Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Time Out

This'll be quick
Fio's still sick

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Plans

Fiorella is gearing up for 2014.  She's planning to finish up Moira's story by May so she'll have a month for revisions before it's due in June.  She also wants to shape up her short stories and take them to Kinko's to print out in a little book.  And do the same for some of her darker poems.

Around the house, Fio plans to reclaim her study and, with Husband's cooperation, clean out the garage. And in her--heh-heh--spare time, she hopes to put some finishing touches on some old paintings and hang them in her stairwell art gallery.

Let's hope she gets even half of this done.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cold Season

Yes, Virginia, there is a Fiorella Plum, but she currently resides on the couch with two throws over her and a box of Kleenex beside her. Needless to say, her Grand Plan to finish chapter two by New Year's is down the drain.  On the other hand, she's under less pressure now because Divine Liza persuaded Forever Yours to give Fio more time to write the second book--it's due in June rather than April,  Whew!

Please send healing thoughts winging Fio's way. Achoo!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Medical Update

Fiorella doesn't feel good and she resents it.  She's too hot, then too cold, and she has no energy, and she keeps falling asleep (although she slept well last night), and her nose burns and it's runny too, and she's sneezing and coughing, and her brain's sorta fuzzy, and she's peering at everything through narrowed eyes.  Maybe it's post-Christmas let-down, maybe it's a cold, but it's not fair and she DOESN'T LIKE IT.

P.S.:  And. yes, Fio's had a flu shot.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mommy's Faux Fur

Sonia Dog here, taking over today for Mommy, who's suddenly realized she has to churn out a second chapter of Moira's story by New Year's Day.

I try to help Mommy whenever I can because I feel sorry for her--not because she's having to spend all her time with Baby, but because, like one of those hairless little Mexican dogs,  she was born without fur, which means she has to don an artificial pelt whenever she leaves the house.  The colors of her faux pelts are pretty--red and blue and toasty beige--but so fake.

I'm glad I was born with the real deal.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Round-up

As it turned out, the Chinese delegation didn't arrive till 4:00, which worked out quite well for all concerned.  They spent at least an hour at the house, with Fiorella giving them their gift bags and making over the darling baby while Husband answered their questions about the use of the fireplaces, a no-no in Hong Kong. The visitors were charming, and Fio hopes she and Husband were too.
* .
It seems weird to be back to real life after a week of concentrating on NOTHING but Christmas.  Fiorella's first concern now is getting Moira's story written, although she'll have to take her baby car into Mazda sometime soon.  Husband says its radiator is leaking coolant, whatever that means--apparently, nothing good.
Fiorella intends to leave the Christmas decor up for at least a month.  After all, she didn't finish it up till Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The More, the Merrier

Ah, the serenity of the day before Christmas when, for the first time ever, Fio and Husband had almost everything prepared and worked out.  All the remained for Fiorella to do was cook the chocolate pudding in the microwave, wrap some selected pieces of family jewelry for daughter, and neaten up her desk in the den. The next day, of course, she and Husband would set the timetable for cooking Christmas dinner for themselves, Son and wife, and brother and wife, then proceed at their leisure.  Easy--no sweat.

Until Fio learned last night that Nephew, his Chinese girlfriend, and her family would be dropping in on Christmas morning.  Actually, Fio and Husband felt honored, but also a bit frantic.  On the way home from the Christmas Eve service, Husband stopped at Walgreen's for Fio to rush in and buy whatever Christmas stuff was left on the shelves to put in little gift bags for the family--can't have people drop by and not have gifts for them.  And Fio and Husband are gonna have to get up extra early tomorrow to get as much done on the dinner as possible in order to spend some time with our their-morning visitors.

In other words, it's Christmas as usual around Fio's holiday house--crrrrrazy!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Why does Fiorella write this blog?  She does not write it to attract a following, and she does not write it to pique interest in her fiction offerings. No--she writes it because her brain is an explosion of observations, because she sees herself as a minor Pepys, and because there is a chance that what she writes will exist forever in the ether.

Which means she would never die . . . .

Monday, December 23, 2013

Relief Is in Sight!

Fiorella's finished her Christmas decorating!

Well, not quite--she can't stage the mantel over the fireplace in the den until Husband connects up the lights on the little houses, and there's a plateful of clip-on birds sitting on the dining room table that she has to put somewhere, and the mailbox that needs to have a bow tied around it, and the tinsel garland at the entrance to the driveway that has to be repaired.  But after all of that is taken care of, Fiorella can sit down and relax.

Relax?  No--she has presents to wrap, a contract relating to the family business to get signed by Husband and Nephew, and her own publishing contract to find and sign.

Still, she's more up to date than most years.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mea Culpa

Fio never intends to upset anyone, even those who have upset her, but she's had complaints from three different people lately about things she's said or written so maybe she'd  better police herself more closely. Whatever, as usual, she apologizes to whomever she has offended and will strive to do better in the future.

To be frank, she finds it hard to handle situations like these.  They hurt, but she certainly doesn't want to boomerang that hurt back on someone she's already offended so she tries to keep her mouth shut, then throws herself into physical labor--the yard, the house, or, in this case, the Christmas decorating.

So, for now, Fio's off to hang another swag of greenery.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Polygamy Schmolygamy

Fio is opposed to legalizing polygamy in the United States.  In fact, she'd like it to be outlawed across the world.

In the first place, polygamy leads to social destabilization because it skews the ratio of available females to age-appropriate males, and the leftover males, with no hope of a future, often express themselves through violence. In the second place, polygamy turns women into baby factories--they are taught that motherhood is the only route to heaven.  In the third place, age-inappropriate marriages are all too common.  In the the fourth place, given human nature, not all "wives" are treated equally.

Kody Brown should be arrested and put in jail.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Frenzy

Santa's not the only one who's making a list and checking it twice.  Fiorella makes a new list every day from the remnants of yesterday's list, then checks it hourly.  The cards are out, the one gift that had to be mailed is on its way, the tree is decorated except for the tinsel icicles, the snowflakes went on the windows last week, and most of the gifts are bought.  Today Fiorella plans to hang her collection of  fruit and vegetable ornaments from the dining room greenery, arrange the multiple creches on the buffet, festoon the light over the dining table, and add bows, birds, and butterflies to everything she's already decorated.  She'll also go out at some time to pick up the manicure salon gift card daughter wants, locate tinsel icicles, and check out WalMart for gingerbread mix

Oh, and did she mention that she's been practicing carols on the piano for the past six weeks?  (Not that you could tell.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Seeing a Woman in a Nursing Home Mourn the Loss of Her Dolly

When my body has failed and my brain has dimmed, do not take away my baby doll because it is unseemly for an adult of such advanced age to play with a child's toy, but let me clutch its softness and warmth to my bosom as once I did my children.  Their visits, no matter how frequent, will seem few and far between, but my dolly will always be in my arms to comfort me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Alien

Having attended high school, Fiorella is familiar with female social structures--which have been repeated in every other women's group with which she has been associated.  She used to try to participate, to establish or align herself.  Now she just sits back and watches.  And takes notes.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


When I get up each morning
You think that I should be
A cubic lump of sugar
Sweetening your tea.
I love you, hon, but sorry--
What you've got is me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

One of Fiorella's First Christmas Sonnets

The Sacred Child
Two thousand years ago the kings bowed down
And from their packs three costly gifts brought
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were due the crown
Upon the wobbly head still wet from birth--
Two thousand years ago the shepherds came
And bent their shaggy heads in mumbled prayer
To call upon the power of His name,
A baby helpless in His mother's care--
Two thousand years ago the mother smiled
To know the joy of heaven at her breast,
Her future's hope, her God's own child,
Who mewled at her disturbance of His rest—
     Two thousand years today, lest we forget
     That every child is Christ among us yet.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Truth of the Matter

The most active room in Fiorella's house is the den, formerly known as the family room, now often referred to as the bone room due to Sonia Dog's habit of decorating the venerable oriental carpet with well-chewed rawhide bones.  Actually though, the room is command central.  Husband has gathered everything he might possibly ever need within reaching distance of his recliner while Fiorella lounges on the leather couch to make out her interminable lists, write her romance novels, and catch up on Income Property, Big Bang, and The Little Couple.  

The rest of the house is just for show.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


When Fiorella was a freshman at UT and getting immersed in college life, her father called one day and said her mother was lying on the bed crying because she hadn't heard from Fio for a while.  From that day on, Fio called Mother every week, usually on Wednesday. And during her mother's last hospital stay for terminal cancer, Fio called her every day, until she said  there was no need to do so "at this time." But she was wrong--"this time" was THE time, and Fiorella still regrets not calling her those last few days.

And she wishes she could do so today.

Friday, December 13, 2013


This year's poem will be a rerun.  Between the wedding and the birthday celebrations, Thanksgiving and Christmas, holiday decorating and the new book, Fiorella can't pull her poetic brain together. Two unrelated quatrains are all she could come up with.  Here's the first one:

The winter sky is cold, the wind is raw
The sun has shrunken to a distant dime
And springtime’s sweet green grass has browned to straw
In this, the unrelenting wintertime.

(Which, since her next line was "The current of my winter brain runs slow," we all know wasn't in the least related to Christmas.)

Here's the second one:

The dining chairs are strewn with greenery
Destined for banister and doorway drapes,
And on the kitchen counter rests a sea
Of wrapping paper, ribbons, sticky tapes.

