Monday, October 31, 2011

Better Late than Never

Fio never discovers good sit-coms until they're in reruns. Her latest is The Big Bang Theory. Yes, she know everyone and their chihuahua has been watching the show since forever, but a couple of days ago she got desperate enough while cruising the wasteland called television programming to pause for a few minutes as the Indian astrophysicist and the Jewish engineer were heading out for an evening of Goth. Last night she watched the whole episode in which Sheldon takes on the other three in a physics superbowl.

It was fun, harmless, and all ended well.

Life should be so good.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumn Chainsaws

Summer is over, at last. Temperatures are dropping, shadows are reaching across the road, and the voice of the chainsaw is heard in the land. Time to harvest summer's dead hardwoods to provide next winter's firewood. Time to cut cedar to protect against next summer's wildfires.

When Fiorella and Husband first moved onto their five and one-third wooded acres seven years ago, Fio wanted every tree to remain in place, but the drought has changed her mind.

Husband is sharpening the chainsaws.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Devotional Song

Here is my voice--
Use it as you will,
To laud, lament, rejoice;
My voice is yours until--
I can sing no more.

Here are my hands--
Use them as you will,
To comfort, help, and heal;
My hands are yours until--
I can do no more.

Here is my life--
Use it as you will,
To love, inspire, and teach;
My life is yours until--
I can live no more.

Here is my heart--
Use it as you will,
For faith, devotion, prayer,
My heart is yours to fill--
Forever more.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Unlucky Thirteen

A writing friend made a reference the other day to how well Fio is doing on Contest Diva, an internet site on which writers are ranked according to the number of contests in which they have made the final cut. Fiorella was aware of the listings, but had stopped checking them months ago when several of her triumphs failed to show up.

Surprise--the site had caught up with her. In spades. Fio has her own little niche--thirteen finals, second behind a woman with seventeen finals.

But she'd trade every one of those finals for one feisty little agent.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fire'em Up!

Fio forgot to tell you about the fire scare at last weekend's conference. It was the best floor show ever.

On Friday night, after the awards, we all went down to dinner, picking up our food from the buffet in one large room and moving into a second big room to sit around tables and enjoy each other's company. Both rooms were full of jabbering women.

Some red dealies on the wall labeled "fire alarm" began to flash, but no one paid any attention. When a loud ta-woot started sounding, we just talked louder. Finally the hotel personnel began herding us out to the plaza in front of the hotel. We waited awhile, the tumult growing, until six good-looking firefighters and a policeman, in single file, parted us like the Red Sea and strode into the hotel.

Genuine heroes for our books! After about ten minutes, the guys paraded out again and we all applauded.

If only they'd been Chippendales.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Flavor of the Week

Every day a new life-style study seems to come out. Eating chocolate extends women's lives by three months. Drinking coffee also adds some extra time. And quaffing red wine staves off dementia, as do fatty fish.

Fiorella's eyes are glazing over. It's like the late 1800s. when everyone and their dog was setting up eating regimens, one of which--Kellog--gave Fio her favorite breakfast cereal, shredded wheat.

But maybe we've got the cart before the horse. Maybe it's that the people who snack on chocolate, drink coffee, and eat fatty fish have more access to health care or were born with hardier genes.

Fio suspects most of these studies are question-answer surveys. She's withholding her endorsement until she sees medical reports explaining why these things work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Fiorella admits it--she is a contest slut. And this weekend she traveled to New Jersey, where she attended a writing conference in coordination with the Put Your Heart in a Book contest for unpublished romance writers, where she won first in single title contemporary for the second year in a row.

Agents, editors--where are you? Fio's cute, she's charming and--wink, shoulder roll--she's available.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Communcations Gone Riot

No wonder the Occupy Wallstreet movement has taken off. It's hard for the super rich to hide their lifestyles these days, what with television shows spotlighting people shopping for million dollar Caribbean vacation getaways and newspaper stories about people paying astronomical amounts for pop art collector items.

And then there's the cell phone, which tells all.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

You'll Pay for It

Armadillo, it's your day
Come feast at Fio's grub buffet
And while you're at it, clever chap,
See if you can snap the trap

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Fiorella has a fairly good memory, but where it really shines is at remembering every dumb, embarrassing, humiliating thing she's ever done in life, way back to when she was a toddler, couldn't see past an adult's waist level in a crowded department store, and tried to take the hand of a woman not her mother.

