Monday, April 30, 2012


As soon as the rain blew away yesterday morning, the doorbell rang.

"Would you like to join the Leaf Rubbing Club?" asked my nine-year-old BFF next door.

"Of course I would!  I LOVE leaf rubbing!"

There were no dues, so the club of two got started.  She provided the paper and crayons.  I got the scissors and away we went to explore the trees in our yards.  In no time at all we'd collected a dozen different specimens.  Time to rub.

"You know, we have to label all of these," I told Sweet Neighbor Girl.

"Well, I don't know what they are," she said.

Never fear. The Flaming Bore is a graduate of Big Bore's Academy of Tree Identification, which he forces upon me every time we go out for a walk.  We got them all done and SNG's mama came outside on the porch to check out the action.  I decided to quiz my fellow leaf-rubbing club member to see if she could impress her mom and remember the names of some of the tree donors.  She did pretty well at first, breezing through elm, mimosa, and cottonwood.  Then came one that stumped her.

"I'll give you a few hints.  Two words, initials R-O, and a color is involved."

"Red something?" she asked.

"Yes. Now what's the O stand for?"  Surely she would get this.


"NO!!!!  There is not a Red Octopus tree in your yard!" but we did get an ocean-sized laugh out of her guess.

"Hmmm.  Hmmm. Oak?"

"That's better!"

Next time I see her, I'm going to re-ask Sweet Neighbor Girl about the Red Oak, and if she says "octopus" again, I'm going to squeeze my tentacles around her and kick her out of the Leaf Rubbing Club, even if she is the president.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Thanks to a raging case of insomnia, or maybe it was just a nightmare, I had the pleasure of viewing the last half of "Trail of the Screaming Foreheads" early this morning on IFC.  What a classic!  I'm still trying to figure it out.

Alien foreheads, which look like slabs of walking Silly Putty, invade the earth and start attaching themselves to the human foreheads of stupid people to make them smarter.  At the same time, Dr. Philip Braden, crack scientist, drinks a potion concocted by his blind assistant chick, and his entire head turns into a huge blob. His wife Mary screams at him when he comes out of the closet at the lab,"You're nothing but a big fat foreheaded freak!!"  

So--Dr. Phil runs away screaming, while the Human Foreheads plot to take over the world.  They disguise themselves by wearing dainty little women's hats with netting that is meant to cover the bulge on their brains. 

But wait!  There are still three remaining Flatheads around and they go to, where else, the public library to research how to get rid of Forehead Aliens.  Ah-hah! The sound of ringing bells will stop the evil beings.  They attach various bells around their bodies and the mad confrontation begins!!!  

At first, the bells drive them into a swift retreat...but these are newly-smart Alien Foreheads and it doesn't take them long to figure out how to overcome the bells--with ear plugs! But wait---again! The Flatheads set off a building alarm, so loud that the ear plugs are rendered useless.  The Alien Foreheads dissolve, Dr. Phil dies, as well, but his cranial blob disappears and he is restored to his normal appearance.  Wife Mary mourns him.  Fade to film credits with the "Screaming Foreheads" theme song in the background.

Hmmm.  Maybe this WAS a nightmare.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Earlier this week, Big Bore and I went to the Independence Park and Zoo to engage in one of our favorite past times, bareback gorilla riding.  Something tells me that I'm ready to move on to the larger specimen because the gorilla I chose to hop on looks like it should be riding me.  And if you stare into those apish eyes (and I don't mean mine or BB's) you might also notice that UNLIKE the fierce Gorillas living in Pittsburg, these Independence fellas are stoned in more ways than one!

Happy weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2012


When I checked on the downtown garden yesterday, a pretty bloom caught my attention.  I thought this new columbine would be light purple like the mother plant next to it, but it turned out much darker. Isn't it beautiful?

The neighbor kids and I yanked weeds from their circle garden a few nights ago, and Sweet Neighbor Girl asked how she could get some flowers in the newly-cleared space.  I went to my seed drawer and she picked out zinnias. She got them planted, 1/4" deep, and will water them (I hope) while waiting about 10 days for germination. Trouble #1, who is hellbent on digging holes, was told to LEAVE THE SEED AREA ALONE!!!  He ended up excavating a place nearby, so I suppose we'll go to the greenhouse this weekend and find something hardy to plop in that spot.  No sense wasting a good hole.  