This last one shows you more what Fio's up against. All week, that wild music from The Medium, when Monica sings the frenzied "Burn, burn, give away, give away" passages, has been running through her head.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Said the Spyder to the Fly

Although she writes romances, Fiorella turns to Precious Ramotswe and Dexter for literary relaxation and enjoyment.  Yeah, she screwed herself out of reading romances when they became business and her analytical tendencies came to the forefront.

That being said, Jan Hudson's award-winning STEP INTO MY PARLOR is a good read.  Spyder Webb is a great male lead, the points-of-view are exceptionally strong, and the shifts seamless, while the writing is rich, the plot moves fast, and the story is full of interesting characters.

For hot, funny, and exciting--try STEP INTO MY PARLOR on Kindle.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Decor

Fiorella decorated her elephants yesterday.  The pachyderm parade that marches across a forty-eight inch-long shelf  in the den is now sporting red bows around their necks  Today she'll necktie the Mexican birds on the shelf above them--and the eighteen-inch tall ceramic pelican on the shelf beside them.  The beer stein collection on the other side of the fireplace will be similarly beribboned, as will the painted duck decoy across from the steins.

Yes, Fio is a decorating fool. If you see her coming toward you with a glazed look in her eye and a spool of ribbon in her hand, RUN!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's A-bornin'

Fio ground out the second tetrain of this year's Christmas poem yesterday.  The longest time she's ever spent on a single poem was three days solid.  She'll definitely hit three days again with this year's holiday offering, but she hasn't spent more than an hour per day on it.

Strangely, it was working on Moira's story that helped Fio get back on track.  Writing poetry is just like writing prose--if one thing doesn't work, you try something else.

And, by the way, Moira's story is starting to blaze.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It's Off to Work Fio Goes

As it has turned out, La Muse is flirting with Fio, flitting in and out regarding the Christmas poem, but coming on full strength for the new book, Moira's story. ("Where do you get these names?" Husband asks.)

Anyway, Moira is set to be a holiday story.  She shows up in Bosque Bend in October, celebrates Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas there, then gets married to a hunky local guy in the New Year.  Or something like that.  Fio's a little muddy on the details.

After Fio has fulfilled the two-book contract, she'll try to slip Lolly's story into publication.  The way she figures it, Susan Elizabeth and Linda H. wrote stories involving some of the same shenanigans that got poor Lolly shelved, so once Fio hits it big, Lolly will be absolved.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

And On the Literary Front

Eureka!  Fiorella found her muse again--or rather, her muse found her.  Yes, Virginia, there will be a new Christmas sonnet this year.  In fact, Fio's already hammered out the first quatrain.

But while you're waiting, check out Jan Hudson's contemporary romance, STEP INTO MY PARLOR.  It won the Rita, the top award for published romance writers, a couple of years ago, but is just now available as a e-book. The heroine is feisty, beautiful, and in fear of her life, and the hero is strong, handsome, and sexy as hell.  The story progresses from there. WOWIE ZOWIE! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Desperation Measures

The mighty Fio has struck out.  She's included a new poem or song with her Christmas card for years, but this year, having long ago exhausted the Bible and having pretty much finished off the family and the weather too, she's run dry.  Maybe she'll fall back on a thirty-five year-old rerun.  Maybe she'll just hang up her pen and buy commercial cards.

No, Fio! Say it ain't  so!  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fire, Water, and Whatever

Do not try to sell Fiorella beachfront property.  Fio doesn't trust the ocean--too much water.  Living on the edge of the ocean would be like camping on top of a smoking volcano.
Speaking of volcanoes, yesterday was Mother's birthday.  Mother was fiery, but Fiorella loved her very much and wishes she could have been more the person her mother wanted her to be.  She's still trying.
And on another subject, it's hard to take the high road when you've been dealt a low blow.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

SuperFio Flies Again!

Clear the decks and full speed ahead!  Fio has her mojo back!

Yes, after a couple of days of moping over things she can't control, she stoked herself with chocolate and threw her energy into decorating the house and writing the new book. During the day, she attached feather butterflies to her carved Moroccan screen and wrote the first six pages of her new book, and when Husband got home from work, they carted in  the rest of the storage bags and boxes from the garage and strung lights on the tree.  Earlier in the week, Fio had cut out paper snowflakes and taped them on the windows.

If she can keep up the pace, that book will grow by two chapters per week and the house will be ready for Santa by Christmas Eve.

Bring on the chocolate!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Prayers Needed

Twenty-one days left to dress the house, the tree, myself.  Twenty-one days in which to design a card and write a poem.  Twenty-one days to decide on gifts and plan a family dinner.  Fio's survival will be a Christmas miracle.

Especially since Austin Son 's birthday is just eight days away.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Movin' On

When Fiorella's fourth grade teacher talked to the class about small thefts that had occurred in the classroom, Fio went home that afternoon and checked her bureau drawers to be sure she wasn't an unknowing kleptomaniac.  Yes, your Fio has an overly strong sense of guilt.

But some people have no sense of guilt at all, no sense of right and wrong, no conscience.  It's marvelously freeing to be around a person like that, to be able to express whatever snarkiness comes to mind and laugh about it, to be coaxed out of post-utterance guilt.  But ultimately, there's a price to pay--a lack of conscience means the person has no sense of responsibility to anyone, including you.

Fio has been wrestling with the dregs of this situation for months.  The only way to bury it is to understand it.

But it still makes Fiorella sad.

Monday, December 2, 2013


You are going to laugh at this, but Husband brought home a plush puppy yesterday, and it literally warmed Fiorella's heart..  She petted it and talked to it and carried it around with her, and she felt a healing warmth whenever she held it close.

Is it female?  Is it Fiorella?  Is there some sort of gadget inside the puppy?  Fio doesn't know, but she likes it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Another one of those things that sets Fiorella apart from the rest of the human race is the way she decorates for Christmas--extensively.  She hauls in her venerable fake tree, whines till Husband lights it up for her, then loads its branches.  She festoons doorways, windows, the stairs, and even the bedroom balcony railing with ersatz greenery, bells, bows, and pine cones.  She sets up manger scenes and ties a red bow around anything with the semblance of a neck.  She dangles decorations from the dining room light fixture.  She tapes paper snowflakes to the windowpanes, hangs up wreaths on the doors and and stockings over the fireplace, loops silver garlands along the driveway for a holiday welcome, and, if she whines again, Husband or Son will help her hang glittery snowflakes from a small tree in the yard. 

And that's just the beginning. She didn't even mention her box of feather butterflies and paper mache birds.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fiorella's Literary Identity

Who the heck does Fiorella write like? Fiorella sent the first two chapters of Kinkaid House out to RWA members willing to speculate, and the votes are starting to come in.

Friend Janece nominates Grace Metalious of Peyton Place fame, plus Sandra Brown and Tami Hoag, in romance rather than mystery mode.  Friend Vivien, who said KH feels like small-town, but not sweet-tea-and-mint, suggests a cross between a Lifetime movie and Twin Peaks.  "There's an edge here," she adds. "There's that lingering sense that a lot of dark is going on under the surface."  To which Fio replies, "You bet your booty!"

Anyone else want to check out the first two chapters?

Friday, November 29, 2013


Whenever Fiorella's daily meditation seems a bit off, you can bet she wrote it during the evening hours, when her confidence is high but her brain is shutting down for the night. Your Fio writes better in the early morning--she always wakes up smarter than when she went to bed.  But her very best work is done behind the wheel, sailing down I-35. That's when her subconscious works out future blogs and the relationships in her romances.  Unfortunately, that isn't when she does her best driving.

And you've wondered why Fio always tries to catch a ride with friends.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a great year!  Austin Son married his sweetie, Minnesota Son's new knees have enabled him to ditch the scooter, Daughter's getting accolades at work, Husband is holding steady health-wise, and Fiorella has a publisher for her romance novel. To top it off, Sonia Dog has responded beautifully to her socialization training.

And Fiorella is grateful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Fiorella learned four very important things at her first national RWA conference in 2008. First, she learned that she could navigate all by her lonesome within the conference, in a large hotel, and on the mean streets of San Francisco.  Second, she learned that there is no stereotypical romance writer--they come in all sizes, shapes, ages, colors--and sexes. Third, she learned that established writers (read Colleen Thompson and Terry McLaughlin) can be very kind to a newbie.  Fourth, as she learned, from the agent who stood in front of her in a Starbuck's line, a pattern of dieting for three days, then eating whatever one desires on the fourth, is an effective method of trimming down.

At the Orlando conference, she had a blinding Paul-on-the-way-to-Damascus revelation that, in order to get her work into print, she'd have to write not just as well as established authors, but strive for better.  She also learned to ignore other people's negativity.

At the New York conference, she realized that her overriding goal for the next year should be to GET AN AGENT.

At the Atlanta conference, she met face-to-face with said agent, the divine Liza, and also learned who were her true friends (read Colleen Thompson and April Sartor).

Next summer is the San Antonio conference.  More adventures to come.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Good Morning!

If your dog wakes you up an hour early by whining that she needs to go out.  If you let her take care of her business, then snuggle up on the couch to pick up that extra hour's sleep,  If it's cold outside and almost as cold inside.  If you haphazardly pull two throws over yourself, but your toes are peeking out.  Then be sure you have a sweet Sonia Dog who will lie on your feet and keep you warm.

Ummmmmm . . . .

