Thursday, September 30, 2010


Alas, my love affair with “Glee” has ended. A break-up is imminent. The Britney Spears “tribute” show Tuesday night was beyond horrid. A disaster almost as bad as when Brit, herself, had a head-shaving meltdown a few years back.

The set-up for some of the songs was lame--dream sequences during gassed-up dental appointments. And the horn dog reactions from one of the minor characters, frizzy-haired student gossip Jacob, were way over the top…like a clogged toilet bowl spewing forth poor acting into my living room. I came close to putting the plunger over his face to shut him up or, better yet, change channels. Fortunately, Coach Sylvester set off the fire alarm in the gym while the Gleekers were performing “Toxic,” causing a riotous student race to the exit, which ended the show before any more damage could be done by the equally toxic plot.

“Glee” needs to ditch these so-called tribute shows and get back to being driven by the characters and their story lines. Some decent musical scenes that aren’t certified sleaze material might help, too. Until then, my glee has turned to glum. (Okay, readers, go ahead and ask, "Why's a person your age watching "Glee" in the first place?)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Well, once again it’s Spirit Week in our fair town. Homecoming is Friday and Tornado Spirit is in the air! The high school kids got a head start last week, painting up windows of Main Street businesses whose kindly owners, god love ’em, were willing to risk having their store fronts turned into red and blue nightmares. “Nuke 'Em!” “Blow Away the Cats!” “Go Big Red!”

I just happened to be cruising downtown on my trusty 1975 Schwinn 3-speed, also known as Big Red, at the same time the teenage Picassos were at work. Two or three girls wielded paint sticks at the participating businesses, surrounded by large posses of “do-nothings” who just stood around doing, well, nothing. Okay, I take that back. The girl do-nothings were giggling and the boy do-nothings were pushing each other around, in a friendly, male bonding-type of way. These are the same ones who all rushed out the door after supper telling Mom, “I can’t do my homework (or chores) tonight because I have to help paint windows for Spirit Week, and I won’t be allowed to graduate and go on to college if I don’t show up to help.”

But we’ve all probably been there at least once during our high school days when some activity of monumental importance could not be completed without our own participation. I was a Pep Club hotshot once upon a time and devoted more hours creating posters for games than I ever spent studying, which was possibly the reason why I bombed Algebra I and Spanish II and never dared enroll in Physics. If there had been a course titled "Wasting Time Making Yellowjacket Posters," I would have been at the head of the class.

“Cage the Cubs,” “Sting the Bluestreaks,” “Chop Down the Cherries” (in the days before Cherryvale wisely changed its mascot to the Chargers), “Tame the Wildcats.” I had what I thought were clever little sayings for them all. Each new game week, my band of terrorists, also known as the poster committee, would arm ourselves with masking tape and plaster our spirited messages all over the three floors of the Fredonia High School hallways. I’m sure at least 25 percent of USD 484’s overall budget was devoted to Pep Club “posterage” back in the 1960s. Maybe more.

So, when the old Flaming Bore pedaled her creaky bike past those window-painting Spirit Patrols last week, it was sure difficult resisting the temptation to apply the failing brakes on Big Red and call out to those kids, “Hey, there! Do you need some help?” Old spirits never die.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Well, Big Bore says I’ve finally done it--I have officially driven him crazy. What, pray tell, could I, the sweet and innocent Flaming Bore, do that would cause such a drastic reaction from a human being, you ask? It’s my singing. Or, more specifically, my singing to our cat Fluffy.

You see, Fluffy and I have this “thing” going between us. She absolutely LOVES my horrible singing, as long as the lyrics have the word “Fluffy” in them about a jillion times. If we’re both in the living room, and I start singing to her, she instantly comes over to me and wants to be petted. This can go on for quite some time, until one of us grows weary of the game or until Big Bore can’t take it anymore--whichever comes first.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that it’s just this 4-note, triangular, non-tune, so-called song that is always out of key,” moans BB. “It’s terrible!”

“But Fluffy likes it,” I defend my warbling.

“Well, at least make it sound like something that won’t hurt my ears! And, while you’re at it, change the words now and then.”

I laugh. Okay. So, I have sort of run into the ground singing: “Fluffy, Fluffy, you’re so sweet. You’re so neat. You're the best kitty, Fluffy.”

