Monday, October 31, 2011


Tonight's the night sugar-loving kids have been salivating for all year!! Our Halloween candy is ready to go. Upon the advice of Sweet Neighbor Girl, we purchased Snickers bars and Skittles. "They are both very popular with the kids right now," we were informed. And lord knows we want to popular because I can recall a whole bunch of crapola on my "Ugh List" when I trick-or-treated the streets of Fredonia a few generations back. Here's a partial rundown of what NOT to hand out:

1. Nothing sticky and chewy, please. I had braces on my teeth for what seemed like my entire childhood, so that automatically disqualified me from enjoying bubble gum, suckers, taffy, Bit-O-Honey bars, Tootsie Rolls, caramel apples, and the like. Major bummer. One must be considerate of all the braces wearers of the world.

2. Anything with coconut. I HATE coconut, so skip the Mounds and Almond Joys and any other treat that has the misfortune of being injected and infected with this icky white stuff.

3. Licorice. I HATE licorice more than coconut! No Good and Plentys allowed in my candy bag!

4. Hot cinnamon candies and Hot Tamales that create fat lips and canker sores.

5. Necco wafers, which are nothing but semi-flavored chalk if the truth be known.

6. Jawbreakers. There's a reason why they're called Jawbreakers. They break jaws. And teeth. And braces. Forget it!

7. Pretzel sticks. I HATE pretzels!!!!

8. Those little boxes of raisins. Sure, they are supposed to be a healthy alternative to all the cavity-causing sweet treats, but I HATE little boxes of raisins. And big boxes, too.

Am I sounding picky yet?

If I couldn't luck out and get a Snickers or Butterfinger bar when trick-or-treating, then I hoped for some Pixie Stix (nothing like pure, unadulterated fruit-flavored sugar to keep up one's energy while ringing doorbells) or those little wax bottles that contained some sort of colored, fruity syrup inside. What were those called? Wax Bottles of Colored Fruity Syrup, I think.

I sure hope when I pass out candy tonight that none of the costumed visitors will moan and groan with the ever-popular Snickers and Skittles. If they do, I'm going to pummel them with Necco wafers and yell, "Just be glad you didn't get any licorice-covered raisins, you little ingrates!" That'll teach them not to be like me when I was a kid.

(P.S. Big Bore has requested I add some of his trick-or-treat favorites, aside from hitting the jackpot with full-sized candy bars: candy cigarettes, bubblegum cigars, wax lips and wax harmonicas, Chik-o-Stix, and Bazooka bubblegum with the comics inside. Ah, those were the days!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Four years ago tonight Big Bore discovered a scrawny cry baby kitty in our garage--a Halloween Eve gift from the goblins--and the rest is history. In spite of all my efforts to find the kitten's owner, no one came forth--so Critter was rather reluctantly welcomed into Casa de la Flaming Bore. Oh, happy day! In the pictures above, she was helping me wrap Christmas gifts, circa 2009 and 2007, and she's continued to be a big helper ever since. Here's to you, Critter, and many more messes to come!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Hooray! Let the Halloween Weekend creepy movies begin! Last night we watched two old movies that had similar plots. Each had identical twins and each had a humongo dog--ones that were the size of small elephants--that could tell the twins apart. How's that for scary?

The first movie was 1964's DEAD RINGER starring Bette Davis. Any movie with ONE Bette Davis is usually a kick in the pants, so you can imagine how much fun it was to have TWO Bettes on screen. The poor twin killed the rich twin but made the death look like the poor twin committed suicide. Got that? The poor twin then pretended to be the rich twin, oh, the evils of jealousy, but then she found out that pulling off the ruse wasn't going to be so easy. The newly-dead rich twin disliked cigarettes, but the poor twin was a chain smoker. The rich twin hated her late husband's humongo dog, but the poor twin thinks Duke is delightful. Then, big uh-oh, she finds out that her rich twin had plotted the murder of her husband with her loverboy, Burt Lancaster. Damn! How is she gonna get out of this mess? If only she could go back to being poor, running her seedy bar, and dating that schmuck Karl Malden, who was much more of a gentleman than Burt!

