Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stop the World!

Hear ye, hear ye! Fio is sick and tired of change!

Windows 7 is driving her mad, from the irritating little moving circle that indicates pending action to the confusing e-mail page set-up to the mirror-like screen that reflects Fio back on herself as she tries to write. And she HATES the pernicious blue background.

She doesn't like her new "ionic" hair rollers either. She wants her twenty-year-old plastic ones back, with the metal prongs that kept them in place, but the rollers disintegrated on her so she's stuck with these velvety thingies and plastic clips that don't work. Don't tell Fio she should be using a styling wand--she can't get the hang of that either.

And she doesn't like the way "thought" scenes are spliced in and out of movies. Slumdog Millionaire and Precious were great, but they would have been better if someone had known the meaning of the old-fashioned terms "fade-in" and "fadeout." (There was nothing that could have saved Mama Mia.)

She'd like her face and figure to quit changing too, but that's another story.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Fiorella doesn't believe in medical technology anymore, or at least not in cosmetic procedures. Five days out from Botox in her forehead, she can still frown with the best of them, and four days out from Restylane, all she has to show for it is a fading red bruise in her left "tear trough."

From what she saw at the "spa," the nurses are saving the good stuff for themselves.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Fio feels uncomfortable writing on this new computer, as if she's being unfaithful to a dear friend. Her old Dell served her long and well through two novels, the inception of Fiorella, and the waning days of her teaching career. It was a sturdy creature, surviving a hard drive transplant and being dropped twice, once on its corner and once face down on concrete, open.

Like the famous bunny, it took a lickin' and kept on tickin'.

But Fio sensed it was in its last days. Its tick was slowing down, the letters on the keys were disappearing, and weird glitches kept occurring. She consulted Husband about a new computer.

It took a week to transfer everything she had originally been assured would take just an hour, but Fio is riding high again. Or rather, writing high.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tinsel Town Miscellany

Look at all the single women in Hollywood. Even the movie stars can't snag husbands these days. It's a sign of the times.
Fio has noticed there are two types of actors--those who play themselves in every role, and those who lose themselves in every role. The latter is probably the better actor, but the former probably has the healthier psychology.
Whether a story is defined as a tragedy or a comedy, in the Shakespearean sense, depends on where the author decides to end it. Ending Sandra Bullock's story with her receiving the Oscar would have made it a comedy. But her story continued, as do all of ours.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hollywood? Fiorella Is Calling!

Fiorella is a fallen woman. Yes, she's gone all the way--botox, Restylane, microdermabrasion, eyelid lift. And now she's eyeing ads for browlifts.

You heard it first. Our Fio is turning into a floozie.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Back to Basics

Ever since back surgery several years ago, Fiorella has eschewed unforgiving chairs in favor of soft couches--anything to avoid sitting stright up, which seemed to aggravate what remained of her spine. She even drove her darling little car with the seat virtually reclined.

Until this week. Not only has the new computer wreaked havoc with her life, but a nerve in her right leg went crazy. The only way she can alleviate the pain is to stand up straight with her shoulders back, make sure she walks with her ankle straight (Fio tends to over-pronate), and SIT ON THE EDGE OF CHAIRS with a very erect posture.

It sucks. Fio wants her plushy couch-sitting days back

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Almost missed
A day with you--
The router was bad,
The computer, new,
And neither would do
What I wanted them to.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Friend Marion is lamenting Fio's proposed Botox, etc., while Daughter is aghast that she is consulting a professional landscaper for the yard.

They forget that Fiorella is, first of all, an artist, and thus always looking for the best view.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Here's to Jane

Here's to Jane, on her birthday,
Let's raise our cups to wish her cheer--
May all good fortune come her way
And joy be hers the coming year.

Yes, here's a toast to Jane MP,
Fio's agemate, forty-three.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rah, Tigers!

Fio just got word that her high school graduation class is planning a reunion for late October.

It would be nice to show up and catch up with old friends, but Fio doesn't know who will show up. She enjoyed her tenth reunion tremendously, but the next one sorta fell flat. She really didn't relate to anyone anymore by then. Besides, she's gained a few pounds since she was seventeen.

Still, she might show up. Depends on how much weight she can lose between now and then--and how she looks with fillers and botox.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This Too Shall Pass

One of the most wonderful capabilities we as humans possess is forgetting, moving on with our lives as our memories gradually shed pain, heartbreak, and loss.

People who don't let go of their pasts can end up in psychiatric wards or jail. Their lives are not happy. Some commit suicide. Some kill.

It's not always an individual choice, of course. We aren't all wired the same way. But Fio's glad her own bad times tend to fade.

It's a gift from God.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wendy in the Night Kitchen

She's on the hunt.

Prowling the house, Wendy Dog checks everywhere for hints of food. She searches the waste basket for containers that held anything edible, the sink for food remains, the floor for crumbs. Apples, mangoes, strawberries, carrots, mushrooms, a lick of butter--anything left out on the kitchen counter, including the pastry brush, a wooden spoon, or a dirty napkin or soiled dish towel.

