Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Why Didn't Mother Drive?

Why didn't Mother drive?  All the other mothers did, and her not driving meant that Fiorella walked, alone, to and from school quite a bit--and one of those blocks was a little scary.

The family had just one car, but other one-car families managed by packing the kids in the car, giving the wife the wheel so she could drop husband off at work and the kids off at school, then have the car at home all day for errands. As it was, Fio and her brother depended on the kindness of friends and neighbors. And they rode the motion-sickness inducing bus with Mother when she needed to go downtown or take them to a doctor. And they rode the bus alone if they needed to attend special classes across town--Fiorella was making a two-bus transfer to Baylor Children's Theater when she was nine.

It was all character-building, but when Fio turned sixteen, she enrolled for a summer class in Driver's Ed, and she hasn't looked in the rear-view mirror since.  Four years into her marriage, she and Husband became a two-car family, and not only did all of their kids get driven to school, but Fio would provide rides to any and all.

But why didn't Mother drive?

When questioned, she blamed a childhood problem with her left eye, but that was bogus--Fiorella herself lost all central vision in one of her eyes back in her college days and kept on driving.  So maybe it was a bad wreck that had scared Mother into the passenger seat--Uncle Ivan let it slip she had driven as a teenager. Or maybe Mother thought, as she intimated through the years, that driving was unfeminine, that the husband should be the one behind the wheel. Whatever, Mother never took up driving again, and now it doesn't matter.

But it's interesting to speculate about.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Dark Romance

Fio has hit a dramatic turning point in her novella now, when the hero realizes he is irrevocably and forever in love.  Meanwhile, the heroine's black moments are about to commence.  Ah, yes--dark romance.  Sturm und Drang.  It's the only way Fio can write.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Always Wants to Know

Fiorella as is curious as a cow so when she heard what sounded like a mower way too close this morning, maybe on her property, she walked into the woods to find out what was going on.  After determining that the mowing was being done by a neighbor across the fence line, she went back to the house, and now she's about to check the thermostat to find out why it's so hot in here.  At the same time, she's pondering why she always wants to know what's going on. Hmmm.  Probably some relic of her childhood insecurity, but who cares?  It's served her well.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Forty-eight Hour Day Needed

Fiorella is being pulled in too many directions.  She wants to finish off her novella and edit her short stories.  She wants to work on the house and the yard.  She wants to refresh her languages.  She wants to paint again. And she wants to play the piano and write more songs.

Fio needs a clone--half a dozen of them, in fact.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ah, Wilderness!

Fiorella came in from the jungle with her hair full of twigs and debris.  No wonder gorillas are always grooming each other.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Totally Offensive

Donald Trump has an interesting life strategy--all offense, no defense.  That means he isn't reminding his fans of his sins by repeating his foes' accusations, and that he doesn't have to bother with explaining anything.  He does not defend.  He attacks.  Trump is a destroyer, not a builder. Look what he's done to the Republican party

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Jungle Drums

Fiorella gets a kick out of harvesting rocks in the wildwoods.  It makes her feel good because she's using the resources at hand and is thus not only self-sufficient and eco-thrifty but--well--cheap.
There's something exciting about owning a parcel of virgin woodland.  Husband and Fiorella have lived on their five and one-third acres of jungle for twelve years and still don't know it all.  While Fio was scouting for rocks recently, she discovered an area in the south woods where an eight-foot wide circle had been cleared at some time in the past. The remains of a fire circle sat in the middle of clearing, and to the side was a crushed beer can.  Probably not a BSA encampment.
Fiorella has written about the south woods a lot lately because it's a terra incognita that she has just lately been able to explore because the major yard areas have finally been tamed by a wonderful man named Fernando.  God bless him.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Intense Introspection

Fiorella is full of herself, so full she's about to explode.  When the artists attending her church's Sunday reception were invited to comment on their art, their recitations stirred something up in her, and, come her turn, she cut loose.

