Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time Subjective

On Saturday Fiorella parked her car in Friend Kathryn's driveway and rode to the RWA critique session with her.

Fiorella survived the critique, but not the keeping-her-head-on-straight exam. On arriving back at Friend Kathryn's house, she discovered she had left her car keys at the site of the session, Friend Katie's house, an hour across town. So early this morning, Husband had to drive Fio back there to pick them up, then drive her back to Friend Kathryn's house to reclaim her car.

One hour plus one hour somehow equals two hours.

Along the way, they visited Fiorella's father in the nursing home, mailed first-of-the-month payments, and bought a nursery gift certificate for Kathryn as an apology for Fio's car hogging her driveway overnight.

Add another hour.

But they did not go to the grocery store today, a first. (Fio was surprised HEB didn't call to inquire if she and Husband were still alive--or at least about their hundred-dollar-a-week contribution to the Butt family's ever-increasing fortunes.)

Subtract an hour.

Then Fio and Husband collapsed for afternoon naps.

Subtract two hours.

Now it is supposedly four in the afternoon and Fio is not not quite sure where the time went. Obviously the clock is wrong and it is still mid-morning. We're having hamburgers for lunch. See you!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ego on Trial

Fiorella is gone today. Yes, she'll be at an RWA critique session all day.

There will probably be about forty people there, mostly women, mostly unpublished in romance, like Fio. Mostly champing at the bit to become published, like Fio. Everyone who has chosen to participate will have four others in her group commenting on the first ten pages of her manuscript, and she of course, will comment on theirs.

Fiorella has attended a critique session before, but she didn't participate, just sat around and listened and sized people up. Fio is devious, Friend Dede said, but Fio prefers the word "cautious." She wanted to wait until she'd become thick-skinned enough not to strangle anyone who commented negatively on her golden child.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Husband Happy

How does Husband love her? Fio will count the ways:

1) He put new linens on the bed himself after she stripped it, then ran off to do something else and forgot all about making the bed.

2) He doesn't complain when he comes home from work and finds she's spent all day doing nothing but writing on her latest story.

3) He puts up with--even encourages--her piano and violin practice even thought she's bad.

Yes, Fio thinks she'll keep him.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Fiorella has discovered that the yard work along the driveway had consequences she should have expected but didn't--chigger bites. And they're all along her underwear lines, which makes life--uh--interesting.

Ever since her family moved to Texas when she was seven, Fio's been prime chiggerbait. As a child, she would end up with 30-some bites on her legs during the summer. We treated them with clear nail polish back then--Fio's legs glistened.

Her mother never had this problem, and Husband doesn't, but apparently there's something about sweet Fio the little blighters like. Fio figures she's the ice cream of the insect world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sun Glare

Fiorella and Husband spent forty minutes outside in the midmorning sun working on the yard, and Fio is done in. Yes, sweaty, red-faced, and exhausted.

Husband wielded the mower down the center and sides of the north driveway while Fio gathered brush, trimmed it to fit, and stuck it in the trash can. Then, when husband had finished his task and Fio had the can stuffed full, they headed back toward the house, which seemed to Fio to have moved a hundred miles to the south in the meantime.

But Fio trucked on. After all, she wasn't really trudging in a can of brush to the garage, but pulling a load of pineapples to market to trade for food for her starving children awaiting her in their mountainside hut.

Maybe everyone fantasizes his/her life like this. Or maybe it was the sun. Or maybe it was just Fio.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Fiorella and Husband drove into Georgetown to catch the Palace Theater's production of Little Shop of Horrors. Fio saw the movie version of it on TV a couple of years ago and thought it was charming. She was really looking forward to seeing the show on stage, especially since the Palace usually does such a bang-up jobs with musicals. The Producers and Grease were fantastic.

Little Shop of Horrors wasn't.

It's not that it was bad--more like mediocre. And apparently word had gotten around because the theater was only half full for the Friday night performance Fio and Husband attended. And the applause was NOT deafening.

The play was better than the actors. The most obvious problem was the female trio that glues the whole production together. They did a great job vocally, and not a single hip swing was out of sync, but only one of them was animated. The second one was so-so, and the third one displayed a poker face during the whole production. The glue didn't hold.

A second problem was the disparate acting styles being used. Some actors just stood around as if not sure what to do, while others were over-animated. Was there a director in the house?

