Sunday, July 31, 2016

Falling Apart

Click Computer Repair, the Mazda service department, and Walgreen's Pharmacy.  Three businesses where people greet Fio by name when she comes through the door. Maybe that says a little more about her than you want to know.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


In retrospect, Fiorella is totally impressed by the craftsmanship of the DNC's convention.  Monday was Sanders night, Tuesday humanized Hillary, Wednesday emphasized the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican viewpoints, and Thursday plugged up the holes for a HEA.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Good morning America!  Fiorella woke up totally energized by the Democratic convention.  No more doom. No more gloom. We are strong, we hang together, and we will overcome!

Fiorella had horrible nightmares after the Republican convention, but slept like a baby last night.  The country will be in good hands--the many hands of forward-looking people working together, not the two hands of an egotistical loudmouth whose major occupation seems to be tweeting vicious insults all night long.

God bless America, and God bless Hillary Clinton.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Female Sort of Thing

How do other women deal with a breast-chafing seat belt?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Five Personal Truths of a Writer

I used to think I was crazy, but it turned out that I'm a writer.

I'm on fire when I write my first draft, but as cold as ice when I revise. Creativity vs. analysis, my friends.

I have a pink lozenge I cut out of a post-it stuck to my "delete" key so I'll hit it and not the"insert" key.

I like red lights. They give me a moment to write down whatever golden words are seething in my brain.

Men's bodies look more naked when they have hair on them, which, I think, is the reason why cover models are lasered, razored, and waxed.  (If I ever met one, I'd ask him if his mother knows what he's doing for a living.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Three Thumbs Up for SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE at Georgetown Palace Theater

The Georgetown Palace Theater's production of Smokey Joe's Cafe was the sort of show that makes Fio want to leap back onto the stage again.  Not that, even in her heyday, she could have kept up with the non-stop singing and dancing that the show, a compendium of Leiber and Stoller songs, requires. There was enough energy on the stage to power the Pedernales Electric Coop for the whole summer.

The band, which had occasional solos, was perfecto, the sets were fantastico, the costumes were right on, the choreography was out of this world, the singing was great, and the dancing absolutely fabulous.  The company, composed of just nine people, five men and four women, were usually all on the stage at the same time--which meant that the costume changes must have been hell--and everyone was super good.  The guys' numbers were the stars of the show, and a few individual players did stand out from the crowd, like Kelsey Wooldridge, Pablo Sanchez, Chris Barfield, and Kirk Kelso.



Monday, July 25, 2016

Cruz--1, Trump--0

Dear Senator Cruz:

I disagree with most of your policies, but I laud your non-endorsement of Donald Trump because of his comments about your wife and his libel of your father.  You are right--family comes first.

Fiorella Plum

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fio, the Guinea Pig

Fiorella once had a German neighbor who said she'd learned English by watching American television so Fio has been watching Spanish-language TV each night to try to learn Spanish. Currently, she's only watching for about fifteen minutes at a time, mainly to pick up the rhythm of the language, the obvious constructions, and the phonemes, but as she progresses, she hopes to pick up word meanings in context. (Hint: the advertisements are gold mines.)

Just another of the 101 projects Fio has going on in her life.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mob Rule

Fiorella had a horrible nightmare Thursday night, and she thinks it was inspired by the savagery of the Republican convention. You know something has gone terribly wrong when Ted Cruz in the only vestige of civilization in a room.  If this is what Donald Trump can do to the GOP, just think of the havoc he could wreak on the nation--and the world.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Snappy Snippets

Personal: Hot weather innervates, cold weather invigorates.

Trends: Mary Pickford curls are all the rage now, an example of the repetition of fashion.

GOP Convention: Where are all the hippies when you need them?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Found Out

When Fiorella's electronically-savvy friend moves her fingers on the keyboard in what looks like a random manner, wondrous things occur. But when Fio moves her fingers in her own random manner, chaos occurs. Her only explanation is that the computer senses her essential Ludditeness and retaliates in kind.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Born Gardeners

Husband and Fio have always improved the yards of their residences, from the azaleas and the camellia they planted on their side of the small duplex in which they began their married life to the taming of the all-around wildwoods surrounding their current home.  In between these two, they set up a sylvan landscape in one house that featured a small pond in a background of crocuses, espaliered pyrocantha against the front wall of another, and smartened up yet another with boxwood and pittisporum hedges.

It comes naturally.  Both of their mothers gardened.  Husband's mother brightened up her wooded hillside with irises, and Fio's mother maintained flowerbeds in front and in back.

