Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three Ebola Questions

Why it that measles, pneumonia, and cancer are written with a lowercase initial letter, and Ebola is written with an uppercase initial letter?

Why do people complain about being quarantined for possible Ebola when it's a public health issue?

Why is it that Governor Perry wants to keep passengers from Ebola-infected countries from flying into Texas (stopping the plane in mid-air?), but hasn't proposed check points on highways?  And why hasn't he quit flying off to points around the country himself, where he comes in touch with Lord only knows who from Lord only knows where?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Fio is a sucker for those Facebook quizzes, although she opts out when all the choices are unknown to her or repugnant.  And, of course, she likes the ones that compare her to people such Elizabeth I and Wonder Woman, or identify her as sage or charming or well-balanced. But some of the other quizzes run deeper, and Fio has noticed a pattern in her answers indicating that she is uncomfortable in large groups unless she's the center of attention or in control of the situation.

And she's been known to duck out on a social situation entirely if no one is compatible.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's Complcated

Fio leads a simple life, but her every electronic move is supervised by a myriad of super-secret codes which are pinned to the bulletin board in her kitchen, along with all those other immensely important announcements that have come her way. But no person of evil intent will ever find any of  her codes because, most of the time, Fio can't even find them herself.

Monday, October 27, 2014


As if a ton of rocks were dumped on her head,  Fiorella has again been reminded of how different she is.  How--well--weird.  If you've been reading Fio's blog for any length of time, you've probably come to the same conclusion.

Basically, the problem is, as Fio's mother once told her, "You think too much."  Yes, Fio's mind munches on everything in the meadow.  She theorizes about past times, even prehistoric times, and she wonders about the future.  She is not content just to live her life, but also wants to understand it.  In fact, she wants to understand everything.

And she wants to do everything too.  She wants to paint and draw and to sing and compose music and to write poetry and short stories and novels.  She wants to design and sew and crochet and embroider.  She wants her house and yard to look spectacular.  And, although it's way too late, she'd like to become proficient in some of the languages she's dabbled in through the years: Russian, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Telugu, Hindi, and Mandarin (Latin and Sanskrit being optional).

Yes, Fiorella is certifiable.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Anyone with Access

The jury's in.  It's impossible to tell who's going to pick up a gun and start shooting.

Some of the school shootings have been blamed on the victims--they must have bullied their murderers somewhere along the line.  Others have been blamed on the shooters' parents--they must not have brought their children up right.  Some have been blamed on the shooters' own unique psyches--they must have been resentful outsiders. But the shooting in Washington state belies all of these pop psychology explanations.  The shooter, who targeted his own relatives, was an insider, a popular football hero, and his family was supportive and loving.

Who will the next shooter be?  Anyone with access.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hoarders in the Family

As Fiorella's hands set rocks around the driveway, her brain was busy trying to piece together the psychology of her late sister-in-law.  In her later years, BJ became a classic hoarder.  Narrow paths wound their ways between the piles of treasures in her architect-designed home on a prestigious street in an exclusive Austin zip code.

Maybe BJ's hoarding was because her parents had died on her, one of her sons had been killed, and another had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. But BJ had a third son who was very much alive and sane.  And two grandsons to boot.

Maybe the  hoarding was a genetic thing--BJ's aunt had been a hoarder.  Maybe hoarding had once been a survival mechanism for the human race.

Fiorella didn't draw any conclusions about BJ, but at least a lot of rocks got put in place.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Birthday Dog

Sonia's birthday was Tuesday, and Fiorella missed it, for which she profoundly apologizes.  After all, it was a very important BD for doggie, her third, which means she is now twenty-one years old in dog years--old enough to vote, to drink, and to make her own living.

Sonia may not be holding down a job yet, but she has matured.  She isn't as interested in rawhide sticks as she used to be, and she doesn't chew on anything else at all.  And yesterday, Fiorella was able to persuade her to ignore four deer in the woods within fifteen yards of her, even when they bolted.  Also, whenever Sonia breaks leash now, she heads straight for the front door and waits on the porch to be let in.

