Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Insights and Idiocies

Fiorella offers stray thoughts and conjectures to round out 2014:

1) Given time, all things are possible.  The conditional clause is the problem.

2) Detroit is our Chichen Itza.

3) What does torture do to the torturer?

4) Does any cow ever die a natural death?

5) The tabloids have had Doris Day at death's door for the past twenty years, but, at ninety, she's still going strong.  Of course, the same sources have also had Jennifer Anniston pregnant more times than Michelle Duggar.

A Cow-eat-cow World.

Calves are born into a world of sweet grass, warm milk, and bovine devotion. We protect them form predators, inoculate them against diseases, and supply nutrients necessary to their well-being.  Then, when they're at their prime, we kill them and eat them.

We die, our bodies nourish the earth, the earth grows grass to feed the cows, and the cycle starts all over again.  We are all fodder.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sleeping Tight

Fiorella is an HGTV addict.  She likes to watch House Hunters and its various offshoots before trotting off to bed because their total lack of drama soothes her ever-seething brain.  No murders, no chase scene, no competitions, no death or destruction--just shallow people with loads of money looking for houses with impressive entryways, high ceilings, hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, gas stoves, large bedrooms, huge closets, and multiple luxurious bathrooms complete with double sinks.  Oh--and did Fio leave out "a view" and "character?"

Even the script is banal.  At some point, a prospective homeowner always says something about how he/she can picture himself/herself sitting on the deck sipping a drink as the sun goes down, or some such nonsense.

But Fio isn't complaining.  These shows are her lullaby.

Monday, December 29, 2014


It's about time to print out the Fiorellas for 2014, which, starting from May 2006, makes six and a half years of daily blogs.  This having been said, Fio thinks it is time to repeat the description she posted of herself, lo, those many years ago, because she hasn't changed in the least:

I am young, slender, and beautiful.

My eyes are sky blue--gray when life is cloudy, and purple in passion.  My golden hair ripples down past my waist--on good days, down to my ankles--and on really tremendous days, it's long enough to fling out the window for my lover to climb up.

I was not born, but sprang full-grown from my father's brow.  On my left cheek, I have a small birthmark, my only connection to the imperfections of this mortal coil.

I am built much like a Barbie doll.  My breasts are ripe melons that totally defy the laws of gravity. My waist is so tiny that you wonder how I can breathe.  And my shapely legs are not only incredibly long, but come equipped with naturally-pointed toes.  No brains, of course, but they're not part of the package.

I am as graceful as a gliding swan, have a voice like angels singing, and walk in beauty like the night.

I am Fiorella, the young, slender, and beautiful.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Enough Already!

As you know, Fiorella likes watching The Little Couple, the reality show starring dwarfs Bill Klein and Jennifer Arnold.  She likes the sweet way Bill and Jen deal with each other and their adopted dwarf children.  But every now and then she resents the wads of money that they throw around so easily.

Okay, Fio gets it that being a dwarf is expensive.  Their homes, cars, clothes--everything they own or use has to be adjusted to their disabilities.  Plus, they run up tremendous medical bills to treat various conditions caused by dwarfism.  And they have to hire people to assist them in the house and with their children.

But buying a second home on the Houston beach to use on weekends is too much.  And throwing a big birthday party involving pony rides and a petting zoo for a three-year-old was over the top,

Bill and Jen, Fiorella understands you have suffered and that you've worked hard and that you're good people.  But a little less conspicuous consumption, please.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Big Bang Christmas

Among Fiorella's Christmas gifts from Husband lurked a foot-high tyrannosaur which, when its belly button was pushed, moved its arms, legs, and tail, then let out a tremendous roar.  It was as if Leonard had just presented Penny with a Klingon dictionary.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Good Time Was Had by All

It began about eight with the garbage disposal not working.  Then the drain closed down, and the water burbled up into the other sink. Next came the gingerbread cake debacle: after Fio had mixed two batches of gingerbread, she discovered she was out of aluminum-foil cake pans and poured the batter into two plastic pans.  Husband stopped her as she was on her way to the oven. Then the cooking schedule didn't quite work out, The turkey cooked way too quickly, and the salmon was tepid by the time she got to the table.  And somewhere along the line, Fio realized her cuff had gotten drenched with gingerbread mix, which made it look like she had reached into an unflushed toilet.