Don't forget:  May Basket Day is next Tuesday!!!  : )

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Graduation Day is lurking. Yesterday I received am announcement from one of the 2012 grads-to-be at the local high school, and I immediately went back into teacher mode.
During my tenure as an educator, senior class sponsors were directed by the principal to check over the students' choices for Class Song and Class Motto (which would be plastered everywhere) so the school wouldn't be terminally embarrassed.  I took the responsibility seriously. More than once, amid whines and protests, I axed their irresponsible selections.  

"You're infringing upon our rights of freedom of choice and freedom of speech!" 

 My response:  "Tough!"  If they weren't going to use common sense voluntarily, I'd force them.

That said, I about flipped out yesterday when I read the Class Motto on the newly-arrived graduation announcement:  "Rules are meant to be broken.- anonymous."  Give ME a break.

IF I was still teaching and IF I was the class sponsor, this is what the Brainless of 2012 would hear from me:  "What disappointments you are.  Thousands of people in this school district have paid their hard-earned money to educate you for the past 13 years, and this is what they get?  Break the rules.  That's what you've learned?  That's your life's motto?  Drive drunk.  Abuse your children.  Steal. Cheat. Hate. Lie. Don't live within your means. Do whatever you want and to hell with everyone else."

And they'd argue back that not all rules are good ones and that they are just saying to be individuals and don't always go along with the crowd. Then I'd mouth back, "Then change your motto to: 'Be an individual and don't always go along with the crowd,' and it will be approved."  

But they'd still be crying out for "Rules are meant to be broken" because they are snot-nosed brats who insist upon flaunting their immaturity in the faces of the adults who've been supporting them for 18 years.

Shame on them.  And shame on the class sponsors who let them get away with it and didn't make this a learning experience.  The kid who sent the announcement will receive a graduation gift from me because I'm trusting that he was not among the majority who chose this ridiculous Class Motto, but he's also going to receive a few words to the wise from me, as well.  Thumbing one's nose at rules can lead to a world of heartbreak.  I can only hope that he and his classmates learn this sooner, rather than later. 

End of rant. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I drink a lot of hot tea, and my favorite cup for such slurping purposes is this imported beauty I received a few summers ago from an exchange student I once tutored.  Veronika is from Slovakia, and the cup...actually there are two of them that came in the heart-shaped made by a company called Carmani.  I've checked out its website, and I have no clue how to order anything because the language is totally beyond my comprehension---but it's just fun looking at all the pretty cups and saucers.

I keep fearing I'll drop one of my treasured cups because I'm such a klutz, but so far they have survived in spite of me.  Every morning, even in the dismal winter, I enjoy looking at the ceramic flower garden while I'm drinking down some vanilla chai.  Thank-you, Veronika, for starting my days out right.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Close to 100 years ago poet Robert Frost wrote "The Road Not Taken," a metaphor for individualism.  The basic message he tries to get across:  the least followed path in life can often be one that ends up being the best choice. "....I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

Well, today Big Bore and I decided to go with the literal translation of this poem when we headed home after decorating the family graves in a neighboring county.  Our last stop was at a country cemetery, and from there I suggested we continue on the gravel roads west of LaFontaine and go on to Howard. Then we'd get back on the highway for the remaining 30 miles home.  We'd never taken this route before, but let's follow Robert Frost's sage advice and take the roads less traveled.

And, boy, did it make a difference!  We took wrong turn after wrong turn, mainly thanks to my crack navigational skills, and ended up in Longton...about 20 miles southeast of Howard. But was that enough of bumpy roads for us?  Oh, no.  When we got to Elk Falls, BB decided we should get on the gravel again and go the next 10 miles to Howard--which we eventually found.  Time out to get a cherry lime-aid at Toot's Drive-In and reconnoiter.  Ahhhhh!

