Sunday, January 31, 2016


Yes, Fiorella is frustrated.  She's developed essential tremor of the vocal chords, which makes it difficult for her to speak.  Yes, Fio, who acted in plays and taught colleges classes and presided over PTA meetings, sounds like crap, and it's getting worse.  Deep Brain Stimulation--is it for Fio?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Birds, Blogs, Blank

Husband, who likes to watch birds, has placed binoculars on the upstairs bedroom windowsill, the upstairs hall windowsill, the living room windowsill, and the den windowsill. Fiorella has placed  note pads and pens on her bathroom counter, on her desk in her office, and on the hassock in front of the couch in the den. We believe in availability.
Fio ran off all of her 2015 blogs yesterday, and today she'll get the pages drilled so she can put them in a loose-leaf notebook.  She'd like to think that someone--maybe one of her children, maybe a researcher--might be interested in her literary endeavors.  But even if her name gets lost, if every page gets tossed into a fire, her words are out there in the universe for eternity.
Fiorella, who likes to thinks in threes, is searching for something else to say, but is coming up blank.

Friday, January 29, 2016

She's Still Got It!

Fiorella walked into Dan's Hamburgers, surveyed the scene, realized that the back corner booth was empty, and sashayed down the aisle to claim it for lunch with Friend Paula, who was running late. As soon as she sat down, the middle-aged man in the booth in front of her turned around, gave her a big smile, and asked "Did you say 'excuse me' or 'kiss me?'

Fio laughed.  "I don't think I said either one, but thanks for the attention."

My God--she was being hit on!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Fiorella just finished watching an episode of Nova that was all about a Himalayan earthquake and its aftermath, and she was impressed that the scientists, not satisfied with merely recording the damage, also analyzed why some buildings fell and others did not, then figured out how villagers could construct earthquake-resistant houses by augmenting the traditional rock and mud construction with wire framing.

And in the warm afterglow of the program, Fio thought about all the other people in the world who use their talents. skills, and  knowledge, not just to further their fields of study or advance their careers, but to help their fellow man.

And Fio wants to be one of them, which is why she writes.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


The third and last story in Fiorella's "Fat Woman Chronicles."

     Once upon a time there was a slender young woman, a good woman, who was married to the man of her dreams.  Her best friend was fat and unmarried.
     "If you lost some weight, your true nature would be revealed and you would be able to attract a husband as wonderful as mine," the slender young woman said.  "I will help you."    
     So with the encouragement of her friend, the fat woman dieted away one hundred pounds to become a devastating beauty.  She was so devastating, in fact, that she was able to seduce her friend's husband.
     "How could you do this to me?" the slender young woman complained to her formerly fat friend.  "I have always been a good friend to you, and I was the one who helped you diet to reveal your true nature."

     "Yes," the woman replied. "But my true nature is evil."   

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Another one of Fiorella's short stories, the second one in "Fat Woman Chronicles."     

    Once upon a time, there was a skinny young man who hated his boss because the man kept telling him what to do so the skinny young man decided to get even by burglarizing his boss's house when he knew that neither his boss nor his boss's fat wife would be at home.
     But as he was filling a pillow case full of heirloom silver, the boss's wife came through the door. 
     Before the woman knew what was happening, the young man rushed her, held a knife to her throat, and forced her toward the bedroom at the back of the house.  The woman had been kind to the skinny young man, which had made him hate her even more than he hated her husband.  
     He pushed her down on the bed and threw up her skirt.   She was twice his size, but because he was a man and had a knife, she was at his mercy. 
    "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!" the skinny young man chanted, driving himself deeper and deeper into the fat woman's body.   
     "I love you, I love you, I love you," the fat woman whispered, and she sucked him into the vast cradle of her maternity.
     Until he was no more.  


Monday, January 25, 2016

An Important Question

We have special candy for Christmas, for Valentine's Day, for Easter, and for Halloween.  But where, pray tell, is our Fourth of July candy? Our red, white, and blue candy canes, our chocolate Liberty Bells and Statues of Liberty?

Candy makers of the world, we're waiting for your answer.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Fio awoke this morning to see the eye of the fire, the last burning ember, watching over her through the screen.  And out the window, the back porch light lit the darkness like a yellow moon. Awakened by Fio's activity, Sonia Dog adjusted herself against Ftorella's side, then went back to sleep again as Mommy reached under the couch for her laptop to type this entry.

