Sunday, October 31, 2010


In honor of Halloween and from out of the ashes, here comes another Flaming Bore scary movie review: Homicidal, one of the frightening flicks mentioned in yesterday's blog. What a treat!

As soon as blonde bombshell “Miriam Webster” (yes, sort of like the dictionary) checks into the Ventura Hotel, one suspects she’s up to no good--especially after she offers a bellhop $2 grand to marry her at midnight. And after she shocks the new groom by carving up the justice of the peace, you pretty much know that she is, well, most certainly homicidal!

Except Miriam is not really Miriam. She’s actually a loopy chick named Emily, pretending to be Miriam. The real Miriam is the clueless half-sister to Warren, who is Emily’s friend she met up with in Amsterdam, or maybe he’s now Emily’s husband, geesh, who knows exactly WHAT Warren is? Got all that? Apparently Warren has asked Emily to care for his childhood nanny, Helga, who, conveniently, has had a stroke and, being mute, can’t warn others of Emily’s nefarious ways. Helga’s main role is to look suspicious of Emily and to go up and down the stairs in a wheelchair lift that looks exactly like the one used by Norman Bates’s “mother” a few years earlier in the movie Psycho. And we ALL know what happened to "mother."

As the show comes to its head-splitting climax, and I say that in a most literal way, there is a 45-second “Fright Break,” during which time movie goers can leave the theater, sparing their hearts the shock of learning that Emily and Warren are--egads, hold your breath, you won’t believe your eyes--one and the same!!! What’s THAT about? Well, it’s all quite neatly explained in the last minute of back story, and the real Miriam happily exits stage right with her pharmacist beau Karl. The end.

On The Flaming Bore 5-Flame Scale, I give Homicidal 3 Flames. You won’t be fooled by the ending, nor will you need to take the “Fright Break” and head to the Scaredy Cat Room, but Emily/Warren make for a dashing duo of weirdness that will definitely spark your interest.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Since the beginning of time, the first Saturday in November in our county has been designated Cattleman's Day. About a week or so before, round bales of hay are distributed about various store fronts and the artistic among us create something to promote beef and/or a local business, whatever. My favorite from this year's hay masterpieces is the one pictured above, which promotes monsters. Hay Monsters. Get it? I love it! Mary Shelley, rest her soul, would be so proud.

And while I'm on the subject, last night Big Bore and I watched two Frankenstein movies we'd never before seen: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Revenge of Frankenstein, (1958), both starring Peter Cushing as the mad doc. I dozed off during the first one, having had a strenuous day of horseshoes, but the second one was quite good--not scary good, but plot-wise good. We tried staying up for Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), two more Cushing offerings, but our bodies don't function much after 11 PM.

I'm up early, however, to catch The Ghoul, (1933) with Boris Karloff, starting shortly, and highly recommend that everyone tune in to Homicidal (1961) at 2 PM, on TCM. I've not seen the former, but the latter almost scared the pee out of me at the Kansan Theater in Fredonia when I was in 7th grade. And Strait Jacket (1964), my all-time favorite/worst Joan Crawford performance, comes on at 5 PM. Instead of wielding coat hangers, she's into axes this time around and she is soooooo over the top creepy!! A tip o' the witch's hat to Hay Monsters and old Halloween Movies everywhere.

Friday, October 29, 2010


We’re baaaaaack…and the shoes are flying high! Horseshoes, that is. Earlier this week when we were at the park in Independence, eagle eye Big Bore spotted a pit, but he didn’t point it out to me, afraid that I’d insist upon getting the iron out of the car and throwing ourselves off schedule, literally. So, it was with a bit of guilt that after we finished our yardwork, household chores, and errands a few days ago, he suggested we go to the local horseshoe pit and resume where we left off in the heat of the summer.

