Thursday, July 31, 2008


Season 10 of CBS’s reality series “Big Brother” has lately been chewing up three hours a week of my valuable time. I wonder if relatives of George Orwell, creator of the Big Brother concept in his novel 1984, receive any royalties from CBS. They should. If not for Orwell’s futuristic “Big Brother is Watching You” mantra, the show would be named something like “Window Peeper,” or “Peek-a-boo. I see you!”---neither of which have much appeal.

Of course, before I ever became familiar with Orwell’s novel as a teen, the term Big Brother just meant Beans, my elder sibling by almost three years. He never failed to remind me of his superiority. In the earliest picture I have of us together (above), you can already tell he is plotting devious designs against me. (“I can’t wait to singe that hair right off your head!”--which he and my older sister actually did, according to family legend, although I have no recollection of the dirty deed.)

Eventually, though, I made efforts to get even. I never failed to remind him what a pain in the ass I could be to him. Hmmm. Might make a good plot for a TV sit-com. “Little Sister.” (Subtitled: “Little Sister is Watching You--Get More Agitated by the Minute.”)

Since I knew Beans loathed me, I’d do all I could to get his attention. My typical modus operandi, as I grew older, was to dart into his bedroom when he was, say, reading a comic book or counting his baseball cards, catching him off guard. I’d whack him a good one, then dash back out to the bathroom around the corner and snap the lock shut so he couldn’t retaliate. I’d be safely giggling behind the door, rubbing it in that he’d been had.

Of course, most of the time he was the aggressor and I was the punching bag. We couldn’t even play a simple game of slap jack without it turning into a fight. If I’d get in the first slap on the cards, which was rare, he’d double up a fist and pound it on my outstretched hand. If I was winning in Monopoly, he’d steal from the bank and suddenly come up loaded. If I had the lead in Scrabble, “Oops!”--he’d upset all the letters on the board so we’d have to start over.

--Come to think of it, Beans deserved every cheap shot I could deliver! I wished I’d gotten in more.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I’m so excited!! My great nephew Bo (left, at 13) is arriving today to visit for the rest of the week. I get to have a 15-year-old to pal around with for a few days. Yippeee! A full agenda of activities is planned--movies, Cosmosphere, salt mines tour, melodrama, interactive mystery at the library, and whatever else strikes our fancy.

There is only one problem when he is a houseguest--Big Bore tends to regress to being a teenager (right, age 13). Last year they had so many belching contests that I thought the house was going to blow up from all the excess gas. Even worse, Bo showed BB how to access video TV games from the satellite dish. Man, that was a big mistake. I have since lost total control of the remote.

Ah, but men will be men, and if they want to bond over burping blow-outs and video poker, I guess I shouldn’t complain. But if they should decide to start wagering on fart contests, I’m laying down the law! They’re going to have to include me!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


One of my new year’s resolutions for 2008 has been to do a better job cleaning underneath the refrigerator. Late last year I swiped a yardstick under the ‘fridge, looking for a pill that had fallen on the floor and, honest to God, I was frightened by what came out. I thought that I’d found what was left of my missing cat Shadow, based upon all the gray cat fuzz that emerged before my startled eyes.

Keeping up with the stray hair of four indoor cats is a challenge. I can take a lint brush to the sofa and five minutes later it’s back to being a total mess. I always warn visitors at the door, “If you are allergic to cats, don’t come in.” Their hair is everywhere!! One day I took a cotton swab to my ears--there was no wax inside the canals, just gray cat hair!

There’s also the dilemma of kitty barf/hairballs. The cats usually give me a gag warning, so sometimes I can respond quickly enough to slide a newspaper in front of them, but, more often than not, they get choked in the middle of the night and the upchuck lands on a rug, or on a t-shirt, or inside my shoes, or on the sofa. We have a special jug of chemical that is supposed to clean it right up, leaving no stains--ha!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my four felines and wouldn’t want to live without them because they are so slobbery and silly, but as long as they’re hanging out with me and ruling over the household, I sure wish they’d learn to clean up after themselves. Is that asking too much?

Monday, July 28, 2008


Friday night I motored up to Emporia to attend the Shrine Bowl band concert. My great nephew Bo was one of over 200 teens in this musical bunch, and the only freshman among 15 tuba players. I consider this quite an honor considering he’s yet to experience a single day of high school (but did some high school band gigs while an 8th grader).

The band played a series of zippy tunes that had me clapping and shaking my head and tapping my feet to the beat of the music in no time. My other great nephew, 8-year-old Luke, slouched next to me, trying not to be seen with Auntie Goofball. My effort to energize him resulted in the bored “Back Off, Jack” glare.

