Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fio's Personal Fri 13

Lock me up in a padded room for the rest of the day!

So far, I've had a hard time with the crossword puzzle (which I usually breeze through), missed two of the anagrams (which I often get at a glance), accidentally ripped a road map, discovered I didn't loosen the violin bow last night, screwed up my piano practice, and somehow bonked myself on the head with my laptop.

Save me from myself!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dillar, Dollar

Fiorella confesses she ran late--
Friend Suzy had to sit and wait
As Fio sped the highway down
To meet with her at Dan's in town.
Fio had confused the date
For which she must apologiate.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back to the Caves

Walking down the driveway after the recent rains, Fiorella found another fine piece of flint to add to her collection, which covers two shelves now. She has informed Husband that when the bomb is dropped and they have to head for the hills, the flint goes with them.

Husband is dubious, but Fio figures they'll need flint to make arrowheads to hunt for food and to make fires to cook it. They'll also need flint to clean animal hides for clothes and shelter. And they'll need it to make knives to defend themselves against thieves who don't have any flint of their own.

Of course, Fio has no idea how to chip flint into tools or even strike up a fire with it, but there's enough on those two shelves to lose a few to experimentation and still stay ahead of the game.

Monday, April 27, 2009

For the Moment

Fiorella is on a roll--or is it a mania? Whatever, she's so high she was leaping up all night to write down her inspirations, of which this was one.

Don't worry. Fio's moods are situationally determined, directly tied to whatever is going on in her life at the time. Something discouraging or distressing will happen soon and she'll be down in the dumps again.

But, while she can, let her dance 'round the fairies' ring.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ode to Crocs

How I love my bright red Crocs,
More than sneakers, more than mocs.
I love to wear them on concrete
'Cause they protect my tender feet;
I love to wear them when it rains
'Cause they are made with built-in drains.
I love their comfort, love their fit,
And that's about the size of it.

How I love my bright red Crocs,
Worn on bare feet or with socks.
I bought my pair for thirty bucks
But now the price is up. Aw, shucks--

That sucks.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More and More Snippets

Husband read in the newspaper that I-Pod is coming out with more musical attachments. At the same time, we are all being urged to return to basics by growing our own vegetables. Personally, Fio would rather sing her own songs and buy carrots at HEB.
Husband also heard that anyone who has Direct TV can now manage the controls by I-phone. This plays into a theory of Fio's, that in the future everything will be controlled by a single wand which select people will spend years training to master. These people will be called witches and wizards and the wand will be call . . . magic.
Another prediction: a fellow teacher once advanced the theory that, soon, only the children of the rich would have sentient beings as their teachers, that everyone else would be instructed by machines. Lately I have realized something even scarier, that many educators are actually looking forward to that day.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Had a great time at the local civic theater Sunday. Saw Grease in all its glory.

The Georgetown Palace Theater puts on eight to ten productions a year, and I can't say they are all top-notch. In a town this size, casting options are limited, and sometimes the play is just plain a loser. But one thing the Palace has down pat is musicals: Grease was a real winner, with perfect casting, good voices, great dancing, and fast, FAST action.

As the mother of a girl, I can't say I think much of the ending, with virginal Sandy turning into as much of a slut as the other Pink Ladies, but that's not the fault of the Palace. All in all, I'll take slutty Sandy in preference to virginal Blanche any day of the week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Addio, ALO

Sorry, Austin Lyric Opera, but after several years of season tickets, we're not signing up for next year. It isn't our economy; it's your attitude. We feel alienated.

We don't like the Long Center. The auditorium rows are too close together, and the lobby lacks comfortable between-acts seating. Also, the auditorium floor slopes downward from the stage before going on the ascent, and the multiplicity of stairs, halls, and elevators we have to traverse in order to get to our designated seats is confusing.

In addition, we don't like our assigned seats. In the old venue, we paid through the nose to sit in dress circle, fourth row center, which was perfect for our failing eyesight. The first year in the new venue, you sat us on the very first row, from which our best view was of the sweat beads dancing on the conductor's head. When I complained charmingly, you switched us to acceptable seats toward the rear of the orchestra section. This year we got moved to the side aisle.

