Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lurching in Where Angels Fear to Tread

Fiorella absorbed her mother into herself, as Mother did hers. Mother valued reputation, appearance, and academic success so Fio tried to live up to maternal expectations.  Determined to give Brother and Fiorella the Dick-and-Jane childhood she had missed out on because of an alcoholic father, Mother made her home into a warm, safe nest, which Fio also tried to do for her children.  However, Mother  hung back from the kind of challenges and adventures that Fiorella confronts head-on.

In that, Fiorella resembles her father. Tally-ho!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fiorella on Facebook

Fiorella doesn't get political on Facebook.  For one thing, she figured out long ago that nobody is convinced by other people's arguments--the debate just hardens everyone's own opinions. But also, there's the privacy factor. Fiorella doesn't want to display her personal political biases on what is supposed to be a SOCIAL medium. And she really doesn't want to read anyone else's either, whether right or left.  Children, kittens, and cheery notes--okay.  Hateful diatribes and vicious attacks on other viewpoints--no.  Fiorella is a wuss.  She wants her world peaceful and loving.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Individual Perception

Are people other than Fiorella real?  Or is everyone else a Golem, a simulacrum, a souless stage prop? After all, if everyone else is also real, why is it that Fiorella knows only what she is thinking and not what anyone else is?  

Maybe Fiorella is all alone in the universe and everyone else in a product of her ever-fertile imagination. Or maybe the whole universe is.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sleepytime TV

Hear ye, hear ye!

In order to relax at the end of the day, Fiorella wants to watch happy. charming, non-challenging, low-key television from eight to ten.  No shows with tension in them, which cuts out America's Got Talent and the like, and also covers all the NCIS variants.  No scary shows either--Fio doesn't need to dream of what might be lurking in her attic.  And nothing that makes her sad, excited, or angry.

Plain jane House Hunters, Little Couple, and Income Property are usually her choices, but the former is in reruns and the latter two seem to be in abeyance..

Maybe she'll be forced to take up reading again.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oh, Deer!

Grab the Neosporin--Fiorella had an adventure.

She was walking around the driveway, accompanied, as always, by the faithful Sonia. Fio is proud to say that Doggie has become inured to the sounds of riding mowers and neighborhood construction, and even tolerates passing cars and the yammering of next-door dogs.  In fact, Fiorella was promising Sonia a second lap around the driveway when a spotted fawn leaped up beside them and rocketed away.

Sonia was on it in a flash, jerking the leash around Fiorella's wrist so strongly and suddenly that all Fio had time to do as she slammed down into the grass off the driveway was think "uh-oh."  Luckily she fell on her left hip, not the replacement one, but she did have to lie on the ground. breathing hard, for a few minutes before getting up.  Injuries were slight--a few cuts and abrasions and an angry prickling that made her wonder if she'd landed in an ant bed.

Sonia soon came  bounding back, full of the joy of the chase, looked up at Mommy, and smiled.  Mommy did not smile back, and Sonia did not get her second loop around the driveway.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hip Hooray!

Fiorella, in preparation for the RWA national conference is taking walks around her 190-linear yard driveway not just once a day, but three times a day, and she's doing just fine.  Of course, she'll be stopped at the airport security gate because of the metal in her hip, but that's a small price to pay for being able to walk with ease.  At the New York RWA conference two years ago, she was in constant pain, and three months before the surgery, she couldn't even walk 80 yards up to the mailbox on the road.

Hip replacements work.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Plata Overflow

Fiorella's dining room display shelves are occupied by silver platters, bowls, casserole frames, baby cups and spoons--even a pitcher and a champagne bucket.  Most of the haul is plate, of course, but all of it, dammit, requires regular polishing.

It's wedding silver, the sort of thing people used to give a bridal couple instead of a check or gift card. Fio wishes she'd traded in most of it for cash refunds at the time, but, in her innocence, she assumed her future would live up to the silver and she'd have Elizabeth and Phillip over to dine some day. Spoiler alert: no one's future  lives up to a boatload of silver.

