out all summer:

Purple Haze:
Orange Blossoms:
These big red soldiers stand watch over the begonias:
This little mix-and-match patch came up on its own, re-seeded from last year. Surprise!! We're back!!
Thank-you for attending my garden party. Time to go outside to dead-head the petunias and rose of sharon. Happy last day of August.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


About 15 months ago, my great nephew Bo set me up on a Facebook account so we could communicate silliness on the computer. Don't ask me how or why, but I now have 84 other "friends" who have come onboard this summer. Over half are former students who, when I formerly knew them, NEVER wanted an adult to have half a clue what they were up to, god forbid, but now many of them are intent on letting the entire world know their every movement, as in TMI, Too Much Information. I don't really want to hear about their over consumption of alcohol or what swear words they frequently use or what evil jerkwad they are dating. Such is life, though.

Some of my Facebook friends are into playing cyber games with weird names like Farkle, and Farm-ville, and Yo-ville. Many of these gamers are not former students but bona fide grown-ups who are closer to my age. Even my gynecologist is crazy for Farm-ville and is trying to create the biggest ranch around. I've actually tried to get hooked on these games since I am retired and have plenty of spare time to waste, but I just can't get into them. I'd rather be piddling outside, talking to my flowers. Or writing a blog.

One Facebook feature I occasionally check out are the dumb questionnaires, like "What Beatles Song Are You?" ("I Wanna Hold Your Hand") or "What State Are You?" (Alaska, because I'm adventurous; NOT because I'm big and cold). I was at my proudest moment, though, when taking the quiz called "What Wizard of Oz Character Are You?" The Wicked Witch of the West--hands down, no doubt. Hooray!!! I have the outfit and the evil persona. Now, if I can just find some cute flying monkeys to add to my menagerie.

The best news, however, is that right now my Facebook account is coming up in some sort of Japanese gobbledygook, so I can't even access it. I know how to correct this problem, but for now I'm just keeping these wacky, senseless letters on the screen. I'm okay with this glitch--temporarily. I figure this will save me a good 30 minutes a day when I won't be "forced" to check Facebook to see who is waking up or changing poopy diapers or being dumped by some woman-chasing man/pig. Inquiring minds HAVE to know.....

Friday, August 28, 2009


Since I retired from teaching, I’ve found that no one listens to me anymore. Big Bore pretends to be deaf, and the cats are only interested in communicating with me if they’re hungry. Thus, I’ve found myself having quality chit-chats with whomever is on the television screen. It’s a rapt audience that never sasses back.

The other night BB and I were watching “Man Versus Wild” on Discovery Channel, and I pretty much had a running one-way conversation with the goofball host, Bear Grylls, who was surviving the wilds of a Vietnamese jungle.

“Here’s a deadly cobra,” Bear says, pointing out the hooded serpent slithering down a tree branch. “Their venom is highly poisonous, so you must NOT get near them!”

“Then why are you agitating it with a stick, you idiot?” I respond. "Leave it the $#@! alone!!"

But, oh, no, he keeps poking at it until it hisses and strikes, showing its tonsils and spitting all over the camera lens.

“Way to put your photographer in danger, Bear. That’s just dandy.”

Next, he moves on to a stream, plucks off some blood-sucking leeches, then nabs a catfish with his homemade spear. He beheads it, removes the guts, and takes a bite of the raw meat.

“It tastes as awful as it looks, but it can be the source of needed protein,” Bear announces before tossing the fish aside.

“Well, then cook it, Bear! You know how to make fire. Maybe your photographer is hungry.”

But it’s on to an old railroad tunnel, where Bear puts a hand into a hole and, magically, pulls out a bullfrog.

“Oh, this is a feast to behold in the wilds,” he says. “Just be sure that you don’t eat any red frogs. They can kill you.”

He proceeds to whack its head on a rock until it croaks, literally. Then, he takes one bite out of it, tosses it aside, and dashes off to meet the helicopter that is picking him up.

“You just wasted another meal! What’s wrong with you? You’re not killing these critters to survive. You’re just doing it to show off!”

Alas. Bear doesn’t listen to me, either. He’s just hanging on to a rope ladder, dangling from the belly of the helicopter, being whisked away from the jungle. Big Bore, mum the entire program up until now, finally opens his mouth. “He must have left the photographer behind,” he says.

“Yeah. He probably prefers the company of frogs and cobras.”

Tune in next week when Bear and I travel to Iceland without benefit of a hoodie hat or gloves.

“Zip up your coat, for god’s sake!”

He just won’t listen to me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


If you have a digital camera, then you’ve no doubt played around and taken pictures of yourself--one arm stretched out in front of you, camera aimlessly aimed at your face, or so you think, then you click, and hope for the best. If your shots are like mine, they are usually hilarious, as in bad. Either your features are distorted or a portion of your head is missing. Something always seems to be a bit askew. So, you keep trying and trying, erasing the botched shots from the memory card, until a winner comes out--maybe.

