Sunday, August 31, 2014

War and Peace

For the innocents, the casual casualties of war
For the militants, who kill and destroy on command
For their leaders, whose power is absolute
I pray God's grace and peace.

Gubernatorial Election Considerations

Fiorella is opposed to abortion, but she does not think it should be a political football. She resents both parties drawing the line, Republicans trying to round up votes by campaigning against abortion and Democrats trying to round up votes by calling it a women's issue.  Fio will vote the Democratic ticket because she wants Texas to have a strong TWO-party system, not because Wendy Davis won her over by being pro-abortion.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shameless Hustling

Fiorella's romance novel comes out on Tuesday.  As you know, it's called WHAT THE HEART WANTS, and Fio's pen name is JEANELL BOLTON.  The reason she tells you this is that there are nine--count'em, NINE--other novels on Amazon with the same title.

Anyway, she hopes you'll give her book a try.  Like most of her stories, it involves a woman living in shadow.  The digital edition of WHAT THE HEART WANTS will be available for $2.99, and the trade paperback will cost $17.00.

Wish Fio well.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Escape Artist

Sonia bolted off leash again yesterday.  The weather was a little cooler so Fiorella took her out for an evening walk.  Ten paces down the driveway, Sonia spotted a deer and raced off after it,  Fio called her several times, but Sonia didn't come back till all hope of venison was gone. Then she sped down the drive, bypassed Fio, and stood on the front porch, waiting for the door to be opened.

At least she knows where she lives.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cave Woman Problems

Fiorella has long cherished the notion that she has a heavy dose of Neanderthal in her, but right now she's feeling it more than ever.  Yes, the computer has triumphed over her yet again.  She's been trying for more than a week to send photos off to her publicist in New York, but, despite Austin Son's help and Friend Cheryl's help, it's just not a-happenin'.  Friend Cheryl thought a program called Mozilla Thunderbird would do the trick, but it didn't.  Or maybe Fiorella screwed up the works.

We Neanderthals are better suited to chisels and stone tablets.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Life of Leisure

Fio's at it again.  She's hopping in the car at 10:30 today to drop by Beleza at 11:00 and drop off some of her promotional bookmarks, then meet with Friend Paula at Dan's at 11:30, then with Friend Cheryl at Starbucks at 12:45.  After that, she'll run by the post office.  Once home, she'll write, write, write till about midnight, then sleep till eight tomorrow morning and start all over again.

She forgot to say that she'll also work in lifting five-pound weights ten times in German, will do ten plies in Russian, slip in a bit of piano practice, and oil her fingernails.

Eating and breathing are optional.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


When Fiorella was a child, she learned the name of every color in the forty-eight crayon box.  When she was older, she learned the name of every oil paint color.  That would seem to be enough, wouldn't it?  But it seems like whenever time she turns around, the names are changing and new color shades are invented.

Fiorella doesn't like meaningless change.  Well, she doesn't like change at all unless it's for the better, and she can see no benefit to changing the names of colors.  Bring back chartreuse!

Monday, August 25, 2014


It may be just wishful thinking, but more and more, Fiorella is beginning to believe in some kind of multiple lives.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if all those people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, in riots and random violence all over the world, would have another chance?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if the essential Fio could live again, but do better the next time around?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Catching up with Canine

Sonia Dog wants Fio and Husband to stay in the same room so she can keep an eye on them. In fact, she prefers to be between them, touching both of them at the same time.  When Mommy and Daddy hug each other, she growls and tries to get between them--a hug without Sonia in the middle is not complete.
The dog days of summer do not appeal to the resident mastiff.  Sonia and Fiorella have been hoofing around the 180-linear yards of the driveway twice a day for a full year now, but a couple of 100-degree days ago, doggie started balking at a second loop.  And last night she backed away when Fiorella approached her with the leash.
Sonia will be three years old in a couple of months.  How matronly.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bookmarks of Love

Fio was a little nervous about asking people to give out promotional bookmarks for WHAT THE HEART WANTS.  She couched her request in phrases like "Would you consider ..." or "Would be you be comfortable ..." because she truly didn't want to impose on anyone.

But no one has turned her down. Minnesota Son and wife, Austin Son and wife, Daughter, Brother and wife, Fio's cousins in Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia, old friends, new friends--everyone has leapt on the bandwagon.

