Thursday, February 28, 2013

Leftover Snippets

Fiorella strode into the grocery store yesterday and didn't even glance at the motorized carts, but a couple of months ago, she was the Ben Hur of HEB.  One thing she learned--if you smile real big, people don't mind you running them down.  
We live on a death planet because everything that lives on Earth dies. Our vehicles are fueled with death and our fields are made fertile with death. We eat death and live.
When one takes a painkiller, where does the pain go?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Janistons on the Way?

Fio is amused by the constant teasing--week after week after week--about the status of Jennifer Aniston's uterus, but your cynical blogger doesn't think Justin Theroux's hand placement at the Oscars was anything other than a way of getting Jennifer's picture splattered across more news venues than that of whoever it was that won best actress.  After all, if there are twins in the offing, you can bet a surrogate is carrying them. 

But it is a great publicity campaign. Look--even Fio has written about it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Science Snippets

So now we're gonna play pool with the universe and smash a spaceship into an asteroid named Didymos to see what happens.  Has anyone thought about the ricochet?  Or that someone might strike back?
Fio loves the idea of the ancient continent being discovered between Mauritius and Madagascar.  If only it weren't millions of years ancient, we'd have Atlantis--and that's why Fiorella is a fiction writer rather than a scientist.

And on a more personal front, Sonya Dog can hear a Milkbone drop to the floor from two rooms away.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hashimoto's, Begone!

The ever-fertile brain of Fiorella has come up with a treatment for Fio's ever-more-brittle fingernails and toenails--oil them!  So whenever Fio's dealing with cold cream or butter or any other greasy substance, she tries to remember to swipe some of it on her nails. So far, her lube jobs seems to help, but it could be the weather, wishful thinking, or happenstance.

Fio, of course, will keep you updated.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Travelin' Man

Fiorella is fascinated, as she is by many things, by the saga of the Kennewick Man, whose 9,300 year-old skeleton was discovered in the bank of the Columbia River in 1996.  It seems, judging by his diet and the shape of his skull, he didn't come from the inland valley where his remains were found, but from the coast.  And he was more closely relate to the Japanese Ainu than modern-day Native Americans.

Interesting, interesting.  To Fio, that means that even way back when, there was a whole lot of travelin' goin' on.  In fact, probably more than today because people had to follow their food.  And then there were always those dangerous-looking new neighbors to avoid.  Besides, it musta been exciting to  pick up and move to a new place.

And Kennewick Man was one of those who REALLY got around..

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Good Review!

Reviewing yesterday's blog, Fiorella suddenly realized that, because her mother refused to drive, Mom was home all day. which is why her house was an HG dream come true.  Fiorella, on the other hand spends hours on the road, and her house shows it.  Excuses, excuses, you say, but Mother never drove over to Sun City and bullheadedly refused to give up her quest till she'd found Friend Suzy's address two hour later.

Speaking of Friend Suzy, she called yesterday afternoon  and raved about HONEYSUCKLE DREAMS, saying it was different from any romance she'd ever read before, that it just kept on going, that she couldn't put it down, and that it would be a best-seller.  Fiorella drank in every every word and hopes the divine Liza will feel the same way, and maybe a publisher or two will too.

Of course, as Fio's told you before, the only reason she can write romances is that her mother is dead.  Although Mother read them--steamy ones--by the score, she'd be terribly embarrassed if people knew her daughter had written one.  Just as Fio's kids are going to be terribly embarrassed that's she's publishing under her own name.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Life of Leisure

Fiorella had an interesting day yesterday. You know what that means--hell on wheels.  She left about 9:30 in the morning to drive to a nearby shopping center to 1) get copies made of some family photos, and 2) buy new towels for the master bathroom, and 3) replenish the dog treats, then drove into Austin to 1) confront her neurologist's office about her folder being lost, 2) visit a friend who's recovering from hip surgery, 3) have lunch with Friend Paula, and 4) pick up produce at Central Market.  When she reached Georgetown, she returned to the shopping center because she'd suddenly realized she hadn't bought any hand towels--turned out there weren't any to match the other towels she'd bought so she had to mix and match.  Reached home just before four and sent the next hour unloading, calming the hysterical dogs, catching up with emails and telephone calls.