I think Big Bore is just an old grumpy pie who doesn’t appreciate the finer musical arts. Truth be known, I really can carry a tune and he knows it, but it’s ever so much more fun to sing goofy to my cat and receive her purring nod of appreciation. Big Bore should be thanking me, as well. It takes a lot of hard work to sing this bad.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I decided to stay up late Wednesday night to catch Tom “What’s New, Pussycat?” Jones on The David Letterman Show. I had a mild crush on him back in my late teens when he strutted his stuffed pants on a TV variety show aptly called “This is Tom Jones.” He was well known for his deep, sexy voice, dark curly hair, blue eyes, ample chest hair, which was usually entangled with gold chains, and, of course, the oh-so tight pants. Girls out in the audience would toss their panties to him while he crooned. Loose hussies if you ask me.

I don’t know what I was expecting, 40+ years after the fact, but I was sorta hoping he’d swagger out on Dave’s stage with “It’s Not Unusual,” or one of his other oldies. Now, I wasn’t disappointed in how he looks. Oh, sure, the hair is no longer black, but at least he has some. And his body is mighty fine for…let me check his age…good god, he’s 70!!! I don’t care if he was wearing Sanz-a-Belt relax-waist slacks that no longer fit tighter than a 40-year-old virgin. Give the man credit.

But the singing….the voice was almost unrecognizable. Maybe it was just because he wasn’t belting out one of his old favorites. This was something I’ve never heard before, about Satan. I think it was called “Burn in Hell” or “Burning Hell” or something like that, and the lyrics were a real downer. Right down there in hell, actually. What happened to the upbeat Tomcat who was always shaking the bed and looking for love? Hey, TJ, your fans don’t want you to be some Ozzie Osborne come-lately.

So here's the scorecard: Hooray for still performing in your silver-haired years, Mr. Tom Jones, but boo, hiss to your song choice for the Letterman show. And, sorry, but no panties for you this time around...not even granny panties...all stretched out...with holes in them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Do you think Baby Sweet William would go for the little pumpkin Boomer and I brought home from our grocery store shopping spree (see yesterday's blog) especially for him? Oh, no. He tossed it aside, uninterested, and went straight for the largest one, pulling it onto the sofa, and claiming it for himself. I don’t know what this big orange ball with the hairy top is, but it’s ALL MINE!! Boomer didn't seem to mind sharing his new purchase, but if that pumpkin survives three kids "loving" it and makes it through Halloween unscathed, I'm going to be amazed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


My shopping mission with Boomer was to buy three pumpkins--one for him and one each for his sibs Maddie and Baby Sweet William. We hit up Ron’s IGA, where we were both excited to see a kid’s section of shopping carts when we walked in. Among all the mini-baskets was one big-ass contraption that was half-cart/half-racing car. Boomer and I latched on to it like leeches. “Back off everybody! This is ours!”

“We don’t have neato shopping carts like this in my little town,” I told Boomer while clicking the seat belt around him.

Away we went in search of pumpkins in our fancy wheels. But, what?! Why, as soon as we motored through the entry to the store, there was the pumpkin display! Boomer rolled down his car window to point out his selections: a big one for him, medium for Maddie, and itty bitty one for William. I loaded 'em up, but I’ll be darned if we were going to head straight for the check-out stand. No way! Not when I was pushing around the baddest shopping cart I’d ever seen. Boomer and I were going to pretend we were super shoppers who had other items to purchase.

We put our Cart-mobile in 3rd gear and went the perimeter of the store, past the deli, produce, meat, dairy, you name it.

“Left!” Boomer commanded, and he’d turn his steering wheel and great auntie to the left.

“Right!” “Straight ahead!” “Back to the left!” He made little car noises. It was a blast.

Finally, though, it was time to direct him to the check-out stand before the Ron’s IGA police ticketed us for joyriding.

We paid for our pumpkins and parked the cart, leaving it for the next pair of kids. You know, I don’t think I’d mind grocery shopping so much if, every time I went, I could play Road Warrior in the aisles with Boomer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I went to P-burg yesterday to visit with Mama Bore and do some shopping, but a quick change in plans occurred when I arrived at Big Sis’s house.

“Aunt Nancy!!!!” I heard as I walked up the porch steps.

