Tuesday, June 27, 2017


La Piloto sewed up every plot line last night. John, the consumate villain, gathered all his drug traffic friends /rivals together in his lovely ranch house, then went outside and tommy-gunned them all through the window, much to the surprise of los federales, who were preparing for a surprise attack. Sulima escaped the massacre, but with Yolanda confronting her, ended up backing into a whirling propeller, which pretty well took care of her. Dave went after John, and they duked it out like the girls did, but John was hauled off to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The last episode was puffed up with a lot of unnecessary memory footage, but Olivia and Vilmer, Lizbeth and Raul, Mena and his baby, Rosalba, Yolanda and Dave lived happily ever after. Or did they? The last camera shot was of crazy Santamaria, whom we all thought had been left to rot in jail in a women's prison, watching through his evil eye as Yolanda and Dave embraced.

La Piloto Dos, anyone?

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Piano in the Family

Crashing the keys to make a thunder sound when she was about six was Fiorella's first experience as a pianist, but pianos were few and far between back then so she had to wait till she was in fourth grade to tickle the ivories again. That's when she talked to her mother about taking lessons, which, she didn't realize, would require a piano in the house. But Mom talked to Dad, they bought a spinet from a church friend, and Fiorella was set up with lessons from Mrs. Sykes, partially because her house was located on Fio's route home from school.

Fiorella quickly caught onto the numbered finger system and progressed along to the "third year" book, then slowed down when she hit junior high,  partially because North Junior was in the opposite direction from Mrs. Sykes' house, partially because she had more schoolwork, and partially because her pieces were getting harder. Nonetheless, Fio still enjoyed playing and has continued to do so through the years although, frankly, she doesn't play as well as when she was as a child.

But now she'll tell you who benefited most from the piano in her parents' home--her mother. Mom had always been musical, but her family couldn't afford more than three months of piano lessons for her as a child so she taught herself how to play the mouth organ as an adult. Later, after had Fiorella left home, Mother sent off to Sears Roebuck for the teach-yourself-to-play-the-piano instructional series, and learned all about chords and keys and playing by ear. Fio was always proud of her mother's achievement--and impressed.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Nothing like opening up the morning with four loads of laundry that Fio brought home from Husband's rehab hospital, son still in bed with a migraine, and a computer that refuses to perform,
The cast iron plants that Fiorella spent hours planting--and replanting--are looking sallow, and an armadillo has been tearing up the planting bed and the lawn. We'll have to get out the trap again.
Fio cleaned out under the couch and found six pens and seven rawhide dog bones, but not the credit card she was looking for.
Estella was killed off in La Piloto. Everyone but the bad guys are getting killed off. Mena is probably next.
Fio's hair refuses to behave. She looks awful.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lost Again

Fiorella's card case is gone, the one from the 2015 New York RWA conference, the one she keeps her professional cards and her credit cards in. She knows she lost the case in the house, probably in the den or the front room, maybe the kitchen, and she's been searching up and down for it, with Minnesota son right behind her, but no luck. Now, Fio is no stranger to lost credit cards, and she lost the case at H-E-B once, but how can one lose a card case in one's own home?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Birthday Time!

Today is Husband's birthday, and we are going to celebrate whether he wants to or not. Minnesota son and Fio have arranged to pick up a chocolate cake from Papi's Pies and take it to the rehab hospital where Husband is recovering from knee-replacement. Then we will party, party, party. That's what birthdays are for.

Fiorella is a birthday nut. Her parents always recognized hers with gifts and joy, but she looked around and realized there could be more to it--like a decorated cake and a big party. Thus, when it came time for her own children's birthdays, she went all out. She did the same for everyone else's birthdays too, like those of her parents-in-law, who weren't big celebrators. But Fiorella wouldn't let them off the hook. Every birthday, the family drove over to their home with a decorated cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to them. One of the nicest--and saddest--things her mother-in-law ever said was "Fiorella taught us to enjoy birthdays."

Fio will get into heaven on that.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Morning, Noon, and Night

Fiorella lives by lists and systems. Her major lista is the one she writes down for the next day (manana), but she also consults her calendario. Her sytems include such things as feeding la perra her daily pildoras--Fio puts a gob of peanut butter on the handle of una cuchara o tendedor (spoon or fork), sticks una pildora in the mess, and presents it to Sonia, who eagerly gulps it down.
If there's a body count category for the Mexican telenovela awards, La Piloto will win it hands down. Not only have the extras died like flies, but several of the minor characters have also been killed off. Of course, our heroine is in peril--again. The only way she could save the life of la bebe de una amiga (who had been killed) was to surrender herself to the sadistic Santamaria. Of course, she was rescued by Dave and her friends, but not before Sanamaria, quien no es un santo, strung her up by her wrists and branded her with a red hot cattle iron. Her scream could be heard all the way to Hollywood.
The day is surprisingly cool for central Texas in late June, and the house is quiet. Maybe Fio can get through a couple more chapters of her work-in-progress before anyyone gets back to the house. Ah, pandemonium, I know you well.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sleeping Quarters

First, Husband went to the hospital for a knee-replacement, then to rehab, and now he'll be coming home on Saturday, and next week he'll start in-home therapy. Earlier, Husband had told Fio he would be able to walk upstairs when he came home, which meant he'd be able to sleep in the master bedroom, but now it looks like he'll have to stay downstairs for a while, which means he'll sleep on the couch, and Fio, who usually sleeps on the couch because Husband flails in his sleep and accidentally hits her, will have to sleep upstairs. Of course, there is a downstairs guest bedroom, but Minnesota son, who has braces on his ankles, can't navigate the stairs any better than his father. Fio may end up wrapped in a blanket on the floor.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Time Off

Gonna be quick
'Cause feeling sick
Naught to say
But have a good day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mixed Bag

Running late today, but everything is upside down and round-about in Fiorella's life right now. Minnesota son is here to help while Husband is in knee-surgery rehab, but every time Fio turns around, something else goes wrong, like this morning, when she discovered her car battery was dead.. But then there are the good things, like Son jump-starting it for her and, then sending her out to drive around the neighborhood to make the sure the engine understood it had been recharged, which, of course, meant that she stopped on the way back to the house to lay down a few rocks that had been rattling around in her trunk, and a neighbor spotted her putting the rocks in place, stopped, and promised her more rocks.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Remembering My Father

Fiorella's father was a hard worker out of necesssity. When he was thirteen months old, his father was killed in a coal mine accident, leaving his mother to support their three children. Times were tough until she and one of her sisters got the contract to clean the schoolhouse. Of course, Dad and his brother and sister were expected to help. One of Dad's most poignant memories was looking out the window while he was sweeping the floor and seeing the other children at play.

As he grew up, Dad picked up odd jobs around the neighborhood, like killing chickens and herding cattle down to the river and back. And after graduating from high school, he took the inevitable bus ride from Osceola Mills to Akron and scored a job with General Tire, eventually becoming a foreman, then being sent to Waco, Texas, to head up the biggest department in the plant.

Dad played as hard as he worked. A born athelete, he played basefball and football in high school, added golf, tennis and bowling when he hit Akron, and, in Waco, established a company golf league and bowling league. Fio remembers the rows of sports trophies lining the garage shelves.