Fiorella is humbled and grateful. Thank you.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dreams of Eternity

Daughter had a dream in which Fio's mother appeared and told her to tell Fiorella she loved her.  She also had a dream in which Fio's father appeared, and he was happy.  Fiorella doesn't know much about the reality of dreams, but it warmed her to hear Daughter's reports.  She always knew her mother loved her, and her father always was a happy kind of person so she hopes they are eternal.

It gives her hope for her own ultimate future, and everyone else's.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Welcome to the dog days of August.  The temps have been running over 100 degrees in Central Texas, and Fiorella is totally innervated, even inside the house.  No matter what the air conditioning reads, her body tells her it is way too hot.

But we should bless August, because that means all the months that follow will be cooler.  Well--except that September sometimes gives us a run for our money.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day off

Please, children, go out and play
Fio needs a rest today

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One of Fio's Short Shorts

 Only the names were changed, to protect the author.

What Everyone Knows 

I turn right at Joe Bob’s pool hall, left at God’s Lighthouse, and right again at Della’s Quality Wigs, then proceed down the road through the low water crossing and turn right at the dead end.  This puts me in the faculty parking lot of Little Whitetail High School, where I’ll be teaching a dual credit college class this fall. The weather is nasty, but I’m in luck: there’s an empty space in the first row, near the back door to the school.
I ease into the space, half open my door, and turn to gather my necesaries from the seat beside me—purse, umbrella, satchel of books and hand-outs.
What sounds like the voice of God booms from above my half-open door.
I jerk around, only to have my vision blocked by a large male torso.  The head and shoulders are above my view.
            The voice continues in slow, measured syllables. “Ma’am, you’ve parked in my secretary’s place.  These two spaces are for the principal and the secretary,”
My head bobs like it is on a spring as I look around to check if there is something I missed.  “There isn’t any sign.”
“Everyone knows.”
I glance out of my back window to see where else I might park, but I must not be moving fast enough because the sepulcheral voice addresses me again. “Can I help you, ma’am?”
“I’m just trying to figure out what spots are open.”  What other local dignitaries would I inadvertently offend?  Who else has invisible dubs on choice parking spots?
“They’re all open, ma’am.”
If they're ALL open, why can’t I stay where I am? runs through my mind, but instead I just say “Oh,” close my door, and back out of the parking space.  I end up one row back, in Lord only knows who else’s spot.
A gray-haired woman pulls up next to me, glares at me, and dings my door when she gets out.
When I reclaim my car at the end of the day, I notice, hanging from shiny new metals, are two laminated paper signs designating the principal’s and secretary’s parking places.  Their flap-flap-flapping holds up through several perfunctory autumn storms, but the signs finally blow away in a truly magnificent Thanksgiving gale. The next week they are replaced with metal signs. 
“Those signs are totally unnecessary,” I tell one of the teachers I’ve become friendly with.  “I’m the only one who didn’t know the local customs, and I don’t park in those two spaces any more.  I’m not even parked out back today.  I couldn’t get through the low water crossing so I parked in one of those yellow-striped spaces out front.”
My friend’s eyes bug out in horror. “Out front?  Those spaces are reserved for the coaches!”
"But there weren’t any signs.”  
“Everyone knows.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weighing Options

Sonia Dog lunged forward and barked ferociously as the neighbor's dogmobile--a golf cart with a dog leashed on  either side of it--putt-putted toward us, but relented when Fiorella jerked back on her nose collar, yelled "LEAVE IT, and offered her PupPeroni.

Yes, a treat in the hand is worth two dogs on the road.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Evening News

Fiorella likes to live in her own little bubble.  She wants all of her friends and family in there too--in fact, their happiness is essential to her happiness.  Thus  when world events rip open her protective membrane, she is devastated.

Husband turned on the evening news yesterday and Fiorella started crying.  The riots in Missouri, the problems in Iraq--why can't people be kind to each other?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pass the Pen and Papyrus!

Your girl is having problems with her computer again.  It refuses to send photos by email.  In fact, the six photos she tried to send on Tuesday gummed up the machine so badly that, even after she called her server to try to find out what the problems was, the laptop wouldn't allow her to send mail out till yesterday when Husband--AKA Fiorella's Help Desk--was finally able to clear out the clog.  But Fio still can't transmit photos, which irritates the heck out of her.  Fio does not like to be stymied!

And, while she's at it, she also doesn't like the way her laptop makes strange maneuvers just because she's accidentally hit a few keys wrong!

Friday, August 15, 2014

In Memoriam

Fio is baffled by the magnitude of the outcry at the death of Robin Williams.  He was a good actor and a great entertainer, but Fiorella does not feel a personal loss.  It's sad that he committed suicide, but every suicide is sad.  Every death is sad.  We'd all prefer our friends and families to live for at least as long as we do.