Saturday night the band was to play at the Shrine Bowl football game, which was to be televised on PBS, so I was excited about catching the pre-game and halftime shows on TV. To heck with the jocks. I just wanted to see my bass-playing Bo. So, at 6:30 PM, I tuned in…. “Sorry, we are experiencing technical difficulty” the screen read. Rats! There went the pre-game show.

Finally, with 8 minutes and 44 seconds left in the first half, the difficulty was fixed. --Exactly fourteen seconds later, the game was delayed due to a nasty thunderstorm. Run for cover!

Forty-five minutes passed before the game resumed…but by that time, the storm that had been in Emporia blew south to Eureka, and with the first “ka-boom,” my satellite dish went blank. Oh, no!

Four minutes until halftime, the picture miraculously returned. No more close lightning strikes. No more reception problems. I’d get to see the band after all!

Halftime. Where’s the band? Oh, we have to listen to four Shriner’s promos first. I won’t begrudge them. They’ve helped a lot of people.

At long last! Here’s the band! --Their show is being shortened due to the earlier delay? We only get to hear three numbers? Where’s Bo? Somewhere in the masses. Quit zooming in on the percussion. Come on! Let’s give the tuba players equal camera time!

Three minutes later…and over three hours after I’d first turned on the TV…they marched off the field, no close-ups of my sweet Bo. Hmmm. Do you think I watched the second half of that lousy football game? You can bet your sweet brass I didn’t!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


“….and the vision that was planted in my brain still remains....” Simon and Garfunkel “Sounds of Silence”

The past few days I’ve been consumed by reading newsman Tom Brokaw’s latest book, Boom! It’s about the 1960s and the Baby Boomers who have since made significant contributions to our society. He’s interviewed the famous and not-so-famous….entertainers, journalists, politicians, businessmen, community activists, nurses, teachers, etc. to get their reactions to growing up in the turbulent decade. Brokaw’s book certainly re-opened a bank of memories of what the world was like back in the 1960s. Here are the ten that I most remember, in no particular order of significance:

President Kennedy assassinated

Beatles mania

Vietnam War

Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinated

Space race--US lands man on the moon

The "Make Love, Not War" Hippie Movement and great music that went with it

Race riots and Black Power

Kent State war protest and killings by National Guardsmen

Manson Family murders

Woodstock Rock Festival

Friday, July 25, 2008


For some oddball reason, I’ve gotten into watching “Shear Genius” and “Project Runway” on Bravo Channel. Now, why I have even a smidgen of interest in shows about hairstyling and fashion designing is beyond me, since I’m just a ponytail/sweat pants kind of gal. Even Big Bore, if he’s awake, will sit and watch these shows with me and NOT complain or taunt me with the remote. He even makes comments about what he does and doesn’t like. Incredible. Must be the global warming.

The other night I jokingly told Big Bore his mussed-up hair looked like Albert Einstein’s, and within minutes he had dragged out a razor and buzzed away. Now he looks like--hmmm--well, not exactly “Shear Idiot”--but close.

But I digress. Back to our programs. What cracks me up about the contestants is that most of them have hairstyles from hell and dress like bag people. The other night, I applauded the choice the judges decided to cut on “Project Runway.” Any man who wears black shorts with a pair of red Crocs is not worthy of being the fashion world’s next big Versace.

I’m never too critical about the hairstyles or clothing actually created on these shows, though. I know how difficult it is to do such work. I can scarcely get a brush through my hair, and my seamstress work is pretty much limited to repairing crotch holes in pants. When I was enrolled in a sewing class in junior high, I once stashed home a pair of flannel pajamas I was making/ruining so Mama Bore could get ’em done for me. The teacher gave her an A.

So, I really do admire the “Genius”/“Runway” folks for at least trying to develop their skills--even though sometimes their talents seem to be hidden in a galaxy far, far, away.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


My favorite part of the daily newspaper out of Wichita is a section that’s labeled “DownTime.” Down time?? Talk about a misnomer! This page contains the Sudoku numbers puzzle, the cryptoquip, word jumble, and crossword puzzle. These little gems make my brain anything but down. When attacking them, I’m about as UP as I’ll be all day!

I start with the Sudoku. What the heck does that mean, anyway? Is it Japanese for torture? This puzzle gets harder as the week moves along, so by today, Thursday, I’m in a snit, and by Saturday I’ll be in a big fat ball of snit. If I don’t get it solved the first time around, I copy it off in larger format and start over. I give myself three tries…after that, I wave the white flag. I always finish the other three games--first time, every time--snitless.

Using a pencil and eraser to work on these so-called brain teasers is not the style of the Flaming Bore. That’s for wimps and losers. Pen only. It’s my way of being cocky and confident…and, (with all my scratched out trial-and-error corrections) sloppy. But, the Puzzle Police say, “Neatness does not count!” After all, it’s down time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Well, you can sure tell an election is coming up. The main drag in town is totally trashed out with political campaign signs….for county commissioner, state representative, state senator, and the like. I think it must take a confident person with a sizable ego and an even more sizable treasure chest to run for public office. I would never qualify. I don’t want to see my name plastered all over the highway, and I sure don’t want to pay for the privilege of littering. I haven’t seen any signage yet for the presidential race. That will probably kick in after the primaries in a few weeks.