But best of all, Dad was a sweet father. His eyes glowed with warmth when he looked at his children, and Fiorella always knew that she was loved.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. Rest in peace. May you bowl 300 in heaven.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What's Up With Fiorella

 You may have noticed that yesterday's poem went through two modifications before Fio was satisfied with it, That's how it goes--anything Fiorella writes or paints is subject to revision until she gets it right. But why does Fio rhyme so much, you ask. Because rhymes are always whirling around in her head like a swarm of demented fireflies--buys/size/lies/tries/dies/guys/highs/pies/rise/ties/thighs/ies/wise/ 
shies/stys/guise. And then there are the half-rhymes....
The elctronic world has passed Fiorella by. She writes on una computadora, uses email, and knows how to text, but that's it. On the other hand, she can also write longhand, use a landline, communicate by letter, and even start a fire without turning on the gas, so maybe she'll survive in a hut out in the woods somewhere.
The ecoles must have closed down for summer vacation because France, which bolstered Fiorella's readership to flatteringly high numbers, has deserted her again. You know Fio's theory--that English professeurs are using her blog to illustrate Ameican colloquialisms.
The end of La Piloto is near. The villains have been winnowed down to Yolanda's former lover, his current girlfriend, the crazed colonel, la bruja, and a crew of disposible extras. No dramatic death scenes like the ones in El Color de la Pasion, though. Just bang, bang---you're dead.
The temperatures are climbing here in central Texas. It's going to be a 100-degree week so think cooling thoughts in Fio's direction. She was not born for hot weather. Remember her genealogy.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Female Fortitude

Mothers do not stop to rest
When they're tired or depressed
But grit their teeth and soldier on
Until the dark becomes the dawn

Thursday, June 15, 2017

National Scene

Anger + firearm = tragedy.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Perplexing Situation

Fiorella doesn't understand:

An old man leaks top-secret information to the Russian ambassador and he's still riding high, wide, and handsome. A young woman leaks top-secret information to the American public, and she's put in shackles.

Something's wrong with this picture.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Late Report

Oops, Fio forgot to post. She's been going back and forth from Husband's rehab center every day, plus meeting with two groups of writing buddies, plus welcoming Minnesota son back to the heart of Texas.  Son is not only a boon companion, but he's committed himself to cutting the rawhide dog bones in two for Sonia dog and fixing some things around the house. He's also great when it comes to electronics. And, no, you can't have him.
Fiorella plans to start laying down rocas again soon. There are still parts of the driveway edging that need shoring up, and she also wants to shovel up the smaller, leftover rocks to use in other projects. Then there are newly-planted cast iron plants, which all seem to be on their last legs. Fio may have to pay a visit to the Home Depot garden center this fall, but what's new?
La Piloto is speeding toward its bloody finale. Now that half the population of Mexico has been killed off, the major villains are turning against each other, one of them even shooting himself in the head. In another thread, after being identified as Amanda's murderer, Sulima turned her pistola on Yolanda, la piloto. then took off in la avion (the airplane).
You do realize, of course, that Fio has always written. And always will.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Where are the poets from the other side,
The voices of whimsy, of hope, of despair?
Where do they hide?
Or are they not there?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fiver Again

Fiorella awoke this morning with her inborn rhyming machine going full blast. Watch out, world! WordS that hiSS are Swords!
Minnesota son is coming to town tomorrow, and Fio will dump her electronic problems in his capable hands. He not only understands the digital world, but explains it well and, most important, is patient.
Weekends are hard for Fio because she misses her telenovelas. Yes, two of them, La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo as well as La Piloto. OMG, she's addicted!
Fio was born limber. Not athletic, but limber, even in her hands. Thus it amuses her, when she is in the hospital, to slip the plastic ID tag up off her wrist. (Fio is also easily amused.)
The family is going DNA crazy. It started with nephew Barrett and his wife, who infected Fio and Husband, then moved on to Minnesota son, and now has spread to Daughter and Austin son. But, truth to tell, it's more an indulgent novelty than anything else. A person is not defined by his lineage, but what he says and does on his own..

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Question and Answer

INTERVIEWER: Why do you write this blog?

FIORELLA: It's my outlet. It lets me drain/ The swamp of my brain.

INTERVIEWER: You answered me in a rhymed dimeter couplet. Why?

FIORELLA: It's a game I play with myself. Blending the message, the beat, and the rhyme is a challenge.

INTERVIEWER: Lately you've used your poetic  skills to challenge Donald Trump. Why not prose?

FIORELLA: People are more likely to remember a short, smartly-turned rhymed verse than a long, thoughtful essay.

INTERVIEWER: You want your poetry to be remembered?

FIORELLA: I want my message to be remembered. We all have our roles in the resisitance movement, and mine is to fuel the fire.\


Friday, June 9, 2017

Manifesto in Rhyme

While I walk this fragile earth
I want to use my dwindling time
To make the world a better place
With my stories, songs, and rhyme
With everything I draw and paint
With every wall I decorate
With every word I speak in tongues
Striving to commuincate,
To be a good mother, wife, and friend
And in all I do and all I say,
Reflect the glory of God's love
Every minute of every day

Thursday, June 8, 2017


While I am on this earth, I want to make good use of my time. I want to draw and paint and decorate. I want to compose, write poems and stories, to learn languages and communicate. to be a good mother, wife, and friend, to be an instrument of God's love in all I do and say. And that's just for today.

Day/say, decorate/communicate--does Fiorella feel a poem coming on?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Spanish Progress--Or Not

Miercoles--"Wednesday" en el espanol--Fio loves the sound of it.

And, Fiorella, how is the rest of your Spanish going, you ask? Well, lentamente (slowly), to tell the truth, although Fio has a good grip on about ten present-tense verbos now. Her vocabulary of nouns has grown too, partially because she's a faithful fan of telenovelas. (Sp speakers--does carnal, as used by John and Oscar in La Piloto, mean "sexy?")

La problema is that she has a limited number of people to practice on. Her twice-a-month maid and one-a-month yardman are happy to help, but they (and a couple of cooperative fast-food people) aren't enough. The etiquetas stuck on the muebles and listas taped on the paredes aren't enough. Fio needs to find a class.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was tremendous, but today is not starting off well. Fiorella discovered she had somehow destroyed a long, thoughtful essay on spanking and slapping children, then started feeling sicky when she sat by Husband's side as he awaited his turn at knee-replacemnt surgery. There was something in the air, maybe some kind of hospital sanitizer that was getting to her. And it didn't help that she'd been up almost all night because Sonia Dog did not appreciate being locked out of Husband's bedroom, where she usually sleeps. Fio tried to explain to doggie that the hospital had instructed him to sleep on clean, dogless, sheets, but Sonia did not understand. Just like Fiorella does not understand why she got struck with a multiple-paned migraine aura in Husband's waiting room, why she became so weak that she could hardly tow Husband's tote and her own tote to the car, why she felt like she was going to throw up all the way home, why she's been sitting on the couch like a wilting flower for the past three hours.

She's beginning to feel better now, though. This too shall pass.

Post Postponed

Fio wrote a long post on spanking and slapping for today, but somehow it didn't save, and right now she has to hurry Husband off to the hospital to get his knee replaced. See ya later.

Monday, June 5, 2017


Fio is a slave to her wristwatch. First thing in the morning, it slips itself around her wrist like a manacle and the rat race begins.
As Melania has said, if Trump is hit, he hits back three time as hard. So, because Macron over-powered his power grip, Trump decided to screw the world.
Fiorella isn't as enraged as others seem to be about the bodies buried beneath churches, hospitals, and other edifices. Actually, she thinks we all live on top of decay, human and otherwise. Life has been around for a long time now, and death has to end up somewhere.
Fio can write what she cannot say.
I can't do it all
I'm not a one-man band
Come on, people,
Please--lend me a hand

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Penal Colony

We are all mixed bags, and many of the people who are locked away to waste their lives in prison have talents or skills that could benefit society and maybe the world. So why not ship criminals off to a penal colony, like Georgia and Australia used to be, so they can duke it out with each other and maybe, down the line, become founding fathers? Of course, we have to find a barely-habitable planet first.

