Monday, March 31, 2014

Three More Snippets

Fiorella has a new theory about that still-missing Malaysian plane. She thinks it was drawn into another dimension, that the passengers are seed stock for a new world.  Maybe that's what happened to Amelia Earhart too.  (Anyone who wants to use that plot is welcome so to do.)
Fio loves the intensely chocolate cookies that can usually only be found at the Leander HEB--which is the reason she doesn't go there very often.
Now for a day totally devoted to revisions. It's embarrassing, but Fio has discovered a couple more holes in her book that she needs to patch up. And, by the way, please notice that what she was calling a "manuscript" when she was submitting it to agents, and a "story" when her agent was submitting it to publishers, she is now calling a "book."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Decision Time

A herd of grazing deer was the first thing Sonya Dog saw when Fio and Husband took her outside for a walk the other day.  Husband instructed Doggie to "leave it"  and "sit" and Fiorella began stuffing treats down her throat.

Sonya knew what her choices were.  Instinct told her to break leash and take after the deer.  But the treats, both a distraction and an enticement, told her to sit still.

Sonya's almost an adult now.  She sat still.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Leading the Pack

Fio is highly competitive, but she doesn't watch sporting events, America's Got Talent, dating shows, and their ilk because she identifies with each and every contestant and can't stand to see anyone lose.

Yes, in Fio's world, everyone should be a winner.  Especially Fio.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Daily Report

Husband really does love Fiorella.  He gave her several days worth of the old-style crossword puzzles he found when he was cleaning out a drawer, he stopped by Target on the way home and bought her seven boxes of Shredded Wheat, and he spent more than an hour battling his way through a strangely recalcitrant Amazon to get Fio the romance novel she wanted to read to put her mind on the right track for writing revisions.
Sonia Dog will be a full-fledged adult mastiff on April 21 when she turns two-and-a-half-years old, and you can tell already that she's leaving her teenage years behind. But let a deer cross her path . . . .
Husband is taking a day off so maybe he and Fio can clear out more of the garage.  Lots of interesting things are showing up, but they still haven't gotten to the boxes that haven't seen the light of day since they moved in nine years ago.
Fio feels good this morning and hopes you do too.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Looks like it will be a good spring.  Fiorella spotted several promising patches of bluebonnets on the side of I-35 as she drove home from Austin yesterday.
Can't help but notice that Harry and Perry are hard at work changing their images.  The Playboy Prince is metamorphosing into a tough, caring, responsible leader of a group of handicapped veterans engaged in an antarctic venture, and Governor Pointy-boots, now wearing Clark Kent glasses and costumed as a high-level executive, is looking like a top contender for the GOP presidential nomination.
Speaking of changes, Fiorella was finally able to complete one of those new-fangled crossword puzzles in the Statesman the other day.  The secret is to first review the whole puzzle and fill in the obvious words, then look for the cutesy theme for the day and take it from there.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Fiorella doesn't much care for exercise, but she does like to move her body--to stretch her arms and rotate her shoulders, to swim, to stride around the driveway, to breathe deeply and lift her head up to the sky.

Just don't call it exercise.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Like Yesterday's News

It used to be that Fio read Google News as a subsidiary to the Austin American-Statesman.  Now she reads the newspaper as a subsidiary to Google News.  In fact, with the change in the crossword puzzle, Doonesbury being in hiatus, and Luann's familiar gang breaking up, she doesn't see that much value in keeping up her subscription to the Statesman any longer.

Newspapers may be going the way of the hoop skirt and the blunderbuss.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Good-bye to Winter

The temperatures dived down into the fifties yesterday, with strong north winds, so Husband lit the last firelog of the season.  Fittingly, the flames are especially beautiful--symmetrical, with a shorter flame in the middle and taller ones on either side.

