Monday, December 24, 2012


When Sweet Neighbor Girl and Trouble #1 were over at Casa de la Flaming Bore this morning to exchange Christmas presents, she followed me into the kitchen, grabbed one of my arms, tugged me into the bedroom, and quietly said, "I've got something important I have to tell you." 

I braced for the worst and quickly thought of all the terrible possibilities: an illness, family problems, a move out of town, another dead pet.  What earth shattering news was I about to hear?

"Do you know that there's not really a Santa Claus?" she said. "My Mom told me there actually isn't one and we just pretend like there is."

"Well, Santa Claus is still kind of like a spirit who represents happiness and how it's good to give to others," I said.  "His spirit is real."

"We're not supposed to tell Kalim (her brother)," she added.

"Oh, I won't. It's a secret with me."

And with that relief out of the way, we went back to putting up some magnet art on the freezer...a snowman and a Santa Claus. Don't tell anyone, but they are just decorations and aren't the real deal.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


After Sweet Neighbor Girl and Trouble had their early morning Meet and Greet breakfast with Santa Claus today, they came over to Casa de la Flaming Bore to see what was on my December 1st agenda. I was planning to walk up to the bank and on to the library, so, oh boy, let's get permission to go, too!  Fine with me...just remember that it's 10 blocks one way.

The first time Trouble ever made the trek with me, he was moaning, "It feels like I've walked 100 miles!" before we ever hit Main Street.  By the time we got to the library..."It feels like I've walked 1,000 miles."  But he did fine today and was eager to hit up the "fun stuff" in the kids' department...not the books but the Legos and puzzles and other cool gizmos that he doesn't have at home. Library Lady really knows how to entertain 'em.

SNG helped me shelf the audio tapes, magazines, newspapers, and returned books until we got to the Teen Lounge, at which point she asked permission to crash out on one of the bean bags with the Seventeen magazines, even though she's still 10 days away from reaching double-digits. 

An hour later we headed back home, while getting in two rounds of Mother May I, playing Balance Beam on some curbing, playing Step on a Crack, Break Your Mother's Back, playing Jump the Railroad Ties, and reciting (I don't know how many times) "Stop, look, and listen before you cross the street.  Use you eyes.  Use your ears. And then use your feet." Nevertheless, it took a while to get back to the 'hood.

Until their friends came over for the afternoon to play, SNG got on my computer to find Christmas jokes that she's compiling for a little booklet she's making.  She found lots of good ones:  Q:  What's a snowman's favorite cereal?  A:  Frosted Flakes  Q:  Which of Santa's reindeer has the worst manners?  A:  Rud-olph  Q:  Which Christmas carol is the favorite of parents?  A:  "Silent Night."

I decided that's my favorite Christmas carol, as well...and silence is what I'm planning to experience tonight.  Big Bore is gone for the weekend, so it's just me and the cats...the Wildcats, that is.  K-State plays football on TV pretty soon, so I'm going to dig up some purple to wear, and then quietly crash on the sofa to watch the game, with a box of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch nearby.  I'm hoping the 'Cats will silence Texas and we'll all be sleeping in heavenly peace later tonight. 

Over and out.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Trouble #1 was over the other day finding uses for my red bandanna.  After he was done being a pirate and a masked man (robber), he decided to make a turban for our cat statue by the entertainment unit. We added a little bling and there you have it!  Maharishi Kitty. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Recently Sweet Neighbor Girl showed up at the front door with a note she handed over to me.  It read:

You're the best neighbor ever!!  And I've had a lot of neighbors!!!  You are the only reason why I like to play outside because you always have something fun to do!!

"So, Nancy, whatcha wanna do?" she asked.

Good grief!  How could I ever begin to live up to that note?  It was too cold and windy to "play" outside, and I couldn't invite her in because Big Bore was sick and germy. So, we ended up going out to the garage to sit in the warmth of the car and play the State Game...her idea, actually. I "drove" across the country. She rode shotgun in back. And we memorized all 50 states of the United alphabetical order, of course, because that's the cardinal rule of the State Game. She even turned it all into a song.  "Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas....."

It's going to be a long winter.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The Library Ladies recently sought out the dubious assistance of The Flaming Bore in creating a bulletin board. They said they needed snowflakes. Lots of snowflakes. All colors welcome. All sizes. They'd even provide the paper. It would be a fun activity for me to do with the neighbor kids, they suggested. And I agreed.  

The minute Sweet Neighbor Girl and Trouble came over yesterday, I told them about the project. Hooray!  They were gung-ho. Let's get started.  And then came the hard part. Actually making the snowflakes. The head Library Lady had given me a vague demonstration of how to create them, but I apparently was a slow learner of the challenged variety because, try as I might, EVERY snowflake I cut out either had four sides or eight sides or looked like a scary Halloween mask. 

"What am I doing wrong?!  They're supposed to have six sides!" I moaned to anyone who would listen. 

Unfortunately, the kids were no better than I at snowflake making. Every one of theirs had four sides, too, or just looked like a circle with holes in it. 

"We're doing something wrong with our folding," I told them.  "Well, duh!"

Before long, the living room had morphed into a paper disposal center.  "Oh, let's just give up, Nancy!" SNG said after we'd filled two trash bags with paper scraps. Her little brother quit and strolled into the computer room to build houses on some Lego website...something that doesn't require a genius IQ, like making snowflakes.  

I kept at it for about an hour, folding this way and that way, with no luck, and then finally waved the white flag.  "I guess I'm just a snowflake dumb-dumb," I confessed, forlorn and disappointed with myself.