OMG, is Earth the penal colony for our galaxy?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Staying Tuned to LA PILOTO

How can you survive without Fiorella bringing you up to date on her current telenovela, La Piloto? 

After escaping and being captured more times than Fio could keep track of, Yolanda has wound up in the clutches of the high class Shadow Cartel, but this time, she has two of her gal pals, the boyfriend of one of her friends, her aunt, and Amanda's orphaned baby with her. Zulima, who, unknown to Yolanda and her posse, is the one who killed Amanda, is also there, pretending to be a member of Yolanda's tribe, although she is actually in cahoots with the Shadow Cartel.

The good news is that Oscar Lucio, a real baddie, finally bit the dust--literally--when he parachuted out of a plane and landed way too hard. That leaves John Lucio, Santamaria, the Shadow Cartel, and Zulima to go. Yes, the villains are being picked off one by one, which means Yolanda and Dave are drawing closer to their happy ending, but not, Fio thinks, before Monica and Mena sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, your Fio is being drawn into another telenovela, La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo.

Friday, June 2, 2017


Trump can tweet and Trump can talk
But he couldn't muster the strength to walk
On his tiny little feet
Seven hundred yards down the street,
So hailing a golf cart, he arrived dead last--
Outpaced, outwitted, out-handshaked, and outclassed

Thursday, June 1, 2017


What if all species consider themselves to be dominent--the lions and tigers and bears, the cats and dogs, the birds and bees, the army ants, the microscopic amoebas? Sure, various subspecies have gone extinct every now and then, but that doesn't mean they weren't dominent. Several species of humankind have gone extinct too, and some day, we all will.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Fioella had thoroughly enjoyed the Georgetown Palace's production of Joseph and his colorful attire a couple of years ago and looked forward to a second viewing in the company of nephew Barrett and his wife, and she was not disappointed. In fact, Fio thought the musical was better this time around than its predecessor, at least the first act of it. The opening was much better staged, with Sabrina Mari Uriegas totally owning the role of the Narrator, and after the Sunday school kids cleared off the stage, the show was non-stop action--one fast-moving musical number after another. Fiorella, who's trod the musical boards herself, was totally in awe of all of them, and by "them," she means a company of forty.

Steve Williams as Joseph was top-notch. The minute he started singing, Fio got the shivers, the thrilling kind.

The show was well put-together. The two-person camel worked, the costumes worked, the simple stage setting worked, and the the band was right on, although, as usual, the acoustics were too loud, and Fio had to stick a finger in her more sensitive ear.

Fiorella's only disappointment was that the brothers' "regret scene" in the second act was not played in a noir setting complete with red berets and striped shirts like it was in the first show.  Minor suggestions would be to lave the lily-white chests of the male actors with a darker body make-up and to cut the length of the final reprise.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Slapping and Spanking

Mother could be very kind and loving and she also had a temper. An example of both sides was when she made a couple of nightgowns for her granddaughter, which Fio appreciated, but was dumb enough to say that armholes had to be enlarged. Mother flared like a highway beacon. Why? Over armholes that were so small that Daughter couldn't get the nightgowns on?

When Fiorella was a child, a slap on the face was Mother's way of letting Fio know she had crossed a line. The slaps didn't occur that often, but enough that Fio started cringing when Mother moved quickly, which made Mother all the more angry. "It's not as if I beat you!" she'd say. But she did, although only with a yardstick. In later years, Mother always said Fio moved so fast that she could never get a good whack in, but that isn't how Fio remembers it. (If you are wondering, Fio's major infraction was not coming when called.)

Fiorella would like to tell you that she never slapped or spanked her own kids, but she did--after all, her parents were her role models. But after a couple of years of motherhood, she stopped spanking Older Son when she realized that it didn't work, that he saw the spanking as payment for whatever he had just done, and now he was free to do whatever he wanted to again. So instead, she started building a conscience in him, which was much more effective.

Mother loved her children firecely, just as Fio loves hers, but Fio has never told her children that she hit them because she loves them, that it's God's will. Where did that idea come from? Probably from Mother's own mother, maybe passed down for centuries.

But it ended with Fiorella.


Fiorella spent an hour outside replanting the cast iron plants for the umpteenth time, and the midges and mosquitoes had a field day. It was like she was the newest girl in the brothel, and all the guys wanted a taste of her.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Ending After All

Fio's wonderful neighbor, Mike, spotted her overturned wagon across the fenceline, and when he couldn't find her body, he took the wagon home, pumped up the tires, oiled whatever it is that wagons need oiled, shined it till it glittered, then left it in front of Fio's front porch, loaded with rocks, like a birthday present. May God bless him and his wife because Fiorella will never be able to return their many kindnesses in a million years.

 Moral of the story: Mother Nature can be a bitch, but good neighbors are God's precious gift.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fiorella vs.Nature

Fiorella is angry. She took her little red wagon to the creek and loaded it with several stones just the right size to line the porch-line edge of her raised planting beds, but she hit uneven ground as she was hauling the wagon along the fenceline toward the street and it overturned. Not to be thwarted, Fio put the rocks back in the wagon and started off again--but because she hadn't thought to straighten the wheels, the wagon overturned again. Fio was sweating like a pig, the day was so humid she could hardly take a breath, so she decided that, yes, she could be thwarted, deserted the wagon, and staggered back to the house.

Then there are the cast iron plants which won't stay planted despite Fiorella's herculean efforts. And the bayberries, which have betrayed Fiorella by allowing themselves to be ravaged by whatever eats bayberries, and the sages, which developed a stupid fungus and had to be jerked out by the roots, not to mention the dead bird Fio found stuck to the branch of the volunteer mulberry.

When did Mother Nature become such a bitch?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mother, the Brave

When she is gone, will Fio's offspring analyze her like she has analyzed her own mother? Fio hopes so. People are complcated, and it's interesting to try to figure out their threads, especially if they were the earliest and strongest influence on your life. And sometimes you come up with surprises, things that you took for granted all along that, on consideration, you now see differently. Fiorella's mother, who had a tumultuous childhood, always put up such a good front that Fio never realized how frightened she was underneath it all.

Fio, on the other hand, has a temperament more like her father and always marches forward. Well, not always. She's had her dark times.

Friday, May 26, 2017


People always think Fio is an extrovert, but actually, she's an introvert who talks a lot.
Fio just realized that the first letters of Trump's kids' names spell out D-E-B-I-T. Think about it.
Vision, what they see, is the dominant force driving some people. For other people, noise, what they hear, is their dominant force. The former, like Fiorella, are artists. The latter, like Husband, are musicians. Fio requires silence and Husband needs sound, sound, sound.
Pray for Fio. It looks like she'll have most of the day free to write--after she's picked up some timbers at Home Depot to finish off her raised iron plant bed, of course.
La Piloto seems to be resolving its major plot points. Dave and Yolanda are together at last, and John Lucio is in federal prison. Now for Zulima, who killed Amanda, to gets her just deserts. Also, Oscar Lucio should join his brother in the hoosegow, Colonel Santamaria should meet a bloody end, and the corrupt politicians should be exposed. Fio hopes that Monica will be exonerated and receive her own happy ending, but has a feeling that she's going to sacrifice herself to save Dave or Yolanda.
Husband will be getting his knee replaced soon. A couple of months ago, his left shoulder was replaced. Fio has quite a few replacements herself. The airport metal detectors are going to have a field day.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Not A Born Gardener

Fiorella, thy name is Adventure, or maybe MsAdventure. The bayberries on the north side of the house, which she had hoped would be a solid wall of green by now, were ragged and scraggly so she bought a bottle of insecticide at the garden store, hooked it up to the front hose, turned on the faucet, and sprayed everything sprayable. Maybe a few things too many, like the red-tipped fotina, because when Fio staggered back around the flastone path to turn the faucet off, she accidentally brushed the top of her head aganst the low-hanging branches of the fotina, which meant that, according to the instructions that came with the insecticide, she had to take a shower.