Fiorella loves this kind of weather.  She has to wear a heavy coat when she walks Sonia Dog, but she seems to have more energy and can breathe deeper.  It's all in the genes--and hers are from northeastern Europe.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Fio recently realized she is the queen of the sardonic comment, a trait she inherited from her mother.  It's more of an attitude than anything else, a way of saying that everything has an ironic underbelly, that the roof may be good, but the basement's bound to leak, that your good fortune today will be gone tomorrow.  It's a survival tactic, a way of laughing at the hard times sure to come. It's also what makes Fiorella's romances "dark."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hoping Against Hope

Fiorella keeps opening up Google Chrome to see if there's any information on the missing Malaysian plane.  What she's hoping is that at any minute the news will come that the plane landed safely in a jungle somewhere and the passengers have just been discovered trekking their way back to civilization.

Has Fiorella ever mentioned that she's a fiction writer who likes happy endings?

Friday, March 21, 2014


In Fiorella's never-ending quest to sample every language she manages to encounter, your girl can now greet you in Filipino and Vietnamese, thanks to her recent visit to the dentist.  The dental assistant speaks the former and the dentist's wife, who is also a dentist, speaks the latter.

Yes, Virginia, the world truly is growing smaller.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


How long has it been since Fiorella's given an all-positive review of a production at Georgetown's Palace Theater?  But it turned out there was a reason she had problems getting tickets four weeks beforehand and had to settle for ones much closer to the stage than she and Husband prefer.

Yes, the miracle has happened.  The show was Cats, and it was uniformly fabulous.  Of course, it started with one leg up because of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's music, exciting from the first screaming seventh.  And the cast didn't hurt--fabulous voices, fabulous dancers, fabulous directing, unbelievable pacing.

Cats is an ensemble show, a series of numbers dramatizing poems from T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats loosely tied together by a weak plot, but what made it work was the direction and choreography. Fio had seen Cats before, on the big Bass stage, but it was even better when the approximately thirty actors were all crowded together onto the Palace's much smaller stage   

What a catharsis. Fiorella laughed and cried, then applauded and applauded and applauded.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Credit Card Culture

Fio had a problem with her credit card at Walgreen's the other day.  She swiped it again and again, but it didn't register.  Then she checked to make sure she wasn't using the old, pre-Target hacking edition--and discovered that the card she was so diligently swiping was her driver's license.

Bet she wasn't the first and won't be the last. It's a wonder she wasn't swiping her health insurance card.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lost and Found

One or another of Fiorella's eight pairs of glasses is always lost, which is the reason she has so many of them--three for distance viewing with her current prescription, two distance models with her old prescription, one up-close anti-astigmatism type for playing the piano or reading, and two pairs of cheapo non-prescription sunglasses.  Right now she's looking for her prescription sunglasses.  They've been missing for two weeks now, but Fio still has hope.  After all, yesterday Husband found her notes for a review of Georgetown Palace's production of Cats that had inexplicably disappeared on their way home from the theater.

Coming attraction:  The Cats' Meow. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Morning Report

I know, I know
Fio is late
She was sorta queasy
Was it something she ate?
But after a nap
She's feeling fine
And ready to tackle
The world online

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Little News

So, Matt and Amy are separating at last.  The senior Roloffs, who first introduced the viewing public to dwarfs as people rather than oddities, have long been lining their coffers with profit as they battled it out with each other on the small screen.  Amy may be grumpy, but Matt is a megalomaniac.

The story goes that Matt proposed the separation, saying he had never felt comfortable in his own home, although Fiorella can't figure out why--he totally dominated it.  Sure, he provided his wife and family with fame, loads of loot, and a great house, but he also ran rough-shod over them.

Fiorella prefers Will and Jen, the little couple.  Check them out this Tuesday evening at 9:00.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Love and Sex, or Sex and Love?

Fiorella is pondering the idea that it's okay for modern romance heroines to have casual sex, but they can't say they love someone until the last chapter. It used to be the other way around--first the love, then the sex. She suspects that the order has changed because of commitment issues.