Good morning.  May your day be blessed.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Medical Update

Oops--slight correction. It will take a whole week for Sonia to heal from the platelet injection, which means Fio will be sleeping on the couch in the den for a while longer--or maybe she'll be sleeping on the floor and Fio will sleep on the couch. But the discomfort will be worth it if Sonia will be able to walk up and down the stairs again.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Dog to the Vet

Sonia Dog is scheduled for a trip to the vet's office today for a regenerative procedure called ProTec Platelet-Rich Plasma. Her joints have been bothering her for a while now, and, for the past couple of days, she's been in too much pain to mount the stairs to the master bedroom. Instead, she yelps her distress from the first floor and won't quit until Fiorella comes downstairs to bed down on the couch with her.
As Fio understand it, the vet will withdraw blood cells from Sonia and replace them with hyped-up cells, and we should see noticeable improvement in about a week.

Wish us all well.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What's Trending

Botched is one of those TV shows that, the first time you accidentally land on it, you stay there for another hour or so watching the stars, two plastic surgeons, correct everything from lumpy implants to mismatched nostrils. 

The medical procedures are interesting, and the patient interviews are juicy, especially when they involve entertainment wannabees, for whom the show has become the latest must-drop-in.  But the do-good dialogue and manly laughter pall after a while,

Let's see what's on the next channel.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Christmas Gift

Has Fiorella mentioned to you that, for Christmas, the three kids got together and paid for her baby car and their father's big car to be detailed? To tell the truth, all Fio expected was a wash and a wax, but she and Husband got a lot more than that.  Every inch of their cars, inside and out, was cleaned and polished. Then, after the cars got back to the house, Minnesota son washed out their engine compartments.Thanks to three sweet Santas, Fio's thirteen-year-old Miata looks like it just rolled out of the showroom, even under the hood..

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Fio awoke this this morning invigorated by a full night's sleep and planned her day as she lay drowsing in bed.  First, she'd take the dog--and herself--on a double walk around the drive.  then she'd read the newspaper and check out the internet.  Then she'd start in Phillipa's story again, which is going great guns since Fio backed it out of the blind alley she'd written herself into.

She walked down the stairs to a cold, sunny day, her favorite kind of weather, leashed Sonia dog, and started up the driveway.  But Sonia was more interested in investigating the premises than walking so Fiorella ushered her back in the house and called out to Husband to unleash her.

Fio's solo walk was great, but when she got back home, she learned the newspaper still hadn't been delivered, and looking, through the mail she'd picked up on her trek around the driveway, she learned that Chase Bank is STILL on their case about hazard insurance, of which Fio and Husband have several times submitted proof.

To top it off, Fio's laptop wouldn't fire up--and just when she had several clever ideas revolving in her head.

Fio is not as invigorated as she was when she woke up.  In fact, she's a grumpy-pants.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Weight of the World

Fiorella took a look at the state of the world and decided it was time to rerun one of her short stories.

Once upon a time there was a fat woman with a big heart, a woman who carried the weight of the world upon her shoulders.  She went to a doctor for a minor health problem, and he sent her to a psychologist who specialized in eating disorders.
The psychologist was a young, slender woman who also had a big heart.  She worked with the fat woman for several months and finally realized that the fat woman considered herself responsible for the welfare of the whole world, which she maintained by eating and eating and eating. 
The psychologist gradually gained the confidence of the fat woman, then persuaded her to cut back on her food intake.  "Don't worry about anyone except yourself." she said with a smile.  "I will take over your responsibility for the welfare of the whole world." 
That month the fat woman lost ten pounds, and a terrible earthquake devastated Turkey--but earthquakes are always devastating Turkey.
          The fat woman was so proud of losing ten pounds in one month that she cut back even more and soon had lost another ten pounds.  An out-of-season monsoon swamped India and half a million people died, but half a million is hardly a drop in the bucket in India.
         The psychologist cheered the fat woman on as she lost twenty more pounds, then fifty.  The Arab nations wiped each other off the globe with nuclear weapons.
The fat woman was developing a figure now--a waist was almost visible.  The AIDS virus mutated into an airborne form, and people started wearing surgical masks outdoors.  Millions died.
Spurred on by her success, the fat woman dieted with a vengeance.  Mount St. Helen's erupted again and California split off from the mainland.  The New Madrid fault was reactivated.  Riots broke out simultaneously in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, and Los Angeles
            "I'm not sure it's a good idea for you to lose so much weight at once," the psychologist told her patient as she listened to a broadcaster on her short wave radio speculating as to the nature of the strange blip that was approaching Earth at such a fast rate of speed.
            The former fat woman tossed her head petulantly. "I want to lose weight.  I don't want to worry about anyone but myself.  You said you would be responsible from now on!"  She paid her bill, donned her party pink surgical mask, and almost skipped out of the office, the weight of the world lifted from her shoulders.
            The psychologist watched her patient leave, listened a while longer to the news broadcast, then looked around for something to eat and eat and eat.


