Sunday, July 31, 2011


Trips never go as planned, and my Arkansas adventure started out with a big twist last Thursday when great neph Luke got sick before we ever got out of town. I took him back home, stat, but would this stop The Flaming Bore? Oh, no. I've travelled alone before and I can travel alone again. Onward. There are three caves awaiting me.

But the first one just about did me in--located in a godforsaken hideaway that I have since dubbed The Bates Motel of Cave Operations. A few cars were in the parking lot, but no one was around except the owner, a middle-aged oddball whose mother, "god rest her soul" (his words, not mine) lurked behind him at the check-in desk via a large, colored chalk drawing. His voice sounded similar to Riff-Raff's in Rocky Horror Picture Show, and one eye was askew...but I am not one to pass judgment (much) on strange appearances that one cannot help, so sign me up for the tour.

I'll skip over the circumstances, but this ended up being a cave tour personally guided by "Norman," mono y mono since no other tourists/fools arrived. But first, he must get his hammer and a board. "I need to replace an area where a 300-pound woman busted an area over a bridge yesterday," so says he. Immediately, I was suspicious. He could bust my head with that hammer, dump my Saturn in the river, and no one would know that The Flaming Bore had met a dire ending. Onward!

We hadn't been but maybe 5-10-minutes into the tour when: Ka-thump!! What the #$@! I saw stars! Was that the hammer? No. I'd been so diligent watching my steps that I'd failed to see the low overhang of rock in the passageway. "Watch your head," Norman, steps ahead of me, said a moment too late. Thanks for the warning. I checked for blood, and feeling none....Oh, to hell with it. Onward!

Eventually, we came to a metal ladder. "You climb on up. I'll meet you over at the other side," said Norman.

I had no clue what I was climbing up to because I couldn't see my destination, even from the top of the ladder. The going was rather steep and slippery, but it was better than being next to my creepy, "guide," so I was game. Hands and knees. Keep the head low. Onward!

Eventually I met up with Norman, who was on lower ground, hammering the new board into place. Steps led me down to where he was working. Across the bridge we walked to the final destination, a larger room where he told stories of finding human bones, all the while a shadow appearing to be a man hanging from the ceiling. Please, God, just get me the hell out of here alive. Where's the hammer?

I'd had enough of Norman and my imagination, so I feigned a headache from the earlier collision with the rock overhang, told him I was ready to go, and he led me back to the entrance. He hadn't locked it, so I was safe in that respect....but before we made it made it back to the office, the weirdest of the weird, out of the blue, shot out of his mouth.

"You know the Oklahoma bombing and the World Trade Center collapse was all a government conspiracy."

"Oh, really." Where in the world did that come from? Norman, now no longer walking, gave me his theory about how the conspirators had set off various explosions in the buildings. The jet planes that blasted into the World Trade Center were just decoys to cover up the plot.

Okay. Whatever. I didn't argue with him, even though the intelligent part of me was thinking, "You are full of some crazy shit, mister." Just put away your hammer and let me move along, thank-you very much for the lovely tour. Is this episode of The Twilight Zone over yet?

Now, you'd think this hairball experience would have totally wiped away any desire to continue on the next day's caving plans on down the road, but I immediately knew I'd be safe when I pulled into the parking lot and saw who would be accompanying me on this next tour--four Harley riders from Illinois. My kind of riff-raff, for sure! Onward!! It was a fun tour, and I didn't hit the lump on my head once.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The Flaming Bore is heading out later today for a little adventure with great neph Luke. We have three caves in Arkansas on the agenda, plus a cool pool to soak in at the end of the day. Luke is too young for the wild cave tours, and I suspect by the time he is old enough for one (in three years), my own body will be too old to want to subject itself to another one. But they are fun in a sadistic sort of way, and I recommend them to anyone who is young, up to the challenge, and not claustrophobic. Back in a few.....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


You can always count on a little kid to be blatantly honest when it comes to humiliation. The other night the neighborhood 4-year-old was over at Casa de la Flaming Bore with his sweet sis, and out of his mouth blurted, "You need to clean your house!!" He surveyed the living room with his critical, big brown eyes.

