Saturday, October 31, 2015



May your candles glow 
As you come and go
Begging swag and sweet
No tricks, all treat.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Fio has been contacted by a rancher from whom Jason Tindall, the scamming handyman, stole two expensive saddles, and she learned that Tindall is a petty crook who cons and steals his way around the country.  Just as he had presented himself as being as expert handyman, telling Fio and Husband that he'd worked in construction since he was thirteen and his father owned Viking Fence, he told the rancher that he was an expert horse trainer with contacts out the wazoo.

Fio will, of course, use all of this in a book someday, but right now, she wants to spread the word:

Thursday, October 29, 2015


At some point, we will all be held accountable for how we lived our lives.

Did we use our talents and skills as much as we were able?  Despite discouragement and failure, did we soldier on?  Were we reliable and trustworthy? Were we kind and helpful?  Did we love our neighbors as ourselves?  

Did we enjoy being alive?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Goodreads Choice!

Fiorella is ecstatic!  Friends Jeanell's new book, Where the Heart Leads, which comes out on November 17, is top-listed by Goodreads as "to-read!"

And, ahem, it's so well-deserved.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Sad or happy
Rich or poor
The secret is
To endure

Monday, October 26, 2015

Nostradama Fiorella's Pognostication

 The campaigning for the GOP nomination started way too early and the candidates have worn out both themselves and their welcome.  Fio predicts that in the last couple of months before the July convention, a dark horse will emerge and win the day.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Keeping Up with Fiorella

Fiorella must be entering her second childhood-she's skinned her knee like when she was a kid and always had skinned knees.  Then, suddenly, when she turned five, she didn't.
 Fio's experience with the scamming handyman reminds her of her experience with a scamming yardman several years ago.  The good thing is that she now has a really great yardman and, after she told her story to the septic tank man, he gave her the name of a dependable handyman whom he has known for years.  And, speaking of the septic tank man, he too, is dependable.
After many failed attempts at entering the Romance Writer's of America's published author contest, Fio finally pulled a PDF off the site and faxed it to Houston, Wish her well.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Handyman Blues

Fiorella is not happy with the new shelves in the den. The handyman charged lot$ of money, then used substandard wood.  And he didn't clean up after himself. And he didn't match the design on the other side of the fireplace. And, while Fio and Husband are currently tacking and buffing the shelves to make them more acceptable, they may have to replace them with a better cut of wood and start over.

Fio had discussed a couple of other projects with the handyman, but they're not going to happen. At least, not with him.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015


This is Day Four without television, and it still feels strange.  On Monday, the old corner cabinet got torn out, which meant that a lot of electric wires were cut.  On Tuesday, standing wall shelves replaced it, which meant the wires stayed cut.  Then Fio and Husband spent last night working on what the handyman hadn't finished off.

Husband will probably hook up the TV again tomorrow--or maybe he'll leave it for Minnesota Son to do when he and his wife come to visit next week.  Gotta entertain them somehow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

HB, Sonia!

Happy birthday, Sonia Dog!

Yes, baby dog is four years old today--twenty-eight in human years--and she's settled down into a lovely young lady.  Chasing after the deer doesn't interest her as much these days, and she can be trusted outside the house without a leash.  In fact, if we leave the back gate open, she just circles around to the front porch and lies down on the welcome mat until someone lets her in.

But she's still wary of visitors until Husband and I indicate all is well.  We take care of her and she takes care of us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Outdoorsy Snippets

Yesterday Fio grabbed her loppers and entered terra incognita, the southern woods outside the chain link fence that borders Sonia's realm, and was met by a barrage of brittle branches and biting bugs.  Fio lopped off all the branches she could, but couldn't do anything about the bugs, who polka-dotted her legs with bites. Just one of the joys of country living.
Fio has discovered what looks like another armadillo burrow.  We're the mother lode.
Husband and Fiorella have a number of outdoor projects going on--cleaning up the southern woods, turning the meadow next to the dry creek into a picnic area, edging the cactus garden out front with bricks, talking to their neighbors about a boundary fence--and when these are finished off, there are more coming down the pike. If you come visit,we'll put you to work.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Artistic Appreciation

Fiorella was born with The Eye.  She absorbs shapes and colors and designs and arrangements as naturally as she breathes, then spews out drawings and paintings and house plans and decorations. Fio, is delighted with each one of her creations, but long ago, she discovered that most people will glance at what she has done, pat her on the head, and go on about their business.

So it was a thrill to her when Husband looked at the cardboard bats Fiorella has taped to the windows and front door, then said, "I remember sitting on the couch next to you last year and watching you cut them out so quickly that I couldn't even follow the scissors. I don't know how you do it."

