Saturday, October 31, 2009


One of my favorite scary short stories is actually a chapter from Ray Bradbury's semi-autographical book Dandelion Wine. It's the 1920's, small town Illinois, a hot summer night, and three young single women are walking home from the movies, knowing full well that a murderer, dubbed "The Lonely One," is on the loose, and he's targeting, who else, young single women. You blog readers who are former high school students of mine might remember the story because it was in your sophomore lit. book.

Lavinia Nebbs escorts her two friends to their homes and is now heading to her own home--but to get there she must walk down into a park's dark ravine, something like 122 steps, and then back up. The once-brave Lavinia suddenly becomes rubber-legged, as her imagination starts to get the better of her. Are those footsteps behind her? Is someone following her? Hello!? Shadows in the trees dance about her. Is someone hiding in them, ready to leap out at her? What is that she hears? Her heart pounding? And just when Lavinia finally arrives home safely, quickly locks the door behind her, and turns on a light, she realizes that "The Lonely One" has been waiting for her all this time in her living room. Someone clears his throat.

The story is best read in the dark with a flashlight, but I eventually decided not to trust lusty 15 year olds to keep their hands to themselves, so it was lights back on for the sophomores. Even though Ray Bradbury is a master at descriptive writing and builds suspense with every paragraph, the behavior of teenagers in the dark is scarier than anything he could imagine.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Have you ever been so "Holy Moses!" scared by a movie scene that you literally jumped out of your theatre seat? Man, I have, and I bet you have, too. Your heart experiences a sudden jumpstart, and your knee-jerk reflex reaction is to flip upward. Then, you realize you've been had by a "Gotcha!" moment, you take a deep breath to regain your composure and giggle in embarassment. Oh, I have been there more than a few times, but I'll just tell you about three.

1. Carrie. At the very end of the movie, the mean, cute girl played by Nancy Allen, goes to the cemetery to put flowers on Carrie's grave--sort of a gesture of atonement for being such a bitch to the pathetic psycho psychic girl when she was alive. It's a lovely, sunny day. Soft, sweet music is playing in the background. Nancy slowly bends down to gently place the flowers--AND UP COMES CARRIE'S BLOODY ARM FROM THE GRAVE TO GRAB THEM!! Sonofa-----!! What made this experience even worse was that I had been edgy since the beginning of the movie because I was one of only four people in the entire theatre. The other three were men who each arrived alone for the afternoon matinee and were seated randomly behind me. I was certain they were ax murderers or, at the very best, perverts out to get me.

2. Jurassic Park. Dark, rainy night. Electric cars disabled. Driver gets freaked out by a raging T-Rex and runs for safety (?) in a nearby outhouse. He's seated on a toilet, saying a prayer in his fear, yet also somewhat relieved that he's no longer eye candy for the growling dinosaur. Whew! Thank god he's safe. Then, BAM!!! Leaping Lizards!! He just thought he'd escaped from that hungry, green reptile. Remember that scene? Did you not jump right off the toilet seat with him? I about peed my pants.

3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers-1978 version starring the husky-throated, sleepy-eyed Donald Sutherland as a San Francisco health examiner. Evil aliens have arrived on earth in the form of giant pods that, in their quest to destroy the human race, assume the identities of the earthlings. Donald spends the entire movie breathlessly fighting the pods' powers, dodging them at every corner, and trying to keep his gal pal colleague safe. What a hero! At the end, just when you think the two have endured against all odds, Donald turns to the chick friend, his face becomes distorted, and he lets out the signature screech of a pod person. Oh, no!! He's been "podded" after all! What's she gonna do now? I get all creeped out just writing about it, so I'm going to stop this blog right now and go stick my head under a blanket.

Happy movie watching.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


One of my favorite Halloween Scary Movie Week features is the delicious Motel Hell, starring Rory Calhoun, who, when much younger, played in a lot of class B cowboy flicks. As Farmer Vincent, he is the mellow proprietor of Motel Hello, a quaint country stopover that takes in extra money by selling the delicious Farmer Vincent's Fritters, the best darned meat this side of insanity. He is assisted in this tasty enterprise by his maniacal pig-tailed sister Ida.

Their basic modus operandi is to stop nighttime traffic with wooden animal barriers set up on the road, then jump the unsuspecting travellers, who are planted up to their heads in a hidden garden, their vocal chords removed so they can't call for help, and then they are fattened up to become the Fritters' secret ingredient. Got all that? Yummy!