You'd think she could laugh at accidentally spitting through her teeth while talking to a cute guy when she was a tenth grader, but no--the embarrassment and humiliation is always lurking in the back of her brain, waiting to leap into her consciousness.

At least it keeps her humble.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Up to Date

Fifty years ago women disdained the bra and discarded the girdle. Now we wear bras that look like padded coconut shells and embrace the embrace of latex Spanx. Just another example of fashion cycling round and round.
Fiorella hopes Mitt Romney gets the Republican presidential nomination because he seems to her to be the best candidate. Not that she'd vote for him for President--she's solidly behind Obama--but because she believes in a strong two-party system.
Israel released over a thousand Palestinian prisoners in order to get one Israeli soldier returned. Their own people's lives are cheap to the Palestinians, and that's why Israel has the moral upper hand.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More than Decoration

According to news stories, a 100,000-plus year-old ochre manufacturing and stocking center has been discovered in South African caves.

Fio has long contended that art is basic to mankind and civilization. It is history, religion, and education all rolled into one. And the cave discovery tells us it was also one of the earliest occupational specializations.

Maybe art is what separates us from the rest of the animals on our planet. I know an elephant can swish a paintbrush on a canvas, but can it make a drawing of what happened to it yesterday?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Medicated to the Gills

Fiorella drove into town and consulted her PCP about a painful hip problem she's been having, mainly brought on by her tugging hoses around the yard and standing there watering stuff with her weight uneven, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, cortisone was prescribed. In a way, Fio is thrilled--cortisone makes her feel good. She reacts to it immediately, developing moonface in a New York minute, soon followed by a ravenous appetite and delusions of grandeur.

But those delusions of grandeur might be just the right thing for the NJ romance writing conference she's attending this weekend. However the wiry black facial hairs that will sprout out later are another matter.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Wendy has finally learned how to play with another dog.

Younger Son brought his one-year-old pug, Bosco, with him when he moved back in. Having a second dog around all the time was a difficult adjustment for Wendy, who has always been an only child, especially since the little guy wanted our ten-year-old couch potato to be more active. It took a while, but yesterday Fiorella was thrilled to see the two of them grab hold of a rope from opposite ends and tug on it back and forth.

Today they're barking like crazy and racing around the room playing tag.

Fiorella is less thrilled with this development.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crazy Lady

Meshugana Michele--Bachmann, that is--is at it again, pushing a Chinese wall along this country's long border with Mexico.

Yes, the queen of budget watchers wants to sink quadrillions of dollars, probably the country's entire budget for years to come, in a fence to keep out illegal aliens who work low-level, low-paying jobs.

Fio has no problem with people coming across the river for a better life. What ticks her off are all the jobs that are being deliberately shipped overseas.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Competition, Sports, Money

Fio looked up at the TV just in time to see skateboarders coming down a ramp, somersaulting in mid air, and landing with their wheels still a-turnin'.

"Whatever the innovation, people will find a way to stretch its limits," Fio remarked to Husband.

"And turn it into a competitive sport," he replied. "Then charge for watching it."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Romancing TV

Due to the twenty-three mallow bars she consumed yesterday evening, Fiorella had a hard time falling asleep last night. So, being a romance writer, she occupied her caffeine-saturated brain by working out appropriate matches for the NCIS characters. (Uhm, did she mention that she and Husband watched three hours of the show last night?)

Anyway, McGee was the easiest to match up. The writers keep sticking him with sweet-seeming girls (who turn out to be killers) or fellow geeks (who get killed), but Fiorella thinks a change of pace is more appropriate. How about a smart, savvy blonde, maybe a real estate agent, who zeros in on him instead of Tony for all the right reasons. And for Tony, the smooth-talking Lothario who loves'em and leaves'em, Fio prescribes the sweetheart type, and here's the kicker: she's blind. Ziba approves because she brings out the best in Tony that lurks deep--VERY DEEP-- within.

Ziba is more difficult, and Fio will have to mull her situation over on another sleepless night, but Abbie should hook up with a straight-arrow rich guy who crusades for saving animals.

