Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Laugh a Little, Laugh a Lot

Fiorella wasn't born with a sense of humor--she doubts if any child is--but she remembers when she started to develop one.  It was in the first grade when the joke about the chicken crossing the road went viral.  Like everyone else, Fio laughed and laughed, although she didn't understand what was funny.  Question and answer jokes must have been in vogue back then because the next one she learned was "What's black and white and read/red all over?"  At least she understood the pun in that one, but she wasn't funny on her own till about junior high, thanks to years of watching comedians on TV.  By the time she started teaching, she had her students rolling in the aisles.

Another thing that separates us from the beasts--deliberate humor.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Snappy Snippets

Fiorella is the toilet paper fairy and the only one in the house who knows how to throw stuff in the waste basket, to close cabinet and pantry doors, or to empty the dishwasher.  If she didn't open the blinds every morning, they'd stay shut all day.  In short, she's female.
Re: dogs.  We take them in for shots and medical treatments, we feed them, we decide whether they should mate and with whom.  How did they ever get along without us?   
All Fio's good habits have come back to haunt her.  Coffee, tea, and wine, which she never or rarely drinks, are now good for you while milk, which she guzzles like a newborn calf, is now on the bad list.
Fio could title a book The Right Thing to Do and no one would buy it.  If she called the book The Wrong Thing to Do, it would be a best seller'
Matricide--is Fio a serial killer of motherboards?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Up and Runnin'

Now that Son is recovering from duodenitis and erosive esophagitis, which Fiorella thinks was aggravated by the bacon for breakfast of the Atkins diet, he's become a whirlwind of action.  Yesterday he completed another digital painting and talked to an ACC advisor about two computer courses he needs to take.  Today he's planning to sign up for a gym.  Yeah, our boomerang boy is up and runnin'.  Not only does he feel better, but he feels better about himself.

Satisfaction--the product of action.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In Memoriam

Has Fiorella told you her plans to make a booklet out of all her blogs featuring Wendy Dog?  It's been a tedious process, first running out all her posts and putting them in binders by year, then looking through each year's bounty to find the ones pertaining to Wendy, then taking the binders to Kinko's to photocopy the appropriate pages.  She has just one more year to go.

Her next step will be to put the pages in the right order, decide with photo(s) of our darling to use, then assemble everything and take it off somewhere to get printed, probably Kinko's again.

Let me know if you want one.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Secret Ingrediant

Sonya Dog is hard to wake up in the mornings.  She lies in her crate for several minutes after it's been opened and tries to catch a few last minutes of rest until finally, at Fio's urging, she stretches her long body and staggers to her feet.  Fio lures her out of the crate and into the hall with slivers of what she and husband refer to as dog crack, but, at the top of the stairs, Sonya balks.  She's too big a dog to be comfortable with stairs, especially when she has to go down them, and especially when she's just awakened and is so uncoordinated that she's stumbling over her own paws.

Fio often walks her down the stairs by standing in front of her so she can't see the drop to the first floor, but Sonya wasn't buying it this morning so Fio left her sitting on the landing and placed a larger piece of treat at the bottom of the steps.  After a minute or so of contemplation, Sonya carefully navigated her way down and snatched up her reward.

Which makes you wonder--what the heck is in that dog treat?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cursive and Its Cohorts

Fiorella believes in cursive.  In fact, she believes in every writing form--printing, cursive, backhand, fronthand, Cyrillic, Nagari, Devanagari, the South Indian scripts--just to name the ones she's had experience with.  They're interesting, fun, and artistic.

Maybe it's the artistic aspect that fascinates her.  Maybe it's the grace, the discipline. Whatever, Fiorella has decided to resharpen her own cursive skills--in English, of course.  Then, maybe she'll revisit Cyrillic--and the Telugu script, which she used to used as secret writing on her Christmas list.

Is Fio crazy or what?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Canine Mastication

Please don't chew
On Daddy's shoe
And unteeth Daddy's new belt too
Here, try this big ol'  rawhide bone
But leave the leather goods alone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Penn State Postscript

The draconian fines and sanctions imposed on Penn State gave the football-at-all-costs mentality the kick in the pants it well deserves.  Fiorella remembers when the scandal first came to light and sports enthusiasts took the "Say it ain't so, Joe," attitude.  It was so easy to stonewall.  Not St. Joe, the winningest football coach in history--he wouldn't allow such a thing to happen during his watch.  Not his blessed acolyte, St. Jerry, the big-hearted tough guy who ate footballs for breakfast.  Those bad boys, those ungrateful boys--they were the villains.

