Saturday, July 31, 2010


Where, oh where, has Fiorella been?

She was going to try to write a cute rhyme explaining her plight, but since she's paying for computer use by the minute, it ain't a-gonna happen.

Yes, her almost-brand-new laptop is on the blink and she's renting from the Orlando Dolphin, where the national RWA conference is being held.

Now, Fio hasn't used a desktop in years so her hand keeps trying to move on the non-existent touchpad, the keys feel klunky, and it took her a while to find the Backspace key.

Fio should have saved herself the trouble and brought a quill and parchment with her.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Across the restaurant table, daughter and I,
Like chessboard queens, red and black, we sit,
Each guarding her own square, eye to eye,
Alike, the same, completely opposite.
So sat I with my mother, seas apart,
Skimming waves, but never diving deep,
Each navigating by a measured chart,
With each shore military, harbors steep.
I love you, dearest heart, daughter mine,
Love you as my mother, yes, loved me--
As you will love your daughter child in time
And sit across a table, just as we,
And never breach the chessboard or the sea
Or know the other’s singularity.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nighttime Ravager

How does one explain to a hungry armadillo that you want him to leave the expensive new landscaping alone?

Fio and Husband awoke three days ago to discover something had rampaged their park-like landscaping, digging deep holes in the soil and around the trees, then cris-crossing the zoysia with ruts.

Husband bought spray to ward off deer and rabbits. Fio applied it. Almost immediately, rain washed it away. Not that their efforts mattered--Naturalist Sheryl told Fio the problem was an armadillo digging for grubs.

Forget about explaining. How do you keep the sucker out of the yard?!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Fio Doesn't Know

Fio got a real thrill yesterday morning when a nice lady from Enterprise called to tell Husband that a rental car was ready and waiting for him to use while his Mercury Grand Prix was in the shop.

Since Husband does not drive a Mercury Grand Prix, Fio was quite perplexed.

Then the Enterprise lady mentioned Elk River and the light dawned. Elder Son's name is the same as Husband's, but he lives in Elk River, Minnesota, several states away from God's Country. His car is a Mercury Grand Prix.

Whew, for a moment there, Fio was wondering what else she didn't know.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Train Wrecks

Lindsay Lohan is a train wreck that has already occurred. Now the whole country is gawking at the aftermath.

Whitney Houston is the train wreck that continues, at least according to the Enquirer headlines Fio spotted at the HEB check-out counter yesterday. Apparently it's hard to get back on track once one has jumped the rails.

Shirley Sherrod is the train wreck that almost happened. It was the truth that set her free.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summertime Visitors

Recently Fiorella has been confronted by some wildlife she'd rather not see again. You've already heard about the cicada on the bedroom wall, but she hasn't told you about the scorpion in the guest room, the centipede wiggling down the hall, and the gargantuan grasshopper(?) in the kitchen.

The scorpion was not unexpected at this time of year--apparently they too try to escape the heat--and Fio's flyswatter quickly dispatched it to wherever scorpion souls go. The centipede, though, was a real thrill. Fiorella had never seen anything like it--four inches long, brown and orange, millions of moving parts, with nasty looking pincers at one end. She went for the flyswatter and bashed it several times, but its innards never squished out so she thinks it was just stunned. Whatever, she tossed it outside for the birds to eat.

Next appeared the large grasshopper-looking thing with barbed legs and antennae about two inches long. It too met with the business end of Mr. Flyswatter.

Fio could never get the hang of the art of fencing when she was in college, but she's hell on wheels with a flyswatter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Dawn was overcast and Fiorella woke up brooding about injustice.

As her lawyer once told her years ago--when she was the third of six white females who lost their jobs due to the machinations of a gay Hispanic misogynist--just because something is unjust doesn't mean it's illegal.

Shirley Sherrod almost lost her job too, due to the machinations of a man we can only presume was a bigot. She's been exonerated, but the man, of course, got off scot-free.

We can only hope that somewhere in the universe there's a God who is keeping score.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Go Oft Astray

Fio is fit to be tied. She planned everything so carefully, but nothing is working out.

As you know, she's gearing up for the conference, so Wednesday she had Botox. Well, when she drove her forty-five minutes into Austin the next day, she learned she couldn't have her scheduled microdermabrasion because she'd gotten Botox recently. No prob, she'd drive back home and check her calendar--all she had to do was get it done before next Wednesday, her departure date. So she drove through the sudden rain and the sudden sun back to Georgetown and checked in with the coumadin clinic, as scheduled, and picked up her alterations from the dry cleaner, as scheduled. Once home, she called for a new microderm appointment and learned they were full up till next Wednesday. No way. Grrrrr.

But the real kicker was the shorty pajamas Fio had paid to have altered. When she checked them, she discovered that instead of adding an extra strip of fabric down the side seams of the shirt, as Fio had wanted, the seamstress had added one wide swatch down the front. The result was ludicrous.

It was also the last straw. Fio exploded, which she rarely does, but then she's got a lot on her plate right now. Not just the conference prep, but Daughter's BD celebration, the closing on the house refinancing, a newly assigned lab blood test, locating a plumber, and getting the aerator sludge pumped out.