After husband came home--and after he and Fio took out the garbage--she headed off to Friend Suzy's house in Sun City, thinking it would be easy to find.  Wrongo!  Sun City is not laid out on a grid, but in pods, and the only reason Fio finally found Suzy's house was that a nice lady who was taking out her garbage (can't go wrong with someone who is taking out garbage) hopped in her car and showed Fio the way.  Meanwhile it was getting darker and darker, and, as it turned out, Suzy was not at home.  Fio slipped the manuscript her friend had generously agreed to review behind a stone rabbit on her porch, then tried to find her own way out of the pod monster.

After twice around Suzy's loop, Fio found a way out, then turned onto any street that seemed to be well-traveled, but when the street got too dark, she knew she'd turned wrong and went back to a gas station-convenience store combination where a nice young man with a boom-box car (what was he doing in Sun City?) pointed her in the right direction.  She arrived home about eight, an hour later than she'd promised.

Suzy called ten minutes later--she'd had a similar day and had been late getting home, but she found the manuscript so all is well.   All is well.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Fio can't believe she's added yet another project to her overcrowded schedule--genealogy.  Cousin Norma, thank God, covered all the stuff on Fio's father's side so Fio thought she was off the hook--until she looked up her maternal grandmother's name just for kicks and discovered a second cousin was looking for relevant information which Fio happened to have.

Since then, Fio and Cousin Sue have been corresponding by email and Fio has promised to send her copies of the photo portraits she has of ggmother and ggfather.

It's a warm feeling knowing you belong to a nest of people out there, even if you've never met them.  Hmm--might go look up a few more names.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Fiorella's happy.  Yesterday she finished typing in the thirteen pages of HONEYSUCKLE DREAMS that her laptop had gobbled up on Sunday, finished her umpteenth edit of the book, ran a copy of it off for Georgetown friend Suzy, and sent an email attachment of it to Bastrop friend Joan. The addition of three new threads--crystal meth, possible pregnancy, and a Hollywood star--have swelled the wordage to almost 95,000 words so Fio hopes Suzy and Joan will still be her friends after they've hefted the manuscript.

So now Fio has to figure out how to use Dropbox or something similar to avoid another near-disaster like the thirteen digested pages, and she has to catch up with everything else she put off while she was devoting all her time to HD.  Little things--like figuring income taxes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Paper Trail

Fiorella's father brought home used paper from work for her to draw on when she was a pre-schooler.  In kindergarten, Mrs. Ruebright showed her how to make hats and Christmas chains and valentines and animal faces out of paper.  Somewhere along the line, her daddy taught her how to construct a paper kite and fold a paper boat. Later, Fiorella used paper to record her poems, stories, and musical compositions.  Even in the age of computers, she's still looking for paper--reams and reams of it for her romances.

But the forerunner of it all was the paper to draw on because art was Fio's first and most basic talent.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Slipping Sideways

I'm still living in the same house, still loving the same family, and still working for the same company, which the mortgage, the pictures on the wall, and my pay stubs indicate I've been doing for years, but I have a feeling that things have changed a lot since that asteroid swooped by us last week.  It's weird because, as far as I know, Prince William is still married to Duchess Pippa, and Mitt Romney is still president of the American Commonwealth.

Odd, though.  When I caught a ride on a hansom cab to the vacuum tube transportation station this morning, I noticed its see-screen wasn't working and I had  this flash of memory---didn't we used to have a similar device that used electricity rather than batteries--tell-vision or something?

See?  That's the sort of thing I mean.  Am I crazy or what?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Secret Guilt

Fio forgot to mention that her maternal great-grandmother died when Fiorella was three, about six months before Fio's maternal grandmother died. For twenty-some years afterwards, Fiorella hid it in her secret heart that she had killed her great-grandmother.

Fiorella remembers the key scene vividly.  She was standing, alone, in the hall next to the front room, with the stairs on one side and an ornate umbrella stand on the other.  An older woman--maybe her grandmother, maybe her aunt--told her not to talk too loudly because her great-grandmother was dying.

And Great-grandmother did die, which meant that Fiorella must have talked too loud. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Near Miss

Google News told Fiorella that Russia's extraterrestrial invader is called a meteoroid when it's streaking through space, a meteor when it swoops down into our atmosphere, and a meteorite when it lands. Does that mean an asteroid should be called an aster if it breathes our air and an asterite if it hits?

Fio, who absorbed far too much science fiction in her sequestered youth, wondered if this was the big one, if the government was trying to avoid panic in the streets by saying the outer-space bowling ball would gutter safely by us. But if you're reading this, you know the asteroid didn't strike us after all. Fio had on clean underwear just in case, but she bets plenty of die-hard survivalists went through more extensive preparations.  How many sociopaths with too many guns, too much ammunition, and too few brains holed up in their underground bunkers all day Friday?
Fiorella's ever-fertile brain is seething with a short story involving the asteroid.  Stay tuned.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mother-Daughter Relations

It's hard to be a good mom to your daughter because the mother you needed might not be the mother your daughter needs.

