Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Every December 31 I review how successful (or pathetic) I was in keeping the resolutions I’d made on January 1 and posted on the refrigerator. So, with a few regrets, here we go:

1. Lose 10 pounds. Who am I kidding? I think I’ve gained five! If I’d get up enough courage to stand on the scales, I’d know for sure.

2. Clean out underneath the refrigerator every month and inside it every other month. The first part was easy enough to do, but I gave up cleaning the inside after a few times. Big Bore has shoved in so much food that I don’t even want to open the refrigerator door. I’ve decided it’s HIS problem to deal with, not mine.

3. Read the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. Well, I was so depressed after reading the OT that I went on and read the New Testament, also. It was a little more uplifting, until I got to the end and didn't know what the heck was going on--so I purchased Revelation for Dummies. Maybe I'll finish reading it in the coming year.

4. Get Tegretol down to 600 mg a day. This is the med I take for my inner ear spazzes. I’m at 1,000 mg and holding. :(

5. No surgery. Three evil words from this year: kidney stone surgery!!!!

6. No new cats. Finally! A resolution that stuck!

7. Get sod or grass or whatever growing in the backyard by October. Mission accomplished in June. It's still green and is ever so much better than the mud puddle.

8. Get back to Colorado--please! Late September in the mountains was heaven.

9. Clean out both closets/get them organized better. Got that done in January but maintenance was another story. They are back to looking just like they were last Dec. 31-- Avalanche!!!

10. Get new guttering put on house by April. Another success story!

Well, I scored a 50 percent. Not so hot. Tomorrow I’ll start over. Hope you resolve to end 2008 having fun!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Of all the cushiony, cozy places available where a cat can relax at Casa de la Flaming Bore, Fluffy has recently taken up with this rock we brought home from Arkansas last month. She spends hour upon hour cuddling up next to it. While Little Bit is nesting on the green rocker, Critter is asleep on our bed, and Muffin is dozing away in Big Bore’s easy chair, here is Fluffy…on top of a hard wooden end table with her head nuzzling a chunk of iron ore. She must be stoned.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Back on August 7th, I blogged about a wonderful new purchase…a big blue body ball that my chiropractor recommended I sit on while at the computer. It’s purpose: to keep me from slouching and having so much rib cage achiness.

Well, as of Saturday, my big blue ball is no more. While I was checking my email, Critter Kitty decided to jump up onto my lap to help….but she didn't quite make it, slipped onto the ball, gripped it, and KA-BOOM!!!

Before I could yell, “Bombs Away!“ Critter flew into the next room, using up one of her nine lives, while my butt went straight down to the floor…the hardwood floor.

Apparently one of Critter’s back claws ripped into the ball, which is now two flaccid pieces of what was supposed to be heavy-duty rubber. Thanks to my own heavy-duty padding, my fat ass survived the jolt. I’m back in front of the computer today, but I’ll be sitting--or slouching--on a non-explosive chair from now on!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Big news this week out of North Carolina!! Since I reported about the 1981 abduction of Dr. Maureen’s one-time mannequin housemate, Sheila, (see Oct. 25 blog), two of her concerned friends, John and Jane, have sought the world over and have come up with a loving replacement.

John, an astute attorney who has a lot of clout in the area of missing mannequins, issued a Sheila Alert, did some legal wrangling, and the Doc now has a new fashionable friend, Sheila Jane. She is younger and not quite so vacant looking as the original but will certainly do, even though the picture indicates she apparently has an alcohol problem.

With New Year’s Eve and Carolina Panthers tailgating parties coming up, the new and improved Sheila Jane should be making lots of friends, and I predict she will soon become the Belle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m sending her some Mardi Gras beads so she can get her fine jewelry collection started. You go, SJ!!!

Dec. 28--UPDATE FLASH!!! Sheila attended her first Carolina Panthers football party today!! Still boozing it up but looking stone sober. Love the feather boa!

Friday, December 26, 2008


Ah, what a lovely time at Big Sis's house warm that we sun worshippers gathered on the patio after unwrapping gifts and stuffing ourselves around the dinner table. Here are a few pictures:

Maddie not only got to be Santa Claus at the family gift exchange, delivering this present to Mama Bore; she also got to help open up presents!

