Monday, December 31, 2012


Quarantine, unclean, unclean!
Fio's feeling icky
Do not breathe while you read this page
In case she turns out sicky.


Fiorella went to bed happy, slept well, and woke up happy.  What a wonderful holiday--Younger Son got engaged, Older Son and his wife visited from Minnesota, and Daughter and her husband hosted the family, including Aunt and Uncle, for a great party last night.  There were some bad times during the past week, of course, like when Husband fainted after Christmas dinner as a prelude to three days of fever and flu, but all turned out well, and the party was a wonderful finale.  Daughter scheduled it for six to eight in the evening, which meant everyone would be able to get home for a good night's rest--essential to OS and his wife, who were pulling out for home at 4:00 the next morning, but good for Fio too, whose sleep had been feverish and fitful lately.

Yes, Fiorella is happy.  She's always happy when everyone around her is happy.  Let's hope the holiday ia a prelude of the year to come.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Floyd and Ives

Husband, a music nut, has been playing a lot of Pink Floyd and Charles Ives lately, both of which bother Fio to the extreme.  They didn't used to in times gone by, but since then she's had a psychotic episode with post-operative painkillers, an episode in which she got an entirely upside-down view of the universe, a very scary one--one like the world portrayed by Pink Floyd and Ives.

Wonder what they were on.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Paean to Older Son

Older Son is a mechanical genius.  We first became aware of this, lo these many years ago, when  he succeeded in unfastening every child carseat we buckled him into.  I remember Son, as a three-year-old, getting down on the ground beside a slowly rotating merry-go-round to see what was making it work.  I remember him being able to unlock every door in the house.  When he was older, he repaired his own car--he told me he just looked at the engine and figured out how everything worked.   Later his understanding expanded to cover electronics.  But right now he's concentrating on the basic stuff.  Yes, while he's here for Christmas, Son has committed himself to fixing the automatic door closer, the bathroom dimmer, and the shower, as well as replacing my broken tail light.

Give him long enough, and he'll fix the world.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Finally woke up
Good morning today
Brain still asleep
Nothing to say

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Husband is sick, Younger Son is sick, and Fio doesn't feel quite right.  Older Son and his wife arrived for a holiday visit, bringing their Staffordshire  to co-reside with pug Bosco and mastiff Sonya.  This could be an interesting next couple of days.  But it's nothing new--last year Older Son got pneumonia when they visited.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best Gift

On Christmas Eve, Son's fiancee attended church with us.  The next morning, she joined us around the tree that she and Son had decorated and we all opened our gifts in turn, with Son acting as master of ceremonies.  Then she helped with Christmas dinner, the table setting, and the clean up.

Son has a winner and we do too.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Winter Dawn

This was Fio's Christmas sonnet in 2010.  She wrote it from notes she took over a one-hour period as the sun was coming up.  Every word of it is true.

The naked trees define themselves anew
As separate from the slowly lightening sky,
And dark clouds fade to gray and then to blue
While one lone brilliant star hangs heaven high.
The sky turns bright, yet deathly cold and chill,
But in the winter forest far below,
A single branch moves slightly, then is still--
As morning’s warming blush begins to glow.
Suddenly through the band of winter trees
A spark, a glint of gold, a burning fire,
Reflects its yellow on the oaks’ live leaves,
Escapes the woods’ confines, ascending higher.
      The sun has risen. Welcome, joyous morn,                 
      For night is dead and Christmas Day is born.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Night Before Christmas Snippets

