Thursday, December 31, 2009


Yesterday I had an appointment with a new family physician, Dr. Bishop, also known as my 6-year-old great niece Maddie. Santa brought her a physician’s kit, and after earning a medical degree in record time, she set up her home office. I was her third patient of the day. She checked me in and was ready to hear my complaint.

“I have a broken toe,” I told Dr. B., who was professionally dressed in her blue scrub top and shorts.

“Well, let’s take a look.” She removed my fuzzy sock and did about a 3-second double take. I wasn’t like her other patients of the day with their make-believe maladies. I really DID have a sorry looking toe. She quickly regained her composure and began gently pressing on the toe.

“Does this hurt?”

“Oh, yes, yes, Dr. Bishop! Can you fix it?”

“We will need to wrap it up,” she concluded, quite businesslike. She took an Ace bandage to my toe, but when it proved cumbersome, her nurse, AKA: Mom, advised her to wrap the entire foot.

That done, and quite nicely I might add, the doctor gave me a shot or two or three in the arm and then gave me orders.

“Now, you must rest your toe tonight. The next two days you may jog, then the next day after that you should rest again.” She repeated the instructions about 10 times and then checked for my understanding by making me repeat them back to her.

“If your toe still hurts after that, call 9-1-1. Or you may call me at 232.…”

I enjoyed my visit to Dr. Bishop’s office very much. I didn’t have to wait in the lobby for an hour and I didn’t have to be humiliated and shocked by getting on the scales to be weighed before the doctor would see me. And the best thing about it: when I asked how much I owed her, she said, “There is no charge.” Now, that’s my kind of medical care--a FREE clinic! I can’t wait to return for my follow-up.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Late last night, from 10:15 PM to 12:30 AM to be exact, I drove 65 miles from the big city to my home---in a snowfall. Yes, it took The Flaming Bore 2 hours and 15 minutes to go 65 miles because I was scared I was going to slide off into oblivion and never be seen again until after the meltdown. Making it worse, I couldn't find my glasses--just my sunglasses I'd used earlier in the day. My advice: don't wear sunglasses after dark. In a snowstorm. When it's foggy out. I was better off just jamming my own nearsighted eyeballs against the windshield.

I had a passenger in this ordeal--my great nephew Bo, age 16, who slept through the first half of the drive. That's how confident he was that his weather-challenged dear auntie could deal with any peril that came my way. I forced him to stay awake during the last stretch through the Flint Hills and look for the white line on his side of the highway shoulder because I was having a heckuva time finding it--and any semblance of a pathway, for that matter. As we snailed our way down the hills, my hands formed a white-knuckle grip around the steering wheel and I prayed for Divine intervention.

We finally staggered into the driveway over two hours after starting our little Nightmare on Highway 54. "Eureka! We have found it!" I'll tell you why this time of year is called a "Winter Wonderland." You'll wonder how in the hell you ever made it home!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Big Bore and I refuse to become Twitter-ers on the computer, but we don't mind having REAL twitter-ers hanging out in the yard. We have plenty of feeders around, homemade and store-bought, that he keeps filled with sunflower seeds and other bird-type cuisine. Here is a friendly Golden Finch or two having Christmas dinner. And, yes, I stayed inside to take this picture. Being out in the cold weather is truly for the birds.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Since the winds died down somewhat and the temperature soared way up to 20 degrees, Big Bore went outside this morning to remove some snow drifting in the driveway. I, of course, continued to remain inside. When he saw me "reverse window peeping" at him working, I got a big shovel full of snow in my well-protected face. I need to find more willing subjects for my camera lens.

Friday, December 25, 2009


We didn't do much on this Christmas Day, 2009. The weather was frightful--cold, windy, and snowy--so we cancelled plans to venture to Pittsburg and stayed inside. We exchanged Christmas cards, making sure to convey kind words to each other, and frittered the day away watching television and eating Big Bore's Fried Taters.

I took this picture of our spruce tree from the warmth of the bedroom, although I did dare to go outside a few times on the front porch, bundled in a blanket, looking for the big city newspaper. No luck. Somehow I went an entire day without Sudoku or the other puzzles in the paper that never arrived. Amazing.

We got the cats six orange ping-pong balls for Christmas. They are already missing in action--not the cats, but the balls. I figure I'll find one in the middle of the night when I'm sleepwalking to the bathroom, fall flat, and break another toe or two.

No dreaming of a white Christmas for me. I'm dreaming of a heat wave.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It's official. Big Bore has become a Gleek. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it's a person who is crazy for the TV show Glee, about the escapades of a high school glee club and those who love and despise the students who are in it. I am to blame for his Gleekiness, as I watched the show first and he sort of got lured into viewership because he likes the music.