Apparently it was an in-service day at school, so Maddie and Boomer were staying with Grandma and Grandpa. Some re-scheduling immediately had to be done. After much grueling debate the new plan of attack would be: 1. Shopping with Maddie 2. Visit Mom 3. Shopping with Boomer.

Maddie and I had three places to hit up, but the main mission was to purchase a wedding present for one of my former students who had registered at a store I have boycotted most of this year. I dare not repeat the name, but it begins with a “W” and ends with a “Mart.” I figured since I was buying for someone else and not for myself that the boycott would basically remain intact.

So, Maddie and I went to the computerized gift registery at the “W” store, and after a load of complications the damned thing finally belched forth nine pages of items that the bride and groom would like to receive. Maddie was impressed.

“Wow! They’re gonna get lots of presents!”

I decided to make it easy and get the very first selection from page one, an Igloo ice chest, and off we went into the bowels of the store to find the sporting goods department. We eventually located the correct size and color and loaded it into the shopping cart.

“Okay,” I said. “Next stop the check-out stand.”

“But we’re not done,” Maddie protested. “There’s still all those other things on the list.” She pointed at the nine pages flopping around in the bottom of the cart.

“I only have enough money to buy one. Those are for their other friends and family to get them,” I explained. “This is kind of like a wish list of what the bride and groom would like to have from everyone they’ve invited.”

“Ohhhhh.” The comprehension kicked in.

Some little girl I know is going to turn 7 in a few weeks, and if the “W” store has a Birthday Registry, I think I know who is going to be the first person in line to sign up.

Part II tomorrow: Shopping with Boomer

Monday, September 20, 2010


During my late Saturday night channel surfing over the weekend, I hit a sentimental jackpot. Guess who was performing on PBS? James Taylor!! What a far-out trip back to the early 1970s!

I didn’t have much spare change when I was a senior in college, but when JT’s debut album Sweet Baby James was released, you can bet I made room in my overstrained budget to buy his mellow LP. I played that record over and over and over, memorizing every word. I’d go to sleep with it, clean house with it, study with it, drink wine and make out with it. Quite a versatile piece of music, I must say. “Fire and Rain” was my favorite song on the track. It starts out about the death of a dear friend who JT laments, “….I always thought that I’d see you again.”

Unlike many other aging singers of my era, Taylor has not lost his vocal chops. He sounds exactly like he did 40 years ago. Maybe that’s because he’s always been a quiet balladeer and not one to scream out his lyrics or wildly jump around with his guitar. His long hair is long gone, of course, but he’s kept his body lean and his style casual. He’s like an old friend returning home from a long journey. As I relaxed on the sofa and closed my eyes listening to him sing, I felt a rush back in time when I was young and thought my friends and I would always be together. It never crossed my mind then that we wouldn’t live and love forever. “….I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end….”

“What are you thinking?” Big Bore asked, feeling my silence.

“Of my tears for friends who’ve died.”
“….thought I’d see you, thought I’d see you….”

Oh, that Sweet Baby James sure knows how to sing his way back into my heart.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Ten years ago or so, Mama Bore gave her five adult children rocks for Christmas onto which she’d written her motherly motto: “I love you the most.” It’s sort of a running gag in the family and her way of saying she has enough love to give around to everyone. When we were growing up, Big Sis was her favorite oldest daughter, Beans was her favorite oldest son, I was the favorite middle child, and so on. There would be no showing of favoritism. We each thought we were top dog in her heart.

I don’t know what the other sibs did with their rocks, but I put mine in a backyard garden area. It is not the one pictured above, however. A few weeks ago when I was pulling weeds by Mom’s front porch, I was digging around and discovered a round rock that was mostly buried into the ground. What a nice rock, I thought, so I dug it up; and when I turned it over to exam it, there were the words: “I love you the most!” I took it home with me, of course, and it is now in my front yard garden by the bird bath.

When I told Mom what I had found, she laughed and said she remembered having an extra one, so she had placed it in her own yard. Over the years, it got lost in the earth--out of sight, out of mind. Since I am the one who found it, I am not only claiming rights to it but I am also making it official. Now that I have TWO special rocks, there is no doubt: Mom loves me the most!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


One of my favorite television characters of all time is Barney Fife, the crack deputy on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Also known as “Fearless Fife” and “One-Bullet Barney,” he patrolled the streets of Mayberry, always leaving havoc and mayhem close behind in spite of his serious nature.