Yes, Fio's learned a lot from her editor's revision notes, but it sorta goes against the grain.  Fio's an old-fashioned, love-before-sex kinda gal.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Language Madness Strikes Again

Fiorella can now read three Chinese characters: "person," "big," and "little."

Yes, your Fio is endeavoring to pick up yet another writing system.  She's rusty on them, but at one time she could handle Cyrillic, in which Russian is written; devanagari, the Sanskrit script; and the Dravidian script Telugu uses.

But, as with Chinese, she's never been in a situation to do more than dabble.

Sigh. Maybe in her next life . . . .

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Big Bird

According to one of those silly tests on FaceBook, when it comes to Sesame Street, Fiorella is a Big Bird--naive as the day is long and far too trusting. The accusation is true.  If you want to tell a whopping big lie, tell Fio.  She'll believe you because you're her friend.  And she'll back you to the hilt too because she's loyal as Greyfriars' Bobby.

All of this means that Fio gets burned at regular intervals, but she'd rather have it this way than be an Oscar the Grouch.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time and Circumstance

So far this week, Fiorella and Sonya Dog have both been staying in bed till eight.  Neither of them has made the transition to Daylight Savings Time.  But that has to change, at least for Fio because she's also staying up till eleven, which is w-a-y too late for someone who needs to spend all day working on editor's revision.
The newspaper has changed its comic strips page format.  It's also subscribed to a different crossword puzzle maker, which irks the hell out of Fio.  She liked the old one, the one who used "oboe" and "opal" every chance he got, the one whose solvable puzzles gave her the confidence to face the day.
Every morning at 11:30, the TV sound turns itself on.  No picture, just the sound.  Fiorella doesn't understand why, and Husband can't figure it out either.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Welcome, Garage!

Fiorella and Husband are at last cleaning up the garage.  They've got a large one, a three-car dealie, but for nine years, it's looked like a hoarder's paradise, and a messy one at that.

Son removed his storage stuff a year ago, which helped, but the current project really got underway when Fio and Husband cleared out a two-yard long swath on the wall next to the kitchen door.  Then Husband hung all the garden tools on the wall and swept the floor beneath the display, which inspired Fiorella to work on the area on the other side of the door.  Sunday morning they joined forces and started picking up the workshop area in preparation for redesigning it.

Fio is elated. It's like that dream she has of walking through a familiar house and opening a door into a room she never knew was there.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Generation without Grandparents

Women are electing to put off motherhood as long as possible now. Maybe it's part of being the "spoiled generation," the products of child-centered homes in a country of plenty. Maybe it's because women need that extra time to get ahead in the workplace.  Maybe it's because couples don't want to interrupt their lives with midnight diaper changes.

Whatever the situation, the clock is the ticking--the biological clock and the clock of life.  Grandparents can't stick around forever.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

People Puppies

Sonya Dog is becoming accustomed to high-pitched voices and little beings who dart unexpectedly hither and thither.  Becoming accustomed at a distance, that is.

Remember how Fiorella lamented the lack of a rent-a-kid business that she would patronize in order to teach Sonya about children?  Well, the new neighbors across the street have supplied her need.  They have two active boys, about eight and eleven, both in constant motion.  The older one shoots baskets when he isn't zooming his motorized bike all around the property  The younger one recently hosted a birthday party--about ten of those little beings with high-pitched voices darting up and down the driveway.

Sonya quivered in fear and excitement, but she didn't bark at them, which is a good sign.  After all, she's become inured to the rude dogs next door who hurl themselves against the fence in a vain effort to tear her throat out.  Surely she will eventually be able to deal with people puppies.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Elderly Driving

Fiorella read in the news about a ninety-three-year-old driver who lost control of his car and careened around a grocery story parking lot, killing an eighty-five-year-old packing away his groceries in his car trunk.  And she remembers how the lovely daughter of one of her church's pastors was killed by an elderly woman ignoring a stop sign and T-boning her car.  And she thinks about Sue Halter, ninety years old, who backed into her in the Walgreen's parking lot, despite Fio honking the hell out of her horn--and who then denied responsibility.