In the night kitchen, Wendy Dog reverts to the wild and becomes a ravening beast, scavenging for sustenance. But come the morning, she is a sweet and docile house dog, meekly sitting and waiting for her kibbles.

We'd never know except for the pile of walnut shells around her pillowed bed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Resort

Fio has long been of the opinion that if one's hair looks good, one can go anywhere--which frequently results in Fio going nowhere.

Her hair is thick enough, but fine, which means it hangs lank at the least provocation. So she trots off to Friend Deborah at regular intervals and gets herself highlighted and permed and trimmed and styled.

But it never lasts. The hair grows, the highlighting turns brassy, and Fio can never quite work the curling iron like Deborah does.

Now she knows why ancient Egyptians shaved their heads and wore wigs.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Run On

Fio's on the rampage again, a grammatical rampage. Every long sentence is not a run-on sentence. Long sentences are perfectly acceptable as--uh--long as they are grammatically correct.

Thus, the longest sentence in the world is grammatically correct: "I saw Harry kiss Mary, Jane, Susan, Linda, Chloe, Zoe . . . . " , with every girl's name in the world listed ad infinitum. It's a simple construction of subject+verb+multiple direct objects.

A run-on sentence is when two sentences are joined together without benefit of clergy: "Harry kissed lots of girls his lips are chapped" or "Harry kissed lots of girls, his lips are chapped." (The latter is often called a "comma splice.") The grammatically correct punctuation would be: "Harry kissed lots of girls. His lips are chapped."

Thank you, dear reader, for putting up with the wrath of Fio. She's steaming because a contest judge accused her of writing run-on sentences and gave her a "3" on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. What a nudnik.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Fiorella is so excited--she's on a "forbidden site" list. Husband came home with the news today. He'd tried to catch up with Fio's antics at work via the internet and his access was blocked because Fio has been labeled "personal."

Fiorella contends her blog is not personal. It's entertaining, sometimes informational (she hopes), but definitely NOT a diary. If Shakespeare wrote a blog, would he also be blocked?

Still, a part of Fiorella enjoys the notoriety of being . . . forbidden fruit.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Play's the Thing

As you many have noticed, Fiorella has a sense of drama, but then, she spent her formative years attending weekly acting classes.

Yes, her mother signed her up for Baylor Children's Theater when she was eight, nine, and ten. She didn't become a movie star, but she did develop stage presence, good timing, a stentorian voice, and an appreciation for costume and make-up.

She also learned to appreciate an audience, which she is reaching out for at this very moment.

Applause, anyone?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ho-hum Evening at the Palace

Since Fiorella no longer does theater, she feels free to critique the local scene.

Last night she and Husband put on their glad rags and drove into town for the Palace's presentation of A Little Night Music. Set in Sweden during a long, sunlit summer day and night, it's Sondheim's attempt at a French farce.

The many, many costumes were sumptuous, the only flaw being the dress "Anne" quick-changed into in the first act--her pantaloons showed out the back every time she turned sideways. To Fio's semi-trained ear, the musical aspect of the play was technically perfect: the on-stage orchestra was great, the singers handled the difficult music with seeming ease and perfect pitch. But there was a problem with the unequal quality of the voices--the women's, of course, were much better than the men's. (Fio was fascinated by the contralto)

Then there were the wigs, especially those of the ingenue and the grandmother--really bad. And the acting was uneven, ranging from "Egerman" at the pinnacle down to "Mrs. Egerman," who was vocally week and whose speaking style inappropriately echoed Audrey's from Little Shop of Horrors.

A standout performer was Amy Minor as the libidinous servant girl, Petra. The actress playing Desiree had her moments, but was inconsistent in her character, often seeming like she'd rather be galloping about on a cow pony.

And the first act was slow and confusing. But that was Sondheim's fault.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Plunge

Don't hold your breath, but Fio's thinking of taking the plunge, the plunge of the needle that is. The botox needle. Yes, Fio's considering youthifying her forehead, especially those frown lines between the eyes.

And she might get some fillers too, depending on how much they cost.

But then, what price beauty?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Subjective Lens

Fiorella just finished judging historicals in a romance writing contest, and never before has she encountered so many breathtakingly beautiful (virgin) heroines and devastatingly handsome (wicked) heroes, all of whom were sizing up each other's breasts and biceps within minutes of their first meetings.

For Fio, the manuscripts were more hysterical than historical. Anachronisms abounded and settings, for the most part, consisted of announcements at the top of the work, like "Rome, 53AD."

But it's all in the eye of the beholder. Another judge might see the same manuscripts as works of genius. And Fio's spotted a lot of the same ilk on bookstore shelves.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Eyes of the Beholder

They dance before my eyes--
The jagged neon lines,
In patterned curves and semi-circles.

Like sparklers on a summer night,
The muted colors flash, then fade
As beauty turns to pain.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In the CIoset

Husband is in the closet right now--the dining room closet, to be exact. He's growing mushrooms.

Brother and his wife gave Husband a mushroom-growing kit for Christmas and he's tended the little beasties faithfully, spritzing the soil every two days. So far, he's gotten five good crops out of his labor, and he's totally enamored of fresh mushrooms.