Played by actor Don Knotts, Fife was a nonsensical, no-nonsense blow-hard who could never back himself up, let alone his boss Andy Taylor. Here are a few of my favorite Fife quotes. I bet you’ll recall some of them.

1. “Nip it in the bud! Nip it! Nip it! Nip it!”

2. “Here at the Rock, we have two rules. Rule number one: obey all rules.”

3. “Floyd (the town barber), what did you do with my sideburns?”

4. “All right! Shakedown!”

5. “If there’s anything that upsets me, it’s people saying that I’m sensitive.”

6. “I had my eye on you from the start, mister!”

7. “You’re real funny, Andy, you know that? (after Andy teases him) We ought to book you on one of those excursion lines.”

8. “If I ever have to use this baby (his gun), I want to teach it to come to papa in a hurry.”

9. “It’s a mark of us Fifes. Everything we eat goes to muscle.”

10. “That badge means something. Don’t disgrace it!”

If I ever want a good laugh, and old reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” are on the TV Land Channel, I make sure to tune in. Barney is sure to deliver.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Today The Flaming Bore is scraping the bottom of the blog barrel and writing about the fine art of fart lighting. Now, I personally have no direct experience with this age-old talent, but I have witnessed it accomplished by my younger brother Jon Marshall, also once known as Jonna Marshmallow by his least favorite sister. Hmmm. Who could that be?

His mode of operation was to lie back on one of Mom’s prized rotating living room chairs, when she was not home, of course, spread his legs, strike a match, hold it up to the crotch of his pants, and then bombs away. A flash of fire would blow out into the air, followed by laughter and more matches and more fart lighting until he ran out of gas or matches, whichever came first.

Well, one fine summer day Jon decided to give a command performance, and he was wearing cut-off shorts that were the raggedy-est of the raggedy that came from Mom’s rag bag. You know the kind--lots of rips and long threads hanging down from the leg holes. They were reserved for in-house use only--not out in public, although nowadays they are considered haute fashion and cost around $250.00 a pair.

You have probably already guessed what happened next. While executing his act--over and over and over again--the grand finale was so explosive that Jon set his shorts on fire. He went into panic mode and quickly started slapping at his crotch, putting out the blaze, unharmed, while my younger sister and I gasped and laughed at the same time. The frayed ends of his shorts were charred, but the swivel chair was unscathed and that was all that mattered. We wouldn’t have to fabricate some ridiculous story for Mom to doubt when she got home from work, thank god.

Now, please be aware that The Flaming Bore does not advocate fart lighting as a diversion. I beg my readers: Do not try this at home, or anywhere else for that matter. It is very dangerous. There could be a backdraft that would cause a volcanic eruption from within. It’s also very stupid. Rude, crude, and lewd. But, you know, it sure was hilarious forty years ago watching my smart-aleck little brother’s shorts go up in flames. P.S.--Don’t tell Mom.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Yesterday Big Bore and I ventured down to Fredonia to do some yard work at Mom’s semi-abandoned abode. We had thought about making the trip the day before but reconsidered because the Tri-Mee is closed on Sundays. God forbid if we went all that way and I couldn’t get a butterscotch shake and BB couldn't get a chocolate malt. Mmmmm good.

The Tri-Mee is a little drive-in restaurant that was opened, I do believe, in the mid 1960s, when I was in high school. The first owners, Mr. and Mrs. Spohn, lived right next to it. I don’t recall much about him, but she was a sweetheart of the first degree. I have fond memories of going to the Tri-Mee in 1967 with my senior beau after track meets, sitting in his metallic green '54 Chevy Bel Air, eating burgers and fries. Ah! Life can’t get any better than this.

Big Bore also has his own happy childhood recollections of the Tri-Mee, even though he grew up in Wichita. It was the midway stop along the highway during family trips to Pittsburg to visit his grandparents. Burgers were and still are his personal preference at Tri-Mee. He has long adhered to that famous Mr. Wimpy motto: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” But a beef burger is his current favorite.

