Thursday, June 30, 2011

Learning Pleasure, cont.

“That is exactly my situation, Ms. McCoy. No friends or relatives available. My parents were here a couple of weeks ago, but they’re back in New Mexico now, my sister lives in Seattle, and none of other my friends would be, uh, suitable.”

He means his girlfriends, Ann thought, pursing her mouth and sandbagging her protective walls. She knew his type. Probably had a regular harem breathlessly awaiting his nightly arrival.

“Anyway, I have to be out of town on business three days next week, and I don’t have anyone I can leave Aidan with. Could he stay with you?”

Stilling a sudden rush of panic, she managed to control her voice enough to make a reasonable reply. “Surely he would be more comfortable staying with one of his friends.”

Most of the children who boarded with her had fathers who were over-fed, middle-aged, and boring. Neil Graham was the exact opposite—athletically built, in her age range, and far too interesting. She didn’t want to get involved in anything even remotely connected with him. His very existence posed a danger to her.

He cocked an impatient eyebrow at her. “Get real, Ms. McCoy. Aidan has problems socializing. He doesn’t have any friends and, at the rate he’s going, he never will.”

She nodded. That was true, of course. Aidan was a loner, just like she was.

His voice softened, became cajoling. His hazel eyes were seducing her to his purpose. “If you would take him home with you on Thursday of next week, I would pick him up on Saturday, after four.”

Ann knew she should say no. Neil Graham was just too . . . too masculine.

But then there was Aidan, sweet Aidan who followed her around like a lost lamb who’d finally found Bo Peep. She could turn down the father, but she couldn’t turn down the son. Her shoulders drooped.

God help her. She really had no choice.

“I’ll need a medical release, a list of his doctors and any medications, and emergency contact information.” Her voice was as crisp and dry as she could make it.

“Done. I came prepared.” He slipped two folded pages out of his pocket of his jacket and handed them to her. “I don’t know your usual rate, but would this be enough?” He laid four hundred dollar bills on her desk.

Ann shook her head. “That’s too much.”

“Keep it, Ms. McCoy. My son is very important to me.” He rose from his chair. “Oh, one more thing. I’ll be calling Aidan every evening at seven sharp. He has his own cell phone. Is that all right with you?”

“Yes, of course.” So many of the parents didn’t bother. Despite herself, Neil Graham went up a notch in her estimation.

“And I’ll need your address.” He produced a small spiral notebook and handed her a fat fountain pen with what looked like a garnet mounted on the clip.

She stiffened. “Why?”

He smiled at her again, as if amused at her suspicious reaction. “So I know where to pick him up on Saturday. Why else?”

Ann bent her head over the notebook to hide her embarrassment. He’d thrown her off balance and her paranoia was starting to show. She grabbed the pen and scribbled down her address. “It’s just a few blocks from school.” She tried to sound nonchalant. “I usually walk.”

She always walked. It had been three years since they owned a car.

“And your phone number?” He nodded toward the notebook. At her hesitation, he smiled and, in dulcet tones, added, “in case I have a change in plans.”

Catching her lower lip in her teeth, Ann wrote down her number. She didn’t know why she was being such a ninny. She’d given the same information to other parents when they’d left their children with her. What was it about this man that frightened her so? That excited and interested her so? She closed the spiral and returned it to him.

“Thank you, Ms. McCoy,” he said, flashing his dimple. “I’ll go tell Aidan now. I’m not sure he would have gone home with me if you had turned me down.”

He stood up and left the room quickly, Ann noted, as if afraid she might change her mind if he stayed a minute longer.

She sat at the desk with her hands on her hot cheeks for several moments to calm her frayed nerves, then stood and looked around the room--her classroom, her kingdom, her refuge. She felt safe surrounded by the evidence of her students’ creative endeavors: cardboard castles, tissue paper piñatas, origami birds and animals, drawings of houses and flowers and night monsters and multi-colored spaceships. And now her refuge had been invaded by a tall man with dark mahogany hair and an easy smile.

What had she gotten herself into?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Learning Pleasure, cont.

“Sorry to startle you.” He knelt to retrieve his son’s artwork, standing tall to hand it back to her. She accepted the pages warily, avoiding any contact with his hand.

He waited until she had seated herself to claim the adult chair beside her desk.

Nice manners, she grudgingly admitted to herself. But how does he act when he’s not out in public?

“You’re probably wondering why I asked for this conference,” he began, shifting his chair forward.

