Friday, April 30, 2010

Great Expectations

Parents expect their children to be perfect, and children expect their parents to be perfect. Husbands and wives expect perfection of each other too. Unfortunately, we're all human.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Empty Churches

Church attendance has dropped over the past several of decades. Perhaps it reflects the increasing number of women in the workforce.

When women were primarily homemakers, church was a major social outlet. Now maybe women have so much social interaction at the office that they want to stay home when they can.

Just a theory.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

$13,500 Is What It Costs

My jowls sag
My cheeks have shifted
I look like a hag
Time to get lifted.
Unfortunately I'm
Not monetarily gifted.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not JUST about Fashion Design

Everything you ever wanted to know about plotting can be learned from Project Runway.

Real life happens, but editing manipulates it into an audience-seducing story. Time after time an episode focuses on one particular designer, and we get the feeling SOMETHING is going to give--but will he/she go up or down? Remember when Ben Chmura was given several minutes coverage weeping to his lover on the phone about how much he missed him? "Hmmm", said Fio, and, sure enough, that was Ben's last show.

Our sympathies are cleverly engaged. Ping was edited as cute at first, then rapidly turned into crazy, which, judging by her weeping and blame-laying on the wind-up episode, she was all along. When she and Jesse were teamed up together, Jesse was portrayed as the grounded one, although afterwards we learned he'd been letting fly with a lot of ungrounded foul language never even hinted at on screen.

Mila was villainized by the camera at first, later redeemed; redemption is always a good story. Emilio, on the other hand, was our hero until we saw his arrogance cut loose in the last two episodes. What a sore loser!

And then there was beautiful, mysterious Maya, a story unto herself.

And you wonder why a fashion design show has been able to stay on the air so many years.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Last Name's Henderson and He Won Project Runway

What a showman. A family man with a normal-looking house, normal-looking wife and two normal-looking children, he dressed like a rebellious college student during the whole run of the show and ended up at Bryant Park with a Japanese hairstyle and weird, tight white pants, leaping around like a marionette to far-out music.

But what else could Seth Aaron, a straight man invading a gay man's field, do to garner attention?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Imaginary Playing Fields

Is there any group more pathetic than the birthers? Or more ignorant?

Ever-curious Fio read some idiot's blog in which he maintained that because Obama's father was born in Kenya, Obama is not eligible to be President, that the Constitution states that both of a Presidents' parents must have been born in the United States. Casting her mind back to high school and college Government classes, Fio was perplexed: as she remembered, the only citizenship requirement for a presidential candidate was being born in the US or US territories. So, of course, she googled the topic.

Citizenship turned out to be a little more complicated than Fio remembered, especially John Cain's, but Obama, born in Hawaii, is in the clear.

Unless, of course, you believe his birth certificate was forged forty-some years ago so he could eventually become President in order to bring the country under the direct control of Al Qaeda.

Which, of course, some people probably believe. But they're idiots too.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Momentary Encounters

1) LYNDON JOHNSON. Fio married into a family involved in Johnson's business and political enterprise so when the President showed up at a reception the Crystal ballroom, father-in-Law pushed Fio forward to meet him. Johnson's bodyguard pushed her back. FIL pushed Fio forward again and called Johnson by name. That turned the trick, Fio was introduced, and the show was over.

2) MADALYN MURRAY O'HAIR. It was Christmas and Fio had a temporary job peddling British Sterling, a men's cologne, in Scarbrough's Department store. She instantly recognized the infamous O'Hair when she walked up to the toiletries counter and asked for "Wolf Brothers." There was something challenging in her request, as if she expected Fio not to recognize what she wanted. Scanning the cologne displays, Fio, who had just passed a French reading exam, pulled Wolff Freres off the shelf and handed it over. Score one for Fio.

3)ANDREW YOUNG. Fio was sitting on a couch in the spacious lobby of the LBJ building at UT when she spotted the handsome politician. It was hard to miss him, with all the eager female students gathered around.

4)JOHNNIE COCHRAN. Fio was waiting in line at the Cleveland airport when she glanced at the line about ten feet over the spotted Cochran, OJ's most famous lawyer. She sidled up to the young woman accompanying him and affirmed his identity. The amazing thing was that he was talking on his cell phone the whole time--QUIETLY. Didn't know lawyers could do that.

5)LADY BIRD JOHNSON. When Father-in-Law died, Mrs. Johnson attended his funeral with a retinue of Secret Service bodyguards, then passed out halfway through and had to be carried out. At least she waited to faint until after Fio had introduced her kids. How polite can you get?

