Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Housekeeping Needed

Husband went back to work yesterday so the dog ate my slippers, making the concrete floor very cold as I hobbled around on the walker fixing my breakfast.

The den and kitchen are disaster areas, of course.  Fio had hoped that by having everything in order before she went to the hospital, she'd make it easy for Husband to keep it that way--the secret is to put stuff back where you got it from--but no such luck.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumnal Rite

Yesterday Husband spent half the afternoon outside chainsawing trees and splitting logs.  Then he made a fire in the fireplace, our first one of the season. 

Welcome, Autumn.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Recovering from surgery is no fun.  There's the pain, the immobility, and the boredom.  Because of the latter,  Fio's tried out various TV shows, even the Kardashians.  Briefly.

Fiorella has yet to understand the attraction of the show.  The stars are amazingly shallow, interested mainly in how they look and what other family members are doing, especially if it's sexual.  No one has a real job, commitment, or interest.  They look like clones of each other--on purpose--and their voices are flat and expressionless.

The reestablishment of the validity of the brunette femme fatale and the big-bottomed babe is not enough to keep Fio tuned in.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shoe Alert

There's hope.  Fio's INR is 2.0, she is sleeping better, walked up and down the stairs twice yesterday, has started using the cane some, and, for supper, went out to Chili's with Husband.  Now for the bad news: Fio's comfy black shoes with the velcro closures got lost somewhere between the hospital and home.

Please be on the lookout.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Battle of Blood

Fiorella took on the medical establishment yesterday, although it wasn't supposed to be that way.

First, a little background.  Because she has an artificial heart valve, Fio takes coumadin, and her blood "thinness" level, or INR, is closely monitored so it stays between 2 and 3.  In preparation for any surgery, though, she lays off the coumadin so her blood will be thicker and she will heal better.  After the surgery, the coumadin is started up again, although it takes three days for each pill to register.

It's a balancing act: supplying Fio with enough coumadin that her blood will be thin enough that her valve won't clot vs. keeping it thick enough that the new surgery won't bleed out.  For instance, when Fio had the facelift, the coumadin was resumed too enthusiastically so her INR shot up to 3.9, way too thin, and she had a lot of swelling.This wasn't a situation she wanted to repeat so she was pleased when she learned her INR would be regularly monitored as she started up the coumadin again after her hip surgery.

Now comes the drama.  Fio's INR on Tuesday was something like 1.2 and she's been taking a larger than usual dose of coumadin since then.  So, yesterday, ever mindful of that 3.9, she decided it was time to have her INR checked by the Home Health people .  They were agreeable, but couldn't reach the coumadin nurse who was supposed to okay their trip to Fio' s bedside.  Fio couldn't reach her either.  A couple of hours later, Fio called the cardiologist's office and explained the situation.  The coumadin nurse finally called Fio and said she hadn't been able to the cardiologist.  Fio told her that she understood that the nurse herself could okay the INR. but the nurse insisted that the earliest the INR could be checked was Monday.

Fio gave up and prayed that her INR not explode over the weekend.  An hour later, though, she got a call from the Home Health people saying they'd been authorized to come by this morning. God only knows what went on behind the scenes, but this morning Fiorella eagerly awaits the arrival of the finger-prickers.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Over-ambitious Plans

Blithely overlooking such possibilities as pain, bad reactions to medications, and mental distress, Fio always plans to make good use of any medical down time.  Thus  she had decided to spend the week following her hip surgery putting together Wendy's book, a collection of blog posts about her wonderful Weimeraner who died right after Christmas last year, and getting re-started on Princess Redlander, which has been hanging fire while Fio finished up revisions to, uh, Honeysuckle Dreams.  After all, Colette wrote story after story in her sickbed, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning composed poem after poem in hers.  But apparently Fio is made of lesser stuff, because all she's done is whine.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Fiorella, who's always stood on her own two feet, put a brave face on it when she had to use an electrified cart to get around the supermark et, but she was horrified when she realized that, after hip surgery, she'd have to use a walker, that universal symbol of incapacity, even if only for a week or two.

On the other hand, the Mars Rover looks like a pretty nifty gadget., like something L. Frank Baum would invent to fly Dorothy to the Red Planet.

Brief Report

Sorry to unload all this on you, but today was not good.  Was still having problems with hallucinations, but added painful indigestion to the mix.  Called the doctor's office and was told to discontinue all current pain medications. Two hours, four Tums, and one new pain med later, Fio is feeling better, but she's still not where she wants to be--or thought she'd be.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Impressive Show.