Fiorella had a very good mother, but she was a different person than Fio and the fit wasn't as good as it could have been so Fio resolved to be an even better mother to her daughter.  What she didn't realize, when that time came,  was that she was trying to mother her daughter as she thought she should have been mothered, but her daughter was a different person than she was. 

And if Daughter has children, she'll probably have to deal with one like Fiorella.  God help her.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Hear1

I know--Fio's running late.  She didn't wake up till eight, then had the dogs to take care of and a bunch of Jacquie Lawson cards to send to friends and relatives (and actually, still more to go when she finishes this blog).  Next will come reading the paper while she eats breakfast--Fio is a multi-tasker--and working on Honeysuckle Dreams, a title she has come to hate.

After that, she'll drive into Austin to meet with Friend Paula at Dan's, shop for dinner at Central Market, and rush home to throw herself into a thousand and one other projects.  Laundry and the Golden Heart judging are most pressing, but she also needs to work through the three layers of stuff that has taken up residence on her dining room table:  the framing of Son's painting, the completion of the photo album from her August anniversary celebration, and her proposed new design for the north planting bed.  Then there's the stack of her own paintings on her upstairs art table that she's wanted to touch up for about a year.  And in her spare time, she needs to take down more of the cedar on the edge of the driveway, and maybe even get in touch with Friend Deborah to get her highlights renewed.  And has she mentioned her idea for rearranging the den?

Oops, it's 10:00 already and Fio has to leave at 10:30.  Just enough time to wish you, each and every one HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Yesterday was good, and today will be even better.  Fio will spend most of the day working on the second half of Honeysuckle Dreams again, and it's really shaping up.  She strengthened some weak passages yesterday, and she'll continue the process today.  Then, this evening, she'll drive to her RWA meeting in Austin for a bainstorming session. 

A whole day devoted to writing--that's as good as it gets.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

GOOD Morning!

It's going to be a good day. Fiorella's hand has healed enough that she's been able to cut down on pain pills and is now using her usual three fingers instead of just one finger to type.  Also, she can brush her teeth, an impossible task when her right hand looked like a ripe tomato.

Also, over the weekend, she, Husband, and Son cut and hauled a lot of cedar, a mandatory operation because the propane truck couldn't get down the driveway last month.  And Husband, on his own initiative, cleaned up a good portion of the garage. And Fio reviewed the first eleven chapters of Honeysuckle Dreams, smoothed out some bumps in the road, then added in a new thread that strengthens that whole story.

All is well in FiorellaLand.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Another Early Memory

Fiorella was born in Ohio so she learned to skate on ice before she ever strapped on a roller skate.  By the time she was four, she didn't need to use the rail and was even trying to wobble backwards.

And that's how old she was when one night the phone started ringing just after the family arrived home from the ice rink.  It was Grampa.  Fio's maternal grandmother had just died.

Fio's paternal grandmother had died a year earlier.  It was a very hard time for her parents.  Fiorella remembers loneliness.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

HANDicapped Snippets

Fiorella has learned that the hand has memories the brain knows not of.  Thus Fio could not figure out how to move her desktop icon back in line with her left hand, but her right hand, once it could move, did it automatically.

You've never lived until you've had to snake your left hand between the spokes of your steering wheel to stick your keys in the ignition, then readjust Lefty to turn the key.

"E" was the hardest letter to write left-handed.  Fio kept messing up the spacing of the three horizontals.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Speculative Etymology

Fio awoke this morning thinking about the courtesy address mizruz, which she always assumed was a misguided attempt to pronounce the spelled-out "Mrs.," but now wonders if it could be a dialectal derivative of "Mistress," from which the more standard pronunciation "missus" is descended.

Got all that?

Woke up the following morning thinking that mizruz could be an intermediary form between mistress and missus--"Mistress' with the t dropped, which would encourage the voiceless sibilant s to become a voiced sibilant z

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sonia Explains the Situation

I have a rival for Mommy's affections.  No, not Bosco, whom I have complete control of, and not Daddy, who leaves me alone with Mommy most of the day.  It's a rectangular silver thing, and Mommy devotes all her time to it, playing finger games with it and sometimes connecting it to wires that taste good.  Mommy's very protective of this silver thing--she hurts my feelings by shouting NO when I try to nuzzle its shining face, and she carries it around in her arms lovingly, just like she used to carry me when I was a puppy.

