Thursday, September 30, 2010

Three Too Many

Well, I should think so! Law enforcement is now investigating Sister Wives. A man with four wives--isn't that bigamy times two?

Fiorella has been seeing TV ads for the upcoming reality show for a while now and wondering if it's for real. Maybe it's for real, but it won't be for long. Sorry, ladies of the harem. No big money coming your way after all. Guess you'll have to go back to the welfare checks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guardian Spirit

Fio awoke at 3:30 a.m. with her mid-section hurting and started worrying about her health. Emphysema, cancer, congestive heart failure--they all ran through her mind as she lay there in the dark. Finally she fell into a light doze and dreamed that Sandy, a Shepherd's Collie from years ago, passed through the house.

When Fio awakened again, she knew all was well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Necessary Enemy

Fiorella has been thinking about the mid-east situation. Actually, the Arabs and the Israelis are necessary to each other. Otherwise the Sunnis and the Shiites would be slaughtering each other even more than they're already doing, and the observant Jews would be at war with the secular Jews.

Nothing unites people as much as a common enemy, in politics great and small. Fio learned in Anthropology I.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Project Runway Stunner

Eeny, meeny, miney, moe/Which designer will have to go?

Ivy was obviously stunned at being tossed out of the golden circle Thursday night, but no one else was. Her blue-on-blue creation didn't even hang together. It looked like she'd draped crepe paper across a dress, then doused the whole thing with water. Yum, wet crepe paper, everyone's favorite.

Michael C was obviously stunned that he was in the bottom three, although he was saved, as Michael Kors said, by his impeccable fit and sewing skills--which must have been a further blow to Ivy, who had long said Michael C didn't know how to sew. Actually, Fio, who's no fashion expert, liked his over-the-top ball gown. It reminded her of "Modess because . . ." ads of her younger years, which she always thought were beautiful, although she never quite figured out what they meant.

And Fio was absolutely stunned that Gretchen made it to the top three. That rag-bag kimono thing must have looked better in person than on TV.

Of course, it was necessary to the drama that Gretchen make a resurgence--the villain must remain threatening till the last moment. And it was necessary that Ivy leave--as a sub-villain, she was taking too much attention away from Gretchen. And it was necessary that Michael stay because the drama is between him and Gretchen.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Written While Shoveling Gravel into Driveway Crevices

Fio believes in water. It relieves thirst. It helps one lose weight and one's system to work well. It washes off dirt and sweat. It soothes, whether in a hot water bottle or a bath tub. It participates in soup, tea, coffee, and lemonade. Vegetables boil in it. It feeds crops, flowers, and grass.

But she doesn't want it ever again to rut out her driveway.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


What's going on, you ask. Fio's last two posts overran each other time-wise, but that's what happens when she when posts early, usually for the next day. The doleful post was labeled for Thursday, but was written Wednesday evening. The post for Friday was written Thursday evening, after Daughter called. So now you know. The hand is faster than the eye.

Anyway, Fio's back to (ab)normal.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm Baaaaack!

Fiorella the bounceback queen is up and running again. She awoke this morning determined to get some things done, not matter what, then met Friend Paula for lunch, which is always a treat, then did a few more errands on the way home. This was all deliberate--Fio always feels better when she accomplishes something.

But by the time she got home, the headache had started, and it got worse and worse and worse until her whole body ached. Finally she gave in and took a magic pill. Thirty minutes later she started feeling better and better and better. In fact, after Husband came home, she felt well enough to go out and work on repairing the ravages of last week's storm. Maybe she can take care of the south driveway herself after all.

But the best thing was the phone call from Daughter later in the evening. She told me she had a dream about all four of her grandparents last night, and they were all together and happy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The depression began to hit yesterday afternoon. Fio'd gotten stalled on her writing, and she was discouraged about ever getting anywhere with it. All her past failures were haunting her.

Then there were the finances. Repair of the driveway will take a healthy bite out of savings, and every week it seems Fio receives another medical bill. And she's still upset about Smooth Solutions leaving her in the financial lurch. And she's afraid the back yard will never get enlarged and she'll never have that under-eye lift she covets and she'll never get to visit friends in Canada or recover the front room furniture or any of the myriad things she's had on her list forever.