The second movie was a 1935 Boris Karloff treat called THE BLACK ROOM, an 1800s period piece with good baron/bad baron twins. There's a family curse that one twin will kill the other in, what else, the castle's black the black room is sealed when they are born...except the adult bad baron later unseals it, where he dumps his enemies in a spikey pit he's concocted. He wants to marry a sweet young thing, Thea, but she has the hots for someone else. In fact, no one in the village likes the bad baron and he doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning her love. So what's a villain going to do? He kills the good twin, assumes his identity, tricks Thea into marrying him, and right when the minister asks the church crowd if there is anyone who objects to the marriage--and I'm not making this up--the humongo dog comes galloping up to the altar to rip a chunk out of the bad baron. The fiend then takes off and hides in the black room, but guess who follows him? The humongo dog, of course! It pushes the bad twin into the spikey pit. The end.

Wow! We are off to a fabulously campy start with our Halloween Weekend movie viewing. I hope to watch many more creepy classics in the days to come. But you can bet that no dogs are invited! Especially humongo ones.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Sweet Neighbor Girl eyeballed the three baby cantaloupes on the front porch railing the other day and asked what we were going to do with them.

"I don't know. Look at 'em, I guess. They were late bloomers and fell off the rind during the freeze the other night," I said.

"Will you be able to eat them?"

"No. They're green. Do you have any suggestions?" I could see the wheels turning in her mind.

"Do you know how to juggle?" she asked.

"No. Do you?" I asked back.

"No, but I'd like to learn," she said.

"Well, pick 'em up and give it a try. But do it on the grass. We don't want cantaloupe splattered all over the porch."

Thus began the goofiest display of trial and error that I'd ever seen. And that was just with two cantaloupes. Wayward cantaloupes. Very wayward.

"Maybe it'd be easier if you had something smaller to juggle," I said. "I'll go see if I have any tennis balls."

I unsuccessfully scoured my closet looking for a can of them, but by the time I returned to the front yard "stage," she'd run home and come back with two apples. Oh, lord. Here we go again. Ooops, oops, and more oops. The laughter drew Big Bore outside to join the folly.

"What are you doing?" he asked Sweet Neighbor Girl. "Trying to make applesauce?"

The apples eventually busted into about a dozen juicy pieces, but she kept trying and then finally finished her performance with a flourish--"Da-dum!"

"I think we need to find you something better to practice with," I said.

"Yeah. Some eggs," suggested Big Bore.

You can always count on a man to come up with a brilliant idea.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I hope the neighbors weren't awakened at 4:30 this morning by the calamity going on at Casa de la Flaming Bore. I happened to be up tending to sick Little Bit's needs, and when I blindly tossed out a bag of litter box remains, Critter escaped. Just what I didn't need! Since becoming a house cat four years ago, Critter has only been on the loose once and she about got run over that time. She can't be trusted to stay in the yard and behave herself. So instead of going back to bed, I put on my shoes and sweats, grabbed a flashlight, and headed outside to find her. The search was on.

"Critter baby, where are you?" I asked, half pleading and half royally pissed off---mainly at myself for being tricked by a goofy ball of fur in the middle of the night. She's a vocal cat, maybe she'd meow back at me and I'd have her back inside in no time. On the other hand, maybe the neighbors would call the police to report a disturbance and Critter would have to post my bail bond.

Ah-hah! There she is by the backyard gate! I bent forward to pick her up and--DASH! Away she went. I could hear her elusive little feet scattering about leaves in the front yard. Every time I'd get halfway close to her, off she'd run. Hide and go seek. She was having a blast.

After about 10 minutes of this ridiculous routine, I retreated inside. I didn't want to wake up Big Bore, but Critter is his cat and I needed his input. Leave her alone or keep looking?

"Forget it. She'll come home when she's ready," he said, more or less awake.

Okay, the master had spoken. So, I kicked off the shoes and went back to bed. Five minutes later, guess what big lug was dressed and out on the front porch calling for Critter? Not I---but I got up again because I felt guilty since this charade was all my fault in the first place.

"Have you seen her?" I asked Big Bore, who was now sitting in his porch chair, bundled up from the cold, watching for the little princess.

"She was over by the trash bin and when I went to grab her, she ran over to the corner." My aren't we getting our exercise this morning?!