Monday, November 25, 2013

Maternal Upkeep

Fiorella and Husband had a wonderful time at Austin Son's wedding, dined and danced at the reception afterwards, then drove home in the freezing cold..  Or rather, Minnesota son drove them home.  He and his wife have been godsends this week.  And Daughter and her husband were great too.  And Fio thanks God for Brother and wife, for Nephew and his wife, and also  his sons.

But Fiorella is the matriarch, the lead elephant who keeps the herd together.  When she is gone, who will pray for all of them?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wedding Bells

Happy wedding day to Fio and family.  Austin Son is marrying a lovely young woman this afternoon with all due pomp and ceremony.  Then comes the reception, hosted by Bride's parents.  Friday night, Fio and husband took their turn, hosting the rehearsal dinner, after which Bride enjoyed a bachelorette party. Son's guy-party followed last night.

And we all wish Son and Bride a lifelong celebration.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Interior Decorating

Son and Daughter-in Law were very complimentary of the guest room which Fio had labored over for many an hour.  D-i-L commented on the POW of the new blue comforter and the remake of the headboard, which, as you will remember, Fio accomplished with a  hot glue gun, ten yards of gold edging from her left-overs drawer, and a foam board.  Son liked the desk and chair (thank you, IKEA) which Fio added for his benefit to the other side of the bed.  And both of them appreciated the extra room gained by moving the last of Austin Son's detritus out.

Fiorella is like Sonia.  Just pat her head and say nice things to her and she's happy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Numbers Lady

Fiorella has a fascination with numbers. .

She noticed years ago that her three children were born exactly sixty-nine days apart from each other, and recently realized that there's a pattern to the addresses at which she has lived: 429, 2609, pause, 809, 4607, 11508, 9907, 141.  Three numerals, then four; starting over as a married woman with three, then four, then five, then relaxing to four, and three.

There's also the constant 1-10 counting she does in seven languages.

Must be her vampire heritage.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eye and Ear

Fio has the eye and Husband has the ear.  She sees art everywhere while he hears music everywhere.  Husband not only has shelves full of jewel cases, but imitates every sound he hears--the bird chirping, the dog barking.

His mother, who came from a musical family, would do the same, which Fio found unnerving at the time, but now understands.  Just as Fio is constantly absorbing color, line, and composition, Husband is seeking to be one with the sounds of man and nature.

Interesting--at least to Fiorella.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Taxed by Taxonomy

Fiorella has always been an all-over-the-map kinda gal.  Her first talent was art, but she also took to writing: essays, poetry, journalism, novels.  Turned out she had a good singing voice too, and she's always been language-mad.  To top it off, she can exert a certain charisma and is a good organizer. Yes, Fio is a platypus,  hard to classify.

And so are her novels, which is not to her advantage.

Wish her luck.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Greetings, friends and followers.  Fiorella is trying to figure out how Colin Sanger died.  Colin was an A-list movie star, and now that he's dead, Moira Farrar, his widow, is so far down Hollywood's alphabet list that she's had to hire out to Bosque Bend's fledgling civic theater group--where she runs up against strapping hunk Jon McAlister.  Need Fio say more?

But, back to the topic, how did Colin die?  Stabbed by a rabid fan? Auto-erotic accidental suicide? Overdose? Swiped by a low-flying 'copter?  Poison poured in his ear?  Ah, the possibilities are endless.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Listen Up, Hollywood

Now that Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Patrick Swayze have tapped on heaven's door, Hollywood needs another great hoofer.  How about that confrontational Russian guy on Dancing with the Stars?  The one that sorta looks like Howard Keel in his Taming of the Shrew movie.

Speaking of Howard Keel, we need more musicals too, lightweight ones that have you humming all the way home--"Singin' in the Rain," not "I Dreamed a Dream."

What Fiorella is saying is life is too short to wallow in its shortcomings. Fio may write dark, but she wants her own entertainment to be feather light.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Out of Control

Fiorella's mother had all her ducks in a row.  Her lawn was mowed and edged, her bushes trimmed, and her planting beds lush with flowers.  Her house was warm and welcoming, beautifully decorated, and immaculate.  Her life was secure and well-regulated.

Fiorella's landscaping is a mess, her house is a mess, and her life is a mess.  She's plotting to turn the west planting bed into a flagstone terrace to thwart the armadillos, but is at a loss for the north bed.  Even with an in-ground watering system, flowers are out of the question and the bushes have gone sparse and leggy.  Her home  is a lost cause inside too--too many of Fio's unfinished projects lying around, too much of Husband's stuff that he planned to take care of later.  And her literary career is uncertain at best.

Which is why Fiorella sits around brooding and eating chocolate ice cream.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wedding Bells

A week from Sunday, Fiorella will become a mother-in-law for the third time. Her relationship with her own mother-in-law was a wee bit rocky at times so she tries extra hard to stay on good terms with her children's spice.  With Minnesota Son's lovely wife and Daughter's charming husband, it isn't hard, and Austin Son has made a similarly prize-winning choice.  We are  blessed.

Now to survive the festivities.  Fio is going crazy preparing for the rehearsal dinner.  Anyone want to lend a helping hand?

Friday, November 15, 2013


Fiorella thinks she's finally figured out Twitter: one makes an interesting or clever comment, but doesn't expect a response.  Facebook, on the other hand, is geared toward exciting multiple responses, in contrast to email, which is a private conversation.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Electronics Again

Two weeks without television.  I don't think that's ever happened before, even when we were on vacation.  Husband promises to get everything working over the weekend, though.  We'll see--or maybe not.
It's like we live in a snake house.  There are coils of black plastic cords all over the place. Fiorella  wants a computer system that requires neither a power cord nor a printer cord.
Son understands all about wiring up a television or a computer, but never learned to ride a bicycle.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Shop that Never Was

Four years ago, a little barracks-type cabin appeared on the side the road.  It billed itself as Transformations, apparently a beauty salon, but Fiorella never read any advertisements for it, never saw any cars there, and never heard anyone talking about it.  In fact, your fiction-writing Fio assured her family that Transformations  was a front for criminal activity--money laundering, human trafficking, drug distribution, or the like--and would soon be raided by our local gendarmes..

But the raid never occurred.  Nothing else ever happened with the little building either, except that the cheerful pink bushes planted around it died, one by one.  Now Transformations is for sale.

But there don't seem to be any takers.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bits and Pieces

It's autumn.  The bushes are blooming, the trees are losing their leaves, Fio's suncreen is thickening overnight in its tube, and the door between the bedroom and the bathroom is staying closed again.
For years, Fiorella thought the Boston Pops were all fathers--and she was shocked when she finally noticed women in their midst.
Fiorella inserts gold hoops in her earlobes every day because one of her Indian friends--Hemalatha Tirumurti?--told her that wearing earrings meant one was human.  And "human" is what Fio strives to pass for.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

Bounce-back Fio has done it again.  She's risen from the depths of despair to the heights of--well, not exactly euphoria, but her self-confidence is high.  Of course, it helps that the weather is cool, that she's been sleeping well, and that the holidays are just around the corner. But the major mover is that Fio's fought her way through the fog and and remembered who she is.

Fiorella will never "fit into" the pack.  It isn't her nature. The only person she writes like is herself, which means her romances are unique.  Thus Kinkaid House will either bomb like Nagasaki or move her to the top of the heap. Either way, she'll keep on writing.

Ride'em, cowboy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

When a Young Buck's Fancy . . . .

The deer are leaping out of the bushes every time Fio turns around, which is why Sonia, our own eager Deerstalker, is not allowed to participate in Fio's daily double walks.  This evening's adventure was typical. As Fio walked down the north driveway, she heard rustling in the thicket to the right.  When she came back through a few minutes later, two deer flew across her path.  The second one had antlers so she can only assume the first one was a doe. Yes, rut is in full swing.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


If you put Fio in a box
And wrap it round with iron chain,
She'll find a way to break the locks--
And all your work will be in vain--
For Fio runs feral, never tame

Friday, November 8, 2013

Love Emerges from the Shadows

Eureka! Sorting through a box she had moved into her study eight years ago and never opened, Fiorella found a good part of the text of her very first novel, Love in the Shadows. She'd thought her maiden effort was forever lost to posterity because she accidentally threw away the nice, finished version of it in another, more recent,binge of housecleaning.

But maybe it would have been better left in the shadows.  Looking, back, Fio thinks the story was kindaa crappy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Fiorella is shelving Lolly's story. The divine Liza says it won't fly because the hero is eleven years older than the heroine and their first sexual encounter is unusual--not kinky, but unusual.

Fio's a little gun-shy right now.  She's always written on the edge and is afraid she doesn't know how to pull back.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Got All That?

Fiorella took Sonia up the north driveway for her morning walk, holding the leash tightly and staying alert for deer since Doggie's bolted the leash twice already this week.  Spotted a pedestrian walking up from the dip at the south edge of the property and turned around before Sonia saw him, walking her back down the north drive again and going up the south drive.  No deer around, pedestrian was out of sight--whew!  Went around the road to the mouth of the north driveway, heading towards the house, and spotted a deer posed ten feet inside the park beside the drive.  Turned Sonia around again and walked her up the north drive to the street, crossed to the south driveway and got her back to the house without incident.

And Husband wonders why Fio always carries extra treats.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

To TV or Not to TV?

Until the television lost its sound, Fiorella never realized what a noisy environment she had been living in.  Not that she ever had the TV on during the day, but when Husband came home in the evening, the controllers got heavy usage.  Big Bang, NCIS, and, after Husband went to bed, House Hunters and Little Couple.  And if Fio was up late because she couldn't sleep, anything else that was on the tube was game.