Besides that, today is the first anniversary of her father's death. Fio weeps for him and for herself.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Go

When there's nothing else on TV, Fiorella watches Mystery Diagnosis to familiarize herself with rare medical conditions, just in case she might someday turn up with one. A recurring pattern is that the patient is initially misdiagnosed, which Fio can identify with. So far she's been misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis,diabetes (three times), arthritis, histoplasmosis, sleep apnea, and macular degeneration. She's also been suspected of cancer--ovarian, breast, thyroid, and kidney, none of which panned out.

Not to say that she doesn't have some other health problems, but, so far at least, not these.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cold Heart

Years ago, Younger Son, whom Sesame Street had educated, wrote a note to President Reagan in Crayola after seeing an anti-nuke television feature. I added a note explaining that Son was four years old.

Every day for a month, Son went out and checked the mailbox for a reply, but none ever came.

Fio had always liked Reagan as an actor and had no particular opposition to him as President. He seemed to be warm, a person who would be kind to little children, but it was all an act. He froze out Fio's child and, she later read, froze out his own children too.

Monday, September 20, 2010


The recent heavy rains eroded Fio's driveway, but they were a joy to a cardinal that perched at the very top of the tall bush outside Fio's dining room window. He fluffed and fluttered and capered in the downpour for about five minutes, a joy to behold. Wonder if, in the olden days, dinosaurs did the same.

Fio caught the last quarter of The Nineteenth Wife on TV the other night and wished she'd watched the whole thing. The story was a lot more intelligent than she'd thought it would be.
Fio's noticed that dresses are coming back in style--for women, that is.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just like Paris Hilton

Lindsay Lohan owns a get-out-of-jail free card. So what if she failed two drug tests and should supposedly serve thirty days for each one? She's an actress, a member of an elite class, which lets her get away with piddling little stuff like flouting court orders.

What do ya bet? A stiff lecture from the judge? A heftier drug anklet? Another short stint in a luxurious rehab with Mom Dina complaining to the press about how unfair everyone is to her meal ticket?

Fio would like to see Lindsay serve her original sentence, like real people do.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Now You Know

Yesterday morning, Fiorella sent a rather starchy letter to a website for Smooth Solutions, telling them they did not act in good faith in regard to her prepay for laser treatment of her legs and armpits, plus a microdermabrasion. Yesterday evening, she received a reply:

You have the wrong Smooth Solutions. We are a scanning company in New Jersey. Sorry about your problem. Mike

Ooops--to a perfect stranger, Fio revealed some very intimate information. It's a good thing she hadn't signed up for a bikini line or a Brazilian.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sleep, why dost thou leave me . . . .

'Tis music soothes the savage breast, as they say.

Fio couldn't sleep lst night. Her mind kept going round and round on her troubles. Finally she got out of bed and went downstairs to watch TV, hoping the boob tube would lull her into slumberland.

The problem was finding something interesting while avoiding Nancy Grace's coverage of the Connecticut massacre. Finally Fio stumbled on something called The Choir. She'd noticed it other times she was surfing channels, but never stayed around to see what the show was about.

Miracle of miracles, it was actually about a choir, a British choir, to be exact. Or rather, two choirs, one of adults, one of children, untrained community members joining together under the direction of a professional musician to learn choral pieces for a choir competition. The singers were from a place called called South Oxhey, which apparently has a rough-and-tumble reputation.

The show was charming, and the singing was lovely. Fio was entranced and, after the program was over and the choir had won its standing ovation, she toddled back up to bed and fell asleep at last. Happy dreams.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Fio is upset because the laptop keeps telling her that her security system has lapsed, which the idiot machine refuses to realize doesn't matter since husband installed a better system last week. And because she's been working like a dog on rewriting an old story and doesn't seem to be getting anywhere. And because her laser salon closed down on her without warning and she's afraid the refund isn't going to cover finishing up her legs and armpits at another place. And because the driveway still looks like it was ravaged by an earthquake. And because she lost her sunglasses again. And because the landscapers dyed the concrete slab in front of the house dark red instead of brown. And because she ate an eight-ounce bag of Swedish Fish for lunch. And because Blue Cross keeps paying less and charging more. And because husband left the pantry door open and Wendy Dog ate half a loaf of bread and an English muffin. And because of everything else that is going wrong with her life.