I was freezing, so I went back inside and back to bed--again, but I couldn't get back to sleep. Around 5:30 I heard Big Bore out back talking to Critter. I got up ONE MORE TIME, opened the back door to see what was going on, and here comes a big cry baby kitty galloping back inside.

"It's about time! I hope you enjoyed yourself!"

For some reason we're having a hard time staying awake today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Recently I've read several articles about how computers are making cursive writing extinct. Seems the younger generation prefers to print, and some schools aren't even teaching cursive writing anymore. It's become obsolete, districts say. When I taught high school sophomores, I noticed that more and more students did, indeed, just print their work. And some of the cursive writers produced handwriting that was scarcely legible.

Now, I don't exactly have the best cursive writing in the world, but I do recall learning the "art" of it in 3rd grade and feeling SO excited. Wow! It was like a (w)rite of passage. I could do something just like an adult! I was no longer printing like those baby first and second graders. My handwriting was grown up and sophisticated!

I asked the neighborhood know-it-all, who just happens to be a 3rd grader, if cursive writing is taught at the local school.

"Oh, yes! It's one of my favorites! I almost know how to do ALL my letters in cursive!" she bragged. She recently left us a note when we were gone, written in mighty fine cursive, so I know she's not just blowing smoke. Take that, all you naysayers who are trying to bury cursive writing! Not everyone has yet to become a robotic slave to the evil influences of computers!

The best handwriting I've ever seen belongs to Mama Bore. Each letter a masterpiece. She even studied calligraphy and became adept at it, also. Sadly, as her eyesight has waned, she can no longer see what she writes so she limits herself to her signature and shopping lists. Still, her handwriting beats mine all to pieces. I have two types of cursive writing: "in a hurry" and "not in a hurry." The first is such a challenge to read that I sometimes can't make out what in the world I've scribbled. The second type is reserved for formal and letters. Legible, but nothing to brag and write home about--pardon the pun.

I sure hope cursive writing doesn't die out with successive generations. Perhaps it can at least be taught in Ancient History classes or as a hieroglyphics chapter in an archeology textbook. "Preserve Cursive." That's my motto for today!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Yesterday was Parent-Teacher Conference in our school district, and Sweet Neighbor Girl came over to announce that her mother was headed off to meet with her teacher.

"Do you think she'll receive a good report?" I asked.

"She'd better! I got straight A's!"

"That's great," I said. " But do you think she'll still have some suggestions to be even better?"

"Hmmmm," she thought. "I can't think of any."

"Do you suppose your teacher will say you talk a little too much?"

"Oh, yes!" she quickly agreed, smiling. "I definitely do talk WAY too much!"

"Do you wave your hand like crazy when you know the answer?" I speak of my own years of experience as a chronic, obnoxious hand-waver while a student at Mound Elementary once upon a time.

"Yes!" she demonstrated enthusiastically. "Call me! Call me! And the teacher will sometimes say, 'Let's give someone else a chance.' But sometimes I'm the only one who knows the answer, and then she'll say, 'Is ______ the only one who knows?' And I am! The other day I was the only one who knew that nine plus six equals fifteen."

Hallelujah! I've found someone who can help me balance my checkbook!

Monday, October 24, 2011


This just in from the "Good grief! Time sure flies!" department: Jonathan Lipnicki, who played the adorable kid in the movie JERRY MAGUIRE, turned 21 over the weekend. How in the heck is that possible?

Remember how cute he was as 5-year-old Ray, the son of squinty Rene Zellwegger? He stole every scene he had with Tom "I'm SO happy, Oprah" Cruise with his goofy banter: "Do you know that the human brain weighs eight pounds?" "Do you know that bees and dogs smell fear?" "Do you know that my uncle has three rabbits?" He was great.

I saw the suddenly grown-up Jonathan on a TV interview last week. He did a few more movies as a child, associated himself with some philanthropies, then had a "normal life" going to public school. "I went to prom and everything." Now, he's back in Hollywood--making independent films, working in theater, and taking acting classes. Here's one so-called "child star" who seems to have survived his teen years without any psychological damage or an arrest record. Bravo for him and his parents. Their human brains, all eight pounds of them, seem to be on the right track.