Boomer showed off his new big wheels. He had even more fun pointing out scads of Christmas pictures that have been taken over the years of his cousins, sister, and himself with that chubby, white-haired dude he calls, "Ho-Ho."

Luke got a Scottie dog, a rescue pup, that he's named Princess Leia, since he's a fan of the Star Wars movies. We're hoping those cute little ears won't morph into braided hair buns.

Here's Auntie Flaming Bore with two of the nephs. Luke is going for the contortionist look, while Bo models his new stocking cap, a current fashion rage at his high school. Literary Diva made me the super cool scarf, which I totally love. The oversized sunglasses plopped on top of my head give me that chic helmet hair appearance that is so popular these days!

Today starts the diet!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Who remembers when you no longer believed that a fat, bearded guy in a red suit didn't actually slide down your home's chimney and deliver gifts to you via a sleigh drawn by a crew of reindeer on Christmas Eve?

I think I was 6 or 7 when the impossibility of it all just dawned on me. Nothing traumatic. Big Bore, on the other hand, is still suffering from the reality.

"When I found out there wasn't really a Santa Claus, I was pissed!" he said the other night.

"How old were you?" I asked.

"Oh, 12," I think.

"That old?" I laughed incredulously.

"Okay. Maybe 10," he said.

"That old?" I asked again. "How'd you get the bad news?"

"One of my brothers told me. I don't remember which one. Man, I was so mad."

"What'd you say?" I asked.

"You're lying! That can't be right! I heard Santa and his reindeer on the roof! If there isn't a Santa, then where do the presents come from? --And then he told me from Mom and Dad. Man, was I pissed!"

"Well, I hope you'll get over it," I said as he stuck out his lower lip.

Since Santa's boy had to work today, we opened presents last night and watched my favorite Christmas movie, A Christmas Story, and Big Bore's favorite, It's a Wonderful Life." We opened gifts, ate some popcorn, listened to some Christmas music, then went outside to look at the lights on the porch before pulling the plug and calling it a silent night.

We wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, and may a little bit of Santa Claus remain in us all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


“Role model? Definitely.
Genius? Oh, yeah.
Goddess? Probably.”

The other day a box arrived from my ol' neighborhood partner in crime, Literary Diva, and among the goodies she sent was a little gem of a book called, Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life, by Jennifer Worick. During my grade school years, Nancy Drew, Girl Detective, was the coolest book series that ever existed. Decades later, here comes this terrific new mini-book, a must-have in any clever girl’s library, which takes plot excerpts from the many Nancy books and compiles them into a handy dandy bible on sleuthing, dating, and survival. Here are a dandy dozen among the hundreds of great pieces of advice:

“Gesticulate like crazy to stop an ornery ox.”

“A strange tattoo might be a means of identifying long-lost royalty.”

“Never interrupt a voodoo doctor.”

“If you can at all prevent it, don’t chase after thieves when you are clad only in a leotard.”

“Don’t force your date to go to a ballet or other activity that may not be to his liking if he was knocked unconscious earlier in the day.”

“After recovering from an electrical shock to your system, find as many men as possible to vigorously massage you.”

“Loophole in the moral code: It’s okay to steal a cat if it belongs to your kidnappers.”

“Don’t release a circus animal without some identity from its claimant.”

“Owning your own key-making machine can be quite handy, and a compact one can be stored out of sight under the sink so as not to clash with your d├ęcor.”

“Never sleuth on an empty stomach.”

“If you see something resembling a shark in a river, don’t fret. It’s more likely to be a small submarine operated by thieves.”

“If a bleeding, screaming man runs from shore and starts frantically swimming toward your boat, you should probably help him out. He might be escaping from cruel employers.”

Thanks, Diva, the talented Ms. Worick, and the sly Miss Drew for all the laughs. I’m leaving my computer now to go outside and round up an ornery ox.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Does anyone besides The Flaming Bore have an official Junk Room that is looking junkier than normal, overflowing with Christmas gifts and wrapping paper? Yesterday, mine was on the verge of exploding when I took this picture before deciding to call in the troops (me) to do some serious cleaning/straightening. Notice that Little Bit is in repose at the left, unconcerned about the mess. Typical cat.