Friday, April 23, 2010


Caves have always been magic to Fio. She encountered her first one when she was about five. It was down at the end of the block in the woods behind Bobby Duncan's grandfather's house, a shallow refuge under an overhang. An ideal stage setting, Fio thought, and many adventurous dramas were played out there, at least in her mind.

The next caves she encountered were a series of charming springs emitting from the walls of a small valley in Cameron Park. They were enchanting, fodder for fairy tales.

There was no cave in Fio's own suburban backyard, but now she lives on five wooded acres. And somewhere in those five acres, if she looks hard enough, there's bound to be a cave. At least in her imagination.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Making Lemonade

In the last two weeks, Fio has weathered many storms--Older Son's operation, taking an unexpected tax hit, almost losing a big check and a new cell phone,and learning Windows 7, to name a few. But she's also had wonderful things happen in the writing contests she's entered--three finals in a row.

Now comes the topper: her outgoing e-mail stopped working a couple of days ago. She can't reply to anyone or generate a new message, no matter what she does. The local computer repair store referred her to her carrier, and her carrier referred her to Microsoft Word and the manufacturer. This could be a biggie.

Maybe it means she's going to get a publication offer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Out of the Closet

When Fiorella was young and growing like a weed, much of her wardrobe had to be replaced every year. At the very least, the hems had to be lengthened--or raised, as the style dictated.

Now that she is, uh, mature and shrinking, her clothes hang around forever in her closet. So long that she's started personifying them, thinking of them as old friends. And Fio is nothing if not loyal. They may be a little the worse for wear, but so is she.

But the time has come to sort out whatever doesn't fit, never did fit, or has shoulder pads the size of footballs. Into the donation box, one and all.

Fio is sad.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hopping back to HARVEY

Fiorella's been rethinking Harvey. Its theme is typical for the forties, that wackiness is charming. Thus a man so desperate for companionship that he claims a large, invisible rabbit for his friend doesn't need to talk to a therapist, and the relatives trying to contain him are misguided at best, larcenous at worst. It reminds Fio of when Sister-in Law wondered aloud whether her younger son, who'd been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was actually sane, and everyone else was insane. All you had to do was be around Nephew for ten minutes and you knew who was crazy.

No matter how charming, crazy people are hard to live with. Have a little sympathy for Harvey's "villain," Veta, trying to maintain a normal life, and for Myrtle Mae, his niece, beset by teenage petulance.

And have a little sympathy for everyone you know trying to handle wacky family members. Exasperation is the name of the game.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Beware the Fiorella Car

Fiorella has never been very good behind the wheel, as evidenced by her driving record--several minor accidents and loads of warning tickets.

It all started when she took Driver's Ed the summer she turned sixteen. Fio expected to be, as usual, at the head of the class, and she did turn in an excellent paper score. But Fio was not a natural driver. She had trouble at first even steering the vehicle straight, much less starting it, stopping it, and turning corners without swinging all the way across the road.

Mr. Tyler, tennis coach during the long terms, Driver's Ed teacher in the summer, decided the class needed experience driving at night so he loaded up the car with the special brake on the right and the students all took turns. Fio was in the driver's seat when the Highway Patrol pulled us over. Hands on holster, the officer approached the car full of goggling teenagers.

Pulling out his ticket book, he told Fio it was against the law to drive in heavy traffic with brights on.

Mr. Tyler hastily took over and explained this was a Driver's Ed class, at which the officer drew back in horror and said, "You mean you let them out on the highway?"

Good Cop relented and just issued Fio a warning, but she went home that evening and announced to her parents that she'd been arrested. Once Mother had the full story, she laughed like a hyena and spread it all over town.

And Fio has been living up to her advance billing ever since.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Prayer Answered

Fio is healed,
Fio is swell--
Deep in the depths
Of the car's tire well,
Fio has found
Her missing cell.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Now You See Him

Harvey hopped across into the twenty-first century a lot better than Fiorella had thought he would. In fact, he was charming.

Fio has vague memories of the movie and was afraid that all the lead actor would do was ape Jimmy Stewart's iconic performance. She also suspected the story, after all this time, would seem--well--silly.

But not to worry. The females in the play over-acted, emoting to the rafters, and the male high school post-grads were miscast, but Michael Rhea, who played Elwood P. Dowd, was perfection. Other stand-outs were Jim Mutzabaugh as Judge Gaffney and Jeff Shaevel as Dr. Chumley.