But had we had enough?  Not yet.  BB wanted to try to find an old bridge over Salt Creek that, as he recalls, has arches.  Library Lady and I are entering a county scavenger hunt and we have to take pictures of two bridges with arches.  Ten more miles on gravel roads later, no bridge. "Let's call it a day and go home," I whined. I'd slurped down all my cherry lime-aid and was getting thirsty again.  

So, what has made all the difference by taking the roads less travelled?  Number one:  we wasted a whole lot of gas.  Number two:  the car is filthy, inside and out, with dust.  And number three:  if all the car tires aren't flat by tomorrow morning, I'm going to be amazed. If Big Bore volunteers to clean out the car, I'll be even more amazed. 

Next time, we're sticking to the highways.

Monday, April 23, 2012


My great niece Maddie and her little brothers have inherited the "Let's dress up and have a party!" gene.  No matter what the occasion, their sweet mommy is always ready to open the costume closet and go for the gusto.

Last Saturday morning the kids had a "Parrothead Breakfast" since their folks were taking off for Kansas City later in the day to attend a Jimmy Buffet concert.  Two-year-old William got to sing along to "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise."  What a great way to start the day!  

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Good grief!  Blogger has changed and now I have to learn a whole new system.  I'm not sure my brain is up to it, so this may be the end of my blog.  Aaarrrggghhhh!

Friday, April 20, 2012


"Did my ears just ears what I thought they heard?" I said while watching the "drama" of eviction night on "American Idol" yesterday. To stretch out the show to an hour, several music groups are typically featured. On the line-up were a former Idol winner Chris Allen and later some rappy-type group I'd never heard of called LMFAO. Am I really so stupid as to believe these initials stand for Love My Friends and Others, as the group proports?

Well, anyway, LMFAO performed a song called "Sorry for Party Rocking," or something like that, and without getting into the gory details, it's all about how much fun it is getting trashed with alcohol and fornicating. It's 7-8 PM on Fox Network, for gosh sakes. Little kids are watching. Old ladies are watching. Give me a break! (And if you think I'm exaggerating...again...look up the lyrics yourself.)

I emailed Fox about my outrage, even though the network censor person eventually woke up and started cutting out the profanity--as if the Fox execs didn't know the shag-nasty lyrics beforehand. Sure.

If my ears and eyes ever again cross the path of LMFAO, I'm going to spare myself the agony and TMFTO. That's short for Turn My F-ing Television Off.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Peony bush number two (of ten) is the first of the season to burst forth with a handsome flower!!! Congratulations and may you have many more.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Each morning after I've halfway dressed and stretched and slurped down some hot tea, I go outside to make my gardening rounds and see what's happy in the yard. Yesterday, the golden iris and raspberry dianthus had the biggest smile. Big Bore and I are making guesses as to when the first peony will be in full bloom. They look to be two to three weeks ahead of schedule, so I'm thinking April 23.

The neighbor kids have added a Smurf figurine to BB's garden. They gave us a gently used Farmer Smurf for Christmas, and last weekend they gave us another garage sale gem...Grouchy in "Guess who's gonna be grouchy if we run across his veggie patch?"

The morning routine will be broken tomorrow since I have to go to Yates Center for the third and final round of the root canal and capping. That also means a third trip to Arnold's Greenhouse nearby. The trailing pink vinca should be ready for purchase and placement between the dianthus. And BB hopes the cantaloupe plants will be ready, as well.

The local greenhouse has its flat sale of impatiens and vinca on May 5th and that will be the last of the additions to the garden for Spring 2012. I promise. Unless something too dazzling to pass up comes along.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


In honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Sweet Neighbor Girl came over this afternoon with a book about the ill-fated ship and she read a healthy portion of it to me.

"Did you know that the Titanic was eleven stories high and as long as three football fields?"

More than anything else, she was mortified by the fact that their were three different classes of passengers, depending on wealth and social status. Pictures showed the differences in the inequitable lodging space and separate decks.

"I'd have to be first class," SNG announced.

"Well, I'm sure I would have been third class," I said.

"Ewwww! But their toilets were on top of their sinks, and what if..."