It's different now.  Fio and Husband are talking more.  The house seems cozier--although that could be because of the autumnal darkness. Maybe we should can  the TV altogether.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Time Management

Timewise, Fiorella is always in a bind.  That's why she multi-tasks and counts her physical therapy reps in German (weights), Russian (plies), Spanish (angel wings), French (windmills), Telugu (back tighteners), and Latin (head presses).  That's why, when she's exhausted and needs to trudge up to bed every night, she makes a sidestop in her once-and-future study to search through yet another pile of papers to try to find that business contract she's scouring the house for.  That's why she's glad the TV has lost its sound and been off for a week.

Fio didn't realize it, but TV is a major time suck.  Sure, it relaxes her to watch Big Bang Theory reruns, Little Couple firsties, and increasingly stupid House Hunters, but she also gets drawn into other shows, like an episode of Father Brown she caught a couple of weeks ago, or stray performances on America's Got Talent. 

Maybe the TV sound will stay off forever.  After a minor withdrawal period, Fio doesn't miss it--she can play old BBT episodes in her head as she works on Lolly's story, which has progressed quite well this week. After all, aside from catering to Sonia Dog's every whimper and whim, aside from gathering poems for her new Kinko's booklet, aside from searching for appropriate Christmas gifts, aside from preparing to teach a poetry class at the Georgetown library, aside from tending to the family business, aside from whipping her study into shape, aside from contacting McHandyman to repair the balcony door and re-weatherstrip the house, aside from preparing for Austin son's wedding, aside from taking care of the house, what else does she have to do?


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Post It

Come breakfast time I always eat
A bowl of spoon-size shredded wheat
And sometimes when I'm up at night
And need a snack, I'll take a bite--
Early or late, it's hard to beat
My wholesome, tasty, crunchy treat.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Race

A friend once commented that if anyone dropped a lit match in Fio's house, it would go up in flames.  Yes, your Fiorella is the world's leading consumer of paper.  She has drawers, shoe boxes, cartons, bookshelves, and filing cabinets stuffed pell-mell full of everything she's ever written from grade school on. If she hadn't established this blog, she would have had yet another six years' cache of stories, poems, random thoughts, observations, and musical compositions waiting to catch fire. .

But now she's trying to get more organized.  First on the list is gathering together all her personally-oriented poems and hauling them off to Kinko's to make into a booklet or two--or three--or fifty.  Here's a sample titled "The Race."  Remember, Fiorella's novels are fiction, but her poems are true.

I stumble, I falter, I fail, I fall
Before the race is done
My heart, my joy, my life is in
The glory of the run

It's all in the effort.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Treats

Fiorella's favorite Halloween identity was that of  a majorette gypsy.  She started with the gypsy costume (complete with gold canning ring earrings and a colorful headscarf) that her mother had concocted, then rolled up the wooly tops of her house slippers so they looked like boots.  The heavy baton she used in second grade majorette practice completed the outfit.  Don't knock it--Fio won first place in the girls' division of the playground costume contest and still has the newspaper photo to prove it.
Fio's been noticing a trend toward extending Halloween lately.  Instead of keeping their All Hallow's Eve identities secret until The Day, kids wear their costumes everywhere and about for the preceding week, and adults are following right behind.  It's a little unnerving to have your groceries checked out by a hollow-eyed zombie.
Every year, Fio and Husband buy bags of their favorite candies--Milky Ways and Snickers--to give out to Halloween beggars.  Every year they have several bags left over.  But not for long.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Masked Identity

When Fiorella was a child, her father was the pumpkin king.  Every year he would spread newspapers on the kitchen table and carve a grinning face on the orange squash, then set a candle inside it and set it on the front porch.  So, with Halloween fast approaching, Fiorella packed her trunk with the makings for a classic jack-o-lantern and took them to her father's retirement home--a Marks-a-Lot, newspapers, a nice big pumpkin, and a sharp knife.  She really couldn't spare the time because she was driving a round trip of seventy miles each day to her job at a rural college, teaching a double load of eight classes, and had a husband and house to take care of, but she wanted to make better connections with her father, who was having problems with Alzheimer's.  Surely the pumpkin would do the trick.

But it didn't.  Dad looked at the pumpkin and said, "What's that?"  Then he refused to participate in the designing, the carving, or the cleaning it out,  "You do it," he said with a slight smile, the same indulgent "women are so silly" expression he'd used when Fiorella wanted to spruce up the rusted lawn lamp in his front yard before he sold the house.  So Fiorella made carved the pumpkin with him looking on and placed the final product on top of his window shelves, hoping it would bring him some Halloween cheer.  As soon as she left, he carried it downstairs to front office.

Fiorella, of course, was hurt, but  she understood.  She now knew her father better than he knew himself.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Just Who Do You Think You Are?"

Fio is constantly disappointed in herself, constantly berating herself.  She learned it at her mother's knee. Her parents were concerned that she not have a swelled head--think too highly of herself.  There was also probably a bit of  the protective "don't reach too far or you'll get your arm cut off" involved.

Dad always said praise never helped anyone, that he wanted criticism (although Fio never saw him take it well).  Maybe that's why when Fiorella made an impossible 98 1/2 on Miss Osborn's Latin test, he smiled and asked,"Why didn't you make 100?"  Mom, whose mantra was that one shouldn't praise kids for doing what they should do anyway, was more subtle, challenging Fiorella's confidence with comments like "You just THINK so," when Fiorella said she could tell whether Baby needed a diaper change or not. And questioning the price Fio paid for engine work on her car, when she herself didn't even hold a driver's license.

Yes, the practice drove Fio to strive harder, to achieve more, but it has also left her unhappy with herself. And now she feels bad because she's criticizing her parents, who loved her very much.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Of course, the idea that people think in words is ridiculous.  Every time Fiorella accords her characters interior dialogues, it's fiction.  People think in--well--thoughts, splotches of conjecture, sometimes inspired and immediate, sometimes long and drawn out.  When Fio plots out her romances, she starts with the relationship between the two leads, then opens her mind to whatever would logically follow, then tries to record what her inarticulate brain has told her.  When she is painting, she goes into the zone and lets her hand do the walkin'.  When she encounters life problems, she goes totally cold and lets her id/ego/anima/whatever take over.

Words are an artificial construct that we use to try to communicate the essence of our thoughts, but sometimes they aren't enough. As in the above paragraph.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: The Music Man

The best thing about the Georgetown Palace Theater's production of The Music Man was a little boy named Diego Rodriguez (Winthrop Peroo), who brought to life an audience which had been for the most part according the musical polite applause till he took over the stage.

Not trying to dis the adult leads--as usual, the vocals were great-but the  production seemed mediocre, from the opening in the railroad car--which would have benefited from a roll of scenery passing behind it and some clickety-clacks--to the unimaginative dance numbers.  The costumes seemed charmingly period, but the scenery looked cheap.  Staging was sometimes distractingly awkward. The full-chorus numbers were quite good when they were disciplined, but amateurish when too much independent action vied for the audience's attention.

But maybe it's the musical itself..  Maybe Music Man is tired.  Fio was.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thought for the Day

We humans are an imitative species.  Our speech imitates what we hear.  Our art imitates what we see.  Our stories imitate life.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rocks in Her Head

Fiorella has placed a print-out on meteorites on the little table next to the front door so that someone who has the time and the inclination can check out the rocks the line our 180-linear yard driveway.  She's convinced some of them are of extra-terrestrial origin, just as she's convinced she's part Neanderthal, and that someday the planting beds will be free of armadillos.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fiorella's Ups and Downs

Fiorella has spent most of her writing time this past week getting Lolly's story organized.  She's pulled a thousand or so little scribbled notes out of the back of her tablet and typed them in, put all her ideas in chronological order, extended threads as necessary, and rearranged some action for better flow.  Full steam ahead, Fio.  Remember, you've got to turn out two chapters per week from now on.
Oh, joy!  Fiorella's voice pathologist has encouraged her to sing more.  Fio LOVES singing.
After three long sessions with the repair shop technician, Fiorelle still has problems with this new hard drive.  Why can't someone invent a permanent hard drive?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


When Fiorella was a child, she loved watching the hurdles event in the Olympics, and when she went to bed, she had dreams about leaping hedges as she raced from lawn to lawn down the street.  Ah, the joy of running, the leap, the rhythm, the achievement!

Unfortunately, Fio is short, stocky, and not athletically inclined, but she's still leapt her share of hurdles. Babe, that's what life's all about.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Life and Death

For the second time, Sonia Dog encountered death.  The first time was a couple of months ago, when we discovered the dead fawn at the entrance to the north driveway.  Fio tried to pull Sonia away, but ended up flat on her back in the gravel while Sonia made a thorough examination of the pitiful little corpse.  But this time, when Fio spotted a newly-dead squirrel in the road--the blood had not yet coagulated--she allowed Sonia to have her way.  Doggie nosed the animal, pushed it around a little, contemplated it, then continued the walk with Mommy. The next time around, she gave the squirrel a cursory nudge and moved on.

But for the rest of the way to the house, she seemed more somber.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Panic Mode

Panic!  Fiorella has done the math and realized that she's going to have to grind out two chapters a month in order to finish Lolly's story (with revisions) by May.  She used to write a lot faster.  What has slowed her down? Well, whatever, she'd better get a move on.  And she'd better start sleeping better too, in order to discharge all the demons of doubt and despair that have been plaguing her lately.