Nevertheless, she's moved the silver from house to house to house to house to house with her because . . . well, what else can she do with it?  That's why she's been spending every spare minute for the past week scrubbing away with Wright's Silver Cream.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Fio contends she's forty-three
While Husband is one year more
Which means that as of today he'll be,
Unquestionably, forty-four.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Human Question

Why are people born with talents in art and music?  Why are people driven to create stories great and small?  Why are people curious about how the universe works?  Why do people decorate themselves and everything around them?  Why do they kill each other?  Why do they perform heroic deeds of self-sacrifice?

And why does Fiorella ask questions like this rather than chomp on a tasty piece of grass out there in the meadow?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Multitudes and Multiples

Nineteen kids.  You can bet at least one will turn out gay, one will write a tell-all book, and one will break with family tradition and go to college--a real college, not just a bible institute.  Oh, and another one will go bat-crap crazy, leave the clan, and get his/her own TV reality show, Breaking Duggar, so to speak.

And Lord only knows what will happen to the Gosselins. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Don't Shoot Dogs!

What's with the cops showing up at mistaken addresses and ending up shooting people's dogs?  It's happened way too often in this neck of the woods.  Last year in Austin an officer went to a wrong address for a disturbance call and shot a beloved dog just as his owner came on the scene.  The same thing happened just this week in Leander, except it was a warrant server this time.  Again the address was wrong and the name on the warrant was wrong, but, despite children playing within thirty feet of him, the officer shot at two dogs as they came bounding around the side of the house to greet him, wounding one of them.

The downed dog will need expensive medical care, and the dog owner is raising bloody murder because those two dogs are good dogs, trained therapy dogs, and the one the warrant office winged is particularly good with children.

Fiorella hates to think about what might happen if a gun-toting "peace" officer came to her door on some mistaken mission.  Sweet Sonia would go nuts--first of all, because she'd want to meet him, and second, because, if Fio were threatened, she'd go all defensive. 

Don't kill a dog for being a dog.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fiorella Factoids

Fiorella has been so influenced by books that the only reason she tried licorice in the fifth grade was because she'd read about it, and she ordered her steak rare in a restaurant when she was in the eleventh grade for the same reason.  She still likes licorice and rare steak.  Um--not together.
Fiorella vividly remembers the pain and humiliation of missing a question on a first grade test late in the semester.  It was her first imperfect score and she thought she'd be drilled out of school because of it.  (She mismatched the circus seals.)
Fiorella is not interested in just looking at stuff--she wants to participate.  She'd rather sing than be sung to, rather write than read, rather interact with people in a foreign country than view their edifices and monuments.  In short, she'd rather do than see.
When Fio is old and her brain has shrunk so much she is institutionalized, please supply her with a baby doll to cuddle when you cannot be there.
Too many ideas, too little time.
No reason to it, no rhythm, no rhyme


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Speedy Fio

In preparation for the national Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta next month, Fiorella has decided to speed up her metabolism, which, according to Dr. Google, means eating more protein, sleeping well, exercising regularly, and lifting weights.  Fio doesn't know if she'll get around to the exercise and weight training, but last night she had a great salmon dinner at Fish Daddy's, then slept the whole night through. 

Halfway there. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fiorella and Georgette

Unable to sleep last night because of too much chocolate-on-chocolate Father's Day cake, Fiorella  curled up on the couch in the den with a well-worn copy of Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer, the mother of the historical romance genre. Fio became acquainted with Heyer years ago when she finished her first semester finals at University of Texas and wandered into the college bookstore to find a paperback novel to relax with. These Old Shades, Fio's initial venture into the Regency world created by Heyer, fit the bill and was soon followed by its sequel, Devil's Cub.  From then on, Fio was addicted.. She loved the characters, the humor, the plots, and  the British settings.

But now, reading the books as an author, she marvels at their craftsmanship--the subtlety with which Heyer introduces her characters, the way she makes period information seem natural, her skill in keeping the story moving--and Fio hopes she can do the same even half as well..