But Robin Williams was not a member of our families.  Maybe Mork was, or Mrs. Doubtfire, but not the man behind the mask.  He chose to leave the stage, and we'll never quite know why.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Sorry to make you wait
But Fiorella slept late
So now she's feeling grrrrrreat!

Up, Fio, up and away!
You've got a world to save today!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Guten Morgen. Preevyet!

The languages are leaking out of Fiorella night and day--bits and pieces of tongues she has studied through the years, but mainly das Deutsch und/ee rooskee yazeek.  And the wonderful thing is that, when she uses simple phrases, other words and phrases pop into her head.

Verstehen sie?  Pahnimahyitzee lee vwee? 

A bientot!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Selling the Book

Fiorella has been busily engaged in recruiting people to pass along bookmarks advertising her and her books, the one coming out in September and the one coming out next year.  She hit up her cousins in Ohio, Tennesse, and Georgia first, then branched out to friends and people who had expressed an interest in her literary career.  Everyone she has approached has graciously asked for bookmarks, which means Fio is arranging to get more printed.

Would you like some?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Better and Better

Fiorella is still experiencing the thrills of 3D when she takes Sonia around the driveway.  The trees seem to advance upon her as walks toward them, as if it's a mutual meeting.  And she sees their roundness and marvels at the roughness of their bark.  On a more practical level, she can also see through the cedar thicket at the west end of the driveway to check for deer.

OMG, what would a deer vaulting across the path look like?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cyclops Sees!

Fiorella has made a wonderful discovery--3D!  Yes, if she wears glasses with yellow lenses, she can see depth again--at least while she's out walking the dog.

Fiorella lost her depth vision many years ago when an infection attacked her maculas, destroying the central vision in her left eye.  It took a while to get used to being a Cyclops, but Fiorella soon learned not to look at steps when she was going down them, and to judge distance by shadows and perspective.  She still ends up driving over curbs every now and then and sometimes pours milk onto the table rather than into a cup, but, all in all, she does okay.  In fact, she thought she had  forgotten what it was like to see depth.

Until she put on the glasses with the yellow lenses.  Are you ready for another walk, Sonia?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Walking Sonia

The walk started out well.  Fiorella escorted Sonia Dog up the south driveway, requesting that she "sit" at various times as cars went by.  They walked the road and down the north driveway without incident, then began to retrace their steps by going up the south drive again. Fiorella basked in the morning sunshine and the obedience of her sweet dog.

Until, heading down the north driveway again, Sonia caught sight of a deer dumb enough to leap through the cedar thicket.  Doggie, of course, tore after her, her red leash flying behind her.  After cris-crossing the thicket a couple of times, Sonia returned to the driveway, but instead of coming to Mommy, she galloped to the front porch and waited to be let in.

Needless to say, Sonia did NOT get a treat.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Night Owl

Fiorella the morning glory has turned into a night owl.  She is now devoting her mornings to housework, marketing, and general catch-up.  She spends four hours each afternoon on her work-in-progress.  After a three-hour break for dinner and pretending to be alive, she retires to her office from eight till approximately midnight, then prepares for bed,  Needless to say, she's been sleeping well lately.  And her manuscript is up to over 38,000 words. Only 55,000 more to go. Sigh.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sharks, Tylenol, Mastiff, Weed Spray

Husband has been watching crocodile and shark horror movies all afternoon and Fiorella is doubly convinced that lakes, rivers, and the ocean are perilous to humankind.
Don't know what's in Tylenol Nighttime, but it insists that Fio get a full eight hours of sleep.  Blessings on it.
Sonia Dog has taught herself to push open the back porch door to come back into the house.  She's also learned to anchor a rawhide bone with her paw when she pulls at it. Obviously we have a mastiff genius on our hands.
Sometimes the most beautiful sight in the world is dead weeds along the driveway.  Now we know the spray works.
Fiorella may have told you before, but she'll tell you again--a psychologist reads this blog on a daily basis. Be warned.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Young Lady

In her checkered past, Fiorella taught at several colleges.  Her first agenda item in each class was to learn the students' names.  Names are important.  Calling people by their names acknowledges them as individuals to whom you can relate in some way.

Fiorella recently had a disturbing experience with a new doctor.  A bluff, hearty man, he continually addressed her as "young lady," probably thinking he was being cute or flattering.  But since Fio is neither young nor a lady--she's always been something of a smart ass--she wondered if he was mocking her.  Definitely, he was depersonalizing her: calling Fio "young lady" was an easy way for him to avoid having to remember her name or build a relationship.