Maybe you're mad at us because we've walked out on a few stinkers--Previn's Streetcar Named Desire and the current Dialogue of the Carmelites come to mind. Maybe it's because our $250 annual donation wasn't generous enough for you. Maybe it's because we never availed ourselves of the opportunities you keep hawking to drop a wad of money on opera balls.

Or maybe it's because we never became active in the opera guild. We might have, you know, if you had continued inviting us to the free after-the-show wine and cheese socials. We talked with several interesting people at the one and only social to which we were invited.

That brings up another one of our problems. We don't know anybody. It's lonely at the opera. The glitterati meet the glitterati and we are left out in the cold. We get the feeling that we don't matter.

Because all we do is love the music.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dialogues Better Left Unsung

Saturday evening Husband and Fiorella put on their glad rags and drove into town for the opera. The big slices of ice box pie they picked up at the Frisco after leaving between acts was the best part of the evening.

Opera is music THEATER. Fiorella wants good stories and interesting music, not a philosophical treatise punctuated by occasional squawks.

Dialogues of the Carmelites is about a young French aristocrat, Blanche, who seeks refuge from the uncertain world by entering a cloistered order. She flees when the Revolutionaries round up the nuns to be executed. However, ultimately she conquers her fear and joins them in death.

Goofy, I know, but Fio saw the last scene as an opera excerpt once and was eager and excited to be seeing the whole thing at last.

Excitement was not the name of the game. In fact, the opera was dull as dishwater, at least the first act--no fault of the singers, who heaved and shrieked as best they could through an actionless script. The main problem lies with the composer.
There was no balance in the voices: most of what we got were female voices in various registers, all singing wordy recitative-like arias and exchanges with occasional, and, after a while, predictable, squawk into the tops of their ranges. Call Fio retro, but she would have found it more interesting to hear some of the voices against each other in duets, trios, etc. And please--tempered by a few male voices in the mix. She could not help but think what a golden opportunity was missed for a peasant chorus to hover menacingly in the background, pitchforks at the ready.

The scenery was minimalist and the stage was static: dark and stark. The nuns, identically dressed, of course, were immobile, always kneeling or standing in a perfect row. Fio would guess this was supposed to focus attention on the vocalized angst of the lead, but continuous angst gets boring pretty fast.

Fiorella had no sympathy for the hypersensitive Blanche. Maybe it's the changing times--we expect women to be strong these days--but all Fio could think of was that a good dose of Prozac might have cleared up all of her problems. Husband's opinion was that what the tremulous virgin really needed was a good man. But then, that's a man's solution to everything.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Fiorella is bursting with confidence and energy and she feels beautiful and young and slender and smart and talented! Yes, she's on top of the world!

Fio got up feeling good, no back pains or grogginess, and the day got even better as it went along. First she wrote three brilliant entries in her blog, which you will see in due course, and then she did some great work in furthering her current romantic masterpiece.

Later, when she and Husband went to the supermarket, she danced and sang her way down the aisles. Inconspicuously, of course.

At home again, she expanded her novel. Then, in the middle of a red-hot sex scene she was writing, she had to drive off to visit Nurse Stephanie for her monthly coumadin check. But that also was an upper because Fio offered to help Stephanie write up her inspiring life story--or perhaps they might work together to turn it into a book.

Anyway, Fio came home high as a kite and has stayed in the stratosphere ever since. Her piano practice went the best ever and she actually sawed halfway through a somewhat recognizeable "Silent Night" on the poor, abused violin.

And now, after supper, she still feels good. And must return to working on her novel. Good night.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Madoff, Stanford, Pang--how the dominoes tumble. And now we know what we suspected all along, that all the big guys are crooks, that those fantasy lives are built on fantasy lies.

Like our parents always said, if it's too good to be true, it is.

If we want role models, let's look at Susan Boyle. She is rich in a way Bernie Madoff could never imagine. There just might be hope for virtue, truth, and goodness after all.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pathologically Prompt

I'm sitting here waiting,
But where are they?
Did I get the time wrong?
Perhaps the wrong day?

I've grabbed a table,
And an extra chair,
I'm looking around--
Where are they, where?