A shower? Fiorella take a shower? Sacrilege! Fio is strictly a bath girl. On the other hand, there was no way she was going to let insecticide swim around in the tub with her, so, for the very first time since college, she used the overhead.

Bayberries, do you know what Fiorella has gone through for your sake? Do you appreciate her sacrifice? Heal, damnit!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pondering Capital Punishment

The Manchester massacre has stirred the tendrils of Fiorella's brain, and she's thinking about fitting puishments. Death, of course, and not one of those painless ones. How about locking the perp into stocks and letting him starve to death? Or stretching him till he breaks on the wrack? Or setting him up for a long, slow hanging? Shouldn't someone who has caused so much pain and sorrow be required to experience some for himself? Personally?

But, Fiorella, you protest--you are a liberal and a Christian. Yes, Fio is slanted left, but she's never been opposed to capitol punishment. Not everyone should have a second chance. In fact, far too many second-chancers murder again. There are some people whom this world is best rid of, and it isn't as if death is the end of the road. Fiorella, as you know, believes in an afterlife in which all will be cleansed and exist in harmony, even the worst of us.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Q: Fio, where did you get your name? I don't think I've ever heard it before.

A: My mother decided on my name. It's Italian. Fiorella means "little flower" and is the feminine form of Fiorello, as  in Fiorello La Guardia, who was a a famous New York mayor. .

Q: What about your last name, Plum? That's not Italian.

A: Mom called it a nom de plum. You know, sort of like the French nom de plume.

Q: Moving on, why is the good use of time so important to you? You write about it all the time.

A: I've had a strong sense of time passing ever since I was a child, and even more so now. I want to spend whatever time remains in my life making the world a better place by what I do, what I say, and what I write.

Q: How do you intend to do that?

A: I do my best to be truthful, loyal, helpful, kind, and caring. To speak out against wrongdoing and support justice, to move forward and not look back. I want to write poetry and books that explore our humanity in an uplifting manner.

Q: That's quite a XXXX. Do you really think you can accomplish all this?

A: No. But I can try. I'd rather be a failure than never have tried.

Q: Do you think you're mother approves.

A: Totally. We're very close, almost like the same person.

Taxes, Television, Errands

Fiorella really had a scare yesterday--a three-page notification from IRS saying that she owed the Feds more money. It was just $17, but the situation unnerved Fio, who thought she'd taken care of everything back in April. But apparently her payment had not reached IRS headquarters when it was supposed to, which also explains why her check hadn't been cashed yet. Deliquent postman? Could be, but Fio knows better than to fight los federales about $17.
My 600-pound Life was so boring the other night that Fio turned it off and went to sleep. She wanted to be sympathetic to the rape-survivor woman who was sharing her depressing life with us, but she also wanted the story to move faster. As an author, Fiorella knows that each scene in her books must move the story along, and as a TV viewer, she knows that true-life stories must do the same or the audience will, like Fio, opt out. At a certain point, Fio just plain didn't care.
 Fio has an action-packed day ahead of her today--the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, the nursery to ask advice about her raggedy bayberries, the eyeglass place to see if her spectacles can be fixed, Click Computer Repair to give her computadora a stern talking-to, and a meeting with friend Sherry ShamRock at Papi's Pies, which will be her reward for driving all over town taking care of the errands. Yum!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Coward in the White House

Trump doesn't have the right stuff--
When the going at home gets tough
He flees
So despite the bluster, despite the bellow
Our orange julius is just plain yellow

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Dear Diary:
I had a wonderful time yesterday at my church art show, in which I had placed four drawings and two of Austin son's works. There were only about ten of us there, mostly the artists, but that was okay because church members had been visiting the showing for about a month and it was a show, not a sale. All the artists were called upon to talk about our art, which, of course, me being me, I was only too glad to do, and now I feel guilty because I think I overdid it. Oh, Fiorella, will you ever learn to keep your mouth shut?

PS: If I could remember how to post a pic, I'd let you see the drawings I put on show, but my talent is art, not electronics.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Spanish Lesson Plan

Your Fio is settling down into the study of el espanol for real now. Yes, she's actually going to learn some verbs forms.  Her initial lista contains diez verbos--eat, drink, come, go, sit, sleep, drive, stop, and the two forms of be--all in the present tense, with their infinitives and imperatives as part of the package. (Comer, beber, venir, ir, sentarse, dormir, manejar, dejar,  estar, ser, if you're interesado.)

Wish Fio well.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Thumbs Down

Fio has been watching La Piloto, a Spanish-language soap opera every week night, but she doesn't like it.  The melodrama, she can take, but the violence is a different matter. People, good people, are being killed off right and left. Even pregnant people--Amanda, who is about eight months pregnant, just got run down by Zulima, la bruja. At this rate, Fio will be surprised if even the hero and heroine make it out alive. El Color de Pasion, a romance. had its fair share of violence--six deaths, but that's peanuts compared to La Piloto. Fio hopes the show will end soon and that the next telenovela will be another romance.

That being said, Fiorella admits she's been researching the actors. She did that for El Color cast too. Just nosey.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fiorella Ponders

If all goes well, Fiorella is getting a workable GPS today. Minnesota Son gave her one for Christmas last year, but there was no  way to install it in her Miata, so when Son visited recently, he arranged for a friend of his to look the situation over. Scott Williams is making a whole new fitting to be able to to affix the mechanism to Fio's dashboard, which would mean means she could zoom down to the southern boondocks to visit her grandbaby any time she wants.
The Georgetown post office didn't have any postcards in stock when the barrage of Paul Ryan's home address was scheduled so Fio had to drive down to Austin to pick some up--two weeks late. Hmmm... Why is that Georgetown is always out of postcards? Maybe because they've become the Resistance's weapons of choice, and Gtown bleeds red?
To my children; Ever since the three of you were born, you have been the most important people in my life, but as you grew up, I became less and less important to you, which is how it should be. And when the time comes that I no longer recognize you, please love yourselves enough to  abandon me. I do not want to be a burden.
The final thing Fio ponders is why she tries to write late at night. She's embarrassed at how much morning-after editing she's had to do on this post to make it readable. Apologies.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Trump Triad

This is so interesting. Trump, who has been pressing his staff to discover who is leaking info about his regime to the American press, is now leaking classified info to the Russians. He knows who his friends are.
Donald's basest base doesn't care about anything but drinking beer and yelling "Lock her up" at post-election rallies. Congressional Republicans don't care about anything but keeping a tight hold on their football.
The presidential staff seems to be playing "Go in and out the window," like in kindergarten. Come to think of it, their boss is acting like a kindergartner too.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Fio and friend Paula are thinking of taking advantage of the recent boom in fake news by setting up their own DNA research business.  For a measly few hundred dollars a shot, they could assure their clients that their ancestral lines include kings, queens, statesmen, scholars, artists, musicians, and all good things. For a mere few hundred bucks more, those of their clients who pine for more colorful heritages could be identified as, for example, one-fourth scalawag, half hustler, and possibly a minute percent hangman.