"Yes, I do," I admitted in shame. "There's cat fuzz everywhere." I wasn't going to argue with him.

"You need to clean up after those cats," he said, sounding like an admonishing father.

"I try, but I just can't keep up with Fluffy shedding so much." Excuses, excuses.

"Where's your broom?" Good grief! Does he have to get so personal?

"Out on the back porch. Do you want to sweep for me?"

Suddenly, he lost interest in de-fuzzing the place.

The next evening, he saw me out in the yard. "Hey, Nancy!! Whatcha doing?"

"Well, Double-Trouble, you'll be glad to know I got my living room swept up."

"Let's go see!" Geez. This kid won't give me a break.

"Oh, not right now. Fluffy has probably shed some more fuzz since I swept, and you'll point it out to me again and make me feel totally inadequate."

Thank god he didn't protest because he suddenly became more interested in a dead locust on the ground than in picking apart my housekeeping standards, or lack thereof.

"Ooooohhh!! It has ants all over it!!" he rolled in excitement. This from a kid who was repelled by cat fuzz the night before.

I'll never understand what makes guys tick. I don't even want to try. Whatever it is, it starts at an early age.

Monday, July 25, 2011


It's been a long while since there's been a drop of rain in our fair, dry town, so late yesterday afternoon, when clouds began forming to the north, I got excited--even though most summer storms approach us from the south. There was even an inkling of distant thunder, which pushed me into manic mode. This called for action.

"I'd better roll up the car windows," I told Big Bore, who was sitting out on his favorite front porch rocker conducting his own weather watch.

"No! Don't! You'll jinx us!!"

But I rolled up the one car window that was down and then tried so persuade the sky to open up.

"Please, God!" I shouted from the driveway. "Give us some rain!!" Then I went into Indian rain dance mode, making wild noises while patting my right hand to my mouth.

"Good lord!" Big Bore said. "You're going to scare the rain away! Or the neighbors are going to see you and call the authorities."

Next, I decided to go for a walk--with the idea that maybe I'd get a mile away or so from home and get caught in a storm. Soaked, but happy. That's happened to me before, but this time no such luck--other than a few microscopic droplets I felt on my arms. Or was that just a flock of birds overhead?

When I returned, a friend 30 miles to the north had emailed: "We just got a half-inch of rain awhile ago!!!"

Rats! Like I wanted to hear some water hoarder gloating over her rainfall accumulation. What show-off. Alas, before nightfall the clouds over our town had run away--no rain--but at least the temporary reprieve lowered the temperature to 88 degrees.

The good news is: later, around 11 PM, rumblings from the south arrived and we eventually got some bona fide rain--according to our gauge this morning, a whole two-tenths of an inch. Not much but that's more than we've had all month, so I'll take credit for my efforts earlier in the day regardless of how goofy I looked going through the motions. I had my clothes on, so I don't know why BB was complaining.

To God and the Indians: thank-you very much for listening.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


There is a Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader next to the porcelain throne at Casa de la Flaming Bore, and I typically flip through the pages when I know my tour of duty is going to last longer than 10 seconds. This morning, I stopped on a page titled "Booby Prizes," all about the oddest bras on Earth. Fruit-scented bras, high-tech bras that measure heart rate, bullet-proof bras, and the like.

My favorite listed was the cow bra and, since the manufacturer was named, I went straight to the Internet for more information. That's what all inquiring minds do, you know. The cow bra is a triple-treat: used to protect udders that are extra full and tender, to prevent leakage, and to keep that full-figured gal cow from titty-tripping. I hate when that happens!!

But wait!! There's more!!! It also has warming capability! At just under $70.00, they come in four sizes and one color--barnyard brown. And based on the catalogue picture, I'd say these form-fitting cow bras are what every lactating, stylish heifer wants on her wardrobe accessory list, whether she's just hanging out in a pasture or working the runway on Fashion Week.