Here they come,
A little tardy--
Strike up the band
And join the party!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Naked Movie Stars

In the midst of all the national economic turmoil, it's nice to know that one thing is totally reliable: Hollywood is just as smarmy as it's always been. Thanks, Mel Gibson, for coming through for us.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Fiorella proudly handed Daughter a copy of New Love Stories Magazine, in which her short story, "For the Love of Layla" appears. Daughter read the story about halfway through, then put the magazine down when the two lovers began pawing at each other, explaining that she just couldn't read that sort of thing in something her mother wrote.

Interesting. She would have been able to read the story if anyone else had written it, which means she still can't separate Fiorella the writer from Fiorella the mother.

It probably comes from when the kids were little and Fiorella would turn off salacious material on TV, saying "This is not appropriate."

Remember, we are all naked under our skins. Fiorella tries to be a good mother, but she's really just another human being.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


About twenty years ago, Fiorella started having trouble remembering a certain word so she worked out a clever way to access it.

First she thinks of "cow," because the word means one who is going along with the herd. "Cow" makes her think of "cow palace," which leads her to "convention center," which brings up the word she's after: CONVENTIONAL!

Which Fio obviously is not.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Iced Tea

Fiorella drove behind a truck labeled "OVERSIZE LOAD" yesterday and her linguistic blood boiled. "OVERSIZE LOAD" is a command to beef up the load. What was meant was "OVERSIZED LOAD," a description of the load as being bigger than usual.

What is this fear of the past passive participle that seems rampant among signmakers these days? Remember how Fio raged on and on about the "HANDICAP PARKING," which should have been "HANDICAPPED PARKING," meaning special parking accommodations for people who are handicapped?

Then Fio started thinking about "ice tea," which is how she's always said it and spelled it. But technically, the beverage should be referred to as "iced tea"--tea that has been iced. In general parlance, the -ed was probably lost because of the elision of the -d, the voiced alveolar stop, in favor of the t-, the voiceless alveolar stop.

But in the future, Fio promises to try to remember to carefully enunciate "iced tea."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Fiorella is insane, as if you didn't already know that. At last she can spend all her time at home, and what does she do? Housework? Ha ha ha ha ha!

No, Fiorella is writing poems and novels and short stories, then wailing about not having enough time. And, after a millenium or two of barely touching the keys, she has taken up the piano again. And two weeks ago she unlocked the violin case and tightened and regreased the bow. And now she is contemplating designing and sewing her own clothes. Then there are the empty canvases patiently waiting for her ministrations. Yes, through the years, Fio has compiled has a list of portraits she wants to paint. When she has time, of course.

She also has considered cloning.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lashing Out

Channel surfing, Fiorella tuned in on the Nancy Grace show just in time to see George Anthony lash out at the lawyer deposing him in regard to his dead granddaughter's supposed nanny, Zenaida Gonzales. George was complaining about the way the lawyer "pro-noun-ci-ated" Ms. Gonzales's nickname as "Zenny," saying it was "Z-A-N-Y," which he pronounced to rhyme with "nanny." To Fiorella, Z-A-N-Y rhymes with "brainy," which George obviously is not. Perhaps he needs to learn to "pro-noun-ci-ate" a little better himself.

Fio also caught a glimpse of Levi Johnston, father of Rush Limbaugh's favorite love child, lashing out at his former inamorata's family, especially presidential hopeful Sarah Palin. The whole thing is a sleazy mess, but Johnston's bid for another fifteen minutes of fame hits a new low in reality programming.

And last, who can escape the Octumom, lashing out at the free nursing service and anything else that interferes with her high, wide and handsome lifestyle? Babe, there's more to mothering than giving birth like a Beagle and buying that $350 K house you've always wanted.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I spent about fifteen minutes yesterday explaining the Easter Bunny to the maid, who is from Mexico. Have you ever realized how silly the whole concept sounds?
Daughter is coming over for Easter dinner, and of course I have bought her Peeps, a chocolate rabbit, and the little Cadbury eggs she likes. She may have grown up, but I haven't.
This morning I went outside first thing and shouted,"Happy Easter! Christ is risen!" I've been doing the same thing on Easter for at least twenty years---except for the time I accidentally shouted "Happy Easter! Christ is born!" The kids have never let me forget that one.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stringing Along

Don't laugh, but two weeks ago Fiorella took up the violin again.