Yeah, that's one theory that makes sense to Fiorella, that sleep is vital to clearing the brain of all the trash.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Birthday, Welcome, Gifts

Yesterday was Sonya's second birthday and she celebrated by controlling herself while workmen were banging around on the roof, restraining herself while a doe and two fawns cavorted in the yard, and eating her fill of leftover pancakes and bacon.
Fio received a nice welcoming note from the president of Hatchette Group, the parent company for Grand Central, which is her publisher.  Of course, she panics whenever she sees there's something from her agent or her publisher in her in box.  Are they going to dump her?  Is the magic carpet ride over?  Your Fio is not one to take things for granted--or, as her students used to write, "for granite."
This is weird, but this year Fiorella has started buying Christmas gifts early, like normal people do, instead of at the last minute.  Could it be that Fio has finally turned into . . . an adult?  Nah.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fio Told You So

Aha!  Another popular theory that Fiorella thought was wacko has bit the dust--the right and left brain thing.  Fio kept her mouth shut, but she subscribed to that uh--lame-brained--theory as much as she believed that Neanderthals and homo sapiens never interbred or that, as was gospel in her schooldays, the matching shorelines of the New World and the Old were mere coincidence.

And she'll now come out of the closet and also say she doesn't believe there is intelligent life on other planets.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dark Romance

Fiorella writes romances because she likes happy endings.  Of course, happy endings depend on exactly when the action stops being reported.  Cinderella's story ended in happily-ever-after only because the original yarn-spinner cut the story short with her wedding and didn't reveal that a week later, Cindy discovered Charming never bathed and had a foot fetish.

Real life is tumultuous and does not have a happy ending (which is the reason Fio does not read biographies). In the real world, we contend with pain, disappointment, and betrayal on our steady march toward the ultimate tragedy of death.  That is the world Fio writes about, although, wienie that she is, her stories also end with happily-ever-after. Yeah, she's a fictional sort of a gal.



Friday, October 18, 2013

Time Passes

Fiorella, as you know, has been extraordinarily aware of the irretrievability of lost time ever since childhood. Her personal solution is to make every minute count by (1) prioritizing and (2) multi-tasking.  Thus wherever she is in the house, she cleans up or rearranges things according to her aesthetic, while items that belong upstairs are stacked on the stairs for her next trip up and items that belong in the garage are stacked near the kitchen door for husband's next trip out. When Fio walks the dog, she is not only training her, but doing physical therapy to improve her own hip movement and posture, meanwhile checking out the property for landscaping solutions.  Yesterday, when Fio spent an hour on the phone with the repair shop as Paul fixed her address list, she completed her daily crossword puzzle and worked out the anagrams.

Smell the roses?  Hah!  Every minute wasted is lost forever.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Not in Fiorella's World,

No, people do not have the right to spend their money any way they want to, not the moral right, that is. Leafing through the Hammacher Schlemmer Christmas catalog, Fiorella has spotted such excessive items as the "genuine Robby the Robot" for $32,000; a replica "1923 garden telescope" for $76,00; the "killer whale submarine" for $90,000; and "the authentic 1966 batmobile" for $200,000.

Fiorella is scandalized and appalled and outraged that such items are even available for zillionaires to throw away their money on. Waste is wrong, be it talents, skills, food, time,or money.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fiorella's Life

Fiorella has her newly-refurbished laptop back, but Baby seems to be missing a few spare parts--like Fio's email address list and the tool bar across the top of the screen.  So much for computers making our lives easier.  In reality, they addict us, then DRIVE US CRAZY!
Fio attended a high school reunion over the weekend and stayed in one of the nicest hotel rooms she's ever experienced--big, clean, comfortable, fully equipped, not a chip or stain anywhere. And the hallway carpets were gorgeous.  Waco Hiltin, everyone.
Now that she's home, Fio has to gird her loins and set up an author website.  Actually Minnesota Son will be doing the work, but Fio has to give him guidance.  God have mercy on us both.
One thing Fio will admit is great about having Baby back is that it has Spellcheck on it, which, judging by the typos that crept into the blogs Fiorella wrote the past couple of days, the desktop lacks.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Fio spent all day yesterday in the den organizing her thoughts--literally, since she jots down almost every inkling that comes to mind, mostly on little scraps of colored paper left over  from her various art projects, then sticks them in the shelves besdie her desk. But now she's organized in files: writing, landscaping, craft ideas, poetry inspirations, TV ideas, character ideas and their clothes (torn out from ads), ideas for the poetry and romance classes she'll be teaching this fall, and, of course, topics for FIORELLA.  She  carried a lot of other stuff up to her study and dropped a couple of armfuls in the workroom, which doubles as crafts room and laundry.  She also filled three trash bags.

Onward, Fiorella!  If you can organize your mess in the den, you can conquer the world!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Furlough Comment

This government shutdown thing seems so very weird to Fiorella because she assumed stuff like this only happened in other countries, the ones with more volatile personalities, not in the good ol' staid U.S. of A--just as she assumed that volcanoes didn't erupt here until Mt. St. Helens blew its top off.  Mt. St. Helens is recovering more quickly than predicted and Fio hopes the government will too.  But both have concomitant losses, of view, if nothing else.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Fio was born with her engine running.  She can't remember any time during her life that she hasn't been busy with one project or another.  And right now she's super busy.

Basically, Fiorella is a creator and an organizer.  She's always thinking, considering, designing.  And because her current literary project is held captive in Click Computer's repair shop, she is turning to other projects like--gasp--the house.  Her mother would be pleased.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Machines Rule

Fiorella's Baby needs a lot of work, including a new hard drive, but Fio doesn't want to buy a replacement computer because she doesn't have the time to learn another system.  Window 7 nearly did her in, and now that she has it down pat, she doesn't want to change gears.

The whole situation is driving her crazy as it is.  She can't work on Lolly's story, she can't communicate with people, and she can't research interesting stuff.

Let's face it. Fiorella, who calls herself a Luddite, is slave to a machine.  They're taking over all of us.  The power is theirs unless we find a way to--uh--pull the cord.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fio on Furlough

Fiorella is bereft.  Baby, her laptop, is at Click for what Fio had hoped would be a quick fix, but has turned out to be an extended stay.  Life is odd without Baby.  Fiorella has figured out how to maneuver her way through Husband's entangled programs to find her blog and thus can post every day, but she can't reach the morning news, can't research idle items that come to mind, and can't get to her email or her romance work-in-progress.  You might say she's on furlough.

On the other hand, she's cleaning up her downstairs desk, working out plans for those purses she told you about, and venturing upstairs to try to redeem her supposed study from Son's occupation.

But she'd rather have Baby back in her loving arms again.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Reunion Nerves

Fiorella needs to pick up a nice outfit for her upcoming high school reunion--something that says she's chic, semi-mature, and successful; something an up-and-coming author would wear; something that will make people want to buy her book when it comes out. Maybe a signboard would do.

Fio isn't sure why she's going to the reunion anyway.  Sure, it's nice to talk with old high school buddies, but our lives have all taken different paths, and the conversations will tend to be short.  And we have to be careful not to tread on each other's political toes. And Husband, who is not gregarious, won't know a soul there.

But there's a double mission going on here.  We're also going to stop at the cemetery and lay flowers on Fio's parents' graves.  And that's worth the whole trip.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Addition

Fio has noticed a disturbing trend lately toward bigger and bigger homes on smaller and smaller lots.  She and Husband drove through a new addition of $350,000 homes a couple of miles down the highway and were shocked to realize that a person stretching his arms out could touch the air conditioner units of the long, shotgun-style houses on either side.   Why not just make the houses attached and be done with it?  After all, any claim to country living has already been lost to the chainsaw massacre of the native oaks and cedar elms.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thus Saith


Is a one-way street,

But it’s the better way

Monday, October 7, 2013

Exult wth Fio!

Fiorella had a WONDERFUL day yesterday!  She went out to walk the dog in 65-degree weather and her whole body screamed YES, YES!  Cooler temperatures do that to Fiorella--instant invigoration.

Just before noon, she and Husband made their weekly trek to HEB, and the weather was still great.  Everyone in the store seemed to think the same because they all looked so happy bundled up in their jackets and sweaters--or maybe they were smiling because Fiorella, grinning like a jack-o-lantern,was totally over the top herself.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Fiorella showed Son's fiancee how to make a boat last night, a small paper boat, that is.

Husband and Fio were dining at Chili's and, as is her habit, Fiorella denuded her napkin-wrapped utensils of their three-inch binding strip, tore it in two, and folded each half-strip into a tiny boat.  What else does one do while waiting for one's dinner?  In slow-serving restaurants, Fiorella has been known to launch flotillas.

After being presented with the first boat, Son's fiancee, who was sitting across from Fio, watched the production of the second one intently and tried to make a boat of her own, but ran into trouble.  Fiorella promptly grabbed the strip off of Husband's utensils and instructed her step by step.

It will take a while for Fiancee to get the technique down, but Fiorella is thrilled that she is interested.  Fiorella's father was the one who taught her how to make the little boat and now his legacy of love will live on.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hello, Starbucks!

Two soaks in the tub last night.  In and out of bed, and in and out of bed, and in and out of bed.  Watching TV and trying to read.  Yet Fiorella still couldn't sleep.  The internet is down in Casa Fiorella and how can Fio survive without email, Google, and Facebook?  Yes, Fio has a communication addiction to feed.  