All starts to go wrong, however, when Farmer Vincent falls for one of his would-be victims. Uh-oh! The climax ends up in the smoke room with a chainsaw fight to the death. Vincent very dramatically sucks in his final gasps, chainsaw vibrating in his side, and confesses that his one regret in life was he "used preservatives" in his fritters. Then the last neon O in Motel Hello blows out. By this time, the audience is in tears--not from fear or sorrow but from laughing so much.

If you haven't seen Motel Hell, it's worth checking into. Cook up some beef fritters and stay awhile.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The name Danny Lloyd may not exactly jump out at you like a goblin in a haunted house. He's better known as the child actor who portrayed Danny Torrance, the cute little mop-top who possessed a spooky form of ESP in The Shining, a creepy movie based on the even creepier Stephen King novel by the same title. It's especially creepy when you're reading it while holed up in the Colorado mountains at night, as I was last year.

Watching the movie for the umpeenth time the other night on TV, I wondered if the real Danny, who was just six years old at the time the movie was made in 1980, turned out okay--or had he ended up crazed from his acting experience? It's such a scary movie. Did he end up with a Hot Wheels phobia? Might he be haunted by visions of Jack Nicholson chasing him with a knife? Would encountering twin sisters with long brown hair and British accents cause him to flip out? Did he go into hibernation every time it snowed? Was he only having conversations with his index finger and no one else? Poor, poor Danny. How was he?

Well, thanks to the Internet, I learned that the adult Danny Lloyd became a middle school science teacher in Illinois. Yikes! Facing 13-year-old terrorists every day has got to be scarier than anything Stephen King could ever imagine. His life had turned out worse than I thought!

Now, something even stranger happened as soon as I got off the Danny website. All sorts of scary messages popped up on my #$%@ computer!!! Messages with words like: virus, infections, and the like. In spite of all its techno protection, the computer is in critical condition and about to be hospitalized. It's back to the library computers until further notice. Obviously, Danny still has some sort of horrendous power, and he didn't take a shining to me.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have long been a fan of movies featuring the dashing bloodsucker, Count Dracula, so I was thrilled to once again view the 1979 version over the weekend. This one stars the mesmerizing Frank Langella, be still my throbbing heart (or neck, whatever the case might be). The first time I saw this movie, I was with amateur film critic The Library Lady. Not only did we swoon over Frank’s intense eyes and low sexy voice, but we also got all goosey about the length of his fingers.

During commercials of Saturday’s Dracula presentation, I enjoyed practicing my fake British accent, a la Miss Lucy, Drac’s bloody love interest in the flick. Sir Geoffrey, aka: Big Bore, eventually became weary of me gleefully repeating the same lines in the script over and over again, with different inflections each time, as in:

“Oh, FAH-thuh! Don’t be so ab-SUHD! I SAW the woooooooo-nds!”

“I’m going to pull my hair out if you keep saying that!” moaned Big Bore.

“OH, Sir GEOFF-rey! Quit BE-ing such a BOOOOOOOOOR!” I said back to him.

I think Halloween Movie Week on TV is quite a MAH-velous treat, but Big Bore thinks he could do without all my drama. He says it SUUUUUUUH-cks.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Woe is us. Yesterday we pulled up the last of the green beans. We’ve already ripped away one area of tangled morning glory and dug up the caladium bulbs, hopeful that they will hibernate in the basement over the winter and be ready to grow again next spring. The leggy impatiens are ready to go, but I’m not ready to part with them quite yet, and the coleus are thinning out. The mums have lost their luster.

Watching the gardens die out with the approaching colder weather makes me sad. It’s like losing grand old friends who I’ve become attached to over the past six months. I don’t want to part with their cheer, and I feel so crummy when I yank up the annuals, cut back the perennials, and toss them in the compost pile like yesterday’s garbage.

Yes, the fall colors are beautiful but so fleeting. Probably by next week most of the red and golden and yellow leaves will be gone from the trees--on the ground, waiting to be heart achingly (and back achingly) raked away into crispy brown piles. If you know how to treat my autumn blues, short of electroshock garden therapy, please plant some ideas on my calendar to make the next four or five months zip by.


Thursday, October 22, 2009


No, I’m not blogging about the naughty verbal blunder Ralphie makes in the movie A Christmas Story when trying to help his dad do surgery on a flat tire. No, this blog is actually about fudge. You see, the past few days I’ve relentlessly been consuming mass quantities of the sweet stuff.