After the kids left for the day, I turned to my ever-faithful answer machine--the computer would know how to make a snowflake!  I found a video demonstration, a light bulb went off in my head, and bingo! I returned to the paper and scissors and created the best damned snowflakes of all time. Then I couldn't stop. I was like a snowflake factory the rest of the evening (see above samples). My fingers practically locked onto the scissors before I finally called it quits. "The storm has ended at last!" I proudly announced to the cats, satisfied that I had mastered the craft.

When I go back to the library tomorrow afternoon to deliver my snowfall, I may need a shovel.  

Monday, November 19, 2012


Underneath this quilt is Big Bore's Christmas present--a new rocking, reclining man chair that is parked in front of the TV, where his old chair used to be.  It's quite comfy, but not as broken in as the previous chair, so it will likely take a while before I get used to it. Yes, after he retires for the evening, the man chair becomes a lady chair for a few hours.

The best part about the chair was the box it came in, which became the latest "toy" for the neighbor kids.  It's the perfect size for a two-person clubhouse.  I loaned them some paint and brushes yesterday, and away they went. It's refreshing to know that there is still cheap entertainment in our little corner of the world.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


The last few days, in an effort to get away from anything political, I've become lost in the world of online jigsaw puzzles. I've hooked up to three sites, and the best one is  My preference is for eyebending   artwork, like the ones posted here.

Big Bore has jumped into the act and helps out periodically. And then after school today Trouble #1 came over, saw what I was doing, and he got hooked, as well.  There are kid-level puzzles on jigidi, so he was in his element and worked three puzzles before it started getting dark and he had to head home.

I don't know how long this latest past time will last--probably the rest of the week, for sure, but now that colder weather is here and gardening is done, I might be dancing the jig until spring.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012


My nephew's wife Mary decided to post a Thirty Days of Thankfulness List on her Facebook page this month, and her whole family is participating...right down to 3-year-old Wild William.  Here's what everyone put for Day One:

Mom:  Family
Dad:  Family
Maddie:  My life
Boomer:  Valentine's Day
William:  Stairs

I can't wait for the next 29 entries.....and I'm thankful I have two great nephews who make me laugh.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The neighbor kids couldn't wait to get into their Halloween costumes and came over to Casa de la Flaming Bore last night.

"You're too early!" I moaned. "I won't have any candy until tomorrow!"

"We know," said Sweet Neighbor Girl, looking ravishing in her Cleopatra get-up. "We're not trick-or-treating yet. We're filming a horror movie!"

She had a hand-held gizmo of some sort.  I don't know if it was a cell phone/camera or what, but it was taping away, and lurking around the corner of the porch was her little brother in the creepiest clown costume you'd ever hope to see.  

"Act like you're scared," Cleopatra commanded. "3-2-1-and roll!" What a pro--and only 9 years old.

The clown creature lurched forward towards me as I feigned fear and terror of the highest order. "No!  No!  Please!  Leave me alone!" I screamed. But the evil clown would not be deterred. He was ready to attack....

"And.....cut!"  SNG directed.  "That was ridonkulous!"  She played it back so I could view my dramatic debut in her horror flick. With any luck, it wasn't featured for show and tell at 4th grade today and will soon be accidentally/on purpose taped over.

The kids were back over tonight for their treats, along with the rest of the neighborhood.  Thankfully, we didn't have any leftovers. The only thing scarier than having a clown maniac and his acting coach living next door is having a boat load of candy around the house tempting me on November 1st.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Hell hath no fury like a bunch of football fans scorned.  Especially ones from "Middle of Nowhere, Kansas."

A few days ago a sports writer for the Miami Herald, Joseph Goodman, penned an opinion piece titled "Please, No Kansas State in Title Game."  He argued that the Wildcats would not be a good choice for the the BCS Championship football game, to be held in Miami in January, because it isn't a big-name glam team. The hayseeds from Kansas playing in the big game would have, in Goodman's words, "....all the excitement of of a self-induced dry heave" and " one except for a few crusty sports writers and a handful of people in Middle of Nowhere, Kansas" would be interested in watching it. 

Goodman went on to take pot shots at K-State's coach, Bill Snyder, which is basically blasphemy in these parts. Good grief! What's there not to like about Grandpa Bill? The article ended with an appeal to the BCS/Orange Bowl Committee to pick ANY team but Kansas State to appear in the title match-up.

I thought perhaps the editorial was satire to please Miami residents who are still nursing bruises over the 52-13 butt-whipping K-State gave their team earlier this season and just laughed away the commentary, but hundreds of sports fans have written online responses and are ready to crucify Goodman if he ever dares set foot in Middle of Nowhere. I haven't laughed this much in front of the computer in ages.  Here's a sample of excerpts:

"There is a land called Douche-bagistan, and you are the king!"

"You are a damaged, insane moron!"

"You're just still upset about the gut stomping K-State has given to Miami the past two seasons."

"You need professional help."

"Pathetic, worthless, illogical, and straight-up stupid!"

"You must have a third grade education!"

"According to Mitt Romney, 47 per cent of the electorate doesn't even know Kansas State exists."

"You should be fired!"

"You're an obvious troll!"

 and my favorite:  "You're just some blogger sitting at your computer in his basement, wearing dirty PJs!"

There's still a lot of season left before the title game is played, and who knows if K-State will still be in the mix come January. Joseph Goodman needn't be worried...yet. But if the 'Cats end up with an invitation to the championship battle, then he might want to leave Miami for a while--maybe head out for Middle of Nowhere, Florida, or go back to Douche-bagistan--until the coast is clear.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The Flaming Bore is not one to waste a lovely autumn day by staying inside and doing housework that has been accumulating in mass quantities over the summer, so I spent most of the daylight hours yesterday piddling outdoors. I watered plants, gathered leaves, deadheaded, went for a walk--twice--and re-arranged rocks. The latter is sort of a compulsion with me. Some people hoard food or clothes or junkyard finds. I hoard rocks.  