Now that we are well versed on the rules and he has accepted the fact that females get a 10-foot “scooch-up” advantage, we had nothing to argue about, not even whose shoe was closer to the stake. Very civil. I won Wednesday’s match, 22-20, and he won yesterday’s match by the same score. "Congratulations." "Good job." We have decided to keep a running scorecard throughout the rest of the extremely amateur autumn horseshoe season and we’ll declare a champion whenever snow arrives or our backs are thrown out of whack, whichever comes first.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Pssst. Don't tell anyone, but I'm in love with our mums (and marigolds).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Yesterday was moving day at the Bore household. Based on weather predictions, we decided to go ahead and bring in our various cactus, and ferns, and no-names. The “spare room,” (which I’m sure was intended to be a dinette, but has not been used as such in the 28 years I’ve lived here,) is filled with plants, as is my desk. The cats have been told to “Keep Off,”-- yeah, like THAT’S going to happen. Last year Fluffy kept napping atop one of the cactus--poor child has nowhere comfortable to lounge. “Fluffy, you dingbat! Get off of there!”

It’s sad to see the outdoor growing season come to an end. I’m definitely not ready to say goodbye to the annuals that are still hanging on outside, but soon we shall be digging them up and dumping them into the compost pile. “So long, ol’ chums. It was nice to have you around for a while.” :(

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The Bores went on a field trip yesterday to Wa-Sha-She (Oklahoma) State Park and Riverside Park/Zoo in Independence, in search of the wild kingdom. Some of the critters we encountered, however, were imposters and they are hidden in the pictures below. We challenge you to find the fakes. Hint: Three pictures show the real deal and three others are not. Good luck!!

Answer: The left side has the live animals. The right side has the ding-a-lings.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I’m getting all psyched up for tomorrow’s special episode of “Glee.” The gang will be presenting the musical, Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of course. Doesn’t every high school do that one?

I’ve been a RHPS fan ever since hyper-innocent Brad and Janet entered Transylvania, about 35 years ago, and have been a card-carrying member of The Official Rocky Horror Fan Club for almost as long. I’ve seen it at movie theatres, on TV (not as much fun), and live (the absolute best!) I don’t pretend to know the entire dialogue like some crazed Rocky Horror experts, nor do I understand half of what's going on, but I can do a pretty mean “Time Warp.”

If I were to perform in a production of RHPS, I would want to be one of Dr. Frank-n-Furter’s lady friends--Magenta the maid or Columbia the groupie. There is something soooooo stylish about tap dancing in high heels and anklets. But since it’s unlikely that try-outs will be coming to Eureka any time soon, I’ll probably just join the Gleeks tomorrow night and shake up the living room for an hour---jumping to my left, stepping to my right, hands on my hips, doing that Time Warp again. Big Bore has been warned about the picture. I’m going to put on one rocking horrible show.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

OH, NO! O, MO!


Last night I was fiddling with the TV remote, trying to find something worthy of my viewing time, when I landed on ABC's football game of the century--Oklahoma versus Missouri. Aaaaggghhhh!!! Now there are well over 100 Division-1 colleges in the NCAA with football teams, and I just happen to hit up my TWO MOST DISLIKED schools! Who the heck was I gonna root, root, root for? Would it be No. 3 in the nation Oklahoma with its incessant "Boomer Sooner" song that drives me totally bonkers, or No. 18 Evil Mizzou, the historical pain in the ass of all fine Kansans everywhere?

Both teams entered the contest with perfect records. The game was being played in Columbia, MO, which meant I would not be subjected to three hours of constant "Boomer Sooner"-ing. The score was tight when I tuned in. Maybe I should stay right here and see how it all played out. Would the underdog win in front of the home crowd, or would Oklahoma push its way to No. 1 in the standings? Oh, the drama. I'm on the edge of my flabby seat in nervous anticipation---NOT!! I switched channels faster than a dog scratches fleas. The Bore household would NEVER be so crazy as to watch Oklahoma and Missouri play ANYTHING! Not even a round of tiddlywinks.

By the way, did I mention that KU's basketball season starts Nov. 2nd?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


When we were in Colorado, we came upon this rock formation that I immediately named "Old Grumpy-puss." See that large-chinned old man on the right, with his big frown, long nose, beady eye, and little skull cap? Of course, you do. And to his left is a benevolent man, hunch-shouldered, riding a camel. Right?

