Saturday, April 30, 2011

Truth to Tell

I am the only thing that is real. Everything else is just my perception. When I die, my universe will die too. Or perhaps it will follow me.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Fiorella doesn't need a birth certificate. She has her own official bio, if you remember:

I am young, slender, and beautiful.

My eyes are sky blue, gray when life is cloudy, purple in passion. My golden hair ripples down past my waist--on good days, down to my ankles--and on really tremendous days, it's long enough to fling out the tower window for my lover to climb up.

I was not born, but sprang full-grown from my father's brow. On my left cheek, I have a small birthmark, my only connection to the imperfections of this mortal coil.

I am built much like a Barbie doll. My breasts are ripe melons that totally defy the laws of gravity. My waist is so tiny that you wonder how I breathe. And my shapely legs are not only incredibly long, but come equipped with naturally-pointed toes. No brains, of course, but that's not part of the package.

I am as graceful as a gliding swan, have a voice like angels singing, and walk in beauty like the night.

Also, I write fiction.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Okay, the surgery was Tuesday and today is Thursday. Why isn't Fio healed yet?

Sure, the doctor said it would take one to two weeks, but Fio doesn't hold with that sort of nonsense. She's tired of the wrinkled, swollen cheeks and red-rimmed eyes. The novelty of looking like a zombie has worn off.

She wants immediate healing, NOW!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Don't Blink!

The surgery's over and Fio is in recovery.

The upper lids were lifted a couple of years ago, and yesterday the lowers were done. She's working her way down. Maybe next year she'll get those jowls taken care of. Then there's . . . well, who knows to what depths she'll sink?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Plastic Lament

Good-bye, old face,
You're a-leavin' Cheyenne
Good-bye, eye bags
Hello, smooth skin
Good-bye, cash stash
Hello, Doctor B.
Good-bye, old face
Hello, new me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vanishing Species

Where have all the children gone? Birth rates are down, not just in Fiorella's crowd, but all over the nation. The economy may have something to do with it, but Fio thinks the phenomenon has more to do with the change in social and sexual mores. Birth control has given modern women control over their futures, and increasingly, they choose to remain childless. To round out the picture, men of this generation are clinging to their adolescence later than their fathers and grandfathers did.

So much for the zero population growth movement. Guess we don't need them after all. We're doing the job all too well on our own.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Eggs are a female sort of thing, especially Easter eggs, and especially pysanky, the beautifully decorated ones from Eastern Europe. In olden times, women would make them in secret as gifts for family members. They symbolize birth, of course, and the renewal of life which is springtime.

Happy Easter. Christ is risen. May your life be renewed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Two Thumbs Up and Then Some

Half-expecting a loser, Fiorella and Husband drove into Georgetown last night to see the Palace Theater's latest production, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. After all, an overly-ambitious production of Evita had not moved them so what could they expect of a musical based on a movie? Especially one that a local citizen had complained about in a letter to the editor as "lewd?"

What they got was the hit of the season. The audience was p-a-c-k-e-d and loving every hilarious minute of Scoundrels, constantly stopping the action with laughter and extended applause. In fact, Fio was so busy enjoying the fast-moving musical that she didn't have time to write down many notes.

Wonderful cast. Joe Penrod's portrayal of faux aristocrat "Lawrence Jameson" did the Michael Caine role proud, while Andrew Cannata's Freddy was totally over the top, as it should be--why else did Steve Martin originate the role? And neither Caine nor Cannata had to sing in the bargain. Patty Rowell, Rick Felkins, Michelle Cheney and Suzanne Orzech, who rounded out the major players, were perfection in their own right, not a single one of them miscast. But then look at their credits in the playbill. All are seasoned performers.

What can Fio say? Not only a great cast, but a great script--tight, and clever. Stage direction so good it was invisible. Loved the surrealistic scenery and the band being constantly in view--and acknowledged by the players. Sophisticated dance routines--and how nice to see Jessica Kelpsch hoofing it on the boards again.