So, after I got my usual morning chores done--washing dishes, washing down the kitchen countertops, cleaning out the litter boxes, sweeping the floors, hanging up scattered clothes, and putting away what was in the dryer, I decided to clean up the Junk Room. But then a major interruption happened. As I was stuffing socks into my sock drawer, I discovered….oh, no!!! Fresh kitty barf on the bed sheet!! The same one that I had washed the day before! And, of course, said barf had soaked through to the mattress pad. Back to the &$#@! laundry.

When that was done, I was still ready to attack the junk. No sooner had I entered the room, though, when Little Bit jumped off the chair, only to reveal…..more kitty barf! This time, crusty dried kitty barf that had escaped being seen for maybe a day or two. This called for the amazing Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats Soil and Stain Remover, a serious cleaner of all things kitty and barfy.

By the time the chair and throw pillow were cleaned, I was tired and hungry. Time for lunch. Time to check the mail. Time to do the newspaper word games. Time to go to the library. No time for the Junk Room. Maybe I’ll get to it today?

Monday, December 22, 2008


Yesterday Big Bore and I plopped in front of the TV to watch one of my favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz. Between the two of us, we’ve probably logged over 100 viewings of this classic. We can recite much of the dialogue, wreck the songs, and he does a dead-on impression of the Cowardly Lion (“If I were King of the For-r-r-r-r-r-r-est!”). Whenever I say, “Oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home,” I get all teary-eyed…whether the movie is on or not.

BB, who prides himself on being Mr. Logical, had to interrupt my grand finale blubbering yesterday, however, with a gripping question about the movie:

“Whatever happened to the mean bicycle lady?” he asked.

“Elvira Gulch?”

“Yeah. They never tell you what happened to her at the ending. For all we know, she could still come back for Toto.”

“No, she wouldn’t,” I protested.

“Well, did she die in the tornado?”

“I don’t know. She could have,” I responded.

“Well, I want to know what happened to her.”

“Maybe you need to write the sequel,” I suggested, sarcastically.

He didn’t react too keenly to that idea.

“Did you catch the oxymoron?” he then quizzed me, sort of changing the subject.


“The witch is melting and says she never thought such a good little girl like Dorothy could destroy her beautiful wickedness.”

“Oh, that’s a good one.” I said. “Gee, I wish you’d been one of my English students. You would have been so smart in my class.”

“No, I wouldn’t have,” he chuckled.

“Why not?”

“I probably would have been trying to look up your skirt the whole time.”

Hmmmm. Now, that’s wicked!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


This is my very first photo Christmas card--the merry Graham kids, 1950 edition. I’m 17 months old, Beans is 4, and Big Sis is 7.

I don’t recall this picture being taken, of course, but I’ve heard family stories about it. If you blow up the shot, you’ll see that below my adorable, turned-up nose is some not-so-adorable crust and snot.

“You ruined the picture!” I’ve heard Sis say more than once about my drippy face.

Beans complains that I was hogging the center of attention and edging him out.

Personally, all snot blown aside, I think it’s a mighty fine picture, other than the fact that I look like a fat Beaver Child with a bad haircut. All three of us are smiling and our eyes are open. What more do you want?

Oh. Did I tell you that 1950 was also the last year for a family photo Christmas card?

Friday, December 19, 2008


(We went for a ride out in the country this week, and this is what we saw.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Seventy-five years ago, long before the term “politically incorrect” arrived, my hometown school district presented its first annual Christmas Pageant. I don’t know if it’s still a big deal, but it sure was when I was growing up.

The pageant consists of musical numbers and various scenes depicting the Christmas story. From first grade through seniors, all kids are invited to participate and most do. By the time one graduates, having been a pageant veteran for 12 years, every word sung and spoken is practically imprinted on the brain. I’d be willing to bet that my pal Rat, the best King Herod ever, can still recite every word of his dramatic monologue. “I am king! I am THE king! No little child of Bethlehem shall ever live to be a man!….” He’d madly draw his sword and put chills down my spine.