Sunday, June 16, 2013

For a Very Important Date

It's after eight
I'm running late
So Fio has naught else to say

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Prayer of Thanks

Fiorella woke up this morning with Husband beside her, Dog at her feet, a smile on her face, and a song in her heart.  Yes, she's ready to take on the weight of the world again.

Ah, the miracle of sleep to relax the body, refresh the psyche, and unscramble the brain. Thank you, God.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Up All NIght

Fiorella's circadian rhythm is screwed: she couldn't sleep last night.  The night before, she slept more than ten hours as opposed to her usual six (plus a few naps during the day) so she paid for it last night by not being able to sleep at all, despite moving from the bedroom to the futon in the study to the couch in the den (television on, then television off), then back to bed again.  She gave up at 4:45, dressed, consulted Dr. Google, and decided to write this blog so everyone will know that if tomorrow's blog doesn't get posted till afternoon, it's because she's crashed at last--and deservedly so.

Meanwhile, think supportive thoughts in Fio's direction because she has to do a fair amount of driving today.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Call the TV Crew!

Fiorella is a connoisseur of driveway stones. It's a born-in trait. When she was a little girl in Waco, she searched out the glossy little red and yellow and black and brown pebbles in the driveway, much to her mother's despair.  Since moving out to the boondocks, she's been enamored of flint, but seven years of prospecting the driveway have pretty much dried up that supply.

Her latest mania is sparkling rocks, which Husband says are probably calcium carbonate. She has a collection of them on the window sill over the kitchen sink and a plastic shoebox of them outside on the back porch, where she also stores her flint collection, and every day, when Fio takes Sonia out for a walk up the driveway, she fills her pockets with more of the rocks.

OMG, Fio's a hoarder!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why the F*** Not?

Your Fiorella is a born rebel, especially against herself.  All it takes is her making a declaration like "I will never ever use slang or medical terminology for sex organs in my books" to challenge herself to do the same.  Thus while genteel Laurel Harlow, the heroine of Kinkaid House, couldn't even bring herself to say "damn," much less refer to her lover's private parts, Lolly Redlander, the free-wheeling heroine of Princess Redlander (which will probably end up retitled) uses all the words and then some.

Now, the question is whether Fiorella has Lolly using a blue vocabulary because it is in her  character, or whether Fiorella set up the character to use that vocabulary and thus prove herself wrong. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Fiorella has gotten hooked on Hoarders.   Viewing the messes people make is like rubbernecking at a car wreck, but without the mayhem because hoarding is a passive exercise. But, as in a car wreck, there are victims.  The perpetrators usually aren't too concerned about the scene they've created, but their friends and relatives are.

Some people are collectors--of dolls, junk, animals, beer cans, you name it.  One woman had over 5000 dolls stuffed into her house.  And some people never clean up or throw anything out--even dead animals, trash, the remains of meals.

Fio personally knew a woman who was an ardent acquirer.  She had an entire bedroom dedicated to dolls.  Unopened boxes lined the walls about six feet deep, and a huge mountain of naked baby dolls rose from the floor.  The rest of her home was host to every other kind of collection imaginable.  Everything was neat and clean, but visitors had to navigate narrow passageways to get from room to room.  The scene was overwhelming--and scary.

Years ago, Fiorella volunteered to come over and help another woman diminish her pile of arts and crafts projects, a small start on a house overflowing with antiques and memorabilia.  So what happened when Fio showed up at the woman's house?  She discovered that the lady had gone out and bought several more arts and crafts projects for her and Fio to work on.

Fiorella currently knows a woman who can't throw away anything--ANYTHING--because it might be of use someday. Her house also is a labyrinth--and she doesn't understand why her grandchildren aren't allowed to visit.

And if Fiorella herself has known three hoarders, there must be millions more of them out there.  How sad.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Canine Factoids

Dogs are really good at catnaps.  In Fio's experience, a dog falls asleep in a second and awakens in half a second, ready to go.  In contrast, Fiorella takes her time doing both.  She'd rather fall asleep faster, but, as you know, values her long, slow awakenings.