Whenever Big Bore I head down to southeast Kansas together, which we did on Tuesday, we often take a side trip to Oswego, if the time and extra gasoline allow. Oswego is a quaint little burg where people are still allowed to park in the middle of Main Street. It rests on the crest of a hill above the Neosho River plain---a very windy hill, I might add.

Anyway, the best thing about Oswego is its drugstore, because inside that drugstore is The Fudge Factory!! Oh, yeah! Now, I really don’t have that much of a sweet tooth most of the time, but when I step one foot into that fabulous factory, I’m a goner.

After sampling the specialty flavor of the day, pumpkin, of course, we declared it fine but not purchase-worthy, so we ended up getting two square chunks each of vanilla praline, vanilla pecan, and chocolate peanut butter. Ten dollars. Our absolute favorites were not available when we made our stop, boo-hoo. That’s chocolate orange for BB and chocolate raspberry swirl for The Flaming Bore. Still, we were happy and toted our six yummy, fudgey fudge pieces off to the park, along with two little plastic knifes, where we blew in the wind and sliced away at our heavenly fudge for a while before getting back to our road trip to Pittsburg.

I lost count of how many times I sneaked into the fudge box yesterday and cut off a little piece. Let’s just say we’re down to only 2+ pieces being left and I’m not getting anywhere near the scales today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day--or the day after that--until ol’ Sugar Lips here has worked off the calories. Oh, fudge!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We went to Pittsburg yesterday to visit family. My great niece Maddie turned 6 the day before, so I brought her some Halloween books, six dollars, and a load of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Being the swell big sister that she is, she shared with Boomer, who is always willing to bite off more than he can chew.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I recently read an article about a hotshot wedding planner in California who whips together ceremonies and receptions in the $15,000 to $750,000 range, average being $135,000. Holy matrimony!!!

I think I probably spent 20 bucks on my one and only wedding. That was for a Sarah Lee frozen cake and some ice hockey tickets. No big to-do for the Flaming Bore. In fact, I even put in a half-day’s work before driving over to the courthouse in Wichita for the grand affair.
I’m not one for pomp and circumstance. I don’t like to be in the spotlight, so to speak. Maybe if I’d been virginal and under 30 at the time, I would have sprung for something more formal--but blue jeans and a flannel shirt didn’t seem to make it any less official.

Back to the newspaper article: the wedding planner said the most memorable wedding he’s worked was for country singer Leann Rimes, who ordered 20,000 Black Magic roses to be included in the decor. Well, that marriage only lasted seven years, ten years shorter than mine, so I figured I came out way ahead.

If she ever decides to get married a second time, I propose that Leann hire me as her new and improved cheapskate wedding planner. We’ll skip all the frou frou, save her a cool million, and just send the happy couple off to battle it out at a hockey game. As the late great President Harry Truman and the Flaming Bore once said, “The buck AND the puck stop here!”

Monday, October 19, 2009


Yesterday was a fine windy day to watch an old movie on TV, so I picked High Sierra, a 1941 crime drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino. I watched probably 15 minutes of the beginning, then fell asleep, but woke up in time for the grand finale. And grand, it was!

Bogie, the meanie, is racing his getaway vehicle up a steep Mt. Whitney dirt road. Behind him in pursuit are four police motorcyclists and a parade of cop cars. It is just the coolest chase scene. With each switchback, I was just certain someone was going to fly off a cliff, and Big Bore was having one of his famous high altitude driving panic attacks. “Hang on to that steering wheel, Bogie, and quit looking back!!”

Eventually the road ends and the villain has to start hot-footing it up the rocks, along with his arsenal of guns. The good guys wait it out below, while one sharpshooter stakes out Bogie from a higher vantage point. Long story short but Ida and her adorable dog Pard come on the scene. The pooch breaks free and starts running to man’s best friend, Bogie, who recognizes the bark, stands up, and “Ka-pow!” The sharpshooter gets his man, who dramatically bounces down the craggy mountain, thanks to a great stuntman. The cops and Ida skeedaddle to the landing site.

“You just wait,” I told Big Bore. "He’s going to have some final words for her, like, 'Here’s looking at you, kid.'”

“No way he survived that fall,” BB predicted, and he was right. Rats.

I was so impressed with the little bit of the movie I saw that I got on the Internet to read about its making. The best part was about the stuntman who kept doing the death fall over and over again, wanting to get it to look just right. The director, feeling like the poor guy was being put in too much peril, finally told him to forget it. “It’s good enough for those 25-cent customers!”

