Friday, March 30, 2012


In his continuing saga to use up scrap wood from the house across the street that is being torn down, Big Bore decided to make a cat tower for Critter and Fluffy. His architectural design kept getting bigger and grander, however, until it almost didn't fit into the back porch.

After he got it all together, I painted it with leftover porch paint that matches the curtains and then added a bit of house art. (The little squares on the tower read: CAT HOUSE) He tacked on some carpet scraps for three sides and the steps. Voila!

Fluffy tends to hide out in the bottom floor, while Critter has claimed the penthouse apartment since she's bold enough to scale the stairs.

As time goes on, I suspect we'll be adding hanging toys and a tray of grass to put on the "patio." Maybe even a kitty zip line to the litter boxes. Who knows.

Now, on to the next project....

Thursday, March 29, 2012


The neighborhood gang zipped over after school yesterday, so I immediately put them to work washing off the rock and shells from my waterless fountain. Over the fall and winter they get gunky, so they always get a spring bath.

"This is actually fun," commented Trouble #1. And that's because the dull rocks magically shine and have designs that weren't noticed before. "Cool!"

Before long, we sensed that we were being watched. A tree frog was relaxing on a patio chair. Our observation of it went fine until Sir Frog decided to budge, at which point Sweet Neighbor Girl went into screech mode and scared the poor creature into the barberry bushes. T#1 decided to try to fetch it--until he discovered those beautiful bushes are thorny. Tree frogs aren't stupid, you know.

After that little escapade it was time to play Find the New Bird Nest, a hot/cold search that ended up under a garage eave. Big Bore and I don't know yet what kind of bird has taken up residence, but it's a dandy spot that predators like cats and squirrels and grubby little kid fingers won't be able to reach.

The backyard isn't big, but it's packed with entertainment value--if you're under 10.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Much to Big Bore's dismay, I've caught snippets of the new round of "Dancing with the Stars" the past two nights, and I'm sorry to say that the name of this show needs to be changed to "Dancing with the Has-Beens and Wanna-Be's." I've never heard of over half of them, and the rest haven't been stars in decades.

There are six of the twelve contestants I've actually heard of. Gladys Knight and her Pips last had a hit record in 1988. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura "Half-Pint" Ingalls on the old "Little House on the Prairie" series from 1974-82, is now 48 years old. Martina Navratilova, who was mercifully booted last night, was once a stellar tennis player but she won her last Grand Champion tournament over 20 years ago. Then there's the Urkel kid (Jaleel somebody) from "Family Matters," which ended its run in 1995. Sherri Shepherd. Is she on "The View?" And I think maybe Jack Wagner was a soap opera actor once upon a time.

The rest of 'em, I'm clueless who they are and what makes them stars. Am I just that old and out of touch that their names are totally foreign to me?

Now, don't get me wrong. I admire anyone who wants to take dancing lessons and improve their health and coordination AND get paid for it. Famous or not, they can all dance circles around The Flaming Bore, with her three left feet. It's the network producers who need the reality check. Until they can land the likes of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Leonardo Di Caprio, and flippin' Angelina Jolie on this show, it needs to be re-named before someone does a quick-step and files a claim for false advertising.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Today when I was outside inspecting what had popped up out of the ground overnight, an old song lyric hit me and I have not been able to get it out of my mind:

"Spring is the season when vi-o-lets bloom
Spring is when showers turn into flowers..."

and then I can't recall the rest of the words, except the last line" "And birds love to sing in Spring."

The melody is still with me. I can la-la-la the whole drawn-out song, but the words, not so good.

So I did what any musically-challenged person does and got on the Internet to see if I could find the lyrics to my mystery song. I've been Googling myself into a frenzy and still nothing. All the hits I get are way off base.

If any reader recognizes this ancient tune and can help me out, PLEASE send me the name of the song and the lyrics. I think maybe Alfalfa sang it on a "Little Rascals" episode, so that gives you a clue how old it is.

I don't want to STILL be pondering this problem before winter settles in.

(P.S. Thanks to the neighbors for their tulips and grape hyacinth above, which I can admire from our front porch and pretend that they are mine.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Just as I predicted, KU rose from the near dead and had a solid win today against North Carolina--which means a trip to the Final Four in New Orleans next weekend!!! Oh, joy! My mojo beads will be right in style!

I had to kick Big Bore out of the house at halftime because every time he sat down to watch the game with me, KU's score would start sliding.

"You've gotta go. You're bringing bad vibes."

Fortunately, he was willing to hang out with the men folk across the street and the 'Hawks got back in gear. They went on a 12-0 run in the last few minutes and won by 13 points.