Whatever you have to say about Romney and Obama, their stamina is phenomenal. Here are two guys who've been at it tooth and and toenail for months, yet still have enough physical energy--and vocal power-- to last through a final no-holds-barred mano-a-mano.  To remember facts and figures that raddled the brains of many a second-rate wannabe, who managed to look congenial even as they battered each other like Roman gladiators.

Fio's vote goes to Obama, but thumbs up to both you guys. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ups and Downs, Downs, Downs

Fiorella was not as happy last night as she was Saturday night.  In fact, she H-U-R-T, mainly because she was totally confused about her pain pills.  And because she was confused about them, or maybe because OF them, she had the night terrors again.  Not as bad as the previous night, but scary enough that she had to call Husband in to sit with her for a while.

So she spent the early morning working out a logical painkiller schedule she will check with the doctor's office when it opens up for business.  And she trailed into the kitchen and cut herself a piece of bread to take a bite of with each painkiller to avoid indigestion.  And she reread her exercise book and learned the ice pack is only supposed to be applied for twenty minutes after each exercise session, not all the time.

And she hopes all this information will help someone else who's contemplating hip replacement somewhere along the line.

Oh, and a caveat--those two big booklets Fio was given by the hospital, the ones she actually read and tried to remember the contents of--they're out of date.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In the Game Again!

Hooray, hooray!  Fiorella is recovering!  Just when she'd given up hope, when she thought she was doomed for life to an ever-changing bevy of over-enthusiastic nurses and physical therapists, to frighteningly fragmented dreams, to dragging around her right leg like it was dead, to being repelled by anything anyone wanted to feed her, to her mental vision being blurred and her horizon dim, the sun came out and Fiorella anticipates LIVING again!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Everything went smoothly in the hospital--the shots at 4 a.m., the blood pressure readings at regular intervals,  even the discharge.  But once Fiorella was on the her own, the situation went downhill.  Walgreen's wouldn't have enough oxycontin to fill Fio's prescription till Monday, Fiorella frazzled out trying to work set up a schedule for her pills, the home health nurse ran late--you name it.

Husband has now rushed off to the pharmacy while Fio awaits the coming of the physical therapist.  Pray he doesn't arrive too early.  Fio would hate to have to crawl to the door.

Friday, October 19, 2012

While Fiorella is recovering from surgery, she invites you to enjoy one of her favorite poems.


“It Out-Herods Herod. Pray You, Avoid It.”

By Anthony Hecht
Tonight my children hunch
Toward their Western, and are glad   
As, with a Sunday punch,
The Good casts out the Bad.

And in their fairy tales
The warty giant and witch
Get sealed in doorless jails
And the match-girl strikes it rich.

I’ve made myself a drink.
The giant and witch are set
To bust out of the clink
When my children have gone to bed.

All frequencies are loud
With signals of despair;
In flash and morse they crowd   
The rondure of the air.

For the wicked have grown strong,   
Their numbers mock at death,   
Their cow brings forth its young,   
Their bull engendereth.

Their very fund of strength,   
Satan, bestrides the globe;
He stalks its breadth and length   
And finds out even Job.

Yet by quite other laws
My children make their case;   
Half God, half Santa Claus,   
But with my voice and face,

A hero comes to save
The poorman, beggarman, thief,   
And make the world behave   
And put an end to grief.

And that their sleep be sound   
I say this childermas
Who could not, at one time,   
Have saved them from the gas.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Economy Forecast

Judging by the Georgetown Palace playbill, the economy is improving.

Fio remembers when the playbill, that little booklet that gives the audience all sorts of info about the play, the actors, and the support staff, also advertises for all and sundry--and two years ago the ads went sparse.  Fio thought she sensed a change in the weather last year, but with this years's first performance, she was overblown by the advertisements, and not just the ones for public service entities.  A couple of realtors are back, the audiologists are in full bloom (this IS Georgetown), the banks, local businesses of all sorts--even Southwestern University.

Hooray!  As goes the Georgetown Palace, so goes the nation!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Literary/Medical Update

1) The new title of Princess of Bosque Bend is Honeysuckle Dreams.  At least so far.
2) Fio pared the last chapter down from twenty pages to five, which needed to happen, but she mourns the loss of some terribly clever dialogue.
3) Remember, Fio's going under the knife right now, so please send encouraging thoughts in her direction.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Divine Intervention Needed

Fio's running late.

 She thought she'd have the former P of BB totally "tightened" by now, but she has lots of work to do on the last three chapters.  In fact, the final one needs to be totally rewritten--again.  And she's due at the hospital at 5:00 a.m on Wednesday.  And she told agent Liza that she'd have everything done by then. 

Pray for Fiorella--on several accounts. 