Now, I never had the confidence to try out for a speaking part in the pageant. I just sang or played in the band…except for the year I was chosen to be an angel. Oh, my god! You would have thought the earth had stood still the day I was notified. I was shaking in my shoes. I’d wanted to be an angel since first grade, and my angel-eligible days were about to come to an end in 1963.

Finally, that 9th grade year, I was among the select few. And not only would I get to be any ol’ angel, I was designated one of two Gabriel sidekicks…a horn-holding angel!! In the heaven scene, the horny angels rose from the clouds pretending to be blowing trumpets, while the not-as-significant, younger angels just prayed, and a soloist sang “Beautiful Savior,” which is a beautiful song. This was always the most inspirational scene that drew the “Oooohs” and “Aaaahs” from the crowd. And I was in it! Wings attached and halo shimmering. I was also in the grand finale, the manger scene, hornless and standing among a gang of angels while “Silent Night” was sung. After that night, high school pretty much went downhill for me.

A number of years back, the ACLU tried to stop the pageant after some humbuggish sourpuss complained that it violated the laws of church and state. The other 99.9 percent of the town revolted. Letters to the editor were written. How dare anyone try to shut down the Christmas story! To get around the technicalities, some local civic club came forward to “sponsor” the pageant by renting the school gym for something like a dollar, I think. There would be no silencing pageant night in Fredonia. The ACLU backed off. Tradition lives on.

So, here’s to 75 more years of Christmas pageants…of meaningful music, a timeless story, scrubbed-up kids, and giggly girls being angels for once in their lives. In my case, 45 years ago, some Divine intervention must have been at work.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Last week, a box of Christmas goodies arrived from my pal, converted North Carolinian Dr. Maureen and her more southern husband Scott. Included was a copper peace sign. I’m not sure she knew how I would use it, but, she wrote, “It reminds me of you,” probably recalling our college days.

When we worked together on the yearbook and newspaper staffs, my hippie dippy fashion sense was basically bottom-of-the-barrel, second-hand store attire, accessorized by a clunky, silver peace sign necklace, and homemade “love beads” and beaded bracelets. Since she was a classy sorority chick (Alpha Delta Pi), I was likely the closest thing she knew to a weedy flower child. It’s a wonder she even spoke to me, but we became fine friends, staging mock ice hockey rumbles in the curved hallway between the newspaper office and the Gorilla Den, where we loaded up on cookies and coffee for inspiration. We tried growing new and improved staff reporters from the leftovers, but that’s another story.

Well, when I opened up the peace sign present, I knew exactly what to do with it. I would attach it to a cool rock I brought home from Arkansas last month. It’s flat on one side, providing the perfect surface for placement. Big Bore hauled the rock inside for me a few days ago, so I could let it dry and then attach the piece of peace with Velcro. Voila! Instant yard art!

But, since it’s cold and snowy and dismal now, I decided that my new rockin’ rock should just stay out of the elements for a while. I figure we can admire it in the living room…up until the unfortunate point when Big Bore stubs a big fat toe on it and the peaceful atmosphere suddenly fills with #%$&@! expletives.

Peace out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Big Bore's eyesight has been aging in the past few years. He can still see a deer grazing in the next county, but reading a newspaper is a challenge. He also has a pesky skin tag under his left eye that's bugging him and needs removed. So, yesterday he had an appointment with an eye doctor in Emporia. I tagged along for a Wal-Mart run afterwards and to have lunch at his favorite fast food dive, Burger King.

While he was seeing the doctor, I sat in the waiting room, reading the latest crummy, so-called mystery novel by Carol Higgins Clark. After about 45 minutes, BB emerged, took care of his co-pay at the check-out desk, and joined me.

As we put on our coats, I asked, “Did you get your skin tag removed?” I inspected his face and the silly tag was still there.

“Oh, shoot. I forgot all about that,” he said.

“You’re kidding! That was one of the things you said you needed done!” I wailed.