"That's okay. You don't have to tell me."

As she continued to read all the Titanic triviata, I told her that my great aunt was alive when the Titanic sunk. "She was your age and she said there were lots of articles about it in the newspaper."

"Lucky! I wish I'd been alive back then."

"Well, probably not because then you wouldn't be here sitting in my living room right now."

"You mean she's not alive anymore?"

"No, but she lived to be 97 so that's pretty good. Does your book talk about Molly Brown?" I asked.

"Yes, she was the one who said, 'Turn this lifeboat back so we can get some more people, and do it NOW!' We learned about her in class. Oh, and did you know that the Titanic hit an iceberg in the middle of the night on its very first trip? And do you know that 1,500 people drowned and that explorers at the bottom of the ocean have found dishes and a baby doll's head?"

It's so nice having a nine-year-old historian living next door to keep me well-informed about world history.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


This has been National Library Week, so I spent yesterday afternoon at our local library pretending to be my favorite fictional heroine, Anna Pigeon!! Anna is the star of Nevada Barr's national park series. A ranger in danger, she bops from park to park and ALWAYS ends up half dead. She gets chased by bears, fireballs, rock slides, felons, you name it. Anna is in the middle of the mayhem. Knock twenty years off my age, and this is exactly what she would look like.

Thanks to Big Bore for helping me with my costume design. The only suggestion I nixed was ripping up my slacks and then rolling around in the dirt. Even The Flaming Bore has her limitations.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Over 200 years ago Robert Burns wrote: "O, my luv's like a red, red rose That's newly sprung in June."

But since this Knockout rosebud from our garden is newly sprung in April, I'd say this is just one more example of global warming, and that's just fine with me. I like having all the early flowers. The peonies are fat with buds and should be arriving soon, as well.

If Mother Nature plays a blasted trick on us and we get a freeze in the next few weeks, I'm going to be changing my tune to a dirge.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


About ten years ago I decided to learn how to quilt, erroneously thinking that a so-called relaxing hobby might soothe my wacky inner ear problem that periodicially re-enacts World War II in my head. I joined a nice little church group in Wichita that was starting off with pillow tops. Surely I could do that.

It was agony! Something as minor as threading a needle made the ear go nuts. Trying to keep the stitches even was a challenge. In short--quilting was a bitch. But I kept at my little pillow project because it was to be a gift for my great nephew Luke on his second birthday. Squares of kid material--Santa Claus, a cow, stars and a moon, a kitty cat, etc.--that would serve as a teaching tool. A nifty idea.

I don't how the heck I got the pillow top finished--every stitch evenly done by hand until Mama Bore dragged out her sewing machine to get the backing on before I stuffed it. But the gift got completed and it's kept on giving and giving and giving the past decade because Big Sis decided to keep it at her house for her subsequent grandchildren.

After Luke outgrew finding objects on the pillow, along came Maddie. Three years later, Boomer. Another three years, William. This past weekend the two little boys once again dragged out the pillow so they could perch on grandpa's lap and play the "Find the...." game. It's become a family favorite. "Find the candy canes." "Find the happy faces." What fun.

I wish I'd fallen in love with quilting and quilting had fallen in love with my goofy ear and I had made more pillows like this one. And I hope that Luke, and Maddie, and Boomer, and William will some day pass it along to their own children....and not forget who made it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Yesterday after pre-school Trouble #1 and I had an interesting conversation about his employment future. It's tough being 5 years old. He found something wrong with just about every job opportunity I suggested.

"Would you like to be a fireman?" I asked.

"No. That's too dangerous. I might get burned up," he said in all seriousness.

"How about a truck driver?"

"No. I might get in a wreck."

"You like animals. Maybe you could work in a zoo."

"No. The lions' roar would hurt my ears. And I'd have to pick up poop and that stinks. But maybe I could wear a helmet with an air hose like a fireman wears...."

"You could build houses."

"No. I'd have to be up high and I might fall down. And I'd have to lift heavy things."

I had to admit the kid had great logic, but still I plodded on with more suggestions.

