Friday, September 30, 2016


Fiorella loves people who help her, like the man at HEB who got the leche down from the top shelf in the dairy case for her yesterday and the checker who taught her the Spanish word for "bag"--bolsa. Like Patrick at Click Computer Repair, who unfroze her computadora and put an icon on its desktop so Fio could do the job herself in the future. Like our Chase Bank person who listened to Fio babble on about Husband's hospital stays and comforted her.

God is good. People are good. All will be well.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Fiorella does not like change.  She hasn't caught up with yesterday yet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Family, Friends, and Neighbors

Fiorella is very fortunate to have a family that gathers around in times of trouble: Daughter, Austin son, Minnesota son, nephews. She is also blessed with good friends. T Carando has been especially helpful. And she can't leave out her neighbors, Kathy and Mike.

Thank you, one and all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Clinton Debate

No, Fio didn't watch the debate. She dropped out of debating in the eleventh grade because she suddenly realized she didn't like arguing.. Back to the present, people know who they're going to vote for by now so Fio just wants to mark her ballot and get it over with.

Okay, she'll admit she read the reviews of the debate, especially the funny ones, but that was it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bingeing on Fio

Fiorella has been interested to learn that many of you are binge readers, waiting for Fio's words of wit and wisdom to pile up for a while before partaking. Actually, you're giving her a break, because she likes to go back a day or so after she's posted and improve on her message.  Yes, Fio is a writer, which is the same as saying that she is a serial reviser.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mosquitoes Take Warning!

As Fio emptied a small glass vase crammed with dying carnations, four black mosquitoes leaped up out of their natal cradle. She clamped her palm across the top of the vase, rushed to the door and tossed the water and its occupants into the unforgiving night. But one mosquito had escaped before she knew what was going on and is, no doubt, circling your faithful correspondent to zoom in for its vampiric feast.

Watch out, babe.  Fio's slap is quicker than the eye.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Yellow Tablet

Fiorella now has a glimmer of how veterans feel when they return from a war zone. Her mind is running a horror show of her past ten days, and she has a hard time defining "normal" any more. She keeps make stabs at it, trying to get into past routines, but it's hard when, in addition to everything else, her notepad, her yellow writing tablet that has all her important notes and reminders crammed in the back of it, turns up missing. It's like Virgil deserted her in his tour of hell.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fresh Meat

As Fiorella stepped out onto the front porch for the newspaper, a black mosquito glided languorously by. obviously checking her out.  Fio is irresistable.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cordon Bleu She's Not

Fiorella's culinary repertoire is limited.  She can bake salmon and fry haddock, boil and scramble eggs, bake potatoes in an oven and boil them on a stove, cook frozen french fries in a the electric fry pan, and follow directions on the sides of boxes to make Jello, chocolate pudding, and cake.

Fio does a lot of eating out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

From Microsoft to Motherhood

Fio woke up to a phone call from "Arthur," who told her that he was from Microsoft. "Sure you are," she replied, then started laughing.  Damn. "Arthur" hung up without giving her a chance to exercise her espanol on him.
Fiorella has been screaming a lot and crying a lot this past week. The screaming is when she is trying to burst through roadblocks.  The crying is when someone is kind to her.
Fio is blessed to have good friends and a loving family, but when it comes right down to it, she is the wife and mother, the one who has to make the decisions and deal with the consequences.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Acting Out

Face it, Fiorella--you lost your cool. You went ape-shit crazy when the home health care people didn't appear--again--and  you hit eighty as you sped down Hwy 29 toward the hospital because you wanted to pick up a police escort. You couldn't take it anymore and wanted the whole world to know what was going on.

You are definitely not cut out to be a nurse.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Buenos Dias!

Fio was exhausted from her list of morning-after-Husband-came-home chores when she stepped through the door of HEB, but she picked up her pace when she realized that she understood a few words from Spanish speakers walking by.  Nothing big, but enough that she was encouraged to ask the checker--knowing that the young woman might freeze her out--what the Spanish words for some of her purchases were. But the checker got so excited the she actually overloaded Fio with el espanol--which was the highlight of Fio's day.  Gracias!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Reflections on Family and Crisis

No family is normal.  Every family has its own problems and secret sorrows.  But maybe that's what "normal" is.
Do all families pull together in times of crisis, or is Fiorella singularly blessed?
Fio is level-minded and quick in a crisis, but doesn't handle the long run well. That's when family steps in.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Continuing Saga

Husband is still in the hospital, but Daughter took off yesterday to help Fio.  In fact, she took over, which was great, accompanying Fiorella to the hospital, preparing a list of questions, and grilling the nurses, then taking Fio out to eat at Chili's. Afterwards she helped Fio gather what seemed like a fifty-pound weight of items Husband needed at his bedside, which Fio dutifully delivered after Daughter left.