Sunday, October 23, 2011



Sweet Neighbor Girl and her big sister were at the door this afternoon--big sis holding a large envelope.

"What are you selling?" I asked. I've been throught this routine so many times before that I can make the sales pitch for her.

"Candles for FCCLA." (That's the updated, hip name for what used to be FHA when I was in high school. I have no idea what the last three initials stand for but the first two are Family and Consumer. Truth be known, not a single club member probably has a clue, either.)

"Oh, have you ever come to the right place! Step right in. I LOVE candles!!"

The candles she's peddling are one of the popular, up-scale brands and the scents are these fabulous, romantic ones that smell good enough to eat. Her sample sheet was "scratch and sniff," so I was like a bloodhound out for the prey. Decisions, decisions. I settled for Cinnamon Vanilla, Pine Forest, and Apple Cinnamon.

I hope this order gets here fast because I'm on my last scented candle right now--mulberry. When one lives with three cats and one Big Bore, it helps to have room aroma-fiers. (Is that a word?) I'm not good with those canned sprays like Glade and Air Wick. Half the time I end up spraying them in my face or they squirt out in drippy clumps. Give me a nice candle to light my fire and make the living room smell like I'm baking cookies and apple pie in the woods...instead of, well, I'll spare you the sad truth.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Little kids have such a different perspective than adults. Yesterday the neighborhood 5- and 4-year-old, Trouble 1 and Trouble 2, were at the door wanting to pet Critter, who was meowing at them from her window perch.

"Critter, do you want the boys to pet you?" I asked.


"Okay, you can come on in and pet her--gently."

"Wow! Your house is awesome!" Trouble 2 said as he entered.

Now, there is absolutely nothing awesome about Casa de la Flaming Bore. It ranks a zero on the awesome scale. Red bell peppers--real and ripening ones--are strung across the entertainment cabinet, pictures practically plaster every inch of the wall, the worn sofa and chair are covered with plastic due to the recent cat upchuck issues, and Big Bore moved in the ficus tree and stick cactus when we had a light freeze this week. The stick cactus shot up over the summer. It's a good seven feet tall and looks like a monstrosity. Morning glory vines are entangled in it. Awesomely awful is a better term for the way this place looks.

But little kids are forgiving, and I'm making it my mission this weekend to spiff up the joint a bit. Big Bore is away on a wood cutting expedition, so he's out of the way and not around to tell me NOT to throw out what I think needs tossed. I've already started with the petrified bubble gum and Tootsie Rolls left over in the candy dish from last year's Halloween. A definite candidate for the trash pile. And a shovel is on stand-by when I get to the papers piling up around the computer table. I figure by the time I get finished with the de-cluttering and cleaning that needs to be done, this house is going to look awesome!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Well, I finally found my sunflower earrings (see yesterday's blog) but, drat, the backing on one had fallen off, so I just wore boring black earrings to the Garden Club meeting today. Here are some of the amazing sunflower tidbits of knowledge that I dispensed:

The sunflower became the Kansas state flower in 1903, just a few years after legislators tried to get it eradicated from the state as a noxious weed.

Inca and Aztec Indians coveted sunflowers, crafted them from gold, and high princesses wore them in their hair.

There is archeological evidence that sunflowers have been around at least 3,000 years.

North Dakota currently leads all states in sunflower production.

The tallest sunflower on record was 25'5".

There are only 17 calories in a teaspoon of shelled sunflower seeds.

The most sunflower heads ever grown on a single plant is 837.

Peter the Great encouraged that sunflower hybrids be developed in Russia.

Vincent Van Gogh's painting "14 Sunflowers in Vase" sold for over $36-million in 1995.

Hooray for the sunflower!!!! Too bad poor Vincent wasn't around to cash in.

(Sunflower photo provided by the garden of The Flaming Bore)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Today's mission impossible assignment: find a pair of sunflower earrings that SHOULD be in the bathroom somewhere.

Sounds easy enough but the bathroom, small as it is, has one floor-to-ceiling cabinet and across from it is a wider cabinet with shelves underneath. Plenty of room for earrings to get separated and lost. I don't think I've worn this particular pair since my teaching days, which has been over five years ago, so this search may be a challenge.