So what if some of the actors, especially Freddy, were over-miked. So what if the second act dragged a little--German caricatures are not as funny as they used to be. So what if the multiple endings, as in the movie, seemed a bit confusing. Fio loved the show, and the rest of the audience did too, rising to their feet after the production and continuing to applaud even after the final curtain call.

Oh, and about that lewdness. The play is for mature audiences--no problem in Georgetown, where half of the residents live in Sun City--but it's funny rather than obscene. Not like Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which Fiorella came home from feeling like she needed to take a bath.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Fio is a born editor. Rewrite is her middle name. You may have noticed that she's already edited yesterday's ditty, altering the last stanza. And you know she's in hibernation at present, reediting one of her manuscripts.

She'll leave hibernation on Tuesday to go into Austin and get some cosmetic surgery. See--she even edits herself.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Too Much Imagination

When Fiorella lies abed
But cannot fall asleep
In her crafty Fio head
She counts a herd of sheep

One woolie bounces o'er the stile
One circles it around
One clears it by at least a mile
One tunnels underground

One takes it at a flying leap
And vaults for outer space
One slows his pace down to a creep
And falls upon on his face

Some somersault and some cavort
Some risk a tour jete
Some overshoot and some fall short,
Some falter at halfway

Some sheep are white, some black, some red
Some tinted apricot
Some are sheathed in check or plaid
Or stripes or polka dot

Claws of steel are sprouting now
And hellfire lights their eyes
Horns pierce the skin above each brow
The air rings with their cries

With roaring monsters in her head
Sleep is not to be
So Fio goes downstairs instead
And watches the TV.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Fiorella is going under the knife a week from yesterday. Yes, on Tuesday, April 26, Fio will have surgery to lift her lower eyelids. No more bags, sags, or wrinkles. Of course, she'll look like hell for a couple of weeks afterwards, but what price beauty?

Ah, Fiorella. Again I say: thy name is vanity.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Chance

Haven't seen much of Fio lately? She's been away, exploring the magical world of If.

You know that world. "If," as in if all your numbers are drawn, you'll win a hundred million dollars. But Fio tossed in the towel on that one long ago. The prize she's after now is publication. And if big-time editor LaToya Smith likes the manuscript she requested from Fio, then Fio just might win the lottery.

Cross your fingers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Shorter, the Better

Wendy Dog's ideal relationship with squirrels can be expressed in three simple words:


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Le Dernier Cri

Young adult books have become the biggest thing in romance writing since--well, since erotica struck the shelves. Gunning for hits like Harry Potter and the Twilight series, anyone who isn't writing erotica is writing YA (and some are writing both, out of either sides of their keyboards).

The myth is in the reference, which implies that readers are approximately the same ages as the lead characters, maybe fourteen to twenty-four. But despite all the cute newspaper photos of kiddies dressed up as Harry and Ron and Hermione, Fiorella thinks the primary readers of the Harry Potter series were full-fledged adults. Same for Twilight, minus the costumes.

It's not hard for people to identify with characters younger than they are. After all, no matter how old we are, we still have all our earlier ages inside us.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to Tell You're a Contest Diva

1) Every time you open the internet, it automatically selects Stephie Smith's Contest Chart for Writers.

2) You spend more on entry fees every month than you do on clothes.

2) You casually mention your parade of wins to your doctor, dentist, pastor, yard man, and the receptionist at your computer repair shop, all of whom nod and smile, but have no idea what you are talking about.

3) Although you tell everyone how funny it is that the latest contest judge corrected your grammar incorrectly, you wake up at four in the morning with a plan to uncover her identity and firebomb her house.

4) Your sweet husband celebrates a big win by taking you out to dinner.

Friday, April 15, 2011

War Stories

Doonesbury cartoonist Gary Trudeau is the Ernie Pyle of the Mid-East war.

Like Pyle, who covered WWII from the perspective of the common grunt, Doonesbury chronicles Afghanistan and Iraq from the viewpoint of the men and women who are fighting there. And he tells their stories for real.