I think it's called a baby.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Training Lefty

You realize, of course, that for the past few days Fiorlla has been tapping this blog out with her left hand--in fact, just the middle finger of her left hand.  It's a hazardous undertaking because Lefty is unaccustomed to going solo and tends to omit letters, add in extraneous ones, or accidentally delete the whole of what Fio has just spent fifteen minutes composing. 

Fio's handwriting is even worse.  Lefty writes like a three-year-old.  But that hasn't stopped your girl.  No, she's taken it as a challenge and has carefully completed two daily crossword puzzles by hand--not that she knows any other way to do them--and her handwriting--or her printing, at least--is getting more and more legible.  If she keeps this up, by the time her right hand heals, she may wind up ambidextrous writing-wise.

This is the point at which Fiorella is supposed to say that challenges are just opportunities in disguise, but she doesn't believe that.  Some challenges are insurmountable and you just have to suffer.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

If It's Not One Thing . . . .

The foot healed overnight. but the hand's gonna be in splint for a couple of days yet. For once it's a good thing that Fio sight-types rather than touch-types. But getting dressed or undressed is an ordeal. Try fastening all those bra hooks with just one hand. And, while you're at it, try brushing your teeth with an untrained hand.

But Fio has to be careful about Lefty too because a large weighted window shade fell on her while she was trying to lower it for the night, and now her left hand has two gashes across it that have a tendency to keep on bleeding.

And she's just been released from physical therapy for her hip.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Fiorella's right hand is in a splint and it's driving her crazy because she has a whole list of things she wants to do in the front yard, starting with rerouting the stepping stones so she and Husband can plant ligustrums to hide the twin air conditioner units. 

What about the expensive landscaping she and Husband paid for four years ago, you ask?  Well, the deer-resistant plantings didn't live up to their reputations, and, even with imported dirt, the rest of the stuff simply didn't thrive--and nothing was drought-resistant.

So this time Fio is planning the landscaping herself, starting with about ten linear yards of ligustrums which she hopes will grow fast and never die.

Now, please excuse her while she refreshes the ice pack for her foot.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sweeping Clean

Fio, once the poster child for "How pretty/interesting/charming--I want it!" has turned utilitarian.  Anything in the house that isn't useful must go.

All that wedding silver is on its way out.  In the first place, Fio rarely uses any of it and has never used most of it.  In the second place, when Fio and Husband tried to shine up the whole kit and caboodle a couple of years ago, they got overenthusiastic and ruined some of it.  In the third place, it's plate and not worth much as far as our children's inheritances go.

Much of Fio's wardrobe, which goes back thirty years, also has to go. Then there are the books, the paperbacks which she now can't believe she ever read, much less adored.  And all the music books for which Fio would like to find a good home now that her voice can no longer handle Mozart.

Her collection of ceramic dogs and miniature elephants will remain, of course.  After all, dogs are faithful and elephants never forget.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Family Tidings

Fiorella is writing this last night because she'll be sleeping late this morning because she and Husband were invited by Son's fiancee's parents to have dinner with them at Austin Land and Cattle last night and had a wonderful time, which means Fio won't be able to fall asleep till after midnight.

Fio is very fortunate with the female members who have been added into her family--her brother's Patsy, Older Son's Jennifer,  Nephew Barrett's Rachel.  And now Younger Son will bring Lauren into the fold--and he'll be included in hers.

And lest Fio forget, she thinks she got a pretty good deal with Daughter's Todd also. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

On Stetler Ave

You might wanta skip this one--Fiorella's going to take another stroll down memory lane.  First, she's going to tell you about a major scientific discovery she made when she was about three--that sand will stick to wet legs.  She made several trips back and forth between her sandbox and the lawn sprinkler to be sure the experience wasn't random, then announced it to her mother, who was less than thrilled. The properties of water were also involved in another of Fiorella's memories.  She and friend Janny Orchid (translation: Janet Orcutt), who lived catty-corner from her on Stetler Avenue, washed their dolls in the bathroom sink at Janet's house--and thus washed all the paint off the dolls' wooden faces.

And then there was learning how to tie a knot.  Babysitter Marilyn Capitosto taught Fio that trick, but Fio learned to tie the sash of her dress in a bow behind her all on her own.  She can still remember the glow of accomplishment.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Household Hint

A butterfly that flutters by
Is charmin' in the garden
But a closet moth that nests in cloth
Is really quite alarmin'