When I taught, I had outfits and accessories for every holiday and occasion--several times over. After I retired, though, most of the clothes got relegated to a big plastic bin in the basement. The earrings, however, stayed upstairs--scattered in various containers in the bathroom. Why do I all the sudden so urgently need my sunflower earrings, you ask? Because tomorrow I am co-hostessing the monthly Garden Club meeting and I'm presenting a program on the sunflower, of course. A good speaker MUST be fashionably co-ordinated with her topic. Right?

Big Bore was kind enough to drag out my old clothing bin. I located my sunflower jumper in no time, washed it up, and will force myself to iron it later today--if the iron and ironing board are where I left them the last time they were put into service, maybe a year ago? I'm afraid the earrings are going to give me fits, though, and I'll end up spending way too much time looking for them when I could be doing something more resourceful, like cleaning up the cat upchuck I just sat down on or working on the Sudoku puzzle that keeps giving me fits.

I think I'll just file an All-Points Bulletin with the Missing and Exploited Cheap Jewelry Department here at Casa de la Flaming Bore and go back to bed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


After we drove down from the summit at Rocky Mountain National Park with our big, colorful shoulder bag (see yesterday's blog), we headed in to Estes Park to do some more shopping. Incense wafting out from the door of a funky Nepalese place lured us in to our first stop. And, there, I saw it: a soft brown dress doused with elaborate stitching!

"This is so me!!" I swooned to Big Bore. "It matches my hair!" Well, okay, the color my hair USED to be. And at $24.95 it was price right. Sold! That was simple.

But the ordeal was just beginning. You see, a little Nepalese lady about my age was babysitting the store for her daughter, and what English the poor woman spoke was minimal to nothing, bless her heart. And to add difficulty to our transaction, she was clueless about what to do if someone came into the store and actually wanted to purchase something.

I whipped out my credit card, thinking that would make things easier. "No," she said and shrugged her shoulders like she didn't know how to operate the credit card machine.

"That's all right. I have cash." I whipped out three ten-dollar bills onto the counter. She then grabbed a cell phone and called someone, I'm assuming her daughter, to find out what to do. She spoke in her native language and, following some directions, keyed the price of the little brown dress into the register. It belched open. Now what?

Time to get out the cell phone again. From what I could determine, the person on the other end was telling her the tax to add on to the sale price. Done. Now what?

She didn't know how to make change. Time for The Flaming Bore to step in and help out. "You owe me ...." whatever it was. Two one-dollar bills and some change. She started to give me two ten-dollar bills.

"No. No. Ones," and I held up one finger. Then I pointed into the cash till and showed her what change to give me. Had I been a dishonest person, the register would have been emptied and she'd have been none the wiser. But The Flaming Bore would never fleece a Nepalese lady in a strange land. Transaction complete. Happy. happy. The little brown dress was mine!

It's going to be months before I can actually wear my new frock, since it's only for spring/summer, so I'm using the coming months to ponder accessories. Gold jewelry, lime green flip-flops, brown capri pants, maybe. Hopefully, by the time warmer weather returns, I'll still be able to suck it in and worm my way into the dress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


When we were at Rocky Mountain National Park a few weeks ago, our trip to the summit ended exactly the same as hundreds of others who'd made the high drive--in the souvenir shop, of course! Thin air creates fat billfolds. And this particular shop was jammed-crammed with just about everything--from "authentic Indian fine art" to not-so-authentic looking cutesy bears on socks, which I had a bear of a time passing up.

Our typical park shopping modus operandi is for Big Bore to hit up the maps department, in tribute to his old Boy Scout days, I suppose, while I gravitate to T-shirts and jewelry I don't need. We already have a panorama map of the park that takes up a good part of one wall in our laundry room, though, so this time BB stuck with me and our eyes soon zoomed in on the SAME item--shoulder bags!!!! Made-in-Nepal, wild, raggy shoulder bags that can be closed with a zipper OR with a wooden button latch that has a peace sign on it. Not only that, but there is a little pouch on the strap that can be securely closed with Velcro. Priced right at just $22.00, we HAD to have one to share. But which one? There were scads of them in a variety of colors. I couldn't make up my mind, so BB took charge and selected the lovely one pictured here.