Fiorella woke up about 4:30 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep so she watched television for a while, then, at 5:00, took advantage of the siituation and stationed herself with a book near the front door, waiting for the sweep of headlights that would tell her the newspaper delivery man was racing down the driveway.  At 5:55, she dropped her book, ran to the door and yelled "Stop!"  Fio handed the delivery LADY the envelope, wished her merry Christmas, then headed back into the house.  Mission accomplished.  
As you may have figured out, Fio overspoke when she glowed at you about how everything holiday-wise had been taken care of.  Since then, she's been out shopping for more gifts, wrapped and wrapped and wrapped, and finally taken care of the newspaper tip.  Just one more gift to buy (if it's available) and she can start glowing again.
Fio and her family belong to a church but are not regular in attendance--except on Christmas Eve when they sometimes even manage to round up stray relatives to join them.  But this Christmas Eve will be special because Younger Son's fiancee will be accompanying them.  And this is the church she and Son will be married in.  Fio's heart is happy.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pre-holiday Snippets

Fiorella has a tree.  Son finished constructing it for her after her hip gave out, and yesterday he and his fiancee decorated it with lights and ornaments.  Last night it was bright and twinkling.  Fiorella's heart is happy.
When Fio was out shopping yesterday, the traffic was heavy, but polite and accommodating.  True holiday spirit.
Fio has a problem--she can't get hold of the name and home address of the guy who speeds through her driveway every morning at 5:30 a.m. to deliver the newspaper so how can she give him his Christmas tip?  Set her alarm at 5:00 and lurk about on the front porch in her thick winter robe until his lights cut through the gloom, then hurl herself in front of his car with check and pen in hand?  Put up a trip wire that attaches to a mechanism that lowers an envelope containing a twenty-dollar bill in front of his windshield?   

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Not a single pain this morning when Fiorella got up--and she slept seven peaceful hours in bed without resource to the bath tub or the downstairs couch.  And Younger Son is engaged--and also got a raise at work.  And he and his fiancee are going to help with the Christmas tree and both will be with us for Christmas dinner.  And so will Daughter and her husband, as well as Fiorella's brother and his wife.  And so will Older Nephew.  Fiorella's cup runneth over.  Three days till Christmas and she'd bursting with happiness.

Oops--cross your fingers.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Almost Done

The last gifts have been ordered, and the cards have been sent. Fio's tipped the maid and the guy who delivers the newspaper.  She's written checks to charities and her church.  She stuck a couple of boxes of shortbread cookies in the mailbox for the postperson.  Just a few more things to wrap and Fiorella will be prepared for Christmas.

It's a miracle.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rawhide Addict

Every morning after breakfast, Sonya leads Fio to the kitchen and points at the pantry, whence she knows all good things come.  But Sonya doesn't want more kibble--she wants a rawhide bone that she will tear to shreds by the end of the day.  The bones are fairly expensive, but Fiorella shells out gladly because Sonya's other options have been metal screwdrivers, wireless landline phones, the television changer, Fio's shoes, and her eyeglasses (two pairs so far).

Just give Sonya another year, say the experts, and she'll be through teething.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shooting from the Hip

Rick Perry is crazy.  Now he wants teachers to be armed.  Fio pictures a Bushmaster in every classroom--that's what it would take to hold off another Adam Lanza.  Also, Perry wants everyone who's carrying concealed  to be able to come out of the closet.  Imagine your neighborhood with a Glock on every hip.

Fio sees one advantage to arming teachers--kids would think twice about misbehaving.  A few warning shots through the ceiling would calm them down pronto.  A flesh wound would have even more effect.  On the other hand, the students just might shoot back.  Billy the Kid was twelve when he killed his first man.

Rick Perry is crazy.  And this is the man who's building a campaign fund to run for President again. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Re Lanza's Mother--Not

Well--it turns out journalist Liza Long is NOT Adam Lanza's mother.  Lanza's mother was even nuttier than he was, a righter-than-right-wing survivalist who fantasized an economic apocalypse which she was going to survive by killing anything that moved, to wit her obscene collection of weapons.

Fio supports the Second Amendment, but draws the line at a private arsenal.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Women and Domination

It's no wonder that women let themselves get into abusive situations, maybe even seek them out--the hero of the romances they read is usually the physically and psychologically most powerful guy in town.  He's alpha--he dominates.

