Thursday, January 31, 2013

Screw It!

I'm in a bad mood
I'm going to brood
Nothing is going right--
My schedule's awry
I want to cry
In fact, I think I might

Too much to do
My brain is goo
My head throbs like a drum--
And I can't ignore
That internal roar
Of "You dunce!  Can't you get anything done?"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Earliest Memories

Fiorella's earliest memory is of getting on a train, which years later she learned was when she was two years old and her mother was taking her to visit Aunt Ju and Uncle Brownie in Altoona. She doesn't remember anything else about the trip, even that her great aunts and uncles taught her some Russian--nothing but getting on the train.

Another memory from age two is falling down the stairs.  There was the wonderful sensation of being airborne and the realization that it would hurt when she hit the bottom. And it did.

A couple of other memories are probably from when she was three--sitting under Mother's pie-crust table and listening to the ladies at the shower Mother was giving for Lois, who lived in the house up the hill; wandering into the bedroom her grandmother and great aunt were using while they visited and Great Aunt telling her she ate little girls before breakfast; finding a door she hadn't noticed before at the end of the upstairs hall, opening it, and emerging onto the roof of the back porch. She remembers the moment as magical, but when she reminded her mother of the incident years later, Mother told Fio the part she still doesn't remember, that her mother and Aunt Julie were in the backyard and, horrified that Fio might fall off the roof, Aunt circled around inside the house to lure Fio back inside while Mother kept her occupied outside. 

That period ended when Fio was three and Mother was brought home on a gurney with a new baby beside her.  The whole neighborhood gathered around, but Fiorella became the star of the show when she looked at the baby and announced, "He's wide asleep." 

Thus began a whole new set of memories, which Fio will record at a later date.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Fiorella just couldn't get going last Friday morning.  Instead of starting in on her never-ending list, she whined to herself about her lack of energy.  The light bulb appeared above her head--get yourself some chocolate, girl!  Half a bag of candy kisses later, she was whizzing around the house cleaning up the kitchen, practicing piano, taking care of the laundry room, and doing some work on the taxes.  She ended the evening by going out at dusk and lopping off some of the cedar limbs that had prohibited the propane people from coming down the drive the previous week.

The chocolate glow lasted through Saturday, when Fio and Husband took Sonia off for a mastiff meet-up in a nearby town, Fio attended the funeral of the husband of a friend of hers, and Nephew Barrett and his lovely wife stopped by for a visit. Since then, her energy level has been going down, down, down.

Time for another infusion of instant energy, donchya think?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Not a Second to Spare

Why is your Fio so busy?  Because she always has too many projects going.  Right now, not only is she attending physical therapy, keeping up with friends, writing a daily blog, revising a manuscript, practicing piano, preparing a poetry program for the SGWL, putting together a photo album of her recent wedding anniversary, cleaning the house, handling the family's financial matters and business opportunities, gathering the income tax info for the accountant, but also lopping off limbs of cedars that are keeping the propane truck from getting through.  Projects on the backburner include framing Younger Son's painting Time Flies, repainting a picture of her daughter as a child, and making small, clever purses to sell on the internet.

And Husband wonders why she hasn't started putting together the jigsaw puzzle he gave her for Christmas.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Let's talk about prayer, the invocation of a deity. Attempting to contact higher powers is the basis of religion, often accompanied by sacrifices--goods, animals, beautiful maidens--to get God's attention, sort of a quid pro quo arrangement. Another method of stacking the deck is asking others to pray--friends, family, a nation--with the hope that God is influenced by numbers.  Often a prominent religious figure--a rabbi, a priest, a dead saint--is asked to pray for certain causes--as if God is more inclined to listen to his/her entreaties.  

But, as we all have learned, celestial blessings are not as automatic as an ATM machine.  Besides, Fio has always wondered--God being all-knowing, doesn't He know what people need without them having to tell Him?