I've already used the bag once on a shopping outing to the city, and Big Bore is taking it on a camping/wood cutting adventure later this week. Something tells me we should have forked out the money for two of them--and that those of you reading this blog are shaking your heads wondering what in the heck is wrong with us.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Sweet Neighbor Girl greeted me Sunday morning with a news flash: the bugs we'd caught the day before were STILL alive, contrary to what I'd told her would likely happen. She had the evidence with her to prove it. We celebrated on the front porch by demonstrating every dance we could think of: Macarena, YMCA, Chicken Polka, Swim, Jerk, Twist, Monster Mash, Freddie, Dougie, PeeWee Herman Tequila, Hokey-Pokey, Disco, you name it. Fortunately, neither of us thought of the Limbo Rock at the time. Otherwise, I'd be in traction today.

In the afternoon Big Bore and I played a lazy game of horseshoes, which I won 21-11. At the end of every game we have a ritual--we throw two more shoes just for the heck of it. His first one missed badly, and then I made a fatal mistake by saying, "I'll give you the game if you can ring your last toss." And, of course, what does he do but nail that sucker! "Are you still going to give me the game?" he asked. Yeah, but with an asterisk.

At dusk, just as we we were settling down to watch TV, the doorbell rang. Out on the porch were a lovely gypsy and a mini zombie. "We got our Halloween costumes today!!!" the neighbor kids excitedly announced. They came inside to model them, and Critter about jumped through her skin when the little zombie boy started petting her with his rubbery fingers. That was just pretty much enough excitement for one day. Onward to a new week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Yesterday afternoon Sweet Neighbor Girl came over with a burning request: "Will you help me find some bugs?"

Now, I've always been a buggy kind of gal so I leaped at the opportunity.

"What do you need bugs for?"

"My Girl Scout meeting after school Monday."

"Dead or alive?"


"Well, it's getting a little late in the season, but I bet we can find some." Where was she a few months ago when the Killer Cicadas were over-populating underneath my patio?

For collection purposes she had a little Tupperware-type bowl, which already contained two deceased locusts from her little brother's special summer collection, so she was already off to a great start. We headed to one of my garden areas, unearthed some rocks, and found a roly-poly and a beetle in no time. She screamed at the little spider she spotted, a la Little Miss Muffet, so we let it escape.

This whole experience gave me flashbacks of high school biology class when Mr. Jontra sent our class of budding scientists to the South Mound on a scavenger hunt to to locate creepy crawlers and vegetation that were pre-assigned various points. Everyone on my team was hell-bent on rounding up a scorpion since it was worth 15 points and required climbing down into the nether regions of the Mound, out of the teacher's sight, of course, and turning over rocks the size of small boulders. A true exercise in cooperative learning. Schools nowadays would likely nix such expeditions because of liability rules. Some parents just don't want to let their kids roll around in poison ivy or get stung by scorpions. Geesh. What's wrong with them?

Anyway, Sweet Neighbor Girl has today to finish up on her bug search. I'm glad I'm not the scout leader who gets the privilege of viewing all the critters, still crawling or belly-up, that are submitted by the troop-sters for their project. I think I'd just be inclined to give them all a merit badge with no questions asked, bust open a few boxes of thin mints and do-si-dos, and celebrate a job well done.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Autumn is sales time for the local schools, and The Flaming Bore has made business deals with the Future Farmers, Band Club, and the Marshall Elementary PTO, the latter which offered up some scrumptious looking food products that I just HAD to have.

The mini tacos are always a nice treat, but what I REALLY go for every year is the cookie dough---big, 3-pound tubs of Gourmet Cookie Dough, as a matter of fact. I bought one of peanut butter and another one, snickerdoodle. Be still my sweet, fatty heart.

Now, I have never actually made cookies with this dough. I just dig in with a spoon and eat it raw!!! The shelf life is six months, frozen, but I try to stretch out my pig fest so I can make a tub last for two weeks. There's no warning label about eating raw dough, and I've never had to call 9-1-1 with a dough-induced stomach ache, so I just go for the gusto!