Sunday, January 17, 2016


Fio and Husband attended the opening night of the Georgetown Palace Theater's  presentation of Xanadu, a musical based on the 1980s film about a roller-skating Greek muse who falls in love with a hippie artist on the Venice Beach boardwalk.

Opening nights are usually plagued with glitches, but not this time.  The double- and triple-cast actors were terrific, Kyle Kirkhoff and Sara Burke, the leads, were the definition of perfection, while second leads Scott Shipman and Gazelle Garcia have voices to die for.  Fio was especially drawn to dancer Leslie R. Hethcox, whose every move was grace.

The costumes were right on, the sparse sets worked, and the choreography was a knock-out.

But Fio didn't like the play, which reminded her of the over-the-top playlets she wrote in high school. And she didn't like sitting in the third row with first nighters yelling in-jokes back and forth before the play began, after it ended, and during intermissions. And she had a headache.  And she doesn't like the director, who never answered her request for a tour of the theater when WHERE THE HEART LEADS was in the works.

But, other than those things, the show was okay.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Can't Help It

As she lay in bed half awake this morning, Fio contemplated her literary career. It started with a four-line rhyme Mrs. Rider assigned the class to write in the third grade.  All Fio can remember of her offering is one line, "feathered Vs across the sky," which was her description of a bird migration. Then, of course, there was Baylor Children's Theater, which introduced her to scripts and drama.

In junior high, she wrote more poetry, mainly adolescent angst, and discovered comedy. That was also when, inspired by her mother's collection of Book-of-the-Month romances, she wrote the first chapter of a novel (which disappeared when Mother went through her desk drawer).

In high school, Fio penned playlets for presentation by the Latin club and the English literary club, wrote mounds of poetry, and ventured into short stories.   She also represented her school in ready-writing contests and edited the school Latin publication one year and the state publication the next.

Fiorella continued writing poetry, short stories, and essays through her undergraduate years, then added a romance novel and a dissertation to her repertoire when she was in graduate school.

And here she is now with two published books under her belt, a blog overflowing with mini-essays, about twenty short stories hanging around that she wants to re-edit, Lord knows how many poems scattered about, and more to come.

The girl can't help it.

Glass Houses

This is hilarious.  Remember the hullabaloo about Obama's father being born in Kenya?  Well, it turns out that not only was Trump's mother born in Scotland, but Cruz's father was born in Cuba and Ted hmself was born in Canada!

Birthers, heal thyselves!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Chasing Perfection

Fio had been stuck on chapter five of her work-in-progress for two weeks. She'd gone over it again and again, tweaking bits and pieces, but the picnic in the park, which is the novella's first big turning point, still didn't work.

Enter the hero--the box of books from the romance writers' contest for which Fiorella signed up to be one of the judges. There's nothing like analyzing someone else's opus to  clear your mind about your own.  Fio, kill the picnic scene--remember, you've set the story in March, which is the last dregs of winter, and you made it rain the night before. Cold and soggy is not an an ideal setting for a romantic tryst.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Year's Resolution

Piece by piece, Fio is taking down her Christmas decorations.  The fireplace stocking are unhung, and the mantel has been liberated of its winter scene and miniature lampposts.  Red ribbons no longer bedeck everything bedeckable. The "Twelve Days of Christmas" bells are packed away. The multiple tinsel garlands have been retrieved from the driveway and the house, wound into sparkling balls, and placed on the dining room table, which functions as Fio's command central. The wreaths and the stray fake greenery fronds are stacked on the table too, and THIS YEAR FIORELLA WILL ORGANIZE AND LABEL ALL HER PRETTIES BEFORE RELEGATING THEM TO THE GARAGE!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

For the Sake of Chocolate

Fiorella has made the most wonderful discovery, that Walgreens keeps its Christmas candy on its shelves--at reduced prices--until it's all sold out.  Last week, she went into a Walgreens in Austin and cleared out the store's remaining Russell Stover chocolate bars for twenty cents per, and a couple of days later, she bought even more in Georgetown for forty-eight cents per.  She'll buy the rest of the Georgetown load today. Her grand plan is to accumulate enough chocolate to carry her through till next Christmas, and Husband is complicit.  He's agreed to hide her stash where she won't find it and has promised to let her have no more than one bar per day.  Yes, Fio's house is the Fort Knox of chocolate, and Husband is its guardian.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Skills