Neither Husband nor ECPI seem to be able to fix whatever the problem is so Fio's last hope is Son, who's coming over this evening.  Wish us well because otherwise Fiorella's going to be establishing permanent residence in her local Starbuck's, where she is now sitting and keying in this message.

Hooray!  We went back on line suddenly right after Fiorella returned home from Starbuck's, but we're not sure what happened.  Husband's theory is that ECPI's signal was too weak and someone finally amped it up.  Fio's theory is that the house electronic systems realized that if they didn't get on their game, Fio and Husband would be taking all their business to Starbuck's.

Whatever.  The internet is running and Fio has all sorts of things (yawn) to do, but she's a little worn out (yawn) from her sleepless night so she thinks she'll lean back for a moment and--zzzzzzzzzz . . . .

Friday, October 4, 2013

LIngo Across the Ocean

Fiorella, who, as you know, delights in all things linguistic, is fascinated by the news from British friend Suzy that Brits have been picking up all sorts of interesting idioms from American films, which appear to be all the rage in Queen Elizabeth's realm right now.  Serves'em right--think of all the British idioms we've been aping over here.  Just another example of communication making the world a smaller place.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Catching Up with Fio

If it makes,  Fiorella will be teaching a poetry class at the local library this fall.   She enjoys discussing  iambic, trochaic, anapestic, dactylic, and the varieties of rhyme forms while her co-teacher talks about free verse, inspiration, and emotional responses.  Yeah, Fio's friend is ethereal while Fio is more earth-bound.  If they had a party, Fio would bring the sandwiches while her friend supplied the wine.

In other news, the news has disappeared from Fio's computer.  For as long as she can remember, Fio has opened up Google for her morning update, but that option no longer exists.  Even Husband's computer-wise tinkering couldn't bring it back to her.  Good thing they're still taking the newspaper.

Speaking of Husband, he's now reading a chapter a day of Lolly's story--and he ASKS for the chapter if Fio forgets to run it off for him.   But now he's up to chapter seven and, since Fiorella's just written ten chapters, she'd better sign off and get to crackin' on the other ten.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Half-way Home

Working crossword puzzles is good training for writing a book.  The vertical words have to interact with the horizontal words just like the hundreds of literary threads, big and small, must weave into each other to form a cohesive story.

In other words, Fiorella has just finished writing chapter ten of Lolly's tale, which means she's about half-way through the book.  And she's happy with it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Twitter, Style, Age and Health

Fiorella has to bite the bullet--it's time to join Twitter and set up a webpage.  But why do people want to know about the authors of the books they're reading?  Fio never did.  In fact, she didn't even like to see their pictures on the back cover.  She thought of the stories as being real somewhere out there in the universe and being faced with a picture of an author brought her down to earth.
All the child clerks at BatteriesPlus are sporting the currently stylish two-day-beard look, which means the fad is omni-present and soon will pass--or so Fio hopes. 
The young have an innate disdain for the old, as do the firm for the infirm, all under the assumption that people should be able to control their own  age and health.

Twitter, Style, Age and Health

Fiorella has to bite the bullet--it's time to join Twitter and set up a webpage.  But why do readers want to know about the authors of the books they're reading?  Fio never did.  In fact, she didn't even like to see their pictures on the back cover.  She thought of the stories as being real somewhere out there in the universe and seeing a picture of an author brought her down to earth.
All the child clerks at BatteriesPlus were sporting the currently stylish two-day-beard look, which means the fad is omni-present and soon will pass--or so Fio hopes.
The young have an innate disdain for the old, as do the firm for the infirm, all under the assumption that people have control over their own  age and health.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dogs, Deer, and Children

Sonia Dog's stroll yesterday evening was fraught with challenges.  Her hackles went up and she started growling as soon as she got out the door--the riding mower, which she's always distrusted, was parked in the yard.  Then, at the top of the south driveway, she fixated on the deer strolling around in the yard across the street.  Fio issued a number of LEAVE IT commands and circled Doggie back and forth a couple of times, trying to accustom her to the deer, but, at the same time, making sure she didn't break leash and bolt across the street after them.

Rather than risk too close a brush with the deer by walking Sonia up the road to the mouth of our north driveway, as is the usual pattern, Fiorella took Doggier back down the driveway to the house and up the north driveway.  The yappy dogs were out, but Sonia ignored them, as she has been taught.  However, at the top of the drive, she had another, although more distant view of the deer, so Fiorella circled her again.  Back down the drive, the yappy dogs were accompanied by a whistle, which raised Sonia's hackles again and required another round of LEAVE IT commands. Then came the corker--a child's voice.  But Sonia still held steady.

Fiorella was exhausted but elated.  Sonia's three special incitements--yappy dogs, deer, and children presented, with no incident. We're making progress.

PS: Gotta brag,  This morning Doggie dealt with a pedestrian, the neighbors across the street walking visitors to their car, and, as we were about to walk up onto the porch, a deer.  Better and better,  Now if Fiorella could just rent a few children.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Too Busy

Stop the world!  Fiorella doesn't want to get off, but she does want a week or two to catch up.  Yes, she's overloaded again.  Now that the weather is cooler, she wants to work on the yard.  But she's also committed to sending her editor a sketch of a cover for Kinkaid House. And she needs to finish Lolly's story and start on a story bridging Laurel's story and Lolly's story, and write Sarah's story.  And she needs to get the painting up that Husband brought home from the office, but there's no room on the walls because Fio has the house plastered with art.

Fio also needs to do the physical therapy exercises that she's been shirking, and her vocal exercises, which she keeps putting off.  And she needs to find the three pairs of glasses she's lost, one of them brand new.  And she needs to clean up her desk and go through the mountains of scraps of paper on which she's written down various brilliant ideas. And she needs to run up a sample of the little purse she'd like to sell on-line. And she needs to find the deed the lawyer wants to see in regard to the family business venture.

And redo the bulletin board, which is now in layers.  And call her ophthalmologist for her yearly check-up and the veterinarian for Sonia Dog's semi-annual check-up.  And buy a new battery for her overused computer.  And check IKEA for some decent kitchen chairs.  And drop by WalMart to buy Shredded Wheat because HEB doesn't carry Post anymore.  And consult Click Computers to find out if she actually has Mozy or not and how to get rid of Barracuda, an over-zealous spam filter that took over her email unasked.

Then there are the everyday things, like keeping up with Sonia's training, practicing piano, lifting weights (just five-pounders), and picking up the house.

And to think, her parents kept advising her to stop and smell the roses.  

Too Busy

Stop the world!  Fiorella doesn't want to get off, but she does want a week or two to catch up.  Yes, she's overloaded again.  Now that the weather is cooler, she wants to work on the yard.  But she's also committed to sending her editor a sketch of a cover for Kinkaid House. And she needs to finish Lolly's story and start on a story bridging Laurel's story and Lolly's story, and write Sarah's story.  And she needs to get the painting up that Husband brought home from the office, but there's no room on the walls because Fio has the house plastered with art.

Fio also needs to do the physical therapy exercises that she's been shirking, and her vocal exercises, which she keeps putting off.  And she needs to find the three pairs of glasses she's lost, one of them brand new.  And she needs to clean up her desk and go through the mountains of scraps of paper on which she's written down various brilliant ideas. And she needs to run up a sample of the little purse she'd like to sell on-line. And she needs to find the deed the lawyer wants to see in regard to the family business venture.

And redo the bulletin board, which is now in layers.  And call her ophthalmologist for her yearly check-up and the veterinarian for Sonia Dog's semi-annual check-up.  And buy a new battery for her overused computer.  And check IKEA for some decent kitchen chairs.  And drop by WalMart to buy Shredded Wheat because HEB doesn't carry Post anymore.  And consult Click Computers to find out if she actually has Mozy or not and how to get rid of Barracuda, an over-zealous spam filter that took over her email unasked.

Then there are the everyday things, like keeping up with Sonia's training, practicing piano, lifting weights (just five-pounders), and picking up the house.

And to think, her parents kept advising her to stop and smell the roses.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Здравствуйте, Друзья!

Fiorella is bemused by the fact that so much of her audience is in the old USSR.  Do her readers sense her Slavic bloodlines? Or are they themselves bemused by this weird American woman who writes about driveway rocks, her overgrown dog, her would-be writing career, her own psyche, and anything else that comes down the pike?  Maybe they're just practicing their English, getting all the idioms down.  Or maybe they're analyzing crazy Fio for a psychology class.

Whatever. Говорите со мной. Я могу прочитать русский язык.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Fiorella, as you know by now, is a wienie.  She apologizes to table legs and chair arms when she runs into them.  And she feels guilty about tossing rocks back into the driveway that aren't pretty enough to take back to the house and store in her stack of plastic boxes on the back porch.  Then she worries that the rejects will feel . . . rejected.

And shouldn't common rocks be just as valued as sparkly ones?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A la Noam Chomsky

T(M)(have-en)(be-ing)V is the most powerful formula Fiorella has ever encountered.  It's linguistic talk for the construction of the basic English verb form.  "T" stands for "tense," either present and past.  "M" stands for "modal," of which there are five: may, can, will, shall, and must.  "V" stands for the individual verb form, like "eat" or "love" or "sing."

The formula is very easy to apply, and Fiorella taught it to all her composition classes.  First, choose a tense.  Past tense is represented by "-ed" and present by a "-0."  Then decide if you want to use a modal and, if so, which one.  Next, decide whether or not you want to use "have-en."  Same for "be-ing"--the constructions in parentheses are optional but must stay in the same order.  The final step is to select a verb.

Let's try "eat."

