Thursday, April 29, 2010


Before downsizing one’s home was popular, I bought a one-bedroom bungalow back in 1982. Its age is questionable since the city records only go back to 1925, but it is likely over 100 years old. The original owner, Dr. Walter Moonlight, moved to Eureka in 1903. His wife and he were childless, so the house likely suited them just fine--until he became town mayor in the 1940s and moved up in the world a few blocks away.

Dr. Moonlight came from a small line of Moonlights who originated in Scotland around 1650. According to the documented story, someone left a baby on a family’s doorstep, and the child was called Moonlight since he arrived during a moonlit night--thus the interesting surname.

Dr. Moonlight’s father, Thomas, (above picture), born 1833, sought adventure as a teen and took a boat to the United States in the 1850s. He ended up becoming a Union general in the Civil War, was a Kansas state senator, was appointed Governor of Wyoming territory by President Grover Cleveland, and was later appointed Minister to Bolivia. Go figure. All that hair must have impressed others.

Anyway, the Dr. Moonlight who once resided at what is now Casa de la Flaming Bore was the only surviving son of the General and, since Walter had no children, the name from that line of the family stopped with him. Get on a people search website, type in Moonlight, and you’ll find fewer than 20 listed in the United States. It’s no Smith or Brown, that’s for sure.

I keep thinking one of these days I’ll find a fortune that Dr. Moonlight hid in my home, or maybe relics from his daddy’s astute war and political history, but after living here 28 years that’s beginning to look unlikely. I’ve removed all the wallpaper and dug up all the backyard getting rid of the Bermuda grass--still nothing, other than a small amber medicine bottle and a tiny toy boy of some sort. I’m not even sure what I’ve done with them--they’re probably still somewhere out in the yard where they were found. But, may the moonlight always shine upon them.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Have you ever known anyone who has had an accident playing horseshoes? Well, now you do.

Yesterday after getting my car serviced in the big city, Big Bore and I headed out to a park with our ancient horseshoes. We found them in Mama Bore’s garage last month--untouched for over 50 years, but I took the steel wool to them and painted them, so they look brand new. We were ready to toss those babies.

“First one to 20 points wins,” BB announced.

We have our own scoring system. I don’t know if it’s “official,” or not, but we give 3 points to a ringer, 2 points if the horseshoe ends up leaning on the post, and one point if the horseshoe lands less than its width to the post. If both throwers come close, the closer one wins the point. Got all that?

Well, I kept missing high and missing low and missing left until, finally, “Clank,” it looked like just maybe I had a ringer! Hooray! I got so excited that I immediately had to gallop down to the post to check. Not a wise move.

Midway to the other end, my size 10s took a stumble on the grass---then another stumble, and another stumble as I tried to keep my balance until my entire klutzy body took a crashing tumble--boobs and head first. Aaaaggggghhhhh! My sunglasses jammed into my right cheek, and somehow I scraped up my right hand.

“Are you okay?” Big Bore asked.

“Oh, my head aches!” I said, bouncing up in embarrassment and giving the all clear sign.

At that point, we both started laughing.

“I wish I’d captured that on a video camera,” BB said. “We could have won $10,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

“That’s the last time I’m going to run down to see how I did,” I moaned, my t-shirt stained with grass from smashing my boobs into the ground, although I must credit my big girls for preventing any broken ribs.

And to add insult to injury, I lost both games, 20-7 and 20-11.

Big Bore says he sure enjoyed our outing because I am such an adorable “down to earth” person. Very funny. Ha-ha. Next time I play the dangerous game of horseshoes, I’m wearing a suit of armor.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


My war against weeds has returned!!

After I dug up all the evil bad guys in our yard today AND the neighbor’s adjoining yard, I had to bop downtown to the Garden Club’s garden to weed there. That was not enough, though. Oh, no! Then I went to the library with my trusty tools and weeded the garden area all around the building. And I wonder why my back aches much of the time. It’s because I’m all scrunched over waging a battle with the damned weeds!!

Big Bore says it would be much easier on my body if I’d just spray some sort of poison on the weeds, but I’m not a big fan of sprays. I’m always afraid I’ll inhale most of it and then I'll start wilting. Besides, I get a sense of power yanking up weeds. Alas, I may not be able to rule over world, but I can bully those dandelions into submission.