I tend to see creations in rocks, clouds, on my bedroom ceiling, anywhere my mind lets me wander. I'm not an artistic person--just imaginative, I guess. So, if you hear me carrying on a conversation with the cracks in the sidewalk, don't become alarmed.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Every month our local Friends of the Library group designates a book for discussion. I rarely suggest one because I rarely read the books. Seems like I’m always reading something else, and my pea brain cannot process reading more than one book at a time. But last week when the club president was reading through a list of Pulitzer Prize novels, I stopped her on, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder.

“I read that book when I was a sophomore in high school. It’s short.”

“What’s it about?” someone asked.

“Oh, it tells about the lives of some people who fall to their deaths from the bridge when it breaks. If I read it when I was 15, it can’t be too difficult. Plus, it’s short.” (Did I say that before?)

Well, short and simple sounded fine with the others, so upon my recommendation The Bridge of San Luis Rey was chosen for discussion next month. Library Lady would order up a bunch o’ the books and we’d be set.

So, after a 46-year break, I once again read The Bridge of San Luis Rey this week, and I think I’m going to be in big trouble. Yes, the book is short, 176 pages, but I found myself reading passages a second and third time trying to understand what in the world was going on. Did I really read this when I was 15? I must have cheated with Cliffsnotes. Here’s a sample from page 110:

“Limeans were given to interpolating trivial songs into the most exquisite comedies and some lachrymose effects into the austerest music, but at least they never submitted to the boredom of misplaced veneration.”

What the hell does THAT mean? Practically every other paragraph is like that, plus some of the same characters have multiple names and keeping track of them isn’t easy since they are in Spanish, y mi no habla espanol muy bien. Now, I’m afraid the other FOL members are NEVER going to let me pick out a discussion book EVER again. I might even be blackballed from the group for being a lousy picker-outer. And, if it comes to that, I may just have to---throw myself off a bridge in despair from misplacing my veneration. Talk about a lachrymose effect!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I’m not sure what brought up the subject, but a while back Big Bore asked me this hilarious question: “Were you ever the queen of something in high school?

“Good grief, no!” I laughed. “I wasn’t cute enough or popular enough or petite enough.” Being a cerebral, glasses-wearing type with size 10 feet didn’t quite fit the bill in the world of queenly qualifications back in the 1960s.

But I take all that back. There WAS one queen contest we had that broke all the usual rules--Homecoming Queen. Any senior girl could try out; being pretty and popular didn’t really figure in the equation because the judges were from out of town. There was just one hitch--the contestants had to present a talent number. Oh, woe is me.

When the invitation letters from the sponsoring civic group were passed around to all the girls in my senior class in September, 1966, I thought, “Here’s my one and only chance to be a queen.” The problem was, I had no talent to speak of. Oh, I could sing second soprano okay in a girls trio, but going solo was out of the question. My stage-frightened voice would shake and crack like an earthquake. Not a little one, but one that was maybe an 8.8 on the Richter scale. Like the highest number ever recorded in geological history. Forget singing.

At one time in high school, I had played a hand-me-down flute in the band and even entered a solo at Spring Music Festival, but the instrument had crashed and burned my junior year and the funds to replace it were nil, so that was out. And although I’d once taken piano lessons in my pre-pubescent youth, I quit after I was told to start playing with both hands.

I could give a dramatic reading, like half the girls would do, but that meant having to work with our speech teacher, who totally disliked me for dropping out of debate my junior year after I fainted when delivering a rebuttal speech during a tournament because I had anorexia nervosa, although at the time the condition was just known as, “Why the hell aren’t you eating anything?” (My goodness, Flaming Bore, what long sentences you have today!) I figured she’d sabotage me by giving me something ridiculous to memorize, like, War and Peace.