As I was out walking this afternoon, it crossed my mind that the healthier alternative would be to have Big Bore bake cookies with the dough, plop a marshmallow creme jack-o-lantern on each one, and use them to hand out to our trick-or-treaters. I haven't run this idea by him yet, but I think he'd be game since he's a true Galloping Gourmet in the kitchen.

Best case scenario, we won't have any trick-or-treaters and I can have what's left over.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Little Bit and I became a pile of mush late yesterday afternoon, thanks to my xanax tablet and his valium shot. My inner ear buzzes and clicks have been on the rampage this week, and his tummy hasn't been responding well to his thyroid medication. Finally, I waved the white flag. Usually I just take xanax at night when I can't sleep, but I thought I'd try it during the day to see if it would help. I took a tab, then took LB to the vet clinic for the shot. Within an hour, he was staggering like a drunken sailor, but eating, while I was bumping into the walls and dropping stuff, but still having the blasted noises. By 5 PM, we were conked out together on the easy chair. Here's hoping my ear and his tummy are quieter today. Happy TGIF!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I didn't get to watch "Survivor" last night because one of Big Bore's favorite movies was on TCM at the same time. I figured I could always catch the reality show on the CBS website today because how often does THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, original version, come on TV, for gosh sakes? A lot, actually, based on the number of times we've seen it.

Nevertheless, it's still one of those movies that never seems to get stale. We're always catching something new about it that hasn't registered with our pea brains before. And Angela Lansbury is just the best villainess. She makes Joan "Mommy Dearest" Crawford look like a saint. "Oh, don't be such a jerk, Raymond. Have yourself a drink. Or a tranquilizer."

If you haven't seen this creepy political thriller-driller drama, you must put it on your movie-watching agenda. Vicious Angela will make you raise your skeptical eyebrows about the government, for sure. In the meantime, go play a game of solitaire--but watch out for the Queen of Diamonds!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


To finish off our trip to Colorado, here are some rocks we would have brought home, if we could have. This stripey one below is my favorite.
I thought the colors were intersting in this next one.

Here's the rock at the Alluvial Fan that we named Jabba The Hut several years ago. There's a human Jabba somewhere in the background waving to you.

Next up are the Twin Owls. They loom over the northeast edge of Estes Park. We didn't come up with this name. The people of Estes have called this rocky protrusion Twin Owls for over a century, and crazy people who are young and fit actually climb it.

These rocks are close to the Twin Owls. I don't know if they have an official name. From various vantage points, they look much different.

Big Bore thinks this next rock looks like an ice cream sandwich. I think he was just hungry, because I don't get it--although the bush growing behind it gives it sort of a Don King look.

If we could have inconspicuously stuffed any of these rocks/boulders into Big Bore's back pack, believe me, they'd be resting in our yard right now! So long, Colorado!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Kansas is notorious for weather changes. As the saying goes: "If you don't like the weather, then wait a minute." Well, I'm here to tell you that Colorado has Kansas whipped in the change department. How can the day start out as beautiful as the above picture and then look like this next picture by the time we got to our destination? See that stuff rolling in? It's snow.

On Day Four, we decided to go for the gusto and head up to The Loch. This would be our longest and highest hike--almost six miles round trip with an elevation rise of 1,000 feet. What a gorgeous day!! About two miles into the hike, however, when we got to a boulder field, the clouds started moving in....
...and when we got to The Loch, the blue sky was totally gone. "Don't stay up here too long," Ranger Patrick Duffy (not to be confused with a B-grade Hollywood actor who once was The Man From Atlantis and Bobby Ewing on TV) greeted us. "Rain's coming in around 2 o'clock."

Ranger Duffy, who Big Bore mistook as a Boy Scout, is a park intern from Michigan. He has spent less time in the Rockies than I have. What does he know? "Is 30 minutes okay?" I asked. "I'm hungry. And would you mind taking our picture?" His second effort, below, was a success.

We had a quick lunch of peanut butter and crackers, then hit the trail back down. Like clockwork, around 2 PM some moisture arrived--but it was snow, not rain. And with the snow, came wind and lots of it. Where is that cute little Patrick Duffy when we need him? We hustled on around to the other side of the mountain, where we were protected from the wind, but the snow kept falling in fat, wet, beautiful flakes.