In romances of an earlier era, he batted the heroine around at some point, often raping her, which allowed the reader to accept her as a "good girl" because, even though she was sexually attracted to the guy, she had to be forced.  Of course, one time around with such a good-looking, masterful man and she was converted and in love.  Think Rosemary Rogers.

And now we have the bondage books on every doorstep.  Yeah, love comes from being totally submissive.  Fiorella feels like burning her bra.

But why do women read these books?  After all, romance authors aren't coming up with this stuff on their own--they write to sell.  Think--is there something in female psychology that draws us to this scenario?  Are we naturally attracted to the idea of being the sex toys of Ghengis Khan? Is masochism in our DNA?

Fiorella is troubled.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Update

Fiorella has most of her cards in the mail and about half of her shopping done.  Husband has put up a few yard decorations, and tomorrow afternoon Daughter and her tall husband will come over to, Fio hopes, put up the tree.  It's a far cry from Christmases past when Fiorella has dedicated the whole month of December to decking the house, but there's always next year.

In the meantime, here's this year's sonnet, with no idea why Blogspot divided it at such an awkward place:

No decorating of the house this year
No wreaths upon the door, no mistletoe
Outside, no giant snowflakes, nodding deer
No boughs of holly or jaunty mailbox bow
No tinsel garlands, shiny paper chains,
No fireplace mantel dressed in red and green                      
No clever cut-outs on the window panes
No charmingly depicted manger scene
No dining table draped in rich brocade
No sentimental cards from years gone by
No precious ornaments of glass displayed
No metal bird, nor feathered butterfly
     But though the house is unadorned this year,
     Our hearts will overflow with Christmas cheer

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Second Guessing

What was his homelife like, we ask.  How did other children treat him when he was a kid?  What was the final trigger?

It's not really a blame game.  It's a prevention tactic--an attempt to figure out how to avoid a future tragedy, an attempt to make sense out of the senseless, to reassure ourselves we can establish control over the uncontrollable.

Better gun control will help, better school security will help, a kinder society will help, but, ultimately, we are at an impasse because there's no way to predict where the next threat will come from. Who can chart the course of a human brain?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Toting It Up

Yes, Fiorella has surgical scars.  There are two down her spine from back surgery and two down her stomach from C-sections.  There's one across her right palm from repair of a carpal tunnel problem and one under her right arm from a lymph-node biopsy.  There's one down her chest from an aortic valve replacement, one above her heart marking the insertion of a pacemaker, one across her throat from a partial thyroidectomy, one on her right thigh from a total hip replacement, and two in front of her hairline from a facelift.

Fiorella doesn't try to hide her scars.  They mean she's alive and well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Solution

Have you noticed how the mug shots of so many public mass murderers--the ones who open up in restaurants, malls, movie theaters and the like--resemble each other?  The wide open, goggly eyes and broad, tight-lipped grin?

Couldn't we just put a look-out at each public location to spot these guys before they cut loose?  Or, maybe even better, catch them earlier and put them into forced therapy?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Birthday to YS

Today, 12-12-12, is Younger Son's birthday.

Thirty-seven years ago at five o'clock in the morning, Husband took Fiorella, who was two weeks overdue, to the hospital for induced labor.  They had faithfully attended the Lamaze classes, but such was not to be: the pitocin didn't work so later that afternoon Fio was wheeled into the operating room for an emergency Caesarian.

No wonder--Younger Son turned out to be a whopping eleven pounds, seven ounces.  He was king of the nursery.  The staff had to send out for larger-sized diapers, and his neck muscles were strong enough for him to lift up his head when the nurses photographed him.