I tried to brainstorm what other so-called talents I might have, and about all I came up with were spelling and ping-pong. Original, but not quite feasible for a solo performance, so, surprise, surprise,---I didn’t try out for Homecoming Queen. Let’s face it. I just wasn’t queen material. On the plus side, though, the girl who ended up winning had never before experienced the joys of high school royalty, so it was sort of a moral victory for all of us average gals. Her talent was twirling the baton dressed as an Indian princess, accompanied by some Indian-sounding song. This, of course, was long before the term “politically correct” came into fashion, so it was okay for a white girl to pretend to be an Indian. At least no one filed any formal protest.

So, that’s my queen story. No, Big Bore, sorry to disappoint you but I was never the queen of anything in high school. Nor have I ever been a queen of anything in the 40+ years since. Not every gal is meant to be a queen. But I did win a spelling bee and a ping pong tournament in junior high, and that should count for something. Not much, but something.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Every time we’ve driven past a pear-laden tree this fall, Big Bore has lamented that he sure wishes we had our own pear tree. Or we knew someone who had a pear tree. So, when I was driving on a county road near Pittsburg Saturday and encountered three kids yelling, “Have a free pear!!” I put on the brakes, backed up the car, and wheeled into their driveway. There was a big ol’ tree in their yard that was pregnant with pears.

“Did I hear you say you’d give me a free pear?” I smiled at the little girl, still in her night clothes, and two smaller boys. “I love pears, and I have a friend who loves them even more!” A nice grandpa-type stood nearby.

Well, they were so excited that someone had actually stopped, that they’d gladly give me lots more pears---they had a bag full of them. I told them we needed to make a deal. I had a five dollar bill I’d exchange for the pears. Oh, were they excited. Grandpa told them to pick some more, and by the time I left I had a bag that was almost too heavy for me to carry. I figured I could give a bunch to my Pittsburg relatives and still have plenty to take home to BB.

So, when I got to my niece’s house, ready to unload on her, was I ever surprised to hear her say, “Do you want some pears? We have about two hundred pounds of them out back.” Seems her in-laws have a farm north of town that also has a prolific pear tree.

I laughed, told her my pear story, and kindly declined to add anything more to my fruit bag. But she still had something for me: jars of pear jam, pear honey, pear apple butter, pear/peach salsa, etc. She is a resourceful kind of gal.

So, I brought home lots of good eats and treats from my little day trip. I suspect the next time we drive by a pear tree, BB is going to keep his big mouth shut because we now have enough pears and peary products to last a very loooooooong time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Recently when reminiscing on the phone with ol’ Fredonia classmate Barb, she asked something like the following: “Do you remember in 5th grade when Mrs. C_____ whupped up on Jerry A_____?”

“Who doesn’t?” I responded. “Everybody remembers it.”

Now, I’d loved my kindly teachers from 1st through 4th grades, but Mrs. C. was an old sourpuss who nobody liked. She had this permanent facial expression that looked like she was smelling something rancid--like her teaching ability. Maybe it was her own personality that was stinking up the place. I don’t know.

Mrs. C. had zero tolerance of just about everybody, especially Jerry, a big lug of a kid who’d been held back a year in a country school before transferring to Mound. Their showdown occurred one day when he had a foot resting on the edge of the metal cubbyhole area below our desk seats. Sounds like nothing major, but to Mrs. C. not having both feet on the floor was a cardinal sin, I guess, so, in her pissy way, she told him to remove his foot from the desk edge.

And Jerry, gulp, refused. He didn’t say anything back to her, but the foot remained in its resting place. More than once, she repeated her instruction, and each time the foot remained motionless, as did the glare on his face. Part of me was thinking, “Good for you, Jerry.” But the other part thought, “Just put your foot down,” afraid of what she might do to him.

The disagreement at a stand-off, Mrs. C. got a yardstick and began whacking on Jerry’ s stubborn foot--so hard that pieces of it broke and flew across the room. The yardstick became three rulers.

Now, I was really getting scared, but Jerry obviously didn’t share my fear because the foot still didn’t budge. And she got the same response from him when she told him he was going to the principal’s office. Nothing. So, she summoned the principal to come to the classroom.