Uhm--just got an e-mail from Friend Kathryn that she found my sunglasses in my car. Maybe everything else will work out too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Snippet Olio

Leftovers: Maybe someone told Lady Gaga she needed to put some meat on her bones, but how the heck did she keep the flies away?
It's autumn--plaid dresses, dappled light, dreams of not being prepared for a test . . . .
The speaker at last night's RWA meeting was a woman Fio recognized from years ago, when they were both involved in civic theater. They embraced, as women do, and had a nice chat about old times. Like herself, Fio noted, Lana was no spring chicken. Hmm, maybe that high school reunion Fio's been regretting signing up for isn't going to be so bad after all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Respect Food!

Fio is not as out of the loop as you might think. She's heard about Lady Gaga's meat dress, an attention-getting turnabout of dressed meat, and she's appalled. Not because of the stupidity of it, but because of the waste.

Fio objects to food fights and eating contests too. With so many people in the world hungry, even in the United States, food should not be used for anything but what it is--necessary sustenance. God bless our food.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stars in Her Eyes

You've heard it before, and she'll say it again: Fiorella wants her own reality show. She's sure it would be a big hit because Fio, as an aspiring romance writer, would attract a previously untapped audience--romance writers and readers. Watch Fiorella dance and sing when she wins a contest! Watch her land an agent! Watch her win the Golden Heart, the Rita! Follow her progress to best-sellerdom!

Or not.

Whatever, it would still mean a couple of extra bucks in her pocket for repairing the driveway.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


In romance jargon, "hero" is the male lead and "heroine" is the female lead. The aim of the story is to get the two of them together in a happily-ever-after.

But, in the classroom, Fio always taught her students that "hero/heroine" referred to a value system and indicated a virtuous, super-good person (think Mighty Mouse). The main character of a story, she taught, should properly be referred to as the "protagonist," while whoever or whatever opposed the protagonist was the "antagonist."

Thus, in romances, the lead female is the protagonist while the lead male is the antagonist. How odd that even though the story is about a relationship, not about values, value-heavy terms are used.

But, what the heck. Fio's finally jumped on the band wagon. Please excuse her now. She has to rewrite chapter two to deepen her hero's point of view.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Armadillos in the front yard, a skunk in the back. Ah, the country life. At least we haven't spotted a rattlesnake winding across the yard, like our next-door-neighbors neighbors did when we lived in the city.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Fiorella has a blister! From honest labor, no less!

Fio and Husband's long gravel driveway is majorly messed up,thanks to the recent torrential rains, so much so that they blocked the north end of the drive with a saw horse and placed a stool, a big yellow bucket, a wheelbarrow, and a dolly in the big rut along the edge of the south end. Then, when Fio and Husband walked up to the street to pick up their mail yesterday, they took a rake along, and Fio worked at grading some of the gravel back into the ruts whence it came.

Within five minutes, she discovered the burning sensation on the vee between her thumb and finger was a blister that had developed and broken open. Dropping the rake in the ditch for future reference, she scurried back to the house for the Neosporin.

Sympathy cards would be appreciated.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

LBJ Revisited

Fiorella's father-in-law was a long-time LBJ crony, and thus Fiorella can feed you two tidbits you won't read anywhere else.

When Father-in-Law asked about the notorious Duval County election, Johnson told him that all he knew was that "Boss" Paar had promised he'd turn out the votes.

When Father-in-Law asked him about John Connelly turning Republican in mid-gubernatorial stream, Johnson admitted he'd lost control of the Texas political scene.

Maybe not earth-shaking, but interesting. And it's long enough ago that Fio doesn't feel like she's blabbing state secrets.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Fiorella has left a trail of lipsticks, eyeglasses, and umbrellas everywhere she goes. The strange thing is that she's also the person Husband turns to for help whenever he's misplaced something--and she usually finds it.

But not her own stuff. She still mourns her little yellow, duck-handled umbrella, the Crayola one, and the bright red foldable. As for glasses, she swears they get swallowed up whenever she visits HEB (the sunglasses especially). Sometimes the lipsticks reappear as melted masses under the seat of her car, but mostly, they just disappear.

She can only hope that whoever finds her treasures will get good use from them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Exit Stage Left

The country dwarfs are retiring from TV stardom. Maybe it's that they've depleted the network's dime on all those product-placement trips. Maybe it's that Matt's gotten a new medication for curbing that megalomania. Maybe it's that they've paid off the mortgage, set up college funds for the kids, and established profitable side businesses--the hotel stepladder, the pumpkins cum amusement park, the speaking engagements, etc.

Fio will miss Matt and Amy, et al, but, in this, their final season, it's nice to see Jeremy and Zachary on the verge of changing from teenagers into people. It's nice to see steadfast Molly coming into her beauty. It's nice to see Jacob taller than his parents and finally getting his due share of the attention.