Son's taking the day off from work today, and the family is getting together at Austin Land and Cattle tonight to celebrate the first day of the rest of his life.  Things are looking up for him right now--but then, he's always been an up-and-comer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Rose

                  The Christmas Rose

      As steel is smelted from the iron ore,
      And coal is compressed from the common sod,
      As oil leaks out of sand and, from earth's core,
      Uranium erupts to etch the face of God--
      As diamonds are pulled from lesser clay,
      And emeralds wash from alluvial dirt,
      As oystered pearls in ocean beds display,
      And gold and silver clog the veins of earth--
      As corn crops draw from dust their bounteous yields,
      And oak trees lift themselves from roots earthbound,
      As flaxes flourish in their flooded fields,
      And orchids raise their grace from foul ground--
          On Christmas Day, the seed of Heaven's birth
          Was drawn from out the tainted womb of earth.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Another Irony

Interesting how the desperation of poverty--viz  such as Les Miserables and La Boheme--make for such engaging theater.  The reality is less artistic.       

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Have a Seat

We're looking for a new chair for Husband.  The Corbusier lounger is literally falling apart--Husband has been tying it together with rope for the past six months.

The Christmas season is a good time to shop for a chair.  Every furniture retailer in town has a sale going on, although nothing is as good as advertised once you get there.  Our wallets are wearing thin right now so we're looking for a comfortable black leather recliner that fits in with our--uh--decor and costs less than a thou.

Dream on, you say.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Fiorella is back on the cane and the painkillers again.  Apparently she overdid it at her last physical therapy session--she was in so much pain when she got home that the armadillo man had to help her get out of her car.  Two days, a couple of cold packs and several hot baths later, she's moving around better, but not as well as she was BEFORE the PT.

Physical therapy is administered in a large room full of torturous-looking machines and of beds which move up and down as needed.  There are usually three to five therapists in the room, and, like in a beauty salon, they tend to keep a loud conversation going among themselves about weekend plans, their families, and holiday shopping.  Long-time patients also chime in.  Today Fiorella heard the story of a woman recovering from rotator cuff surgery whose younger daughter got a pebble in her ear when a fellow student upended a bucket of gravel on her head.  The family doctor accidentally pushed the pebble in deeper.  Just as the mother got her weeping child to the emergency room, her older child's school called and told her she needed to come pick up her daughter, who had gotten sick.   Needless to say, Daddy was out of town making a business delivery.  And Mama was supposed to have spent the day packing for a family trip.

Maybe Fiorella's pain isn't so bad after all.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Spirit

There's a big to-do in Austin about an elementary level after-school teacher telling her charges that Santa was fake, which reminds Fio of her own enlightenment, probably when she was in the second grade.  Fiorella had heard classroom murmurings and playground assertions so she took the question to her all-knowing mother--is there really a Santa Claus?

Her mother told her the absolute truth: "Santa Claus is the spirit of Christmas."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mitochondrial Contact

Yesterday was Mother's birthday, and Fiorella thought about her a lot.  Mother died several years ago,  but her spirit is still floating around somewhere nearby.  Fio now understands why people pray to saints--not that she actually asks her mother for divine intervention--not that Fio's mother was one--but she does channel strength from her.  She also seeks strength from the spirit if her paternal grandmother, who died when Fio was three.  Grandma had a hard life--widowed when she was in her early twenties, with three young children to care for.  Fio has Grandma's handbag, which contains her Russian Orthodox missal and her "mourning clothes"--a black blouse and black print scarf.  Thus may seem crazy, but in times of dire despair, Fio holds the handbag close and feels comforted.

Your mother is always with you, and so is your grandmother.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bad Start

Fio woke up feeling pretty chipper this morning, then discovered the newspaper had not been delivered.  Now, your Fiorella always begins her morning with the newspaper, after which she checks out the Google news and her emails, after which she does the newspaper crossword and anagrams.  Obviously the non-arrival of the paper has messed up her routine.