For Fio, the over-the-top style Matthew Burnett used--in all seven (eight?) of his characters--became irritating. He didn't lose himself in the roles as much as the show lost itself in him. Sure, the audience loved it each time he came on in a new guise (but with the same strutting postures he used as Carmen Ghia in The Producers) but that meant the show was about him, not about Audrey I or Audrey II or poor, pitiful Seymour.

Speaking of Seymour, Clifford Butler has a GLORIOUS voice--but was it the right voice for nerdy Seymour?

And why was everyone being miked in so small an auditorium? Fiorella spent most of her time with her finger against her super-sensitive left ear because the sound was at blasting cap level.

The play is musically fascinating in the use of duets, trios, other multiple-voice arrangements. Also, Fio was surprised to learn that the original ending was much darker than the movie, which concluded with the death of Audrey II (the carnivorous plant), and with Audrey I and Seymour marrying and living in the idealized home she had imagined (but with little Audrey IIs popping out of the ground in front of their picket fence). In the stage version, the plant eats its namesake. Then Seymour, realizing the plant has swallowed everyone that matters to him, leaps into the carnivorous maw himself. All Fio could think of was Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Oh, Fio should say that the very last scene featured the four digested victims singing a warning song that ended: DON'T FEED THE PLANT!

As if we can even water them during this drought!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fio Dreams

Just snap my garters and call me William!

Reading over her entry on Friday, Fiorella realized she had channeled the Bard himself. Yes, Shakespeare lives!

Really, "Two to Go" has the tone and flavor of Puck's invocation of the audience's appreciation at the end of Mid-Summer Night's Dream--which, of course, all of you remember word-for-word.

If only poetic plays were still in style. Fiorella Shakespeare. How's that sound?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Turn Coat

Fiorella began her blog last year on this very day with a review of Jim Butcher's latest Harry Dresden tale. Therefore she considers it only appropriate to commemorate the occasion with a review of his new Harry Dresden adventure, Turn Coat.

Harry, at least according to Butcher, is the only wizard advertising in the Chicago phone book. Fio thinks of him as an adult, American Harry Potter.

Through eleven tomes, he has battled every kind of supernatural being imaginable, which can get sort of boring after a while, but Butcher also leads us through Harry's personal life: the angst of his youth, complicated family problems, consecutive girlfriends, etc.

Turn Coat was great, despite the usual overly-complicated plot. Fio likes the characters, the action, and the concepts. From book to book, Butcher keeps the story fresh by introducing new characters, which, of course, means dropping old ones. Bob, the ghost in the skull, makes only a token appearance. Policewoman Karrin also seems to be on her way out. Susan,the original girlfriend, is more gone than ever. Two more characters are lost in Turn Coat, but Fio won't tell who.

So go out and buy Turn Coat or check it out of your local library and celebrate Fio's first entry of her new year by curling up with a good book!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

365, Going on a Million

Today marks Fiorella's 365th entry--yes, one per day for a whole year.

She started this blog for three reasons. First, she was tired of writing clever things down on little scraps of paper that she immediately lost. Second, she wanted to get these unique ideas and observations out to the world while they were still relevant. Third, she hoped against hope that someone out there would be so impressed by her wit and wisdom that he/she would decide to publish her and Fiorella would live forever--in print, at least.

Ah well, there's always next year, which starts tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two to Go!

Celebrate early, celebrate late--
Upcoming is my anniversary date.
Yes, one whole year, day by day,
Fio's romped her merry way,
With Wendy Dog and Husband too,
Sometimes including one of you.
Yes, politics and TV fare,
Fads and fashion everywhere,
Books and comics, truth and lies,
Everything that money buys,
Even plastic surgery--
All, without apology,
That's marched across our Fio's stage
Has ended up upon this page.
And so, my friends, she bows to you,
As properly-raised children do,
To thank you for your patronage
And ask you keep your bookmark here
To stay tuned in for another year.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Howling at the Moon

Remember when vampires and werewolves were scary? That clip of Dracula's skeletal hand lifting his coffin lid? His twisted shadow creeping up the stairs to the room of the sleeping damsel? The full moon causing mild-mannered gentlemen to transform in excruciating slow-motion into terrible beasts that chased children down dark country roads?

Relax. Fear no more. Fiorella is here to tell you that the traditional icons of terror have been tamed into romance heroes.