Monday, October 15, 2012


Fio has to pat herself on the back because she's a never-say-die kinda gal.  Sure, she has her ups and downs--and those downs can be twenty miles deep--but she's usually so sunny as to be irritating.  And she's always loaded with ideas--again, irritatingly so.  Those gallons of bath water she stored on the balcony last year in anticipation of the drought of the century this year are still there, probably breeding the killer bacteria of the century. 

Yeah, Fio is always into something and has a notebook full of back-up assignments to boot.  Right now she's racing to finish the final run-through of the former Princess of Bosque Bend, running laundry upstairs, and pondering how to handle this blog while she's incapacitated after the hip surgery on Wednesday.

Please wish her well.  On all counts.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

Fiorella saw a wonderful production at the Georgetown Palace Theater last night: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

She'd never heard of the musical and didn't expect much.  In fact, she and Husband were fully prepared to walk out after the first fifteen minutes  so she was delighted to be hooked from the first minute on.  The scenery was minimal, a piano and violin duo were the only accompaniment, the "plot" was loose, and the cast was limited to four, but everything worked.

Michelle Cheney, R. Michael Clinkscales, Rick Felkins, and Evelyn LaLonde, all excellent actors, had strong, good voices to boot. And the minimalist stage settings never seemed spare.  Fio was especially taken by the "automobile" scene, in which the actors propelled four rolling office chairs to portray a family of four in a car.  Oh, and did Fio mention that the pianist and violinist were on stage the whole time, but their presence never distracted from the action?

The second act, of course, was not as strong as the first.  It never is in a revue--it's the nature of the beast.  But who cares?  All in all, it was an entertaining evening.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Time Squeeze

Fiorella's mortal enemy, pun intended, is time.  She's never had enough. Too much of it has been taken up with dreary, mundane things like earning a living, picking up other people's messes, and sleeping.  If she had her way, her life would have come equipped with a bucketful of money, a full-time maid, and . . .  well, there's nothing she can think of to substitute for sleeping.  Besides, that's when her pop-up toaster brain works best.

What Fio's getting around to is that the hip operation is on Tuesday, and she wants to  make P of BB totally perfect by then so her agent can start pimping it to publishers as soon as possible.

Too much to do in too little time.  But then, when has there ever been time enough?

Friday, October 12, 2012

On the Fly!

Hurray!  The brain-dead one has recovered!  In fact, in the middle of the night, when she had to get up to take an extra pain pill and sleep in the hot tub for another couple of hours, Fio's pop-up toaster mental mechanism went into high gear,  She not only decided that Sheldon's new assistant will become Raj's sweetheart--after all, the other three guys all have girlfriends--but came up with a total game plan--literally, a GAME plan--for December's San Gabriel Writers' League holiday social.

Yes, as the clock gonged three--or it would have, if Fio had a grandfather--she was writing down titles of secular Christmas songs--ten, so far--and planning a Wheel of Fortune-type game for the gathering.

And now, full steam ahead, she's off to Austin for a pre-op hospital appointment. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Don't want to get up
Don't want to get dressed
Have a headache
Feeling depressed

The weather's rainy
The day is gray
God is God
And I am clay.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Random Observations

Fio's been cleaning up the house lately in prep for surgery next week, and most of her clean-up has involved the tons of notes she's written since time eternal, some of the random wit and wisdom of which she will now regale you with:

Finally getting an agent is like learning there really is a Santa Claus.

I put off getting writing because I know that once I start, I can't stop.

I don't understand why doctirs are so particular about prescribing hydrocodone.  I've been taking it for years and never gotten addicted.

Wouldn't it have been better if Loughner had been forcibly medicated BEFORE he shot those people in Arizona?

When it's between people, it's etiquette.  When it's between nations, it's protocol.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Change of Season

All of a sudden, autumn is here. Darkness comes sooner and leaves later. The air is cool. The mosquitoes have gone south for the winter.

This is Fio's type of weather. She gets to turn down the air conditioner and open up the door. She can wear slacks and long-sleeved shirts. She can breathe.

Welcome, Autumn. You've been a long time a-comin'.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Housekeeper by Default

Wahoo--Fiorella actually navigated her way through Husband's electronic tablet to write this post.

As you've probably figured out, her laptop has been out of commission since Friday, when Sonya Dog ran her snout lovingly over the keyboard and froze the cursor. What Fiorella has realized in the interim is that the reason Mother was such a crackerjack housekeeper was that she didn't have a computer in the house--or literary aspirations on the brain. Yes, Fiorella has put the basics of the Wendy book together, gone through the eight-inch tall stack of stuff on her desk, and is eyeing the ten-inch stack on the art desk in the upper hall.

But she really misses being able to divide her post into paragraphs.