And now the dust has cleared and the false idols have fallen, and Fiorella wonders what all those victories meant. Football is just another silly game.  What matters are the children.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Annie Get Your Gun at the Palace

The musicals at Georgetown's Palace Theater have been sorta disappointing this season.  Singing in the Rain was downright dismal.  Thus it was with fear and trembling yesterday that Fio and Husband escorted Sister-in-law and her mother to Annie, Get Your Gun, a stalwart from the Dark Ages.  Yes, Fio remembers seeing the original movie with Howard Keel and Betty Hutton and enjoying is very much.

But yesterday Fiorella sat in the darkened theater with pen in hand, waiting to zing the singers, the dancers, the director, the choreographer, the costumers, the set designers, the scene changes, the lighting.  She sat and sat and sat,  Finally she tucked her pen away and just enjoyed the show.  Yes, Annie, Get Your Gun, the Palace's last show of the season, is a winner.

Although it ends on a cliche note and Fio was disappointed that the "I'm an Indian Too" song was dropped in deference to political correctness,  Annie has an amzingly tight plot and many, many great songs,

Patty Rowell, who played the title role, was absolutely terrific.  Fio was especially impressed by her vocal versatility: the way she changed timbre and tone for dramatic effect, the nuances of shading she evoked.  Pretty darn good actress too..

The supporting cast was also great, even the kids, especially the kids who played Annie's siblings, especially the energetic little girl who played her younger sister.  And the woman who played the role of Frank Butler's assistant was also top notch.

The only one who didn't quite cut the mustard was Phil Rodriguez, the male lead.  Phil, Phil, Phil--what happened?  You were tremendous in the other things I've seen you in, especially Grease and that wedding thing, but you didn't have the voice for Frank Butler.  Maybe it's because Howard Keel's glorious baritone still echoes in the chambers of Fio's memory, but you lack resonance.  Listen to that guy who plays Buffalo Bill--that's what you need to sound like--as if you're singing into a rain barrel.  A good voice teacher could shape you up in no time.  Lift that soft palate and sing into the mask.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rhyme Attack

You may have noticed a spate of "rhyme times" lately.  Yes, sometimes Fio wakes up with rhymes racing through her brain.  They just pour out of her, trilling on her tongue, and she would opine that the more they do it, the more they will continue to do it.  That's just the way the ol' Fio brain works.  She's not the first one out of the gate, but she learns deep, and once she has it, she runs it into the ground.  So, my dear and patient readers, as we say in iambic tetrameter:

There's no escape for you, t'would seem
From Fio, the mighty rhyming queen

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Eight O'Clock Limerick

Sorry I made you wait
Somehow Fio slept late

But after a  night
Of sleeping tight
Fiorella feels just great!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Fiorella started writing her first romance when she was in junior high.  It started with the hero coming across the heroine bathing in a forest pool--yeah, she'd already figured out the naked scene was a sine qua non of literature, or at least the type of literature on her mother's bookshelf.  Hardback historicals, paperback mysteries--they all had sex scenes.

Fio's incipient bestseller disappeared a couple of months later when Mother cleaned her room.  Yes, none of  Fio's drawers were safe from housekeeping and parental inspection.   What was sauce for the goose was not sauce for the gosling's creative muse.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Fiorella has her laptop back!

It was a short, or several shorts, caused by one of the "print" ports breaking into pieces inside the computer when Fio got a little too forceful trying to push the cord into it.  But now Fio's precious is cleaned out and working again, she's scrubbed all the woodwork and cabinet doors in the kitchen, and, while was hacked into Husband's machine, she discovered some short stories she'd written a while back which, viewed with fresh eyes, looked pretty darn good.

So what Fiorella thought was a major tragedy turned out to be a win/win situation.  Her computer is cleaner than it's been since she bought it, her kitchen in shining bright, and those short stories look promising.

So actually it's a win/win/win situation.

Desperation Actvity

Fiorella now understands why Mother was such a crackerjack housekeeper--she was home alone all day.  What else was there for her to do?  She couldn't even drive.

Now, Fiorella knows how to drive, but, because her laptop went down,  she's been home all alone for two days with nothing to do.  Nothing to do but housekeeping, that is, which means she's been scurrying around with a scrub sponge in one hand and 409 in the other.  Give her a couple of weeks and she'll have all five acres clipped and polished.

It's a lost cause, though, a losing proposition.  The next day you have to do it all over again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Driven to Desperation

My name is Fiorella.  I am a computer addict, currently going through withdrawal.

Fio's Dell laptop (my precious, my precious) went down on the afternoon of her birthday, just as Son was sitting down on the couch to help her with Facebook a la Jane Myers Perrine's sage advice.  Husband hacked Fio into his computer so she could keep up with her blog, but she'll have to wait till she gets her machine back  from Click Computer to catch up on her email.

And then there's her manuscripts--what can she do if she's not writing on Princess of Bosque Bend and Princess Redlander?


Oh no, Say it isn't so!