Yes, vampires are now merely superheroes with unusual nutritional requirements--mostly satisfied by artificial blood or wild animal hunts. And modern werewolves seem to be able to control their metamorphic tendencies at will, changing into lupines only when the occasional rescue of the damsel in distress is needed.

But what to do? If vampires and werewolves are now the good guys, who or what is powerful and evil enough to oppose them?

Enter the shapeshifters and zombies.

But Fio has to confess--she's written a nifty little novella in which the heroine is a shapeshifter. Yes, the gentrification of shapeshifters has begun, and you know who turned the tide.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Consider . . . .

Hope blooms eternal in the canine breast. In all her eight years, Wendy Dog has never been allowed to graze off the trash. And in all her eight years, she has never failed to rush over to me eagerly when I am emptying it.

Or maybe it's complete and total faith in heaven.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Behind the Eight Ball

Was it all a big publicity stunt? After all, Amy Roloff has never made the cover of People, nor did Sharon Osbourne. But then there's Kate Gosselin, star of Jon and Kate plus Eight, which seems to be in danger of becoming Kate plus Eight minus Jon. She made it.

Fiorella told you that hair transplant had gone to his head. Jon has allegedly been over-enjoying the single life while Kate's been gone on various publicity junkets. On the other hand, the two always seemed strangely mismatched, with her so anal and him so . . . not.

We all got her measure after the program on which she was interviewing would-be maids and complained that she couldn't find one who was willing to scrub the floor on her hands and knees. Then there is her rabid insistence on the children eating organic. And think about how neat and clean her house always is--with eight kids, that should have been a dead give-away.

Apparently Jon is no prize either. Charming and cute, but something of a wascally wabbit who can't hold a job.

So now they're both supported off the backs of their kids' cuteness--and well-supported too, with a 24-acre wooded estate and very luxurious vacations to everywhere, and, yes, Kate's picture on the cover of People Magazine.

Supposedly the show is going to continue into a new season, with Jon and Kate working on their relationship. Hmmmm. Beginning to sound more and more to me like that Jim Carrey movie about a guy whose whole life was a TV show.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Real Is What Real Does

Fiorella wants her own reality show.

She wants a 24-acre wooded estate like the Gosselins. She wants a 9,000 square foot house like the Duggers. She wants to go on fantasy vacations like the Roloffs.

Maybe she'll just have to settle for reality.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm just another wannabe
Loaded with personality
Headed for immortality
One way or another, eventually.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Five Extra Things

Fiorella's mother was a good woman with exemplary housekeeping habits.

1) She did laundry every week instead of putting it off until all her clothes were in the hamper.
2) She used needle and thread instead of safety pins to hem her slacks.
3) She ironed her clothes before she put them in the closet, not just before she wore them.
4) She placed stuff directly in the waste basket instead of tossing it from ten feet away.
5) She did her own vacuuming instead of leaving it to the twice-a-month maid.

Fio does the "instead ofs."

Friday, May 15, 2009

RWA Snippets

Fiorella was one of the appointed greeters at her Romance Writers of America chapter meeting earlier in the week. She had a great time glad-handing, but President Emma kept calling her down for continuing to have a great time during the business meeting. Fio can't help it if she gets high on people.
A few of the women were missing money from their purses afterwords, something that has never happened before. This was also the first time we had an ex-cop as our featured speaker. Hmmmm . . . .
The chapter has an e-mail loop and Fio's been following a heated discussion of contest judging, even contributing a few words, but her basic stand is that judges who give her high scores are objective and discerning while the judges who give her low scores are subjective meatheads.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

To Dump or Not to Dump

Fio has been thinking deep lately--politics, newspapers, societal cultures. Today she's going to dump on people who are dump specialists--that is, they're always shrieking at other women to dump their husbands if the men have affairs. The current center of controversy is Elizabeth Edwards, the dying wife of the former presidential wannabe, the one with the hair.

Fio thinks the decision to dump or not to dump (if that is the question) is a private matter. And whether or not Mrs. Edwards, Mrs. Spritzer, Mrs. Gosselin, Mrs. Clinton and so many more choose to dissolve a long-term relationship that has produced children and a comfortable lifestyle is not a cut-and-dried decision. It isn't as warm and cuddly out there in the brave new world for newly-divorced females, especially those with children, as the dump-shriekers seem to think.