I’m not much for campaign memorabilia, but I do have an “I Like Ike” button somewhere in my private stash, and I have a cool, antique ceramic mug from when Grover Cleveland was up for re-election in 1888. It features his picture, along with his running mate, A. G. Thurman. They won the popular vote but lost the electoral college numbers. Sound familiar, Al Gore? I suspect their defeat was because they both looked like constipated sour pusses on their campaign posters.

Over a hundred years ago, though, I suppose a stern visage likely meant to convey the gravity of the position. Possibly politicians didn’t care about looking like nice, friendly guys. They just wanted to look capable. Really not such a bad idea. So, on second thought, perhaps our current candidates might take a tip from Grover and company, wipe those fake smiles off their faces, and put up billboards that show themselves looking serious and ready to shoulder the nation’s problems. Maybe appearing in the throes of constipation is better than just being incompetently full of shit like some politicians tend to be…no names mentioned, of course. :)

For Wednesday, July 23, 2008, this is the Flaming Bore signing off. Good day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CAT'S IN THE CRADLE (is it really a song by Harry Chapin?)

Lately I’ve come across magazine and newspaper articles about cougars. No, not the cat kind, but, according to these writers, older women who go gaga for younger men. I guess I started becoming a cougar, by their definition, when I was in college. I have never dated a man my age or older since I was 18, passing off this preference to my chronic immaturity. I didn’t know I was being a trendsetter.

My ex- husband was four years younger than I, and the current live-in chef/gardener is six years younger. Age wasn’t/isn’t an issue with either. I keep waiting for Big Bore to tell old lady jokes, but he has yet to develop any in his repertoire. Next year, however, I will be 60. If he decides to start bragging about his younger status, I’ll have just one word for him….ROAR! And then I’ll reveal my fangs, pull out my claws, and go for the jugular! That’s the real reason why we’re called cougars!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Today I’m collecting pee!!

The urologist who removed my precious kidney stone ordered a follow-up 48-hour urine test. I thought this perhaps meant making little “deposits” periodically in jars over the course of two days, so I was quite taken aback Friday when this lab gal handed me two plastic one-gallon containers. They look like the jugs we use for our lawn mower gasoline…only they’re orange instead of red and the openings are bigger.
“You want that much pee?”

“Yep,” she said, “and it has to be refrigerated.”

“Oh, joy.”

I was going to begin the marathon on yesterday but postponed it after making plans to bring Mom to Casa Flaming Bore for the day. A good hostess does not subject guests to watching a jug of pee being hauled in and out of the kitchen every time the bladder calls. I whiz in a glass, pour the contents into the orange container, then put it in a plastic bag and back into the ‘fridge, next to the pickles and lasagna. Hopefully, I can keep Big Bore out of it.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Once again, my computer is on the blink. I can't get on the Internet or email. My ISP told me I needed to "call the manufacturer." Once again, I called Hewlett/Packard's customer technical service department halfway around the world for assistance. After five minutes of listening to really bad music, I got to speak with Raoul, who was patient with me for not understanding him very well. He slowed down, took my initial info, told me I had 198 days of free service left, and transferred me on to the desktop tech department. More music. Then I heard from Matt. I was excited, until he told me he was a laptop guy and I'd been hooked up to the wrong department. More music.

Matt got me to the right place. I never could understand the name of this new technician, but I did understand that he wanted me to give him a credit card number so he could charge me $99.00 for service for the next year.

"But Raoul told me I had 198 free days left," I said/whined.

"No, no. That is wrong," what's-his-name responded.

"Well, I had Raoul repeat what he said and I wrote it down...198 free days left," I read from my notes.

"Oh, no. That's not right."

"Well, about a month ago I spoke with an HP technician for over an hour and he fixed the problem and I wasn't charged," I said. "And now you're telling me that Raoul was mistaken and I cannot even talk to you about this problem without first giving you my credit card number and agreeing to the $99.00 charge?"

"That is correct."

"Well, I'd rather buy a new computer than give Hewlett/Packard any more money," I said almost congenially. "Good day." And I really did say it nicely, sort of.

I'll check with my local cyber guru Ben, and if he can't fix the problem, I'll be looking for a new desktop PC. Not an HP. Until then, the poor Flaming Bore will be hitting up the local library computers to check email and blog. I wouldn't want to miss out on any excitement!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


During a recent weekend visit home, I took Mama Bore riding around and we noticed how "dead" it was around the town square. Used to be, Saturdays were bustling with activity. "Let's go watch people go by!" Mom would yell, and we kids would haul ass into the family station wagon, anxious to see what was going on downtown, especially after dark. Stores were open until 8 or 9 PM. We'd always hope for a prime parking front of J. C. Penney's at the corner of 6th and Madison since it had the most foot traffic. Mom would drive around the square over and over, just waiting and hoping for that coveted spot.