The costumes were great too. Fio especially liked Veta's outfit in the first act and Myrtle Mae's green number in the last act. The play hit Broadway in 1944, but whoever decided to set it in what Fio thinks was the early 1920s, made a good call.

Two little nitpicks: that stupid wig worn by Myrtle Mae and the poorly-painted portrait over the mantel. Fio found both of them distracting. She wanted to run up onto the stage and jerk that idiocy off MM's head, then grab a brush and fix the painting. (Uh, has Fio ever told you that in a past life she did portraits?)

Anyway, Harvey is playing at Georgetown's Palace Theater. Go see him--if you can.

Friday, April 16, 2010

God must have wanted me to clean house

The Ides of March has nothing on the Ides of April*. Fio isn't just referring to taxes, although they too were problematical: despite Fio getting the info to the accountant in mid-March, our return wasn't ready yesterday so we had to file for an extension.

Fio was peeved about the taxes, but she can live with it. What had her absolutely distraught was losing a BIG check and not being able to find her new cell phone. She searched the house over, then decided to concentrate on her writing, but she couldn't open the chapters of her latest masterpiece.

Odd little chills started running through her.

When Husband came home, he comforted Fio, adjusted a few settings to give her access to her chapters, then helped her search the house and the cars twice over for the missing items. Fio even went through four bags of trash.


Both of them kept returning to her little purse and the shelf it sat on. Must have been ten searches of that area. Eight hours later, the last one turned up the check. It was hanging like Spiderman beneath the shelf against the upright--invisible except from just the right angle.

About the cell phone, we don't think we got out of the store with it and have put in a call to our Verizon retailer. We'll see.

*Yes, Fio, who at one time was a Latin scholar, knows that the Ides on April is the 13th, but she took literary license.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Skin Deep

Don't look now, but the ever-curious Fiorella is experimenting with all kinds of beauty aids and procedures, sorta like a two-year-old playing in a mud puddle.

You know Fio's legs are now silky smooth, and soon her armpits will be too--good-bye razors of the world. And you know she got injected with botox and Restylane,and shewants more. On top of that, quite literally, she's started using moisturizer and a sunscreen make-up base. Better late than never.

Blame it on the new magnifying mirror she got for Christmas two years ago.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The writing life is all about choices. Do you watch an interesting show on TV or do you write? Do you read a good book or do you write? Do you visit with your friends or do you write? Do you speak to your husband or do you write? Do you clean up the house or do you write?

Well, the last one's a no-brainer.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Opposites Attract

Sometimes Fio doesn't understand at all.

Husband is sitting in his recliner with a computer in his lap, a new Droid in his hand, a Nook resting on the left arm of his chair, a universal remote on the right arm of his chair.

And to think, he's married to Fiorella, the Luddite, who has no controls.

Monday, April 12, 2010

You Always Knew It

A new theory about the universe is just out which ties together some other theories and explains some troubling anomalies. A physicist has suggested that our universe is in the middle of a black hole in the middle of another, larger universe.

Just as we've always suspected. Our universe is up an anus.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Little People, Big TV Exposure

Don't look now, but the dwarfs are taking over TV--the Roloffs, the chocolate makers, the doctor and the businessman, the little parents with the big baby. Billy Barty would be thrilled at the exposure.

And they are all so darned wholesome--no Jon and Kate here. In fact, dwarfs can be downright boring. The Little Chocolatiers, for instance, have a set plot for each episode: the impossible assignment, the torturous fulfilling if it, the last-minute snag, and the triumph. And The Little Couple was getting a little mushy-sticky until Bill and Jen started their quest for a surrogate pregnancy.

The Roloffs still rule, of course, despite irritatingly obvious product placement, their free-spending lifestyle, and their multiple dream vacations. I love the soccer mania, messy house, teenage angst, LPA conventions, and egomania. Can't beat them apples.

Of course, all the programs are successful in communicating their underlying theme: familiarizing the television audience with little people as, basically, normal people. In that aspect, they're all winners.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another late Snooze

Sorry I'm running a little late
Because I slept till almost eight--
On the other hand, I have to state,
That nine is fine, but eight is great!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pop Culture Comment

Howard Stern, that great arbiter of American taste, asserted that Gabourey Sidibe, who played Precious in the movie, will never get another role because she is "the most enormous fat black chick I've ever seen."