Fiorella has expanded her repertoire.  She now knows how to send photos from her cell phone to email and Facebook.  For instance:

Sonia Dog is checking up on her peops.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Miracle of Fire

 Two sticks rubbed together can produce fire, as can steel striking flint. The flame is not a combination of the two sticks or of the steel and the flint, but comes from out of nowhere, a miracle created out of action rather than substance.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Has Fiorella told you how much she enjoys cold weather? She loves breathing cool air as she walks around the driveway, loves the fire burning in the grate every evening, loves to snuggle up in bed with a blankets and a comforter over her.  Of course, this is cold weather in Central Texas, and it's of very short duration.  Fio might feel differently if she lived in--say--Minnesota.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tit for Tat

Recent studies have shown that we can blame Neanderthal DNA for our allergies, which means that Fiorella, who is currently the world's greatest consumer of Kleenexes, must be a purebred throwback. On the other hand, our Neanderthal DNA has also given us immunities that other humanoid groups did not possess.  And it is true that Fio is usually quite healthy.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Going Against Mother

With fear and trembling, Friend Jeanell is sending out email messages asking friends and family to pimp her latest book on Facebook.  It's scary because Jeanell can feel her mother's disapproval hovering over her.  Her mother did not approve of self-advertisement.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Deja Vu Holiday


Dah, to honor her father's Russian Orthodox heritage, Fiorella leaves Christmas decorations up through the seventh of January.  Well, actually, she leaves them up a lot longer than that because she figures it took her a full month to put them all up, and she deserves to have a full month in which to take them down.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Thank to TV, we now know all the jargon, and what we used to attribute to someone's personality, we now diagnose as a disorder. Thus, when Fio's friend dropped everything and moved out of state only to return four months later, Fio attributed her actions to ADD rather than impulsiveness.

But what about Fiorella, who plans every moment of her day?  Fio's friend may be impulsive, but she herself is compulsive.  Why else would anyone write a blog every day for more than seven years straight?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Somewhere out there is, or was or will be, another Fiorella, and, because DNA combinations are finite, the chances increase every day as the world population increases.

And somewhere out there is, or was or will be, another you.  See ya!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Holiday Snippets

I worship every inch of my six-foot-tall daughter-in-law who took a few steps up a kitchen ladder and replaced the can lights in the house that were out.  She is not only agile, but kind.
The three offspring pitched in to get Husband's car and my car detailed as a Christmas present, and--wow--my thirteen-year-old baby car is now queen of the highway!
I pushed the emergency button on my key-ring car control to locate my Miata when I came out of the supermarket and was rewarded with a high-pitched beep, beep, beep.  Suddenly, another car joined the chorus with a low-pitched honk, honk, honk, and I looked across to see another woman with her control out. For a second there, I thought we had something going.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Leaking Languages

Fiorella awoke with words and phrases popping out of her mouth--words and phrases from languages she studied many years ago, languages she thought had totally fled her brain.  She's been doing that a lot lately, spouting Russian, German, Telugu, Latin, even French, Spanish, and Italian, which she had somehow managed to maneuver through on her own, plus her bits and pieces of Mandarin and an exclamation in Hindi.

It figures.  Remember the four cornerstones of Fio's personal world are music, art, literature, and . . . . languages.

Now to check around Georgetown and see if anyone is running a Russian review class.  Yeah, fat chance.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Drink or Burn

It's supported by scientific research now--Fiorella is what is called "lactose-persistent," which means that, thanks to a North European DNA adjustment, she's still swilling milk well into adulthood. Apparently a gene in her ancestry got altered because drinking milk is a compensation for lack of exposure to vitamin D in dark, dank climates.  No wonder her Galitzian great-grandfather was so vehement about providing milk for his children.  It was either that or his pale-skinned offspring would have burned to crisps.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Fiorella's Christmas Sonnet, 2015

Christmas Fire

The firewood salvaged from our fallen trees
We've dried and heaped upon the fireplace grate
To counteract the deep midwinter freeze
Which lowering temperatures prognosticate.
Steel strikes flint, the tinder pile is lit,
A quick flame flashes, then  is gently fed
Until the fire is burning bright and brisk
Its fingers reaching high, its embers red.
Cackling and raging and roaring with each bite,
The hungry fire consumes the waiting wood,
But after we have gone to bed  at night
The flames burn out--untended, unrenewed.
      Yet warmth awakens us upon the morn--
      Merry Christmas to all!  Christ is born!