She knows where she belongs.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Uncomfortable Party-goer

Fiorella does not understand parties.  She's very good at talking person-to-person or before a crowd (classrooms of her students, gatherings of which she is president, etc.) but has never understood how to mingle.  It seems rude to stick with one person or group the whole time, but she's not sure she can make it around the room.  Actually, she'd rather everyone line up in rows and that the socializing be regulated by a gong sounding every five minutes to signal it's time to change partners.

Obviously, Fiorella is, as the Facebook quizzes keep telling her, a Lone Ranger type of gal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Good-bye, Luann

It's official with Fio.  Luann, move aside.  You are no longer a To Die For comic strip.  Fiorella has switched her allegiance to Edge City.

Maybe it was the change from high school to college that did Luann in.  Somehow the strip doesn't seem as clever or relevant anymore.  And Fio totally disliked Bernice's party scene.  Parties are a subsidiary to college, not the main event.

Fio also misses Luann's old cast--her high school teacher, the guidance counselor, Ox, Dawn.  And whatever happened to that funny little Elvis Presley guy?  Glad to see Tony, Brad, and Shannon still around, but they can't carry the whole show.

Luann, you're just not working for Fiorella anymore.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Fiorella is rolling in chocolate.  She won a raffle basket at her RWA meeting last night--which is a miracle in itself because Fio NEVER wins any kind of drawing--and it was overflowing with M&Ms, Milky Ways, and Hershey bars.  Of course, there were also six paperbacks, all kinds of writing implements, and several other items in the basket, but the chocolate was what she focused on.

Lucky there's no Willy Wonka factory around here or Fio would meet a bittersweet end.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Facebook Politics

Fiorella is disturbed by the hate-mongering on Facebook.  Sure, the cute dogs, cats and children get a little old, especially since Fiorella's Sonia is the cutest dog around, she has no cats, and her children are adults living their own lives, but pictures of the President of the United States photoshopped to look like a zombie or a vampire do not influence Fiorella's vote.  In fact, like graffiti scrawled over a wall mural, they repel her.

Let's grow up, everyone, and put politics on a more adult level.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Credit Card News

Good thing that Fiorella hadn't memorized the number on her new credit card, the one issued to her when Target was hacked, because now Home Depot has been hacked and Fio's getting another replacement card with yet another new number on it.

What's next?  Starbucks?  FedEx-Kinko's, Barnes and Noble?

Pretty soon the credit companies are gonna run out of numbers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

News Flashes

Okay, now a man in wee little Georgetown has been exposed to Ebola.  It's all  matter of time.
Fio and Husband had their rock-gathering expedition in the west yard interrupted by an army of wicked-looking little black ants that gushed out of the ground and stung like hell.  We were totally routed.
We have all these wonderful electronic means of communication--email, FaceBook, Google--and they all go down the drain at the slightest hint of a thunderstorm. Nature will prevail.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Empty Heroes

Fiorella has noticed that certain people are always the heroes of their own stories, those little anecdotes we all tell each other about ourselves.  Most of us downplay our triumphs and, with a pang of sorrow, laugh at our failures, but some people twist their stories to makes themselves shine and everyone else look stupid.

Maybe it's protective bravado that's driving these people to shellac themselves with unmitigated success. Maybe it's plain old boorishness.  Whatever it is, Fiorella finds these people annoying and avoids them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Specialty Menu

Fio lives on chocolate bars,
And chocolate drinks, and ice box pies
And chocolate-frosted chocolate cakes
And chocolate kisses, oversize,
On chocolate Hard Shell, chocolate sauce,
On Easter bunnies in their season
On chocolate pudding, chocolate fudge,
Ah--chocolate, chocolate --always pleasing!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Landscape Plans

Has Fiorella told you her plan for the west yard inside the U-shaped driveway?  She wants to clear as many rocks as possible from it, then use them to line the drive. She also wants to clear out the broken branches and debris.  And to trim the low-hanging trees. And to cut down the tall weeds next to the driveway.  Also to use some sort of yard vacuum to take up the fallen leaves.