March Madness isn't over yet!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


The mild winter has thrown the tulips into an early arrival. Here are some of our pretty girls blooming in the backyard. I hope they decide to stay around for a while.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Introducing the latest addition to the neighborhood cat population: Napoleon! Sweet Neighbor Girl brought this cutie over to the house yesterday so we could get acquainted. Fluffy and Critter are not too keen on him, but maybe they will become friends in time--probably not.

We were playing with the kitty on the sofa and then he boldly jumped off and went on his merry way to explore the joint. And what did I see left where it had been sitting? Ooops. Was that kitty poop? The loose kind? Oh, no!

"Look what Napoleon just did!" I laughed and pointed to the poop.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Nancy," SNG said, embarrassed.

"That's okay. That's why I cover the sofa with big towels." I'm always slopping food around and Fluffy has periodic hairball upchucks. "I'll get it cleaned up. No big deal."

I got a paper towel and proceeded to pick up the deposit when my eyes did a double take. "Why, this isn't cat poop! It's some of Jeff's peanut butter cookies!"

Well, we got a big laugh out of that one. My apologies to the kitty. And the cookies now have a new name: Jeff's Peanut Butter Poop Patties. Mmmm...mmmm...good!

Welcome to the Funny Farm, Napoleon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Forty years ago this week, my college pal Kathy Mac and I loaded up in my '68 VW Beetle and headed west for the mountains. None of that beach blanket bingo stuff for us. We were bound for Rocky Mountain National Park--my first of many adventures there.

At that time, Estes Park, the gateway to RMNP, was deadsville and not the destination mecca that it is now. We easily found lodging and barely found a place to eat downtown, the beloved Bob and Tony's Pizza. There was no snow at Estes, but drive about fifteen miles up into the Rockies to Bear Lake and it was another world. We walked across the frozen lake, stomped butt-deep into the snow, and, literally, chilled out.

I've lost count of the number of return trips I've made, but that first visit was the only time I got to walk on water. --So, I was happy to see this picture yesterday of my nephew's wife and kids doing their own Bear Lake gig for Spring Break. This is their second Break there and I suspect, like me, they will be going back to RMNP many times in the future just to suck in the scenery and to hit up Bob and Tony's Pizza, of course.

Yep. Not in Kansas anymore. Give the mountains my fondest regards.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Tuesday is sort of an "off night" for us with the television listings, so Big Bore gladly allowed me to be Queen of the Remote at 7 PM. I chose "Cupcake Wars" on the Food Channel.

"Why that show? I've never seen you eat a cupcake let alone bake one," he immediately started ragging me before it even started.

"True. But I like to look at them and see what weird concoctions the contestants come up with. Plus it's always a challenge to try to figure out what this one judge is saying. I think he's French or maybe just an alien from another planet. I don't know, but I dare you to understand a word of what comes out of his mouth."

So we watched "Cupcake Wars," which tonight was celebrating the Pro Bull Riders of America. The bakers had to make cupcakes out of jalapenos, pork and beans, corn, bacon, and other western delights. It was enough to give me a rodeo-sized case of indigestion, but the show held our attention for an hour, and, as I predicted, Big Bore was clueless about what the one judge, Florian somebody, had to say. "Zees coopcake eez ?????????????" Whatever.

BB was intrigued with the cooking, though, and loved when a big hot bowl of cherry goop crashed to the floor. He also came up with suggestions to decorate the cupcakes to fit the bull riding theme and ways to display them. Something to do with cactus and the cupcakes being shot out of a horse's behind.

I have a feeling "Cupcake Wars" has recruited a new soldier. Oui?

Monday, March 19, 2012


Last night I spent 39 minutes having a royal hissy fit while watching KU's basketball team getting whipped by Purdue in an NCAA tournament match. I was in Big Sis's living room, pounding the coffee table, shouting expletives, and being a general pain in the butt--to the point that Big Bore spent all but the final few minutes out on the back deck with the cats. Every time-out I'd go outside and give him a depressing update just to burn up some nervous energy.

"It's 8 to nothing," I moaned early on. "We've missed every shot."

"We're behind by 11 points. Their three-point sharpshooter is killing us."

"We couldn't make a basket if it was as big as a barrel. We're shooting about 20 percent."

"Well, we're only down by six points," I said at halftime. "We can still catch up." Ever the optimist.

"Geez. We're already down by ten," I groaned early into the second half."

"Every time we get close, they pull way ahead again."

Now, mind you, Big Bore didn't give a rat's hind end what the score was. Every time I came outside to give him an update, he just laughed or said, "You don't have to come out here to tell me what's going on. I can hear you."