So, how do I know BB is a Grade A Gleek? Well, tonight he was watching Glee--and it was a rerun we'd seen before. Moreover, when the glee club finished singing Queen's "Somebody to Love," he applauded--not just a polite clap-clap, but a hearty, big-time ovation. He loved it. Even the second time around. So did I, but my big left toe was throbbing, so I didn't feel quite so enthusiastic. (By the way, the big toe clip art from a few days ago has been replaced by the real broken thing. I dare you to look at it without saying, "Ouch!" Or, perhaps, "Yuck!" is a better description.)

But back to Glee. I've read somewhere that the average Gleek is female and 11 years old. I'm keeping that piece of information from Big Bore. He has enough problems to cope with as it is--living with me being right up there high on the list.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Christmas 1953, Big Sis was still playing with dolls at age 10; The Flaming Bore, age 4, cashed in with a doll and teddy bear; and Santa brought Beans, 7, a nifty pair of ear muffs. Didn't take much to make him happy in those days.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Last night I made a booboo. I have a clunky old VCR, over 20 years old, on a top shelf in my walk-in closet, and when I was scrounging around looking for something, the recorder fell onto my left big toe, covered only by a sock. On the Flaming Bore Pain Scale, with 1 being a hangnail and 10 being an oversized kidney stone ripping into my gut, this one ranked about an 8. The screaming and carrying on was so loud that it awakened Big Bore, who came dashing into the scene of the accident. He’d also heard the thud of the VCR and thought I’d fallen.

“I’ve broken my big toe!!!” I wailed and explained what happened, while limping into the living room. “Get me the bag of frozen peas, quick!!”

He hustled to get the cold veggie pack for me.

“Here. Prop up your foot.”

I continued moaning--loudly, in my best dramatic flair, working it for all I could. “Ouchy! Ouchy! It hurts!” We removed the sock to make a direct application of the ice--and I was disappointed. The toe was red and purple, but it didn’t look nearly as badly as it felt. I was expecting it to be a bloody pulp flattened into a “toe pancake.” So, I elevated and iced and turned down my suffering a few notches.

The damned toe is still throbbing this morning, but I’ve found an old pair of Nike leather sandals that will work in case regular shoes don’t fit, and I’m ready to drag myself out into the world. If I don’t put on a happy face, BB says he’ll just put me out of my misery--so I have to suck it up, swallow a bunch of pain pills, and get with the program. They shoot horses, don’t they?

Friday, December 18, 2009


Violins, please! Grab your Kleenex! “Like sands through the hourglass….” Back in the fall of 1967, when I was a freshman in college, I got hooked on a silly soap opera called Days of Our Lives. It seemed like half the gals in Tanner Hall would congregate in the dorm basement TV room at 1 PM to watch the shenanigans of the Horton family. Dr. Tom, the patriarch, was the chief physician at Salem General Hospital, and his wife, Alice, was the chief busybody in town. Their adult children, Mickey, Laura, and Bill, were always engaged in some caper of tragedian proportions, as were their grandchildren who eventually came along. This was in the time before VCRs and taping shows, so many of us would work our class schedules around Days. Earning a diploma was secondary to missing a single melodramatic minute of our favorite soap.

Christmastime was always special at the Horton household. Specifically, Tom and Alice would decorate their tree with ornaments bearing the name of each family member and then reveal some historic hysteria that had occurred in that person’s life once upon a time. Nothing like reliving trauma in order to whip up a little holiday cheer. I haven’t watched DOOL in over 25 years, and I think Big Sis, also once a rabid fan, gave up on it long ago but still tunes in to the annual “Let’s decorate the tree and tell a sob story” show.

Which leads to some of my Christmas present purchases in 1982. That year I had scrounged through a bunch of el-cheapo mail order house catalogues, trying to find potential presents, and there they were! Personalized glass ornaments for sale! What a great gift this would be for Sis, her husband, and two kids! I quickly ordered her family and myself what has come to be known as the Days of Our Lives Christmas Balls. As each of her five grandkids has come along, another personalized ball has been added to the tree--ho-ho-homemade ones that I craft myself, although they aren’t as jazzy as the original style, which I can no longer find for sale. None have ever broken. Amazing.