Yes, there is great satisfaction being Queen of the Yard Police. “Get your ass out of my lawn! Now!! ” I love it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Earlier this week Big Bore and I made a quick return to Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas, to hike Seven Hollows Trail, since we didn't have time for it the last time we were there.

We walked up and down, in and out, and all around rocks and trees and caves for five-and-a-half miles before our aching muscles heaved up the white flag and proclaimed the mission accomplished.

"High five! We made it!"

Here are a few more pictures from the trail:
This is called Natural Bridge. It is not to walk over, just under--which is just as well and much safer.

This next picture shows a tree from atop a bluff that has fallen onto two other trees, supported for who knows how much longer. I'm the blip at the bottom.
Here's part of what's called The Grotto--a cave and pool at the halfway point of Seven Hollows Trail. This would have been a great spot for a picnic lunch, had we packed one. The Flaming Bore and Co. travel lightly. Water only.

We have already scoped out our next adventure to Arkansas--Magazine Mountain. To be continued.....

Monday, April 19, 2010


Saturday Big Bore and I planted flowers--over 100 annuals in the front yard and south of the house. Then he watered everything and I dug up dandelions. Next, we came indoors and I applied two bags of frozen peas to my aching back, the result of being 60-years-old and spending three hours hunched over on my hands and knees in the dirt. Ah, the sacrifices one must make for beauty!

We’re off to Arkansas to recuperate in the Ozark Mountains for a few days.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Recently, before my great neph Boomer toodled off to daycare, he asked me to read a book to him. His selection was a well-worn Dr. Seuss number called Hop on Pop. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly War and Peace or even a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. The words in it were limited to mostly two and three-letter rhyming pairs, but the only other choice he had was Fancy Nancy‘s Favorite Fancy Words, and, even at four-years-old, Boomer knows that book is too ooh-la-la girlie for his masculine taste. So, Hop on Pop it was.

Well, the very first page got Boomer all in a little snit because the illustration had a puppy flipping up into the air and off the page.

“Up, pup. Pup is up,” I began reading.

“Dogs can’t fly!” he laughingly protested.

“Well, it’s just make believe,” I responded.

“But dogs can’t fly!” he continued to insist. “Look, Aunt Nancy. Dogs can’t fly!”

Dr. Seuss would have flipped out of his grave, had he been trying to please Boomer’s literal interpretation. He had a comment for just about every page.

“Pup on cup,” I read.

“Dogs can’t sit on cups!

“Pup under cup,” I continued.

“Dogs can’t get under cups!”

This went on and on. But that’s okay. At least I was relieved he wasn’t blurting out that kid-favorite, 3-letter word that all exasperated adults like me dread hearing….


(Love you, Boomer!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


A few months back Big Bore’s microwave oven bit the dust, but we were hesitant about replacing it--especially me. The new small ones don’t cost all that much, yet we thought we’d see how long we could go without buying a replacement. Did we really NEED one? The answer was no. Sure, they’re convenient but we kind of liked having the extra counter space, so we are still a micro-free kitchen.

The result was different, however, when my digital camera went kaput last week. Oh, my god! The world was coming to an end! When I went to see the relatives over the weekend, I had to borrow Big Sis’s camera, which was confusing since none of its buttons were in the same place as my busted camera’s buttons. I ended up taking one of the pictures in some movie format, and I still haven’t figured out a way to get a still shot out of it. Bummer.

Then, when I got back home on Monday I wanted to take pictures of the tulips in our yard. But, nooooooo, I didn’t have a working camera. Well, sonuva…. This called for action!! Those tulips don’t last long! So, when Connie the Library Director and I went to the big city the next day, we hit up Best Buy and I found a new and improved, as in working and more expensive, digital camera. Hooray! I’d soon be back in business.

Thankfully, the tulips waited for me. Once home, I read the camera's instruction booklet and dashed outside to my purple beauties. “We’re ready for our close-up!”

Lovely, aren't they? Microwave ovens could never do this.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The Flaming Bore has been gadding about the past five days and neglecting this blog. Much of my time was spent visiting family in Pittsburg. Great nephew Luke was my weekend hiking buddy at a wilderness park north of there. Six or seven routes are available to take, and it’s easy to go astray, which we did several times.