Just how would it benefit Elizabeth Edwards to free up her husband so he can remarry while she's on her deathbed? Divorce is not revenge or punishment for the offending party, but the dissolution of a family.

Yes, infidelity is a betrayal of trust and nothing will ever be the same again. But that's life. Do you dump the baby out with the dishwater? Do you dump a daughter who has shown up unmaritally pregnant? Do you dump a son arrested for speeding--or worse?

What ever happened to "stick by your man," to "for better or for worse?" Have husbands become disposable?

On the other hand, you could always kill those sons of bxtches.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Four Wives or None?

Fiorella has been wondering about male violence in polygamous societies.

Think about South Africa, where plural marriage is practiced a la President Zuma. And think about the turbulent Middle East.

Fiorella cannot help but wonder if the situation in both of these countries is exacerbated by the roiling hormones of young men who know they have nothing to lose because the rich old men grab most of the women.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Twenty years ago, radio was supposed to go dead. Now, having reinvented itself, it's stronger than ever.

Fiorella has some ideas about doing the same thing with newspapers. Her first suggestion is that they look back at their roots and augment the news with poetry, short stories, and serial fiction, all from local contributors. Think Charles Dickens, O. Henry, Edgar Allen Poe . . . Fiorella Plum.

And how about a children's page in each Sunday edition, like the Akron Beacon Journal ran when Fiorella was a child? The highlight of her week was the age-categorized weekly drawing contest--she still treasures the tattered clips of her savings bond-winning artwork. The section could also include short fiction by or for children, plus reports about topics like dinosaurs.

And how about child-oriented comic strips? As an adult, Fio loves Rat and Pig, Candorville, Doonesbury, LuAnn, Zits, and the dear departed For Better or For Worse, but as a child, she was loyal to the adventure strips: Ally Oop, Orphan Annie, Brenda Starr, Terry and the Pirates, Mark Trail, Steve Canyon, Dick Tracy, The Cisco Kid, etc. Let's work up some new action for today's kids.

Another idea--revive the neighborhood reporters of the 1980's. People felt the newspaper really related to them then, not just to foreign places like China, Iraq, and New York.

Actually, the best idea might be downsizing, leaving the national and international news to TV and the internet, and working more on local news. The West Austin News has succeeded by catering to the high end market. Maybe everyone needs a niche.

Just turn it all over to Fio. She'll figure it out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers' Day Snippets

Fiorella was thrilled when Daughter called to invite Fio and her father out to eat for the holiday. Just think--Baby Girl is doing well enough to foot the bill!
Husband keeps telling Fio to sit down and take it easy for the day, but Fio suspects he's the one who wants to take it easy. Too bad. Fio wants to get the second set of bookshelves finished off right, and Husband is the man for the job. Fio thought she had finished them yesterday, but it turns out she put the top piece on upside down.
In fact, Fio has a whole list of thing she wants to get done today, and if it's HER day, she's darn well gonna do them! (What is this "relaxation" stuff everyone else keeps talking about?)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Only so many minutes in an hour,
Only so many hours in a day
Only so many days in every year
So little time, so much to do and say.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Through some strange electronic pathway, Fiorella has received a note obviously intended for someone else. She's posting it right now, hoping someone will recognize the people involved so she can forward the message appropriately:

Dear Bristol,

Thanks for steppin' up to the plate for the ol' hockey mom and becomin' a spokeswoman for sexual abstinence. There are, though, a few things that I'd like you to keep in mind.

First, if any of those pesky reporters brings up somethin' you said a couple of months ago that contradicts what you're sayin' now, just tell'im you were taken out of context.

Next, you can go a long way on a wink and a grin, but now that you're keepin' your clothes on, it wouldn't hurt to update the wardrobe--bill it to those people sponsorin' you. That's what Mama did.

Finally, a lot depends on your born-again virginhood. Think White House. Think a nanny for Tripp so you can hang with your friends instead of changing diapers.

Think all those handsome, hunky male interns.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Take a ride along with me
Fio's brain is on a spree.
What its travel plans may be,
Us usual, are a mystery.
But buckle up, she can't forsee
The end to her absurdity--
Thank God it's only poetry.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fio vs. Brussels Sprouts

In my childhood, mothers read up on nutrition and meticulously regulated what their families ate. Call it the pro-vegetable era.

When my own children were little, the word was out that everyone should eat whatever they wanted to because their bodies would tell them what they needed. Call it the anti-vegetable era.