When I was talking with Big Sis on the phone last night, she mentioned that the younger grandkids have recently been having fun identifying the family names on her DOOL Christmas ornaments. Maddie is reading now, and Boomer assumes that every ornament with a “B” is his. In the name of tradition, I’ve recently made a new one for 4-month-old baby William, which will be ceremoniously added to the tree next week. Here’s hoping there’s no horrific tale of his conception or delivery to go along with it, a la Tom and Alice. --May all the days of your life be happy ones, little William.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Yesterday I went to Mama Bore’s house to continue my cleaning quest, and, when I felt like I was ready to drop, I bopped over to the home of one of my BFFs to recover with coffee and conversation. And lo and behold, another BFF was in town and arrived shortly after I did. I have known Nancy Sue and Cheryl for over 54 years. Actually Nancy Sue and I initially became acquainted in a hospital nursery when she was six days old, but that doesn’t count. Anyone who has known me since first grade and still speaks to me qualifies as a Best Friend Forever.

Growing up, Nancy Sue lived a block away--half a block if we cut through the alley and the Monicals’ yard. Cheryl was two blocks on down across the highway. There was a vacant lot next to her house that was ideal for various kid activities, and her garage was where I learned the finer art of that classic game, Spin the Bottle, one rainy day. Nancy Sue had a real playhouse in her backyard, and next to it was a fine tree for climbing. My house was across the street from the football stadium. If we weren’t in my bedroom with a telescope watching the guys, we were conveniently out in the backyard waiting for them to come by.

On Monday I am going to the big city, and guess what?! I’m gonna have lunch with two more BFFs!! That’s right. Since first grade I have also been pals with Rat and Maggie. Rat lives in Vermont now, but we still try to meet up when he’s back in the Midwest because together we will be forever linked by surviving the Big Hideous Sledding Accident of 1955. Maggie didn’t live in my neighborhood, but we still shared the same wacky, wicked sense of humor. We spent most of sixth grade carrying a heavy-duty crush for a guy who was a senior. We’d sit on the school steps every morning waiting for him to drop off the little sister of his blonde bombshell girlfriend, who was always cozied up next to him in his cool black Ford Fairlane, just so we could get a glimpse. Like we stood a chance--or would even know what to do if we had one. Sigh.

I probably have a dozen First Grade BFFs I’m still in touch with, along with a number of other pals from junior high and high school. Big Bore, who grew up in the city, envies my small town roots and longtime friendships. And for good reason. If you want to make yourself feel better physically and mentally and emotionally and every other way, just try being with a BFF.

(P.S.--That's Nancy Sue with her eyes closed at the far left. Cheryl is three girls over with the curls hanging over her forehead, and Maggie, with pigtails, is next to her. I'm the closed-mouth one three girls over in the jumper. Rat is the big smiler--far right, middle row. That nice smooth forehead of his was probably never the same after our sledding accident.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Big Bore is a lover of most things feathered, so recently he crafted some little houses for his bird friends out of pieces of used wood that were in the garage. He would much rather be outside puttering around than hibernating with me, where the air is warm and full of cat fuzz.

He hung this wren hotel on our little Golden Raintree, which Mama Bore gave me about three years ago when it was the size of a 12-inch high toothpick. We nursed it along in a pot for a year and then transplanted it in the backyard, where it is starting to look like an actual tree, at least it was back in October when the yard was alive with color.

Now, as everyone knows, I hate cold weather. On days like today (5 degrees when I awakened) I do my best to stay inside and look at the messes I need to rearrange. I did, however, try doing some yard work this morning and lasted about 30 seconds, tops, before retreating back indoors, eyes dripping. It’s back to cleaning up after Big Bore and the cats. No fun, but at least I’m not in danger of turning into a human ice sculpture. Sporadically I take breaks to check my email and count down the days until spring, although it’s not even officially winter yet. We have ninety-five
days to go. The birds and I hope time flies.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Fred Astaire glided across my TV late last night in Holiday Inn. When I was a kid, I always planned to have a boyfriend who was light on his feet like Fred. We’d go to dances and part the crowds with our dazzling display of elegant moves. Applause, applause!

The only good thing about my ability to do a graceful waltz, however, was that all my friends were equally as bad. Our idea of slow dancing at Teentown was this: girl puts her hands atop boy’s shoulders and boy puts his hands at sides of girl’s waist and then they both shuffle their feet in circles, trying all the while not to destroy the other’s toes. If they were more than “just friends,” the girl’s hands wrapped around the back of his neck and the boy’s hands slid behind her waist and then made clumsy attempts at butt cheek grabbing. The feet, however, stayed the same. No one ever stepped aside to watch any high school Freds and Gingers at Teentown. There were none.