Next time High Sierra comes on the tube, I plan to get the rest of my quarter’s worth of viewing pleasure and stay awake.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Yesterday our Garden Club group took a guided tour at Botanica in Wichita, where I took the cool pictures above. This is a rotating bowl of pansies as seen through a kaleidescope. I just shoved my camera lens next to the kaleidoscope lens, shot away, and screamed with delight. "Hey! Ya gotta see this!!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009


A blurb in the paper yesterday caught my eye. Some 62-year-old dandy in Overland Park had pleaded guilty to bigamy charges. One lucky woman had been his wife for 20 years; the other had been married to him for less than a year. And get this: they all lived in the same apartment complex. Neither woman knew about the other for six months!

My question is: how in the world did Romeo manage to pull this off beyond a day? What lines of bullshit was he using to cover his tail? It’s not like he could use, “Honey, I have a business trip in Dallas this week,” when all he was doing was slinking over to a nearby apartment for his funny business.

I can maybe understand where a man would like to have twice the amount of bed bouncing. And, I can see how this guy pulled off the financial challenge of running two households--he was using his deceased father’s name with the new wife and getting daddy’s Social Security benefits--uh oh. Felony offense number two. But, who wants to tolerate double the bitching? Why, instead of locking up this lothario in prison, the judge should send him to some institution for the hormonally insane.




Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Our nice new neighbors adopted a stray kitty a few months ago. Their kids named it something cute like Princess, or Angel, or Precious. I’m not sure. It’s strictly an outdoors pet, but their garage has a little pet door it can use for shelter.

I don’t know why, but the precious Princess Angel plays and explores a lot in our yard, which is okay with us, but I’m hoping this won’t upset the little neighbor kids, and Big Bore and I are both hoping the cat won’t decide we are its caretakers. All we need is another fluff ball to feed.

Which leads to late last night--coolish and dampish--and guess who is curled up on one of our front porch chairs? Cute baby whatever her name is. BB starts feeling sorry for it, of course. He made a pallet for it in our garage, plucked her from the chair, and introduced her to a warmer sleepover spot. “Just for tonight,” he said.

“I betcha she’ll be right back in that chair before we even get back into the house,” I said. And she was.

This morning when I went out to get the newspaper, I was happy to see that she was no longer sleeping in the chair and had hopefully found her way back to where she belonged. But when I made it to the paper, there she was--running to me and meowing. Damn. I told her she needed to scoot home for breakfast, but she’s not listening. Heaven help us. Princess Angel is back on her throne.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


(WARNING: Do not read unless you are crazy about your pets and consider them the best human beings you know.)

For someone who was reluctant to even pick up and pet a cat a few years back, Big Bore, a dog kind of guy, has had a change of heart and has decided felines aren’t so bad after all. In fact, Little Bit and he have bonded so tightly that they sometimes share what’s on the menu. They really got after this gallon of ice cream the other night. Mmmmm good. It’s not just a man thing, either. If the truth be told, I share my yogurt and ice cream with Bits, also. If Big Bore and I ever give up our spoons and start licking ice cream out of the container, call animal control!

Monday, October 12, 2009


The cats are all confused and discombobulated at Casa de la Flaming Bore since we've moved in the house plants due to the colder weather. Some of their favorite resting places, such as the old coffee table above, have been taken over by green stuff. Not nice. Poor visually-impaired Fluffy has been trying to sit atop a pot of cactus for the past few days. "Fluffy!!! You cannot perch on spines!!"

The ferns always look fab when we first bring them in, and then, day by day, they start losing their luster. No matter how much I spray and pray, the fronds keep falling until, by March, they are practically bald.

I’m going to put up a calendar that will show the cats and greenery how many days are left until spring. As of today, it’s 160. Aggggghhhhh!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I was at the grocery store check-out stand the other day, all my items set out on the conveyor belt, when the carry-out guy asked the lady ahead of me, “Do you want your milk in a bag?” and then I yelled, “Oh, my gosh! I forgot to get milk!”

I dashed to the dairy products to get my half-gallon of skim and hustled back to the check-out so quickly that the checker gal didn’t have time to wait on me in frustration. I was once her English teacher. She knows I’m a bit flakey.