Fio is in love all over again.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sonia, Our Guardian

Husband has rigged up a hammock in the back seat of the car for Sonia Dog, and she frequently accompanies us to the store or Dairy Queen.  But sometimes she has to stay home, which she understands is her fate the second she smells Fio spraying on cologne and hears the key words: "Bye-bye, honey.  Take care of the house."

You would think that this dog, who usually clings to us like Saran Wrap, would have separation anxiety, but instead she settles down on the couch and waits patiently for us to return.  She truly does take care of the house.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

9-11 Politicized

Just when you think The Donald has said it all, he says something else, like that George Bush is responsible for 9-11 because it occurred during "his reign."

His reign?  Fiorella was not a fan of George Bush, but she never thought holding him responsible for allowing" 9-11 to occur.  And what the heck does Trump mean by "his reign?"  As far as Fio knows, Presidents do not "reign," which implies a lifetime commitment, but serve four-year terms, two at the most.

Isn't it time the red-headed clown is hooked off the stage?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Waco, Old and New

Surprisingly, Fio survived her high school reunion. She talked to a lot of people, ate too much, and spent way too much time driving around New Waco and looking for Old Waco. Her elementary school has been replaced by a new school, her junior high is now a vacant lot, and her high school is a downtown apartment building.  The nice neighborhood she grew up on is going downhill fast.

To top it off, she and Husband spent an hour out in the hot sun checking out tombstones to find her parents' graves before they finally gave up and sought help from a cemetery employee. Then there was the flower arrangement Fio tried to make for the grave vase.  Sorry, Mom.  Fio's brain and fingers were fried by then.

But I love you.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

High School Reunion

Husband and Fio are in Waco for her high school reunion.  It's interesting, exciting, and weird.  People grow up to be different than they were as teenagers--their appearances change with age, weight gain and loss, and hair colors and styles, while their personalities and attitudes have been altered by their varying experiences.

Fio is attending the reunion not only because she is curious about her former classmates, but also because she might pick up some good story ideas.  Hmm--light bulb goes on--maybe she could deduct the registration fee as a business expense.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Handy Dandy

Fiorella and Husband want to hire someone to take out a corner cabinet and replace it with shelves. Home Depot recommended three handymen, but one of them never responded, which cut the field down to two.

Candidate #1 came over immediately and measured everything, but postponed making an estimate.  Candidate #2 came over the next day and not only measured everything, but made a reasonable estimate.  However Candidate #1 will accept credit cards, while  Candidate #2 does not.

After four days, Fio finally called Candidate #1 for the promised estimate.  He said he thought he'd already sent it, but would do so again. He also said that his wife and son would come along on the job to help him.  And that he couldn't start work for a couple of weeks

Candidate #2 said he would do the work all by his lonesome and could start on Monday.

Fio would love to get those extra frequent flyer miles, but Candidate #2 is the winner.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nip in the Air

'Tis the season to be scary. Fiorella hung a plastic skeleton to her mailbox yesterday, then hauled out her cut-out pumpkins and cardboard bats and taped them to the windows.  Next week she and Husband will select their perfect pumpkins from the displays of identically perfect pumpkins in front of H-E-B--don't tell Fio those things aren't genetically engineered!  Then, last week of the month, they'll buy bags and bags of mini Milky Ways to sate the appetite of every trick-or-treater in the neighborhood and leave a generous  helping for themselves.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Personal Items

You may take the high road, but Fiorella will take the low road from now on.  Yes, she's donating every last high-heeled shoe in her closet (even the red ones, sigh) to The Caring Place for some young chick to enjoy while she grounds herself with flats.
Fio's hairdresser has moved to Washington State, which is too far a drive for Fiorella. It's not just the hair care Fio misses, but the company.
Fio wants a tummy tuck.  Yeah, three kids with an average birth-weight of ten pounds will do it to you.  Then there's that seventy pounds of avoirdupois she gained and managed to shed a while back.
More and more, the only part of the newspaper that makes sense to Fio is the comic strips.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

What the Heart Wants

A steamy Texas romance.  Digital on Amazon for $2.99. Print edition available through Print on Demand.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Multi-Lingual Greetings

Keefik! Hola! Ciao! Chao! Guten Morgen! Preevyet! Ave! Comesta! Nee hau! NuhmuhskaaruhmuhnDee! Nuhmustey. Bon jour! 

Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Latin, Fillipino, Mandarin, Telugu, Hindi, and French.

As Fiorella has often said, she knows just enough in far too many languages to get her in trouble anywhere she goes. Sigh--if only she knew more.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Having the Eye

Fiorella is fascinated by the way the right accent piece can pull a room together.