Sis is more of a fan, although she had to excuse herself periodically to go upstairs to the second TV and catch up with "The Amazing Race" and "Desperate Housewives" while the desperate sister in her living room was about to blow a gasket. Where was her loyalty to a lost cause?

"Sonuvabitch!!" (that one was a recurrent theme out of my mouth)

Finally, convinced KU was probably not going to pull out a miracle this time around, I wadded up a paper towel, then stuck it in my mouth just to bite the bullet, so to speak, and shut myself up.

And, lo and behold, the Jayhawks finally came alive the last minute of the game, got into the lead with 23 seconds to go, and pulled out a magical 3-point victory.

There was never any doubt.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Spring Break started yesterday in our fair town, so Sweet Neighbor Girl and another sweet little gal down the street decided to celebrate with a slumber party. They came over to Casa de la Flaming Bore to announce the big event.

"We're going to give ourselves make-overs and paint our nails and give each other facials and fix our hair and have a fashion show and eat Ramen noodles and Hamburger Helper and stay up ALL night until 1 AM!!" they babbled. Wow! Can't beat that!

As I walked them out the door I saw SNG's mom headed to her night-shift job and said something about how it was too bad she was going to miss the slumber party.

"What party?" she asked. Ooops. Apparently not all the logistics were worked out yet with dad.

Well, later in the evening the doorbell rang. The giggly girls had arrived to show us their facials (above pic).

"Stick some baby carrots in your nostrils and you'll be ready for Halloween," Big Bore told them.

"How long is that supposed to be on your faces?" I asked.

"I don't know," said SNG.

I looked at her tube of facial goo--five minutes, according to the directions. I feigned panic. "You'd better get home and wash that off before it sticks to your skin forever!"

Out the door they dashed.

"Don't party too loudly!" I called out. "I don't want to have to call 9-1-1 in the middle of the night to report a disturbance next door."

I expect SNG will be back over this afternoon to give us the full report on party central. Hopefully she won't bring us any of the leftover Ramen noodles.

Friday, March 16, 2012


This beautiful snowball comes from our Washington hawthorne tree. About five or six years ago Mama Bore gave me five foot-high sticks that were actually trees from the National Arbor Society. Big Bore and I put them in individual pots, babied them, and three survived--the hawthorne, a crab apple, and a rain tree. I'd guess that the hawthorne is over 25 feet high now. God's creations are growing in the yard once again--the miracle of Spring.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


This week has been so nice and sunny and warm that Big Bore and I have come down with an acute case of Spring Fever and dragged out most of the plants that have been hibernating inside over the winter. I have to hand it to him--he did a great job keeping the ferns looking hardy while they vacationed in the basement. But they look soooo happy on the front porch now.

Also glad to be back on the porch is the hammock. It's my special reading spot, and a fun respite for the neighbor kids.

"The hammock is back!" Trouble #1 shouted the other day after school. "Where has it been?"

"In the garage on the rafters," I told him.

"How can you lie in it there?"

"You can't. It's all broken apart during the winter time."

Well, that didn't exactly make sense to him, but he was more interested in carefully boarding the hammock and taking his first swing of the season.

"Do you have anymore Monster's Blood with Slime cake?" he asked. It's actually a red velvet cake with the cream cheese frosting dyed green, which Big Bore had made the day before. Trouble #1 is going through a scary creatures phase right now, so BB gave the cake a special name just for him.

"Yeah. You want a piece?"

"Yes, please. And a glass of milk."

Ah! There's nothing like a hammock and an after-school treat to make a kid happy. At times like this, I think it might not be so bad to be 5-years-old again. Of course, I had grumpy old Mr. and Mrs. Knoles and Mr. and Mrs. Bryson for neighbors back in the 1950s and they never gave me anything more than a bunch of dirty looks...and probably rightly so.

From Casa de la Flaming Bore: may you merrily swing into spring!!

Monday, March 12, 2012


In my ongoing, hopeless quest to be hip, with it, and well-informed, I kept the TV channel on "The Today Show" this morning to see a new mop-top British boy band that is sweeping the States--One Direction. Or is it New Direction? Or One Dimension? I keep getting it confused. But anyway, 1D--as we loyal fans call them--sang three songs to a herd of screaming girls on the streets of New York City, and to Big Bore and me in our living room.

"What's with the hair?" Big Bore asked.

"Those are modified Beiber-do's," I said in reference to aging teen sensation Justin Beiber, who recently turned 18 and will soon be eligible for Social Security.