Anything for a profit, as our so-called president would say.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ode to Napkins

I love the Starbucks napkins,
Pale brown and soft, yet strong
Enough to wipe up a latte spill
Or sketch a landscape on

I always grab some extras
When I leave the store
To blot my lipstick, swipe my nose
Once I am out the door

I like them for their texture
And durability
But most of all I like them 'cause
They're free, they're free, they're free!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Necessity of Mothers

The problem with being a mother is that you're also a real person and have issues with your own mother to deal with. And then there's the friend who stabs you in the back, the neighbor who lets you know she has everything you don't, and the husband who has his own issues. And then there are the kids' issues, all of which you try to help with and often just screw up. But somehow we plug on, imperfect creatures that we are, because we are mothers, and we're the best thing the world has going for it.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Loving the Starbucks Napkins

Aah, the napkins. Fio always grabs a handful of them at Starbucks for the store, the car, and the home.   They're soft but hold together well, which means they're a good place to rest a half-finished cookie, and ideal for patting one's mouth, wiping one's nose, or cleaning up a spill. They're also great for drawing sketches to explain a change to the home landscaping or jotting down notes for blogs like this one.

And they're free.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cast Iron Plants

Brother and his wife donated a big pot of iron plants for Fio to plant in place of the fungus-ridden sages she'd had to hack out, for which she is very grateful, but she didn't realize how hard it would be to separate the individual stems for planting. She tried a screw driver, scissors, a hammer, a shovel, a pick, and, finally, her chain saw. The plant sacrificed several young blades by throwing them into the chain to foul up the saw and save their community as a whole, but Fiorella prevailed and now has enough rooted stems to finish off the west side of the house.

She also understands how that plant got its name.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Yard

 Facebook is, as advertised, really great for connecting with old friends and acquaintances. Of course, Fio always tries to put her best foot forward.  The photos she posts are framed and cropped so no one will know Fio has a pile of mulch in a corner of the yard and the bayberries still aren't hiding the AC units the way she wants them to.
Fio's latest outside endeavor, aside from the driveway edging, is lining the west side of the house with cast iron plants. The flowering sages, which had reigned there for about ten years, caught some kind of fungus infection and Fio had to whack them down to the roots, then ask Fernando, her wonderful yard man, to finish the job. But, alas, Fernando comes just once a month so Fiorella has to do the replanting replacement all on her own. Dig, Fio, dig!

The only drawback to having a driveway lined with rocks is that a riding mower can't get over them gracefully, which is the reason Fio and Husband replaced the rocks with easily-movable four-foot-long landscape timbers at strategic places along the way.  Then Fio realized that although Husband can get his own riding mower through four-foot gaps, Fernando's professional mower needs a five-foot gap. So, yes, that was Fio you saw at Home Depot having eight landscape timbers cut to five-feet plus (just to be sure), lowering the passenger seat of Husband's car as far as possible so the timbers could be loaded, then driving slowly and carefully home and unloading them.  And one of these days,  she promises, she'll get them distributed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Walled Cities

The walls of Jericho aren't tumbling down anywhere near rural Georgetown. Instead, everywhere Fiorella looks, walls are being built around new subdivisons, as if to protect the homeowners from the non-gated savages like Fio that roam the boondocks. Fio thinks the walls are a developer fad that will soon pass, but in the meantime, they're eyesores. And she bets the rancher who lives across Hwy 29 and has a walled city being constructed next to his property is not too thrilled either. Gonna spook the cows.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bang, Bang! You're Dead!

La Piloto is getting boring. Minor characters are being killed off by the dozens as Santamaria and Oscar still chase after Yolanda, who still hasn't realized that Dave is her best choice.  Fio thought the Spanish-language telenovela was building toward a resolution, but maybe not. Besides, the characters talk too little and too fast for Fio's English ear to catch as much as a mucho. They make the Spanish-language news reporters sound like they're drawling.

Fiorella would like to change her allegiance to La Mujer de Vendaval, in which the actors speak at a normal pace, but it doesn't come on till midnight, and Fio has to sleep sometime.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Household

Fiorella is methodical. She lives by systems and lists. Husband is more of a free spirit, which means Fio never knows where the phone is till she hears it ringing. Grrrr!
The east creek bed has yielded some very nice rocks, but its footing is more treacherous than the creek to the south, where the rock tree was, and the overgrowth is scary. Who knows what lurks in Fiorella's back woods?
Has Fio told you that the sages on the west side of the house are being consumed by a fungus? She used her pruners to cut down one of them and ended up with a twenty-minute coughing jag. Allergy? Who knows, but she's planning to use a chainsaw to take the others down with one fell swipe apiece. That is, if Husband can find where he put the charger.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Everyone But Fiorella

Fiorella doesn't understand how people can make  a living out of anything as unproductive as whacking a little ball around a golf course, across a tennis net, or out of a baseball park. Or by attacking another person in a boxing or wrestling ring. Or by tossing a ball into a high basket. But that's entertainment, which Fio, wierdo that she is, considers a wasteful use of time. Time, precious time, which Fio never has enough of.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

TV News

Fiorella is inerested in the route Big Bang Theory is taking with Amy going off to Princeton for two months, which leaves Sheldon behind in California and, according to leaks, prey to the cute redhead who went after him before. But Sheldon and Amy had sex just before she left, which Fio guesses wasn't was just a cute end to the episode. What if Amy turns up pregnant? Can you imagine Sheldon as a prospective father? As a father? As becoming a close pal with Howard as the only two fathers in the group?
La Piloto is obviously working toward its grande finale. Yolanda finally realized Oscar is not her friend when he lured her to a desolate spot and started shooting at her. Also, Colonel Santamaria is on the run because he was revealed to be part of the drug trade. And Zulima, la bruja, walked in on John (whom she had enchanted away from Yolanda) in bed with another woman, which is bad news for John. And Dave the incorruptible turned in his DEA badge and gun when he realized his bosses were part of the drug trade, which means he is now rogue in his persistance to find and protect Yolanda, whether she wants him to or not.
Lucifer is back, thank goodness, and the plot thickens. Fiorella likes the way the story is obviously working toward a resolvement instead being episode after episode of crime-solving, which was never that strong a feature anyway. Maybe Lucifer is ushering in the era of of English-language telenovelas.

Claiming Her Canine Rights

When Sonia dog realized we were preparing to go out yesterday, she slipped past Husband, padded around the car to "her" door, the one Fio always opens so she can hop up onto the back-seat hammock, sat down, and waited expectantly for Fio to open said door. This is a new trick on her part, but not suprising. Sonia is a dog who looks and learns. But Fiorella isn't dumb either. Hauling a 120-lb dog who's posed like the Great Sphinx of Giza back into the house is impossible, but luring her in with a spoonful of peanut butter took only a minute or two.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Overwhelmed by the Latter

There are things Fiorella wants to do and things she needs to do, and the latter always takes precedence. Somehow, she thought it would be different as an adult. Who knew she would be working on the yard instead of taking Spanish lessons? Taking care of the house instead of painting portraits? Figuring out family finances instead of writing poetry? Dealing with various repairs and construction instead of lolling in a hammock? Handling family crises rather than writing books?