Yes, somehow, everything turned out all right.  And this morning a repairman replaced the garbage disposal, which gave Fio and Husband water in the kitchen again.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Morn

Fiorella did finish off her decorating last night.  She also finished off a handful of Christmas gelt to keep her alert and active after Husband had gone to bed.  Yes, the whole world slept, but Fiorella wrote checks and wrapped presents and contemplated putting just a few more ornaments round and about.

But this morning, there's no time for decorating.  The house must be cleaned up for Christmas guests.  And although Fiorella is never trusted with the main course, she is expected to make boiled potatoes, chocolate pudding, and a gingerbread cake.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Congratulate Fio.  She's finished her decorating--almost.  The tree is glowing.  All the swags, drapes, and wreaths are up--even the wreath that had to be wired in place because several passes with a Command hook didn't hold. The birds, fruit, vegetables, and butterflies will go up tomorrow, and then the dining room table will be cleaned off.  After a final trip to the post office and HEB, Fiorella will be prepared for Christmas.

What about Christmas dinner, you ask?  Well, Husband and Daughter will take care of the turkey andixin's.  All Fio will have to do is set the table. And be decorative . . . as is her nature.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In the News

Heavens to Betsy, whatever could have happened to North Korea's internet?  Maybe Santa took a wrong turn and cut through the cloud or the ether or whatever.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Fiorella's Christmas Sonnet, 2014

Thank you, God, for friends and family,
For yesterday, today, tomorrow too,
For life and love and laughter, I thank Thee,
For all things wonderful, beautiful, new, and true,
For talents and skills, for opportunity,
For the existence of this country and this world,
For healing--body, mind, and memory,
For material goods, for inner strength unfurled,
For music, art, pen and poetry,
For science, which demonstrates your wonders made,
For your protection, comfort, generosity,
For your forgiveness when we’ve often strayed,
For all that is, that was, that makes us whole,
For Christ, eternal Christmas of the soul.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Cards

Fiorella has finished off her Christmas cards and is sending them on their way, fully realizing she is in a minority population--the cards she proudly displays on her dining room doors get fewer and fewer each year. If people want to communicate holiday greetings, they can text each other, or send emails, or sign up with Jacquie Lawson.

Fio remembers when Mother would spend days not only signing Christmas cards, but adding a little note inside each one.  It was called communication, and was particularly important before the invention of computers that engendered instant contact to anywhere in the world.  In fact, when Fio's family moved to far-away Texas, the voluminous letters written by her three sisters-in-law, Aunt Miriam, Aunt Hattie, and Aunt Julie, were what kept Fio's parents in touch with life and family at "home."

But Fio likes Christmas cards for more than communication.  She likes to design them.  She likes to create something interesting and pleasing to the eye.  She likes to add something new to the world, something that is uniquely Fiorella.

Like this blog.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fiorella Takes on North Korea

Kim Jong Un wants the attention of world powers and wants to be a world power.  Because he doesn't have the military might to make a dent worth spitting at, he's established an irritating cyber-space program, one that can take down a Sony movie.

Obviously, the world powers will find a way to counter the attack. Then hackers all over the world will find a loophole and attack again.  Back and forth, back and forth, until the whole system is brought down in chaos and we revert to living in caves.

Might even have to write letters again.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Random Observations

The winter calves are dotting the pasture now, little dabs of orange and white lying in the grass beside their mothers.
Men write with their gonads.  Women write with their hearts.  Men write sex as porn.  Women write sex as romance.
The cedars along the road leading to the Gucci HEB are in full holiday bloom now, their branches laden with ornaments and tinsel garlands.
Fiorella is always singing in her head, even if her vocal chords are not cooperating.  Fa-la-la-la-la-- la-la-la-la.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Frenzy II

One week till Christmas and, in traditional Fiorella fashion, our heroine is only halfway there. She worked on the cards last night and hopes to finish them this morning.  Then there are the outside snowflakes to hang on the little tree--still.  But after that, it's all inside--the wreaths, the swags, and the drapes.  And Minnesota Son and his lovely wife arrive on Saturday. Not that everything will be done by then, but Fio knows she can rely on them for help, especially with the can lights that need replacing.