Once again, some genius has beaten me to the patent office with a moo-ving idea.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Last night I was out on the front porch checking our five flower planters to see if a second watering was needed. Impatiens aren't too keen about hellish days, even if they are in the shade. As I was feeling the soil in one of the planters, something suddenly moved among the flowers.

"What was that?" I said aloud.

Further inspection was needed. Or was I just imagining it? I got eyeball level to the planter and there it was...a little tree frog! I love them! Quick! Where's my camera? Isn't it cute? Well, not exactly cute--but interesting. I stunned it with camera flash and got some keen pictures. This morning, the visitor is no longer in the planter, but I'm hoping it makes a return engagement tonight. I'm all for free insect repellent.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Prior to the recent sale of Mama Bore's house, she directed family members and helpers to take what they wanted and put the rest in storage. Surprisingly, there were no disputes over who got what. In fact, no one was all that eager to take anything. I ended up with a step ladder, a paper shredder, a small bookcase, and a few old dishes. Big Bore took some items that no one else claimed from the garage and utility room.

"Look what I got," he showed me after our final work session. It was a 6-foot metal tape measure...old but in good shape. You would have thought he'd found a buried treasure. "Be careful when you use it. If you bend it, it won't retract all the way back," he said.

"I know," I said, rather indignantly. I wasn't born yesterday. But then I got to thinking there was good reason for him to warn me about handling the tape measure with care. I have about as much manual dexterity as a cow and am famously known around our house for my tool accidents--the last one being a few months ago when I tried to saw off a finger.

The next time I talked with Mom, I told her how overjoyed Big Bore was with his tape measure find.

"Oh, that belonged to my daddy," she said fondly. She was a 16-year-old Daddy's girl when he was killed in a refinery accident in 1941. "He never let Meredith (her only sibling) or me touch it. He was afraid we'd bend it. You have to be careful when you use it or it won't retract all the way back in."

Gee, where had I heard this warning before? "Well, it must be a man thing," I told her. "That's exactly what Jeff said."

I don't know who's the source, but there's a good quote for this little story: "The true measure of a man is in how he treats his tools." William Evans, the grandfather I never knew, would be pleased to know his beloved tape measure is in safe hands.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


When I first saw this picture in Big Bore's photo album, I busted up.

"What in the world is this?" I laughed, so hard that tears began rolling from my eyes.

"That's me being prepared."

"For what?"

"To become physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Can't you tell?"

"What's that piece of wood you're showing off?"

"It's got the Boy Scout Oath on it. Blow up the picture and you can read it. 'On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty....' I had three older brothers in the military. Sign me up for active duty! I was 13 and ready to serve!"

"For the Nerd Brigade, maybe."

When I met Big Bore back in 1978, he was more the renegade type...not someone who was "Clean in Speech and Actions," so the whole idea of him once being a Boy Scout cracked me up.

And then I found this picture.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Whenever I feel like a good chuckle, I sometimes drag out old pictures and not always my own. Big Bore has two that always crack me up, and here is one of them. I call this his mini Jack Nicholson "Wendy, I'm home!" shot from that creepshow The Shining. He's probably around 8 years old, but he has a grasp around that ax that could only be called Professional Lumberjack. I'm also quite fond of his cuffed jeans...good for another few years at least.

This pic is especially significant because, many decades later, Big Bore still enjoys chopping wood, a skill which comes in handy during camping trips when I'm cold and hungry. Whenever we're gathering around the firepit, he's the go-to guy. I'm only good for picking up kindling...and for reminding him about this goofy Little Mr. Camper picture. I hope this blog doesn't hack him off too much.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


My nephew Brandon was born one day before I turned 22, so I consider him my "almost twin." We've had double celebrations in July--and this year's was better late than never. It's funny that he is aging faster than I am. When he was 11, I was three times as old as he at 33. When he was 22, I was 44--suddenly only twice as old. And when he's 44, I'll only be 66--much less than twice his age. I figure by the time he's 55, I'm going to YOUNGER than he is!!