Of course, Stern's idea of a successful actress is someone who comes on his show, takes off her clothes, and strikes poses for him, his cronies, and the cameras.

Fio thinks Howard Stern should never get to do another broadcast.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Fio is cool, Fio is fine,
She didn't awake till almost nine.
Her body's rested, her brain is too,
So she feels great--how about you?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SuperFio Strikes Again!

Fio's discovered she has another super-power. She already knew that she was a walking death ray to electronic equipment, but now she's realized she cannot correct a manuscript without sticking more errors in it than were there before. In fact, you may have already noticed the phenomenon in some of her posts.

Some of us have it, some of us . . . don't.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Over the Top

Due to the lack of interesting programming on TV, Fiorella was driven to watching another episode of The Hoarders the other night.

The show's a one-trick pony. If you've seen one, you've seen'em all. Still, they've scared Husband and Fio enough that we're going through our big closet in the master bedroom. Strange--five years ago the builder told us we'd never fill that closet, but now it's overflowing.

But we're pikers compared to the people featured on TV. Fio thinks most of them have the reverse of an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality: "out of mind, out of sight." They deliberately don't think about their messes so they don't see them for what they are.

Just like Fio and Husband are about their garage. Guess it better be next on the list.

Monday, April 5, 2010

It 's Alive!

It's after me. Windows 7 is on the attack.

I opened my laptop up and, instead of the rural scene Husband had put on my screen yesterday, there was an ocean view. "Oh," said I. "I didn't know you'd changed the background art again."

"I didn't," said he.

We both stared at the ocean scene in wonder and fear.

If I'm found dead with a computer cord tangled around my neck, be sure to call the police. Tell them Windows 7 did it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Angel Grace

My wristwatch just came loose, which made me think of Angel Grace, my son's puppy, who cut her teeth on it when we visited Minnesota late last summer. Foolishly, I had taken the watch off and laid it on the coffee table. A few minutes later, Angel was sporting gold grills.

I never did have the dent repaired, even though it meant the watch ends up hanging around my arm like a bracelet every now and then. It seems fitting to leave it that way because Angel died just a few weeks ago.

She had bone cancer, and despite the meds and the special food and the loving care, it was a mercy when she was put down.

I'm telling you about Angel on Easter because I have a new theory about what happens after death: given that we're all mixed bags, maybe only what is good in us ascends and the rest sinks.

Thus, in her totality, Angel Grace is resting in the arms of God.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Seven-- Schmeven!

Fiorella does not like Windows 7. It is completely counter-intuitive and counter-productive. She can't figure out how to get rid of or alter the ubiquitous blue, looking at her own reflection in the super-glassy screen while she types is unnerving, and the header-footer operation has her completely baffled.

Bet no one ever had these problems with a goose quill pen.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Is Poetry?

Fio had a great time participating in a poetry panel last night at her local writers' league. Of course, the eternal question came up--how to decide what is and is not poetry.

Originally all literature was poetry, one might say, because it was in a set form that people could remember easily, with rhythm predominant. After all, the printing press hadn't been invented yet and there weren't any paperbacks on the market. The Iliad, The Oddyssy, Snom's Edda, Beowulf, the Rg Veda--all are in set forms. In Shakespeare's play, the upper classes all spoke in iambic pentameter, even when contemplating their own immediate demises.

Enter free verse, which is defined by eschewing set patterns of rhythm and, usually, of rhyme, yet few people would say it shouldn't be labeled "poetry."

When Fio was in the classroom, she got desperate and defined poetry as anything with right hand ragged margins. Then came the prose poem, which is written in standard paragraphs.

Fio is throwing is the taxonomy towel. Call it whatever the heck you want.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wendy Dog Tells All

My name is Lady Gwendolyn Gloriana, although I allow my humans to refer to me as "Wendy Dog." I am writing today to tell you how well-trained my pets are, especially the female.

She's learned to let me outdoors at my command and back inside just as quickly, and the male has learned to leave the toilet lid up so I can drink my favorite beverage comfortably--I'm too high class for common water bowls.

The male is also my primary supplier of treats, especially if he's not looking.

And you'll be glad to know I have also been getting the female to clean house. All I do is sneak into the pantry, extricate a bag of powdered sugar, a package of licorice, biscuit mix, a mango, and whatever else smells good, cart each one to my pillow in the den, and tear into the lot of them. It took an hour and the garage vac for the female to clean everything up, but it was good training for her.

Remember my motto: a trained human is a happy human. Ta!