What happened next was even scarier. The entire class, except Jerry, of course, was escorted into an empty adjacent room. We sat on the floor, quiet, waiting to hear the execution that was sure to happen next door. I don’t know what Jerry got whacked with, probably a board, but it sounded like it hurt and I wanted nothing of it. Next thing we knew, the door flung open and there was Mrs. C., looking even angrier than ever before, pushing Jerry into the room by the back of his neck. His reddened face fought back tears as he stumbled into the room. Point made.

Looking back, I wish I’d stood up for Jerry or tried to calm down Mrs. C.--done something. It was mean, pure and simple, in my 11-year-old eyes, but there were no child abuse laws to protect kids back then. Sure, Jerry should just have removed his foot to avoid the scrape in the first place, but what was the big deal? She could have overlooked it. Weren’t there more important battles to conquer?

Sadly, I remember little else about 5th grade except this incident. The only lesson Mrs. C. taught me was to watch out for teachers with crappy attitudes and yardsticks. I shrank away in the back of the room and avoided making eye contact with her as much as possible. If I could just make it through May, 1960, then I could put my feet anywhere I damn well wanted. It was a long year.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Often times when Big Bore and I are in the car, we’ll turn on the radio and play a little game we call, “Who’s Singing That?” I’m stellar at identifying performers of the 1960s, of course, while he’s more into the groups of the 1970s and ‘80s. Anything after 1990, not so good. 2000 and on--forget about it. Thus, it’s no surprise that we tend to tune in to the stations that feature oldies rock. We challenge each other, and sometimes the results are ridiculous. Here’s how a conversation went during a recent outing, although now I can’t even remember the song in question:

“Who’s singing that?” asked BB.
“Gee, I don’t know. It’s not familiar. You’ll have to give me a clue. Is it an individual or a group?”
"Both, actually."
“Hmmmm.” I listened intently, trying to identify the performer. “I still can’t think of it,” I said, perplexed. “Give me the initials of the individual.”
“F. P.”
“F. P? Freddie? Frank?” I asked.
“Okay,” I conceded. “Give me the first name.”
“Floyd,” BB said.
“Floyd?” I repeated. “I don’t think I of know of any singers named Floyd.” I kept wracking my brain a bit longer and then finally tossed in the towel. “I give up. Who is it?”
“Floyd Petty,” BB said, with some self-satisfaction.
“Floyd Petty?” I questioned. “Who the hell is Floyd Petty? I’ve never even heard of him.”
“You know,” BB said. “Floyd Petty and the Heartbreakers.”
“That’s TOM Petty and the Heartbreakers, you goofball!” I laughed.
“Oh, that’s right. I always get him confused.”
“With whom?”
"I guess I was thinking of Pink Floyd."
“You’re nuts.”

Since then, whenever I don’t know the name of a singer on the radio, I always say, with serious certainty, “That’s Floyd Petty!” I think I’m going to become F.P.s fan club president and create an entire music history for him, Gold Records and all. And since I’m such a petty person, Big Bore is not going to live this one down for a LONG time.

Friday, October 15, 2010


On our way out of Rocky Mountain National Park last week, we chose a final, early-morning hike because it was short, less than a 1-2 mile one-way, and had a rise of only 15 feet. After having survived Gem Lake Trail the previous day, this would, literally, be a walk in the park.

Copeland Falls Trail in the Wild Basin area has the appearance of being one of those “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My”-type of places. Before entering tall, thick pines, hikers are warned to be on the lookout for mountain lions and bears--but all we experienced were, “Chipmunks and Squirrels, and Horse Droppings, Thank God.”

At the end of the trail, a series of falls cascade onto the forest floor. Big Bore wasn’t too keen on getting close to the water, but I, of course, had to test out my balance beam skills. When I later looked at this picture below, I thought, “What the hell was I thinking?” And, “Why didn’t BB stop me?” Oh, that’s right, he didn’t want to get close to the water.

Well, Rocky, old pal, thanks for a fun trip. Wish you were here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


At the east entrance to Estes Park, Colorado, rests the majestic Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for author Stephen King’s creepy with a capital C novel, The Shining. Opened in 1909 and financed by F. O. Stanley, the inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, the hotel was built to accommodate his many vacationing friends and relatives. The 129 rooms/suites are priced well beyond the meager Bore family budget, but Big Bore and I were each able to scrape up 15 bucks apiece for the History and Ghost Tour at The Stanley.