Big Bore didn’t want to pop a vein in front of the three other couples in the waiting room. He’s trying to stop smoking (again) and it doesn’t take much to get a rise out of him. He headed out the door, mumbling something about getting the skin tag removed some other time, me trailing after him, rolling my eyes.

“I can’t believe you forgot to ask him about that,” I said, once we got out in the hallway.

“Well, I did. Just drop it.”

We didn’t get 5 yards down the hall when I said, “I'll be right back.”

I returned to the eye doc’s office, and as I opened the door I overheard the husbands talking about what they’d just witnessed….the typical scene of the little woman ragging her forgetful partner.

“Okay. Get ready for a bigger laugh!” I loudly announced. “I left my billfold on the end table!”

An uproar ensured. I grabbed my billfold, rolled my eyes again, and hustled out the door to join up with Big Bore.

“Had to get my billfold,” I readily admitted. He rolled his eyes. Needless to say, my big flapping mouth hasn’t uttered a single word about the skin tag since.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Every once in a great while, I have to remind myself that I used to have a love affair with cold weather and would merrily skip off to Colorado to go skiing. These pics were taken during rest stops at Loveland Basin in 1980 and Winter Park in 1984. I never advanced to the black diamond nail-biter trails, but I was able to ski most intermediate ones. Besides Loveland and WP, I also hit up Copper Mountain, Keystone, Breckenridge, Eldora, and Steamboat Springs during my ski bunny years. None of that fancy Aspen or Vail stuff, though.

My adventures to the slopes ended with back surgery in 1997--not due to a skiing injury but from overestimating how much homework I could haul home to grade over the previous Christmas break. Oops. My bad.

I think I might be okay at cross country skiing, if I ever again got the urge to subject my body to freeze mode. For now, I’m content to stay inside on cold days, ride my exercise bike, listen to some classic rock, and slurp on hot apple cider. The scenery isn’t as awesome, of course, but the temperature is just right.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Here’s my favorite Christmas picture. Ah, there’s nothing like a little holiday cheer!

I recently asked Mama Bore if she remembered what had caused me to be such a pathetic looking bawl baby during the season to be jolly. I’d always assumed that big brother Beans had ripped off the doll’s wig or attacked it in some other malicious manner. Or maybe I just didn’t like the clodhopper shoes I was wearing.

“Oh, you were just tired and didn’t want your picture taken. Your father was determined he was going to get it, anyway,” Mom explained.

That’s sort of a ho-hum, boring explanation, so I think I’ll re-write history and go with the doll assault story, instead. A girl has to have some drama in her life, even if she is just two years old.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Exciting news on the home front: my great niece and great nephew, Maddie and Boomer, are going to have a new baby brother or sister in 2009!! This means the fun has begun to find a suitable name for him or her. What a challenge! One certainly doesn’t want to be stuck with the lifetime sentence of having the wrong name.

Now, when I was born Nancy Elizabeth, a Nancy Sue was in the same hospital nursery, born six days earlier. A few years later we lived only a block from each other, and we were good pals all through school. When we were together, which was often, Mama Bore avoided confusion by calling us Nancy Sue and Nancy Beth…Nancy Elizabeth if I was in big trouble. She still calls me Nancy Beth…even when I’m not with Nancy Sue, who remains a good friend.

My brothers, of course, had other names for me. There was Nanny Goat, Nancy Eliza-bitch, E-lesbian, String Bean (that’s been a long time ago!), and Stupid. Standard fare.

A few select special people get to call me Aunt Nancy. That’s my favorite name of all.

I’ve never wanted to change my first two names. They go together just fine. My birth surname, though, is another story. Graham. How many times in school was I called Graham Cracker? Or Gray Ham? Ugh. When I got married, the last name became even worse…Veale. A piece of meat spelled incorrectly. Double and triple-ugh.

When I got divorced, I had the pleasure of changing my last name to anything I wanted it to be. I chose Evans, which is my mother’s maiden name and also the surname of my great uncle Jobe. Evans cannot be turned into something edible, as far as I know.