Fio does not get her inspiration from dreams, her childhood, or nature. She has THE EYE.  She is intensely NOW.  She sees shapes and lines and color.  She is fascinated by light and shadow. She strives for honesty, originality, and balance, not only in art, but everything she does.  Fio is driven.  She was born with a flame burning within her. She can do no other.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Fiorella has always depended on the kindness of strangers--tall ones--to get her groceries down from the top shelves of grocery stores

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dealing with Bangaladesh

Fiorella has gotten so she looks forward to the phone calls from Mike, Jeff, or Laura, who have disturbingly thick Indian accents, telling her that her computer is in imminent danger.  Yesterday, she told "Ben" that her computer was just fine and that he should be ashamed of himself.  Another would-be helpful caller hung up on her when she said "which computer?" Fio's also been known to ask the caller if his mother knows what he's doing.  And, in the future, she's thinking of giving morality lectures.

That should take her off the lists.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Deep in the Oven of Texas

As previously reported, Husband has taken up scratch breadmaking, and he does a pretty darn good job of it. He's gotten Fio involved too, but Fio being Fio, she soon tired of forming pedestrian loaves out of her allotted dough and started experimenting with braiding and furrowing.  Yesterday she made a trial run with cookies cutters--stars, flowers, and, on a whim, an outline of Texas. Surprisingly, she had the most success with Texas.  Not only did the rolls keep their shape, but they were fat and fluffy.

Hmmm.  Wonder what the market would be?

Friday, May 20, 2016

End of the Story

Oh-ho-ho--all's well that ends well.  After making it quite clear that she was not happy, Fiorella received a conciliatory call from her pastor, and, a few days later, she received word that her art is now on display in a prominent position at the church.

Always gracious, she'll make a cameo appearance at the reception on Sunday.  The end

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Always Trying to Make It Better

As you might have gathered, Fiorella has been looking over her old short stories lately.  Most of them still resonate so she's thinking of re-editing them and trying to get them published as a book.  Hey--maybe her agent could help with that!
On the local front, the shelves on both sides of the fireplace in the den look good now so Fio is planning to move on to the shelves above the built-in desk--and she is merciless.
Fiorella has been looking at some of her old paintings with an eye to touching them up, but just for her own sake.  She's never yet let a good piece of art rest in peace.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Romance as a Business

Fiorella heard a very good talk at her local Romance Writers of America meeting last night, but it was also disturbing.  The speaker was charming, likable. organized, and knew what she was talking about, which was how to pound out book after book and sell, sell, sell.  The answer, of course, is IT--information technology--and the speaker knew her programs backward and forwards, totally unlike the traditional image of the romance writer whose husband discovers her the next day, asleep at the card table she's set up in the kitchen, with her pages sprawled in front of her.

And totally unlike Fiorella, who angsts it out on the couch in the den or upstairs in her supposed office with her computer balanced in her lap, who writes and rewrites, who strives for originality, who has messages of hope and strength she's trying to get out.

Whatever happened to the romance of romance writing?   Whatever happened to the story?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Political Poetry

Donald Trump
Is a horse's rump

Monday, May 16, 2016

Here He Comes to Save the Day!

Fio's reporting in late this morning because (1) she got caught in a dastardly plot to invade her computer and (2) when she grabbed her laptop, jumped in the car, and turned the key, nothing happened.   She couldn't get any further than control-alt-delete, and she couldn't drive over to Click for help.


Then, with perfect timing, Austin son burst through the door.  He had come over to get Husband's signature on a legal document, but he also rescued Fiorella (control-alt-delete, then use task master to remove the offender), and now he's working on the car.

Our hero.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


 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."   

("Diet" is the third and final story in  "The Fat Woman Chronicles. " Enjoy!)

Saturday, May 14, 2016


  Once upon a time there was a skinny young man who hated his boss because his boss told him what to do.  One dark night, he made up his mind to get even by robbing his boss's house.