She restrained the impulse to move her own chair backwards in response and even risked a small smile—after all, there was a solid oak desk between them.

“Not at all. When a parent has a child as artistically gifted as Aidan, it’s only natural to check out his teacher. He’s been attending St. Thaddeus for only a month, but his talent was obvious from the start.”

Sifting through the papers, she pulled out one which portrayed a bloody battle scene. “This was his first drawing for me. The subject is typical for an eight-year-old boy, but I was very impressed by the detail, the graduated perspective, and the sense of composition.”

“Yes, yes.” Neil Graham waved his hand in dismissal. “It’s genetic. His mother is an artist, Melinda Melendez.”

“Melinda Melendez?” Ann was impressed, then confused. “I didn’t know she lived here in Austin.”

“She doesn’t. She’s been living in Paris for the past two years and has recently remarried.” His voice seemed bitter.

“Oh, I see.” Several of the children at St. Thaddeus came with emotional baggage. Family conflict was so often expressed in their pictures that she’d wondered whether she was teaching art or running a psychology clinic--which would be a classic case of the blind leading the blind.

Laying the battle scene on top of the stack of drawings, she sat as tall in her chair as possible and faced her visitor fully. This was her second semester teaching at St. Thaddeus and, if she wanted to keep her job at the ultra-conservative parochial school, it was vital that none of the parents have reason to complain about her. Accordingly, she lifted her chin and charged into battle.

“Well, if you’re concerned about the level of instruction Aidan will receive in my class, Mr. Graham, let me assure you that I am up to the challenge. I graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in studio art and have been critically acclaimed in several juried shows. Granted, I haven’t had a gallery show in the Big Apple yet, but locally I have quite a good reputation.”

“I’m sure you’re qualified, Ms. McCoy,” her visitor returned, again with that easy smile. “But that isn’t what I came to talk to you about.”

Ann frowned. This was getting sticky. Taking a deep breath, she regrouped her defenses and tried another tack. “If it’s Aidan’s attitude you’re concerned about, I understand that he’s had some problems in other classes, but he’s quite attentive and participative in art. I have no complaints.”

He snorted cynically and looked right at her. “Ms. McCoy, let’s lay our cards on the table.”

Now there was no trace of the smiling charmer. His hazel eyes were hard, his expression somber. “Aidan is depressed, confused, and frightened. You’ve probably read his records. After refusing to honor our custody agreement for two years, my ex-wife suddenly dumped him on my doorstep last month, without a suitcase to his name. I wish you could have seen him, poor kid, standing there all alone in the hall, clutching his teddy bear, knowing his mother didn’t want him anymore.”

He looked her straight in the eye. “The public schools wouldn’t touch him without documentation, and I damn near had to endow the whole of St. Thaddeus Elementary to get him enrolled here. The kid’s been through the wringer. It’s no wonder he’s apathetic. But for some reason, he’s bonded with you. Whether it’s the art or what, I don’t know, but you are the one bright light in his dark, dark world. He likes you and trusts you.”

Ann blinked. She didn’t know what to say so she didn’t say anything.

He narrowed his eyes, and she knew he was getting down to brass tacks.

“The reason I’m here is that your principal, Mr. Kennemer-- Kennedy-- whatever his name is, says that you and your father sometimes board students when their parents have to be out of town.”

Folding her hands primly in front of her on the desk, Ann raised her guard higher.

“Only in special circumstances, when there are no friends or relatives available.”

He ran a hand through his thick, dark hair. It was a well-shaped hand, she noted, with long, tapering fingers. Sensitive fingers. She wondered if he played the piano or if he . . . .

No, she wasn’t going there! She wasn’t going to wonder anything about Neil Graham—or his hands!

But, despite her resolve, a shiver of excitement swept through her.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Learning Pleasure

Fiorella is at the National Romance Writers of America conference in New York. While she is there, you're invited to sample the beginning of one of her novels. LEARNING PLEASURE has won two writing contests and placed in two others.

Chapter One

“How do you do, Mr. Graham,” Ann said, holding out her hand and hoping he wouldn’t take it.

Neil Graham was exactly the sort of man she tried to avoid: tall, handsome, and charming. But handsome is as handsome does, and twelve years ago she had learned not to trust handsome any further than she could throw it. And Ann wasn’t too fond of height either. Risking a quick glance upward, she realized that the top of her head would barely reach his shoulder.