Nevertheless Fio still prays--constantly.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Fiorella is wading through the eight-inch high pile of papers on her desk right now, but how can she throw away her diagram of how to make a pillow that looks like a human brain? Or her notes on the smarmy guy who came to her high school reunion with an Italian contessa on his arm so he could pimp their toiletries line? Or great lines like, "It runs like clockwork--when a clock works?" Or her description of a hefty woman with unnaturally black hair who walked into Barnes and Noble wearing jeans, sneakers, and a fishnet hoodie over a black lace bra? Or the philosophical statement, "I am a universe unto myself--as are we all."

And so is the eight-inch high pile on Fio's desk.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Blast from the Past

Fio paid for her gasoline with folding money yesterday, the first time in forever, and it felt weird.  Also, just to show you how out of date she is cash-wise, Fiorella was momentarily concerned that ten dollars worth of gas would overfill her tank.  Heh-heh-heh--she ended up handing over a twenty--which took her barely over half-full.

Yeah, it's a whole new world out there while Fio waits for her replacement credit card to arrive.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Fiorella's never had a dog who ate her homework, but she now has one who's invalidated her credit card.  Yes, Sonia applied her strong mastiff jaws to Fio's magic card, and it is now a miniature terrain of hills, valleys, and pits.  In other words, it'll never slide through a card reader again so your Fio is reduced to writing checks till the new card arrives.

How weird.  Fiorella, who scoffed at the prediction that folding money would become obsolete and plastic become the new new legal tender, is now party to the process.  She loves being able to prance into a store with nothing but a card in her paw and pay for whatever she needs with a single swipe.  Of course, it's more commit than pay--Fio has to write an old-fashioned check the next month to keep the credit card bank largesse flowing. On the other hand, she gets "benefits" from each dime she spends and hasn't paid for air travel for years.

Viva la brave, new world.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


According to a Fox News poll, the majority of people think more guns rather than less guns will reduce crime.

And that Mitt Romney is sitting in the Oval Office.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


A week ago, the divine Liza asked Fiorella to consider inserting another plot thread in Honeysuckle Dreams.  Overnight, the ever-fertile brain of Fiorella came up with an obscene caller, and she spent two days trying to work him into the story.  "Trying" is the operative word: the idea wouldn't fit into the timeline and the caller was such a threat to the heroine that HD became romantic suspense rather than dark romance.

Brilliant idea number two was a war between competing methamphetamine rings, which actually worked into the timeline well and Fio thought was a real winner.  But Liza didn't like it and was concerned that editors wouldn't either.

Enter brilliant idea number three, an actor visiting town to get background for his role in the upcoming movie based on a thinly disguised historical novel about the town.  He contacts the heroine because he's playing the character based on the heroine's rascally great-grandfather. Liza likes the idea initially, but she wants to discuss it with Fio further on Wednesday.

Fiorella will keep you in the loop.  Hope she doesn't have to come up with brilliant idea number four.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inner Self

Fiorella diagnoses herself as paranoid obsessive.  Always looming over her is the threat of failing to carry out one of her self-assigned responsibilities, of not living up to what she thinks is expected of her.  It's guilt--part and parcel of being brought up Missouri Synod.  To compensate, she writes everything down--there are scraps of paper on her desk and in her "study" that date back to the ice age--and she makes lists to boot.  Office Depot's profit margin is based on her purchases of tablets.

Fio has been known to wake up in the middle of the night to check that she's taken all her pills and that they were the correct ones.  A recurring nightmare is that she's forgotten about one pill or the other a couple of years ago and fate is about to catch up with her.  This morning she suddenly realized that dream she'd often had about finding a baby dead in his crib because she'd forgotten about him doesn't have anything to do with babies (thank you, Friend Janece), but about her fear that unknown things forgotten along the way will come back to bite her.

Are you sure you want to continue reading this woman's blog?  She's crazy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Armstrong, Schmarmstrong

Fio doesn't care if Lance Armstrong doped.  As she's said before, she would guess that most of the other contestants were also upping their chances pharmaceutically--and she would also guess that most of the effect was psychological.  But the basic reason she doesn't care is that, while she liked seeing a US team win, she never regarded Armstrong as a hero.