This morning, Husband called Fio with all sorts of complaints about the nursing staff, so he must be getting better.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Good Thoughts Needed

Husband is back in the hospital--again. That's three days now. He had a shoulder transplant that caused some other complications. Please think good thoughts in his direction.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Campaign Fatigue

Fiorella is getting tired of the Presidential election campaign. She doesn't care if Hillary has caught a cold. She doesn't even care about how much money Trump has bilked out of people who signed up to work for him or be "educated" by him. She just wants a little rest from the both of them.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fio Loses her Cool

Fiorella is usually the one who keeps her head while all about are losing theirs, but yesterday she blew her stack in public--in Georgetown's St. David's Hospital, of all places.

Husband had undergone shoulder replacement surgery, which went well, and Fio was moving back and forth between the hospital and and house, carrying a tote containing her laptop, a full bottle of water, her manuscript, her purse, a notepad, and a newspaper.  It was a  heavy load so she always tried to park near the hospital door, but by afternoon, she had to park at the cancer clinic next door. She was wearing down--getting up at 4:30 am and hurrying to and fro in the hot sun does that to you--so she asked the woman at the front desk to watch her tote for her while she retrieved her car and drove it to the hospital entrance.

The woman gave her a stony look and said she couldn't be responsible for personal property.  Fio explained that her car was around the other side in the cancer parking lot, but the woman just repeated that she couldn't be responsible for personal property.  Fio asked where she could take her tote that someone would watch it while she fetched her car .  The woman said, "Nowhere."

Fio was flabbergasted--and cornered. The boiler exploded and her words came out at a volume she hasn't heard since she trod the boards. Picking up her tote, she turned toward the whole room and yelled, "This hospital has inadequate parking and it will be responsible if I collapse on the pavement and die! F*** YOU!"

Then she staggered out and began her trek, taking breaks every ten steps or so to sit on the decorative boulders and get her breath.

She made it, obviously, but her bad hip hurts and she still doesn't understand what happened because the women at the desk earlier in the day had been willing to watched her tote while she got her car.

Whatever, Fio has a feeling she's going to be called to the principal's office and be told it was all her fault.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Language Kind of Girl

Is Fio completely insane?  Yes, but enjoyably so.  She's wallowing in Spanish now, gulping down every noun she encounters, and even venturing into adjectives and a few prepositions. Fio loves learning languages--happy days are here again!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Boldly Moving Forward

"Hola. Yo quiero cuatro ales, dos piernes, y dos muslos, por favor."  Yes, Fio can now order wings, thighs, and legs at Golden Fried Chicken.

Mi esposo, claro que si, stays home. Fio's antics embarrass him, and he's afraid the Golden Fried people will not react well to her attempts at speaking Spanish.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thank you, David Rodriguez.

When Fio and Husband drove into Austin  yesterday to visit with Will Sherman and his wife, Diana, before they took for for Australia, the roads didn't seem to be where they used to be, and they got lost. Husband pulled into a friendly-looking Schlotzsky's and Fio ran inside the store and, without buying a thing, asked for directions. David, the handsome store manager, came to her aid, disappeared in the backroom fro a few minutes, and not only returned with a map he had run off his cell phone, but walked Fio outside to point her in the right direction.

Thank you, David, and thank you to Schlotzsky's for fostering such a good attitude in your employees.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Madalyn and Me

Has Fio ever told you about her encounter with prominent atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair?

It occurred in Fio's salad days, when she had taken a Christmas job hawking British Silver, a line of men's colognes, in a downtown department store. She wore a cute dress made of silver paper, smiled like crazy, and sold, sold, sold.  Then when the regular clerk was on break, she took over behind the counter.

One day, a face familiar from the newspapers appeared, and Fio asked Ms. O'Hair if she could help her. O'Hair gave her a narrow-eyed assessing stare and in a gruff voice, asked for "Wolf Brothers." Fiorella glanced over the stock, spotted Freres Loups, and handed it to her. La Madalyn was obviously taken aback, and Fio realized she had thought she was going to put one over on the vapid little salesgirl in the stupid silver dress.