The world is off-kilter. Don't be surprised if the sun sets in the east this evening.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Down in the Dumps

Fiorella must be psychic because she received a note from her agent yesterday afternoon that Harper-Collins had also passed on Honeysuckle Dreams, saying its middle sagged. The editor also said she would look at the ms again if Fio revised it, which was hopeful, but puts a heavy burden on Fio right now.  She's still "in recovery" from the hip replacement, which means she moves slower, can't do things like climb ladders or walk up the driveway to fetch the mail, rides a cart around HEB, and has physical therapy three times a week.  And it's the Christmas season, which means she's working on her card, finishing off the Wendy book,  planning gifts, and must SOMEHOW get the house in shape.  The latter includes switching the guest room back from an invalid convalescence room to a guest room for Son and his wife, who will be here during New Year's.

Besides, she can't see the saggy middle.  Where?  Which chapters?

There are five more publishers to go, but Fio doesn't hold out any great hopes.  Oh well--there are always farmers' markets and garage sales.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Future?

Fio's imagined herself standing up in front of her RWA chapter and announcing that a major publisher has bought HONEYSUCKLE DREAMS.  She's also imagined that Mira, Avon, Gallery, Kensington, Berkley, Grand Central, and every other publisher in the world turn her down and she's reduced to running off  copies of the manuscript at Kinko's, putting them in loose-leaf notebooks, and hawking them at farmers' markets and garage sales.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday Update

Fiorella messed up some tendons in her right leg and had to use an electric cart at HEB again yesterday.  She's gotten pretty good at it--backing up, cutting corners on a dime, allowing for the overdrive before the "stop" sets in.  The store was rather  crowded, but if you smile a lot, people don't mind if you run into them.
Fio finished off the Wendy book yesterday and will take it off to Kinko's today to see what the techies can do with it.  She plans to have fifty copies made. She's also gotten everything together for her yearly Christmas card--the cover, the poem, the greeting, and Kinko's will be getting that too.  Watch your mailbox.
Fiorella loves the green traffic lights and the red tail lights of the holidays. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Magic Hours No More

What's happened to late night TV?  Not just late night, but early morning?  Fiorella is talking about from 11:00 p.m. to about 4:00 a.m.

Years ago when Fio was up late, she'd catch all sorts of interesting, weird and outlandish shows.  That's when she discovered Forever Knight, for instance.  But now, those magic hours are dominated by reruns of shows from earlier in the day, true crime sagas, and TV hucksters. 

Obviously there are way too many TV channels out there and not nearly enough decent programming.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

Our Sonia wags a sleepy tail
And lifts a heavy head
There are no two ways--it must be said:
Our doggie is a slug-a-bed.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Advantages of a Cane

Fiorella is still tapping her way along with a cane.  She thought she was doing just fine without it, but the physical therapist told her to pick it up again because she is a fall risk--poor balance.  Fio didn't have the heart to admit she'd never had good balance, and that, in fact, some people consider her totally unbalanced.

Anyway, Fio's using the cane again, which means that her ever-fertile brain is coming up with any number of scenarios in which her cane could save the day. Like, what if a bad guy was running from the cops?  All it would take would be a cane tripping him up to send him sprawling to the pavement.  How about a thug attacking a shopper outside of HEB?  A quick swipe of the cane across the man's neck would take care of the situation.  And if someone came after Fio, a series of body jabs with the cane would discourage him.

Come to think of it, maybe everybody should carry a cane.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To Get Published or Not to Get Published

Got a note from Liza Dawson yesterday.  Ballantine said Honeysuckle Dreams didn't work for them, NAL said it was too dark, St. Martin's said they didn't know how they'd sell it, and SourceBooks said it was too similar to a series they were already promoting. Avon and Mira like it so far, but haven't finished reading the whole manuscript.  Kensington, Gallery (Pocket), Berkley, and Grand Central haven't started reading it yet.