But back to the expected addition to the family. When Boomer, who is really a Brandon Matthew, was anticipated, I offered two suggestions: Blade and Blaze, both of which were nixed immediately, smirks included. I’ve also been trying to pawn off Strawberry Elizabeth to anyone I know who is expecting a girl. I figure if goofball celebrities can get away with naming their daughters Apple and Peaches, then Strawberry is equally as sweet.

Well, for the next eight months or so, I’ll be conducting extensive research to come up with the perfect name for this anticipated new life in the family. When I finally get my choices scientifically narrowed down, I am steeling myself for the same response I always get when I nib in with “helpful” suggestions: “Go get yourself pregnant and name your own kid!”

Thursday, December 11, 2008


About fifty years ago, our family had a little glass fella like the one at right. Santa’s pointed left foot is set in an indentation, and he twirls when one gives him some assistance. This six-inch-high baby can spin like a championship ice skater…and the kids in our household made sure it had dizzy spells every Christmas.

This isn’t the original Santa that shared my childhood. Mama Bore glued him back together after he took a nasty spill and eventually gave him to my younger brother, the out of control, crazed choreographer. She missed him so much (Santa, not my brother!) that a few years ago I found another on eBay and got it for her. Then I later found a third toe dancing Santa, the one in the picture, and snagged it up for myself.

He costs a lot more than he did in the late 1950s, so my Santa is treated with care. No wild spinning parties. Every once in a while I have him do a little toe dance--but if he becomes dizzy, an inner ear infection is to blame, not I.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I came this close >< to using my cell phone yesterday--returning from a trip to Fredonia to see Mama Bore--when my car slid off Highway 99 into a deep, snowy ditch. I swear, there is an angel watching out for me. I hadn’t any more gotten out of the car to check for damage (none) when Brian’s Tow Truck came blowing in to the rescue. Maybe a whole 30 seconds had passed. Brian was on his way to pull out someone else, but why not help me first? He had the car yanked out and back on the highway in no time flat.

“You’re going to need to turn back,” he told me. “A semi carrying hazardous materials has flipped off the road up ahead and you probably can’t get through. It’ll be safer to take the back roads into town.”

Got it. I know the back roads well, thanks to Big Bore taking me on exploratory, afternoon drives in the country, albeit in better weather. Good ol’ Brian didn’t steer me wrong. Driving on the gravel was much easier than being on the highway, plus there was little to no traffic veering in my direction, which had created my off-the-highway incident in the first place.

There was only one thing that totally aggravated me. I didn’t have my camera along for the ride! On the way home there were two places in the countryside--an overlook onto a basin of the Flint Hills and a bridge at Otter Creek--where the scenery was so beautiful. The snow was no longer my threatening enemy but a peaceful piece of art.

Once I arrived home safely, the creative part of my mind said I should grab the camera and return for the perfect shots, but the larger, more sensible part warned not to push my luck and to stay put. And that’s what I did. No sense expecting my guardian angel to be a frequent flyer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008



1. How do sheep in Mexico say Merry Christmas?
Fleece Navidad

2. What brand of motorcycle does Santa drive?
Holly Davidson

3. What is eaten for breakfast at the North Pole?
Snow Flakes

4. What nationality is Santa?
North Polish

5. What happened when Santa slid down a burning chimney?
He became Crisp Kringle

6. How would you fire Santa from his job?
Give him the sack

7. Why was Santa’s helper down in the dumps?
He had low elf-esteem

8. Why does Scrooge love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?
Because he’s always tight with a buck

9. What do you get when you cross an archer with a Christmas gift wrapper?
Ribbon Hood

10. What happens if Santa gets stuck in the chimney?
He gets Claus-trophobia


Monday, December 8, 2008


Do you have stupid games that you play with your significant other? Big Bore and I have one called “Sing or Identify That TV Show Theme Song.” The song can be hummed or da-dummed. We either name the show and challenge the other to hum the theme song, or hum the theme song and ask the other to name the show. Got all that?

Well, the other night after the late evening news we were exhausted, threw ourselves to bed, and then Big Bore suddenly started da-dumming a theme song.

“Name the show,” he said.

“Hmmm.” I was no longer sleepy. The game was on. “It’s not Betwitched,” I responded. It was soooo familiar. I knew I could get it. BB kept singing, and finally I got it. “I Dream of Jeannie!” I announced triumphantly.