Subject to re-arrangement yesterday was my Rock Ness Monster. It had sort of gotten lost in its original spot, as the holly bushes in front of it have grown taller over the years, so I moved it to a new spot in the backyard that makes it a little more noticeable.  

Happy swimming in the garden, Nessie!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I figured I'd wake up this morning needing to be put into traction.  Last night when Big Bore and I returned from a shopping outing at ALCO (Monday is Senior Day 10% discount. Who can pass up a bargain?), Sweet Neighbor Girl and Trouble #1 came rushing over from their yard.

"Hey, Nancy!  Look what I got?" SNG said.  She cradled a new volleyball with lime green striped insets. "It's in my favorite color!"

I knew what was coming next, so I beat her to the punch.  "You wanna hit it around a while?"

"Sure!" they yelled. These poor kids are under the gross misconception that I am their 12-year-old oversized playmate, so who am I to blow the illusion.

We headed over to their big side yard, but not before the ball went into wayward mode.

"Keep it out of my turnip patch!" Big Bore grumbled.

So, we kept moving, then picked out a tree for the imaginary net, and started volleying.  Trouble volunteered to be the official ball chaser, which was a good thing, because there was a lot of chasing to do since we rarely kept the ball in play. SNG has just started recreation volleyball on Wednesdays and she still has a lot to I learned from another era and have no idea what the heck I'm doing. Fifty years ago, we just pitty-patted the ball around. Nowadays, it's spike and kill...and I'm not too keen about a sport where death is the main objective.

Mercifully, the sun sets much earlier now that autumn is in full steam, so after about a half hour the "game" had to be called because of darkness. Not a minute too soon. Fortunately I didn't wake up this morning to any back pain, so it's out the door to do some playing of my own, adult kind--watering the backyard plants. Maybe by this evening I'll be limbered up in time for a return match on the VB court.

Friday, October 12, 2012


When I take the local library's old magazines and newspapers out to the recycle center, I always thumb through the stack to see if there's anything I want to take home and read before it bites the dust. Big Bore has a standing request: National Geographic. And did I ever find a doozy to take home to him this week. One look at the cover and he was reeling!

"Oh, my God!  This reminds me of being on the High Line Trail at Glacier (National Park)," he said.

"High Line was nothing like this," I countered, referring to the above picture taken of some maniac on the Thank God Ledge of Half Dome, which is about a gazillion times hairier and scarier than High Line will ever be. This is insanity.

"But to me, when we started on High Line, this (the magazine cover pic) is what I saw," Big Bore said.  "In my mind, it was this steep."  He turned away from the cover. "I can't even look at it."

The story and other pictures inside were just as wild as the cover. These people climb without any kind of aid. No ropes, no harnesses. (And some would argue: no brains). Totally incredible.

Someday I'd like to visit Yosemite and hike a few trails, but there is absolutely NO WAY I'd find myself out on a ledge like this one. Not even when I was young and careless would I have wasted a single second thinking in the daredevil mode.

Anyone who climbs Half Dome and perches on Thank God Ledge is a rare bird, indeed.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Wowza!  Last night, after Big Bore and I gave up on the Presidential Debate, we witnessed an even gorier mess by changing the channel to TCM and watching House of Dracula.  

This 1945 offering featured not only a mad scientist, but also Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, a female Igor-type named Nina the Nurse, and another nurse, the seductive piano-playing Melissa. Be still my monstrous heart! What a classic!

As the story opens, Dr. Edelmann is trying to find a way to dissolve the hump on lovely Nina's bulging back, when who should show up in the house but Dracula, wanting to be de-vampired. "Can you help me, doctor?" Of course. Via a series of blood transfusions, he'll replace Drac's blood-thirsty blood with his own  mad doctor blood. 

And in the course of transfusion #1, who else should show up at the door but the Wolfman.  Like Drac, he's weary of preying on people and he wants to be normal again. "Can you help me, doctor?"  Hmmm.  Dr. E. is not so confident about this one and tells Wolfman he'll need to wait until the next full moon--at which point, a depressed and desperate Wolfie throws himself off a cliff into the raging sea.

But wait! There are caves in the area where Wolfman jumped, so maybe he's still alive. Let's go see. The two nurses lower Dr. E. with a pulley system, he gets to the cave, and there is Wolfie, still alive, AND someone else. Who can it be? Why, it's Frankenstein, of course! Let's take him home to the lab via this convenient tunnel system.  

And it just gets goofier from there--especially when Dracula messes with the blood transfusion tubing and ends up putting HIS blood into Dr. Edelmann's veins.  Seems Drac isn't really all that serious about changing his nefarious ways, especially when Nurse Melissa's piano playing seduces him.  

Will Nurse Nina be cured of her humpback?  Will Nurse Melissa become the Bride of Dracula?  Will the Wolfman and Frankenstein become gay lovers?  Will Dr. Edelmann get hit with a malpractice suit?  I got so wrapped up in it all, that I fell asleep and didn't wake up until the credits were rolling. Damn!  

Until I see the end of this masterpiece, there is no official Flaming Bore flame rating.  I'll just rate it N for Nuts.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Last night's walk was postponed for a while when I was accosted by Sweet Neighbor Girl, Trouble #1, and their football, slightly deflated but useful nonetheless.

"Hey, Nancy! Do you know how to play football?" Trouble asked.

"Sure I do.  I was the only girl who played football on our high school team!"

He looked impressed, but SNG was a bit suspicious of my claim.  "Did you REALLY play on the team?" she asked.

"No. I just wanted to see your reaction," I laughed.  "But I DO know HOW to play football."

"Can you teach me how to kick?" Trouble asked.  

"Sure. Toss me the ball." And on my first try in decades, I kicked that ball higher and straighter than I'd ever imagined. So, having proved my worth, Trouble was ready to accept kicking lessons from a "girl."