After we finished working at the house, we hit up the Tri-Mee and then took our sack lunch up to the South Mound for a picnic. I’ve blogged about the Mound before. It’s a hill two blocks from where I grew up, and many a lazy afternoon was spent there seeking adventure…although Mama Bore was always quick to say, “Stay away from the pond!!” There’s an old shale pit on the west base of the Mound, and legend has that it is bottomless. “People have drowned there and a Caterpillar road grader once fell in it and was never seen again.” Now, I never questioned how the heck something as large as a road grader ever plunged into the pit in the first place, but I’d give her the, “Yes, mother” treatment and go on my merry way. Oh, I got close enough to the water’s edge to skip rocks, but I never once stepped a toe into it, and I never saw anyone else get any bolder than I.

The brush has grown up so much around the Mound over the years that exploration doesn’t look as easy as it once was, but a nice playground has been added on the top since I was a kid. When Mama Bore was still at home, my great niece and nephs always hit it up during visits. Maddie was just three when she started jumping off the boulders circling the area, giving the grown-ups a heart attack. “You’re going to hurt yourself!” She ignored us, of course.

There’s a lookout tower on the northeast edge of the Mound, and that’s where BB and I had our lunch before scaling the stairway and looking around. The picture below is my favorite vantage point from the Mound. The house that Mama Bore lived in for 55+ years, and I for over 18, can be seen towards the bottom left--the white one with the screened in porch. I don’t know how many more years it is going to be in our family, but I suspect it won’t be much longer. I just check on it every few weeks, get my butterscotch shake, and motor up to the Mound for a view of the town. It’s always a sad trip that I am happy to make.

Monday, September 13, 2010


A wild storm raced through our fair town Friday night. The next afternoon I walked about the neighborhood, surveying the damage--mostly just limbs--until I came to a spot in the street littered with branches, as though something bigger had recently been there. I kept walking but looked around and spotted what was once a cedar tree in a nearby yard. Then, ooops! My right foot got caught up in a small branch and I came tumbling down.

“Ouch!!” I said aloud after I landed on my right side. “Son of a bitch!”

I got to my hands and knees to get my wits about me, thinking maybe someone would come to my assistance, but the two closest houses are vacant, so I ditched the idea of being a clumsy woman in distress, picked myself up, and assessed the damage. One scuffed up right hand, one bruised, scraped right elbow, and an aching upper right thigh/hip that took the brunt of the fall. Thanks to my abundant built-in padding, there would be no visible damage there. No point in pulling my shorts down for a closer inspection until I got home.

Well, Sunday’s walking expedition took me past the same route, but this time I had my Lord and Protector Big Bore to keep me out of harm’s way. I showed him the scene of the crime, and then he pointed out some ancient large dents in the asphalt nearby.

“Looks like the street got hurt more than you did. We’d better call the city to report that repairs are needed. Next time, you’ll watch where your size 10s are going and you won’t be gawking.”

Ha-ha. Go ahead. Make fun of my clumsiness. Add a bruised ego to my damage assessment. See if I care. Ego? What’s an ego? Heck, I have no ego. It took a tumble long ago and hasn’t been seen since.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Well, once again I’m addicted to this season’s “Pwoject Wunway” (my imitation of hostess Heidi Klum’s foreign accent since her body is so perfect and I can’t make fun of anything else about her.) I have no clue why, but Big Bore is likewise fascinated with this show. We are both about as far from being fashion mavens as is humanly possible. One peek into our walk-in closet and you can see that we are high on T-shirts and low on anything else, although BB did buy a pair of dandy suspenders last weekend at Jay Cee Pennay to build up what he calls his "Old Man Wardrobe."

But we just love watching these designing gurus whip up something from nothing week after week. It’s like the Little Workshop of Horrors. The contestants back bite each other, throwing drama queen fits trying to meet the deadlines, and the judges dog some of the outfits, verbally ripping them apart. Oh, it can get vicious. “That looks dreadful!” co-host Tim Gunn groans. We love it.

Thursday night’s challenge was to create resort wear. Well, the closest place to a resort that BB and I have ever gone to is a state park in Arkansas that had a motel and restaurant, hardly 5-star stuff, but in our minds resort wear is bright colors, wild prints, comfortable attire. It’s NOT the winning mess pictured above. Where in the world is one going to wear that throat-choking nightmare? It looks like a costume from Rocky Horror Picture Show, don’t you think? Can you imagine what the tan lines are going to look like? Ridiculous!

