Saturday, December 16, 2017

My 30-hour Travel Nightmare
A horror story by Farrah Rochon
(Farrah Rochon is a best-selling romance writer and, I am proud to say, a friend of mine. She is also a US citizen, born and bred, and I am appalled at the treatment she was subjected to in Israel!!!)

It all started at the first security checkpoint at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. It was 2:30am and all I wanted was a hot cup of coffee and a comfortable seat on my 5:20am flight. When the security person took my passport and asked if I knew the origin of my first name, I didn’t think anything of it when I answered “I know it’s Arabic.”
His answer: “Yes. It is.”
He asked what my aunt and I were carrying, and asked if anyone had given us anything to carry. Then he asked if I had weapons or a bomb. 😳 I thought it was a joke (umm...I would soon learn that they don’t joke about things like that at this particular airport).
The first security guy let us through and off we went. I foolishly thought that was the end of it. Until we made it to the second checkpoint. My aunt was allowed to go straight to the security check, but I was asked to follow a guard to another area. I watched while one of them took my passport and walked away, and wondered if maybe I should have just told that first guy that I was named after Farrah Fawcett.
This was the start of my 30-minute firsthand experience with Israeli security. Every single object in my carry-on and purse were swiped for residue. Everything. Phone and Kindle taken out of the case. Dirty underwear was swiped. My pack of TicTac’s? Swiped for bomb residue. I even thanked them for finding a flash drive I thought I’d lost. At one point there were four people going through my stuff.
Then came the body search. I went through an X-ray machine several times before I was brought into another room with two female security guards. They proceeded to check every single inch of my clothing. They methodically checked every seam. They even made me remove the band-aid on the bottom of my foot from a cut I got at the Dead Sea (more on that later) so they could make sure there was nothing in there. Twice more I was asked if I had plans to bomb the aircraft, or if anyone had given me a bomb.
Finally, after nearly a half-hour, I was allowed to leave. This entire time my poor Aunt Cathy had no idea what was going on.
I thought everything was over after we left Tel Aviv, but learned that my passport had been flagged when, yet again, I had to go through an extra security check in Zurich, Switzerland.
Thankfully, after that long flight, we made it to the States. But we were an hour behind because the plane had to be de-iced in Switzerland. We’d already had a short amount of time to get from Miami airport to Fort Lauderdale, and knew there was no way we’d make our flight home to New Orleans. But God takes care of children and fools (not sure which one I am), and we were able to buy another ticket on another airline and fly directly out of Miami.
This was a good thing because, by this point, I was in so much pain I could barely walk. Remember that cut I mentioned? Things had become much worse. What started as (what I thought was) a little cut on a piece of salt or a rock at the Dead Sea turned out to be a nice gash on the bottom of my foot. When I woke up this morning, I could barely walk. I immediately went to the Urgent Care Clinic and they immediately sent me to the ER.
One tetanus shot and wound irrigation later, and I’m finally home. Still in pain, but I have antibiotics, pain meds and one wild, crazy story to tell.
The end.

Friday, December 15, 2017


It's delivery day! Fio has finished feeding the mouths of all her charities, she mailed a check to the newspaper delivery guy last week, and as soon as she finishes this post, she'll be in her baby car taking chocolate kisses to Mazda and Click, with a side trip to Chase bank to deliver chocolate Santas to Lisa and Stephanie. These people have been good to Fiorella and giving them Christmas treats is the least she can do.
Speaking of good people, Fernando, the guy who takes care of Fio and Husband's yard--and does his best to take care of us--took down one of our dead trees and we now have enough firewood to last through next winter. Fio always gives Fernando a Christmas bonus, but he deserves far more.
The fire is lit, the stage is set, and the picture of Baby is hanging from the mantel, but FB will not accept Fiorella's photo. Must be Trump getting his revenge on Fio for last year's Christmas card, the one in which she compared him to Ghengis Khan.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cheers for Alabama!

Only one thing I can say
That Alabama led the way
To the light of a brand new day
Hip-hip hooray, hip-hip hooray! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Covering the Waterfront

How would Fiorella ever manage without push pins, Scotch tape, and twisties?
Doug Jones won in Alabama (thank you, God), which shows the nation and the world what Trump's endorsement is worth.
Yesterday was Austin son's birthday, and Fio couldn't help but remember his actual birth day. It was fraught. He was two weeks late and so big that Fio had to have a C-section, which was no fun, but Fio was thrilled.
The temps have been low enough the past few days that Fio has been wrapping herself in her twenty-year-old winter robe when she gets up every morning. It's a saturnalia miracle--her robe is in mint condition because most years there's no need for it.
Fio's got to think of some clever way to fill the front porch urns now that the freeze (yes, a real live FREEZE) has killed the lavenders. Maybe a quick trip to Dollar Store or Hobby Lobby would give her an idea.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Qestions, Questions, Questions

Fiorella's been Christmasing all day, starting from early morning, when in between reading the newspaper, she she couldn't stop staring at the picture of Baby, the one she'd hung from the mantel over the fireplace. What about making use of some of those gold chocolate bar wrappers she'd been collecting for a couple of years?  How about paving the front edge of the mantel to give Baby a background worthy of her? How about putting charming Christmas cards on either side of her picture? 
Fiorella is still struggling with the tree, the one she thought she'd have to spend just a couple of hours on. And her other decorations aren't as far along as she had hoped they'd be. And she didn't put much time in on her book today. And her left foot orthotic isn't working like it's supposed to. And where are house elves and magic wands when you need them?
Fiorella is sick and tired of slimy politics. Everything is so venal now, so lowest-common-denominator, and Fio is afraid for herself and for everybody else. How can we survive as a nation and how can we survive as people?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas in Texas

Yes, Fiorella has gone Christmas crazy and draped the south driveway with tinsel garlands again, extending them even further than last year. This is what December in central Texas looks like--every other time of the year except for the decorations. (PS: you also get a good view of Fio's rocks, the ones that define the driveway.)

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Fiorella, who doesn't want to neglect any of her duties or forget any of her commitments, lives by lists, systems, and routines. Husband lives by the moment. They drive each other crazy.
Fio's Christmas cards will be going out in record time this year. Baby is the star of the show, of course. Stay tuned.
The tinsel garlands Fio hung from the trees along the driveway look great. She's learned a lot since  the winds and cedars attacked her display when she came up with the idea three years ago. She now uses tinseled twisties to keep the garlands in place, and if she finds a cedar that has had the audacity to ensnare one of her darlings, she prunes it on the spot.
Fio loved the surprise snow, but alas, the lavenders in the pots beside the front door didn't make it through the accompanying surprise freeze. Fio will probably wait until winter is over before replacing them. After all, there may be be more surprises in store this year..
Regarding the political scene, Fio finds it interesting that Trump is intent on being the loudest mouth around, while Mueller plays it mum. Fio's betting on Mr. Silence.
Fio woke up this morning in distress about a school assignment she'd forgotten. News flash, Fiorella. You grad-grad-graduated lo these many moons ago.  


Some people are totally transparent, but Trump is totally opaque, even to himself. Not that he'd know what opaque means.