"Just hold the ball in front of you like so," I demonstrated.  "Then, right foot, left foot, kick with your right foot.  You are right-handed? Right?" 

Well, the kid has only been in kindergarten for a month. Right-handed and left-handed apparently haven't been written into the lesson plans yet. He had a heckuva time keeping it all straight and his motions were about as fluid as Godzilla stomping across the plains of Japan. We were laughing and laughing, but he kept trying and trying...and missing.

"Don't throw the ball up in the air. Just keep hold of it and then right before you kick it, let go."  

Finally, he connected...and the football sailed backwards over his head. Amazing.

"Well, you keep practicing," I said, certain that I had invested enough of my precious time to the cause. "I have to get on with my walk."  

It's going to be a long season.

Monday, October 1, 2012


October 1st has arrived, and a few monsters I know are getting psyched up for Halloween, even though they have 30 more days to wait for tricking and treating.

Big Bore has already bought a boat-load of candy and sacked it up in baggies...filled with tootsie rolls, smarties, milk duds, kit kat bars, eyeball gum, etc. I begged him to hide it all from me, which he did, except for a few leftovers to tempt me with.  Sorry to admit, I've already busted into them.

Trouble #1 came over yesterday with a big plastic bag in hand bearing his new Halloween costume:  Carver the Clown. It looks to be like some maniacal escapee from the Insane Clown Posse (ICP to those devotees).  "I got to pick it out all by myself!" Whatever happened to a kid wanting to be a super hero for Halloween? 

My fun niece-in-law Mary is the Queen of Halloween in our family. She's creative and crazy with decorating ideas. Based on the picture above that she put on Facebook last night, I'd say she's off to a great start.  By the 31st, her house should be a total fright.

Guess I'll go drag out my witch tee-shirt from the closet and start practicing my cackle......

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Big Bore and I try to make it a practice to share the TV remote control as much as is humanly possible. If one of us has been "master" for a few hours, we'll turn it over to the other for equal time. 

"Your can pick whatever you want," he said tonight and then added, "as long as it isn't Honey Boo Boo,"  the star of TLC's latest hit reality show. It's not that he's so adverse to 7-year-old Alana Thompson; it's her goofy, sneezy, mother June who irritates him to no end.

"Don't worry. Her show isn't on. And, anyway, I watched it Wednesday night when you were asleep."

"Good. I can't STAND that show," he said.

"Oh, I think Honey Boo Boo is cute and funny!" I said in her defense.

"Well, her mother ISN'T!"

Hard to argue with that, so the conversation ended and I picked out a football game to watch.

BUT--that was not the end of Honey Boo Boo for the day. Later, when I was on the computer, I removed the screen saver picture of Big Bore and me at Glacier National Park and replaced it with, who else, Honey Boo Boo!!! (above picture all blown up).  The next time BB got on the computer, would he be surprised!

And he was.

"Good lord!  What's happened to the screen saver?" he roared.

I walked into the computer room nonchalantly. "Oh, I thought since you're such a big Honey Boo Boo fan that you might want to see her every time you get on the computer."

He started protesting until I gave him the option:  "Or I could put her mom's picture on the screen saver."

That shut him up and he went on to play a game of Texas Hold 'Em while I went back to the TV.  Soon, however, he was summoning me back to the computer room.

"You need to come look at this message that just popped up on the screen," he said.

"Panda Permanent Protection Has Stopped." 

Yikes!  The anti-virus icon had disappeared! What would I do? Quickly, I got on the Internet and found a possible solution.  Fortunately, I was able to get Panda re-installed without too much trouble and then told Big Bore the protection was up and running again.

"You know what caused it to act up?" he asked.

"No. I've never seen that message before."

"Well, I think it's the Curse of Honey Boo Boo.  Having her as the screen saver is a jinx."

"Maybe you're right. I'll change it back to Glacier National Park."

And that's what I did. And that's what remains. BUT--after he went to bed, I printed up a picture of Mama June and taped it to the coffee pot, so he'll have a nice surprise when he wakes up in the morning. I can't wait......

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Big Bore and I had no sooner returned from Glacier National Park when we stumbled on a movie that was filmed there--almost 60 years ago.  Dangerous Mission was shot in 3-D, but we got to see it in all its 2-D splendor on our TV this past week.  And my, oh my, it was just like re-living our vacation all over again--except for the murder, forest fire, and avalanche or two.

But so much for minor details.  The movie stars those two famous acting Vs of the 1950s--Victor Mature and Vincent Price--plus a glam Piper Laurie, well before she became Sissy Spacek's religious psycho mom in the movie Carrie.

Piper, a cashier at a Glacier souvenir shop, is hiding from the mob because she witnessed a murder there. Both V men are supposedly tourists who skirt chase after her.  We're not supposed to know that one is a bad guy hit man out to silence her, while the other is a good guy cop trying to protect her.

Once the ruse is up, Bad V kidnaps Piper, who jumps out of his car while it's speeding along the narrow, winding Going to the Sun Road. She has incredible bounce-a-bility and is totally unscathed, of course.

Next, Bad V grabs Mary, an Indian maiden/cashier who has the hots for him, and he enlists her help in finding his way out of the park once the news gets out that he's accosted Piper.  They are trailed by Good V, accompanied by the ever-resilient Piper, who is now dashing across the ice and show ( as in:  glacier) in a trench coat, dress, and heels.  The woman is amazing!

But, oops, here comes another little avalanche, and Bad V and Piper end up falling into a crevice AFTER he shoots Mary's prison-escapee father who JUST HAPPENS to run into them along the trail.  Good V grabs a rope he JUST HAPPENS to have handy in order to save the day.  Oh, the excitement was almost too much to bear. Or bare. Take your pick.