I think I've lost the dining room closet forever.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MAMA MIA, She's a Mess-a

Occasionally Husband and Fio cook up popcorn and put on a movie, usually Fio's choice rather than that of Husband, who favors testosterone-driven epics featuring a lot of noise and action. Fio prefers musicals and happy endings, so Mama Mia it was.

With Husband sitting patiently beside her, Fio kept waiting for the movie to get better, but, by mutual consent, they turned it off halfway through. Mama Mia may have been a great stage play, but its transition to the silver screen was klunky at best.

Meryl Streep was not worthy of herself. It takes more to portray an over-aged flower child than snoring, letting her hair hang in her face, and hurling herself around the stage like a latter-day Bacchanite. Fio liked her better as the devil who wore Prada.

The show-biz ubiquitous Christine Barinski (who's resembling Morgan Fairchild more and more with each plastic surgery) was stereotypical wallpaper. No fault of hers--that's how the part of written. And Pierce Brosnan, mailing in his performance, seemed embarrassed that he had signed up for show.

The plot was cute, but not well carried out, and the cuts from scene to scene were bewilderingly rapid. Why? To disguise the fact that there was NO CONTINUITY?

Wish us better luck the next time we haul out the popcorn popper.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's in the DNA

Fio's been brooding on family matters lately, and she's realized that long after she's lost her memory and judgment, she'll still be analyzing and coming up with ideas.

She saw it in her father when, after Mother's death, he started inventing things like paper sandals to wear indoors. And later, in the retirement home, with his theory that turning his arm at an odd angle to fend off the intrusion into his space by another resident had set off his shingles attack, and that his beloved plaid 1970's slacks had been stolen from his closet by a covetous repairman.

Yes, the drive to figure things out endures long after memory and judgment depart. And Fio, who tries to figure everything out, will be the same. God help her children.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Up, Up, and Away

Friday was Father's birthday. Husband, sensing Fio's melancholy, suggested they drive up to Waco tomorrow to lay flowers on her parents' graves.

One hundred miles up the freeway, Fio thought. Why were they buried so far away?

Because people follow the jobs. Father, born in Pennsylvania, moved to Ohio for a job in a tire factory, married an Akron girl, and moved the family to Waco for a promotion. Fio married an Austin boy she met at UT and they lived and worked in his hometown until she got a job in Temple, when they moved to Georgetown, halfway between.

It's nothing new. Her forbears and Husabnd's came to this country to better their lives. And why did our far-distant ancestors leave Africa except to further their own opportunities?

And so it goes. I hear plans are underway to reinvigorate Mars for human habitation.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fio's Feet

Fio's feet have been troublesome since childhood, when pull-no-punches Mother observed they were large, low-arched and high-topped, simian-heeled, and fan-shaped.

To further agitate Mother, Fio couldn't stand a shoe to touch her foot anywhere.

But Fio stuck to her guns, and now, when she doffs her size ten (wide) Crocs, she looks down at unblemished feet and straight toes. When Mother took off her 7AAAAs, her feet were masses of corns and calluses, and her toes were misshapen.

In the eternal mother-daughter competition, Fio think she won this round.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Another Day

Ah, the splendor of the sunrise . . . .

Fio awoke to a silent dawn filtered through the tangled branches of the large, old live oak just outside her east-facing window wall, and she rejoiced in the gift of a new day.

And she deserves it, after the harum-scarum of yesterday.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Late Notice

Pardon, please, my delay--
Fio's running late today:
Too much to do--too little time
To write a longer, defter rhyme
So after reading, go your way
And have yourself a lovely day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gentlemen Prefer Them

Fiorella has had a surfeit of blondes lately.

Yes, she's been judging romance writing contests again, and there are more towheaded leading ladies in that genre than in all of Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined.

On the other hand--heh-heh--maybe Fio better shut up. The heroine of her latest opus is a golden blonde.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Now that the sun is out again, Fiorella is fending off the appearance (if not the actuality) of aging by wearing one of Daughter's old white band gloves on her left hand when she drives. That's the hand that's trying to develop a couple of brown spots.

She's smearing sunscreen on the left side of her face too. And studying ads in magazines and on TV about miraculous skin creams.

Maybe she should just pack away her magnifying mirror.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nasal Update

The north wind blows,
The mold spore grows--
And oh, my nose,
It flows, it flows.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Re: Mary Jane

Fiorella is one of those uptight people who opposes legalizing marijuana for the general population. She remembers a long-ago student who wrote an essay in favor of legalization, explaining that he had tried it and it didn't "affect me in the least, affect me in the least." Shortly thereafter, he dropped out of class.

And she suspected marijuana was involved with Nephew George's schizophrenia.

Now an Australian study claims that, just as tobacco is associated with cancer, marijuana seems to be associated with psychiatric problems, including schizophrenia, beyond the self-medication angle.

Fio would like to think the study justifies her stand on marijuana, but then, studies come and go. The jury may still be out on this one, but Fio has her own opinion.