He shook her hand briefly and smiled, revealing a dimple in his right cheek. “I’m delighted to meet you, Ms. McCoy. You’re my son’s favorite teacher. He talks about you all the time.” He winked. “I think he’s got a crush on you.”

“He--he’s a darling boy,” she answered in a tight voice, jerking her hand away before she had a full-blown panic attack.

Better to seem rude than crazy. She readjusted her heavy, black-framed glasses on the bridge of her nose and backed up two discreet steps.

He smiled again, as if encouraging her to smile in return, but she had long ago disciplined herself not to respond to masculine smiles, dimpled or not.

Neil Graham was a looker, all right. Her artist’s eye appreciated his regular features and springy, dark mahogany hair, even as she noted how well that white polo shirt and casual corduroy jacket showcased his wide-shouldered build. Women probably drooled all over him, she thought, but not her. She’d sooner cut her throat than try to attract his attention. In fact, as far as she was concerned, attracting Neil Graham’s attention would be the same thing as cutting her throat.

Her visitor glanced around the room, frowning slightly. Assuming he was offended by the tabletops covered with cardboard tubes and extravagantly turreted castles in mid-construction, she lurched into a garbled apology. “I’m sorry for the mess. The glue smells terrible and I haven’t had time to tidy up anything yet . . . ”

Again the dimpled smile. “I wasn’t looking at the tables, Ms. McCoy. It’s where we’re going to sit that concerns me. This may take a while, and I don’t think either of us would be comfortable on these pint-size chairs.”

She almost did smile then, picturing him trying to fit his long, tall frame into one of the student chairs. His knees would probably touch his nose.

“I--I have a visitor’s chair at my desk, and I’ve got a stack of Aidan’s artwork up there for you to see.”

Damnit, Ann, get hold of yourself.

Walking away from him without waiting for a reply, she pushed her way through a display of colorful animal-shaped piñatas dangling lower than she’d thought they would from criss-crossed lines strung from wall to wall. She moved quickly so her visitor wouldn’t get too close. Then, picking up the drawings from her desk, she turned to hand them over to him.

God! He was right behind her, close enough to touch her. Barely stifling a shriek, she dropped the pages all over the floor.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Fio will be flying off to New York tomorrow for the annual conference of the Romance Writers of America. While she is gone, you might want to read the first several pages of one of her prize-winning stories. Learning Pleasure has placed first in Connecticut's The Write Stuff and Southern Magic's Linda Howard Award of Excellence and second in Northwest Houston's Lone Star competition.

It's about a convenient marriage between a woman who knows everything about sex but nothing about pleasure and a man who knows everything about pleasure but nothing about love.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stray Throughts

Good ideas never die. They just hibernate. But bad ideas do the same.
Each mother's daughter is another chance at the person she wanted to be. We pass on our dreams, hoping they will fulfill them. But in realty, our only futures are our own. Except for Dina Lohan, of course.
Thank you, God, for the new day
That is all I have to say.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Keep on Truckin'

The world is a terrible place, full of injustice and violence, but it's hard to metaphorically tend one's own garden, as Voltaire and Fiorella advise, when one's actual garden is a disaster. That expensive landscaping, which was supposed to be healthy and blooming this year, is definitely a wreck in progress.

The freezes last winter, the drought and high temperatures this spring, the deer and armadillos--they've all taken their toll. Fio and husband are out almost every evening (it's too hot to go out during the day) doing what they can, but nature turns the tide.

And August is yet to come.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Need Jobs

Seems like everyone's going through tough times right now. Younger Son is still job-hunting in California, as is Friend Suzy's husband in England. Fio usually turns to the newspaper comic strips for relief, but now Brad, Luanne's brother has been laid off from his EMS/firefighting job.

Fio doesn't like her comics striking that near home and hopes Brad will soon move to bigger and better as an encouragement to the rest of us.

Hmm, has Fio been striking a theme lately?

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today is Husband's birthday, but it's really been a week-long event--and has a few days yet to go. It started with Father's day, which Fio anticipated on Thursday evening by taking Husband out to a fish dinner and to buy a nice game camera. Of course, Wendy Dog's successful surgery was a highlight, her own gift to her caring daddy. Today Husband awoke and went into the bathroom to find a large, musical card from Fio and Wendy propped up behind the sink faucets. And there's another eat-out dinner and a little gift this evening.