Is there no relief?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What's on Fio's MInd

The signs that say to keep your eyes on the road, the ones that you have to take your eyes off the road to read...
Click Computer is talking about shutting down operations in Georgetown. Fiorella doesn't like changes and she doesn't like the idea of losing her guys. She wants Travis, Patrick, and Charles to stay around forever--with occasional drop-bys by shop owner Rob, of course.
What is it with Trump supporters? Like lemmings, they'd follow him off the edge of a cliff, cursing at the rest of us all the way down.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Personal News

The only reason Fiorella switched to Gmail is that Microsoft quit supporting Windows Live Mail, and she's been in trouble ever since. Windows was so beautifully intuitive, and Gmail doesn't make any sense at all.  Far too often, Fio ends up scurrying to Click Computer Repair or friend Patricia to untangle the electronic webs she's woven trying to figure things out for herself. GRRRRR!
Fio is now officially addicted to La Piloto, another telenovela. El Color, which she still wants to find a DVD set of, was a romance pure and simple, but La Piloto is a fast-moving action movie. Everyone carries guns, even Yolanda, the heroine, who, yes, is in the drug trade, although ultimately, she's going to end up in the loving arms of Dave Mejia, the stalwart, uncorruptible DEA agent. Right now she's engaged in escaping from the arms of Colonel Santamaria, who is chasing down drug dealers, including her former boyfriend, John Lucio, who's fallen under the influence of Zulima, a  practicing bruja, cigars and all.
Fio finished laying the last rocks in the north driveway yesterday. Now to check out the south driveway to see what needs to be shored up. A rocker's work is never done.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Trump, the Performer

Trump has reinvigorated comedy, from stand-up to TV to newspapers, and it's not just the newapaper columnists and the editorial cartoonists who've been inspired. The comics pages have also gotten into the act--strips like Candorville, Mallard Filmore, Non Sequitur, Wizard of Id and, of course, Doonesbury.  It's hard to resist such good material.
Trump is determined to put his brand--his name--on everything, espacially a big, flashy, neon-lit wall. Ah, Ozymandias, nothing lasts forever, which is a reference our so-called president lacks the educational background to understand. By the way, his latest "alternative fact" is that the Civil War was senseless, that no one knows why it was fought.
His basest base still gives him high approval ratings, mainly, Fio thinks, because none of us like to admit we were wrong. And then there's the circus element. It's so much fun under the Big Top.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Relax, Bugs Bunny

Falling under Firorella's poetic influence, friend Patricia, who lives on a ranch, has composed the following epigram:

Oh, for the terrified rabbit
Who runs from me while I mow--
Your beheading is not my intention
I just want my grass cut down low

Perfect rhyme, perfect iambic trimeter, funny as hell.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Baby Girl

Fiorella's daughter was God's own miracle, born just nineteen months after her brother. There was a miscarriage scare, but being a redhead, Daughter held on and was born by c-section, two weeks premature at nine pounds, nine ounces. Fio sang "May she be like Ruth and like Esther, May she be deserving of fame" as she was being born, and Daughter has lived up to Fio's blessing. She is strong, kind, resourceful, and beautiful, deserving of not only fame, but all good things.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Medical Miracle

Fiorella's second son was a medical miracle after four years of waiting, and he made up for the lost time by being so big that her obstetrician had Fio x-rayed for twins. So big that a stranger in the Sears Roebuck parking lot told Fio that she was the biggest pregnant woman he'd ever seen. So big that her shoe size went from an eight to a ten--permanently. But Fio loved every moment of her pregnancy.

The birth, though, was another matter. Son got stuck and Fiorella had to have an emergency c-section without anesthetic, but son--all eleven pounds, six ounces of him--was perfect. And in Fio's eyes, he's been perfect ever since.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Open Letter to My Son's Incubator

At one time, I lived in fear of you, the birth mother of my oldest child. I was afraid you would try to reclaim him, to tear my darling from me. Now I love you. I love you for giving me a beautiful baby who grew up to be a charming child, then an upstanding young man who is kind to children and animals, who is sensitive and strong, and who loves his wife, his parents, and his God.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pruners, GPS, Girl Scouts

Fiorella is thinking of grabbing her pruners to take care of a couple of unwanted bushes in el parke and of a couple of springtime cedar branches that are grabbing for her hairevery time she passes by. She's also looking over areas to plant cast iron plants, which Brother and his wife have offered her. Maybe in place of the sages along the west side of the house, which appear to have developed rust.
Did Fio tell you that Scott Williams, a friend of older son, is going to be fixing her Christmastime GPS so Fio can finally use it? Then she'll be able to head down the road to see Baby anytime she wants to.
Hey, hey, hey--Fio finally figure out how to get the las botellas de pildoras de plastico (plastic pill bottles) to the Girl Scouts without having to drive to Round Rock. MAIL THEM!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mama June Is A Size Four And All Hollywood Marriages Are Happy

Fiorella spent a fair amount of time in her podiatrist's office yesterday, which meant she spent a fair amount of time perusing People Magazine. It's not her publication of choice, but it's usually the only one in doctors' waiting rooms that isn't oriented toward health care or sports.

Actually, Fio grew up reading magazines. She devoured Hollywood fan mags with friend Ellen at her house, and then, at home, read the magazines her mother subscribed to--Saturday Evening Post when it was still in business, Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and Family Circle. Then, after Fiorella married, she briefly subscribed to House Beautiful and occasionally bought Woman on the newstand.

But now Fiorella doesn't have time for magazines. She has a driveway to edge wth stones, a house to tend, books to write, and a world to save.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

All Hail Rocks!

Rocks are the basis of mankind's existence. Think about it--the caves our acestors lived in, the houses they built, the wells, the walls, the churches, the fortresses, the castles. Think of Plymouth Rock, of Petra, the city carved out of standing stone. Think of the old hymn "Rock of Ages," a religious analogy. We could not live without rocks.
Your Fiorella is such a rock lover that she cannot pass by a decorative pile of them in front of a store or restaurant without giving it a critical look-over for interesting specimens she could grab, much to Husband's embarrasment.
When Fio can figure out how to post a picture again, she'll show you the interesting rock she found in the load that vecina Kathy gave her for Easter. It has a glittering clam shell petrified into it.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fio Analyzes Shubert

Fiorella plays at the piano from time to time, and one of her favorite composers is Schubert--in a simplified Eckstein arrangement, of course. She identifies with Schubert's experimentation--his key modulations in "Unfinished Symphony" and his reversal of the trebel and bass assignments in "Moonlight Sonata," the two pieces she plays, because she too likes to experiment. She also likes the way both pieces have a dark feel, but end in an upsweep of major key happiness, like all romances should.

Music, writing, dance, art. To Fiorella, they are all the same thing.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Art for Animals' Sake

Husband and Fio watched a TV show in which a rock formation, possibly set up by ancient peoples, was discovered under the deep waters of Lake Michigan. On closer examination, one of the big rocks had a mastodon carved into it. Fiorella's artist persona marveled at the graceful glide of the lines and the true perspective, at the realization once again that recording reality is part of the human genome.

One question she has, though. All the early art she's seen has been depictions of animals. Why didn't the resident artists draw pictures of their cave-mates? A portrait or two would have been of immeasurable value to archeologists, geneticists, and whatever branch of science it is that studies ancient cultures.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Post-Easter Post

Fiorella is just about back together again after the Easter parade. She was overjoyed to have the family over, and especially happy to have Minnesota son and his wife visiting. There's always a lot to catch up on with the Minnesota duo, and Son is usually kind enough to fix things in the house while Daughter-in-Law and Fio are rampaging around town on errands and having an uproarious time of it.