By the way, I'm not sure if that "B" on his shirt stands for his name or that fact that he's always been a Big Boy who lifts Barbells and could squish me like a Bug. Beware. My lovely patriotic vest was a gift many years ago from Big Sis. I get it out of the closet once a year to look festive for my birthday party. Great niece Maddie says it is so heavy--"It must have 999 sequins on it!" At least. Sequins, like one's age, is just a number, though. Who's counting? Right?

Monday, July 18, 2011


Big Sis bought her younger grandkids a cardboard playhouse recently. It's one of those put-it-together, color it, and hope it lasts a day or two in the living room-kind of playhouses, and it's a big hit. Yesterday we played The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf, with yours truly being the BBW. It didn't take William long to figure out that I wasn't allowed inside.

We also had a belated birthday cake for my nephew Brandon and me. Big Bore whipped up one of his special red, white, and blue angel food cakes; the kids decorated it with sprinkles and 19 candles. Between the two of us, Brandon and I are 102, but I insisted on blue candles only and 19 blues were all we had, so 19 it was. We had PLENTY of help blowing them out, over and over again, slobbers and all, but it still tasted mighty fine.

William will be 2-years-old next month. He's quite ready for his OWN cake, but I don't think the cardboard playhouse will still be standing by then--even without the help of his windy great aunt/wolf.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


First it was nothing but evil Bermuda grass. Then it was Big Bore's potato and onion patch. Next, it became my strawberry patch. And last year it evolved into my pink patch, an area 15-feet long on the southeast edge of the house. Lilies, dianthus, trailing vinca, angelonia, coxcomb (not in bloom yet), and something else, name forgotten, between the angelonia.

Today when I was deadheading, I noticed something white and foreign in my pink patch. "What the hell is that?" It looked slimy and and was spread out--like some animal had barfed on the mulch. I scraped it off and then went straight to the Internet for the answer--Dog Vomit Slime Mold. That's the common name. I can't recall the technical name, but its harmless in spite of its ugliness. That's a relief. Still, it's pretty gross looking and I don't want it invading the beauty of my pink patch. I'd put up a Keep Out sign, but I don't think Dog Vomit Slime Mold can read. At least not in Kansas.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Whenever I'm in the mood to be mortified, which is quite often, I tune in to The Learning Channel on Wednesday nights so I can be educated by a documentary/soap opera called "Toddlers and Tiaras." Each week the show focuses on three or four kid beauty pageant contestants--either the most obnoxious, gushing sweetie pies or the ones who come from the most dysfunctional family in a four-state area.

This week's winner in the Obnoxiously Dysfunctional Division was 3-year-old Lola, a blonde-haired Texas sassy pants who can strut and blow kisses like a street walker--provided she's in the mood. To get Lola to follow instructions, her mother and aunt have created a 1-step behavior modification-type program that works every time. I call it "Sugar Cubes and Pixie Sticks."

Lola is in a foul mood and won't practice her pirouette? Give her a sugar cube. Lola is whining because her 50-pound hairstyle is giving her a headache? Open wide for sugar, baby. Lola just nailed her talent performance? "Sugar cube!!!" she demands for her reward as soon as she bops off the stage.

Little Lola has her family wrapped her sugar-loving little finger. Daddy buys her thousand-dollar glamour gowns, mama shrugs helplessly at her tantrums, and her two older sisters, as homely as Lola is cute, allow themselves to be lost in the background while Lola gets ALL the attention. "Bring me the box of cubes! Now!!"

In spite of the incentives, Lola didn't run away with the Grand National Super Miss Glitz Pageant this particular night, but she did get a heavy-duty queen crown, since she was best of show in the three-year-old division (out of two entrants). I think she'd better milk this pageant stuff for all it's worth while she can, because by the time she's four she's either going to injure herself bouncing off the walls during a sugar high or she'll fall into a diabetic coma.