Gibbs will never remarry. Why should he? Apparently he has a string of one-night stands with women of a certain age lined up from here to eternity.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ups and Downs

Well, your Fiorella is back down on earth today. She hit the pavement with a loud thud yesterday when Friend Katie sent word that she wouldn't be able to go on the road trip to Houston because she was en route to Longview, where her brother had had his second heart attack.

Fio is sympathetic to Katie and wishes her brother the best, but she can't help but feel down about not having a girls' weekend out.

Oh, well. She has thirty-two half-gallon bottles of bath water stored on the balcony, a daughter who is planning a wedding, a son available to help clean out the garage, and enough time this weekend to key in edits to Princess of Bosque Bend.

Then next weekend, she's flying off to the New Jersey writing conference. And that pilot darn well better not have a brother in Longview.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

GOOD Morning!

The weather, it is a-turnin' and Fio woke up with a big smile on her face, snuggling under the covers for a while before rising. It was 73 air-conditioned degrees inside, but in the 50s outside, and the body knew it.

Fiorella was also smiling because yesterday afternoon she received word she'd made the finals in the First Coast Beacon, a Florida writing contest. Yes, Fio, who thought she'd never break into Florida, has crashed through the continental barrier for the third time.

And, to top it all off, she's going on a joy ride to Houston this weekend, traveling with Friend Katie to an RWA conference where Katie will pick up a ribbon and Fio will agent hunt.

A good start to a good day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Remember that rain Fio told you about the other day? Well, the ground is still soft, the bushes are sprouting new leaves like crazy, anything that can bloom is blooming, and the back yard looks like a bald man's head sprouting green hair.

In the meantime, Fiorella has stored thirty milk bottles of bath water--that's fifteen gallons. She could be banking more, but her bottle collection is depleted.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Show Biz Buzz

The Georgetown Palace Theater certainly knows its audience. Fio would guess that every boomer in this boomer-heavy town showed up for one or another performance of Beehive, which, according to its billing, "celebrates girl groups of the sixties."

It's a tour de force for six women, and they're almost all on stage at the same time, singing, singing, singing. And, boy, these six could sing: Jennifer Coy, Jacqui Cross, Katrina Davis, Naomi Emmerson, Timeca M. Seretti, and Samantha Ricker Watson. The latter was a delightful surprise because Fiorella has heard her in other productions and knows she has a lovely lyric soprano voice--but in Beehive she was singing the growly low notes. What a range.

The leading ladies' dancing wasn't as disciplined as Fio is accustomed to in Palace productions, but a new choreographer was involved. Bring back Jessica Kelpsch.

The wigs, which is what the play was all about, were wonderful, and most of the costumes were right on. The sound was a problem at first--not the band, which was fabulous--but the theater volume. Fio wished she had hearing aids so she could turn them down.

The first act of the play is a light-hearted romp, a pastiche of classic pop songs loosely glued together by clever, but dated, patter. It gets old after a while. Husband, who indulged Fio by accompanying her to the show, was ready to leave at intermission, but Fio insisted they soldier on.

The second act, post-Beehive, was like a different play: intense and riveting, with the singers allowed to be more into their characters. The audience, including Husband, was bowled over and ended up giving the show two curtain calls.

Fio was glad she saw Beehive once, but isn't sure she'd ever want to see it again.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Losing the Personal Touch

The announcement of Daughter's engagement appeared in the newspaper Sunday morning. It was brief and and did not include a picture, but still cost a mint.

Newspapers seem mostly to be political, entertainment, and fashion news now, with a few self-indulgent features thrown in. Births, engagements, weddings, and deaths--all the things that relate to our lives--are treated as classified ads.

And pundits ponder why Twitter has become popular while newspapers are becoming obsolete.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Rain! Wind! Thunder! Lightning!

Fio woke up about six, realized what was going on, and pretended to still be asleep for a half hour more so she wouldn't scare the storm away.

The sky was moody all day yesterday and even squeezed out a few pitter-pats of moisture, but nothing that did anything more than slick the inside of Husband's rain gauge. But this morning is the real thing, so real that Wendy Dog, a prissy missy, is refusing to leave the covered back patio to do her business.