The five Brits in 1D are discoveries of music producer Simon Cowell. He came across the guys as individual contestants on England's version of "The X Factor" and had the genius idea to throw them together into a boy band. In other words, taken individually none of them have a strong enough voice to be a solo act. They are young and cute and their voices aren't too pitchy, though, so they are perfect to make Simon a few more billion dollars.

This was their first big appearance in the US, although the boys have been together for about 18 months--apparently not long enough to add any choreography to their music, as they just sort of milled around the stage. But give them time and a few good moves and maybe they'll be another Back Street Boys or 'N Sync. I wish them luck and hope they will forever enjoy gaggles of screaming girls pawing all over them.

My generation had its Beatles. I think I can tolerate another British invasion.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Something was bugging me this morning that I thought would be a good blog topic for today, but I've already forgotten what it was. Maybe it wasn't so irritating after all. Or maybe it was all about memory loss. Who knows.

But I DO remember what was bothering Big Bore this morning and that was Kathi Lee and Hoda on their 1-hour portion of NBC's "Today Show." I should know better than to tune them in because they ALWAYS drive BB bonkers. And I don't blame him. They won't shut up!!

The bubbly gals have a tendency to talk at the same time, over each other, to the point that one is clueless about what either is saying. The babbling gets even worse when a guest comes on the show. Then there are THREE mouths flapping at once.

Needless to say, we don't watch this show very often. --Damn, I sure wish I could recall what was bugging me this morning. Until I can think of it, I'm going to be double-bugged.

Hey! I just remembered. It's the blasted phone calls we keep getting wanting us to vote for one of the Republican candidates for President in the Kansas caucus tomorrow. Morning, afternoon, and night. The past few weeks have been a phone-ringing bitch. We've had so many annoying calls today that I've finally quit answering the phone. And no, we don't have caller ID.

The biggest whine I've saved for last: KU just lost!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


In order to become an equal-opportunity book reviewer for the local newspaper, I decided to check out something from the western genre at the library yesterday. I think I've only read three westerns in my lifetime: something by Louis L'Amour (pick whichever one you want, as I think they're all pretty much the same); one by Kansas author Donald Coldsmith, and TRUE GRIT, which was a major disappointment. Whoever was the screenwriter for the movie version of TRUE GRIT was a true genius because the book is a yawner.

But, anyway, I moseyed on out of the library with my fourth western, something called SADDLE BOW SLIM. It was written in 1948 but is new to our library and it's in large print, so that's always a bonus. I won't mention the author just in case he's still alive and rounds up posses to go after critics, but he has other westerns on the local shelves and is, according to the book cover, a "Spur Award" winner, which must be the western writer's answer to a Pulitzer.

So I enthusiastically saddled up on my exercise bike last night to start reading SADDLE BOW SLIM --and, gosh durn it, I hate to say it, but this book is sorrier than a toothache on a Sunday afternoon. Practically every page has a groaning simile (like the one in that last sentence), and the cowpoke vernacular annoys me.

But this is a western!! What did I expect? Shakespeare? And I'm going to finish reading this book, if only to make a list of the Ten Most Appalling Similes in Literary History. I already have two to nominate: "The big gent's face was as black as the belly of a horse at midnight," and "Tensions flowed through the room like currents of air curling up from a rat hole." Winners for sure.

SADDLE BOW SLIM is already giving me saddle sores after just 66 pages. It's going to be a long ride.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Late this afternoon when I was in the basement working, I heard the doorbell ring. Hmmm. Do I drop what I'm doing and rush upstairs to answer it or just stay put? Oh, heck, I'll go see who it is and hope for the best. Maybe it's the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstake crew ready to pronounce me a millionaire.

No such luck. There on the porch were Trouble #1 and Trouble #2 bearing look-alike, plastic firearms of some sort.

"Stick 'em up!" they both happily shouted.

I obeyed but offered them resistance. "Why are you pointing your guns at me? I'm your favorite neighbor. I give you treats. I never yell at you. I let you play with my cats." Surely these pre-schoolers would be able to reason this through and give me a break.

"Keep your hands up!" Trouble #1 said, and #2 echoed the sentiment. Then their little boy sound effects went ballistic.

They verbally pummeled me with "bangs" and "pows." I came up from the basement for this? For a flashing moment I thought about dropping to the ground and pretending to be seriously wounded, to make them feel badly, but I was afraid I'd throw my back out of whack in the process or, worse, they'd just laugh and run away.

I've decided that next time I'm staying put and Fluffy is answering the door.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


What better way is there to spend a sunny day than sitting in a dentist's chair for three hours getting a root canal?! Oh, joy!