"Toddlers and Tiaras" needs to be re-named. Something like "Dumb Parents and Domineering Daughters." Sweet.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Of the ten girls in my first grade class (there were about twice as many boys and they drove us crazy), seven of us graduated from high school together. One of these "forever friends" was my luncheon date in the city yesterday. Maggie and I were "famous" in our younger years for having the longest hair in the class. She usually wore hers in perfect pigtails; I was the flyaway ponytail kid.

We belatedly celebrated my July birthday, and she gave me this nifty set of Leaf Scoops that look like plastic cymbals with teeth. I can't wait for autumn to be here so I can put them into service. Big Bore and I are notorious leaf raker-upper people--gotta keep that compost pile happy--so the super Scoopers are going to be put to good use.

When we were having lunch, I told Maggie I had to go out to the car to get something for her in return. I called it a "rescue" gift. I've been bugging her for several years to get another cat or two back into her home, so my intention was for her to go into panic mode.

"It's not alive, is it?"

"Well, actually, it sort of is."

But I couldn't string her on for long. No, I didn't have a kitten for her. Besides being a former Cat Mom, Maggie is a green thumb-type, my kind of gal. In fact, I have some of her Lilies of the Valley and Ajuga giveaways growing in my own yard, so we are kind of related. My "rescue" for her was a greenhouse plant on its next-to-the-last leg if it didn't get re-potted and loved before too long. It's called a Miniature Pine, but it's actually a succulent that is sort of shaped like a pine tree. I'm hoping she can use some of her magic and keep it going and growing for a while longer.

If all else fails, and the plant ends up kicking the horticultural bucket in spite of her efforts, then I will threaten to replace it with a kitten. That's what forever friends are for.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


When Big Bore moved into Casa de la Flaming Bore five years ago, he suffered from Feline Intolerance. That was before he had bypass surgery, eighty-some stitches in his right leg, and was propped up in a recliner for six months recuperating under the care of Dr. Little Bit. Bits had previously never taken too kindly to any human other than myself, but suddenly he became Lord and Protector of the ol' fella in the chair, wrapping himself around the "good leg" and making sure Big Bore had someone to pet and talk to all day long. He was hooked.

A few years later, BB conducted his own Kitty Rescue and adopted Critter, who now shares lap time with Little Bit. Last night I caught Critter and her daddy checking out recipes on the computer, a frequent pasttime. I don't know if Critter likes pineapple upside-down cake, but she sure is sweet on the idea of cuddling up with him. Proof positive that you can teach an old dog new tricks--if you're a cat.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Sweet little neighbor girl came over this afternoon to sweat on the porch with us old folks. We took turns spraying water on each other with the plant sprayer then were entertained by the robins at the birdbath and some butterflies inhaling the flowers next to the house. At one point she decided to see how close she could get to the wildlife. The birds weren't too friendly, but this butterfly was more than happy to make her acquaintance.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Those wacky folks at the Alameda County Fair in California recently decided to create the Mother of all State Fair Food and cooked up this 777-pound hamburger. I think it looks about as appetizing as fresh road kill, but one must admit it's a masterpiece...of something. The burger includes 20# of onions, 12# of pickles, 30# of lettuce, and a 110# bun. It took 15 hours to cook. I'm not sure if, or how, it was flipped on the grill. Maybe with a forklift. Some dietary guru figured out it contained 1,375,000 calories. That's probably enough to feed mankind into the next millennium, or at least a single person through the weekend. And before you're like me and think, "What a waste of food," little chunks of it were sold for charity--although I'd just as soon give 'em my money and pass on the taste test. Just looking at it gives me a super-sized case of indigestion. Let's hope this idea doesn't catch on at McDonald's.

Friday, July 8, 2011


This has been one of my weeks to tend to the downtown garden. Doesn't it look great?! Smells good, too. The hibiscus (back, center) have just started blooming. "You pretty pink girls are looking mah-velous!" When I was transplanting some coxcomb this morning, a guy on his bike rode in and caught me chatting away at my flowery friends. He didn't think I was too loopy, though, and he asked about some of his favorites before he pedalled away. I hope wherever you may be today, you have time to stop and smell the flowers.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Sixty years ago our family moved into a home at 132 S. 9th in Fredonia, Kansas, and yesterday Big Sis and I (with the help of her husband, son, grandson, and Big Bore) cleared out the rest of Mama Bore's possessions in preparation for a new owner.