Once parked, all we did was, as Mom had promised, sit in the car and watch people go by, of course. We'd make astute observations about them--how Mrs. T. was always leading her forlorn husband by an invisible leash or how Mrs. S. had such good posture. I particularly remember observing a boy a few years younger than I tromping slowly along the sidewalk, seeming so lost and lonely. Years later, he murdered several members of his family.

I don't think we ever did any shopping during these outings. It was strictly voyeurism. About the only time we got out of the car was to switch places with a sibling. It wasn't fair for one kid to hog the front seat the entire time and have the best viewing spot. We would actually have Mom check her watch periodically in our quest for equal squatter's rights.

Well, nowadays, there is absolutely nothing gone on downtown on Saturday nights. Stores are closed, not a single car is parked, and no one is walking around. Empty. Where has everyone gone? There are four blinking stoplights waiting for action at each corner of the square but all for naught. I try to recall the different businesses that used to be there--a rowdy bar on the northwest corner, the Kansan theatre on the east side, Cozy Cafe on the south, along with Penney's, two drug stores, Bennett's Variety, and others. But, time marches one. Things change. Business come and go, as do people. We can park wherever we want now--and all we can watch is a small town becoming smaller.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The only magazine I subscribe to is Entertainment Weekly…this in spite of the fact that it’s been over a year since I’ve been to a movie theater, and I’ve purchased only one CD in the last year--and that was Gerry Rafferty’s “City to City,” which debuted in 1978. I continue to get this magazine year after year so I can be “with it.” I may never get to be close, personal friends with Angelina Jolie, but, by gum, I’m going to be well-informed on what oddball name she’s given to her latest adopted child. And, of course, it’s always good to know which rap artist is wearing what bling.

Probably the most relevant section to me in EW is “TV-What to Watch: A Day-to-Day Guide to Notable Programs.” In this week’s issue, a review on a new show that debuted last night caught my eye. Hurl! The premise is: Contestants gorge on something disgusting, like rhubarb pie or chili mac, then take a ride on the Ball of Hurl. This is described as a dizzy-inducing sphere that “is designed to induce upset stomachs.” (Excuse me while I pause here. Nausea is setting in and I must compose myself.) Whoever eats the most and purges last is declared the winner. Sounds like a loser to me.

Well, I wondered if EW was just making up this review as a ruse to its readership, so I decided to check out this new “notable program” on the Internet. Sure enough, there it was…featured on Channel G4, whatever that is. The G must stand for Garbage. Or Gross. Safe to say, I didn’t tune in, but I don’t know which makes me feel worse…the fact that this program passes for entertainment or that someone is actually making big money for creating this crap. It makes me just wanna, well, ....hurl!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Once again, those caring cyber journalists at AOL have dispensed some critical, life-saving health information to their Internet readers. The latest advice is: If you’re using a public restroom, DON’T use the middle stall! It seems as though an “unpublished” report by some crack research team states that the center stool is germier than the others. No reason is given why, but I’m assuming that it’s because more people must pick #2 than the first or last stalls. I know I usually go for a middle spot because I figure, apparently erroneously, that most people are so desperate that they just race for the first opening. Thank goodness AOL has corrected my thinking and made me a wiser consumer of public facilities. All this time, I thought I was increasing my chances of walking out alive.

Actually, I try to avoid public restrooms as much as possible, but for some reason every time I go shopping at Wal-Mart, I have the sudden urge to pee. I hate this habit, not because I fear discount shoppers’ germs but because Wal-Mart has such LOUD toilets. The first time I rose from one of their new-fangled automatic flushing potties, I thought a Jumbo jet was taking off out of my ass! Very scary. Now, though, being prepared for the explosion, I plug my fingers in my ears while exiting the stall. I get strange looks sometimes…especially when I cover my ears before I’ve pulled up my pants. A minor oversight. I wash my hands, make sure no toilet paper is stuck to my shoes, and get back to the dangerous job of rolling down prices. I figure there’s more bacteria on the shopping cart handles than there will ever be in those restrooms!

Monday, July 14, 2008


A few months ago, I decided that a summer potluck supper was in order for my high school graduating class, and I volunteered Mama Bore’s address as the “Where” part of the invitation. I actually sought her permission, sort of, although she had no choice but to give her okay since I whined so politely throughout the pleading of my case. “Pretty Pleeeeease??!!” The date was set for July 12, and the pot luckers would meet under her carport--rain or shine.