Using past tense and a modal--how about "can"--and all the bells and whistles, we get [-ed+can+have-en+be-ing+eat].  Now we leap-frog [-ed,] [-en,] and [-ing] to get [can-ed+have be-en+eat-ing]. The past tense of  "can" is "could," so we end up with the string [could have been eating].  Switch out past tense for present tense and we get [0-can+have-en be-ing eat; can have been eating].  Leave out the model and we get [have been eating] or [had been eating], depending on your choice of tense.  Leave out the [have-en] and you get [can be eating] or [could be eating].  Leave out the [be-ing] and you end up with [can have eaten] or [could have eaten].  Leave out the model and the [have-en] and you get [be eating] or [was eating.]  Leave out the model and the [have-en] and the [be-ing] and you get [eat] or [ate].  Duck soup.

Try your hand with "love" and "sing," remembering that [sing-ed] becomes [sang], [sing-en] becomes [sung], and" [love-en] becomes [loved].

This simple all-encompassing formula is the reason Fiorella majored in linguistics.

Also write about my method of defining use of apostrophe for possessive.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Early Music Project

At the invitation of Brother and his wife, Fio and Husband attended a performance sponsored by the Texas Early Music Project last Sunday.  No, it's not early Texas music--rattles and tom-toms--but early music of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Early Classical periods sung by young, upcoming vocalists and accompanied by a small orchestra of period instruments.  Fio was entranced, especially by the little coloratura, Gitanjali Mathur, whose voice was liquid as water.

There are five more programs this year.  Fiorella recommends them. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Love the Weather

Two weeks ago, Fiorella was lowering the window blinds every day to keep the sun out.  Now she's raising them every day to invite the sun in.  And each morning when she goes walking with Sonia Dog, she eyes the landscaping in the north planting bed and plots fresh schemes to tame it.  And she's checked with Husband about chainsawing the dead trees for firewood.  And she's planning to remove the wire cages around the wax myrtle bushes.

Yeah, after a long summer isolated inside the air-conditioned house, Fio is ready to tackle the great outdoors again.  

Monday, September 23, 2013


Fiorella is not at the top of her game.  Despite taking a soothing bath last night, then lying in bed forever and ever, then taking another soothing bath, then wandering downstairs to work on PRINCESS REDLANDER and watch non-prime-time TV, then going upstairs and picking up the workroom, the bathroom, and some of her study, then returning downstairs with a bed pillow and trying to sleep on the couch, Fiorella did not get any sleep last night.

It happens now and then and scares the hell out of Fio each time.  People can die from lack of sleep, and Fio has so many more stories she wants to write.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Written on Friday

Our windows and glass doors are all steamed up.  Yeah, it's cooler outside than in.  Autumn is coming on fast.

The rain drummed hard on our metal roof last night so our driveway was running water when Husband went out to get the paper.  Later, when Fio took Sonia Dog for her walk, the precipitation had diminished to a gentle, British variety, but now it's cats and dogs again.

So much for the predictions of a ten-year drought.  Fio thought by now, like the Anasazi when their time came, she'd be packing up her bags and moving to a wetter clime.  Instead, because of the illogical weather patterns of global warming, she can stay put--at least for now.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Let's make one thing clear. Fiorella doesn't write in one steady flow.  Instead, she jots down ideas and dialogue, tries to put everything in a logical order, then rewrites and rewrites and rewrites, paying special attention to notes written in caps to BE SURE THE BASEBALL IS MENTIONED EARLIER or whatever.  Her manuscripts grow layer by layer, like an onion.  Kinkaid House, complete at 90,000 words when Fio originally submitted it to the Divine Liza, had been fleshed out to 95,000 words by the time it reached the desk of editor Michele.  If Fio has further access, it probably will reach 100,000.

And, by the way, when the book comes out, Fio expects all you readers out there in Eastern Europe to gobble it up and send her to the top of the New York Times best seller list.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Medical Alert

Hooray for modern medicine!  Fiorella is astounded to realize that it hasn't been a year since her hip replacement, but she's totally recovered and dashes around without even a limp--or the pain she had grown so accustomed to that she didn't realize how bad it was till it was gone.  And she's still happy about the facelift too.  In fact, she's thrilled to get up every morning and look in the mirror. And she's pleased with the results of all the other surgeries she's had through the years--carpal tunnel, gall bladder, two back surgeries, the eye stuff, the aortic valve replacement, the pacemaker, the partial thyroidectomy.

But she had the best results from the C-sections.   

Thursday, September 19, 2013


There's only so much food in the world, only so much land, only so much wealth, so are other people living worse because we're living better, because the food, the land, the wealth, is very unevenly distributed?  Does Fiorella's good fortune in living in a nice house in a nice area, driving a darling little car, and having a pantry packed with food mean that someone else is going without?

Of course, it does, but it's up to Fio to find her own private remedy.  And it needs to be more than donating old clothes to The Caring Place. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Always Wondering, Always Pondering

Fiorella's abiding trait is curiosity.  She wants to know about people, about languages, about how the world works, about everything.  That's why she's constantly analyzing relationships.  That's why she's learning Mandarin from her dentist and a helpful RWA chapter mate.  That's why she reads science news and keeps up with current events.  That's why her eyes and ears are always open and receiving.

And she spouts it all out in her romance novels. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Apres Shampoo

My hair grows lank and limp
My hair grows quick and thick
I fix it with a blast of spray
And pray that it will stay that way


Monday, September 16, 2013

One of Those Days . . . .

Spent two hours in dog training yesterday, fell asleep after lunch and woke up with a pounding headache which I took grocery shopping with me, skipped supper to work till eleven on a family business venture, then wondered why I hadn't gotten any writing done on my novel--although I did jot down a few good notes.  Hope to work them into the manuscript today because my editor is calling at 10:00--but right now I've got to pick up the house before the maid comes.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Second.....Brownies, twirling
Third........Bluebirds, Baylor Children's Theater
Fourth......Camp Fire Girls, Baylor Children's Theater
Fifth.........Camp Fire Girls, Baylor Children's Theater, piano, oil painting
Sixth........Camp Fire Girls, piano, oil painting, ballet
Seventh....piano, oil painting
Eighth......oil painting
Ninth........oil painting
Tenth........oil painting

SUMMERS: swimming lessons at the Y in elementary school
                      tennis at Lions' Park in junior high

And that's what little girls are made of--at least that's what formed Fiorella.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Speech, Vision, Hearing

Sonya Dog has shown no interest in learning how to speak English, but she does understand a few words of it.  She usually obeys "sit," "stay," "down," "come," and "leave it," but translates "no" as meaning "please leap up beside me on the couch and make yourself comfortable."
Some dogs may be color-blind, but Sonia recognizes blue.  She knows that anyone at PetsMart wearing a blue shirt will give her treat, and she's wary of the blue tarp that Husband covers the riding mower with.  The black tarp was okay, but that blue one is highly suspicious.
Sonia can hear the rip of Velcro from three rooms and a floor away when Mommy is putting on her outdoor shoes to go for a walk, but she doesn't even twitch an eyelid when Daddy's alarm clock rings.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

After Great Pain

Fiorella loved teaching this poem by Emily Dickinson because it is so true.  We have all been touched by the fires of hell at least once in our lives.

After great pain a formal feeling comes--
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff Heart questions--was it He that bore?
And yesterday--or centuries before?

The feet, mechanical, go round
A wooden way
Of ground, or air, or ought,
Regardless grown,
A quartz contentment, like a stone.

This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow--
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


What if, when Fiorella tripped over that sneaky hotel step in Atlanta and hit her head on the concrete curb, she went into a coma and is even now in a hospital being kept alive by tubes and tender care?  It would mean that everything that's happened to her since the national RWA conference is a morphine dream,  that she didn't really meet and connect with her agent in person, that she didn't really have editors from three big publishing houses want Kinkaid House, that she didn't really receive an offer from Grand Central, that Michele Biedelspach won't be her editor.  It would mean that Husband didn't surprise her with a Dove bar after she'd had a hard time working out the rehearsal dinner for Son's wedding, that her hair doesn't look extra good right now, that an old friend hasn't contacted her on Facebook.

What the heck--if Fio is floating off in a fantasy somewhere, reality can go fly a kite.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Yard

Fio has always thought that, given enough time, and she could do anything, a confidence that must be in the DNA because Aunt Julie once said the same thing about herself.  More to the current point, if Fio stares at a problem in the house or the yard long enough, she can eventually remedy the situation.  Thus in her former home, she spent a great deal of time sitting on the floor of the unfurnished living room until she figured out what to do with it.  And in her current home, she is staring at the yard.

The expensive landscaping didn't work.  Most of the plants died and the armadillos are running riot over the grub-rich imported dirt.  They're even tearing up the weed barrier Fio hired McHandyman to put down.  The future is obvious.  Fio's going to check out the prices on flagstones and experiment with putting them down without mortar in one of the planting beds.

Oh, Mr.  McHandyman . . . .

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Uno, zwei, tri, muuDu, quinque, cinq, sei

Hello, one and all, and especially you physical therapists that told Fiorella not to blog about you. What a challenge to hurl at her.

No, this isn't a scandalous tell-all.  Fiorella liked the therapists who worked with her, and she benefited from the treatments--in fact, now that her sessions are over, she's actually doing some of the exercises at home. But Fio does have one suggestion. It would make better use of your clients' time if you turned off the television and suggested they learn to count their reps in various foreign languages. Fiorella herself reviewed Spanish, German, Russian, Telugu, Latin, and French (sort of--not too good at pronouncing French) during her time on the table.  And the PT big dog, Nicole, kindly added Italian to her repertoire.