But the big celebration will be this Sunday--an ice cream and cake party with Fio's brother and wife, Daughter and boyfriend, and Nephew. Maybe we'll hear from Minnesota son and California son too.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Encouraging News

Thank you to everyone who expressed concern for Wendy Dog. The vet removed her SIXTEEN-pound spleen and said there was no metastasis that he could see. Fio and Husband will be able to bring their empty nest baby home today for recovery.

Along the same line, the geranium stubs, which Fio stuck back in the soil after the deer pulled them out of their pots and left them on the driveway, are sprouting little leaves again, for the second time around. Never say die.

Maybe there's hope for us all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wendy Dog in Crisis

Wendy Dog is going in for surgery today. She has a large mass in or near her spleen, but the vet can't tell for sure what it's connected to or if it's metastasized. Please think good thoughts in our direction this morning.

The only upside is that Fio and Husband have been getting a lot done around the house since Wendy's diagnosis. There's nothing like a crisis to stir up adrenaline.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Republican Snippets

Palin won't run for President because there's an the off-chance she might get it and thus be saddled with responsibility and accountability, both of which she avoids like the plague.
Fascinating that the Republican Leadership Conference group hired an Obama impersonator for entertainment and laughed like crazy at the racially-specific Obama jokes, but walked the man off-stage when he began jibing at Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann. Guess blackface comedians aren't funny unless they're making fun of one of their own.
Perry's nomination aspirations are based on good hair and how well he has supposedly governed Texas. The hair wins.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thanks, Dad

Fiorella's father believed in milk, exercise, and helping people.

The milk was a no-brainer. His whole family believed in milk, and, as Fio has told you, she and her cousins still prefer it to any other beverage.

Exercise also was a family affair. Dad and his brother were both athletic--golf, bowling, tennis--you name it. Fio isn't much for sports, but she does like the feeling of her body moving, be it walking, jogging, or wiggling in place.

Wanting to help was one of Dad's nicest traits, and one Fio would like to think she's inherited, although sometimes it's frustrating. Some people don't want help, some don't appreciate it, and some reject it when it's given. But, like Dad, Fio keeps on trying.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Casey on Trial

Fio is appalled by the assertion that because Casey Anthony is a liar and probably a murderer, her family must have done something awful to her when she was a child. Fio won't hazard a guess as to why Miss Pout Face is the way she is, but she doubts that supposed sexual molestation (such an easy accusation to throw into the pot) had anything to do with it.

Fio herself used to believe Nurture was overriding. But, TV stereotypes to the contrary, she now thinks Nature, what is born into a person, is also very important, and some people are born with problems too big for any parents to cope with.

And, by the way, does Casey herself know who her child's father was?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mrs. Wiener's Decision

The big story now is not whether Wiener should resign--he's resigned--but whether his wife should divorce him. A lot of talkative women, like Joy Behar, are saying she should.

Is it a law that a wife has to divorce a husband who has betrayed or embarrassed her? Or some sort of societal rule? How can the word "should" be used in such a circumstance? Fio thinks nobody should formulate, or at least no should voice, an opinion as to what Mrs. Wiener should do. It's nobody's business but hers.

Wives are not all alike, relationships are not all alike, and circumstances are not all alike. Let's get off the backs of wives who are in bad situations. They've got enough to deal with.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Day without a Computer

You may have noticed that Fiorella posted late yesterday--not until evening, in fact. She couldn't help it--her laptop was down. Well, not the laptop, as she finally discovered when she talked to Darren at Western Broadband, but the router, whatever that is.

Yes, Fio is electronically ignorant, as she's always told you. But yesterday she learned that one first turns off and on the radio, then the router, to make the system work.

Now to find out what the radio and the router are.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Mothers. Can't live with them, can't live without them. Daughters are caught in between, wanting to please Mother and, at the same time, wanting to rebel, to break free of maternal expectations.

And, believe me, it doesn't get any better after Mother is dead.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Out with the Old

Rebellion is in the air, even in China.

Maybe it's the unsettling weather, maybe it's contagion--after all, everyone else is doing it. Even the US has its rebellious group--the Tea Party.

The rebellions all call for democracy, which would be a good thing, but Fio suspects many of those who are calling for it don't have the least inkling what the word means. She thinks what a lot of them want is anarchy.

Consider Somalia.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Casey Anthony Trial

May Fio weigh in on the Casey Anthony trial? After all, everyone else has.

First of all, Fio doesn't think those tears of Casey's are of the crocodile variety, but they're certainly not tears of regret either. Fio thinks they're tears of nervousness and fear. Casey knows what she did, and now everyone else does too. What will the consequences be?