BD loses a leg and develops post-combat anger. Havoc deals with corrupt warlords and incompetent underlings, like Jeff Redfern, who's set up a fictitious identity for himself as the Red Rascal. Toggle strives to recover from aphasia after having a bomb explode in too-close quarters. Melissa, raped by her commanding officer, seeks counseling and eventually re-ups.

Years ago, certain factions called Trudeau unpatriotic because of his take on soldiers' lives, but apparently the troops loved it. After all, they're the ones who smuggled him into the country to see for himself.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fio in Full Bloom

Watch out, world! Fiorella feels good today! She reported Lenovo to BBB last night, and this afternoon she'll send off letters to all eighteen of its Board members. And she's working away on a rewrite of chapters five and six of one of her older manuscripts. And she's going to exercise and eat well and go out to eat with Husband at a fish place tonight. Then she's going to save the world.

Manic episode, anyone?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Revenge of the Vampires

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kristy Swanson. They may have slain a lot of vampires, but, in the end, they too went down.

Guess it's show biz. On day you're in, the next, you're out. Like Alicia Silverstone. Remember Clueless?

But Alyson Hannigan is still alive and well on How I Met Your Mother. Maybe second bananas fare better.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Campaign Craziness

Guess the hair dye finally permeated his cerebral cortex. Donald Trump is running for President.

Just in time. The world news is bleak, Charlie Sheen's antics are getting old, and Lindsay Lohan hasn't been in the headlines for at least a week. We all need a fresh comic diversion.

So,thanks, Donald. And how about Tiger Woods for VP? He's on his way up again.

By the way, we expect full disclosure from presidential candidates. Who cares about a birth certificate. SHOW US YOUR HAIRLINE!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fio Opines

The world is a scary place. There are so many awful things people are doing to each other. There's so much havoc caused by natural forces. What can one do about the horrible crimes people perpetrate against each other? About volcanoes and earthquakes and floods and fires?

Only what one can do, and often nothing. But please don't add to the toll. Tend your own garden and make it bloom.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Melodrama, Sleep, and Hope

BBC's Being Human is like a British B-movie. It's dark, melodramatic, doesn't quite hang together--and is absolutely fascinating. The leading man werewolf killed his best friend, the leading man vampire, last night, but Fio suspects the vampire will come back as a ghost next season and reunite with his ghost girlfriend to become a force for good. Got that? We'll see.
Fio shouldn't have been able to sleep last night. She was in panic state all day, working on the hundred pages she's preparing for an editor, trying to recover five pages she totally lost in the process, and hitting a brick wall when she tried to locate said editor's address. To top it off, she didn't get any exercise and ate badly--chocolate during the evening, which usually gives her indigestion during the night. But instead she slept the sleep of the just and awoke totally refreshed with a brain full of things she wanted to tell you. Go figure.
Husband replaced the lock mechanism on the pantry yesterday. It's been ailing for a couple of years now, allowing Wendy Dog to eat every piece of bread in the house whenever anyone forgot to wind the the cord around the handles on the double doors.

Fio was surprised at how much the repair symbolize to her. If the pantry door could be fixed, that means Japan will survive, Australia will recover, and the mid-East will find peace and social justice. It means Europe will bound back, Mexico will tame itself, and the United States will prosper again.

It means there's hope for the world.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, It's Off to Work We Go!

Scratch an American and you'll find a comedian. That's what we do, make jokes.

It's part of the American character. An American doesn't pour ashes on his head and bewail his fate. No, he's up and at'em with a big grin and a clever remark.

Never say die. If we can keep our spirits up, we can do anything.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Conservative Ups and Downs

Bye-bye, Beck. Pundit Glen Beck's star is falling. Apparently he forgot he was primarily an entertainer and started believing in his own publicity.