The skinny young man was heading for the front door with a pillow case full of loot when the boss's immensely fat wife came home.  He dropped the pillow case and rushed the woman before her eyes could adjust to the light, held a knife to her throat, and forced her toward the bedroom at the back of the house.  

The woman had taken a motherly interest in the skinny young man, which made him hate her almost as much as he hated her husband, so he decided to rape her. She was twice his size, but because he was a man and had a knife, she was at his mercy. 

"I hate you, hate you, hate you!" he chanted, driving himself into her.

"I love you, love you, love you," she replied, accepting his masculine rage within her great, motherly body and pulling him deep, deep, deeper inside herself with his every stroke.   

Until he was no more.

The fat woman lay on the bed for a few minutes, caressed her overstretched belly, then lurched to her feet and walked unsteadily into the front hall to retrieve the pillow case and replace it in the linen closet.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Raped by Microsoft Word

Fiorella's computer was raped this morning, taken against Fio's will by a mad-man Microsoft Word program intent on inserting Windows 10 into her laptop, and Fio was helpless to protect it.

She had not asked for Windows 10, and she did not want it, but she couldn't stop its progress.  Her neighborhood repair shop told her that a lot of people had called in with the same problem, but there was no way to interrupt the program.

For four hours, Fio left her machine open to keep an angry eye on things while she vented her rage by cleaning up the house.  When the installation was complete, she was congratulated, welcomed into the tribe, and asked to sign the small print. Finally, a choice--accept, postpone, or decline.

One guess.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Great Art Heist

Has Fio told you she is a born artist?  That she studied oil painting for five years? That she is a professional portrait painter? That she designs her own Christmas cards?  That she can draw just about anything she sees?

Fiorella was recently invited to participate in a parishioner art display at her church and delivered three church-appropriate items to the required place by the required time--an oil painting, a framed poster, and a montage of Christmas cards.  They never got hung.  The abstracts that other people had contributed were up on the wall, but her work was nowhere to be seen.

Fio was shocked, gobsmacked, knocked for a loop.  What had happened to her art?  Lost, stolen, trashed?  No one seems to know.

This story will continue.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spread the Word

Vulgar Donald came to town
Spewing venom all around
Calling names, making claims
Bullying, blustering, threatening, thundering--
A low-class act by a low-class clown

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Errands, Donald Trump, and WHEN THE HEART SPEAKS

The third time was the charm.  On her first try, Fio discovered she had left her credit card at home.  On the second try, she discovered she'd left her bank deposit at home.  On her third try, she bought two shirts at Dress Barn, deposited the insurance check, and drove down to HEB to pick up some groceries. Missions accomplished.  Yeah, Fiorella stays the course.
Donald Trump is vulgar, but apparently that's what his fans like about him.
Fiorella is still sailing along on the book--about ten pages a day of deep revisions. Bodes well for being finished by the end of the month--maybe.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Rock Harvest

Fiorella and Husband went out to harvest their dry creek and ended up with eight rocks up on the road and one husband down in the creek. Luckily a neighbor came along and helped Fio pull him back up onto his feet.  Fio asked, and the woman said she likes to read romances so Fio retrieved a copy of WHAT THE HEART WANTS from the box she keeps in the trunk and gave it to her. The moral is that if you see people by the side of the road in need of assistance, stop and help--you never know what goodies they might have stored in their trunk.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On Motherhood

Fiorella has three wonderful children, whom she loves very much.  It was not easy for her to become a mother so she values her children all the more.  This is not to say that she has always been the best mother in the world, but she tried.  And she still does.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Gluten Reigns

Husband, who is a foodie, makes bread every couple of weeks.  And by "makes bread,"  Fio means the whole shtick.  He even uses his own yeast strain, which he started by setting flour and water outside till it began to ferment, then bringing it in and feeding it small amounts of flour on a daily basis over several weeks.  Some of the yeast is always put aside for future use, but the rest is mixed with water and even more flour until it makes a good dough.  Then comes the fun stuff--kneading, forming the loaves, and baking.