With chilling predictability, Bad V falls farther down the crevice to a dismal end, Good V saves Piper, and she rewards him with a "my hero" kiss--the end.

I give this movie two-and-a-half flames out of four.  It was fun to see Glacier National Park again and recognize places we'd been (minus the crevice), and there's some campy vamping, like when the Indian chick exposes herself to Vincent by opening her coat and showing him her mini-skirted tribal dance outfit. Hubba, hubba. And both Vs got in some first-rate eyebrow raising all through the movie. Mature's left eyebrow was in especially fine form.

We'd watch this movie again in a heartbeat and laugh and groan just as much as we did the first time around.  If you ever get the chance to see Dangerous Mission on Turner Classic Movies, go for it!  This movie truly is an Avalanche of Action!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012


I was the victim of a home invasion late yesterday afternoon. Sweet Neighbors #1 and #2 maneuvered a sneak attack onto the front porch of Casa de la Flaming Bore, rang the doorbell, and announced that they were ambushing me with a 15-Minute Makeover!  Oh, the horror!

#1 was in charge of fixing my hair, while #2 did the make-up. I closed my eyes and bravely sucked it up while they giggled and gussied me up to their satisfaction.

"You look just like a teenager!" they smiled, admiring their work.

"Yeah, right," I answered.  "A teenage MONSTER."

When the time limit was done, the girls escorted me inside to the bathroom mirror.

"I don't think I want to see this," I said, feigning fear.

"Yes you do!!!  You're gonna love it!"

"Would I be able to go to the grocery store like this and NOT scare off everyone or get laughed at?"


One look and I grimaced.  My hair was in loose pigtails, banded in hot pink. My bangs had disappeared, as though they'd been rolled back like window blinds. The eye shadow, pink and blue, made me look like I'd been the biggest loser in a boxing match.  The lip gloss was fine...mainly because I made #2 promise NOT to use the dark burgundy red.  

As soon as they were finished with their serial assault and left the premises, I pulled out the pigtails and took a wash cloth to my face.

"Those girls sure do love you," Big Bore said from his easy chair.

"No. They just love playing with hair and make-up, and I'm an easy target."

If they ever come over with scissors, remind me not to open the door.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


After five years of valiantly trying to nurse along our little patch of backyard fescue, we have officially given up (sorry, Maggie).  At the end of every summer, we'd re-seed, fertilize, winterize, etc., trying to bring it back to its original luster by the next spring....only to have it crash and burn again by July. The last two summers have been especially brutal. Fescue, the diva of all grasses, is more high maintenance than all the Kardashian sisters put together.

So, when we got back from vacation, a landscaping vision came to me and I decided it was time for a drastic change--one that wouldn't require much blood, sweat, and tears after it was all laid out. I bought 15 bags of mulch, 20 pavers, a bunch of bricks, and five bags of Arkansas white rock, and "presto-change-o!" No more grass worries! No more grass! 

Even Big Bore, whose contribution to the cause was unloading all the materials and then getting the heck outta my way, thinks I have created a masterpiece.

And the good news is, I still have four bags of mulch and two bags of white rock unused!  My brain is already at work trying to decide what to do with the leftovers!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


One of the great benefits of retirement is that something always seems to pop up that keeps me from doing chores around the house.

I was going to do some major dusting yesterday, but I couldn't find any dust buster spray in the cleaning cabinet, so off I went to the store to get some.  BUT FIRST I'd make a side stop to the library to put away books, as long as I was out and about.

In the middle of the book gig, Library Lady's assistant volunteer, Miss Linda, (another retired English teacher) asked me if I'd make a bulletin board to advertise the upcoming fundraiser, a murder mystery theatre.

"Sure. What supplies do we have?"  

About all we scrounged up was a box of construction paper.  "This'll work. I'll find some pictures on the Internet and whip up something."

So, I went directly home...forgetting all about the dust spray, of course, and started designing my own huge letters with the name of the play, IT'S A HANGIN' OFFENSE. Once I got them cut out, I jumped over to the computer and checked out some silhouette clip art with western themes. My eyeballs zoomed in on a hanging tree, complete with noose. Perfect. I printed it out, a few inches high, and tried to replicate a larger one on white construction paper as a template.

The drawing took awhile...mainly because I'm a lousy artist and cutter-outer AND Critter kept wanting to help, but finally it was done. Concerned that it might not look much like the original, I took my template outside to Big Bore for his assessment.

"Would you please look this over and tell me what you think it is?" I asked, hopeful that "hanging tree" would jump right out of his mouth.

He paused to give the cutout his critical eye. His face skewed quizzically. This was not good. "Hmmm."  Finally, an answer emerged.  "Is it something like a lava flow?"

"A lava flow?!!" I said incredulously. "Where do you see a lava flow in this?"  I was soooooo disappointed.  Even Critter could have given me a better answer. Was my artistic ability even worse than I thought?

"It's a hanging tree!" he laughed.

Relieved, I then set about tracing my template to black construction paper, cut it out--after removing Critter several more times from the action--typed up some labels with info about the big production, then returned to the library to throw it all together on the bulletin board, with the help of Miss Linda. By the time I was finished, it was time for "Jeopardy" to start, so I dashed back home to plop down in front of the TV and answer questions. Whew! What an afternoon!

So that's how a day of retirement usually goes. Somehow, the dust spray never got purchased and the dusting never got done, surprise-surprise. I will head back to the store pretty soon, with the best of intentions, and maybe the job will get completed today. At least, some of it.  

But first, I have to stop by the library to return some books and check out a few more.....                

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Our final evening in Colorado was spent at a Rocky Mt. National Park meadow attending a nature watch/lecture titled "The Power of Love" (including musical accompaniment by Huey Lewis and the News), or "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Elk Mating Habits but Were Afraid to Ask."  The lecture part was given by Ranger Mike and the "watch" part was presented by a harem herd of elk cows and three elk bulls who were eager to please when/if called upon.