Yes, emboldened by her progress on the piano--she has been practicing an assortment of carols daily for about three months in preparation for next Christmas--she unlocked the old violin case, tightened the bow, tuned the strings, and started sawing away.

Now, since Fio's entire violin experience consists of three glorious months of community school instruction when she was pregnant with Younger Son, she is not exactly Yehudi Menuhin revisiting past glories, but she persists. Right now she is working on scales--fingering, to be more exact.

Which brings us to the big question for the day: why the heck don't violins have frets?

Friday, April 10, 2009


It's hard for me to sit and wait
For people who are running late,
Especially if I am without
A thing to do to pass the time
Except to look the room about
And scribble down this silly rhyme.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Doomsday Electronics

Fiorella has been pondering her electronic loss. Without her computer activities to divert her, she's turned into a demon housekeeper. Maybe if Mother had had a laptop, she too would have been a slob.
Fio was reading in the paper this morning about the Chinese having infiltrated our systems to gather info about our essential info-structures, especially energy grids. This plays right into something Fio has always asked: "What if God turns off the electricity?" Well, now it looks like we won't have to go that high up the ladder. The Chinese can oblige.
Fio has long had the idea of writing a novel about a family thrown back into a primitive existence by a nuclear attack. But think of how much more devastating merely turning off the electricity would be. I mean, Fio's going crazy with just her laptop being down.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


It's been almost a week since Fiorella walked into Click Computer Repair with a laptop satchel hanging from either hand and a plea for help on her lips. Yes, both computers went down on April Fool's Day, although we still don't know if the timing is relevant. So as not to lose contact with her blog world, Fio has been making do with Husband's upstairs desktop ever since. But e-mail and her documents file are unreachable. So much for the great American novel.

But how did an unregenerate Luddite like Fio become such a computer addict? To be more precise, a laptop addict?

The devil made me do it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Travel Snippets

Husband bought a GPS system for the trip to Dallas, mainly, Fio thinks, to see if he could anger the smooth-voiced announcer by disobeying her instructions. It was an interesting experience for Fio, who, as a child, would read the map for her father. This time she was reading the GPS screen for Husband. Once a navigator, always a navigator. Bless Father.
Fiorella and Husband enjoyed looking at the beautiful springtime scenery as they drove, and they couldn't help but discuss how it used to be. When Fio was a child, her family threw all its traveling trash out the car window. So did everyone else, and the roadsides looked like dumps. Then came Lady Bird Johnson and her "beautify America" campaign. Bless Lady Bird.
On the way home, Husband made a detour for Fio to buy flowers, then drove her to the cemetery, then stepped off a distance she could talk to her mother privately. Bless Husband.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Stephen King Hotel

As Fiorella and Husband trod the Dallas hotel hall, searching for their appointed room, they could not help but overhear people through the paper-thin walls arguing with their stockbrokers, discussing plans for the following day, and placating their children. Once inside their room, they could hear every door up and down the hall open and close, every elevator ding, and every joyful group that passed. Soundproofing was not the name of the game.

That all changed an hour later when Fio tried to descend to the lobby to register for the writing conference. Another woman was already in the elevator and kindly tapped Fio's button for her, then got off a floor earlier,

Fio stepped out of the cab alone, not at the lobby, but on floor one. The place stunk to high heaven. Now, ever since reading The Shining, Fio has been somewhat leery of hotel halls, and this was definitely a Stephen King sort of passageway. Yes, Fio was all, all alone in a long,dark, deserted hallway that had just been painted and was illuminated only by big spotlights focused here and there on the ceiling. Tarps and painting supplies littered the carpet and the place was utterly, utterly silent.

"Hellooooo, helloooo?" Fiorella called, much as she does in Home Depot when trying to attract a sales clerk.

A bit of an echo, but no answer.

Fio, being a practical, semi-level-headed kind of gal, punched the "lobby" button. No response. Then she tried every other button. The elevator was dead. Fio was stuck on floor one.