When the carry-out kid came back inside from the previous customer, we got into a one-way conversation:

“Thanks so much for reminding me that I forgot to get milk. You said the Secret Word. There used to be a game show on TV with Groucho Marx, and there was always a secret word that a bird displayed before the contestants came on for their interview.”

The poor kid and the checker tried to humor me by looking totally clueless, but the silver-haired guy behind me said, “Oh, I remember that show. Groucho would just talk to them and once in a while the secret word was said by one of the contestants and they’d get a bonus. What was the name of that show?” he asked.

“Oh, I can’t remember. Give me a second and I’ll think of it,” I responded and then went into deep concentration. “You Bet Your Life!” I shouted triumphantly.

“Yeah, that’s it!” he said. (The kids remained mum, giving us strange looks.)

“Gee, you’re telling your age,” I said to Mr. Silver. “You must be about….”

“Twelve,” he interrupted.

That special “Get 10 Percent Off if You’re Age 60 and Over Day” at the grocery store has got to be such a bitch for those 20-something employees.


Friday, October 9, 2009


Smaxie, one of my teeny-bopper pals from a "few" years back, sent me a hilarious email yesterday called “25 Ways to Tell You’re Grown Up.” Here’s a sample: “6 A.M. is when you get up, not when you go to bed.” “You watch the Weather Channel.” “You’re the one calling the police because those blasted kids won’t turn down their music.” The one that hit a homerun with me, however, was Number 20: “A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer ‘pretty good shit’.”

That last one reminded me of the time in the fall of 2006 when Big Bore and I were celebrating my retirement in Estes Park, Colorado. We had rented a little cabin, and the best thing about it was: HOT TUB!!! And aside from lounging in the bubbly heat, the next best thing about being in a hot tub is: BOTTLE OF WINE!!! Right? We headed to the nearest liquor store.

“I wonder if Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill is still on the market,” I said, as we made our way through the aisles of bottles. A helpful clerk directed us to the right spot.

“Wow!! Remember how good it was?” I said to Big Bore and myself. “I used to drink it like a baby sucking a bottle!”

Big Bore agreed that Strawberry Hill was A-number one. It was his choice of wine, also, back in the 1970s. Of course, that may have been because it was 99 cents a bottle.

So, we picked up some Boone’s--I think it was now up to $3.49, and we rushed back to the cabin for some hot tub and Strawberry Hill. Now, I’m not supposed to drink alcohol. It doesn’t mix well with the meds I’m on, but I figured a little sip for old time’s sake wasn’t going to hurt.

So, we got in the tub, clinked our glasses with a toast, and drank to our youth, wherever it went.

And--the wine was horrid!!!

“Good lord! Why in the world did we think this was so great?” I asked BB, who was also making a face in disgust. What a disappointment. “Pretty good shit” doesn’t taste pretty good at all when you’re over 50!

We put the glasses down, never to pick them up again that night. And the only time the bottle has since been opened was to dump the wine down a sink.

There’s a well-known old saying: “You can’t go home again.” Whoever came up with that adage must have lived at Boone’s Farm.


Thursday, October 8, 2009


The other day I received one of those emails that asks the recipient to add something and then pass it along. This one was about old TV shows that are no longer on the air. The person before me, my pal since birth Nancy Sue, had typed in “Lucky Strike’s Your Hit Parade,” and, boy, did that strike a gold mine in my memory.

“Lucky Strike’s Your Hit Parade,” for those of you not lucky enough to be around in the 1950s, was a Saturday night show that featured the Top 7 single songs of the week, plus some “Lucky Strike Extras.” Lucky Strike, a cigarette brand, was the sponsor; this was when tobacco products were cool and not known to be killing half the population, so they were advertised like mad on TV.

The songs were performed in cutesy little skits, sort of the precursor to MTV, by The Lucky Strike Singers and some special soloists. The ones I recall were classy brunette Gisele McKenzie, cutesy blonde Dorothy Collins, icky Snooky Lanson, who reminded me too much of one of my skuzzy uncles, and (sigh) the dapper Russell Arms. Russell was a dreamboat deluxe in my pre-teen book. I was always hoping he would get to showcase the #1 song of the week. It would be something romantic, of course, and I’d sing along with him.

Russell Arms was undoubtedly my first musical crush. Other little girls may have swooned over Elvis Presley or Pat Boone back in the 1950s, but not the Flaming Bore. I was all arms for Russell.