Here are five fun facts about elk mating habits that you MUST know:

1.  Elk cows select their mates based upon the size of the bull's horn rack (yes, girls, size DOES matter), his color (the darker the better), and the sound of his bugling (loudest and deepest is best).

2.  If a female sees a male that is bigger and darker than her current beau, she'll ditch the smaller, lighter one in a flash and go after the big boy. (We got to see this happen in the meadow--and the "ditchee" was none too happy.)

3.  Males put so much energy trying to get their rack larger for the cows that they lose 10% of the calcium from their rib cage.

4.  A bull usually becomes sexually active by age two, but he may not actually be chosen as a mate until he's older. The females are the choosers in elk mating.  They must give their consent (not in writing, at least I don't think so) before the male is allowed to hook up with her, both literally and figuratively.

5.  Females live MUCH longer than males. In fact, it's rare for a male to live over age 10. This is because they just get so stressed out trying to be the king stud.

And there you have it. We hiked a lot and learned a lot and saw a lot of water.  What a GREAT VACATION!

Monday, September 24, 2012


Always ready to learn more about nature, Big Bore and I attended several national park programs while we were on vacation.  An enthusiastic retired science teacher told us all about the black bear, which roams Rocky Mountain National Park (not to be confused with the grizzly, which is common at Glacier NP).  Here are five fun facts about black bear hibernation habits:
1.  Before hibernation, the bear will consume about 20,000 calories per day.  That's equivalent to a human eating 17 Big Macs, 13 orders of large fries, and washing it all down with 3 milkshakes. Bring it on!

2. After stuffing themselves silly, and right before retiring for the big snooze, the bears start fasting except to eat pine cones to plug up their poop chutes, anal orifices, or whatever you want to call 'em. (Dr. Maureen, you might be of help here.) 

3.  In hibernation, a black bear breathes every 45 seconds. Or was that every 45 minutes? Or maybe every 45 days? Take your pick.

4. During hibernation, a black bear mama will wake up from her sleep long enough to give birth to her cubs.  She licks them clean and then goes right back to sleep and the babies nurse away. Let 'em take care of themselves.

5.  Black bear cubs weigh, on the average, one pound at birth. By age one, they average 60 pounds. If human babies gained weight at the same rate, a one-year-old would weigh 420 pounds. Put that in your diaper and think about it.  

Have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I have a feeling that when Big Bore and I were kids, we were probably always bugging our parents with pain-in-the-butt questions. I say this because we are constantly wondering about one trivial thing or the other and then rushing off to the computer to seek the answer.

Since we don't own a laptop and we anticipated LOTS of puzzling thoughts popping up during our 12-day vacation, I bought a notebook pad to log all of our questions so we could look up the answers once we got back home. Here's a sampling:

1.  How does Tyson Chicken Co. kill their chickens?
2.  How many miles a day did Lewis and Clark average on their journey through the northwest?
3.  Who is the Scott who inspired a town to be named Scott's Bluff, Nebraska?
4.  What was the name of the actor who was mauled by the evil bear in the movie GRIZZLY?  He was also in THE DIRTY DOZEN.
5.  Who was Boston Custer?
6.  What town in Canada is the home of Rock 106?
7.  Why don't ALL the wind turbines along I-70 rotate on windy days, just some of them?
8.  Why is Yellowstone National Park called Yellowstone?
9.  How many times in one night can a bull elk service his cow harem?
10. Does the huge Lower Falls at Yellowstone National Park freeze over in the winter?
11.  Who is the Yankee Jim who inspired the name Yankee Jim Canyon in Montana?
12.  Why is there a guy in Nebraska driving with a surfboard tied to the top of his van?

And the list goes on and on and on, page after page.  Here are the answers to the above questions, for those of you who have inquiring minds like ours:

1.  Tyson chops off the chickens' heads.  (which leads to a follow-up question:  Is this done manually or by a machine?)
2.  Lewis and Clark averaged 14 miles a day.
3.  Hiram Scott was a fur trader who died at the site named after him.
4.  The actor in both these movies is Richard Jaeckel. (which leads to another follow-up:  Who the heck is Richard Jaeckel and why does Big Bore remember his face?)
5.  Boston was the youngest brother of Gen. George Custer. He was a civilian who tagged along to work on  his big bro's army's pack train, and he died at Little Big Horn at age 28.
6.  Lethbridge, Canada in south-central Alberta is the home of Rock 106, and we have to add this this is THE BEST oldies rock station ever!  Too bad it doesn't reach Kansas.
7.  There are many technical reasons why the turbines might not rotate at the same time.  Go look them up yourself.
8.  French trappers named the nearby river there "Roche Jaune," which means Yellow Rock.
9.  A bull elk can service as many females as will let him. (Don't get excited. The cows are VERY picky about this.)
10.  Yes, Lower Falls can freeze over. (see picture above for the proof)
11.  James George came to the Yellowstone area in 1871 as a squatter and road builder from back east.  For 20 years Yankee Jim operated a national park toll road, and a nearby canyon was named for him.
12.  We didn't need to look this one up on the Internet.  Big Bore just asked this question of the surfer dude next to us at a gas station in Nebraska.  He was in the process of moving from Rhode Island to San Francisco.

Consider yourself educated for the day.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I drove very little of the 3,000+ miles on our recent vacation, but I did take a brief stint on I-90 in southwest Nebraska until I was overtaken by a semi that practically scared the liver out of me. There on the side of the truck, way BIGGER than life, was a sprawling, half naked Kim Kardashian in the same pose as the picture above.

"Good lord!" I jumped.  "Doesn't she know she could cause accidents with that photo?"