On the other hand, Donald Trump's star is on the rise. He is actually being touted by some as a serious presidential candidate. Hey, isn't this the same tycoon who had to declare bankruptcy several years ago--multiple times, in fact? Or was that just a clever business maneuver he'd like the whole country to try. Whatever, at least if The Donald were elected, we'd have a president whose hairstyle would beat out Korean dictator Kim Jong Il's for weirdness.

And, taken as a pair, they make Sarah Palin look statesmanlike.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

High-class Tastes

One has to wonder about the past lives of dogs.

Wendy Dog has certain preferences which do not seem canine in origin. For instance, she will not drink tap water unless Husband tricks her into it by dumping her kibble in her water bowl. No, Wendy Dog wants bottled water.

Husband has been humoring her by buying the supermarket-brand, but Fiorella is sure Wendy will soon tumble to what's going on and demand Ozarka--or maybe Perrier.

She's a high-class socialite reincarnated.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Surgeon at Work

Shh! Don't break Fio's concentration. Inspired by the much-publicized prosthesis for Midnight, a miniature horse, she's working on a prosthesis for an even smaller animal--an elephant.

Fio's elephant is three inches tall and carved from a very hard wood. Wendy Dog knocked it off the window sill a couple of days ago, and its passenger-side back leg hasn't been seen since. (Wendy probably ate it.)

Fio considered paper mache or pine for the repair job, but finally settled on art clay. It will shape to the wood, adhere, and harden, but can be chipped away if the missing limb is ever recovered.

Ah, these advances in medical science. Fio is only too happy to contribute her minuscule share.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Life Cycle

On Sunday, April 3, Shirley Lee died and Charlotte Mayfield was born. Tears of sorrow, tears of joy.

As long as there are babies, we'll be okay.

Monday, April 4, 2011


If Fiorella were a medical doctor, she'd want to be a plastic surgeon. Not the breast implant kind, the kind that fixes faces.

Last night, she watched Dr. McKay McKeever shear a fifteen-pound multiple tumor off Jose Mestre's face on TV. Then she watched the latest installment of Juliana Wetmore's story, "Born Without a Face." She'd watch a show in a total face transplant if it were available.

How wonderful it is what can be done, but Fio thinks she could have fine tuned everything even better. Remember, she was a portrait artist in her time.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hither and Thither

Fiorella is going to complain today because her "day of rest" isn't. She's scheduled from dawn to dusk, which is falling about 8:00 these days.

This morning she will hem her new slacks and, while she has the sewing basket out, add more weights to the yard flags to keep them from winding up and around their poles. She'll also spend an hour finishing up tax preparation and set her hair so she looks decent for when she and Husband make the forty-five minute drive into town for a birthday lunch with Nephew Aaron. While there, they'll mail the monthly payments Fio forgot about yesterday.

Then home again, with corrections from Friend Joan waiting to be inserted into one of Fio's manuscripts. And somewhere along the line, Fio needs to work on rewriting the first hundred pages of another story which an editor has requested from her.

In late afternoon, Fio is driving BACK into town for a reunion with some old college friends. When she gets home, she'd better get a start on her latest front-room project before Husband relegates those carefully-chosen slats of wood to the garage.

Pant, pant, pant. Fio likes to be busy, but today is too much.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Fiorella paints in layers. She'd like to get it perfect the first time, but she doesn't. So she tweaks and corrects and overpaints again and again.

That's the way she taught too, constantly repeating the same information to her students in different ways, then having them repeatedly answer it back.

And she writes like that, enhancing, minimizing, and adjusting over and over. It's like building an onion, layer by layer.

Come to think of it, that's how she deals with everything in her life.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Royal Colors

Thank you, Lady Bird. The hills may not be alive with the sound of music, but the roadsides are alive with purple and gold.

Husband spotted some potted bluebonnets for sale at HEB, but by the time Fio got there to buy them, they were all gone. The clerk tried to interest her in the maroon version, but aside from the fact that Fio's a Longhorn, not an Aggie, the blooms looked kinda puny.

Maybe it was an April Fool.