The special guest, of course, was Baby, whom her parents were generous enough to let us all take in our arms and coo at. Daughter was there too, and she was quick to claim her Auntie rights.

But now the guests have departed, the Easter baskets are packed away, and the leftover chocolates have met their destiny so Fio has to settle into real life again. That means catching up on her lista amarilla, her espanol, the spring planting, and, yes, Phillipa. She's promised herself to review forty pages tomorrow.

(Sorry, Fio accidentally ran this post a day early.)

Friday, April 21, 2017


The other day, Fiorella was told she should have asked for help getting her groceries to the car because, at her age, she was "entitled" to it. Sorry, Fio doesn't play that game. She'll ask for help if she needs it, but the idea that she's  automatically entitled to anything is not in her ken, no matter how old or damaged she is. She does, however, expect courtesy and fair play, from herself as well as others.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hidden Figures

Minnesota son and his wife brought what they insisted was a must-see movie with them to show us over Easter. Fio protested that she isn't much for movies anymore, but Son persisted, and Fio's glad he did because she was glued to the screen for every minute of Hidden Figures.

Yes, it was the story of discrimination against black women, in this case, mathematicians in the NASA space program, but, as the story unfolded, Fio began to realize that it was also about the taken-for-granted societal pigeon-holing of all women. Girls are not supposed to be as smart as boys, not as ambitious, not as venturesome. A girl who speaks up is unattractive, as Fio herself learned when she was taken aside by her eighth grade social studies teacher and gently told that the boys would not like her if she knew the answers to all the questions. And when she scored highest in her school on the DAR American history exam and was part of a scripted radio presentation with the boys who had won the medal in the other schools, she had to read a silly line about Betsy Ross while the guys covered Revolutionary war heroes.

These are minor irritants compared to racial discrimination, of course, but representative of the way females of all races are automatically marginalized in our society, as happened during out presidential election. A woman doesn't have the "right stuff" to be president, but a stuffed shirt with testicles does. Women are too emotional or too dramatic or too shrill, but a man is excused his childish outbursts, outright lies, and limited vocabulary.

The horrible part of all this is our complicity. Yes, just as the black women in the NASA program took it for granted that they could only use the  "colored" restroom, a "colored" coffeepot, and "colored" educational facilities, women of every color have, through the ages, gone along with the expected female stereotype--attractive, conciliatory, and non-threatening.

What other model did we have?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Credit, Rocks, Piano

Fiorella has lost her credit card (la tarjeta magica) again, and she's a little worried that her carrier might decide to restrict the number of replacemnt cards they send her. Not to mention that it's no fun to change the card number she has on file with various providers.
It's the old yo-ho, heave-ho with las rocas again. Fio moved a third of neighbor (vecina) Kathy's rocks to the north driveway and put them in place to shore out the edging, then drove back to fill her trunk again for tomorrow's placement. That load should use up Kathy's contribution, but Fio has established cairns in the south woods she can use, and friend Mickey's rocks are still in the offing.
Fiorella pulled out an old hymnal, sat down at the piano, and tried to play her way through a few Easter hymns. Not too bad, but not good either. She's not planning a world tour anytime soon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


The rain had slowed down to a dribble so your untrepid Fiorella backed her baby car out of the garage, angled it so it was within a few feet of the pile of rocks that sweet neighbor Kathy had left on the side of the driveway as an Easter present, and loaded about a third of them into her trunk. Those rocks would put Fio several yards further up the north driveway. But more important, they felt good in her hands, especially the heavy ones.

You can say all you want about how hoisting heavy rocks makes Fio feel like she's she's doing something meaningful., or maybe that she's finally found a corner of this chaotic universe that she can control. But the truth is that Fiorella has become addicted. To rocks. That maybe everyone in the neighborhood has. Look around--we all have walls, steps. or patios made of local rock.

But are we using the rock, or is it using us? Could it be trying to control us from a primeval rock brain hidden deep in the bowels of the earth? If so, for what purpose? To rise from its earthly prison and take over Georgetown, then the world, just as it has taken over Fiorella?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Waiting for Her Origins

Fiorella and Husband are doing the Ancestry.com thing, and his results have just come in. He's standard white bread, with 51 percent of his heritage from western Europe, 29 percent from Ireland, 12 percent from Great Britain, and the rest scattered in Scandinavia, Italy/Greece, Spain, and the European Jewish community.  There was also a miniscule salute, about 1/2 percent, to Asia, but Fiorella wants to know what happened to that Indian princess his mother wrote about in her family bio. Fio's also wondering if, when she gets her own results, the gypsy great-grandfather she's always heard about when she was growing up will meet the same fate. And what if it turns out that Fiorella, who has always touted her Slavic origins, is not as exotic and interesting as she's always hoped she is?

Oh well, one of her best friends, who grew up Jewish, did the Ancestry thing and turned out to be--surprise--half Irish. Maybe there's hope for Fiorella yet.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


We're having two Easter celebrations this year, yesterday with both sons, their wives, and Baby, and Sunday with Daughter as well as Minnesota son and wife. Chocolate bunnies are rampant.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Pre-Easter Scribblings

Fiorella was out tossing rocks across the driveway when one of her neighbors came walking down it with cookies in one hand and an Easter lily in the other, Fio was overwhelmed. Sure, she had delivered a small Easter basket to Neighbor a few days beforehand, but if this was tit for tat, Fio had been solidly out-tatted. Especially since Neighbor also promised Fio a big load of rocks.
Two of Austin son's dogs got bitten by a snake yesterday, and she prays they are doing well. Thank  you, God, for vets.
While Minnesota son is talking electronicsand other male mysteries over with Husband today, Fio plans to spirit his wife away to Papi's Pies for a treat.
Fiorella hasn't been as circumspect as she'd hoped, but her chocolate bunny consumption is way down from preceding years. She's also kept the Peeps in check. But come Easter morning, all bets are off,
Ah, Easters of the past. Dying eggs the day beforehand, wearing a new dress to church, Easter egg hunts. Will Baby experience these, or are they now out-dated?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Updating Fio

Fiorella has been blessed by two daughters-in-law whom she not only loves, but likes. Thank you, guys, for your good taste in females, and thank you, Jen and Lauren, for being not only wonderful women, but good people .
It's Easter season, so Fio's put on about three pounds. Who can resist chocolate bunnies?
Fio's been out on the acreage a lot lately, exploring areas she probably shouldn't be feeling her way through alone, but what the heck--getting lost every now and then is part of the game. It's also a good way to meet neighbors.
The gigantic rock pile that neighbor Marvin delivered is fast diminishing, but that's okay because (1) the mura pequena is nearing completion, and (2) in her explorations, Fio's found several new caches of rocks.
Fernando came yesterday and planted three nandenas for Fio, mowed the lawns, pulled out the remannts of a dead tree, and cleaned up the driveway. And you wonder why Fio gave him an Easter tip.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Gestapo Mentality

Yes, it was horrible what United did, yanking a paying pasenger off a plane and beating him up when he didn't cooperate. Yes, the head of the airline has to take full responsibility for what happened, and he well deserves the angry condemnation he's been getting. But his underlings, the hired thugs who carried out his orders, are the most frightening part of the equation because without ordinary people, people who love their families and are kind to dogs, turning into monsters, the guys at the top can't get very far. Hitler couldn't do it alone. He needed armies of unthinking goons.

But this is America, and there were also heroes on that airplane, heroes who protested, then whipped out their cell phones and recorded every moment of the dazed and bloody doctor being dragged down the aisle, heroes who contacted the media and spread their videos all over the world.