Seeing Fred Astaire waltzing and tapping across my TV screen last night was such a rush. He looked so elegant. His partner was long-limbed, with a 20-inch waist, and she flowed into his arms. Oh, how I long for the day when a dapper, Fred-like kind of guy taps me on the shoulder and murmurs those sweet words I’ve been longing to hear for decades. “May I have this dance?” He sweeps me off my size 10 tennis shoes and we go fluttering away to the admiration of all those around us. No butt groping required to get me feeling light-footed or light-headed with Sir Astaire.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The Bore family does not have a traditional Christmas tree. Cats and Christmas trees do not mix well. Instead, we have some sort of tree plant decorated with plastic red pepper lights and red ball ornaments. We go all out. The base of the plant has Arkansas white rocks around it to prevent the cats from mistaking it for a dumping ground, if you know what I mean. Muffin has already rebelled by making her deposits on the floor around it. She is a clever one, that Muffin.

I got this whatever-you-call-it plant/tree about two years ago from a friend. It was a “rescue.” Big Bore has re-potted it a few times, supporting its fragile branches around a piece of wood. It thrives outdoors in warmer weather, but hibernating inside during the winter months makes it droopy and sad. Sort of like me. The only Christmas present I want to find beneath my tree is spring.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last night Big Bore and I settled down in the living room to watch basketball on TV, KU versus Radford. Here’s how the game started:

BB: Where is Radford?

Me: It’s where Richie Bay teaches.

BB: Who’s Richie Bay?

Me: He’s my old hippie friend from college who’s now an art professor.

BB: Name doesn’t strike a bell.

Me: He’s the silk screened green face on that old T-shirt I wear when I’m painting.

BB: Oh, okay, I know who you mean. So where is Radford?

Me: It’s two hours from where Maureen lives. (He knows Dr. Maureen but he’s never been to her North Carolina home.)

BB: Does she live on the coast?

Me: No, the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest part of the state.

BB: So, where is Radford? (He’s trying to stay patient with me.)

Me: Virginia. Southwest part.

BB: Thank-you.

I think our conversations would be much easier on Big Bore if I’d just get right to the point, but it’s too much fun to string him along.

P.S. KU won!!!! Big! No question about it!

Monday, December 7, 2009


We went to Botanica in Wichita Saturday night to see the Christmas lights. We'd heard about how pretty they are but had never gone before, so we hopped on the reindeer sleigh and went for a ride. The above picture was taken at the entry to the gardens. The trees below were somehow placed in the pond, thus the nice reflection.

This next picture is at Candy Cane Lane. When I was at this enclosed area in October, it was filled with butterflies and pansies.

There are a bunch of big poinsettias like this next one in the Shakespeare Garden. See the statue in the background? I don't know who it is supposed to be. Certainly not Lady Macbeth.

We end our tour at the arbor, strung with blue, purple, and green lights that make it look like bunches of grapes. It's actually a lot cooler in person. Behind it was a light show that blinked on and off to some Manheim Steamroller Christmas selections. Our favorite was a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night." When it finished, Big Bore asked me if I had any little tears in my eyes, because he sure did. Yep. And it wasn't from the cold.

If you live in the area and have never been to Botanica at Christmas time, I hope you will have time to stop by. This weekend will be its last viewing for the season. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Yesterday as Big Bore and I were leaving Pet Co. in the big city with our new and improved cat litter pans, we both thought we were hallucinating. In the parking lot approaching the store was a person, gender uncertain, with the following get-up: long, flowing platinum hair, Elton John glasses, white fur stole, white hot pants cut up to the butt cheeks, black fishnet stockings over legs up to the eyebrows, and shiny gold calf-length boots with high heels. BB and I both did a double take, as did the man following us. BB started chuckling. She/he then turned and looked at the single man before entering the store. He looked away and hustled on to his truck. Yikes!

“What the hell was that?” BB asked. “A cross dresser?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s 38 degrees out and no matter if you’re female or male, it’s too cold to be prancing around in hot pants. Even if you‘re buying pet stuff.” We were both dressed in two layers of winterwear.

Big Bore thought she/he was probably just fishing for a hookup of a sexual kind.

“At a pet store?” I asked.
"Well, this IS Wichita," he said.

Fortunately, we were too hungry to return inside the store to check out the hot pants further. I don’t profess to understand the world of high fashion. Or low fashion, whatever the case may be. I don’t wanna know. Not even a nibble.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Muffin, our diva cat, has this “thing” about loving to ride with me on my recumbent bike. Often when she hears me pedaling, she dashes into the living room and hops up into my lap. Then she rubs all over my face, demanding kisses. I’ve given up trying to figure out what this means in her language. I don’t think there’s an animal behavior book that has a chapter on exercise-biking cats. She rides until I get tired and cruise to a halt. Sometimes when I'm not on the bike, Muffin will just sit on it and wait for me--"Hey, tubby person, get your butt over here and let's go for a ride!"