Monday, July 16, 2012


The situation:
Fio's computer is sick
The screen went black
Taking it to Click
Don't know when she'll get it back

The advice:
Laptops are frail
Incline to fail
Desktops are stronger
And will last longer

We'll see

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Birthday Musing

Today is Fiorella's birthday so she's thinking about her mother, who would be thrilled Fio now has a son-in-law, amazed that she has a literary agent, and aghast that she's had a facelift.  Mother assumed Fio would live the life she did, be a good student who grew up to go to college, teach for a few years, marry, then settle down to domesticity and motherhood.  Instead, Fiorella charged ahead every chance she got.  Some of her enterprises  succeeded, a lot went down the drain, but Fio is nothing if not persevering, and now it looks like she's gonna make it as a romance novelist.

But if Mother were still alive, Fio would be writing under a different name. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Numbers Racket

Fiorella is nothing if not language mad, but she's really been slipping lately, which only makes sense because she rarely uses the various languages she's studied.  So she decided to review counting from one to ten in Spanish, Russian, German, French, Latin, and Telugu, in that order.  And the way she'll do it is by counting off while she massages her facelift.

For Espanol, she'll work on 11-20 because, even though Fio never studied Spanish in school, she learned how to count from uno to diez when she was a child, and it's permanently ingrained--a bonus of growing up in Texas.

Maybe later she'll add in Mandarin.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Small Cars

Mini Coopers, Smart Cars, small cars of every ilk--they're the coming thing.

Fio is glad the general populace has finally figured out what she tumbled to fifteen years ago, after trading in her lumbersome Lincoln Town Car--that small cars are best.  She can get her darling baby car, a navy blue Miata, into any parking space and never accidentally bangs it into other people's fenders.

Also, it's cool. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Campaign Mail

Fiorella is sick and tired of the letters and emails she's getting from candidates--and their wives--begging for campaign funds.  It makes them sound pathetic, and she does not want her candidate or any other candidate to sound that way.  Whoever is the next president, she wants him to be strong and stalwart, with at least a modicum of dignity.  Pack away that tin cup and start acting like a man!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Acting Like a Dog

My name is Sonya Wendysdottir and I am a hoarder.  I've turned the area beneath my princess bed into a boneyard, and every time little Bosco latches onto a bone, I take it from him.  When I eat, I drop my current bone beside the feeding dish so I can keep an eye on it.  When Mommy gives Bosco and me each a bone, I drop mine, grab his, and stand guard over both of them.

I act the same way with toys. And with people, shoving Bosco out of the way if Mommy and Daddy try to pet him.

I am Sonya.  I am alpha.  You won't hear me roar, but I do covet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Running Late

Dental date
Running late
In a hurry
Gotta scurry
Wash up, eat,
Brush my teeth,
Hit the road
Crisis mode
Driving fast
There at last
In the door
Sit and wait
Ten minutes more.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Genesis Revisited

Did you read the newspaper report about the two-day-old beluga whale that was airlifted to an aquarium and is now being fed by a stomach tube until it can learn how to suck a bottle?   In the same section of the paper, Fio read about a drone killing fifteen suspected militants in Pakistan.  Interesting.   We save whales, but kill each other.

Okay, Fio understands that the strike was pre-emptive, that the militants would have wiped out the whole countryside if they'd had a chance, but still, she'd rather we humans all just got along with each other and devoted our energies to saving baby whales.

And, by the way, that's another thing that separates us from the beasts: they don't take care of us, but we seem impelled to take care of them.

Just like the Biblical injunction.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy Endings

In a former incarnation, when Fiorella taught English literature, she used to tell her classes that a happy ending depended on where the author ended the story.  For instance, "Cinderella" has a happy ending if the story stops just after the wedding.  But what happens a week later when Cindy discovers Prince Charming has a foot fetish?

Quick switch to true life.  What happened to Princess Diana's HEA when learned that Charles had a longtime mistress he was devoted to?  What happens to our own lives, when disappointment or tragedy enfold us?

For the most part, we eventually pick ourselves up and start all over again, unless, of course, we're dead or the next thing to it.  That's why Fiorella never reads biographies, which, by their very nature, always end with the main character dying.  That's why she doesn't write tragedies, which start with HEA's and end with everything shot to hell--compare the confident, arrogant, happy Oedipus at the beginning of his eponymous (Fio loves using that word) drama to the wretched creature he is at the end of it.  Compare Othello in the first act of his own eponymous drama to Othello in the final act.

No, Fiorella writes romances, and she knows where to cut off the story.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Whenever Fiorella encounters people she knows, the women realize she looks different and gather around, asking her all about her facelift.  The men don't notice anything, or, if they do, can't figure out what's different.  One of them even asked Fio if she was wearing new clothes.

Fio adheres to the theory that women's feelings of self-worth are tied up with their appearance.  Like stage actors, we advertise ourselves with how we look--dress our parts, so to speak--and nothing represents us as much as our faces which, as we age, can be deceiving.