Keep it up, guys. We can't let the goons win.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Hooray, hooray! Hip, hip hooray!
Son and wife arrive today
To visit us and also meet
Their two-month niece, our Baby sweet.
God keep them safe along the way
And bless us all, I humbly pray

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Great Medical News!

Thank you, Dr. Renee Pietzsch! That pain Fiorella has been feeling in her footsies lately, especially the left, more pronated one, has been diagnosed at last--arthritis. And Dr. Pietzsch knows how to combat it, first by padding the arch of the offending foot, then by having Fio rub oitment on the top of the arch, and then, if all else fails, puncturing the arthritic cyst that has formed thereon.

Fio celebrated by going out and laying a cartload of rocks along the driveway--strangely, her feet don't bother her as much when she is out on the acreage. Then she came in and searched through her car and the house for the instruction page and prescription the doctor had given her, but couldn't find them. Her head bent in shame, Fiorella will have to call the doctor's office tomorrow for second editions.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Do Rocks Have Souls?

Fiorella likes living in the midst of an oak-elm-cedar jungle. She likes carving a path through unknown territory with her pruners or following a deer trail. She likes discovering grassy dells, wandering waterways, and evidence of campers from years past. But most of all, she likes her rocks. And they like her back. This morning, while she was gathering a load for her cart, they started talking to her.

"Pick me, Fiorella, pick me!" begged the smooth brown riverstone lying at her feet.

"No! Me!" the limestone intervened, trying to roll onto her path. "I'm more interesting because I have jagged edges!"

The wise old aggregate, safe in Fiorella's arms, intervened. "Calm down. She'll put both of you in her cart eventually. She values all of us, even the pebbles."

And he's right.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

Fiorella is going to have a full house for Easter when Minnesota son and his wife visit.  She's been buying up Peeps and chocolate bunnies over the the past week  for the occasion. She's also stocked up on bags of chocolate kisses for the guys at Click Computer Repair and the Mazda service department. And she's cashed a check ot give out some holiday tips. And she's planning to don her rabbit ears and deliver treats to her neighbors who have helped build her murita de rocas. 

Never say Fio doesn't know how to celebrate a holiday.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bones, Spanish, Trump

Fiorella is dense--at least that's what her doctor said. Well, actually what she said is that Fio's bones are dense, but Fio could have told her that. Twenty years ago Fio learned that her bones had the density of a women half her age, which meant she  would never get osteoporosis. All Fio can say is "Thank you, genetics. Thank you, all you cows whose milk I drank from childhood on and still drink today."
Fio is getting discouraged in her quest to find Spanish teaching aids for herself, but she persists. If she can get a rock edge built along her entrada de los coches, she will eventually work out ways to help her learn el espanol.
Trump sinks deeper and deeper in the dreck. It's come out that he and Putin planned the air strike scenario two months ago. Putin may have also had something to do with the gassing. WHEN WILL THIS END? WHEN WILL THE LEGISLATURE REVOLT? WHEN WILL THE PUBLIC REVOLT? WHEN CAN WE BE PROUD OF AMERICA AGAIN?

Friday, April 7, 2017

New Beginnings

Good morning to a new day! Fiorella is sequestering herself in her so-called office and working on the book again, which is a little hard after being tied up with everything else in the world for so long. Right now, she's winnowing the best out of eight different versions so that she has one solid story--no line editing along the way.  And, at the same time, she's thinking--there was one other story she had this muliplicity problem with, and she had used the same technique on it, preplanning. It's the way to go, according to romance gurus, but now Fio isn't so sure it's for her. Her former style was to write several pages about the hero and heroine, then get the story started at a spot where they collided, then think "what would logically happen next?" Of course, she always had a vague idea of the plot, and she knew the story would end happily, but she never used calendar charts or any of the other tools many authors live by.

Anyway, to each his own, and Fio is thinking of going back to her beginnings. Yesterday, she read the first chapter of her first published book, which she could never get up the nerve to do before, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.  Onward, Fio! Onward and upward!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fiorella Rides Again

Fiorella may have had a discouraging time--make that a devastating time--on Tuesday, what with her entire book getting deleted, but on Wednesday, her Austin day, she, friend Paula, Brother, and his wife had a great time laughing and exchanging stories at Dan's Hamburgers. On the way home, Fio bought Easter candy, which is always uplifting, and stopped in at Click Computer Repair, hoping against hope, and Click came through. Travis not only resurrected Phillipa, but taught Fio about something called a recycling bin. Then, high as a kite, Fiorella stopped at Target and was able to buy five boxes of shredded wheat, which hadn't been on the shelves the day before when Husband and a friendly store employee had searched for it. And when she got home, Fio added a cartful of rocks to the driveay murita and took some nice bluebonnet pictures, which she can't show you until Minnesota Son, who's visiting next week, teaches her how to post pics on her blog without messing up.

 So today's a new beginning, and Fio has a light day planned. Primarily, she will work on Phillipa's story, then call the church to find out when she and Austin son should be getting their art in. On the side will be laying down rocks, sorting family photos, paying bills, practicing piano, and, of course, studying Spanish.

By the way, Fio needs more opportunities to practice her Spanish. Does anyone out there know of an instructional DVD or a small local class?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Photo, Computer, Sonia, Easter, Spanish

As you probably figured out from yesterday's post, Fio tried to add a photo onto her blog, but ended up messing up the post instead. She promises not to try this maneuver again until some knowledgeable person is standing behind her and telling her exactly what to do. Apparenty a big part of the problem is that she has a Droid and her blog is on gmail.
Speaking of computer problems, Fio is not thrilled to announce that she accidentally deleted about three hundred pages of text and notes as she was closing down from reviewing her current work-in-progress. Luckily, she has a Carbonite back-up and is on good terms with Click Computer Repair.
In a complete change of topic, Husband is training Sonia Dog to close the back yard door after herself. It's going to take a while, but it will be worth it.
Fiorella has plans for Easter. She'll buy enough chocolate tomorrow to take some around to the neighborhood people who have helped her with her murita de rocas (little wall of rocks), which should be finished off in a couple of months, maybe sooner. Spoiler alert: Fio will be wearing the bunny ears Husband picked up for her at Target yesterday.
One more thing--Fio has decided to check out Target and Walmart for DVDs for people who are trying to learn Spanish. Duolingo was too repetitive, and telenovelas talk too fast.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Rocks in Her Head

Fio must have been a rock in a previous life because she LOVES rocks. She's always loved them, ever since she was a child in Ohio and sat on the huge glacier rock on the edge of the backyard. When her family moved to Texas, she explored the driveway for pretty pebbles, which her mother did not appreciate. In college, she delineated a boundary between her side of the desk and her roommate's side of the desk with rocks she and her boyfriend had gathered while out driving in the country. When she and Husband moved to Georgetown, she gathered stones from their long, long country driveway--pretty stones, sparkling stones, weird stones, flint--all of which are stored on the back porch in plastic boxes. Now, of course, she's in her glory building a rock retainer around the drveway, and when that's finished, there's the brick curb around the lawn that needs to be reinforced with rocks.

There is something wrong wth Fiorella, but you knew that all along.

    Fio has always loved rocks, as you can see in this picture of her perched on a glacial rock on the edge of her back yard in Ohio.(It's a glacial rock, if you're interested.) Then, when her family moved to Texas, she explored the driveway for pretty pebbles, which her mother did not appreciate. In college, she delineated a boundary between her side of the desk and her roommate's side of the desk with rocks she and her boyfriend had gathered while out driving in the country. Wh...
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