Addendum:  learned how to paragraph again and have corrected this post.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Wendy Book

Let me see if I can say this without weeping buckets like I did yesterday when I thought about it, that my vision of heaven involves being greeted at the gates by all the dogs we've ever owned: Tina and Freelove, Sandy, Blackie, Hugo, Crazy Bella, Wendy, and, ultimately, our sweet Sonya.

 I'm working on the Wendy Book now. It will be about forty pages of blog entries and photos. Wendy was our first post-children dog. Oops, Gotta go. I'm getting misty-eyed.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


My eye is crusty
My mood is glum
Where in the world
Did I get PINK EYE from?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Right Eye

Fiorella's right eye had been watering all day and she woke up in the middle of the night with sticky eyelashes.  She felt sort of odd too, like she might have a temperature.  This called for a consultation with a fever thermometer and  Dr. Google.

Fio couldn't find the thermometer, but, according to the good doctor, she has an eye infection, possibly pink eye, which means she's going to be off to the ophthalmologist's office as soon as it opens.

Think good thoughts to Fio's right eye.  It's the seeing one.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Fio had an auto accident yesterday. She rear ended a taxi cab.

She had spotted the shiny yellow vehicle several minutes earlier and marveled both at its beauty and the fact that it was tooling down a rural road.  The taxi stopped at the red light at the exit onto the highway, and Fiorella, who was a comfortable distance behind, started to brake. But her foot slipped off the brake and got caught between the brake and the accelerator..

In slow motion, she saw the back of the yellow cab getting closer and closer.  Finally, her foot found the brake again--at the very same moment her baby car made contact with the cab.

No one was hurt and the only damage to the cab was two dime-sized chips out of it shiny yellow hide.  Fio's baby car now sports a dented-in front license plate and a yellow smudge.

Thank God it wasn't worse.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

At Last!

The divine Liza called on Monday and told Fiorella that PRINCESS OF BOSQUE BEND is good to go--except that it needs a new title--a darker, stronger one.  After a brief mourning period, Fio called on her RWA chapter, friends, and family for help.  Among the latter, it was like she had run a comedy contest--yes, Fio comes from witty genes.  Friends and chaptermates gave more able suggestions, all of which Fio has run by Liza, but no winners yet.  Tomorrow she's going to skim the ms yet again and try to pick up a resonating word or phrase.

And she thought writing the book was hard!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Comics Revue

Now is the time for all good comics readers to come to the aid of their strips, no double entendre intended.

First of all comes the woodshed, where Fio wants to haul Dagwood off to.  Or maybe to the mausoleum.  This strip is so old that it's into its second writer/artist and has folded back on itself and frozen in time so Cookie and Alexander are teenagers again and Daisy--does she even appear anymore?-- has no pups.  Its situations and punch lines are tired and banal, usually centering around Dagwood's love for food and his laziness at work, not exactly the sort of things modern readers relate to.  The final straw for Fio came a couple of days ago when the reader was supposed to laugh uproariously at the artist's ugly and insulting depiction of D&B in their seventies.  Baby boomers of the world unite and KILL this comic strip!

Another woodshed item is the venerable Prince Valiant, which Fiorella has been reading since she could read, and whose artwork she soaked up like a sponge.  Alas, its time has passed.  Please toss the sword back to the lady in the lake again.  She knows there has been a bevy of artists through the years, but the current one is the worst.  He's attempted to ape the beloved old-time style, but can't seem to master the basics--the characters look like they've been drawn from poses forced on a reticulated art doll, and Valiant is beginning to resemble Bruce Jenner.

Next comes the award of excellence--to Luann, Doonesbury, and Pooch Cafe, with also-ran acknowledgements of Pearls before Swine, Edge City, Jump Start, Pickle,. and Baby Blues.  (Notice how Fio prefers strips with continuing stories?)

No award program would be complete without acknowledgment of Cul-de-sac, one of Fio's favorites, which died recently before its time.

And, of course, the second Fio closes this blog off, she'll think of all the other comics she should have acknowledged one way or another.   There's always tomorrow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Yin and Yang

Husband told Fio his favorite feel-good movies are action flicks like Harrison Ford's Air Force One, and Fio knows his favorite feel-good TV show is NCIS, another action adventure.   But Fiorella has to leave the room while these shows are on because they make her uneasy.  Her favorite feel-good movies are Undercover Blues and RED, which make her laugh.  Her favorite feel-good TV shows are Big Bang Theory, because it makes her laugh, and International House Hunters, because there's no suspense in it--to avoid the chromatic up and down tune when the house hunters are making their final decisions, she turns off the sound.

Husband likes tension, Fiorella avoids it.  Male and female?  War and peace?