Of course, the final step is that Fiorella hacks off a piece, slathers it with butter, and gulps it down like John Kasich.  Yes, the bread is that good.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Luann Resurrects Leslie

Fiorealla loves it when Luann follows up on characters we met in the past, like Leslie Knox.  There was always obviously so much more of a story to him.  I hope we can find out what's going on with mini-Elvis too (hint, hint).  Also the teacher and the adviser, Dawn, and that weird couple whose names Fio can't remember.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bulletin! Urban Legend Alert!

According to the neighborhood loop, Fio's security is threatened not only by mystery cars, but also by the most hardened criminals of all--kids.  They're supposed to be putting a Drano and tin foil concoction in plastic bottles and tossing them around for unsuspecting adults to pick up and thus blow their fingers off.  Hmmm--if the combination is so volatile, why doesn't it blow up the kids?

Aside from the fact that the only young'ns in our area are people's visiting grandchildren and that no one around here would stow Drano under the kitchen sink because we all have septic tanks, this is an urban legend that's been making the rounds for many years.

As Fio told you, she lives in paranoia central.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Right Here in River City!

Fiorella lives in a wooded rural subdivision of about ninety homes averaging at least five acres apiece.  There is only one road into the area and no road out. Neighbors keep tabs on each other and are always helpful.  It is the safest, sweetest, most secure place Fio has ever lived.

It is also the world epicenter of paranoia. At a recent neighborhood association meeting, a resident reported he'd had something stolen.  Immediately, plans erupted like Vesuvius to counter this obvious crime wave--decals for neighborhood cars, surveillance cameras, and security lights.

Fiorella considered pointing out that relatives, maids, yardmen, and tradespeople wouldn't be sporting decals and that decals can't be seen at night, but restrained herself.  She didn't even ask who'd be responsible for checking cars for identification, or what would be done if the vehicle were decal-less.

But at least decals wouldn't cost much compared to surveillance cameras or security lights--although there is so little traffic through the subdivision that Fio would pity anyone assigned to looking at a tape. And the security lights would only benefit the high crime areas--like the end of a street where a couple of cars have been spotted parked late at night.

All in all, Fio is a little jealous.  Here she'd thought SHE was the most interesting thing going on in her neighborhood.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Good Times Are Here Again

Fiorella couldn't make her new computer move any of her Gallery pics into Facebook so she drove down to the Verizon store, asked for help, and a nice young man showed her how to do it directly from her phone.  Now she needs to learn how to move a photo onto her blog.
Fio just got another check from Half-Price books, which sells her books at full price.
Fio and Husband took nephew Aaron and his new wife out to lunch at Frisco, an old-time Austin establishment that the family has patronized since Husband was a child.  Good food, good service, good conversation.  Wonderful day.

Monday, May 2, 2016

All the News that's Unfit to Print

Fio suspects The Donald's goal is not to be President Trump, but King Trump.  Why else would he have named his son "Barron?"
Romance writers are like bitch dogs in a puppy farm--always under pressure to produce.
Fiorella's neighborhood association is considering issuing windshield emblems to residents so cars that don't "belong" in the neighborhood can be easily identified.  But what about maids, yardsmen, tradesmen, and rental cars, and relatives?  And what if it's at night?  And what will we do if we catch one?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Love and Duty

I lower the blinds at night and raise them in the morning.  I close doors, drawers, and toilet lids. I know all the kids' phone numbers by heart, and I observe all birthdays.  I pay the bills, deal with IRS, and take care of the bank accounts.  I strike up relationships with the neighbors and wave at every vehicle that goes down our country road.  I give generous tips in all circumstances.  I pray for everyone--everyone--every day.

I am a woman, a wife, a mother.  I can do no other.