Every room in Fiorella's house is painted white and decorated in shades of red and blue.  Downstairs in the den, it's maroon and blue, which shows off the Persian carpets Husband inherited from his mother.  And in the master bedroom upstairs, it's peach and aqua, which works well with the white, white master bedroom and en suite. But neither of the rooms really came together until Fio added a large maroon pillow to the couch and placed a multi-folded red-orange Indian blanket across the bench at the foot of the bed.

Fio's inner artist glows with appreciation every time she looks at the maroon pillow and red-orange Indian blanket, but Sonia Dog drags the pillow off onto the floor, and Husband piles clothes on top of the blanket.

Such is the fate of an artist.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Blessing!

Fiorella visited the bank again yesterday so now she knows how to say "thank you" in Arabic:  shukrahn:  The first syllable is pronounced like English "shook" and the second syllable is pronounced like the nickname for Ronald except that the "r" is rolled.

Fio is in ecstasy!  God is good!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fio's Taxes at Work

Fiorella had an adventure yesterday--really more of an experience.  After spending a pleasant hour in her dentist's office (she loves Dr. Ma and his staff), she hopped in her little Miata and headed home via I-35.  But just before she came to the Round Rock overpass, she ran over something that made a snapping sound.  Then her car began to wibble, wibble, wibble.  The wibble turned into a rumble, rumble, rumble, and then a GRUMPA, GRUMPA, GRUMPA.

Fiorella moved over from the center "fast" lane as quickly as she could, parked on the side of the road, and turned on her hazard light.

But what to do now?  She had to choose carefully if she was going to call anyone because her cell was low on power.  She tried Husband and Minnesota Son but couldn't get any response.  Nothing to do but call 911.

In ten minutes, a Travis County patrol car was parked behind her and a Travis County truck was parked in front of her.   Another ten minutes and Fiorella had enough air in her tire to drive--slowly--to Discount Tires a mile down the road.

Thank you, guys.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bath Tub Mathematics

As Fiorella wallowed in the tub, she contemplated numbers, which, not being mathematically inclined, is unusual for her.  On the other hand, patterns are her cup of tea, and it was the patterns of numbers that struck her as interesting.  For instance, the fact that every odd number can become an even number by adding or subtracting "one."  And that every even number can become an odd number by the same process.   And that odd numbers can become even numbers by doubling them, but only even numbers that were originally odd numbers can become odd by division.

And then she wondered if a number system could be set up using only odd numbers, with the evens represented in relation to them, like more than one/less than three, more than three/less than five, etc.  What do you think?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, Kit

"K" is for kind, which is his nature
"I" is for imagination, with which he is blessed
"T" is for talented, in so many ways
"N" is for nice, even when stressed
"P" is for polite as he can be
"B" is for big-hearted and bravery
       October fifth is his special day
       Wish him well, my friends, I pray 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Outside Work

The weather was great--cool and still--so Fio and Husband put on their garden gloves and went outside to work on the yard again.  Specifically, they loaded two big garbage bags with last year's leaves, then dumped them further up the property on a barren area that needs a layer of decay in order to grow grass.  They had also planned to dig into an old mulch pile, but the tractor ran out of gas.

And so did Fio.  The weather had heated up, and the sun was too bright.

The yard work will have to wait till tomorrow.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


A friend of Fiorella's announced that she is going on a sugar-free regimen, which made Fio think about how fortunate we are in this time and place to actually be able to pick and choose what we eat. She remembers reading about a Russian family, self-exiled into the wilds during some political upheaval, that survived on nuts, berries, grass, and small trapped game for three generations.  And one bad winter, the grandmother starved herself to death so the children would have enough food.

We are blessed.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Yes, she's at it again.  Fiorella, who is addicted to languages and never shy about asking people about their obvious accents or unusual last names, has stumbled onto a real live Syrian--the mortgage banker who handed her refinancing, of all people. Of course, Fio asked Lisa Safady how to say "hello" in Arabic, and Lisa told her that for a woman, it's keefik.  And, of course, that's the way Fiorella greeted Lisa the next time she saw her.  To which Lis replied--mnee hah keefik enthee el yohmmh (how are you today?)another phrase for Fio to add to her treasury.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Where Are You?

Gdyeh moy roosskee druzyah ooshlee?

Where have Fio's Russian friends gone? Ever since Fiorella began this blog in 2008, the old Soviet bloc has been her major audience. Whether it was because of her own Eastern European roots, because she'd studied the roosskee yazik in college, or because Putin thought her posts were so ridiculous that they must be encrypted messages to American spies lurking about in the Kremlin, Fio doesn't know.  All she knows is that they're gone.

On the other hand, her Chinese following is picking up.  Nee hao!