My heavens, you say--all this, and you also have time to write on your second book?  Well--heh-heh--not quite, but Fio figures that if her editor can take a week off for Christmas, she can too.  Besides, whether Fio has her laptop open or not, the ideas keep popping out of her subconscious--and she always has a notepad handy.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Still No Swags

Yesterday's Christmas decorating, of course, did not gone as planned.  To Fio's credit, the driveway garlands are up, and the mantel is now populated by a manger scene, a small village of old Avon miniatures, and several pine cones.  Fio even got a couple of wreaths in place on the windows and front door, but she didn't locate the outside snowflakes until after her hip started hurting so it was no go in that department.

Fio will be away for about five hours today, but she still hopes to get a few things done--maybe the snowflakes and the rest of the wreaths.  It looks like the greenery swags--over doorways and the big dining room window, running up the stairs--will have to wait.

And yes, Fio never finishes until the 24th, but she makes up for it by leaving her decorations up through January.

Wreaths and Swags

Today the wreaths and swags go up!  Of course, that's what Fio said a couple of days ago too, but this time SHE MEANS IT!

Except, of course, that the outside decorations have to go up first--the tinsel garlands to mark the driveway entrance, the snowflakes that hang from the lower branches of the small tree out front, and the door decor.

Maybe the wreaths and swags won't make it up till Wednesday.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Latest

Fiorella and Husband agree on many things, but not all things.  Definitely not on the thermostat settings- Fio wants it cooler, and Husband wants it warmer.  Let the battle begin!
The stockings are all hung by the fire with care: red-green-red-green-red-green-red-green-red.  Close together, but if anyone else showed up, Fiorella would gladly squeeze out another inch or two.
When she was younger, Fiorella always had a new dress for Christmas Eve church service, but now she wears something already in her closet.  Old friends are the best friends

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Runneth Over

Thank you for the random kindness of strangers--well, an almost-stranger.  Fiorella used to go to Office Depot a lot more than she does now that her recently-retired husband has taken over the chore, and, being her father's daughter, she got to know the clerks. In fact she became sort of chummy with one of them.

So when Fiorella dropped by the store for some of those snap-closed paper clips the other day, and  Nancy commented on her long absence,  Fio explained she'd been spending her time writing.  Then she gave Nancy one of her promotional bookmarks and told her she'd had a romance novel published.  Nancy's face lit up like a Christmas tree, and she said she'd read Fio's book right away.

And she did.  Fiorella got a nice message from her last night.

Again, Fio's cup runneth over.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Eve

How long and dark the night which swallows day
How frightened, lost, and lonely is my soul
How dim the star, how very far away
I cannot see or hope, I am not whole
No lamp without can light my dark within
No hand can rescue from the Stygian swell
I am the waiting world, awash in sin
I drown in darkness from the sea of hell
The universe is dark, eternal night
We live alone in darkness, and we die
And vain dream of hope, and pray for light
And cry to God and wait for God's reply
     How long, O God, must we await the dawn?
     How long, O God, until out hope is born?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Frenzy

Fio is on a roll!  She finished off her Christmas sonnet on Wednesday and mocked up her card yesterday evening.  She's also cut out a dozen big snowflakes and taped them on windows around the house.  The stocking are up too.  Still to go are showcasing her many nativity scenes, tying bows on everything tyable, decorating every empty surface with Santas, hanging plastic snowflakes from the little tree outside the door, putting up the wreaths and swags, baking gingerbread cakes for the neighbors and--oh yes--shopping.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Poetic Update

Fiorella has written a new Christmas sonnet for the first time in two years.  Hooray!  She's been so engaged in churning out romance novels lately that she was afraid she'd lost her touch.

Interestingly enough (or maybe not), Fio consulted her trusty old rhyming dictionary, the one that her parents had given her for Christmas when she was in high school, rather than using rhyming sites on line.  She has used the sites for some of her jingles, but the dictionary gives her access to more words and forms of words, and all at the same time.

It took her a couple of days on and off, but she finally solved a the problem with a troublesome couplet last night after Husband and Sonia Dog had retired.  You'll see the sonnet, complete, nearer to Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Walking Dead

Daughter tells her that it's related to her double-thick eyelashes, but Fiorella has heart problems.  It's only because of an artificial aortic valve, which protects her from congestive heart failure, and a pacemaker, which keeps her heart in lock-step, that Fiorella still treads this earth.

But is this the real Fiorella or some kind of golem?  Is Fio who she thinks she is, or merely an expression of her former self?