Uh, on the other hand, Fio just learned she finaled in her fifteenth contest, Central Ohio's "Ignite the Flame."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Six Days Away

A week from yesterday, Fiorella will be in Orlando at the national conference of the Romance Writers of America. She's not going there to visit DisneyWorld, but to network with other writers, interview with an agent, and attend various panel presentations by agents and editors.

There's a lot more to getting published than writing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To Kevin

Fiorella has been trying to figure out a way to gently get the idea across to her landscaper that she needs him to check in with her:

Where, oh, where, has Kevin gone--
The one I am depending on
To finish up our zoysia lawn?
And to replace five plants now dead,
And have his skillful workmen spread
Brown stain across the rusty red?
To haul away the cedar pile,
Teach me to work the sprinkler dial?

I've been waiting--quite a while.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Current Events

Whenever stocks go down, unemployment rises, and the war worsens, the opposition rejoices, which means the welfare of their political party is more important to them than the welfare of the country.
Fio is fascinated that Teabagger hotshot Mark Williams has revealed his true color--minstrel show white.
When a political movement has no organization, no credo, and no sense of responsibility, it's called a mob.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fio Is Shallow

Ask me about world news and I'm a little slow to answer, but ask me about the latest on Lindsay Lohan or Mel Gibson and I bubble over with the juiciest details.

Celebrity idiocy is such a wonderful distraction from problems I don't want to think about and have no solutions for.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You Can Take the Girl out of the Theater

Fio had a wonderful time at the RWA meeting Tuesday night. Author Sherry Thomas presented a program on query letters and agent pitch sessions. Fio volunteered to be the example of the bad pitcher.

First came the costume--flip-flops, shorts, an over-sized tee, chewing gum, and, the piece de resistance--a Goofy hat. Fio told Sherry her pen name was Nora Robert (without the S, get it?), that she hadn't written a word but the story was all in her head, recited a plot that came straight from one of Sherry's own books, and was generally obnoxious, ending the charade by nuzzling up to her interviewer and asking her if she'd ever "done it" with a woman.

It was fun. Fio had been a little nervous beforehand, wondering if she'd get stage fright and not be able to think on her feet, but once the greasepaint began to smell and the crowd began to roar, she was in top form.

I guess it's obvious Fio spent her formative years in Baylor Children's Theater.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

City vs. Country

There's a reason the city dwarves, Bill and Jen, are on at 9:00 and the country dwarves, Matt and Amy, run two hours earlier: the city dwarves are sexier.

Jen, a clothes horse with curves, shows them off in couturier gowns, while Bill, who flies to LA to get his suits made, has a streak of the risque in him, witness his recent comedy club stint. Besides, the plotline follows their proposed surrogate pregnancy, including visits to doctors to check on the availability of her eggs and the potency of his sperm.

Matt and Amy's passion, on the other hand, is twenty years and four kids older.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Slow Lane

Yesterday began with laughter as Husband tromped into the bedroom, loudly proclaimed birthday greetings, and presented Fiorella with a card, a kiss, and a crossword dictionary. To top it off, he urged Wendy Dog up on the bed for a good morning slurp.

The day continued with a phone call from Daughter and a drive into Austin to have lunch with Friend Paula. Home again, Fio had a mid-afternoon snack of one-third a chocolate birthday cake Husband had picked up at Upper Crust, read a little and rested a lot, then practiced piano. Supper was vanilla ice cream covered with Hard Shell.

Aah, burp. Life is good.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Counting the rings of the Fiorella tree,
You'll notice that she's just forty-three
And just between you and me,
That's her age eternally.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Linguistic Lady Speaks

Words are just sounds. None of them are inherently "bad." Inappropriate maybe, according to their culture or circumstance, but not wicked in themselves.

Take "Dikshit," an honorable Brahmin surname in Hindi, which sounds obscene in English. Take "bitch," the time-honored and proper designation of a female canine in English, but usually insulting when applied to a female human.

Remember, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Words in themselves have no power unless we give it to them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Exulting in morning
And full of sass,
She runs outside,
Our canine lass,
And licks the dew
From the fresh-cropped grass.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Box Office Poison?

How about putting Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson together in a movie, just to check how far away audiences will stay.

Oh, wait--we need a leading lady. Lindsay Lohan?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shrinking World

As a child in Waco, Fiorella would read the newspaper from beginning to end, sport pages, business news, and all. But then, the Waco Times-Herald was not that thick, and Fio was at the stage when she'd read anything she could get her hands on.

Later, when newspapers became humongous, Fio would pick and choose what she read. Still later, she not only picked and chose, but got tidbits off the internet news reports.

But now, she's not that interested in news anymore. It's the same as it's always been--war, destruction, man's inhumanity to man, with an occasional blip of sunshine tossed in. Been there, done that. So Fio reads the comics, glances at the headlines, then, as Voltaire advised, tends her own garden.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Queen of B-O-R-I-N-G

You know the play's in trouble when the best part of it is an audience-participation bingo game being played during intermission.