Fiorella prefers not to think about the situation.  If HD sells, it sells.  If it doesn't, it doesn't.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stretched Out in the Middle

Attention deficit disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder--two extremes of human psychology.  Actually, since they can be treated with prescription meds, Fio thinks they have a lot more to do with brain chemistry.  She could look the information up, but she's not obsessive/compulsive enough to do so.  On the other hand, she's not ADD enough to let the matter pass.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Sonya Dog sees the pantry as the womb whence issues rawhide bones, and Fiorella as the one who delivers them. Yes, our doggie is a rawhide addict.  Every morning after breakfast, she stands in front of the pantry doors and waits--and yelps if Fio has left her waiting longer than she deems necessary.

Oh well, it's better than when she was chewing on shoes.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Classic Heyer

Fiorella is cleaning out her bookcase of beloved paperback romances, ones she never thought she'd toss, but the time has come  (the Walrus said).  However, there's at least one that ain't a-gonna go, and that's The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer, the woman who invented historical romance--and don't send me corrective little notes mentioning Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott.  Jane was writing contemporary romances while Walt wrote adventure stories for armchair cavaliers.  Avant garde!

The plot of The Masqueraders is hard to explain without a few sniggers coming from a modern audience because it faetures a brother and sister being disguised as the opposite sex, but nothing untoward happens.  Not that sexual entendre is nonexistent in Heyer's works--it's just not played out on the public page.

Anyway, the story involves the sibs' father establishing his birthright, the son wooing his ladylove in the spirit of adventure, the daughter being wooed by the man she is in love with but does not feel worthy of, and a bad guy who plots with another bad guy to bring them all down.  Complicated and interwoven, but Heyer makes it work--wandering POVs, long expository passages, and all.. 

Yeah, The Masqueraders is a keeper.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reviewing ALWAYS . . . PATSY CLINE

Fiorella slept late again this morning, not because she had insomnia earlier in the night like on Thursday, but because she saw a good production yesterday evening at Georgetown's Palace Theater and rested easy.

Fio says a good production because that's what it was--good, but not great.  Always . . . Patsy Cline featured twenty-six hits of the big-voiced country-pop star put into a pseudo-biographical order.  The singing and characterization of  Ysenia McNett was tremendous, especially for basically a one-woman show.  McNett, who usually sings lyric soprano roles, has great contralto pipes too.  She owned the role, portraying Cline from tender ingenue to swaggering star.   No one could totally  duplicate Cline's unique ability to switch registers with ease, but McNett came as close as you're gonna get.  And her styling was perfect.

The pseudo biography is where the play failed.  Unlike the similar Buddy Holley reprise,  Always . . . Patsy Cline intimates that the Cline's songs reflected her life, that she had experienced the let-down-by-a-man, honky-tonk life she sang about.  To that end, the playwright created a fake character to narrate the play--Louise Seger, a comic-relief fan whom Cline supposedly met along the way. 

But a little Googling tells a different story.  Cline was no shrinking violet tromped on by chauvinistic male arrogance.  Her songs were often the female counterpart to the country-western masculine wails about women who had done them wrong, but she was the one who divorced her first husband because he wanted her to dump her career and settle down to housewifery bliss.  Her second marriage was relatively happy, producing two children. And Cline has no need for a devoted fan to protect her interests.  In fact, she led the charge when it came to country performers being paid upfront rather than after the show, when producers often stiffed them.

But Fiorella quibbles. The minimalist stage setting worked well, and Fio was entranced by the way the band, often stuck off in a corner so as not to distract from the action, was rightfully front and center most of the time, actually part of story.  The costumes were spot on, and, for once, Fio has not a single complaint about the directing.  Needless to say, the theater was SRO and has been since opening night.  Extra shows have been added.

All in all, Aways . . . Patsy Cline was a treat.

CORRECTION:  Louise Seger was a real person and real fan.  But Fio still objects to her as a comic-relief character.