P.S. Who names their kid Snooky, anyway?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Have you ever had a crazy Memory Fart? It’s one of those goofball blasts from the past that just pops into your head for no reason at all. Yeah, I know you’ve had them, and I get them all the time. The most recent one arrived yesterday around 5:30 AM.

In this Fart, I am back in elementary school, 1st or 2nd grade, and it’s recess. I’m sitting with some other girls at the east upper tier of the Mound School playground, and we’re watching some older boys, like 5th or 6th graders, roller skate around the building. This isn’t just a leisure roll, either. These guys are going full tilt, pushing each other for the lead, and since the school was built on a hill, they maneuver up and down steps. Will they keep their balance or fall flat? “Watch out!!”

In spite of the fact that these guys’ presence made it impossible for girls to jump rope or play jacks on the smooth walkway, we weren’t mad about them monopolizing the sidewalk. We were totally entranced by their skating ability. None of them were wearing a helmet or knee and elbow pads because that would be sissy stuff. (Safety was not paramount back in the 1950s. Bruises were cool!) I was especially impressed by the leader of the pack, a swarthy kid named Dennis whose hair was cut in a Mohawk. A true grade school renegade!

That’s about it for this Memory Fart. Guess I’ll wipe it away and make room for another one to blow out of my brain.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


When the Class of ‘67 gang got together over the weekend, someone mentioned how our hometown’s high school band has shrunk considerably since the good ol’ days, which led to my story about the band’s flag team at the school where I used to teach.

Frequently, I’d walk through the commons area to get to my car at the end of the workday and come across the eight flag gals practicing. Some days they were tossing the poles to each other, so I’d take care to keep out of the line of fire.

“Why aren’t you outside practicing?” I finally asked one day.

I can’t recall the answer, but my question should have been heeded.

The night of their big football halftime presentation was super windy, probably 30 miles per hour or so. The eight flag girls lined up on each 40-yard line, four to a line, and the little band was in between them. The flag-ettes were gamely twirling their banners until the band’s crescendo, at which time the dramatic pole toss was executed--well, sort of. A wind gust made the north flags soar well over the south flag girls’ heads, and the flags headed north stopped dead midway and dropped onto the band members.

Not a single flag was caught, like it was so easily done in the commons. I can remember a saxophonist, J, getting clipped in the head with one of the poles, startling him. But that was only the beginning. When the south girls rushed into the band’s space to pick up their wayward flags, one of them blindly turned with her pole and whacked it below the waist of our already bonked saxophone player. A double whammy! He winced. Everyone in the crowd who saw the accident winced along with him.

When J. came to class on the following Monday, I suggested he wear football body padding and a helmet if the flag girls were going to try anymore aerodynamics near his saxophone. It’s no wonder marching bands have gotten smaller over the years. It’s not the reduced enrollment, jobs, or other activities that are responsible for the decline in numbers. Those deadly flag teams have been scaring everybody away!

Monday, October 5, 2009


When I was in high school, one of the big dances of the year was the Valentine’s Party. Every popular gal HAD to have a date. During my sophomore year, I was asked by The Glass Blower (see Oct. 6, 2008 blog picture--he's on the far right; I'm in the red sweater; age 18) to be his date to the heartful affair.

Now, he wasn’t one of the hunky athletic heroes of our class; those guys were reserved for cute cheerleaders, but he was fun and had been a good friend since 4th grade, so I accepted his invitation, even though he preferred paint brushes in his hands rather than footballs.

There was just one small problem: he was about my height or shorter, and I would NOT be able to wear high heels to the dance! What a fashion catastrophe!

Mama Bore consoled me for being so petty by finding a pair of black slippers to match my cocktail-style dress. They wouldn’t slenderize my chunky calves to look sleek, like heels would, but there was no way I was going to be taller than my date! I slipped on the slippers and slouched for all the pictures, none of which I still have, fortunately.

Which brings me to the above picture. Over the weekend Glass Blower and I were back for our Homecoming, he arriving all the way from Seattle, so one of our classmates took my camera and shot a picture of us together again. I haven’t gotten even a smidgen taller since we were 15, but GB has obviously picked up four or five inches over the years. He is a world traveler with an internationally prestigious career. He’s even been seen on a PBS special! Talk about making me feel small! And the double irony of it all is that now I hate wearing high heels so much that I haven’t owned a pair since I teetered on platform shoes in 1972. Yikes!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Yesterday morning as I was preparing to take Critter to her vet appointment, I bent down to pick up my billfold from the bedroom floor and my lower back muscles threw a fit. Wrench!!! Sonuva…..!!! With the help of Big Bore and the vet staff, Critter and I got through the exam, both of us whining. The doctor sent us home with medicine for the cat, but he wouldn’t put me put of my misery and shoot me, so I spent the rest of the day reclining--until I HAD to go to the grocery store.