So, of course, it rained all day and night, but that didn’t seem to dampen the appetites or our moods to reminisce and update each other on what’s going on in our lives. One classmate had beautiful pictures of her recent trip to Ireland, another had just arrived home from a fantastic Alaskan cruise, and the Flaming Bore told about her exciting $850.00 ambulance ride to Wichita to get a kidney stone removed.

Pictures of grandchildren were fun to ooh and aah over, and it was great to hear about jobs, retirement, and future plans, but the best part of the gathering was the laughter. At one point, a certain gal pal, whom I sometimes called "Smaxy" when we were in junior high, giggled her very distinctive giggly giggle, and I experienced this déjà vu moment. We were suddenly back in her bedroom on 6th Street, laughing about boys. I then started paying closer attention to the laughter of others at the party. We may not look the same as we did 40+ years ago, but we sure do sound the same. You could have put everyone there behind a screen, had ‘em laugh one at a time, and I would have recognized the whole bunch.

I’m glad Mama Bore was an easy touch and allowed me to bring 21 old, friendly faces together again for an evening. And, you know what? As much trouble as it was for her to get the bathroom in order, round up kitchen supplies, and make the carport area presentable, I think she was truly glad to do it. After all, she hit the potlucky jackpot---two beautiful bouquets from appreciative guests and first dibs on the leftovers. She’ll be eating high on the hog (as in shaved ham) for the rest of the week!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Twice this past week I’ve taken a cat to the local vet clinic for an annual check-up. Now, mind you, these exams are more thorough than any I’ve ever had….plus they cost more. For some reason, Blue Cross/Blue Shield does not provide health insurance coverage for children named Fluffy. But, that’s okay. I’ve always preached that if you can’t afford the upkeep, don’t have a pet. Or four.

Now, I’m sad to say we have a little pest problem right now in the Bore household that we’ve never had before…fleas. Since Little Bit goes outside for a little bit every morning, he’s likely our culprit, but we use this expensive Frontline Plus flea and tick chemical on the cats and it’s always worked before. The vet explained, though, that this product doesn’t prevent fleas from hopping aboard. They will not live on the cats for long, but, in the meantime, they could be laying “fleas-to-be” all over the joint. By the thousands. I started scratching in her office just hearing about the perils of an infestation.

The vet recommended vacuuming the house from top to bottom…and we all know how much the Flaming Bore LOVES to vacuum. I’d rather be strapped in a dental chair for a root canal. Plus, the kind of vacuum cleaner I have will only work on the carpet, not on the sofa, the chairs, the baseboards, etc. This means taking a soapy rag to every surface of the house. I can’t wait.

The vet continued to say that fleas prefer dark, moist places for their hatching grounds. Oh, no! This explains those itchy spots underneath the droop zone of my droopy right breast, I thought! I’ve got fleas!!! When I got home, I told Big Bore about my medical emergency and he said, in deadpan fashion, “Do you want me to put some Frontline on the back of your neck?” I gave him my best, “Ha-ha. Very funny. You’re a whole lotta frickin’ help” look. You gals are all familiar with that facial expression, aren’t you?

Well, I’m bringing up this unpleasant topic to my readership because I’m hoping someone will have a suggestion for getting the fleas to flee from the premises, pronto. I’m open to any suggestion--as long as it doesn’t involve vacuuming, any other type of physical exertion, or running away from home. I’m just itching to hear what ideas you might have!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I’ve never been much of a water baby. Pools are too cold. Rivers and lakes and ponds are rocky and muddy and filled with too many creepy crawlers and they, too, can be c…c…cold, as demonstrated by the Flaming Bore above, when just a little spark. Oceans are too dangerous…waves once almost pulled me off into the deep blue sea while I tried to rescue a wayward inner tube. Plus I don’t care for sharks all that much. Or jellyfish. What I do enjoy, though, is a nice hot bubbly bath. No frostbite. No snakes and turtles nipping at my toes. No “Jaws.” No undertows. No one around checking out my cellulite. So relaxing. If I had a bigger backyard, I’d buy a hot tub and live in it. Big Bore could bring me the newspaper and serve me meals while I soaked all day. Heavenly! I’d buy one of those plastic, blow-up pillows for extra comfort and turn on the jets full blast so my back and feet could get a full-force massage. Ahhhh! Wonderful! I get all goosey just thinking about it.
.........Guess I’d better get back to reality and go clean out the litter boxes that are waiting for me. Then there's the trash to haul to the curb and the trip to the recycle center and all the yardwork to do.
....If nothing else, I hope you get to THINK about having a soothing day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


My hate affair with meat began when I was a kid. Maybe it was the stomach-churning sight of beef tongue slowly squishing out of a grinder. Maybe it was a turkey overdose at Thanksgiving. I’m not sure, but for some reason I’ve just never been much of a meat eater. This was never more evident than the time I got in trouble for the Great Closet Caper.