People make too much of athletes, and then turn on them when they can't live up to the hype.  Lighten up--sports personalities are entertainers more than anything else, and we know all about Hollywood.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Baby Bump?

Okay, Fiorella just has to write about Jennifer Anniston--everyone else has.  Jen's had more coverage this past week than Kim Kardashian, and for far less reason

The whole ploy is cleverly subtle--she wore a dress with a full skirt. Apparently the only conclusion rabid Jennifer-watchers could reach, photos of a flat-bellied star wearing a a barely-there bikini while vacationing in Mexico to the contrary, was that she pregnant.  With twins, of course--half of Hollywood has fertility-treatment twins.

Fio's hat is off to you, Jennifer.  Let's see if you can tease the press for another couple of weeks and beat ol' Kim's coverage to smithereens.  Speaking of which, Fio's convinced that the Kardashian pregnancy is false, a ruse to persuade her pathetic short-term husband to agree to the divorce on her terms. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Growing Pains

Sonia is in the dog house--or she would be if Fio had one.  Doggie lifted Fiorella's list book off her desk and started tearing it up.  Fio caught on midway through the funfest, wrestled the remains of the book from her, and fought her for the scraps scattered across the floor.

Luckily, Fiorella is quite good at working jigsaw puzzles, which served her in good stead as she scotch taped together not only her list, but two pages of plans for a new subplot for Honeysuckle Dreams.  Of course, the pages are incomplete--there's a triangular-shaped window on her list and a long rocket-shaped window on the pages about sub-plot.  Maybe the missing pieces will turn up under the couch or maybe out in the yard, along with Fiorella's earring.

Obviously Sonia is now a teenager. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Better Communication

Fiorella wants to communicate better with Sonia, or rather, she wants Sonia to communicate better with her.  Okay--the deep bark means there's a stranger on the property, but that irritating yelp she emits can mean anything from her being sleepy to needing food to being in pain.  Therefore Fio proposes that from now on Sonia use the following system of vocalization:

One yelp:  I want food
Two yelps: My water bowl is empty.
Three yelps: I want to go outside.
Four yelps:  I am in pain (accompanied by licking of involved area)
Five yelps:  Mommy, where are you?

Hurling herself against the back door will still indicate, as it does now, that she wants in, and staring at the pantry door will continue to signal she wants a treat. However, instead of Sonia yelping when she is tired, Fio would rather she just curl up and go to sleep.  And, please--no more intruding between Fio and her laptop screen.

Fiorella will post these instructions on the refrigerator tomorrow and keep you informed of the situation.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Sonia ate one of Fiorella's earrings yesterday, one of the gold hoops she usually wears.  Sonia's knocked an earring out of Fio's earlobe before, but until then Fio has always been able to retrieve it before Doggie licked it up.  

Fio would like to think the whole incident was accidental, but if she catches Sonia with a gold hoop in her ear tomorrow morning, she'll know it was on purpose. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guy Guide

Guys and gals used to square dance in Neighbor Silas's barn while guys and dolls would sing about Broadway on Broadway.  Now everyone, from infant to oldster, from female across the register of LGBT to male, is a guy. 

The origin of guy seems to be a Teutonic word for wood which became a given name which morphed into Guido in Latin/Italian, then moved on to French as Guy (pronounced Gee, with a hard g) and on into English with our own pronunciation.  For a while there, guy was used as a pejorative, at least in English (maybe because of Guy Fawkes), but right now it seems to be on a winning streak as a gender-neutral designation.

Enjoy your day, youse guys.

Monday, January 14, 2013

They're Out to Get You!

What is it with conspiracy theorists?  What compels them to come up with these elaborate, outlandish tales?  What makes an Alex Jones tick?  Obviously, he's paranoid and obsessive, but why?

It isn't as if the phenomenon is new.  Large groups of people have fallen prey to it--like the Middle Ages folk who killed Jews because they believed they were poisoning wells and using Christian babies in their religious rites.  Ignorance is obviously part of the problem.  So is the need for pat answers, for nothing to be random, for everything to fit into a pattern, however tortuous.  High drama, Hollywood level, is also a component.