"This is just what I've been waiting for!" Big Bore said enthusiastically. And, I have to agree, it was pretty neat. But watch your step!

We made it back down safely to the parking lot in record time. No lolly-gagging---not much, anyway. I'll spare you the story of my bladder practically blowing up. We both agreed that a return trip to The Loch would be necessary the next time we're at the park. We will start out earlier and try to get there in time to rest and explore the area more. Hopefully, the Colorado weather will be more forgiving. Same goes for our aching muscles.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Day three in the mountains. Let's step it up another notch and hike to Ouzell Falls (above), located in Wild Basin, so named because the area allegedly has the most wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park. I packed my trusty bear repellent and we were off, starting at Copeland Lake (next pic) ---5-1/2 miles round trip and an elevation rise of 960 feet. Take a deep breath and off we go.

This trail basically follows a series of cascading waterfalls the entire way. We were told that a late spring snow in May was still melting its way down the mountain. The rushing water was so loud that we never would have been able to hear a bear approaching until it was shaking a paw right in front of us. As it turned out, one hiker we met up with along the way told us that Big Bore was likely to be the closest thing to a bear that he'd see all day.

Some guy from Iowa took this next picture. Rock and log rolling, baby!

Last year when we were at Copeland Falls, I sat on a log that spanned across the creek. This time around, I played it safer since the water was up and I didn't pack along my rubber ducky life preserver.

Here's the end of the Ouzell Falls trail. Where's my hang glider when I need it?

Tomorrow: hiking to The Loch.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Day two in Colorado. Time to get down to some semi-serious hiking. We decided to start out with an easy trip to Cub Lake (above), not to be confused with the larger and higher Bear Lake. It's a 4.6-miler that only rises 540 feet. We flatlanders didn't want to strain ourselves too much right off the bat.

This trail starts out in a field (see Big Bore below), then works it way through aspen groves and up a rocky forest. Don't you think the next picture looks like I've split that boulder with my trusty walking stick? Or do you prefer that it appears I'm about to become pancake batter?

When we finally arrived at Cub Lake, we were greeted by an array of friendly critters. The park, of course, has a rule that the animals are NOT to be fed, but these guys are so adept at pilfering from picnickers that it's obvious no one is paying attention. Ducks, blue jays, gray jays, and chipmunks came right up to us like long-lost friends, asking for hand-outs and, more often than not, just taking whatever they could grab and run off with. Here's a duck that was cordial enough to waddle out of the water and sunbathe on a rock with us.
Next up: Ouzell Falls in Wild Basin

Saturday, October 8, 2011


For the past few years, I've needled Big Bore to drive up Fall River Road when we've been at Rocky Mountain National Park, but his bitterly cold feet have always gotten the better of him. Last year, the road was closed due to an early snow, so he had an easy excuse, lame though it was.

Fall River Road is a one-lane, one-way dirt road that winds almost to the Continental Divide at RMNP. I've been on it several times before, and what a drive!!! Surely, Big Bore would share my enthusiasm. But, no, Mr. Scaredy Pants opted out--until now. After we picnicked at the park upon arriving last Monday afternoon, I was more than surprised when he announced, "I think we should drive up Fall River Road."

What did he say? Was I hearing him right? He better not be getting me all jazzed up and then back out.

"Really? What changed your mind?" I had long ago given up whining and pressuring him.

"Well, before we left I Google Earth'ed the road and it didn't look all that bad."

A few years ago Big Bore was computer illiterate, and his phobia of computers was almost as manical as his fear of driving on mountainous roads. Now, however, he is Mr. Google Earth and loves taking virtual trips around the world. He's even tracked down the Great Wall of China. If Google Earth can change his mind about driving up the Fall River, at nine miles long and almost 11,000 feet high, then let's hit the road, Jack!!

He drove up, up, up like a pro, around the switchbacks, and stopping periodically for closer inspection of the sights. No panic attacks or turning green. My hero! Here are some pictures taken along the way, starting at the Fall River Road entrance and ending at the windy tippy top.

Big Bore is so glad he sucked up the courage and thin air to take this adventure!