Now, Fio knows we shouldn't judge ourselves by outward appearances, that we should go more than skin deep, that she's being sexist, etc., but she is also a child of her culture, and all she can say is I HAVE MY TRUE SELF BACK AGAIN!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Three Decades of Agents

When it comes to agents, Fio has been a total blockhead.   The first agent she ever submitted to, back when white-out was the newest thing, rejected her with a lovely, encouraging personal letter referring her to a second agent, who rejected her with another lovely, encouraging personal letter. Assuming two down meant she was a loser, Fio filed away the manuscript, accidentally tossing it a couple of years ago.

Ten years later, before the age of queries, Fio wrote another romance and, after getting hold of a contraband list of RWA-approved agents, submitted the ms to several of them.  A woman with the last name of "Yo" called Fio and told her she liked the story, but it needed to be longer.  Fio, dumb as dirt, told her that there was no way to make it longer.  The end.

Ten years later, Fio wrote a third romance, and, through a friend, found another agent who wanted to represent her.  She was a part-timer out of California who had written a couple of YAs and gotten them published, but was mainly occupied with taking care of sick relatives.  Needless to say, Fiorella had not consulted a copy of of the RWA agent list this time.  You can imagine how successful the arrangement turned out to be.

Ten years later, Fio joined ARWA and wrote two more romances, entered contests, and started querying agents.  At last the happy ending.  Fiorella is now represented by the divine Liza, whom she adores.  Better late than never.

And, by the way, the manuscript that won Liza over is the same one Fio thought she couldn't lengthen twenty years ago.  Strangely enough, its wordage has doubled through the years.   Must be all the cell phones she had to add in.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Personal Loudspeakers

One thing about cell phones--they've got us sharing our private lives with other prople, whether we mean to or not.

Like the teen-age daughter of a friend of Fio's, whose phone accidentally dialed home when she was in a pal's car discussing how much she'd had to drink at a party over the weekend.

Like the two women in the post office this afternoon while Fio was buying stamps from the automated teller.  One woman was just getting started on an animated discussion about her grandchildren when she was vocally challenged  by another woman talking to someone about finding a place to park her trucks, apparently a fleet.  It was like a two-person new music duet.

Fifteen minutes later, Fio stopped by HEB to pick up some steaks for supper and, while walking toward the check-out, heard a woman with a phone to her ear bite out, "I'll get you for adultery!"

Fio paused for a second with her mouth open and met the eyes of a woman who had just passed the speaker.

"That was interesting,"  Fio commented.

The other woman nodded.   "Did you hear it too?"

Of course, Fio did.  When it comes to cell phones, the whole world hears everything. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Voting Rights

As is appropriate on July Fourth, Fiorella is concerned about the recent attack on voters' rights, supposedly to prevent "voter fraud," a boogeyman which research has shown is virtually non-existent, at least on the voter end.   Where the major problems have occurred have been is with the middleman and counting procedures--stuffed ballot boxes, fraudulent and inaccurate tallies.

And now we have purge lists.  Hi, there, Tammany Hall.  Hi, there, Boss Paar.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Facelift Up, Up, and Away!

Exactly five weeks out.

I know you're tired of hearing about Fiorella's facelift, but it's a never-ending source of wonder to her.  She looks the same, but less tired, which translates into looking younger and more alert.

When Fio signed up for this venture, she knew it might go bad, that her face could end up looking like a Transylvanian patchwork quilt, that an ear might get inadvertently lopped off, that her whole face might slough off.  In fact, she'd heard a second-hand story of a garishly botched facelift from her hairdresser--the surgeon pulled the stitches too tight and the patient's skin died off around them.

Or that she might receive the wrong anesthesia or painkiller, or have a heart attack mid-procedure, or bleed out because too much coumadin was still in her bloodstream.  Or a homicidal nurse might decide Fio had lived too long.  Or terrorists attack the surgery center.

Now you know why Fio writes fiction--she needs an outlet for her all-too-vivid imagination.  Actually, all she's having to deal with is some residual swelling and minor numbness.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Smile Lines

Fiorella's post-surgical face was a blank slate, like a mask, but the character is starting to return.  For "character," read "smile lines," and Fio wants to keep them.  After all, they're inherited from her father, and they were one of the most beautiful things about him.  Even into his nineties, his smile  announced his pleasure with life, his joy with the world,  his good will to all. 

It also took years off his age.  Yes, Dad's facelift was natural.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Somewhere in the world, a child is crying
Somewhere in the world, the sky is gray
Somewhere in the world, a dream is dying
Reduced to dust, and swept away

Somewhere in the world, a child is singing
Somewhere in the world, the sky is blue
Somewhere in the world, the bells are ringing
For life is hope, and God is true