After the semi passed me, we were treated with its back side, which was a chest-up shot of Kim pouting open her red lips and showing off her pendulous breast-icles, as well as the same bottle of perfume that was on the side panel.

"We are on vacation to get AWAY from Kim Kardashian!" I moaned.  "It's bad enough that she's all over the television, magazines, and tabloid newspapers. Now she's plastered all over the interstate!"

And about the time I said that, another KK semi came zipping by from the other direction.

"She's everywhere!!!  I didn't even know she had a perfume! Who in Nebraska wears this stuff?  What's her perfume called?"

"Write it down," Big Bore suggested, his panties not all tied up in a bunch like mine were over this travesty. I had brought along a notebook to jot down all the questions we had on the trip so I could look up the answers on the Internet when we got back home. (This shall probably be the topic for my next blog.)

So, when we got back home, I dashed to the computer to find out if there really IS a Kim Kardashian perfume or if I was just hallucinating on the highway. Here's the scoop:  there has been a Kim Kardashian perfume on the market for about three years and the name of the perfume is, duh, "Kim Kardashian"--what else?

It's a "floral perfume that has sweet opening fruity notes followed by floral notes and rounded off by woodsy notes to create a well-balanced fragrance....that is best worn during the spring and summer or fall and winter evenings....and screams femininity and sexuality."  All for $20.48 an ounce at Macy's.

"Who writes this stuff?  What are perfume notes?" I screamed without a tone of femininity or sexuality.

"Look it up on the Internet."

"Kim Kardashian is taking over the world!"

I smell a conspiracy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


When Big Bore and I were passing through Montana a few weeks ago, we galloped up to the Little Big Horn National Monument since it was just off the interstate highway and we had some time to spare--plus we had my free "America the Beautiful" senior citizen pass, which is too neato for words. We were pleased to see that this is an equal opportunity monument--sort of separate but equal. The Indians who were killed there on June 25-26, 1876, many who were scouts for the US Cavalry, are memorialized in a kiva-type area across the road from the monument where Gen. George Custer made his ill-fated "last stand."

Now I've long known that many Indians got their names based upon their appearance or talents or some other personal trait, and that their names might change from time to time based on some special event in their lives. It's actually rather fascinating. So, without further ado, here's my Top Ten List of Indian Names from Little Big Horn:

10.  Bloody Knife (Just the kind of guy you want to bring home to introduce to your parents.)
9.    Full Beard (Have you ever seen an adult male Indian with a full beard?  Neither have I.)
8.    Lying Down (Did he get that name because he's lazy, or good in the sack, or both?)
7.    Limber Bones (What I wish for every morning.)
6.    Guts (Short and to the point)
5.    Young Skunk (Nothing like being known for your body odor.)
4.    Long Dog  (Okay, which is it?  Did he own a dachshund or star in a porn film?)
3.    Hairy Moccasin (If there's one thing I'd really like to own it's a pair of mocs that are really hairy.)
2.    Hair Lip (self explanatory)
1.    Plenty Lice (MORE than self explanatory)

As we were soaking in the scenery, Big Bore was quick to remind me that he had once been given an Indian name when he was a Boy Scout in his adolescence. His scoutmaster tagged him Pom-O-Tawk, which supposedly translated into Tall Mountain.  He said the name was appropriate because he was the big kid lugging everybody else's food and all the cooking gear on hiking trips.

Jealous, I decided that I, The Flaming Bore, needed my own Indian name.  Now during most of the trip, Big Bore started calling me The NAGivator...his  little transpositional twist to the word "navigator" since I was sitting in the front seat of the car next to him griping and laughing about his sense of direction (or lack thereof) much of the time. But that special name doesn't seem to have the Indian ring to it. Before the trip was over, however, we came up with the perfect tribal name just for me:

Running Mouth (Need I say more?  Probably not.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Last year when Big Bore and I were at Rocky Mountain National Park, we hiked up to The Loch, 3.1 miles one way.  As we sat on the rocks having a picnic, we admired a waterfall up in the distance, maybe a mile or so, and thought aloud that it would be fun to try to make it that far.  A sudden snowstorm, however, thwarted that idea and we hustled on back down the mountain.  The idea of hiking to Skyline Falls, however, stuck with us.

So, when we returned to RMNP after leaving Yellowstone, we decided we'd try again--even though Big Bore had been nagged by a sore left Achilles heel tendon ever since we'd left home. He'd suck it up and be all right.

So, off we went, and BB was, indeed, fine on the hike upwards, more or less. I kept checking with him..."Are you sure you want to keep going?"  It seemed the longer we hiked on past The Loch, the farther away the blasted Skyline Falls became.  He kept saying things like, "Just a little farther." It's not too far away." "I think it'll be just around the next bend."  But it wasn't as close as we'd anticipated, and, at last, his heel was starting to hurt.

When some hikers who'd been to the falls approached us on their way back down, I asked about the part of the trail we still had to complete.

"Well, on up ahead you have to scramble up boulders to get to the overlook."

That did it. Big Bore and I are not the scrambling type. I was afraid he'd end up with his bum ankle permanently lodged between rocks.  And he'd be like that guy in the movie "127 Hours" and require an amputation to get free.

So, we agreed to admire the falls from afar (above pic), have our little picnic, and then head on back to the parking lot before it started raining. A fine plan...until Big Bore discovered about 10 steps into the descent that going DOWN the mountain was a lot tougher on his Achilles tendon than going UP.

The pain showed on his face. Concerned people we encountered on the way down were patting him on the back and inquiring about his condition:  "Are you okay?"  "Are you going to make it?"  "Are you dying?"

"Don't say that!" I chastised the woman who made the last comment. "I've got a bad back and can't carry him down!"

But he made it...eventually. "I don't have any other choice," he said, midway down the mountain.