You see, even as a youngster I was devious. One day at the dinner table, a great idea came to me. I would stuff my mouth with the aforementioned detested meat, excuse myself to wash my hands, then make a “deposit.” When I got to the bathroom, I turned on the sink faucet, slipped quietly next door to my bedroom, spit the meat inside a box of clothing in the closet, went back to the bathroom to finish “washing my hands,” then returned to the kitchen, the dirty deed done. My parents had no clue. I was a genius! Out of mouth, out of mind!

Since this trick worked well the first time, I kept using it…with variations so no one would get suspicious. “I need to blow my nose.” “There’s something in my eye.” “I’ve gotta do a number two.” I had the excuses all worked out. Sometimes I’d just have the meat surreptitiously wrapped up in a napkin rather than in my mouth. Oh, I was slick….

....until the day Mama Bore decided to clean out the closet. Ooops! “Nancy Elizabeth, get yourself here right this minute.” That was the standard line for: BUSTED! Man, did I ever learn a lesson that day: although I didn't care for meat, apparently ants and roaches thrive on the stuff. It's a wonder I didn't get my nose rubbed in the mess, but Mama Bore took mercy upon me and I got off with a stern lecture….something about how starving children in Africa would love to trade places with me. We all heard a version of that one when we were kids, didn't we. What a guilt trip.

Well, I went back to eating meat, having survived my run-in with the closet police, but eventually, after my parents split up, I was given more leeway with my food choices. If all I wanted for supper was a box of Sugar Pops, that was okay with Mama Bore. She had bigger dilemmas to worry about than the content of my stomach.

I’m still not much of a meat eater, but every once in a while I’ll break down and have a hamburger or a turkey sandwich. Likewise, every once in a while Mama Bore or my big sister, with whom I shared the infamous closet, will remind me of that buggy box from so many years ago. We laugh about it now, but I’d still rather have a big ol’ bowl of cereal than a steak any day. Pass me a spoon and the milk, please. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


When it comes to my Favorite Fashion Decade, nothing tops the 1970s!

Now, when I was in high school, the mid-1960s, we had a strict, dressy, dress code. Like all the other girls, I wanted to be cool in the latest styles …shaggy sweaters, madras blouses, and my most coveted, a tartan wrap-around skirt with a huge gold safety pin that kept it from blowing open, thus preventing terminal embarrassment. My desire to be with the fashion in-crowd waned, however, as I went off to college and couldn’t begin to compete with the sorority girls and their high-dollar wardrobes. Why, when I enrolled at Pitt State, girls could not even wear slacks on campus until after 5 PM. Can you believe that? Archaic!

After my freshman year, this ridiculous rule was ditched, much to my delight. I started shopping at the Salvation Army for corduroy shirts, tie-dyed my t-shirts, had a staple of bell bottom pants, and wore leather sandals. Mama Bore made me some hot pants and shoulder bags, too. By the time I graduated in 1971, I only owned two dresses and, for some reason, I still have them. One is a pink and purple paisley mini dress I couldn’t stuff my butt into now if my life depended on it, and the other is a green/blue print granny gown with hot pink flowers, another one of Mama Bore’s creations, which I still wear occasionally at home. I could gain three hundred pounds and it would still fit me, more or less.

Drum roll please! I now present: My 70’s Fashion Show:

Here I am wearing a khaki sleeveless sweatshirt over a white turtleneck and blue jean bell bottoms. Next to my left thumb, you'll notice some cute little flowers on the jeans. "Is that a Men Working traffic sign in your college apartment," you ask? Could be.

Before she became a respected physician, Dr. Maureen and I monitored the men's restroom at the college Student Union building when we weren't working for the yearbook staff. I'm wearing a chic Spiro Agnew "What Time is It?" sweatshirt (you young readers won't have a clue) underneath a long, navy blue macrame sweater vest. The pants were red, white, and blue bell bottoms. Too bad you can't see more of 'em. I think I look rather friendly in this picture, but Dr. Maureen took crap off no one!

This oversized football team sweatshirt was obviously ripped off, as I only hung out with basketball players and a few track dudes. The hand belongs to one of my neighbors, whose face I cropped out since its now most likely being featured on "America's Most Wanted." Did I always wear my hair like this? Well, pretty much.

Here's a dandy outfit I wore while covering the police beat for the college newspaper. It's a black turtleneck shirt over black and gray bell bottoms, and in my lap is a shoulder bag made by Mama Bore. Quite professional looking, don't you think? This could be the reason it took me so long to find a real job!