What she didn't know was that Fiorella was a doctoral student in linguistics.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Trump--The Man Who Would Be God

Fiorella has noticed that the Republican Presidential candidate is not on a first name basis with himself,  instead preferring to refer to himself as "Mr. Trump" or "President Trump," Even more preferable of course, is "God Trump."
Have you picked up the pattern?  Whenever The Donald is in an uncomfortable situation--like visiting a black church, or being a guest on a talk show, or shuffling off to Mexico like a trained bear--he is totally non-reactive. There is no identification with his audience, no crossing of wits with Jimmy Kimmel, no meaningful discussion. The man has has no empathy, no wit, and no brain.
Trump's FB ads have been a weird cross of hucksterism and begging.  They've also been amateurish--grammar errors and bizarre photos.  Fio suspects Trump and the Trumpets are making the videos themselves in the old Apprentice studio in Trump Tower, then billing the Republican National Committee big bucks for their "labor."

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Spanish. Dream. Ditty

Fiorella lost a dia.  She didn't sleep well en el noche de martes, but more than made up for it on miercoles, which means most of her to-do list remains not-done. She didn't learn any mas palabras en espanol, work on her libro, check on a missing amiga, write some important letters, or any other pressing items. So on jueves she'd better dig in. Wish her bien.
UPDATE: Fio had a wonderful dream last noche, that her hija had married prince and had a bebe and the royal familia had come to visit.  The other abuela handed Fio the bebe and a bueno time was had by todo, especially Fio.
Fio must be
Very sweet
Mosquitoes find her
Quite a treat

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lucifer Season 1 Rehash

Fiorella bought her very first DVD the other day--Season 1 of Lucifer.  There were some things she didn't quite catch the first time through, and there were hilarious sequences she wanted to enjoy again, like the one in which a guy tried to commit suicide by jumping off the top of a building and Lucifer tried to "help."

The show is advertised as a comedy drama, which means that humor steps in every time the story gets too tense. But there's also a deeper thread running through it all--Lucifer's rebellion against God, his father, a prodigal son sort of thing which intensifies as the show moves along. Thus Lucifer is not only a rollicking good time, but also the most serious show on TV.

One reviewer called for Season 2 to lose the comic aspect and pump up the drama, to which Fio responds NO NO NO!  The offbeat humor is what makes the show light, clever, and quick rather than dark, stupid,and sluggish. Tune in on September 19 and see what you think.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

One, Two, Three

Fio is ecstatic. When she went to Target to pick up the copy of Lucifer's first season she had ordered on line the night before, she encountered a young woman from Poland behind the counter who was kind enough to teach her how to say "Hello" in Polish. So, Fio's first joy was Lucifer, and her second joy was czesc. Fio's third joy was outside the store, when she realized the barriers were down on the roads and construction work to the west of Target. Not a single person was on the site so ever-curious Fiorella drove down it, noting the wide boulevard, the curbs, the unearthed rocks that she could sneak back in and pick up later, and--oops--the sudden drop-off just over the drop to the river.

It was the rule of three again.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Mosquito Wars

Fiorella is running late because she slept late because a vampire kept her up late.  Yes, Dracula buzzed her ear and bit her forehead, cheek, and neck last night. Fio's only defense was to swat at him, which meant slapping her own face until she finally nailed that son of a bitch.

Yep, we're going to have to bomb the house again this evening.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Technologically Challenged

Your Fiorella is making a somewhat bumpy crossover from Windows Live Mail to gmail this weekend. Friend Patricia reguided all future emails, Husband figured out how Fio can "delete," and now she hopes someone at her critique group this afternoon can tell her how to "send." Then Fio has to trot over to Click on Monday to find out if there's any way to rescue all her old email addresses.

Tell her again how technology is supposed to make our lives easier.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

September--or, as we Spanish-language students call it, Septiembre--is the month of planting and possibility,  Fio and Husband are going to be looking for bluebonnet seeds, bayberry bushes, nandinas, and boxwoods this weekend. See ya at the nursery!

Friday, September 2, 2016


Friends and family, love and laughter are what get Fiorella through the day. Sometimes she has to work on the last two.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mosquitos, Writing, Languages, Art

Fio and Husband have had an in-house mosquito problem for about a week now and emptying out standing water isn't doing the trick.  Fio has got to find some kind of safe in-house spray. Wish her luck.
Hey, hey, hey--Fiorella has finished revision #3 and will start #4 today. On the other hand, her email is on the outs again. Time to switch to gmail.
Fio is satisfying her language hunger with el espanol, but the art hunger is growing again.  Is that woman never satisfied?