“You got it!”

We successfully went through I Love Lucy, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, The Beverly Hillbillies, Rawhide, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Little House on the Prairie, My Three Sons, and The Waltons.

“Do the theme song from F-Troop,” BB then challenged.

“Oh, I know that one.” I confidently started da-dumming the entire song, feeling like the top dog.

When I ended, ready to hear the applause, BB said, “That was Hogan’s Heroes.”

“Oh, shoot! You’re right. Well, why didn’t you stop me? How does F-Troop go?

“I can’t remember.”

“That’s against the rules! If you can‘t sing it yourself, you can’t ask me to do it.”

“Okay. But, how does it go?”

After about 20 minutes the game ended with a TV commercial jingle--for Hamm’s beer.

“From the land of sky blue water--(high-pitched echo) water….” we both chimed in. “….Hamm’s, the beer refreshing; Hamm’s, the beer refreshing. Hamm’s!” We cracked up laughing, wondering why we’d both remembered the archaic tune. The commercial featured a canoeing bear, overturning in the water, which obviously made a strong impression on both of us well before we were of legal age to booze it up.

“We’ve gone totally nuts,” I said, finally ready to call it a night. “Good night, John Boy.”

“Good night, Mary Ellen."

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I read in the newspaper yesterday that the two main libraries of the University of North Carolina have banished putting up Christmas trees this year in their lobbies, unlike in the past. The snooty, academia rationale is that the library represents all belief systems, so displaying a Christian symbol is “antithetical to that philosophy.” Geesh. Get a grip. I think that’s just some lame excuse for being too lazy to put 'em up.

No one was threatening to sue UNC, but apparently there had been complaints from both overly concerned library employees and patrons. Now, if people are bitching about a Christmas tree, then they must be totally miserable, self-serving Scrooge-niks who have nothing better to do than find something petty to gripe about. So, they pick on trees! Well, as Charlie Brown and his gang of Christmas pageant-eers would say, “Good grief!!!”

Friday, December 5, 2008


Before he became a teen-aged rebel, Big Bore says he was a Mama’s Boy growing up, the baby in the family. He loved to watch/help her in the kitchen, a more than willing taste-tester. I’ve lost track of how many times he’s started a sentence with, “Mom used to….” followed with a story about her special way of cooking up a recipe. It happened twice just yesterday afternoon on our drive back from Wichita.

BB has told me how his mother loved music and how, when he was the only child left at home, the two of them would royally annoy his father when on vacations, singing duets while ol’ Dad was trying to navigate the highways. They would use fake operatic voices, joining in with whatever was on the car radio, making a country song sound like a classic aria, with some sour notes thrown in for good measure. Decades later, he’ll demonstrate their style, a piercing vibrato followed with laughter.

Which brings me to the snow globe. It can’t be easy picking out a Christmas present for a loved one who is living and dying in a nursing home. This is a snow globe that Big Bore gave his mother for her final Christmas, in 2006. I was with him when he picked it out from a big display in a department store. At first, he was looking for one with little dogs inside it, since his mother adored her pets. When he couldn’t find one like that, he was attracted to this white one. He thought she might enjoy the images of the singers in the “snow” and the music box in the bottom that plays a beautiful “Silent Night.” ---She died 10 months after he gave it to her. Big Bore is not much of one to express his feelings, but I would like to think he is hoping that she sleeps in heavenly peace.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


A few nights back I helped the Friends of the Library group here in town decorate some Christmas trees. One was fancy-schmantzy, with coordinated red and gold decorations, and the other was a hodgepodge of leftovers from home. I contributed my infamous “Days of Our Lives” glass balls from 1982.

I used to be a diehard “Days” fan, from the time I entered college in 1967 until the mid-1980s, when I finally got fed up one afternoon with a cheesey dialogue between Mickey and Maggie that was so over the top (Maggie’s crippled condition was miraculously cured and she was showing Mickey how she could step out in her old red dancing shoes) that I ended up flipping a spoonful of cottage cheese at the television screen. “Aaaaagggghhhhh! I can’t take it anymore!!” And I haven’t watched an afternoon soap since.

