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.