While sorting and packing and tossing out, I tried to think of the wonderful times I'd had inside the house, but few crossed my mind. I mostly recalled fights with siblings, getting into trouble, hiding in my bedroom closet, and fearing my father. I had a disdain for anything homemaker-ish, like cooking and sewing and ironing. The only enjoyable thing I remember about being inside was watching certain TV shows and listening to records on our 45 RPM player.

Outside was a different story. The backyard is substantial, and here is where I spent as many spare moments as possible when I was a kid. Softball games, croquet, shadow tag, track meets, hide and seek, looking for 4-leaf clover, catching lightning bugs, or just lying back and counting the stars. Our backyard was the neighborhood magnet. It had it all.

I was happy to hear that the new owner has three little children who can bring some energy back to the ol' yard. Too many years have passed since it was filled with laughter and wonderment. When I drove away yesterday for the final time, there was no sadness. It's time to share the memories of a little piece of ground I once called "home" with someone else. I can only hope that backyard brings them as much joy as it brought to me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


It's common, documented knowledge that The Flaming Bore lacks cooking skill and is more or less banished from our kitchen...except to sweep the floor and wash an occasional dish. You'd think, however, that I could at least heat up a hotdog in the microwave correctly. But.....nooooooo. Here's yesterday's scenario:

Put hotdog on paper towel, set microwave for 40 seconds, go back to computer to answer email, forget about hotdog.

Big Bore (watching TV): "Are you cooking something?"

Flaming Bore: "Just heating up a hotdog in the microwave. I'll get it pretty soon."

BB: "What'd you set the timer on?"

FB: "Forty seconds. It's off by now."

BB: "Well, you'd better go check because it's still running and it smells like a barbecue accident coming from the kitchen."

So I dashed to the microwave....which was STILL running. I'd set the damned thing for 4 minutes instead of 40 seconds. Ooops! The Ball Park Frank had been smacked totally out of the stadium, exploded, and morphed into something like beef jerky a la gross. I wasn't going to try gnawing on it, of course, but Big Bore thought I should throw it to the cats.

"No way!" I said, horrified. "I don't want to risk killing them!" I deposited the maimed meat in the trash bin outside and cleaned up the microwave.

My 4th of July feast ended up being a bowl of Wheat Chex with milk. No cooking required and oh, so much safer.

Monday, July 4, 2011


When Big Bore and I were in the city last Friday, we decided to kill some extra time by car shopping for a specific used make and model I'm interested in possibly buying before the end of the year. Just a little fact-finding mission to see what's available.

Our first stop was at one of the smaller dealerships. Fine experience. Nice salesman. Informative. Got what we needed and left. Then it was on to a bigger with a much larger inventory, so maybe I'd find what I was specifically looking for. From the second we pulled into the customer drive at a place that rhymes with Dusty Wreck Ford (you locals will know who I'm writing about here), however, we knew our experience at this second stop was gonna be a whole lot different than the first.

A dozen or so salesmen were lurking outside the front door on this hot day, ready to clutch their prey, and one latched himself onto us before we'd gotten out of the car. I told him exactly what make and model I was looking for, right down to the year, color, and mileage limit. Oh, sure, he had plenty of them to show me. Right this way. We followed him into the showroom of more rabid salesmen, loud music, ice cream, and balloons. Welcome to the CAR-nival of Horrors!

Well, long story (VERY long story) short, there were exactly two of the make and model on the entire expansive lot, one with the color I was seeking, except it was missing a front bumper/fender. The other was the wrong color and year and had about as much mileage as my current car, plus it smelled like an ash tray on wheels. No, thank-you. We'll be moving on.