But back to Christmas….Every holiday season, the "Days" patriarch and matriarch of Salem, Tom and Alice Horton, would make a HUGE production of putting up their Christmas tree, decorated with glass balls that bore the names of family members. Each ball told the dramatic story of said relative. By the end of the hour, Tom and Alice were practically hysterical with flushing memories. I’m sure it was great for ratings.

Well, anyway, in December, 1982 I was thumbing through one of these el-cheapo mail order books and, lo and behold, for sale were personalized glass Christmas balls. They sold for next to nothing, so I bought a bunch, keeping the Horton family in mind. I don’t know how in the world I’ve kept my Nancy and Kitty balls from busting after 26 years, but they are still in good shape, so I took them to the library and placed them on the hodgepodge tree. Library Director, also a former “Days” viewer and personalized ball owner, took my picture to capture the special (?) moment.

We did this after everyone else had left, of course. No sense in letting the world know that we have a sordid, soapy past.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Well, this is it for outdoor Christmas decorations at the Flaming Bore household. One hour of putting up the pretties is about our limit when it comes to physical labor. Thankfully, no one fell from the ladder, but the bows did fall off the railing and post the first time around. And I thought duck tape held everything….so Big Bore and his hammer came to my rescue and tacked 'em in. He thinks it would be a lot easier if we just leave the decorations up year-round. Easier, yes. But also sort of goofy.

“I want to add a strand of lights every year until we have the whole house outlined,” he said.

“But it’s gonna look goofy if we keep 'em up,” I protested.

“We’ll be the neighborhood rednecks,” he laughed. “It’ll look great for the 4th of July!”

I have a feeling I’m going to lose this battle. I’m too much of a lightweight.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


It’s beginning to look and sound a little, not a lot, like Christmas around the Flaming Bore household. I bought this small red and yellow hybrid poinsettia at Stone Creek Nursery last week and set it next to my wooden soldier, who has a scarred face from being in a battle last year--actually a fall from the high shelf in the closet when I was trying to put him away. He’s been pressed back into service, though, and is ready to stand guard over the living room for another holiday season.

This morning I decided to play my Mannheim Steamrollers Christmas CD to add some festivity to the household, but I was in for a shock when I opened the plastic case. Led Zeppelin was inside!!! Oh, no!!! For some reason, “A Whole Lotta Love” was just not gonna cut it, so I made the big search for the Steamrollers, going through stacks and stacks of CD cases to find it. When I got down to the last three CDs and had about given up hope, Eureka!, there it was. So, I put it in the CD player and guess what?! It has a scratch on it! Humbug!

Trying to get into the Christmas spirit isn't going much better for Big Bore at work. One of his cohorts played the Chipmunks Christmas song at work yesterday. You’ve all heard Alvin, Simon, and Theodore rip the air with their odd, teeny voices.

“Alvin. Alvin. AL-VIN!!!”


Well, BB thought it was OKAY hearing the Chipmunks’ song the one time, but when the coworker hit the re-play button, dissension filled the room. He said one gal told him Alvin was gonna mysteriously end up in the waste basket if she had to hear him for a third round.

“We can hardly stand to wait. Please, Christmas, don’t be late.”

Monday, December 1, 2008


Trying to get Christmas gifts for relatives has just become one person easier. My nine-year-old great nephew Luke told me over the weekend that he would be mighty happy to receive a rock with fossils in it.

Now Big Bore and I are crazy over rocks…we lug some home from just about every outing we take and then find a place for them in the yard…but Luke is even crazier. He keeps all his precious rocks in his bedroom! He especially covets those with fossils in them.

Well, I’m going out in the yard--once it warms up, of course, and I’m going to pull out the rock we have with the most fossils in it, tie a bow around it, and give it to Luke for Christmas. He’ll be happy, happy, happy.

One year I gave him a load of bubble wrap for Christmas…and he loved it. He is a child of simple tastes and pleasures. But I still might attach to his rock an envelope with some $$$$$ in it just to complicate matters for him.