“Which path are we on, Aunt Nancy?” he asked during one of our wayward moments.

“I think we’re on the Psycho Path,” I told him, thinking he would enjoy the play on words. “Definitely in The Twilight Zone,” but we eventually made it back to civilization without having to put out a smoke signal.

Luke likes to play silly games while going on these adventures. This time around we staged a Star Wars battle with sword-sized sticks, balanced on fallen logs, challenged each other with spelling words, and conducted a scavenger hunt. Oh, and he also wanted to tell lame jokes.

“Well, I don't know many," I told him, "but how do you know when an elephant has been in your refrigerator?” I asked him.

“I don’t know,” he answered.

“You’ll see his footprints in the cheese.”

“Elephants can’t get inside refrigerators!” he protested.

“That’s why it’s a lame joke!”

Never a dull moment walking with The Flaming Bore.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I saw my ol’ teaching pal Coach R. yesterday, and we had some laughs, as we always do when we bump into each other. He no longer lives in our burg, having moved onward and upward, but we have remained in contact over the years.

Every time I see him, I think of the research paper assignment we once team-taught to the seniors who were unlucky enough to be in his government class and my communications class at the same time. One year we were challenged by a new boy in school who had the worst organizational skills that either or us had ever seen, which resulted in what has come to be known in finer educational circles as The World’s Worst Research Paper.

For an entire two months this kid, J, spent every class period rummaging through his book bag, magazines, locker, whatever. Anything to avoid actual work. While the other students were busy reading, highlighting, writing note cards, typing, etc., J was usually sitting on the floor grumbling and fighting with his chaotic book bag, which looked like a landfill had exploded inside. Call 9-1-1. The same scenario was repeated day after day after day, in spite of attempts to give him extra help.

The paper’s due date finally arrived, and before school started J came into my classroom carrying an archaic typewriter--the kind that weighs close to a ton. He dramatically dropped it on my desk, along with his "finished" paper, wearily stating that he was up all night typing it--like I was supposed to feel sorry for him for not doing a lick of work the previous 60 days.

I wish I could say it was a stellar research paper, but it was just the pits. Lower than the pits, actually. There were so many typos that I gave up marking the corrections after the first page. On top of that, the paper was as disorganized as J, himself. Now, I rarely gave an F to any of my students’ research papers; as long as they tried, they would always get a passing grade, even it was of the barely passing category. This time, however, I had no choice but to deliver the big F-Bomb.

I don’t know whatever happened to J after graduation, or if he even graduated, but I figure he is probably making more money now than Coach R. and I combined. Research paper be damned, he’s likely managing some underground toxic waste dump, rolling in dollars, and laughing all the way to the bank. . --That’s the way life usually works. He who carries the messiest book bag and heaviest typewriter always gets the last laugh. :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010


On recent Tuesday and Wednesday evenings Big Bore has been tolerating my lust for “American Idol.” Special guest performers, however, show up now and then to fill up time, plugging their own music, and last night Rihanna was forced upon us. Neither of us had ever seen or heard her on stage before--and hope never again to be put in such a painful position.

“I’m a rock star,” Rihanna sang in some sort of gimmicky amplification. “….with a black guitar.”

Those were the only words we understood, and she sang them over and over and over again--when she wasn’t gyrating around in a shiny black jumpsuit with Jetson’s shoulder wings. You remember the space age cartoon The Jetson’s, don’t you? To her credit, she had the body to carry off the skin-tight leather, but the singing was just horrible--even though she did have flashy pyrotechnics blowing up in the background. Her guitar playing was make-believe.

“Oh, god, get her off!” Big Bore moaned.

“Would you buy that record?” I asked him.

“Hell no! She looks like the demon on Ghost Busters. All she needs are red, glowing eyes.”

“What if someone just gave you her record?’’

“I’d burn it up, take it to her, and tell Miss Rock Star, ‘Here’s what I think of your singing.’ It sucks!” Ah, that’s what I like about BB. There’s no holding back an opinion.