In short, she wants the area to become a park.  Any volunteers?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Passing Fad?

Fiorella has albums full of photos, boxes full of photos, drawers full of photos, even cabinets full of photos.  She knows what her grandparents looked like because of these photos. Her own life and her children's lives were documented in these photos.  But no more.  Not since the cell phone camera arrived on the scene. The newbie was fun to aim and shoot, a novelty--but few of the photographs were ever printed.  And when the cell phone died, the photos died.

History became oblivion.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Celebrating Holidays

Fiorella has decorated her front door with paper pumpkins and posterboard bats. And several more bats are flying on her front room windows.  And a pair of pumpkins and a bevy of bats are taped to her patio doors.  And soon she and Husband will come home from HEB with two real live pumpkins for her to carve into jack-o'-lanterns..

If Fiorella seems to be more into Halloween this year, it's because Friend Jeanell's characters in WHERE THE HEART LEADS will also be celebrating the holiday.  The story continues through to New Year's, so Rafe and Moira will get to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

Nice of them to accommodate Friend Jeanell's plot.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Regarding Amazon Reviews

Fiorella's friend Jeanell never wrote an Amazon review until she was asked to.  Luddite that she is, she didn't know how to do it and had to be instructed, step by step.  Since then, she's written eight reviews, solicited and unsolicited.

What about the multitudes of reviews some books receive?  Fiorella is sure some books are surefire and attract spontaneous reviews.  But she also knows there are companies out there that sell positive reviews.  And that some authors provide free copies of their books with the stipulation that the readers write reviews.  And that membership in a Golden Heart loop produces raves from one's fellow travelers. And that friends and family can be hit up.

Shameless self-promotion.  It's part of the publishing revolution.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Regulated Lifestyle

I live by my calendar, I confess,
So why is it always such a mess?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Out of Africa

The disease has crossed the ocean, which was bound to happen. Fiorella realized the possibility when she first read about it years ago.  After all, the world is shrinking every day. But let's hope Ebola is contained and that the medical advances in its treatment are effective.  And let's hope it doesn't become a weapon.

A weapon, you say?

Think about infecting someone, then sending him into a target populace.  Whole nations could be wiped off the face of the earth.  Whole continents could be swept clean.  Humankind could be reduced to small enclaves hiding in caves, much as we began.

Hmm . . .  wonder if this has happened before.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Adventure in Vacuuming

Fiorella and Husband had an adventure, and it started at the community fair where Fio was peddling her friend Jeanell's book.  A woman at the next booth expressed interest in WHAT THE HEART WANTS and said she would buy it if she could give a fifteen-minute presentation to Fiorella and her husband at home about her own product, which Fiorella understood was some kind of air freshener.

Fay showed up at the right time, but with Angela, her niece, in tow.  Angela, forty-one, was a new grandmother.  Fay, seventy-three, told us she has ten children, twenty-three grandchildren, and numerous great-grand-children.   Both were dressed in tight clothes with plunging necklines and lots of sparkles.  Angela's hoop earrings had  a four-inch diameter, and her hair was piled up six inches above her head in front and dyed/bleached three different colors. Both of them were plastered with make-up and spoke an interesting patois which called for "was" to be used as a plural and "no" to be substituted for "any." Fiorella suspects they were gypsies.

The women carried in a couple of big boxes which turned out to be a Rainbow vacuum cleaner and its attachments, The demonstration and spiel took a full hour.

Husband and Fio were polite, but, to the surprise of the well-rehearsed ladies, they didn't bite or buy. "Why?" Fay asked.  Husband said the vacuum was too expensive ($3500), and Fiorella said she was not a gadget person. After making an immediate price reduction and a final attempt, Fay and Angela packed up and departed, but not before asking Fio and Husband to recommend them to friends and family.