"What about a doctor?"

"No!" he said adamantly. "I'd have to look inside peoples' mouths and ears and that's gross!!"

So the conversation went on and on like that. Everything I mentioned, even being a cook at McDonald's, was critically turned down until finally I found a winner.

"You could fix people's hair."

He thought a few seconds. "Yeah," he responded with satisfaction at last. "I could put gel and goop on my fingers and rub it and make a Mohawk! That's what I could do."

"But you'll have to go to hairstyling school."

"I know. But I have a lot more of other school to do first. Well, I gotta go ride my bike. See ya."

One must always balance work with play.

Monday, April 9, 2012


"Hey, Aunt Nancy! Wanna go for a hike?"

Heck yes! I'd just followed up the family Easter dinner with a gooey piece of carrot cake slathered in cream cheese frosting. It's not a matter of "want." It's "need." The guilt had already added on 3 inches to my belly.

"Yes, but I have three rules. Listen up. Stay away from the water. Stay on the trails. Don't get so far ahead of Auntie Slowpoke that I can't see you."

Agreed. Off we went. Luke, Maddie, Boomer, and I drove out to what's called Wilderness Trail at the northwest edge of Pittsburg. Now, mind you, this is not exactly the wilderness as Davy Crockett knew it it be--it's just up and down and all around water-filled strip pits. But it is a lot of fun in a "Lions, tigers, and bears" sort of way. There are trails that intersect trails, and there are narrower side trails off the main trails....decisions, decisions. "Are we lost yet?"

The boys grabbed some walking sticks to start out with, but they soon became a burden to their running so they ditched them along the way. Large ancient tree vines suddenly became deadly snakes, and pools in the water became certain homes to crocodiles. Terror beyond each turn.

My three rules were basically followed during the adventure, with some reminders along the way. Boomer runs like he's shot out of a cannon and tended to get way ahead of the bunch, but he would eventually stop and wait up for the slackers.

We were probably at the park for 90 minutes or so. Long enough for Luke to complain about his feet hurting and Maddie to get ticked off at the mosquitoes. Even Boomer eventually started to slow down. When we finally made it back to the car and civilization, I was glad that I'd rubbed on the Icy Hot before we'd started out--and I was more than ready for a second slice of carrot cake.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


"Gee, this will be the first Saturday without college hoops since last December," I moaned to Big Bore this morning. "What am I going to do with myself?" He wasn't too broken up about the prospect of a basketball-free day on television, no surprise there.

It's raining, so there goes any plans to piddle in the yard; on to Plan C. This is a GREAT day for reading!!! Time to hop on the exercise bike and take a book along for the ride. Library Lady has checked out so many to me recently that I could pedal non-stop all weekend and still have plenty to read: one drama, two mysteries, one western, and one biography on Teddy Roosevelt cruising up the Amazon River.

The classic rock channel is playing on the TV. As soon as the morning paper and puzzles are finished, I'm going to saddle up on the bike, grab a book, and take off on a literary journey. Anything but housework!

P.S. Tulips compliments of the downtown garden and the Garden Club fairies.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Since I graduated from Pittsburg State University, there are several gorillas (school mascot) hanging out in the yard at Casa de la Flaming Bore. Here is the smallest one of them. The pretty purple ajuga is compliments of my childhood pal Maggie, who gave me a starter from her yard a few years back. It spreads like ants at a picnic.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


The other day during the root canal drive to the dentist office, Big Bore and I were singing "Que Sera, Sera," a huge Doris Day hit back in, oh, probably the late 1950s.

During my grade school years, darling Doris (nicknamed Dodo to her close, personal friends) was my favorite actress. She seemed friendly and nice during interviews, and she could sing and dance. What wasn't there to like about Doris? She wasn't drop-dead gorgeous like Elizabeth Taylor or Ava Gardner. She was cute. Perky.

So, once I found out that this is Doris Day Week on Turner Classic Movies channel, I've been overdosing on Doris, who, say it isn't so, is now 88 years old!! Doris an octagenarian? Almost 90? Amazing!