This is the only vacation self portrait I saved. Here’s why: 1. My entire face, complete with the killer black felt cowboy hat (an antique from Big Bore’s redneck days), is well-centered. 2. My camera-holding arm is reflected in a lens of the sunglasses. Now, how cool is that? 3. Best of all, it looks like an avalanche of tumbling boulders is about to swallow me. Oh, hell! That IS an avalanche of tumbling boulders!! Gotta!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009


Big Bore and I spent four days and three nights last week at 30-Mile Campground. It is at the base of the Rio Grande Reservoir in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, 12 miles from the nearest highway. No television. No computers. No flush toilet. Just trees and mountains. The above picture was my view from inside our tent.

When BB was a Little Bore, some of his family's summer vacations were spent at this same campground, so it has fond, special memories for him. "I can't believe how tall and thick the trees have gotten." The passing of thirty-plus years tends to create strange special effects.

Here is a picture of him at Thirty-Mile Campground when he was 10-years-old, proudly showing off his Trout Catch of the Day:

And here he was last week proudly showing off his Trout Catch of the Deja Vu:

I enjoyed going on hikes, searching for the perfect rocks to bring home and add to my collection. Here's one we couldn't quite squeeze into the car:

And here I am taking a break at Squaw Creek:

Mostly, we just admired the beautiful scenery and wished Kansas looked like this:

But even amidst these stunning surroundings, Big Bore couldn't stop thinking about home: his garden, his cushy bed, even the goofball cats. "I think I have become an old man," he said at one point. Amen to that.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Big Bore and I are operating in overdrive today, packing and getting ready to roll out for Colorado tomorrow morning. This year we've decided to "rough it" and pitch our tent for five days/nights rather than stay in a cabin as we've done the past two Colorado trips. (I took the pic above in 2006.) We're looking forward to kicking back under the pine tress and relaxing, hiking, and (BB only) fishing. Until next week, The Flaming Bore blog is on hiatus.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Last night I helped to sponsor a teen activity at the library, "Mystery Night: The Theft of the Eureka Crown Jewels!!!" There were 23 junior detectives present trying to figure out who stole a million-dollar display of precious gems from the library. Three boys on the Teen Advisory Board helped me write the script, filled with a number of oddball suspects. I portayed one of them: Miss Mitzi Fritz, a ditzy roller skating carhop at Sonic Boom Drive-In, who had been working there for 40 years without a raise. (Nothing was mentioned, however, about the fringe benefits from her tightwad boss, Mr. Cheap Skates!)

When I retired, my friend the Library Lady talked me into being the adviser for the teen group she wanted organized. A nice new building was being constructed, and it would have its own space for "young adults"--something the old library was lacking. The board members named their area the Teen Lounge and got to pick the furnishings, books, and magazines. They help keep it clean and contribute artwork for the shelves. It is a work in progress. The kids, themselves, are a work in progress. Some volunteer to help at Story Hour; others recycle library trash or pull weeds in the garden area; a few write book reviews for the quarterly teen newsletter. Some just come to the monthly meetings and special activities and consume refreshments in mass quantities. It's a mixed bag.

Keeping teens involved and on task is not always easy in this day and age of cell phones and text messaging and mass confusion, but last night was fun--and more than one kid asked me when the next activity night would be. We'll probably have a Movie Night in October, but there won't be any more scripts to write and crimes to solve until next summer. And Mitzi Fritz, who was NOT the guilty party in our mystery play last night, is retiring her roller skates and acting chops before she falls flat on her ditzy face! (P.S. The computer nerd DID IT, of course.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Da dum! At long last, I have finally finished painting (four coats, no less) the kitchen cabinets! Oh, happy day! Joy, joy! Now I can remove the drop cloth and plastic risers from my office room and get the place back to semi-normal. I would like to thank Big Bore for his capable assistance in unscrewing, sanding, and screwing--he is much handier at wielding a drill than I--and to the cats for keeping the heck out of the way and not mucking up.

BB has admitted that he likes the brighter look in the kitchen after all--so much so that he now thinks I should paint the bathroom cabinets, as well. Not a bad idea, but I first have to get the kitchen totally done. Now that its walls and cabinets and countertops are all pretty blue and white, the brown vinyl flooring looks hideous, so this afternoon I'm beginning a quest to find the perfect blue tile. There's ALWAYS more to do!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I’m drying out today after yesterday’s sudden cloudburst. Little Bit’s annual vet check was scheduled right as the rain and wind came pummeling across my turf and, as Mr. Dante Alghieri wrote hundreds of years ago, we were a Divine Comedy.