Fare thee well, Roloffs. We all related to the spousal spats, the messy house, the parental challenges, the patient dog. And, in the end, we saw Matt and Amy, not as dwarfs, but as people who happened to be dwarfs. Mission accomplished.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thursday Night at Eight

Fio thinks the best drama on TV this season is Project Runway. PR has it all--glamor, intrigue, mystery, dirty doings, even a wicked witch. A reality show, you say? Not really. Skillful editing is what forms the plot. That's how we know Gretchen, in effect, set up a sweat shop in episode six, with her team members manufacturing her designs for a team loss. That's how we know she and her compadres spend their time sitting around and sneering at sweet Michael C., who's won just as many challenges as Gretchen. That's how we know that someone spread the rumor that Michael had been stabbing Ivy in the back, although he denied it and the cameras didn't catch it.

The teaser for the next show is that someone is accused of cheating. Who? How? When? Why? Fio can hardly wait for Thursday at eight.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Fiorella would like to be above the law, like Paris Hilton. She's not interested in marijuana or cocaine, though. Her sins would be more pedestrian, like undertipping a waiter or running a red light--or speeding.

Speeding? Oh, sorry, she does that already.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


The best thing about The Wedding Singer, playing at Georgetown's Palace Theater, was the enthusiastic reaction of the teenagers sitting in front of us. But Husband and Fio were not that enthused.

The stage sets were great, as was the musical accompaniment (including Robbie's own strumming), the costumes were good, and the singing and dancing were fantastic--especially the dancing. This is civic theater, but there were no left feet. Choreographer Jessica Kelpsch's presentations, as always, were perfection itself, in double time.

That's one of the perks of local theater, spotting familiar faces in the line-up: Jessica, Sister Amnesia, and the uber-sexy Kenicke. But, in a play like Wedding Singer, which requires a large cast, it's also a drawback, because recognizable actors end up playing multiple parts. Thus Pete Munoz (Reuben), a bridegroom in the first scene, proposed to another woman a couple of scenes later, which triggered a "Who the Bleep Did I Marry?" reaction in Fio.

Fio has to hand it to them--the actors were extremely energetic, over the top, in fact, especially Sammy. His action and speech patterns were so loud and fast that Fio often had problems figuring out what he was trying to get across. In fact, sound was a problem throughout the production. Those d**n face mics. Some people needed them, some people overwhelmed them.

Fio does have a bone to pick with the silly stereotypes of the gay George and the geriatric grandmother, but Husband and the teenagers in front of us thought they were hilarious. MaybeFio's reaction is a clue to what she found lacking in the play: coherence. Wedding didn't hang together, and that's the fault of the playwright. George and Granny were cartoon characters in a realistic setting (at least as realistic as one can get with people bursting into song and dance every time one turns around). The story seemed to be a cross between Little Shop of Horrors and Grease.

Robbie did a great job, but Julia was top-notch. A pretty girl with good acting skills, she has a voice that sparkles. Linda was a real scene stealer. Husband liked Holly a lot too.

The cast worked hard, maybe too hard, but somehow the show didn't click with Fiorella. On the other hand, she didn't insist they leave at intermission.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Please, Please, Please, Please, Please

Fiorella's been doing well in the writing contests this month: three finals and a first place. But what she really wants is for an agent to request the full manuscript.

Finaling's great,
Winning is best,
And now, dear judge,
How 'bout a request?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Adult Orphan

Born in March,
Died in September,
Died in April;
Born in December--
Dad and Mom;
Fio, remember.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Looking Down

Remember Fiorella's obsession with flint? It's still alive and well. In fact, she can't seem to walk down the driveway without spotting another prime specimen to add to her collection. Which brings her to the obvious question: why is she always looking down?

It's probably a habit developed from living in the country. Fio would rather not be stung by a scorpion, and those little devils are sneaky. Fio's spotted them in a puddle of water in front of the refrigerator, on the guest room floor just as she warned Daughter-in Law Jen about them, in the front hall as she bade Nephew Aaron farewell, in the bathroom, traversing the erstaz-bearskin rug, on the richly-patterned oriental carpet as she wrote Fiorella.

Indoors, they're squashed flat as soon as Fio can put on shoes or grab a fly swatter, but outdoors, she lets them live, especially the mothers carrying babies on their backs. Anyway, she's too busy picking up flint to bother.