And even though dogs spend most of their lives sleeping, they're rippling with muscles and loaded with stamina.  Fio wishes she could run full tilt up the driveway as fast as couch potato Sonia can.  (On the other hand, Fio is not interested in chasing cars--she already has one.)

And a dog, even a very large one, can fit itself into whatever space is left open on the couch or in the bed. It's important to Sonia to be close to Mommy and Daddy.  And that's the sweetest factoid of all about dogs.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Maybe eternal life consists of innumerable variations of each person's life.  Maybe we are all reborn as before, but with different opportunities, and we make different choices.  Maybe Fiorella's parents would have stayed in Ohio rather than move to Texas.  Maybe she would have chosen to attend Rice rather than University of Texas, or maybe she would have stayed in Waco and gone to Baylor, despite required attendance at Baptist chapel.  Maybe her art career would have taken off and she would never have tried her hand at writing novels.  Maybe she would have learned Spanish or some other language well enough to really use it.    The maybe's are endless--thus, eternal life.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Invisible Child

Who is Jacob Roloff?  The red-headed stepchild?

Fiorella was cruising the channels the other night and watched a Little People, Big World catch-up special long enough to hear that Matt and Amy are at loose ends because "all the kids are gone."  Yes, Jeremy, Zack, and Molly are in college or out in the world--late-developing Zack even has a real live  girlfriend--but JACOB IS STILL AT HOME. Not only is he at home, but he's moping in his room, ALONE.

Jacob always has been odd-man-out.  He's neither a twin nor a dwarf nor a girl, but the classic fourth child, the tag-along, trouble-making little brother doing anything he can to get attention. Now that he's alone in the house with his parents, Matt and Amy have a wonderful last opportunity to make meaningful contact with their son, to let him know how much they love and cherish him. Instead, they're mourning the three kids who have flown the nest--and still brangling with each other.

Fio thought long and hard about publishing this blog because, if  Jacob does not realize his situation, it is cruel to tell him in such a public way.  But, actually, Fiorella thinks he does knows it--why else is he upstairs alone in his room?  The people who haven't caught on are Matt and Amy.  Not that any of the three will read Fiorella anyway.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Exposure and Exercise

Sonia loves the sound of velcro ripping because, more often than not, it means Mommy is putting on her walking shoes to take Doggie up to the road so they can pick up the mail.  Fiorella's done this almost every day since she and Husband started taking Sonia to a PetsMart behavior class, and the results are in.  Sonia stares at passing vehicles now, but doesn't lunge at them and break the leash. And last week, although children still frighten her, she actually sniffed in an interested way at a few adults.  So Fiorella decided to up the ante and hitch her up for a morning walk too, around all 190 linear yards of the driveway. 

Worked like a charm, with an added benefit.  Not only is Sonia more relaxed on the leash, but she flops on the floor when she gets home and is asleep in two minutes, which lets Fiorella have some  quality writing time uninterrupted by Doggie's usual demands to entertain her.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Great Show at the Palace!

Fiorella gives the Georgetown palace Theater's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie a rave review.  It was quick, smart, and disciplined, just like a good farce should be.

The settings were great, the lighting was great, the costumes were fantastic, the band was great (although often overloud), the pacing was great, the singers were great, and the acting, for the most part, was great.  And Fiorella is happy to tell you that  Jesee Smart, nee Jessica Klepsch, is doing the choreography again.  No more arms waving aimlessly in the air, no more repetitive circle dances, but neat, fast, inventive, energetic routines, with every dancer grinning and not a tap out of step.

Rumbles of laughter ran through the audience at the audacious, unexpected sequences.  The show is based on the 1967 movie starring Carol Burnett, but clever updates make it new and shiny, unlike  the Palace's Singing in the Rain and South Pacific.  As a romance writer, Fiorella got a kick out of the teasers at the ends of scenes.  She also liked the way there were usually two or three things happening at once, but that the play was directed so well that Fio knew exactly where her focus should be.