And Fio hopes the next generation will carry on the tradition.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Fio feels empowered today.  She studied the upper kitchen cabinet door that had fallen off and discovered one of the hinges had frozen, which means that all it will take for a repair is a new hinge.  Hello, Home Depot!

Then she traced down her telephone service carrier and found out that an unwanted service had been triggered, which was the reason she and Husband hadn't been getting phone messages even though the phone blinked and blinked and blinked.  A simple phone call from Husband, whose name is on the bill, will fix that.

With two bears under her belt, Fiorella examined the instructions for the firewood hoop she and Husband had been trying to put together last night.  Hey, maybe one set of those support legs should gone the outside of the hoop.

Three down, but now will come the hard part, retrieving Fio's manuscript from the bowels of the machine. T Carando, Fio needs you!.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Linda Howard Revisited

Fio had become so involved with writing romances lately that she hadn't been reading any, which was a mistake, one that is currently being rectified while she sweats out the retrieval of her accidentally-deleted work-in-progress. Her book of choice was a vintage Linda Howard, McKenzie's Mountain.  The story line involves love, suspense, action, and mystery, and, most important to Fiorella, the ending is happy. Fio strongly recommends it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Okay, when Fiorella saw the intertwined initials on the GOP campaign logo, she looked again to be sure of what she was seeing, then laughed herself silly.  It was so appropriate to the relationship between Trump and Pence.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Paranoia Revisited

Fiorella lives in an isolated settlement of rugged individualists whose rocky tracts measure at least five acres.  In her experience, the area's worst threat is the armadillos who tear up our meager lawns, but the area's leadership figures seem to have more vivid imaginations. Remember the outcry a few months ago about non-residents driving into our idyllic enclave?  Apparently the hew and cry came to nothing once the cost of decals, floodlights, and security cameras was toted up, but then a new bandwagon came rumbling down our country road.

A person who lives in a neighboring single-road subdivision has bought land in our subdivision and wanted to build what amounted to a road on it to connect across to our road so he would have another way out when the river crossing his road out front flooded.  (Got all that?)

The neighborhood association officers promptly went ballistic and sent out communications about how the road would  threaten our security, lower our property values, and violate the deed restrictions. The last charge hit pay dirt and a a judge issued a restraining order against the would-be road builder.

What Fio draws from all this is that canny politicians will manufacture causes, often dire threats, to radicalize their troops and solidify their own power--or even just to stir up the ant hill.  Think about it.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Democratic Convention, 2016

In retrospect, Fiorella is totally impressed by the craftsmanship of the DNC's convention.  Monday was Sanders night, Tuesday humanized Hillary, Wednesday emphasized the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican views, and Thursday plugged up the holes for a HEA.

Fio On the Loose

Husband gave Fio exactly what she wanted for her birthday--a small, lightweight sewing machine, which is a thing of wonder and delight. Now she can make pillows for the futon in her "office," and sew up whatever else takes her fancy.  Yep, your Fiorella has yet another creative outlet.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fio's First Home Run

Fio encountered softball for the first time when when she was seven and her family moved from Ohio to Texas.  At Ellet Elementary, recess had meant running around and playing on the swings, see-saws, sliding board, monkey bars, or jungle gym. Recess at North Waco Elementary meant being sent out to the barren school grounds with a bat and ball (or, according to season, a kickball or a jump rope).
Needless to say, Fio panicked when a softball--or any ball--whizzed toward her.

Well into junior high, she couldn't hit, although she always tried, so when the her father's department at General Tire held a picnic and  set up a softball game, she lined up to participate. The pitcher gave her a long, slow ball, virtually aiming at her bat--what else do you do for the boss's daughter--and SHE GOT A HIT!
Maybe it was the feel of the bat thwacking the ball, or maybe it was that the slow pitch had given her a moment to think about what she was doing, but from then on,she was a reliable playground batter.

We'll save the story of how she learned to catch for another day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Apprentice Needed

Okay, the reveal is one day closer--who will be Trump's lackey running mate?  Chris Christie?  Ben Carson?  Maybe Rick Perry? Fio's betting against Newt Gingrich because he knows a lot more about politics than Trump does and is likely to take off in his own direction.  That leaves the Trumpeteer with Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Rick Perry and a couple of politicians with no national street cred. Maybe Ivanka is his best choice after all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016



Monday, July 11, 2016

This Old House

The house is twelve years old and counting, which means that a door has fallen off an upper kitchen cabinet, an air conditioner has had to be replaced, and the water softener has gone kaput. By the way, did you know that if you wash your hair in unsoftened water, it takes more than one rinse to get the shampoo and conditioner out?