No way.

The experience was interesting--an old-fashioned, fast-talking, door-to-door salesman kind of pitch-- but Fiorella already has a very good vacuum cleaner, a Miele, and she isn't interested in one with an attachment for unclogging toilets.  Besides, she researched Rainbow on the Internet afterwards and learned that it's schlock.

P.S.:  Fiorella never got a last name or a business card from either woman, and Fay never said a word about buying Fiorella's book.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Did you read about those position-tracking brain cells we all supposedly have?  The ones the discoverers got a Nobel Prize for? Well, Husband has them in abundance.  Fio doesn't.  As Fiorella has often said, she is geographically challenged.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Theological Viewpoint

Churches can be very nice, but they are not sacred unto themselves. A church is a meeting place, not where God's lives.  God does not dwell therein or thereon. God is uncontained.  God is everywhere. Thus no place or site is any more sacred than any other.

All places are sacred.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mysteries and Romances

Mysteries and romances are alike in that the protagonists in both genres have to uncover secrets and defeat evil-doers.  But they differ in the way the stories are told.  In mysteries, the beginning of the book--where all the questions are asked--and the end of the book--where all the questions are answered--are vital. In romances, the beginning of the book--where the main characters are introduced--and the middle of the story--which documents the characters' journey--are most important.  The end is obvious.
Fiorella used to read mysteries, but now she reads romances because then she isn't tempted to flip to the last chapter right off the bat.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Today is Minnesota Son's birthday, and, for the first time in years, Husband and Fio will be able to celebrate it with him.  Yes, Son and his lovely wife are in Texas right now.

The nuclear family got together last Sunday for a pre-birthday celebration at Longhorn Steakhouse in Georgetown.  Then yesterday, Son and his wife, Fio and Husband met with part of the extended family at Frisco in Austin.  And today Fio and Husband will again have most of the nuclear family together, this time for cake and ice cream.

Yeah, birthdays are a big deal in Fiorella's world.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Now that Ebola is loose in the United States, how can we protect ourselves?  Maybe we should seal off Dallas,  But, no, already people who had contact with that Liberian guy have traveled to other cities in the state.  Well, how about sealing off Texas, something Rick Perry has been trying to do for years?  Won't work--people who were on the same plane as the guy, but traveling to other states, have already landed.

In fact, some of those passengers may have been heading to other countries too. Let's face it, Ebola is worldwide now.  It's a new form of plague.

God help us.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Ceremonies of Morning

Fiorella has her habits.

She rises at approximately eight in the morning, uses the bathroom, brushes her teeth, applies deodorant, smears on sunscreen, fixes her hair and inserts her earrings, gets dressed, makes the bed, looks around for what else needs to be done, then walks downstairs to put on lipstick, check out Google news to find out what's been going on in the world, skim Facebook and email, and read the newspaper and work out the anagrams.  After that, she raises the blinds to let in morning, takes Sonia Dog for a double walk around the driveway, and eats breakfast.

Now she's armed and ready for the day.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Fiorella has discovered an old friend--reading.  She's often said that she's spent half of her life reading, and now she's pouring it all back out in her books, but somewhere along the line, she got depleted.

Time to stoke the coals again.  Yes, right now Fio's devouring every book, romance or not, that she can get her hands on because she needs to feed the fire.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Dance

Fiorella is dancing, Fiorella is singing, Fiorella is walking on air!  Her cardiologist's nurse read the book and loves it!  In fact, she said she couldn't put it down, that Fio had her from the first "Hello," and she read it straight through!

Fio needed that reassurance because she has no earthly idea whether WHAT THE HEART WANTS is selling or not.  There's probably a way to get that information, but Fiorella wants to dwell in possibility (a fairer house than prose) for a while longer. Besides, she doesn't know of anything further she could do to promote the book.  At some point, it's got to develop its own legs.

And Fio hopes those legs can travel.