Ghosts, I say? Yep, ghosts, but not the evil apparitions found in SK’s book. No twin sisters dripping out of elevators, and no maniacal hotel caretaker wielding an ax (or croquet mallet, if you’re more familiar with the book than the movie). No animal-shaped hedges in the front yard coming to life. Darn it. I love hedge animals.

The ghosts at The Stanley slam doors, run around the 4th floor hallways, and have cool auras floating up stairways. Word has it, however, that actor Jim Carrey once checked out of Room 217 in the middle of the night because he became so frightened. Maybe the toilet wouldn’t flush. I don’t know. While our tour group was on the second floor, a young couple suddenly emerged out of 217 with their suitcases and a few people in our little entourage about wet their pants, then laughed all over themselves.

As much as “I’m a Believer” (Monkees, 1966) of ghosts, I was really more interested in the opulent design of The Stanley and the old photos and paintings displayed. The winding staircases, expensive light fixtures, and beautiful woodwork were impressive. I thought about how lavish Mr. Stanley’s parties must have been in the grand hotel. Men shooting pool in the billiard parlor, dressed in suits and ties; women politely sashaying about in their long dresses.
President Theordore Roosevelt, John Philip Sousa, The "Unsinkable" Molly Brown have all been guests here. Oh, if walls could talk.

But, hey, wait! Maybe, just maybe..... ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Mid-September to mid-October is typically Bugle Season at Rocky Mountain National Park. From dusk to dawn, romantic elk bulls send out a piercing message, called “bugling” to the elk cows hanging around within earshot, and you can guess the rest of the story. I don’t know how many females one bull can round up in one night, but I don't think they care about looks or personality in their mating game. Just about any ol’ cow will do.

Now, Big Bore and I were too tired at the end of each day to hang out in the park to listen to the bugle “concert,” nor did we really care to observe the results, but during one early morning drive to Hidden Valley, off the beaten RMNP path, we came upon the above party goers recovering from their big night. The exhausted bull, surrounded by six more-alert females (one not seen in the pic), rested close to the parking lot, maybe 10-15 yards, not about to move.

“He must be quite the charmer,” I said.

“Looks to me like he needs a cigarette,” BB added.

We saw other wildlife on our trip, including the blue jay and gray jay below, plus a goofy brown bear T-shirt from an Estes Park store window that BB thought was photo-worthy, but nothing was quite as amorous as that elk harem happily chilling out in plain sight at Hidden Valley.

TOMORROW: The Stanley Hotel

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Day 3 in Colorado. Okay. Time to put our breathless bodies to the test and try hiking to Gem Lake, 1.7 miles, one-way, straight up, up, up 910 feet. Sounded pretty pud to me. Until we got started. Maneuvering all the granite steps at the beginning wasn’t exactly easy on the lungs and legs, and before long I silently wondered if we’d bitten off more mountain than we could scale.

Eventually we came to a fork in the trail and a little sign that pointed: “Gem Lake, 1.4 miles.”

Big Bore went into shock. “That CAN’T be right!! We’ve gone over three-tenths of a mile!!” he moaned.

“Apparently not,” I panted. “Trail markers never lie.” I waited for him to change gears into reverse and head back down to the parking lot, pouting, but then he surprised me.

“Well, let’s keep going a little farther,” he said after taking a breather.

And that’s the way it went the rest of the way. Each time we thought we were just going to drop on the spot, we’d rest a little, suck down some water, take a few pictures, and admire the beauty of the world around us. Then, it was back up the trail. The Little Engines that Could. “I think I can. I think I can.”

Eventually we encountered some zippy young folks on their way down the mountain.

“About much how much farther to Gem Lake?” I asked, hoping our destination was just around the corner.

“Oh, probably less than a quarter mile, but it’s the steepest part of the trail," warned the nice gal who easily recognized our subpar conditioning. I wonder what gave that away? "You can make it," she encouraged.