Friday, December 4, 2009


I don’t suppose I need to point out to you the fact that Christmas movies started showing up on TV the day after Halloween, but I really don’t mind. ‘Tis the season to be jolly should be year-round and not just limited to December. We watched our first Christmas movie of the year a few nights ago--National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I didn’t laugh at it as much as I did the first time around in a Wichita movie theater 20 years ago, but it was still amusing at times. I tried watching Polar Express last night but couldn't stay interested in it, even though a creepily-animated Tom Hanks was in it.

I am partial to A Christmas Story. It’s the one with the lovable Ralphie and his quest to have Santa bring him a Red Ryder b-b gun. Starting on Christmas Eve, it runs for 24 hours on TBS, and you can bet I’ll be watching and LMAO at Ralphie’s escapades, his little brother Randy’s goofiness, their father’s groveling, and their mother’s ditzy-doodle exasperation with them all. I NEVER get tired of seeing this movie. There are too many hilarious moments to name just one, but one of them is when the boys go to a department store to talk to Santa and when it’s their turn they freak out. Probably doesn’t help that Santa is buzzed on booze and bitchy-tired of the job. Another funny scene is when Dad wins a prize that comes to the house in a big box marked “FRAGILE” and he pronounces it “FRA-GEE-LAY,” thinking it’s an Italian import. --See, I told you I couldn’t stop at giving just ONE hilarious moment in the movie.

I can’t wait until Christmas Eve. Seeing Ralphie once again is the best present of them all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


My longtime pal Rick sent me a nice email yesterday about who is most important in the world. It’s not the rich and famous but those who make an impact on your life. The email said few people remember the names of the Nobel Prize winners, or the richest people in the world, or the last five Miss Americas, etc. True.

There was a time, however, many decades ago, when I could recite the names of more than five Miss Americas. I would get so excited about the big pageant in Atlantic City that I would pretend to be a judge and keep a score card. Mama Bore would watch the TV show with me, knowing full well that I, her no-talent, buck-toothed third child, would never achieve the ideal status of a Miss America or wear any type of crown for that matter. But she never rubbed it in.

Years later, in my twenties, I found a kindred Miss America-viewing spirit in the Library Lady. By then, though, it was more for kicks than for any admiration. At the time, even the Miss Kansas pageant was televised. I think we quit watching after one contestant’s grand finale to her talent presentation was doing the splits atop two kitchen chairs. Now, you might ask, “How does a human being do this?” Well, she started by having the backs of the chairs close together, balanced on the tops, then gradually spread her legs until she landed into something that was well beyond splits. She still had a smile on her face, but Library Lady and I were grimacing for weeks afterward.

I think the Miss America pageant started going downhill when host Bert Parks was canned. That “There She Goes” song just wasn’t the same after he was pushed out. It also didn’t help that a few winners had to give up their crown due to having nude photos in their resumes, shamey shame. The major TV networks dropped the show and it ended up lost somewhere on cable. I haven’t watched it in over 20 years. So, Rick is right. Being a Miss America is nothing in the grand scheme of life.

Mama Bore still considers me her favorite middle child, my cats adore the hand that feeds them and cleans their messes, and Big Bore thinks I’m the hottest 60-year-old on the block. One can’t ask for more.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


In the news recently was an article about the alarming increase in Type 2 diabetes in children, which apparently is related to an increase in childhood obesity. I’m no medical researcher, but I think these problems are probably due to another increase--in hours played on Xbox-360. Kids gotta have their video games! Sedentary lifestyles.

I’m glad I was never tempted by all these sit-down gadgets and gizmos when I was a kid. Mama Bore’s constant mantra was: “Go outside and play.” In other words, “Get out of my hair!” When I was underfoot, I just made more messes for her to clean up, so it was much easier for her if I was outdoors.

I took her orders to heart. Our big backyard was a playground for softball, hide-n-seek, and shadow tag. The front yard driveway and sidewalk were used for games like hopscotch, lemonade (what‘s your trade?), mother may I, and jacks. The neighbor boys had some trees in their yard that were great for climbing. And, of course, I had a bike--one speed only. I became excellent at all these outdoor activities because I got lots of practice. Have I ever learned how to correctly make a bed and iron clothes? Well, no.

I know little kids still like to play outside because when I pass a school at recess time I always see them running around having a blast. So, there is hope. Woe will be the day when recesses are idly spent playing computer games, fingers madly twitching, eyes glazed.