Fio and Husband, almost forgetting they had reservations for The Palace's presentation of The Queen of Bingo Friday evening, had to really scurry to get to the theater on time. Then they ended up leaving after the first act. There was a reason no summary of the play appeared in the program--it had no plot.

The play started with "Sis," an attractive, well-groomed woman who appeared to be in her sixties, taking at least ten minutes to set up good-luck charms, large and small, on a bingo table in a wonderful stage setting of "the gym of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Lovelady, Texas." FINALLY she was joined by her younger sibling, "Babe." Babe, who was supposed to be fifty-two, was being played by an actress so much younger that the costumer frumped her up and gave her a weird hairdo, which still didn't do the job: her voice and movements were much too young for a woman in her fifties.

You would think the action would start when Babe appeared, but it didn't. Just some clever remarks back and forth. No conflict. B-O-R-I-N-G.

The intermission bingo resulted in a member of the audience winning a frozen turkey from HEB. How appropriate.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Insult to Injury

Fio had an adventure. A tree fell on her head. A cedar, to be exact--one that Husband was chainsawing. Fio, who hauls what Husband saws, didn't realize the tree was falling her way, and Husband didn't realize Fio was behind him. She didn't exhibit a wound or develop a goose egg, but she was a little shaken. She called her coumadin nurse's number, but it was after hours. So Fio, never far from her laptop, spent half an hour reading about how blood can build up between the skull and the brain even when there is no apparent injury, then asked Husband to take her off to the emergency room for a quick x-ray.

What she got was a CT scan, and the doctor who read it announced her brain was normal.

Normal? Fio was insulted.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Daddy's Got a New Chair

Wendy dog is full of woe
Where, oh where, did her chair go?
The one she slept in every night
The second Daddy was out of sight,
The one she lay in every day
Whenever Daddy was away?
And what is this thing in its space?
Daddy should know you can't replace
A soft and comfy reclining chair
With a lounger Corbousier.*

*In English, it rhymes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Fourth Again

My fondest childhood memory of July Fourth is writing my name in the dark night with sparklers. That and Mr.Paule setting fire to his roof with Roman candles.
Given the current state of world affairs, How ironic that we celebrate our greatest national holiday with fireworks from China.
Husband set off a few bottle rockets, then went to bed early. He was sleepy, and besides, it's not as much fun without a gaggle of excited kids as an audience. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Zdrahstvwee, camerade.

Hidey there, Boris, whazzup?

Camerade, Kremlin voices discontent concerning request for funds to be building svimming pool in back yard of too expensive home.

Not to worry, guy. You want Britney--I mean Svetlana--and me to stay undercover don't you? Well, then, it's gotta be a pool. Everyone in the neighborhood has a pool, and we might arouse suspicions by being different, ya see? It's part of blending in with the locals, like the country club membership. Unnerstand?

Whether do you you remember mission?

Sure do, big guy. Don't worry. Sveta and I will come through for you. We read the National Enquirer every week for secret government information.

Good, xahruhshoh. Now concerning cabin cruiser . . . .

Monday, July 5, 2010

What Is An American?

What is an American? It's a question Hector St. John de Crevecoeur answered for himself three centuries ago, when things were just beginning to shape up around here, nation-wise. As Fio remembers--from reading, not personally--he imputed three characteristics to the emerging American personality: opportunism, tolerance, and energy.

America has always been the land of opportunity. Success isn't guaranteed, but it's not impossible. Tolerance was built into the American character early on, when the population was sparse and people had to forge alliances with neighbors who weren't of the same religion or ethnicity. Because of human failings, tolerance has not always been practiced, but most Americans still have a sense of fair play. America's energy, on the other hand, is unrelenting. We are convinced there is a solution to every problem, and, if we just search hard enough, we can find it.

It's good to be an American.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Fiorella wishes for you
A Happy Fourth of July.
May your barbecue be tasty
May your bottle rockets fly
Up past the sleeping moon
In the nighttime sky.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

For Shame, Natasha

It's every teenager's secret dream--waking up one morning to discover that one's parents aren't as dumb and boring as they always seemed to be. Usually there's an adoption fantasy involved. But what does a kid do when he wakes up one morning and learns that that the FBI has hauled his birth parents away on charges of espionage? Especially when he's had no inkling of it? After all, spies can't risk their children taking the special super-dooper computer message decoder to school for show-and-tell.

The members of the Russian spy ring betrayed their friends and neighbors and generous host country. But most of all, they betrayed their children.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ravages of Time

Time, the fourth dimension, the only one we can't alter. Or can we? Fio is doing her best with the blepheroplasty, the lasering, the microdermbrasions, the moisteners, the pills, and changing her eating habits. But what she really needs is the big stuff--the face lift--and you can't pick that up at Smooth Solutions or Walgreens.

Maybe the unalterable dimension is financial

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Up and Down

Yes, what you've guessed is so--
When times are good, Fio's high,
When times are bad, Fio's low--
There's no way possible to deny
Fiorella's a human yo-yo.