Darned right we could make it! We’re the Bores and Bores don’t give up! Well, not lately, anyway. We'd gone this far. There was no turning back now---even if we had to crawl the rest of the way, we'd reach our destination.

We lumbered up the final two switchbacks, then through the pines I spotted water. “Holy oxygen tank! It’s Gem Lake!” I shouted. We high-fived each other and plopped down onto some flat boulders, then celebrated our victory with more water and pictures and a well-deserved rest.

Getting back down was easier on the heart rate; hell on the knees and hips, but we finally arrived back to the car, all body parts intact, about three hours after we'd started.

Later in the week, ruminating about Colorado, trailblazer Big Bore commented, “You know what my favorite part of the trip was?" I expected to hear about the divine Mediterranean pizza or the thick and tasty hamburgers or the dandy complimentary breakfast muffins. “The hike up to Gem Lake,” he said.

“Seriously?” I asked.

“Yeah, I’m glad we kept at it.”

"Me, too."

But I’m also happy that last night’s 3-mile walk back in Kansas had an incline of zero inches and took less than an hour to complete, with not a single stop to catch my breath. Of course, the scenery left a helluva lot to be desired!

(Here are a few more pictures from the Gem Lake Experience.)

Tomorrow: "Call of the Wild"

Monday, October 11, 2010


Ahhhh! The Bores are back from a blessed Rocky Mountain high!

Upon arriving at the national park, our first stop was to test out our lungs in the thin air by taking a short walk to Alluvial Fan Falls. We lowlanders immediately knew that we were in trouble. How were we going to be able to complete a 3.4 "medium difficulty" hike in two days if taking baby steps for a few hundred yards was making us huff and puff like the old folks that we are?

Next day, we walked around Bear Lake, higher altitude but flat terrain, so no sweat.

Time to try a half miler on up to Nymph Lake. I'm sure we were the slowest ones on the trail, but we still managed to haul our butts there without having to summon 9-1-1.

Plus, on the way down, I still had the strength to stop this boulder from flattening Big Bore--using just one hand! Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. But would we be ready the next day to conquer a trail that was longer and steeper?

Tomorrow's Blog: The quest to Gem Lake!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


The Flaming Bore is on hiatus for the next 7-10 days. We're going northwest to say hello to the mountains and aspen. Fall is in the air!

Friday, October 1, 2010


As much as I gritched and groaned about having to sponsor Homecoming float building during my teaching years, mainly because the kids were usually an unorganized mess and the floats were even messier, there was one year that the experience was total pleasure--1996.

When I arrived at the W home, west of town, to do my 2-hour Thursday night shift, there was immediate disappointment. Rain had damaged much of what had been accomplished from the first night's building session. But, instead of tossing in the towel on the spot, the kids quickly got busy. The Junior Class "Tame the Wildcats" banners got re-worked, attached to the flatbed, and (surprise!) looked great. Gee, what's going on here? Is there something wrong with my eyes? All that needed to be completed was the welding of some spots on a float-sized goal post. The father of one of the boys oversaw that task and, voila!, finished. No crazed running around getting last minute supplies, no griping, no anxiety that this would be the worst float in Homecoming history. Amazing.

With plenty of time to spare before the evening's deadline, what would we do now? Well, Mr. W whipped up a little campfire, his wife brought out hot chocolate and the fixins for S'mores, and we celebrated. What made this night even more magical was that a lunar eclipse was in the making and there was not a cloud in the dark, country sky. I clearly recall, at one point, looking up at the billions of twinkling stars and thinking that life couldn't get much better than this. I was surrounded by good kids, caring parents, a float that would not be an embarrassment in the parade, and it was all topped off by a world of quiet beauty...almost a Zen-like experience. When the campfire died out, I wasn't eager to leave. A float-building first, for sure.

Perfection extended into the next day. Our class won the float competition, the football team beat the 'Cats, and I didn't have to help sponsor the post-game dance. Who could ask for anything better? It's a homecoming I will never forget.