Last night's features had a different kind of Doris--dramatic and in dire distress, married to no-goodniks. Why, in the first movie she actually got shot at a Ku Klux Klan rally she'd disrupted. "Oh, my gosh! The Klan just killed off Doris!" I cried out to Big Bore, as he piddled on the computer. Say it isn't so!

Tonight it's back to romantic comedies, and I have my whole Day's agenda planned. A girl can just never get enough Doris.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It never ceases to amaze me what little kids get all excited about. Last weekend we laid down four new concrete pavers in the well-worn spot by our garage that leads to the neighbor's place.

Well, you would have thought a circus had come to town, as much fun as Trouble #1 and #2 were having by running and skipping on them. I don't get it.

Then yesterday Sweet Neighbor Girl was cleaning out a garden spot in her yard, under my supervision, and the two Troubles just had to horn in and "help." But did they want to pull weeds or pick up leaves by hand? Oh, no. They needed tools. It's a desire that must be bred into all males. They gotta have tools and the more the better.

And they don't like to share tools. I'd brought over a small pair of clippers that were laying on the ground, and both boys honed in on them at the same time. Trouble #1, being older and bigger, got to them first and REAL trouble soon brewed.

"It's my turn," for the clippers, #2 whined. And whined. And whined. And whined some more until he poutingly announced he was going home--at which point #1 turned over the clippers to him and then dashed to our garage to retrieve the big yellow plastic leaf scooper-uppers that are TONS more fun than clippers. So you can guess what happened. #2 thought those scoopers looked much more interesting than the clippers. The whining started up all over again.

"If you guys can't work this out and share nicely then I'm taking all my tools back!" I barked with authority. I'd show them. ---So they shared and soon decided there were just too many leaves and weeds to remove in one day. End of work session. Time to hop on the Hot Wheels and bicycle and move on down the road. If there's one thing little boys like even better than tools, it's wheels.

When I went inside, I saw that Big Bore had been watching all of this action evolve through a bedroom window.

"I don't know how you can tolerate those kids," he said, in his usual curmudgeonly tone.

"Yeah, like you were never the pain in the ass of your neighborhood when you were little. Right?"

"No comment," he laughed. "Sometimes I think Karma has come back to bite me."

In big chunks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Well, I ran out of KU basketball mojo last night and have a case of PTGS in Post Traumatic Game Syndrome, but it's still a beautiful day to get outside and piddle in the garden and that's what I intend to do. The Jayhawks will rise again!

Monday, April 2, 2012


After round two of the root canal this morning, we decided to piddle around and take the scenic route home.

First stop, Arnold's Greenhouse in the middle of nowhere Coffey County. I got some coleus, petunias, heuchera, and an impatiens plant and Jeff bought some bell pepper and cherry tomato plants.

Next stop, Gridley, which is also in the middle of nowhere. We like this little burg because it has a nice horseshoes pit, complete with covered scoring table. Classy. Since we adhere to the motto: "Have horseshoes will travel," we played an abbreviated round to 11, with The Flaming Bore winning, 11-3.

After that, we just rambled homeward on dirt roads. Did a lot of gawking, but that was about it. Round trip took about six hours.

Now I'm ready to get out of the sweats, do some planting, and then get ready for the big basketball game tonight. March Madness has turned into April Madness, and I'm gonna get craaaaaazy!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Call it insanity. Super divine intervention. I don't know how KU's guys did it last night, but somehow they overcame a 13-point deficit, won their game against Ohio State, and will be playing for the championship title tomorrow.

And it all doesn't come a minute too soon. At the beginning of March Madness, I decided not to wash my good luck ensemble until KU lost OR won the whole enchilada. This means that a certain pair of red sweatpants, a long-sleeved blue 2008 national championship shirt, and some striped socks have been collecting sweat, and lots of it, for five games now. I always pedal my exercise bike during time outs and halftimes, which adds to my sweat volume. To say that the clothing reeks is putting it mildly.

So win, lose, or draw--after tomorrow night the good luck garb gets tossed in the washing machine. I'm thinking that a clean 2012 national championship shirt would sure be a nice addition to the wardrobe.