Second, Fio doesn't care if Casey was molested or her homelife was bad or whatever. That doesn't excuse murder. Look at Jaycee Dugard and how well she cared for her two daughters despite being kidnapped, repeatedly raped, and held in squalid captivity for years.

Third, Casey seems to be a person of impulse, a live-for-the-moment girl who acts first and thinks later, hence the lies. This aspect of her personality was probably born into her because her parents certainly aren't like that. Fio wonders if Casey just followed her impulse, step-by-step, to disencumber herself of her child.

Fourth, could jealousy have reared its ugly head? Casey's parents doted on Caylee, which Casey probably resented.

Fifth, her lawyer is a blow-hard, showboating idiot. But Casey's the one who chose him.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Who's Got the Button?

Gingrich's staff decided to bail
Palin's haunted by old email
Paul and Giuliani are yesterday's news
Bachmann's expressed idiotic views
Pawlenty wants to aid the rich
Romney's got a healthcare pitch
Huntsman's unknown, Cheney's a grump
Huckabee's quit and so has Trump
And then there's Perry--
That's scary

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bells Ring Out

It's another family holiday--congratulations to Older Son and Daughter-in-law on the anniversary of their wedding. Ah--Fiorella remembers the occasion well. The family drove up to Kansas in a rented van, and the first night out, they woke up to discover that a freak hailstorm had cracked its front windshield. The whole rest of the trip, they were peering through crazed glass.

But the bride was beautiful and the groom was handsome and the wedding went off without hitch except that Fio read the wrong Bible verse.

Daughter-in-law is still beautiful and son is still handsome--and they are still together. Congratulations.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Birthday,Patsy

Tonight is Sister-in-law Patsy's birthday dinner. Fio and Husband will be taking her and Fio's brother Bill out to a nice restaurant to celebrate.

It's not just Patsy's birthday we celebrate (which was actually about six weeks ago, while Fio was still recovering from the eye surgery), but the fact that she is a member of our family. We couldn't ask for better. Patsy's a keeper.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


One thing one can be certain of is that one can never be certain of anything. It seems that whatever one plans for falls through the cracks, the redeeming grace being that sooner or later another opportunity pops up out of the blue.

Fio wishes life were more regulated, more dependable, more logical, but it isn't. It always keeps us guessing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


There's a lot in the newspaper these days about higher education and the worth of various college teachers. It's a topic Fio dodges because she herself got stung by it.

Yes, in a past life, Fiorella taught English in a small rural community college. She has a good educational background, knows her stuff, and was popular with the students. Every day she drove an hour up the freeway to the college and an hour back home. She was dedicated.

The division director and department chairman were dedicated too--dedicated to getting rid of any woman who was more knowledgeable and more popular than they were. One by one, they picked off three of us, Fio being the last to go because she fought it legally. (And recently a fourth over-educated female has been axed.) But nontenured college teachers have few legal rights--they teach at the whim of their employers.

Fio has recovered and is embarked on a new career, but she still has a few tender spots, which is why she skips the newspaper stories on higher education. On the other hand, as an at-home writer, she sure is saving on the gas money.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Random Snippets

Fiorella doesn't think the revolts in the Arab countries are about democracy--that's just a byword. She thinks they're about dissatisfaction with the way the countries are being run or the people in power. And who knows what would happen if new regimes took over?
Because God made man in his own images, we look in the mirror and think God looks like us, which is why we cast George Burns or Morgan Freeman in the role. But that puts us in the position of making God in our own image, despite Him being "unknowable."
There's nothing like a deeply-ingrained prejudice to banish logical thinking.
Don't ask me. The ways of Fiorella are inscrutable, especially to her.

Monday, June 6, 2011

We Went to the Cabaret

With fear and trembling, Fio and Husband hosted Friend Paula and her husband for yesterday's matinee of the Palace Theater's performance of Cabaret. The reason they were concerned was that Evita, which they took Brother Bill and his wife to, was supposed to be top-notch, but Fio and Husband thought it was only so-so notch. On the other hand, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which they did not invite any guests to, turned out to be fantastic. With that kind of track record, what would Cabaret be like?

Well, the settings and stage set-up were great and the buxom chorus girls apropos. The characters generally handled the German accent well, especially Melita McAtee as Fraulein Schneider, but "Sally Boles" didn't quite cut it with her supposedly British accent. Sally also seemed somewhat stiff on stage, while "Clifford Bradshaw" came across as one-dimensional. On the other hand, Cathie Sheridan's Fraulein Kost connected with her audience and was deservedly a favorite.