If those seven languages aren't enough, there's always Mandarin. Fio's already learned 1,2, 3--ee (high), aar (low and rising up), ssun(high to low), although she needs to read up on Mandarin phonemes before she can give you the exact pronunciation of that last one.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Well-ordered LIfe

Mr. Lattimore taught Fiorella precision and order.  Looking back, Fio thinks he was probably diagnosibly obsessive, but, since he taught math at a junior high school, it worked for him--and for Fiorella.  She has no trouble balancing a checkbook or adding up business expenses because she writes the numbers down clearly and keeps the columns straight and distinct.  And she tries to live her life that way too--precise and in the right order.

John Lattimore was a little man, maybe about five-three, so small he had to buy his clothes from the boys' department, but he commanded tremendous respect from the students, mainly because he was so strict and--well--precise and well-ordered.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Bad

Sorry about the screwy post that showed up accompanying Fio's reflection on the nature of God yesterday.  Fiorella writes observations and notes to herself, then stores everything by assigning them future dates of publication.  Sometimes she uses the stuff, sometimes she doesn't, but nothing is never meant to be seen unedited.  Unfortunately, Fio also sometimes lets the date slip unnoticed and her meanderings leak out onto the current page.

She apologizes.  Mea culpa.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Fio is fascinated by the ways we have remade God in our own image through the centuries.  At one point, he was seen as a powerful king, then, in the New World, as an angry father.  Now we see God as more beneficent.  It's all a matter of humanizing God--trying to understand what cannot be understood.

And that's the sort of thing Fiorella thinks about.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Show Me the Money

Fiorella is tired of hearing that writing is fun but doesn't pay.  Au contraire, Fio knows people who make a lot of money at it.  The secret is that they write catchy stories and have figured out how to market themselves--the commodity won't sell unless it's interesting all the way through, and nobody will know about it unless someone spreads the word.

At least that's how it is in romance writing.

Thee first step to fame and fortune process is writing better, better, best.  Classes abound, but some are more helpful than others.  Fio recommends April Kihlstrom's Book-in-a-Week, which is not only on-line, but on Kindle and Nook.  You are not limited to one hard-scrabble week, and there's no pressure-drive for you to actually write a complete novel in one week.  Not only is Kihlstrom supportive, but she has a track record of thirty-some romances put out by top-flight publishers.  But if you're not the joiner type, you can do a pretty good job all by your lonesome by studying the techniques used by your favorite authors.  (Spoiler alert: you will never read a novel the same was again.  Is a writing career worth it to you?)

Fiorella can't give you much advice about the marketing side of the equation.  That's why she accepted the offer from Grand Central rather than publish independently.   But one thing she knows for sure--your best advertising is word of mouth, and the best way to get the good word out there is to write a crackerjack story.

It's a closed circle, but there very well may be a pot of gold somewhere along the way.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


The dumbest thing Fiorella ever did was satisfy her vulgar curiosity about the inside of the neighbors' house, gaining entry by using the key they had given her in case of emergency.  She thought the family was away on vacation so what harm could come of it?  Except that they weren't on the open highway heading toward a fun time for all--they were out getting groceries, and they came home while Fiorella was in the back bedroom.  There was only one thing Fiorella could do: waltz out into the hall, meet them with a big smile on her face, and say, "Oh, I thought you were on vacation and I was making sure everything was okay," hand them back the key, and walk out the front door.

Writing about this mortifying memory is  Fio's attempt at exorcism, but, sad to say, she didn't learn her lesson--she's still unremittingly curious.  Yes, she'll check out the medicine cabinet if she uses your bathroom. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Bit at a Time

Fio's cleaning up the second-floor guest bathroom a bit at a time.  It's a system she uses to accomplish whatever chores she'd rather forget about.  It's also the reason she has so many half-finished projects, big and small, around the house, like sprucing up the downstairs guest room and moving the eight-pack of Ozarka to the upstairs refrigerator.  It's a crazy system, but it works for Fio.  The second-floor bathroom is almost habitable now, the downstairs guest room is sporting a new mirror and bedside desk (the desk that took Fio and Husband a week of half-hours to construct), and the Ozarka has reached the landing, all without causing undue physical or emotional strain to Fiorella. 

Life is good.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

At It Again

Fio stupidly told her agent she'd send her the first nine chapters of Lolly's story by the end of the week--last week, that is--but, needless to say, she didn't make her own deadline.  Not that she hasn't written said chapters, but she's not satisfied with them.  They're rough, very rough, and she's afraid they'd horrify Liza. 

This is a typical Fiorella behavior.  Perfectionist to the core, she'll revise till the cows come home, which will be forever because Rancho Fiorella doesn't run any bovines.  (And to show you just how crazy Fio is, she revised that last sentence nine times before she was satisfied with it.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lone Wolf

Fiorella has always had friends, but she's never been a member of--well--a clique.  The word has negative connotations of snootiness and privilege, but they got your back, Jack.

In her school days, Fio strove to merge, but never quite accomplished it.  In college, she missed out on the sorority sisterhood.  As young marrieds, she and Husband were too poor to run with a crowd, and, as a mother, Fiorella didn't catch onto the "play-date" scene.  Even now, as a five-year member of RWA, Fio has some friends, but is not affiliated with any group. 

Fiorella walks alone.  But, then, she's used to it. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Re: Animals

About those big inflatable swans which the Wall Street Journal reports are so popular in the up-scale swimming pools of New York's Hamptons--Fio wishes more power to them.  They're a touch of whimsy in an otherwise crass environment.
Happy to report that Sonia Dog totally ignored the yappy next-door-neighbor dogs on our walk yesterday evening.  On the other hand, yesterday morning she went bonkers when we encountered a slow-moving golf cart with a prancing dog attached to each side of it.
Fiorella's first pet was a goldfish whose major--and final--trick was floating upside down.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wonder Dog

Sonia Dog's opening of the back door is a two-step process.  First she leaps up against it, pushing down the handle and thus opening the door partway.  Then she throws herself against it again as it's closing, flinging it wide enough that she can easily scoot her massive body through the gap.  Obviously we have a canine genius in our midst.

On the other hand, Sonia still hasn't realized she could slide back any pocket door in the house that  is open wide enough for her nose to fit through.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Personal Observations

Fiorella is a multi-tasker.  When she takes the dog for a walk, she practices her physical therapy posture, walking with her shoulders back and her chin up like a soldier.  When she eats breakfast, she also reads the newspaper and does the crossword.  And when she goes to the bathroom--never mind.
When Fio studies Sonia's solidly-built Mastiff body and remembers the streamlined shape of  Wendy the Weimaraner, she wonders why she's constantly fighting her own body type.  DNA is destiny.
Fiorella is one of those people who used to have migraines with auras, which means, according to Google medical news, she's destined for brain lesions.  And the heavy birthweight of her babies indicate she'll get diabetes.  To top it off,  cancer runs in her mother's family and heart trouble in her dad's.  Guess all that means she's gonna die some day.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let's Get Our Values Straight

It infuriates Fio when Antiques Road Show appraisers estimate the value of old furniture in the thousands of dollars because it means there are people out there who will pay huge amounts for trophies like these when what they should be spending their money on things that promote the public welfare--education, medical research, or maybe even raising the pay in the sweatshops that supply their good fortune.

Fio will allow for museum displays of old furniture, and she does have some sentimental (probably worthless) pieces in her home, but otherwise, old furniture is just old furniture, nothing that should be venerated, nothing that should be worth more than the cost of a decent community college education.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Literary Update

The ever-fertile brain of Fiorella is at it again.  Her new publisher wants two more books set in Bosque Bend, but Fio planned the remaining books in the trilogy being Lolly's story and Sarah's story, both of which are set in Austin.  What to do?  The Divine Liza asked Fio to think about it.

Ah, the seeds of Satan---now Fio can't STOP thinking about it, and she really likes the Bosque Bend story she's come up with.  But, again, like all her stories, it's going to be a tough sell to the publisher, and maybe to Liza too.  It's the story of a woman whose late husband was controlling to the point of abusive and a man who likes to run the show.  In other words, it's Fio's answer to to Sixty Shades. 

But for now, she's focusing on finishing off Lolly's story. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Busy Every Minute

Fio had a great day yesterday.  Despite having problems getting to sleep the night before, she woke up charged, ready to go.  And that's exactly what she did--she wrote two blogs, played the piano, lifted weights, sprayed her nails, did her vocal exercises and her physical therapy exercises, took the dog for walks in the morning and evening, edited four chapters of Lolly's story for her agent to look at, worked on the art desk she and Husband are putting together, researched Telugu script, tracked down an old friend's phone number, called Capital One about a strange charge, sent chapter birthday information to the ARWA newsletter, cooked dinner, and experimented with reading Nook.

Today she'll breathe.

Monday, August 26, 2013


SPANISH: uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez

GERMAN: eins, zwei, drei, fier, funf, sechs, sieben, acht, neun, zehn

TELUGU:  ఒకటి, రెన్ఢు, మూఢు, నాలుగు, ఐడు, ఆరు, ఏఢు, ఎనిమిడి, టొమ్మిడి, పడి

LATIN:  unus (-a, -um), duo, tres, quattuor, quinque, sex, octo, septem, novem, decem

FRENCH: un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix (which Fio will never learn to pronounce correctly)