But do you think Mr. Salesman was going to stop at that? No, he had to try to show me every other car in Wichita. And when we FINALLY escaped his pitch, his sales manager came running after us, actually shouting my name at the exit and trying to seal some deal that was never in the making in the first place. Help!!!

I don't care if Dusty Wreck Ford ends up finding the car of my dreams. I will NEVER go back to that scary place again. I'd rather run into a pack of hungry vultures. Dusty Wreck may brag about being the #1 dealership in Kansas, but all they did was DRIVE us AWAY!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Once upon a time, I considered myself gifted among the "lettered." While others groaned, I foamed at the mouth whenever my grade school teacher said, "Line up into two groups. We're having a spell down." I even won the 8th grade gold spelling pin, which I still have and wear on occasions when I want to impress someone...which isn't often.

So, it was with great confidence that I volunteered to be one of four audience participants in Friday night's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" at Cabaret Oldtown in Wichita. I think Big Bore was mortified that I would offer myself up for slaughter, but I bounded on stage like I was 10 years old again. "Let's do it! Bring it on!!"

Round One: The six actors all got hideously hard words...words I'd never heard of...but, of course, they zipped right through them. The girls were cocky and confident. One guy first spelled the words out on the floor, imaginary-style, with his right foot. Geez. Maybe this wasn't going to be so easy after all.

Much to my relief, however, the vounteers got easy words..."kitty," "Mexican," and "cow"...until it came my turn. After making a joke about my khaki fashion style, the pronouncer said something that sounded like "knockee."

"What?" I said, beginning to sweat under the lights. "Knockee? I've never heard of that word!"

"Knockee," she said again.

"May I have a definition? Would you use that in a sentence, please?" I thought maybe she was trying to make a play on words with "nooky" or something.

I can't remember what she said now, because all I was thinking was how in the heck I was going to spell this stupid word and not be the first one kicked out of the spelling bee in shame. Knockee. It had to be Italian in origin. Maybe it's "g-n-o-c-c-i" or "g-n-o-c-c-h-i-." I had to hurry up. None of the others gave it a second of thought. Here goes nothing: "G-n-o-c-c-i."

Buzz! "Oh, so close," the prounouncer said. "It's g-n-o-c-c-H-i."

Well, sonofabitch. Or is that sunovabich?

The actors all stood and sang a farewell swan song to me and I was escorted off the stage, shoulders slumped, lower lip sticking out, humiliated for life.

But the good news is, I received two "parting gifts" for being a volunteer: a little box of Hawaiian Punch (do you get the symbolism there?) AND free admission to the Cabaret show in December.

I can't wait to return. If they need any audience participants for the next show, I'll be the first to raise my hand. "Pick me!!!!"

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Uuuuuuuuggggghhhhh! I woke up this morning with pizza breath and a bulging belly. The food fest yesterday was too much. I decided to ditch the idea of the box of Cheez-Its for today, eat the last piece of leftover pizza for breakfast, and call it quits. Next time I break the "No Diet," I think I'll just stick to the Blondie only. I feel like a pregant whale. I can't even think clearly enough to write about the musical comedy we went to and our car shopping misadventures. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Today is my big break from the "No Diet" after six months of self-imposed deprivation from desserts and pizza. Hooray!!! First stop will be around 1 PM at the Applebee's in Andover for a chewy, gooey Blondie (763 calories) and a cup of coffee (black). Guess who is skipping breakfast?

This sugar high will lead into about five hours of retail therapy. Then it's time for Chicken Mediterranean Pizza at the Wichita Pizza Co. (thanks, Maggie, for the 2-for-1 coupon). Lord knows how many calories are in a single slice. I'm guessing 300.

From there we go to Cabaret Oldtown for the musical comedy "Putnam County Spelling Bee," which should be a laugh fest--provided I haven't gone into Sugar-Carbo Overload by then and fallen asleep.

Tomorrow I shall repent with a box of Cheez-Its, after which I shall return to the "No Diet" for the rest of the month so Mel Gibson won't have to chop off my big mouth.