Surely there was some escape. She tried walking down the hall to see if there was another elevator at the end of it. But the paint fumes were making her sick and the dark tunnel seemed to go on forever.

She retreated back to the elevator cab and tried all the buttons again, then spotted one labeled "alarm." Fio was saved! The fire department would come roaring in and Fio would be terribly embarrassed, but she would be saved!

Except that, even though she rang the buzzer repeatedly, no one responded.

By then Fio was wondering about that helpful woman who had pushed the fateful button that had sent her down to floor one. Who was that woman, really? And did this floor actually exist for everyone, or just for Fiorella? Would Husband search high and low, never knowing what had become of her until some hotel janitor finally stumbled upon her dessicated corpse?

Husband! Fiorella could contact him by cellphone! She punched in his number and hastily explained her plight. At least he'd know where to search for the body.

He suggested she open doors, looking for another way out, which Fio had been loath to do, somewhat afraid of what might lurk behind them. But bravely she emerged from her elevator cave and tried a door at the end of a little side hall, half-convinced that if she opened it and stepped inside, it would slam shut and lock her in forever.

Stairs! It was the door to a stairwell! Fio started walking up,up up. On the second landing was a door labeled "lobby." She was saved!

That night Fiorella couldn't sleep because of all the noise in the hall--for which she was very, very grateful. Silence isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sugar Sweet

Did Fiorella ever tell you about her diabetes diagnosis?

She was in the hospital to get her ticker checked out and the doctor announced to her that she had diabetes. Fiorella contradicted her, explaining that her family practitioner kept a close watch on her glucose levels. Nevertheless, when evening came 'round, the attendant nurse explained each pill, then said, "And now for your insulin."

Fio protested and the nurse told her she had the right to refuse the insulin, that random fingertip tests are not reliable, and that stress, nitroglycerin, and pain can make the blood sugar shoot up temporarily. Fio refused the insulin and her glucose level was down to 71 within less than 24 hours.

When the doctor came in to sign Fio out of the hospital, she announced that Fio had PRE-diabetes and sent the nutritionist in to lecture at Fio about the diabetic diet.

The day after Fio was released, she called her family doctor to get a lab order for a fasting blood sugar test, which she underwent last week. The results came back a couple of days later: FIORELLA'S GLUCOSE LEVEL IS JUST FINE--NO DIABETES, NO PRE-DIABETES.

To celebrate, Fio made herself sick on a carton of chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What Is?

Just as it seems right and normal to me, the way my life is, does my father's life seem right and normal to him?

I've made so many adjustments and accommodations through the years--to partial blindness, loss of my singing voice, problems with stamina, overweight, and age, not to mention disappointments, failures, and tragedies. Maybe I also am living in a world constructed by my own brain out of rags and tatters of objective reality.

But then, aren't we all?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Look Out Behind the Door!

In a good story, the reader is always a step ahead of the characters. Even for mysteries, the author should write in such a way that the reader says "I should have guessed it was the butler" rather than "Well, that certainly came out of the blue."

The way an author sets up this situation is by dropping hints and clues all along the way. Of course, the fun of it is that the author also sets up false clues--red herrings. Just like life.

Just like life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool

April 1 was not kind to Fiorella. She couldn't get online, which meant she couldn't read the news, check the weather, proofread her blog, or peruse her e-mail. Husband's laptop was in the same fix. Yes, it's probably an April 1 virus which somehow got through the firewall. Fio was devastated. What sort of person would do such a mean thing?

Then, as she was driving to a 1:00 meeting at the library, she noticed two baby horses in a pasture by the road. And she remembered all the baby goats she has been seeing gamboling in the fields lately, and the calves trailing after their mothers. And she felt better. Maybe there's still hope for the world.

In the meantime, Husband has jerry-rigged a connection for her upstairs on his desktop computer. So if Fio is running a little slow, you'll know why. It's hard to work on an unfamiliar machine.


It's full spring now. Wendy Dog spends all morning sunning herself on the back porch, the does are fattening up, and Fiorella has a nasty fire ant bite.

At least it's just one.