Friday, November 23, 2012

On the Run

Fiorella slept late,
Then hurried off to a post-Thanksgiving dinner date,
Got home again in late afternoon,
And, now again, will be leaving soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Fiorella is thankful for love and laughter, for friends and family, for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  She is thankful for God's healing miracles, for material goods and spiritual strength.  For talent and skill and hope and achievement.  For this wonderful country.  For life itself.  For the promise of eternal life.

And that just about covers the waterfront.  Amen. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kindergarten Creative

Fiorella strikes again!  Yes, she's come up with a Christmas card this year that's downright bizarre.  On a neon green background, she's pasted a true green Christmas tree of her own design.  On the tree, she's pasted a crossword-puzzle type design in red which uses all the family names.  Building off a vertical "MERRY CHRISTMAS," she linked Husband's surname, her own maiden name, the three children's first names, their two spouses' first and last names, everyone's pets' names, and Husband's sister's married name. At the top of the tree, which is shaped like a chocolate kiss, Fiorella pasted a loving red heart.

Mrs. Ruebright, Fiorella's kindergarten teacher, would have been proud.  That woman could make anything out of paper.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fio Has a New Toy

Fiorella has discovered Jacquie Lawson cards, those charming e-cards that change into something even more charming.  Well, actually she's known about them for some time because people have sent a couple to her, but now she's decided to subscribe to the service herself.  You can't beat an unlimited number of cards for just twelve bucks a year, and there are lots and lots of designs to choose from.  It's easy to send the cards too.  So today, three days before Thanksgiving,  she'll start barraging people with cards.

Duck and cover!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fio and Music

'Tis the season for Fiorella to practice Christmas carols on the piano.  Not that she's in the same league as Friend Marion, who, as she admits, was "born understanding how the piano works," or   Friend Mary's daughter, Julia, who has the same inborn talent, or Fio's high school friend, Jan Herring, who placed second in the Van Cliburn competition.  No, Fio is something of a dud.

For one thing, she's terribly self-conscious when playing the piano or singing.  Fiorella used to have a very good voice and was actually able to sing in public without choking up for a few precious years, but age, steroids, and a resurgence of her self-consciousness took their toll. 

One thing she can still do, though, is compose.  Yeah, good ol' creative, analytical Fiorella can compose the dickens out of you.  Her children's opera of the Three Little Pigs is loads of fun, and she's written a few carols too. Maybe someday you'll hear them.

PS: Sorry Fio ran late yesterday.  She set the date wrong.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Story, the Voice


It's easy to take the schoolteacher approach in critiquing manuscripts, marking supposed spelling and grammar errors.  Golden Template judges will go as far as counting the number of times a writer has used "that," fussing about  a character's last name not being given in the opening paragraph, or complaining about the margins or font, in the firm belief that agents and editors have a cookie cutter mentality.  But what Fiorelle has learned from hr own experience is that once a story hits the right person, the agent/editor takes over and helps that author shape her manuscript, making it stronger and truer to itself.    

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmas, 2012

Fiorella loves decorating for Christmas.  She loops den windows with red and green paper chains.  She hangs ersatz greenery from the big dining room window and loads it with her beloved fruit and vegetable ornaments, interspersed with butterflies and birds.  Greenery also festoons the front door and the kitchen door and the door to the guest room hall and the double-door opening between the front room and the dining room (on both sides) and the display cabinets between the kitchen and the den.  Then Fiorella loads the greenery with her other special ornaments--miniatures and paper storks and feathered birds.  In the upper hall she nestles redbirds in the greenery draped from the railings.  And, of course, snowflakes, which she cuts out fresh every years, decorate every window pane downstairs and even some upstairs.  The front door is treated to wreaths back and front, as are the front windows, the area over the door to the guest room hall, and the tall window at the top of the stairs.  Three nativity scenes are tucked into the mantel decoration in the den, two more in the extensive buffet decoration, but the mantel decoration in the front room must make do with "Twelve Days of Christmas" bells  plus more butterflies and lots of tinsel.