"Does a root canal really take three hours to accomplish?" you may ask. Well, The Flaming Bore always has to make things complicated. It took a good hour just for the dentist, bless his meticulous heart, to remove the cap that had been on the tooth in question for the past 30 years or so. Anyway, a good time was had by all--mainly because Big Bore and I got to celebrate the completion of my canal by driving 15 miles up the road from the dentist's office to loiter around Arnold's Greenhouse!

Arnold's is sort of a mega gardening spot in the middle of nowhere. We usually hit it up a few times a year. This time around we bought two virbinum shrubs, a larger-than-life rain gauge, some chemicals of various types, and (ugh) four little brussel sprout starter plants. Long ago I once made the bad decision to try growing them. I learned that they are not like many veggies that ripen throughout the summer. No, no. They wait until fall, pop out all at once, and you end up with HUNDREDS of them. I got so sick of those nasty mini cabbages that I have since sworn them off my food list.

But Big Bore thinks he just HAS to have brussel sprouts, so he ended up buying EIGHT plants--in spite of all my protesting and warnings. "You are going to regret you ever grew them. I promise." But do you think he would listen to my advice? Of course not!

I seriously think I'd rather have another root canal than even look at another brussel sprout.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I couldn't get into my blog over the weekend for some reason, but all is up and running today. Now, if my brain can just think of what's been going on since the last entry.

Oh, here's something funny Big Bore said when we were watching the KU basketball game Saturday night: "How long does an inning of basketball last?" And he was serious!

"This isn't baseball we're watching. It's called basketball. Twenty minutes per half." Go Hawks! I'll make a sports fan out of him yet--but he sure does make it difficult for me.

Sweet Neighbor Girl and her little bro Trouble #1 were over at the house shortly after 9 AM yesterday with their walkie-talkies. Fortunately, I was still in bed, so BB sent them on their way. They were back at noon because heaven forbid if I didn't see their latest gadget. While they were here, Trouble #1 had a request: "Will you make me a hot rice sock like you made Sissy?"

"Just use hers," I suggested.

"Every time I ask to use it she tells me, 'Not now' and then I never get it." She denied being selfish, but the guilty grin on her face backed up his story.

I can't resist sad brown eyes. "Of course, I'll make you a rice sock. But I'll have to find a sock that isn't girly." The search is on.

If I'm not too bushed from painting the basement door this afternoon, I'm going to a belated birthday party for Dr. Seuss at the library. A big IF, but maybe I'll be recovered in time. Any brick red paint in my hair will have to remain.

When I was listening to the KU basketball seniors give their farewell speeches at Allen Field House over the weekend, one of them gave a fine quote that I told Big Bore should be our mantra: "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."

Those are some mighty fine words to practice.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Last night was the world premier (and closing) of the local 3rd grade musical, "Three of a Kind," co-starring (with 42 other kids) Sweet Neighbor Girl as Mama Bear. We've been hearing about this merry event for weeks now. The basic gist is that Baby Bear is missing and all the other threesomes--The Three Little Pigs, The Three Musketeers, The Three Blind Mice, etc., are called upon to help find him.

Two days before the big show, Sweet Neighbor Girl practiced her lines on Big Bore and me, delivered in mushy-mouthed warp speed. We couldn't understand a single word.

"Good lord! Slow down and enunciate! Your audience wants to know what you're saying."

She just laughed. Maybe the Dr. Pepper she'd been drinking had given her a sugar high.

"You...don'," I exaggerated in slo-mo, "but don'ttalksofastthatwecan'tunderstandyou."

So, yesterday before the big production she came over to show off her "Mama Bear look" and go over her lines one last time before heading off to school.

"Perfect!" I said. "You were not too fast. Not too slow. Just right!" said the old Grumpy Bear neighbor. We took some pictures and then she was out the door, ready for certain stardom.

I attended the musical--Big Bore opted out--but when I returned home he was curious about how SNG performed. "How'd Mama Bear do?" he asked.

"She was the best one there," I answered in all honesty. "In fact, she was pretty much the only kid I could actually understand."

P.S. Baby Bear finally showed up at the end. The little snot was hiding from his parents.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


What a glorious March 1st! It's a beautiful day, so I've been outside playing in the dirt and am proud to announce that my hands already have the first blister of the season.

Big Bore: "Get your work gloves on!"

Me: "You know I can't stand to wear them." Bring on the grime and cuts and callouses.

I'm going to have a different workload this spring and summer due to some back issues. I'll probably have to wave the white flag when it comes to the annual war with the dandelions, and I'll be relying more on Big Bore when it comes to digging and lifting, but I think he'll be game.

The key phrases for the time being are "Pace yourself" and "Pretty please" --with the emphasis on PLEASE.

Happy March!