The walking dead are among us, and Fiorella is one of them,

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Fiorella's cup runneth over because she has wonderful neighbors. The most recent additions to her honor roll are Mike and Kathy Brown, who live on the other side of the dry creek.  Last Christmas, they brought over a four-pack of mouth-watering cupcakes.  And earlier this year, they came over again to be sure Husband and Fio still wanted to split the cost of a property-line fence with them.

We invited them in, of course, and the four of us talked about ourselves and fences and deer and trees and firewood.  Mike, who knows how to take down dead trees, volunteered to share firewood with us, and this weekend we took him up on it.  An hour later, he and Kathy drove a flatbed loaded with cut wood down our driveway and unloaded it for us.

We are blessed. And warm.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Busy or Bored

Fiorella didn't enjoy the Christmas party she attended over the weekend. She thought about the situation and realized she's never enjoyed parties, which made her further realize that it's not the party--it's Fio.

Your Fio is not a party animal. She has two gears: busy and bored, which means that the only party she enjoys is one that she herself sets up, That way, she has something to do.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Smother Mother

Now that Sonia's of age in dog years, she wants more independence, especially when Fio takes her for walks around the driveway.  For the second day in a row, Doggie broke leash halfway down the north drive on the way back to the house to investigate an interesting smell. But when she'd followed the scent as far as it interested her, Sonia did NOT return to Fiorella,  Instead, she started trotting along the driveway toward the front porch, pausing to look behind her from time to time to be sure Mommy was still with her.

Fiorella appreciates her solicitude and is relieved that Sonia's goal is the front porch, not the big, bad, wonderful world out there.  And she realizes Sonia is at the age that she feels entitled to make her own decisions.  But Fiorella wants to keep her on the leash.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Subconscious to the Rescue

Hooray for the subconscious mind!.

Friend Jeanell woke up at about four in the morning and lay there letting her thoughts wander where they would.  Soon the disparate parts of her current ms were coming together into a large literary jigsaw puzzle. Jeanell had always known what would happen in WHERE THE HEART LEADS, but she hadn't quite known how it would happen. Now, she knows it all.

Downhill slope, everyone.  Downhill slope.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Political Observation

There's a big difference between patriotism and the nouveau jingoism that seems to be sweeping the nation.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Literary Gratitude

There is nothing like an unsolicited rave e-mail review from a fellow romance writer to pull Friend Jeanell up out of the depths. Thank you, Evelyn Palfrey.
And, while she's at it, thank you, Janece Hudson, for the wonderful rescue review and for your continuing support and advice.
And thank you, Louisa Edwards, for your cheerleading and inside view of the industry.
And a special thanks to Carol Fox for arranging Jeanell's book-signing at Java Junction on Tuesday.  And to all the friends, relatives, and ARWA members who've been supportive of Jeanell's journey.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Christmas Tree

Fiorella has hauled the Christmas tree out of the garage and started putting it together, first joining the three sections of its metal stem, then hooking the branches into its color-coded slots.  She and Husband purchased the tree at HEB for $100 in the days before pre-lit ones existed, and Husband has urged Fiorella to dump the old lady.  But Fiorella clings onto her.  She's big, at least five feet across, and tall, about seven feet, and her metal branches are strong enough to hold anything Fio--an infamous over-decorator--drapes on them.

So Fiorella straightens out all the tangled fronds and hopes for the best.  She doesn't want to replace her Christmas tree.  It's become a member of the family.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seasonal Euphoria

If you run into a woman  rushing around the supermarket with a big smile on her face, c'est moi, Fiorella, and c'est her time of year, Especially in HEB.

Fio loves the cold weather outside, the noisy crowds of people inside who are buying the store out as if Georgetown is about to freeze over, the HEB elves and fairies setting up Christmas displays and restocking everyday shelves with holiday items.  She loves the way the air seems brighter, more exciting--electric, even.  And she loves the way chocolate-covered Santas and gold-wrapped chocolate coins suddenly appear, as if conjured by a Christmas magi who was passing through.

The Christmas season is in full swing--ENJOY!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Golden Rain

The south driveway, awash in cedar elm leaves, looks like the road to Oz.  And when Fio and Husband walk Sonia Dog, the leaves shower down upon them like golden rain. Fiorella loves autumn.

And you can bet every bit of it will be in her next book.