It's hard to give up your car keys.  Fiorella and Husband, Brother and his wife, the grandchildren--we all joined forces to get Father off the road.  Dad had macular degeneration and could barely make out traffic signals, but he insisted he was a safe driver because he drove v-e-r-y slowly and never made a left turn--executing a series of right turns instead. He'd had one wreck already, pulling out of a restaurant onto the street, but he insisted "that Baylor boy" was driving too fast.  More likely, Dad,had mis-estimated the speed of the oncoming traffic when he crept out onto the road.

Fiorella has been driving since she was sixteen and it won't be easy for her to turn over the keys.  But it will be necessary.  If she doesn't realize she is posing a danger to others, she hopes her children will be kind enough to take over and save her from killing someone.

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Mastiff Loves Me

Those shiny stains on Fio's jeans?  You may call them dried dog drool, but Fiorella calls them love juice.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Why do we laugh at a pratfall?  Why do we laugh at TV shows that feature people falling off sleds, bicycles, horses, boats, and every other imaginable conveyance?  That feature men clutching their groins in agony after getting injured in in a variety of stupid situations?  That show women and children screaming in fright from practical jokes?

What is it in us that delights at another person's pain or embarrassment?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lenten Sacrifice

Happy Ash Wednesday.  Fio loves the drama of the ashes, although she hasn't given up anything for Lent in years.  Tomorrow, she'll start off her morning by wishing Nephew Aaron a happy birthday and suggesting a celebratory dinner with him at Frisco, then she'll send a silent birthday greeting to her father, who dines with the angels.  Traveling into Austin, she'll meet with Friend Paula before church and Friend Sharon afterwards, later dropping by Son-in-Law's place to pick up some things she is mailing for Daughter.  After that she will deliver her tax stuff to CPA Blake W.  Yes--she'll leave the house at about 9:45 and return home about 4:30. It's her day out, but not her day off.

Maybe it's time she's giving up this year.  Hours and hours of it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Fiorella doesn't understand how people can deliberately harm each other.  She can't even bear to give herself shots before surgery.

Good grief--maybe Fio is BIg Bird!

Monday, March 3, 2014


For the second time, Fiorella had her purse stolen in HEB on Williams Drive.

She and Husband were shopping, and the basket changed hands a couple of times, but as they headed toward paper towels at the far side of the store, Fio (as is her habit) glanced down at the small top basket where she always keeps her purse.  It was missing.  Three years ago, she was careless in changing to a different basket, but this time no other basket had been involved.

Alarmed out of her mind, she rushed to the front of the store for help.  As she was led into the manager's office, she called out to the rest of the store: "My purse has been stolen and yours may be next!  Watch out!"

She ended up at the service desk, trying to remember what her very unique purse looked like and what it had in it.  She glanced across at another line--a woman was holding her purse!  The woman said that a lady had found it in her basket and asked her to turn it in.

Fiorella thinks that after she yelled out, somebody didn't want to be caught with a hot purse.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Doonesbury, Don't Leave Me!

Fiorella is sad.  Doonesbury is fading into oblivion with its characters' lives unresolved. What is the ultimate destiny of Mike and Kim, Alex and Toggle, Boopsie and BD and their daughter, of Jeff and Melissa, of Duke and Joanie and Zonker and myriad others? Sure, Garry Trudeau will continue writing a Sunday strip, but for how long?

It's ridiculous.  Doonesbury exits the stage and Prince Valiant creaks for an eternity

Saturday, March 1, 2014

In Regard to Prayer

Fiorella is in constant prayer--for herself, her family, her friends, the world, the universe--but she had to turn down Facebook's invitation to "Say yes if you believe prayer works."  The implication was that God is a faucet that one can turn on by constant communication, that you, in effect, you can control God's will if you twist that handle hard enough.

It doesn't work that way--it doesn't work any way.  Prayer is an entreaty, not a guarantee.