But all in all, the show seemed tired, like Jessica's Kelpsch's choreography, usually so fresh and clever, which featured so many leg spreads that the daring got boring.

And it didn't help that the audience was treated to occasional flashes of daylight through the black curtains at either side of the stage as actors opened the back door to rush across the alley for quick costume changes.

By the end of the l-o-n-g first act, Fiorella was restless. She wasn't involved with any of the characters except Fraulein Schneider. There were some catchy tunes, but no excitement.

Maybe it was the Milky Way that Fio ate between acts, but it seemed to her that the short second act really picked up, and the play ended, of course, with a bang.

Wish it had been that way all the way through.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning, feeling great
Sunday morning, sleeping late
Sunshine's mellow, not too bright,
Slipping through the blinds just right
Read the paper, check email
Nothing grabs me by the tail
Nothing on my list today
And that's the way it's gonna stay
Sunday morning, sleeping late
Sunday morning, feeling great

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Gypsy Life

Fio turns off her laptop and her brain at eight every night in order to dumb herself down for when she goes to bed about ten. That gives her two hours to fill with non-stimulating material. Obviously, she turns on TV.

She seems to prefer shows about people out of the ordinary--dwarfs, tiara toddlers, and gypsies. Yes, British gypsies have wandered into the desolate landscape that was Friday night TV. The name of the show is My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and it's bizarre.

The gypsy/traveler life is different from yours and mine. The men work physical labor in the great outdoors and the women are strictly homebodies. And by "home," Fio means a travel trailer--without a bathroom because their tradition makes it taboo to have a toilet inside the home. The program has yet to explore the alternative.

The children are brought up in their gender roles from birth, the females to be sexually alluring and the males to be super macho. The high point of a woman's life is, of course, her wedding, usually when she's a teenager. Bridal gowns are outrageous costumes and the bridesmaids look like showgirls. The groom pulls off his own drama by such things as arriving in a helicopter, a huge stretch limousine, or a giant SUV.

It's definitely a different life, aiming at drama, glamor and glitter. It's also usually a secret life, like that of any group at odds with the general run of things. Why are the gypsies/travelers cooperating with the filming of this reality show? Probably because they are increasingly under fire in Britain, being driven out of camping grounds, being driven to the wall. Authorities have good reason--those macho men often supplement their income with cons or "smash and grab" jobs.

After all, their daughters' monstrous weddings have to be paid for somehow.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What Fio Prays For

When good things happen around her, Fio is happy. She recently learned that a young man she knows about has turned his life around and seems to be set on a good path. And Friend Paula's daughter is getting married later in the year. And Friend Suzy's older daughter will marry soon.

If good things come the way of her friends, maybe they will come Fio's way too.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Couple Coupling

Hey, Fio forgot to tell you that The Little Couple is back on. Yeah, her favorite show.

Jen and Bill are still going through the mechanics of putting together a baby medically for a surrogate to carry, and the premier show started off with them almost succeeding--but Jen's eggs disappeared at the last moment, which meant Bill's collection cup went to waste. She cried and he was sweet, and they're going to try again, for the fourth time.

Other updates are that Jen's got a cute new haircut and has had a little work done--probably botox. Also, that constant giggle of hers, which was sometimes a little hard to take, is gone. But her wardrobe, as usual, is tres chic. As for Bill, he's gained weight again, but still has the facial hair. Tying it all up, the house they are building looks like it's about halfway done.

It's on TLC, Tuesdays at 9:00. Try it--you'll like it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time Capsule

Fiorella doesn't really multi-task--after all,she only has three hands. But she does dovetail extensively, like every morning when she brings in the newspaper, then opens her laptop and, while it is finding itself, starts reading said newspaper. When the computer finally bongs at her, she switches back to it to skim the news, check e-mail, and write to you, after which she finishes the newspaper, saving the crossword to do while she eats breakfast.

Her trips away from home always involve at least three stops, and she often pauses in a parking lot to jot down story ideas. Her meetings with friends always involve a meal too.

It's a sort of time management, manipulating her days, hours, and minutes to cram as much as she can into them, and Fio's done it since she was a child. In fact, she remembers being heavily involved in playing cowboys and Indians on Barbara Tromer's big side yard one day and suddenly getting a sick feeling in her stomach as she realized she had been unaware of how much time must have passed.

And she never wants to have that feeling again.