But, of course, Heidi and her minions raved about their top choice. “I love this tough, punk baby doll look!” gushes judge Michael Kohrs. “It’s simply stunning!” swoons Nina Garcia. “I’d definitely want it in my wardrobe,” adds Heidi. What the hell are they thinking? It’s absolutely hideous and no one in her right mind is going to want to wear that to take out the garbage, let alone on a vacation. You'd have to pay me to buy it.

Big Bore and I decided we must have totally misunderstood the whole resort concept. We thought it was all about recreation wear. It’s actually clothing of last resort--as in: there’s nothing else in the closet and nobody else would wear it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I thought perhaps our once beautiful angelonia plants were done blooming for the summer until closer inspection yesterday revealed…WORMS!!! I asked Big Bore what they were and, being the horticulture wizard that he is, his advice was: “Look ’em up on the Internet.” I did. An immediate hit was made in cyberland, photo and all. "Oh, no!!!" My flowers are being stripped away by hungry, evil bud worms!!!

I hustled back out to the angelonias, pulled off every blasted worm I could find invading my pink babies, dumped about a dozen worms out on the street, then stomped the living daylights out of them while yelling, “This is what you get for destroying my pretty pink flowers!” Then I looked around to see if any of my neighbors were witnessing my worm fit and calling in the troops to have me committed to the loony bin. Fortunately, there were none. Same with the $#@! bud worms when I went outside in the rain a while ago to check for more. It had better stay that way! Don't mess with The Flaming Bore and her flowers! I mean business!

(P.S.--This marks my 700th blog entry since I began ranting in February, 2008. Many thanks to my dear former high school student Sweet Sarah for getting me started, even though she has created a monster.)

Monday, September 6, 2010


Saturday night I laced up my fancy Easy Spirits and then spirited away to the polka fest in Pittsburg with three dates--Big Bore, age 55, my niece’s husband Sam, in his late 30’s, and my great neph Luke, age 10. Surely out of this trio, I could find someone with whom to roll out the barrel and kick up my heels.

Before we whisked out of the driveway, I knew this was going to be a challenge:

“I don’t polka,” Sam said adamantly.

“I’ll think about it,” said Big Bore. Now I know for a fact that he CAN do the polka because he’s danced with me, reluctantly, in our living room when the Lawrence Welk Show was on. He knows the steps and he has the rhythm.

“I’ve been practicing,” Luke said. Great. There’s hope for this bunch yet.

But when we got to the polka venue, I knew all bets were off. It was at a well-lighted pavillion with hundreds of people seated in hundreds of chairs around the dance floor. Not like the nights of yore when the polka fest was a poorly-lit street dance with people just milling around. Nope. This was a bit more formal.

"There’s too many people watching!" Luke protested. About all I succeeded in doing was getting him to try a few steps on the outskirts away from the dance floor. He quickly lost interest and wrapped himself around a tiered sidewalk hand railing, so I’d have to pry him off of it if I was ever going to get him to dance. I turned to Big Bore.

“I’m sorry but forget about it! There's too many people.”

“Nobody’s going to make fun of you,” I told the guys. “Look. There are some people who are barely moving their feet. And there’s old ladies dancing with old ladies. Who cares.”

But there was no budging my dance dates. Eventually Sam and Luke walked off to the concession area. I’ll give Big Bore a little credit. At least he stayed with me and didn’t hide when I did the chicken dance all by myself.

Geesh! What a bunch of fuddy duddies! Next time I go to a polka fest in Pittsburg, I’m gonna take my 4-year-old great neph Boomer. He’s more my age!!

Friday, September 3, 2010


This has been one of my weeks to take care of the Garden Club garden downtown. I am lucky because the temperatures haven’t been too high, we got barrels of rain yesterday afternoon, and the gal who had the week before me was jolly on the spot with weeding and deadheading. There hasn’t been too much back bending to do, which my bend-challenged spine appreciates.

Meanwhile, at Casa de la Flaming Bore, the front yard backhoe destruction is working its way down and we should be ready to re-seed the grass next week. What happens with the ugly 10-foot scar in the garden ground cover area in front of the porch remains to be seen until next spring. I’m thinking the striped ajuga is like the Phoenix and will eventually return.