As the 1970s moved along, I traded my hippie clothes in for the jock look: baseball t-shirts, shorts that were shorter than short, tube sox, and tennis shoes. If you look closely, my right knee is wrapped up...the result of a nasty skateboarding accident. I was such a stud! And, yes, your eyes aren't deceiving you...the hair stayed the same! ---So much for our little trip down Memory Lane. This concludes "That '70's Fashion Show." Ah, what groovy, sporty threads! There will never be another clothing decade quite like that one. Fortunately.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I regret to announce that Literary Diva and I are both rabid viewers of a tacky little TV show called “The Bachelorette.” Now, between the two of us, we probably have a jillion college credit hours, so we should have better sense, but, no, we’ve been rushing to the tube each Monday night for the past two months or so to find out which one of the 25 prospects this swinging single gal is gonna pick for her one and only.

The whole concept is totally bonkers, which may explain why Diva and I are such fans. Well, tonight, at last, is the grand finale. Will it be straight-laced Jason, who is an account executive, whatever that is, in Washington, and the divorced father of a three-year-old boy, or long-haired Jesse, a professional snowboarder bad boy based in Breckenridge, Colorado? Oh, the suspense is about to make me wet my pants! (or could it just be the 100 ounces of water I’m drinking each day to ward off any more vicious kidney stones?)

Diva and I both prefer Jesse. He’s the fun-loving, laid back dude who has no clue what he’s doing in life once he hangs up his snowboard. Our kinda guy. At the same time, we are both hoping that The Bachelorette, a dark-eyed super diva named Deanna (as in Dee-AH-nuh), will pick Jason. We don’t want poor Jesse to be stuck with her for the rest of his life. He deserves better…someone who doesn’t whine for attention or moan about the fact that Colorado gets a lot more snow in the winter than her native Texas. Duh! If she does pick Jesse, we hope that he has the nerve to say, “Nah, I don‘t think so” and then ski back to the mountains alone.

Are there better ways to find marriage material than via network TV? I met my future husband, now my ex, at a gas station. After 17 years, that match-up sputtered on empty. Of my five closest pals in college, only one has remained with the first man she married…and it’s a relationship that was arranged by their parents, Korean, when they were little kids. Thirty-six years after the wedding, they’re still together. Go figure.

It’s all a total crapshoot. Church, work, school, the Internet, blind date, TV show, street corner, whatever. There are plenty of places to hook up and find someone to marry. It’s just a heckuva lot harder to keep that relationship in one piece over the long haul. Once “The Bachelorette” chooses her honey pie tonight, I hope they will live happily ever after, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the next time the world sees them on TV, they’ll be on “Divorce Court.”

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Yesterday morning when Big Bore and I were slurping coffee on the front porch, we were commenting that the neighborhood didn’t seem quite as “4th of July bang-up noisy” as it was last year. We were trying to figure out why that might be. Is the economy so lousy that fewer people can afford to purchase a truckload of fireworks? Most of the hotshot boys in the neighborhood are now driving their own vehicles, so I figure they have decided buying gas to cruise around town is more important to their social lives than setting off Black Cats.

After dark, we drove out to a hill west of town to watch the fireworks, far enough away so my goofy ear wouldn’t flip out. I tried taking pictures of the rockets red glare, which were about two miles away, but all I got were six shots of fuzz balls, and then the batteries went dead on the camera. I call this blog picture “Exploding Bird,” as the red portion appears to have a beak at the top. See it? No? Use your imagination and it will fly out and peck at you. The green part=tail feathers!

By the end of the night, I decided we’d spoken too soon about the neighborhood being tame on noise this year. From dusk until a little after midnight, we were in a war zone. The good news is: there’s just one more day of fireworks and then we’ll get back to some peace and quiet. Tomorrow I’ll get to do my own version of The Declaration of Independence. I’ll breathe a sigh of relief, crash out on the hammock, remove the earplugs, and do my best imitation of Mel Gibson portraying William Wallace in the movie, Braveheart. Remember that one? FREEDOM!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008


I wonder what Thomas Jefferson and his gang of Declaration of Independence signers would think about our nation today…200+ years after they sought freedom from Great Britain. Here are 10 questions I imagine they would have if they were to bop back to Washington, D.C. Feel free to add your own:

1. Do people still remember who we are and what we did?

2. Why does the US Constitution have so many amendments?

3. Which freedom on the Bill of Rights do you most value and why?

4. Why are there 50 stars on the American flag?

5. Who was Abraham Lincoln and why is there a big statue of him on display?

6. What is the significance of Arlington National Cemetery?

7. How many wars have there been in the United States since the Revolutionary War?

8. What’s this Vietnam War Memorial all about?

9. That Jefferson Memorial sure is cool! Who designed and built it?

10. Besides sharing first names and being presidents, what do George Washington and George Bush have in common?

Have a great Independence Day and don't forget to wave your flag!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


(Zinnia from the Flaming Bore garden)

The Flaming Bore is officially one year older!! Now, when I was a kid I considered age 30 to be Geezer-Hood. With passing birthdays, however, the geezer milestone has been elevated--first to 40, then 50, and now….75. That gives me a bit more wiggle room to remain immature.