I think it's safe to say that this may be the last we've seen of The Loch and its Skyline Falls. At least until next year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

GOING YELLOW (or "Seeing all this water keeps making me have to pee!")

After four days at Glacier National Park, we headed off to Yellowstone. I've been there twice before, and if you've seen one bubbling pot of steam, you've seen 'em all--but Big Bore had his heart set on meeting Yogi and BooBoo, so Yellowstone it was--if only briefly (one evening and part of the next day.)

This visit turned out better than my previous two for several reasons. 1. Since we were there after Labor Day, the traffic wasn't as bad; 2. We saw some areas I hadn't seen before (Mammoth Hot Springs and the north visitor center, which is the old Fort Yellowstone filled with lots of historic artifacts); and 3. We got to see the Beehive Geyser make its daily eruption. It's bigger than Old Faithful and lasts longer. And we all know that bigger and longer is oh, so much better!   

After seeing the Beehive blast away, we went off to Old Faithful Inn so I could shop.  Big Bore was more fascinated with the inner structure of the building, which is, indeed, amazing.  

Big Bore says his favorite sight to see at Yellowstone was the Mammoth Hot Springs (above).  Mine was taking the hikes to see Lower Falls from both the overlook and at a distance (first pic). He said he would have liked the hikes a lot more if his left Achilles tendon hadn't been on fire. 

We ended our stay at Yellowstone with a picnic at a lake overlook. And who should pull over at the same spot at the same time but people from Kansas City who have relatives I know in, you guessed it, Eureka!  To borrow a catch phrase from another famous tourist trap, "It's a small world after all."  

Tomorrow:  Rocky Mountain National Park and the burning question: Will Big Bore's aching Achilles be ready for one last big hike?         

Monday, September 17, 2012


Grizzly and black bears live at Glacier National Park.  I don't know how many, but rangers say "a lot" and that bear sightings are common. Hikers are advised to carry bear spray (we did) and are given all sorts of tips on what to do if a bear shares a trail with humans.

Now, some park visitors are all gung-ho about having a close encounter of the bear kind, but not The Flaming Bore. No-no-no. I'd just as soon not have the pleasure.  Oh, we saw a grizzly dashing up a hillside, which was cool because we were safely tucked away in a parking lot at the time...and we came across a large deposit of "scat" (the nice word for you-know-what) along a lakeside trail, which was not cool.

But nothing quite prepared me for a morning near miss outside our cabin. I was packing up the car for our daily journey into the wild when a man staying in a cabin down the hill a bit started yelling, "There's a bear!"

The sun was blinding me, so I couldn't tell which way he was looking. After a few more shouts, I turned his direction and yelled, "Are you talking to me?"

"Yes! There was a bear just to the right of your cabin, but my yelling scared it off!"

"Well, thank God you saw it instead of me! I would have peed my pants!"  Not to mention been so totally clueless about my surroundings that I would have invited the bear into the car for a ride.

About that time, Big Bore came out of the cabin to see what the commotion was all about.

"There was a bear next to our cabin, but I didn't see it."

"Well, that's no surprise. You wouldn't notice a bear if it was standing right in front of you."

"I guess I won't be roaming by myself around the cabin anymore," I said.  "Rats."

Next time I go to a national park that is heavily populated with bears, I'm going during the hibernation season.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


There are two trails at the Continental Divide, Logan's Pass, in Glacier National Park. Hidden Lakes Trail involves walking up and down a lot of boarded steps, so as to preserve the tundra. And then there is Highline Trail. It starts out innocently enough, through a meadow, where we met up with three cute mountain goats (here's one)....

....and then the next thing you know it winds around a cliff, the path narrows, and YIKES!  Hikers are greeted by the first scene above. Hang on to that guide wire!  It's going to be a wild walk, for sure!

Big Bore took one look, started reeling, and refused to go one more step.  "The mountain is moving!" he said.  

I wasn't going to push him to do something he didn't feel safe in doing, but I just HAD to keep going.

"Do you mind if I at least go on to the bend?"  I pointed to a spot about a quarter mile on down the trail. "I really want to do this."

"Go ahead.  I'll wait here," he said, turning green and clutching a boulder.

So off I went, walking stick in one hand and guide wire grasped by the other.  It was just TOO cool, and I wanted to keep going and going to see how this trail would end up, but I had promised Big Bore I'd only go to the bend, so, drat, that would have to do. When I got there, I put down the stick, got out the camera, and tried taking a self-portrait with the valley below.  It didn't work too well, but you can sort of see where the drop zone is behind me.  

When I headed back, I encountered other hikers who were just starting out.  "Did you see a big bear of a guy back there waiting for me?" I asked one.

"If you mean the man clinging to a boulder and practically hyperventilating, then yes."

Well, my experience on Highline ended way too soon.  Big Bore was relieved to see me...but If I ever get back to GNP (alas, doubtful), I'm making a beeline to that trail and going the distance. He can wait in the car.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Well, after travelling 3,573 miles in 12 days, the merry vacationers are back home. Bags are unpacked.  Laundry is done. Time to post a few pictures from the trip. The above pic is from the Hidden Lake overlook at Logan's Pass on the Continental Divide, Going to the Sun Road at Glacier National Park in northwest Montana.

This is my second visit to Glacier.  The first time I was three-years-old, and I have no recollection of it--just a few pictures verifying I was there.  Big Bore suggested I strip down to my panties to recreate the picture of me wading at Lake McDonald in 1952.  I decided it might me safer for everyone concerned if I just stay dressed.

Our favorite hike at Glacier was to St. Mary and Virginia Falls. Here are some pictures from that beautiful day in the forest.

This last picture was in a windy, cold area that was sort of tucked away from the main trail.  I'm about ready to blow away.

Tomorrow:  Hiking the Highline Trail