It’s safe to say that we think Rihanna, needs to blast off to another world with her black guitar and not make a return engagement on “American Idol.” The genuine rock stars of the world should unite, protest, and have her arrested for impersonating someone who knows how sing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Every once in a while I dream that I’m no longer a carefree, lesson plan-free, paper grading-free retired gal but am back in school teaching teenagers how to quit butchering the English language. Last night was one of those nightmarish occasions. This time I was getting on to a boy for making “boogers” with his eraser. These just weren’t just a few little boogers, either. No, this was a mess of massive proportion--the floor was covered with eraser boogers, so I sent the culprit and one of his buddies to the janitor’s room to get a broom and dustpan and do clean-up duty.

While the two fellows were gone, I noticed an unfamiliar face sitting at the front of the room.

“Ah, I see we have a new student today,” I say, trying to switch my mood and be friendly.

“I’ve been here for five weeks,” the girl says, sourly, as though she really means to convey, “Where have you been all this time, bitch?”

I scan the room, see more unfamiliar faces, and realize the class has grown as much as the eraser boogers on the floor. Where did all these kids come from? I check my grade book. New names I’ve never heard of--but there they are. They are multiplying like rabbits. Standing room only. What am I going to do? I can’t teach this many students. Heck, I can’t even control Booger Boy!

I think it’s time to turn this roll call into a wake up call and get back to retirement.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


To get into the spirit of Easter and all that is lovely and Springtime-ish, I went through my Botanica photos file and decided to feature these tulips on today’s Easter Sunday blog. Pretty as a picture, don’t you think?

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Two weeks ago I purchased a new pair of eyeglasses in Wichita, and last night I finally found them--in the fruit bin of our refrigerator where I keep apples and little tubs of yogurt. How the hell did they end up there? I am totally blaming Big Bore, because putting away groceries is his gig, not mine. He has suggested I have the glasses permanently embedded on my face. Not a bad idea.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Well, here’s another bad Easter Sunday picture of Beans, Big Sis, and me, circa 1957. I know the year exactly because I’d just had my beloved ponytail chopped off to make way for the hideous short perm. Mama Bore didn’t want to be bothered with trying to fix my long hair while changing diapers on the newborn expected in May. Humbug. No comment about the braces on the teeth or whatever that is in my hair. Is it a baby chick? I don’t know.

Still, I’m looking more excited about the family Easter egg hunt than the older sibs. Let’s face it, at 14 and wearing faux choker pearls and dainty white gloves, Big Sis is in no condition to traipse around the backyard and I don’t blame her. And Beans is going to have to take off that snug suit jacket if he expects to gather more eggs than the wiry, competitive Flaming Bore. “Outta my way, slow poke!!”

If the truth be known, had the photographer allowed, I suspect Beans and Big Sis would have gladly rushed out of their uncomfortable Sunday School best and just let me hunt solo. And since I was a selfish little brat, that would have been fine with me. “Hooray! Hooray! I get all the eggs in the world! They’re mine! All miiiiiiiiiiine! You don’t get a single one! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”

--Excuse me for the outburst. But this was my last picture as the “baby” of the family.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Kudos to First Lady Michelle Obama who has once again turned part of the White House lawn into a vegetable garden this year. Now, I’m not one to always eat my veggies--I turn up my nose at a lot of them--but there’s nothing like a good ol’ pot of fresh green beans, and I eat bell peppers like they’re candy. So, I say good for Mrs. O. She has a BIG lawn and a BIG garden and she shares her bounty. A heathy green thumbs up to her--although I suspect she has lots of help.

I wonder if she gets her fingernails disgustingly dirty like mine. The newspaper picture shows her working without wearing gloves, so that’s a big plus in my book. Her hair looks too well-coifed for serious garden work, however. Plus, her pants don’t have holes in the knees and I’m certain she is wearing a bra. Serious gal gardeners do not bother with bras. We just toss on a T-shirt and get after it. I don’t always wear shoes, either. Flip-flops are better because I can get them all muddy and just rinse them off with a hose. They’ll be dry in no time. But to MO’s credit, she has on tennis shoes and not stylish pumps.

I think I should give Mrs. Obama some of my gardening tips--not about what to grow but what to wear. She’ll find that gardening is ever so much more fun when not confined by fashion restraints or photographers, for that matter. Can you dig it? Yes, we can!!!