First off, the thunder and lightning scared the cat, so he’d gone into hiding somewhere in the house. We had to put out an all-points bulletin to round him up into the carrier, but, that finally done, I headed out into the storm with him. God forbid if we were late because I’d already been tardy earlier in the day with Fluffy’s appointment.

Little Bit was crying like a Banshee, wondering what the hell was going on, while I got the carrier all situated in the passenger seat of the car, and then I discovered, sonuva@#!, I’d left the window rolled down on the driver’s side, which was now soaked to the max. So….I sloshed back inside the house to get a comforter to put on the wet seat, sloshed back to car, and finally got out the driveway, wondering how in the heck I managed NOT to get struck by lightning or hit on the head by a fallen limb.

Once safely inside the vet clinic, drenched, but right on time, Bits and I were toweled down by one of the staff gals before his exam. The storm had stopped by the time we made the return trip home, thank god for small favors. Today, I’m drying out the front seat of the car, mopping up the console, and Bits is trying to recover from the indignity of having various items probed into his tender boo-tay. We've decided to adhere to the words of the lovely Miss Scarlett O’Hara, who once said so sassily, “Fiddlee-dee….Tomorrow is another day!”

Monday, August 10, 2009


I baked another angel food cake over the weekend (no craters, this time!) to celebrate meeting my 4-day-old great nephew, William Jacob. His siblings Maddie and Boomer got to decorate it, and they did an outstanding job, if you don't mind finger trails in your frosting. Mmmmm good!!

Here's a picture of the guest of honor with his cousins and sister.

Boomer didn't show up for the group shot because he was too busy putting the finishing touches on the cake!

The "dive-and dig-in technique" is the best way for any top chef to taste-test cake!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Long before he ever hooked up with Angelina Jolie, and even before he was married to Jennifer Aniston, Brad “Be Still My Heart” Pitt belonged to me. In 1994, he showed up in my walk-in closet in the form of a 24- x 36-inch colored poster of him portraying Tristan Ludlow in the movie Legends of the Fall. Trystan/Brad was a steaming young buck who raised the hormonal levels of all the pathetically tragic women he encountered, including me.

Now, I originally shared this closet with my then-husband, who was given absolutely no say-so about Brad gazing deeply into the eyes of anyone who happened to bop in--dressed or not. The ex should have known then that the marriage was in deep trouble, except Brad actually took the place of another hunk who had been hanging on the same wall for seven years--Patrick Swayze. Yes, my original closet pin-up stud was that hip grinding Dirty Dancing dandy himself. His poster, circa 1987, is still underneath the Brad one--so, actually, Patrick is the one who should have been upset about Brad showing up and taking his coveted spot in my fantasy life.

Big Bore doesn’t seem to mind the fact that I have a poster boy lounging sexily in the closet. He’s a bit vague about who he is in the first place. “Oh, is he that gladiator guy in Troy? What’s his name? Brad Pierce?” If BB decides to put up a poster of Angelina Jolie in the closet, though, I’m pitching a fit.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I was saddened to pick up the newspaper this morning and see that writer John Hughes, age 59, had died of a heart attack yesterday while taking a stroll on the streets of New York City. I've long been a fan of his. He could take some mundane, everyday event and turn it into an outrageously funny piece of pandemonium.

Thirty years ago or so he wrote a little short story called "Vacation 58." It was based on his own family's summer road trip from their home in Chicago to Disneyland. Later, while a writer for National Lampoon magazine, he expanded on the story and it evolved into his first smash movie hit, National Lampoon's Vacation. You remember it, don't you? Clark Grisswold and his madcap family on their way to see Walley World and Marty Moose. Can't you still see the Grisswold family running slow motion in the parking lot to the tune of "Chariots of Fire," only to find that the amusement park is closed? Hughes followed that with a string of screenwriting gems like Ferris Beuller's Day Off, Home Alone, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, the list goes on and on.

When I was teaching, if there was time at the end of the school year, which there usually was, I'd throw in a short unit on humor writing. I'd drag out short stories and essays I'd saved over the years by contemporary writers like Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, Lewis Grizzard, Jean Shephard (you've got to recall A Christmas Story and Ralphie's b-b gun--"You'll shoot your eye out!") and, of course, John Hughes. I'd have the kids read aloud a portion of his "Christmas '58" and tell them how this seemingly insignificant, but funny, little piece of writing made the author a rich man and spawned so many of the movies they loved.

John Hughes had the gift of making people laugh. I wish him a safe journey.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

OH, BOY!!!

We have another bundle of joy in the extended family! William Jacob Bishop arrived yesterday morning in Pittsburg, 7 pounds/4 ounces, and 19 inches long. Here is his first blog picture. I think he looks rather pleased to be on the worldwide web.