Now we are regularly deluged with studies about people who will live five months longer eating this food or that, mainly vegetables. Call it the neo-vegetable era

On the other hand, there are also several studies which have shown that people who are happy live longer--and I'm happier not eating vegetables. Call it the Fiorella-will-eat-whatever-the-heck-she wants-to era
Skirts go up and down, and literary criticism
When Fiorella was taching, she preachedf from the pulpit about
This Kipling and Poe are now passe. So is Byron. Millay rose high and fell low during her lifetime. On the other hand Shelley's star has risen, as have the reoutations of

Don't worry. It will all reversed in twemty years. In fact, I think Rudyard ios already making a comeback.

It's the same way in Romance. Twenty years ago I was told to add "x thought" to all of my characters' internaL THOUGHTs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spector of Specter

Fiorella believes in the two-party system and wishes the Republicans would clean up their act. If the GOP keeps a steady course, trying to deal with everything as it "should be" rather than how it is, it's going to purify itself down to a constituency of one.

Other parties have marginalized themselves out of existence in our history. Remember the Whigs? --Well, no one else does either.

Forget ideology. Actuality is the key.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Automotive Snippets

Of course the convertible top of my MX-5 always stays in place. After all, I'm a woman--I have a hairdo and a complexion.
Years ago, singing while driving, Fio bashed into the garage post. Husband heard the crash and came out immediately. The first words out of his mouth were not "How could you not see a post?" but "Are you hurt?" That's why Fio loves him.
Speaking of Mr. Fio, which is what friend Tracey calls him, he confessed he's been fooling around with that GPS woman again. While Fio was away at her conference, he turned her on (pause for effect) while he was driving Wendy Dog to the Bark Park, then deliberately countered her instructions. What a man!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Fio's back from the conference triumphant!

Yes, she placed third in her category on something she hasn't finished writing yet, and she had requests from an editor and an agent for partials of two of her finished manuscripts.

Plus, she had a great time! She rode to the conference with friend LuAnn, who also also triumphed at the conference by winning THREE raffle baskets in a row (graciously declining the third one)and placing fourth in her category.

In addition, the conference was small enough that Fio kept running into the same people again and again and had a great time getting to know them. Now she has to go through all her conference hand-outs and try to figure out what the heck their names were.

Fiorella thanks you for all your positive thoughts in her direction.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fio Weighs In

Keats wrote a poem on first looking into Chapman's Homer. Whitman wrote on hearing the learned astronomer. Fio, more down to earth, wrote on learning that we share 80% of our genome with cows. But she has something to say.

Created in the selfsame way
From the same primordial clay,
Differentiated by the stolen fruit--
A loss, a gain, both absolute.
To grant us grace eternally
God nailed the apple back on the tree.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hoping against Hope

Fiorella is not here today. She has driven off to a romance writers' conference in San Antonio. Actually, she is not there as much to confer as to network. And also to find out how the finals turned out. Yes, Fiorella made the finals of a writing contest and she is hoping against hope that . . . , well, you know.

So this is what she has to say--
If you love Fiorella, pray
That she'll win the prize today
Or profit in some other way
With agents, editors instead
And end up finally publish-ed!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Husband indulged his teen-age rebellion over the weekend and tried to send the GPS over the edge. Fio egged him on, contributing several clever remarks and a maniacal giggle a la Will and Grace's sociopathic Karen Walker.

He thought he had set the mechanism so it would record mileage for a non-toll road trip to Frisco's, but apparently the GPS lady does not accept adjustments of so personal a nature and refused to budge. Every time Husband made a turn she didn't approve of, every time he didn't turn where she wanted him to, came the announcement that she was "recalculating."

Husband tried to turn her off at a traffic light, but she had the bit in her teeth and, like an Energizer bunny, kept on going. Frustrated, Husband took a few extra "non-calculated" turns and non-turns, and, I swear, her voice started getting a little testy. I smelled blood.

Husband's eyes narrowed. He was going to do his best to drive her into a nervous breakdown. I assisted with several scathing comments designed to aid our cause.

Somehow we reached Frisco's in a high state of hilarity without the GPS exploding in retaliation, but I have to admit I was a little nervous when we approached the electronically-controlled doors of Lowe's later in the evening, especially since we were entering through the ones labeled "exit." What if GPS Lady had sent word ahead?