Fio suspects we all have a bit of the conspiracy theorist in us, an urge to explain the unexplainable in terms of human intervention, but some people got a bigger dose than others.  Alex Jones got an elephant load.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Celebrity Snippets

A four-way sex scene with three porn stars in her most recent film?  No wonder LINDSAY LOHAN drinks.
 Fio proposes a quick method for identifying at least 100,000 crazies who shouldn't be allowed to buy guns.  Just  check out the people who have signed Alex Jones's petition to get PIERS MORGAN deported.
So, TOM CRUISE, perhaps confusing life with Hollywood, considers himself empowered to drive out the alien invaders within us.  Martians or hookworms?  Whatever, physician, first cure thyself.
Fiorella is not that concerned about the British royal family, but she doesn't like the recent official portrait of KATE MIDDLETON.  It's one-dimensional, dull, and--well--stupid looking. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dear FaceBook

Dear High School Friends whom Fio has Reconnected with on FaceBook:

The pictures of your pets and grandchildren are cute, but I'm really more interested in YOU.  How are YOU?  What have YOU been doing with your life?  What are YOU doing now? What are YOUR plans for the future?  What do YOU and I have in common other than outliving a quarter of our graduation class?

I want to do more than write "cute" as a comment on your post--I want to relate to YOU. Any takers?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Close Shave

People, for the sake of Fio's nerves and your own lives, please do not stride up the road with music in your ears.

Fiorella burst out of her driveway yesterday morning, quickly looked both ways, and started to swing onto the road. a narrow two-lane affair that doesn't even have a yellow stripe down the middle.  Oops--she missed something, an older woman who might have been dressed in camouflage for all that Fio had seen her.  Eyes focused straight ahead and ears plugged with a iPod buds, she never did see Fio.

This one got by unscathed, but what about the next one?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rainy Days

Fio truly appreciates the  rain we've been getting lately.  But she isn't thrilled about the lightning strikes knocking out the electronics.  Or about having to drive into Austin in the pelting rain.  Or about having to  tote around a stupid umbrella which she can never get open till she's standing outside the car and getting her hairdo ruined.  Or about having to bribe the mastiff, then lasso the pug and nearly choke him to death, to maneuver them outside to do their business.  Or about the mud both dogs track back into the house in revenge.

Yes, Fio truly appreciates the rain we've been getting lately. If only it weren't so darn wet.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sonya's Chewy Snack

Where, oh where, has my other shoe gone?
Not the one she's been chewing on--
Now without the inner sole
That Fio bought from Dr. Scholl--
But the other one, its lifelong mate,
Which Fio fears met a much worse fate.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hop Scotch

Riddle me this: when is one Canadian Scott worth twice as much as two Canadian Scotts?
Answer: when it's Scott McGillivray of Income Property vs. Drew and Jonathan Scott of Property Brothers.

All three are HG stars.  McGillivray, a carpenter and real estate investor, turns dank basements into income-producing apartments for income-poor householders, obviously an occupation which would only work in the northeast, but his personality has given the show a national following.  The Scotts, frighteningly identical twins, have focused their show biz backgrounds and real estate experience into making crappy houses into supposed dream homes for hapless families.

McGillivray may not have a theatrical background, but he's a natural--handsome, muscular, sexy--with a sparkle in his eye, a ready smile, and a quick wit  He's got good taste too--Fio likes his makeovers.  And he's always explaining construction and educating viewers about things they hopefully will never encounter.

The Scotts have tried to define themselves as individuals by styling their hair differently and labeling one as the salesman/designer and the other as the nail and hammer construction guy, but it doesn't work.  For all their show background, their faces are identically expressionless--no affect, as my psychologist friend would say.  In fact, if anything, they come across as anxious.  And they darn well should be: the houses never end up totally as planned, and Fio can't stand their garish decorating style.