As soon as Mom and Baby get home and settled in, I plan to pay a visit and have a birthday party with big sister and brother, Maddie and Boomer--a great excuse for ice cream and cake. Great Aunt Flaming Bore doesn't do diapers, but she is an expert at consuming mass quantities of sugar. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Hey, am I ever steamed about this new federal Cash for Clunkers program! First off, I orginally thought it was going to be some Social Security-type benefit for women age 60+ who look bad in stretch pants. I was going to be first in line to grab my share of the billion-dollar pot!

Then, I find out, no, no, no. The "clunkers" the government is referring to happens to be cars--gas guzzling not-too-worn-out models that can be traded in for vehicles that get better mileage. The plan is to stimulate sales to help bail out the automobile manufacturers AND to encourage drivers to conserve more on gasoline. Well, sonovabit#@!!!! A lot of good that does me!!

In my 40 years of car ownership, I've never bought a car that got under 35 miles per gallon on the highway. Never! I've always been careful with my money and bought the little half-cylinder jobbies that run on a rubber band. No SUVs or Glamour Mobiles for the Flaming Bore. Just small, bare-bones vehicles with four tires. Forget the electric windows and head-jarring stereo systems.

So, where is MY reward? Do you think the government is going to bail me out for living within my means? Heck, no! People like me just keep pinching pennies month by month, debt-free, with a $22,000 house and a used Saturn sedan to show for it. And you know what? I'm mighty happy with what I have--until I read about blasted giveaway programs like Cash for Clunkers!!! End of rant.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


At least once a year since I've retired, I've had the notion that I want to write a novel. The trouble is, I get about 20 pages into it and then my ideas splatter here and there or I lose interest. Right now I'm piddling about with two ideas--one is a crime drama about a woman who isn't sure if her suitor is a murderer or not, and the other is about a hopeless gal going off to college to seek a marriage license. Here's how it starts:

Chapter One--In the Beginning...August, 1969

Have you ever had that ominous feeling that you are about to be dropped, dumped, and dragged to the ditch by the love of your life? I've been down this road hazard many times, the first being the summer of 1969. The rocky highway was Kansas I-47 en route to Pittsfield State College with my high school sweetheart Chip Mansfield. We were entering our freshman year at Pitt, and I was anxious about losing him to a bevy of bombshell coeds, of which I, sadly, was not among. Chip was a handsome football player. I was an average looking nobody. How we'd hooked up in the first place was, in part, due to the fact that the pickings were minimal in our small hometown. Through attrition, I'd stepped into Chip's life our senior year of high school. Halfway during our drive to Pittsfield that fateful August day, here it came:

"Uh, Barb, there's something I need to talk to you about," he started. The tone of his voice led me to believe he was not about to propose marriage. His draft number was 350, so the fear of being shipped off to Vietnam wasn't likely on his mind, either. "Mom has told me that she thinks we ought to see other people now that we're going off to college."

"She what??!!" Surely I had misunderstood him. Why, I was a certified virgin. I worshipped the ground he walked on. How could any mother think I wasn't Grade A marriage material, other than the fact that his family was upper crust and my mom was raising seven kids alone, with the help of coupons and Green Stamps?

.....And it goes on and on and on about how the narrator gets the heave-ho and embarks on her new quest to meet guys and find the love of her life at college. Okay, so it's an old formula, but I figure I have lots of material from my own life and my girlfriends to go about 15 or 20 chapters. I just need to focus and get it done. If I can do one chapter a week, I can have the whole thing done in, say, 20 years????? It's never too late.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


My great niece Maddie pulled another one of her teeth this past week. She's one of these gutsy kids who delights in constantly messing with the little wigglers until they finally pop out. She was very careful not to let this one get away from her; a previous tooth, extracted at the breakfast table, bounced into her little brother's cereal bowl and had to be retrieved from his own mouth in a dramatic recovery. We wouldn't want to miss out on the bounty from the Tooth Fairy.

I think I've probably blogged before that I lost my first two teeth by biting my father's demanding hand, and my first grade teacher, Mrs. Rankin, yanked out several more of them. One that wasn't loose became the victim of a swinging baseball bat when I got too close to it while playing catcher during a school recess. Others had to be pulled before I got braces, to make room for more. And then when the braces finally came off, a few teeth unexpectedly came out with them. Then there were the impacted wisdom teeth.....

I periodically have dreams that I'm spitting out teeth until my mouth is bereft of them. I don't like these night time encounters, of course, and I'm always soooooo relieved when I wake up, go to the mirror, and find that my chompers are still in place--even though many of them are capped and bridged and filled to the max. I would hate to add up all the $$$$ that Mama Bore and I have paid to various dentists over the years. It's been a big bite out of the bank account, for sure.

I hope the Tooth Fairy is generous to Maddie and rewards her well for her brave, solo, pulling efforts. If not, Maddie can just chew out Madame Fairy with what teeth she has left.