Two inches and it's still coming down.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fio Votes "Not Guilty"

Let Fio make herself clear. She is not at all interested in the Conrad Murray trial. As far as she's concerned. Michael Jackson killed himself, and it was a long, slow, suicide occurring over his last twenty years.

The media is trying to make another Casey Anthony event out of it, but Conrad Murray is not Casey Anthony. He's more like a deer in the headlights, a struggling doctor who was targeted by Jackson because he'd be compliant with all Jacko's strange medical demands. And now he's the family's scapegoat, the villain who deprived them of the money-machine son who had already cut himself off from them.

Jackson is actually is more profitable dead than alive. Nostalgia sells, especially if the performer isn't showing up in supermarket headlines doing something weird every time you turn around. Especially if he isn't going on worldwide spending sprees. Especially if every one of his family members can score a TV interview out if it.

Lay off Murray. Michael Jackson's the villain, not Conrad Murray.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Into the Sunset

Pity poor Sarah Palin. Chris Christie got the last-minute groundswell of support to run for the Republican presidential nomination that she'd been waiting for, and then he grabbed even more headlines when he decided not to run--while Palin's decision was relegated to a back page.

In effect, she said that she'd rather be a gadfly, a well-paid, irresponsible celebrity. But Fio thinks a fear of the give and take of debate also had something to do with the decision. If the other candidates cut Perry down to size so quickly, just think what they would have done to Ms "I can see Russia from my front door."

It doesn't matter. Palin's irrelevant now. And she did it to herself.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

National News

So, the rebellion of the have-nots against the dominance of the have-a-lots has begun. What else would you call Occupy Wall Street?

Sociologists have been talking about the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor for years. We've all seen the erosion of the middle class. We've all seen the gluttony of the super-rich. We've all noticed that what "trickle down" really means is "I'll keep everything I can get and be damned if you get one red cent of it."

Is there a guillotine in our future?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Candles on the Cake

Today is Older Son's birthday. He was born with blue eyes, straight black hair, and red cheeks. The eyes soon turned brown (making his brown-eyed grandmother comment that dark eyes always looked so intelligent) and the hair curled and lightened to brown, even going blond in the sun, but the cheeks stayed rosy.

Son is a strapping six-three now. The hair returned to dark and even has a few white strands in it, but the cheeks are still rosy. And so is his nature.

Happy Birthday, Son. And many more.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Arachnid Adventure

Fiorella can no longer say she has never been stung by a scorpion.

Yesterday, right after lunch, she went upstairs to the bathroom and, because she had to go out, changed her shorts for her jeans, which had fallen from their hook onto the floor.

The skin above her left knee started prickling. Had something she was allergic to gotten on her jeans the last time she had them on? But what? She waited for the heat to go away, but it intensified. In fact, it burned. She pressed on her leg to relieve the pain and the burning spread around to the back of her leg. A beetle? Fire ants? Desperate, she ripped off the jeans and shook them. A small, one-inch long scorpion fell off onto the bathroom rug. It was still alive.

But not for long.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In and Out

Fashion is an endless circle. What's new is old and what's old is new. Case in point: engagement rings. Used to be the total design of the ring, setting and all, was the thing. Then the solitaire came into style,the size of the rock being what counted. Later, the engagement ring itself became passe and the gold wedding band was the way to go. And now, we're back to the total design concept.

For example, look at Daughter's ring:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cannibal Soup

So, New Jersey first-term governor Chris Christie is considering throwing his hat in the Republican presidential nomination ring. It must be tempting, especially when people like Nancy Reagan and Henry Kissinger are egging him on.

At the same time, of course, that myriad of other contestants has him under an electron microscope, searching for the slightest flaw or crack in his conservative armor. Look how quickly they took down Rick Perry.

Interesting when the name of the game is to turn on your own.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Days Are Here Again

It may be autumn everywhere else in the country, but it's springtime in Texas. With the daily high finally dipping below one hundred, the bushes are putting forth little green leaves, the garlic plants are blooming up a purple fury, and the verbenas wave their friendly fronds at Fiorella every time she goes out to check on them.

Of course, she's still watering everything from the bathtub, but apparently that isn't going to change for another ten years.