Big Bore and I were noting yesterday that it was nice to look out one of the living room windows to see the butterflies hanging out around the butterfly bush and the morning glories that cling to the downspout. MGs have also taken over the green bean area that never gained steam this summer, so that spot is not a total loss. We didn’t plant them. They just legally migrated over from the bottle tree, I guess. Beautiful.

Since I was feeling sorry for myself for having a bad August, I bought the above front porch art--like I really needed it--last weekend. It’s supposed to cheer me up. So, I guess I’ll go outside, look at it, and crack a smile before my frowny face becomes permanent. This ol’ dog needs to smell the flowers and quit growling.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Today is my older brother Beans’s 64th birthday. He was born on Labor Day, 1946, a befitting day since Mama Bore likely was laboring like crazy to get him the heck out of her insides before she blew up.

Since I’m almost three years younger, I have very few early memories of life with Beans. I think the first is when we both had pinworms, or was it tapeworms, and we had to swallow the same nasty orange medicine from a bottle kept in the refrigerator. I also recall when he threw up one night while he was wearing his burgundy and white polka dot pajamas. He must have gotten dizzy from his sleepwear.

Sadly, truth be told, I have very few pleasant one-on-one memories from living with my older brother, unless you classify wrestling as being fun. Oh, we could tolerate each other in neighborhood group activities like softball, hide-n-seek, and red rover, but we were typically in conflict over just about everything--what TV shows to watch, bathroom squatting rights, card game playing, name-calling, it ran the gamut. I don’t profess to be totally innocent in these melees. I know I often fingered his comic books and baseball card collection that were off limits, legal grounds for a brotherly bashing.

Even when we got older, we had little association with each other outside the confines of our home. If it was raining, he would refuse to drive me to school in his car. How socially unacceptable would that have been? He might practice the latest dance moves with me in the secrecy of our living room, but at Teentown I was avoided like the freshman plague that I was. Once, he offered to teach me how to drive mom’s stick-shift car, a lesson that lasted a whole six blocks before his harassing and my crying put on the brakes to that little bonding activity.

The relationship hasn’t gotten much better into adulthood. Within the past decade or so, he’s chased me through his house with a taser gun and aimed Roman candles at me during a family Fourth of July celebration in his yard. Who needs this? To his credit, however, he has never told his bazillion-pound Mastiff dog to eat me up.

So, later today I will call him via AT&T and wish him a Happy Birthday and many more years to come. The safest best with Beans is long distance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


When I was awake much of the night trying to overcome a series of tinnitus fits, I tried to keep my brain semi-occupied by making mental lists--thinking this would take my mind off the maddening noise inside my head. I was stellar with states and capitals and naming the 96 people in my high school graduating class, but I didn’t so well with the presidents of the United States, and I did even worse with books of the Bible.

When I didn’t get past the first five books of the Old Testament, I switched to listing the Ten Commandments:

“Thou shalt not kill.”
“Thou shalt not steal.”
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”
“Thou shalt not bear false witnesses.”
“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
“Thou shalt not take the name of thy Lord in vain.”
“Always be a good little girl.”

Ooops! That last one was a demand-ment from Mama Bore, which got me to thinking about all the pearls of wisdom she dished out to me when she was trying to raise me to be a good person. Surely there were at least ten more:

“Four feet on the floor!” (referring to the dinner chairs that I tended to rock back and ruin)
“Just STAY AWAY from him!” (referring to Big Brother Beans)
“Hang up your clothes!” (she finally gave up on this one)
“Go out and play!” (in other words: “Scram!”)
“Be sure to thank ______.” (fill in the blank with a hostess or sponsor’s name. We didn’t want to appear ungrateful now, did we?)
“Close your mouth!” (it had the tendency to hang open while I was thinking of something brilliant to say.)
“Watch out for quiet boys.” (You never knew what they were thinking. You always knew where you stood with the loudmouths.)
“Did you strike any matches?” ( a good question to ask as we were leaving the house, I suppose, but Beans was the pyromaniac, not I.)
“Did you wash your hands?” (she STILL hounds me with this one)
“Do unto others!” (okay, so she borrowed that one from the Bible.)

I suppose every mother of every family has her little gems of advice for her children. What was the best one you ever received?