Fiorella is in the market for a replacement doctor.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Life Is Good

Oink! Oink! Fiorella is in hog heaven!  She's ordered more bookmark hand-outs from the fabulous Cheryl Rae, she's decided to put an ad in her Georgetown writers' group newsletter, her story is moving along, her migraine has abated, her doctor proclaimed her fit and able, and she's lost two pounds since her birthday binge.

Top that!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Enforced Time Off

Fiorella had a lot of house stuff to catch up on when she got home from the national RWA conference, which meant she got behind on her writing schedule.  So what was there to do but to write all Sunday afternoon?

But when she opened her documents file to her current masterpiece, the boldface, which Fio uses to call her attention to what she needs to look at again, seemed much too dark, and the documents pages seemed much too bright.  In fact, the whole room seemed too bright.  And every sound was an assault on Fio's ears. And the air was suffocatingly warm.  And she couldn't think.  And she didn't want to move.  Yes, Fiorella had  a migraine.  She doesn't get them very often and they're not as bad as some people's, but they are debilitating.

Oh well, today's another day.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Editor Search

Fiorella's life is full of adventures.  The one she's getting the most mileage out of right now involves her search for her editor, Michele Bidelspach, at the national RWA conference.

Michele had given Fio a forty-five minute time slot, 11:30 to 12:15, and Fiorella was both elated and apprehensive.  It would be great to talk face-to-face with this publishing deity who controls her literary destiny, but why did Michele want to talk to her--was Fio being called into the principal's office?

That worry was soon shoved aside for a more immediate one--Fiorella had no idea where she should meet with Michele.  Luckily, she ran into another member of her chapter, a published author, who told her that agents and editors usually hang out in the bar area.

No sooner said than done.  Fio immediately scooted down the stairs to the first floor, traversed the bar area itself, then crossed and recrossed the large area outside the bar, looking for a dark-haired woman a little shorter than she was.  But everyone looks short sitting down.

The minutes were speeding by, but Fiorella was determined not to be late for her appointment. She pulled out her cell phone and, using her meager texting skills, sent Michele a message asking where she was.  "In the lounge facing the bar," was the answer.  Fio raced around the area again, then started to query Michele on what she wearing, then suddenly realized her own white slacks and red shirt would probably be more distinctive.  After describing her ensemble to Michele, she raced around the area once again, trying for maximum visibility.

"Jeanell!"  (Fiorella's pen name.)

It was Michele, editor extraordinaire, and not only had Fio made it on time, but her apprehension was for naught.  The meeting was social, with some marketing plans thrown in.  Fio babbled, of course, but Michele was charming.

Its a story arc with a happily-ever-after ending.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Burning the Midnight Oil

The post Fiorella wrote totally disappeared.  Her baby car is in the shop.  The plumber was here for two hours ferreting out a 400 gallon per hour leak.  Husband and Fio are working on an LLC form for the family enterprise.  Her self-esteem hit rock bottom when she spent an hour filling out a form for her publisher.  Every time she's turned around, there has been something or someone demanding her immediate attention.  And she's also trying to work on WHERE THE HEART LEADS.

Oh well, there's always tonight, after everyone else has gone to bed.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Greyfriar's Sonia

Our Sonia has passed, with flying colors, the real-life test she flunked the day before. Yes, she had pulled Fiorella to the ground again, for the first time in at least a year.

As they walked up the south drive, Fio and Sonia had spotted a doe and fawn, frozen like statues, on the far west lawn.  Fio growled "Leave it!" and gave Sonia treats as the deer walked off into the cedar jungle. But, coming down the north drive, Fio was so busy mentally congratulating herself on her handling of the situation that she didn't realize that the doe/fawn unit were ut the far west yard again until Sonia pulled at the leash.  Instead of yelling "Leave it!" and stuffing doggie with treats, Fiorella pulled back on the leash, a tactic which ended up with her on the ground and Sonia galloping off after the deer.

The next day, Fiorella took Sonia out on her walk with fear and trembling--and a vow to be more alert.  Good thing too, because Sonia was tempted by not only the same deer and fawn, but also by two joggers coming straight at her.  "Leave it!" and treats carried the day.

Oh, and in case you're wondering about today's title, after she chased the deer, Sonia ran back to Fiorella, still on the ground, licked her, and sat down beside her to wait until she pushed herself to her feet.