You see, Thursdays are what I call “Old Ladies Day” at Howard’s IGA. Customers 60 and over get a 10 percent discount on their purchases, excluding lottery tickets and tobacco products. God forbid if I would miss out on saving a few bucks. Big Bore normally does our grocery shopping, but since he's nowhere near 60, he doesn't qualify for "Old Ladies Day." Back pain be damned, I was going shopping!

So, I made out my list, yelled for my caretaker/gardener/chef/ chauffeur, and it was off to Howard’s--after 6 PM because I figured there would be fewer shoppers at that time to gape at me hunched over with my butt sticking out. Big Bore accompanied me inside to pick up what I pointed out. This worked well until it came to getting 10 cups of yogurt that were on sale for $4.00. This cheap stuff was just haphazardly thrown into a bottom shelf bin, not lined up prettily at eye level like the other, more expensive, brands. This wouldn’t be so bad if I was willing to take just any old cup of yogurt but, no, I have to be Miss Picky.

First off, not all yogurt is created equal. There’s Low Fat and then there’s No Fat. I want the latter because it has about 100 fewer calories. The containers, however, look similar, so a close inspection is required. Next, I will not eat certain flavors, like lime, cherry, pina colada, and strawberry banana. Poor Big Bore is on hands and knees struggling to find what I specifically want, while I’m directing traffic around his ample ass because Howard’s aisles only go one-way. Five or 10 minutes later, we’re ready to check out, get the 10 percent discount, and go home.

My aching back hopes “Old Ladies Day” goes much better next week. I'm not sure if my back-up man wants to go back with me.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


Hey, gang!! It’s October 1st!! Time to start devoting your free hours to the biggest issue of the month--pondering another top-notch Halloween costume. Yippeeeee!!!

My grade school get-ups for trick-or-treating were usually something thrown together that was already laying around the house. More than once I was a hobo. I’d start with one of Beans’s big flannel shirts, pull on a pair of his Extra Husky Boy jeans, rolled up at the ankles and tied to my waist with a rope, then stuff my pony tail under an old hat found in the bottom of a closet. Mama Bore would wrap a bandana around a wad of newspaper, then tie it to a long stick for my hobo bindle. She’d wipe some brown shoe polish on my face, spring for a 10-cent black Lone Ranger-style mask, and I’d tramp off into the wilds.

One year, when I was in 4th grade, an older girl loaned me a store-bought costume she’d outgrown. I was Little Red Riding Hood, red dress, red cape, and my long hair held in place by a red cap tied under the chin, looking wolf-a-licious. I won the prize for “Most Beautiful.” There must not have been any Cinderellas or Snow Whites in the bunch that year.

Another time I wore all green and was Peter Pan. All black for a black cat. My hair played an important role the years I was an Indian maiden (pigtails) in a burlap bag/dress and a Japanese girl (single long braid down my back) wearing a pair of Mama Bore’s old kimono-style pajamas.

I don’t recall what kind of costume I had in 1st grade, but I do remember that the boy who sat to my right, Monty, was a tiger. This silly piece of trivia is etched in my brain because when we came back from lunch in our costumes, our teacher Mrs. Rankin told us NOT to sit in our assigned seats. We were going to have a guessing game and try to figure out who was behind each costume. Well, no one knew who the blasted Tiger was because Monty was sitting in his usual spot! Everyone got a huge laugh out of it, and no one accused him of cheating because this was in the 1950s and the term “dirty trickster” had yet to come on the scene. I thought he was a total genius for being so deceitful. At age 6, no less.

Mound School had terrific afternoon Halloween parties. We’d parade around the town square in our snazzy costumes, then come back to have snacks, apple cider and cinnamon rolls were my favorite, and watch movies like “The Three Stooges Meet Frankenstein” in the basement of the school building. There was a lot of screaming and laughing in between all the heavy duty cookie and cupcake consumption, as I recall. Now that I’m an old fogey, I suspect the teachers, god bless ’em, were relieved when the dismissal bell finally rang so we kids could take our massive Sugar High Overloads home and out of their sight. “What a treat to get that over with!!”

Happy costume hunting.