Fio's aversion for the Scott brothers has reached the stage of revulsion.  They seem greasy.  Their eyes never smile.  Fio may be totally off base, but something seems fishy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wanted: Sweet Dreams

Fiorella has been having problems with insomnia lately.  Not the good kind, the Hollywood kind which keeps you up all night writing brilliant novels or composing breathtaking music, then lets you sink into slumber as the candle gutters down and dawn leaks through the latticed window.  No, Fio has the kind that sends her from bedroom to den and back again and again, pillow under her arm, with sidestops along the way for a long, hot bath and to pick up some books that might make her drowsy.  In every location and variation, she tries to will herself to sleep, which only seems to keep her more awake.  Pills, stupid TV shows--nothing helps.

It's time to call in the big guns: she'll consult Dr. Google.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Apparently attracted to Fiorella's boyish charm and androgynous good looks, herds--nay, hordes--of  Russian women are chasing her down on the internet. Oksana, Svetlana, Yulia--they all assure Fio they are drop-dead gorgeous homebody types who are just looking for someone strong and kind to love them and father their children.

Oops--there's a problem here.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Summer before last, Fio donated her right hip to the planting beds, hauling water out morning and evening to keep the vegetation, all native to the area, alive.  Last summer she let everything be, and most of the vegetation that she had labored over so faithfully expired.  Fio regrets the loss, but values her left hip and her replacement right hip more. So now she's into plans for acquiring more sustainable plants, whatever their country of origin.

Good-bye verbena, sandankwa, weird daisies. Hello iron plant, ligustrum, Japanese boxwood.  Hope to have you around a while.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Editing FB

Fiorella gutted up and defriended (disenfriended?  unfriended?) a FaceBook correspondent yesterday.  She wasn't quite sure who the woman was--probably a friend of a friend of a friend whom Fio invited in when she set up her own shop--but she couldn't take the militant Christianity any longer.  Born Lutheran, Fiorella prefers that people be private about their relationships with the Almighty, and certainly not advertise Him by posting five or six Jesus posters in a row, all adorned with what Fio considers somewhat spurious interpretations of the gospel, interspersed with right-wing hate messages, even pictures of assault rifles.

Heady with power, Fio is also considering shutting down the romance writer who keeps posting pictures of coyly smiling, all-but-naked guys, shaven (except for the mandatory five-o'clock shadow), plucked, and greased.   These men are NOT sexy--they are pathetic.  Imagine making your living by stripping down for male cheesecake.  What if your mother finds out?  Or your children?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Personal Best

Fiorella is so excited--she's going to start reworking Honeysuckle Dreams this morning, and there's nothing Fio likes more than improving her her creations--really, no kidding.  Fio is one of those people who can't put down the brush or the pen because she always sees something that she wants to "fix."  As she's told you before, her college teachers used to have to arm wrestle her to get her exam paper.

Fio's into self-improvement too, in regard to what she looks like, what she sounds like and how she deals with others.  Yeah, Fio aims for perfection.

And then there's her housekeeping.  Oh well, can't get everything right.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Allocation of Funds

Fiorella just read somewhere that the Scientologists have built a multi-million dollar temple in the New Mexico desert to store all their religious texts, as written by L. Ron Hubbard, for future generations.  There is also speculation that the weird design of the construction, which can only be seen from above, is supposed to attract the attention of space aliens.  Leaving aside from the idiocy of the total enterprise, Fio will again grab her bullhorn and mount her soapbox to complain about money being wasted on dumb things when there are people in the world who are starving, people in this country who are homeless, who can't pay for medical treatment, who live precariously day-to-day.

Feed the earthlings before you start attracting aliens.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Clothes make the woman, and Fiorella has always  tried to dress to the occasion--not going as far as a former student who wore actual costumes to every class meeting, but dressing to whatever role she saw herself playing.  Her clothes also influence how she feels.  Her gray jersey tee with the glitter across the top makes her feel slinky, and her quilted Nepalese dress jacket makes her feel like she should be commanding servants hither and thither.   

Right now she's crazy about the slippers she bought herself at Target just before Christmas.  Sure, they're warm and comfortable around the house, but they're also cute: shiny velvet-textured fuchsia bodies trimmed in a sort of aqua ribbon ending in a bow around the top.  Fiorella feels like a regency belle whenever she wears them.