I have a wonderful day planned. First, water the flowers, take care of the cats, have breakfast, read the newspaper…hmmm, it’s beginning to sound like every day. But then I will take some of my birthday money from Mama Bore, walk downtown to the local gift shop, and buy myself a candle and a bracelet…something stretchy with beads just like I usually make when I’m feeling crafty. I already have a treasure chest full of bracelets, but one can never have enough.

Big Bore wished me a Happy Birthday and gave me a big smooch before he took off to work at 5:30 AM. When he gets home this afternoon, I will give him a gentle reminder that a trip to the garden shop is in order. After all, we wouldn’t want him to forget that all gals, no matter how old they are, love flowers, even if their yard is already full of them. I will then bust open a Little Debbie cake, scoop up some ice cream, make a wish, and call it a day. I can’t wait to get it started!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Channel surfing again last night, I tuned in to the last thirty minutes of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which should be re-titled: “America’s Got Freak-a-zoids.” Now, granted, there were some good dancers and singers, but there were also what I considered to be circus sideshow acts. At 7-feet, 3-inches, “Giant George” wrapped plastic tubing around a girl, jammed it up one of his nostrils, pulled it down out of his mouth, then sucked up milk, after which he ripped off his shirt to reveal fireworks taped to his chest, then blew ‘em up. And what was even more bizarre was that the judges gave this act a thumbs up and passage on to the next stage of competition! A sword swallower showed up later…I had to turn my head to keep from getting a gut ache watching him…but he, too, was given the green light. Alas, a gal named “Busty” who crushed a six-pack of beer cans with her size quadruple Z breasts received the heave-ho.

This got me to wondering what talent I could show off if this stellar TV show came to my town seeking auditions. Hmmm. I took piano lessons for a year when I was in grade school. After getting the scales down pat, however, everything pretty much went downhill. The left hand just couldn’t process how to work in conjunction with the right hand. When I was in high school, I could sing a little and play the flute a little but nothing special and only within the context of a band or chorus, so I could hit a sour note or just take a break altogether and fake it and no one would be the wiser. No solos or my cover would be blown. Dancing? Definitely a no. Not even close.

What is so odd here is that around the house I sing and dance all the time. Big Bore and I enjoy changing lyrics and butchering songs off key on a daily basis. And just the other night, I was showing him how I can tap dance wearing flip flops on my feet. I wish I could write that his response was one of impressive applause, but he just shook his head and rolled his eyes…and not in a good way. His reaction made me try to do better a second time around, but he assured me that an encore presentation was not in order.

Well, since this American has no true talent, I’ve decided the only way I’m ever going to get on television come up with my own freak show act. I’m still cogitating over just what this might be. Any suggestions from my readers will be taken into serious consideration, as long as they don’t involve fireworks, swords, and beer cans or require a name change to “Busty.”

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


(WARNING: The following blog contains information about child care activities that are totally unsuitable and stupid. Do not, I repeat, do NOT attempt to recreate these in your own home!)

Last week the Wichita Eagle had a little blurb about how parents can engage their children in educational activities during the summer months…things like reading books together and working on artsy craftsy projects. That threw me back to the time when I was a teenager having to oversee my two much younger siblings during June, July, and August. My idea of a summer job was to work on my tan, but family duty called so I stepped up to the plate…sort of. Usually, I’d just send the little brats outside to play with their friends; I felt I’d done my job if I knew where they were, within a square mile or two.

Rainy days were another story, though. Then, I’d be forced to put up with the sibs, which meant coming up with some not-so-educational activities to keep them busy. Here are three of the family favorites:

1. The Clothes Pin Pain Game
Supplies Needed: wooden clothes pins
How to Play: Challenge contestants to place clothes pins on various body parts (not those underneath clothing, of course) to see who can withstand the pain the longest. Hint: The absolute worst spot is that little piece of skin between your nostrils. Yikes!

2. The Pretty Ugly Match Game
Supplies Needed: your big sister’s college yearbook
How to Play: Open yearbook to class panels sections and, with each row of pictures, select the best looking and homeliest boy and girl, trying to match your opponents. The person with the most matches is a pretty ugly winner.

3. Recipe for Disaster
Supplies Needed: anything from the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator; one bowl and one spoon
How to Play: Try to mix up the most hideous looking, least tasty food concoction among your opponents. One of my dandiest dishes was to add enough water to flour to make it pasty, pour in Worcestershire sauce and blue food coloring, then garnish with slices of aged, rubbery
vegetables. Yummy! We had to put a stop to taste testing, though, when my brother became hellbent on adding Clorox and insecticide to his recipes.

The Eagle asked its loyal readers to send in their own ideas for wholesome family summer fun, but, alas, I don’t think I’ll be making any recommendations.