The girls carry the show so shout-outs to  Sara Burke as Millie, Tiffany Blackmon as Miss Dorothy,   Lariena Brown  as Mama Muzzy (the Carol Channing part), and  Melita McAttee in the Bea Lilly role--a far cry from the Mother Superior she played in the Palace's Nunsense series.  Male stand-outs were  Scott Shipman as Trevor Graydon and Stephen Jack as Jimmy Smith.  Shipman's operatic voice stole the show.  Jack's upper register has an especially sweet sound, but his characterization was just a bit wimpy, although perhaps more due to the script that the actor.   Fio was glad to see golden-toned tenor Ismael Soto in the cast again, although his role didn't call for much singing.  Husband's favorite character was Samantha Watson as Miss Flannery.

Spoiler alert: bowing to modern sensibilities, the villainess is just pretending to be Chinese, which, surprisingly, makes the story even funnier.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Celebrity Snippets

Jennifer vs. Angelina.  Forget about Brad Pitt--it's the belly vs. the breasts to determine who can generate the most publicity,  Jennifer Aniston's supposed pregnancy or Angelina Jolie's mastectomy.
Right now, Jennifer's winning.  If she wears anything other than skin-tight, she's supposedly proved the tabloids right.
Now that Lindsay Lohan is locked away for a couple of months, there's a new loony tune in Hollywood, and her name is Amanda Bynes.  What is it about child stars when they grow up?
Meanwhile the Kardashians are dashian from spotlight to spotlight, still with no visible talent whatsoever except being able to have sex in the spotlight.
And if the ladies, aren't enough, Michael Douglas has told us more about his sexual habits than we really wanted to know.  Um--keep your mouth shut, Mike.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Physics Fact

Stephen Hawking is wrong.  There aren't eleven alternate universes--there are millions, trillions, gazillions of them.  As many as there are people now living on earth and in times past because each one of us lives in his own perception.

And this morning, Fio's world is sparkling.

Monday, June 3, 2013


For the past week, Fiorella's pet project has been polishing up the brass nameplate that used to be on her parents-in-law's front door. Husband bought Dremel polishing pads and some jewelers' rouge at Home Depot for her, but Fio's most effective treatment so far has been Mr. Metal, paper towels, and elbow grease.  Every time she goes over to the sink for something, she takes another swipe at the nameplate.

Why is she doing this? Fio and Husband have no real use for the nameplate, and it would only be a dust-gathering relic to the kids, but still Fio polishes and shines.  It's like tending a grave--the process  counts more than the result.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Take That, Mozy!

Life has taught Fio patience, thank goodness, and she needed it yesterday afternoon as she ran off her 2012 blog entries, five pages at a time.  Yes, at last she figured out (stumbled upon) how to retrieve her sparkling gems from the bowels of Blogspot (a charming metaphor), but it took more than an hour. Then, because the pages were printed in reverse chronology, she spent another good hour re-ordering them, during which the dog kept getting in her face and complaining about not being fed.  Next will come punching holes in the pages and sticking them in a loose-leaf notebook, but that will have to wait until Monday.

Why is Fio torturing herself, you ask. Because she needs hard copies so she can put together booklets like the one she composed in memory of Wendy Dog.  Besides, she doesn't trust the Cloud.

After all, Mozy won't even let her sign up.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sleeping Triple in a Double Bed

Fiorella had a wonderful, slow awakening this morning, thanks to Sonia Dog's cast-iron bladder.

Doggie whimpered  at 6:11--yes, Fiorella has a luminous-faced clock at her bedside--which meant  she wanted out of her boudoir, the giant wire crate in which she sleeps.  Fio sat up enough to reach over and unlock the crate, then closed her eyes again.  It was even odds whether Sonia would insist on going outside or would would leap up on the bed and snuggle down at the bottom of it.

Sonia chose Door B.  While Fio drowsed, Doggie settled comfortably between Fio and Husband's feet.  Thus Fiorella had a full hour more in bed before she finally got up, brushed her teeth, and came downstairs to record this epistle--all courtesy of Sonia's bladder control, for which Fio thanks her.