So now if you'll excuse her, Fio, whose newly-washed hair is stiff as a board, will run upstairs to stand under the shower for a good fifteen minutes.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Post Dallas

Fiorella understands about smoldering anger. She'd be in a lot better position today if she hadn't shot off her big mouth, if she'd controlled her emotional responses. But no matter how angry she was, she never thought of killing anyone--except in her books, of course.

Friday, July 8, 2016


Forella always has a long list of things to do, arranged on her tablet according to priority, but priorities change fast in the face of the inexorable.  Minnesota daughter-in law's father died on Wednesday evening as she and Son were driving to the hospital to be by his bedside. It had been a six-year-long battle, and her father sought God's peace.

Rest in eternal love, Garrie Munk.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Fiorella's mother had been a journalism teacher, and the family always subscribed to a newspaper, much to Fio's benefit.  She learned to read from comic strips, and a newspaper validated her childhood art by publishing it.  In high school, she edited the longest-running Latin student publication in the country one year and the state Latin student publication the next year.  Later on, she married the son of two journalists. In graduate school, she originated a department newsletter. Later, in between teaching and grading, she wrote for the local newspaper and even set up two tabloids on her own.  Yes, Fiorella loves newspapers. but her own children are barely aware of them.  Why bother when they have television and computers at their beck and call?

Fiorella is sad.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Life never stays the same.  It gets better or it gets worse.  That's why Fiorella is always trying to improve herself and her environment.  She prefers the side of the angels.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fourth x Three

In order to keep Austin son and daughter from having to trek out to Georgetown three times in one month, Fio and Husband proposed combining their BDs--his in late June and hers in mid-July--with the family Fourth of July celebration. Son, of course, brought his lovely wife with him, and Daughter brought her BF.  There was joy and laughter and a card and a gift and far too much good food. The hit of the show was Daughter's BF, who cooked the hamburgers to a chef's perfection. If he will attend, Fio will try to sneak in a second celebration when her real BD rolls around.
Fiorella did it again--came up with a clever, cheap, last-minute holiday decoration.  And all it took was a pair of scissors, Scotch tape, and colored paper, which Fio has mounds of.  First she cut a couple of pages of red paper and blue paper into strips about an inch wide. Then she cut a three pages of white paper into strips.  Next she taped the strips into a kindergarten chain--red-white-blue-white etc. Then she drooped the chain across the fireplace, draping the sides and taping the center of the chain upward to the middle of the mantel. Topping the upward center was a fan-type cockade she made by taping three leftover strips together horizontally. Took about twenty minutes in all.
Daughter gave Fio a DVD of My Big Fat Greek Wedding2 for Fourth of July/Fio's birthday so Husband ran it for her yesterday evening.  It's Fio's kind of movie--sweet, sentimental, and funny. She laughed and cried and made mewing noises at the happy ending. Try it--you'll like it.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth!

Let's fire off a couple of Fourth of July rockets in the direction of the GOP presidential candidate. Yes, Fiorella is an unabashed Trumpie junkie. In fact, he's her favorite comedian.  She rolls on the floor with laughter at every jewel of jackassery that falls from his lips.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Hot Weather

Fiorella is such a wienie. The higher the temperature outside gets, the more she stays inside, where the air conditioning cools her body and the ceiling fan allows her to breathe.  Yes, she's aware that people all over the globe live year-around in much hotter temperatures, but they don't have a choice.  Fio does, and she chooses 70 degrees, winter or summer--although occasionally, when Husband isn't looking, she'll slip the summer temp down to 68..

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Consumer Complaint

Why is it that computer makers keep adding exotic bells and whistles to their products, but can't seem to find a way to keep the desktop icons from jumping around?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Second Mother

Children often have multiple mother figures in their lives--aunts, grandmothers, and the like--who have a lasting influence on them.  Due to death or distance, Fiorella had none of these, but she did have Eve Paule, her best friend's mother.

When she could, Mrs. Paule gave Fio rides to school, swim lessons, sewing lessons, art lessons, and Baylor Children's Theater.  Fio also accompanied the family to college-sponsored musical performances, and she was allowed to study their Time-Life art books, which nurtured her own art. But most of all, Eve Paule was kind to Fiorella, and when she died, Fiorella attended the interment and was invited to pour a handful of dirt into the grave.

Blessed be the memory of Eve Levine Paule, Fio's second mother.