Fiorella's light-up deer bit the dust last year, but she still has big snowflakes and for the trees outside and a plastic bow for the mailbox.

Then there's the Christmas tree--aah, the Christmas tree, laden with so many garlands and ornaments that Firoella can scarcely see the the sturdy iron(?) boughs that have sustained the tree for ten years.

Fiorella usually spends hours and days and weeks on Christmas decorating.  It's her love, her splendor, her artistic achievement. But not this year.  Recovery from hip surgery, which Fio didn't realize would take months rather than weeks,  precludes climbing ladders and carrying in boxes of ornaments and greenery and lights and all her other decorating goodies.

And Fio is very sad.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Function of Government

Fiorella keeps trying to hang up her political hat, but then people say stuff she objects to, like Mitt Romney, after such a gracious concession speech, saying that Obama won by giving "gifts" to the poor, the young, and the dark-skinned.  To Fio, it all boils down to how one looks at the function of government--is it to tell people how to think and what to do, or is it of the people, by the people, and FOR the people?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Viewpoint Snippets

Fiorella is amused by all the secessionist talk.  It's like a kid saying that he's picking up his football and going home because he didn't win the game.  But she's horrified by all the blatant racism that's  involved.
Fiorella is resigned to Rick Perry running for governor again and winning, but she doesn't like it. Surely Texas deserves better.

Fiorella is tired of politics.  She needs to refocus from the national scene to her own garden and start working on PRINCESS REDLANDER again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Importance of Electoral College Vote

And Fio repeats: the election wasn't even close. LOOK AT THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. Obama's campaign, which concentrated on the electoral college numbers, was just plain smarter than Romney's, which was built around the popular vote.

Fio first ran up against the Obama campaign savvy four years ago when she backed Hillary at her precinct convention.  Obama folks were not only in the majority, but were in take-charge mode.  The only conclusion Fiorella could draw from the situation was that Hillary's people didn't know how important the precinct conventions were in Texas--and Obama's did.

It's that same savvy that re-elected Obama.  His people looked at every state through an electoral college lens--and they won.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Waste of Money

Fiorella is on a tear again.  She read that Judy Garland's WIZARD OF OZ dress went for $480K at auction.

How ridiculous.  It's not art--it's a costume, a dress,  fabric, for heaven's sake.  And the person who wore it was an actress, not a princess or a statesman or anyone we laud for her contributions to society. Why do people spend money on dumb things like thus? The dress is more souvenir than anything else. What can one one do with it but watch it gradually decay into dust?

The same day Fiorella read about the WIZARD OF OZ relic, she also read that the bamboo which pandas survive on is in trouble because of climate changes.  Wouldn't that $450K have been better spent on research for alternate food sources for the pandas than on a stupid dress? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fio Likes Chris Christie

It wasn't that long ago that Chris Christie, Republican governor of New Jersey, was a party favorite.  He was popular, tough talking, and ran a tight ship.  Not only was he considered for the vice-presidential slot, but he also was a prominent speaker at the convention in Tampa.

Then came Sandy, the hurricane that devastated New Jersey, and Christie worked closely with President Obama and FEMA to clean up the mess, supply displaced families with food, clothing and shelter, and reestablish some degree of normalcy. The GOP demonized him.  He's even been accused of losing the election for Romney by expressing his gratitude to Obama and FEMA.   So now Christie's future with the Republican party is cooked, and all for doing the right thing--taking care of the people he was elected to take care of.  What was he supposed to have done?  Spit in Obama's face?  Refuse all federal aid? 

Fio didn't know much about Chris Christie except that he was a Republican up-and-comer, but she'd liked what she'd seen, and she likes him even more because of the pragmatic way he handled the Sandy crisis.  It was nice to see someone who could work together with the federal government and someone on the other side of the aisle.   Here's a Republican she could vote for in four years.

If he ever gets the chance to run.