Sunday, December 10, 2017

Incidentals

Fiorella, who doesn't want to neglect any of her duties or forget any of her commitments, lives by lists, systems, and routines. Husband lives by the moment. They drive each other crazy.
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Fio's Christmas cards will be going out in record time this year. Baby is the star of the show, of course. Stay tuned.
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The tinsel garlands Fio hung from the trees along the driveway look great. She's learned a lot since  the winds and cedars attacked her display when she came up with the idea three years ago. She now uses tinseled twisties to keep the garlands in place, and if she finds a cedar that has had the audacity to ensnare one of them, she prunes it on the spot. Huang-ga!
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Fio loved the surprise snow, but alas, the lavenders in the pots beside the front door didn't make it through the accompanying surprise freeze. Fio will probably wait until winter is over before replacing them. After all, there maybe be more surprises in store this year..
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Regarding the political scene, Fio finds it interesting that Trump is intent on being the loudest mouth around, while Mueller plays it mum. Fio's betting on Mr. Silence.





  


Some people are totally transparent, but Trump is totally opaque, even to himself. Not that he'd know what opaque means.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Sex and Politics

The problem with all these sexual assault accusations is that they are messy, usually boiling down to "he said, she said." And no, Fiorella doesn't autmatically believe the woman any more than she does the man. Another problem is that there are degrees of assault. Sorry, but a playful slap on the butt is not in the same ball park as rape. Nor is stealing a kiss or putting one's arm around someone
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The basic problem is that people are born to attract and be attractive. We can't help the sexual urge--that's how we prepetuate our species. Fio would like to think we can all control ourselves to some degree, but through the ages, men have manipulated by power and women by seduction, and Fio's not sure there is a way to make everyone behave. Even the Puritans had their problems.

However, looking at the current sex scandals from a different angle, Fiorella suspects they are being used to detract attention from the GOP tax plan and Mueller's investigations. Maybe cutting to the chase and providing more information on why Moore got bounced out of his former judgeships would make Alabama voters rethink their party loyalty.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Decorations, Telenovela, Eye Mart

Let the ceremonies of Christmas begin. Fiorella dropped her card off at Dan's FedEx-Kinko in Wolf Ranch today and will pick up one hundred copies of it, plus envelopes, tomorrow. Then will come the signing, addressing, and mailing. In between times, Fio will be finishing off the driveway, putting the tree together, taping snowflake cut-outs in the windows, hanging swags and wreaths, and constructing every other decorative endeavor you can imagine. And you, dear reader, will be subject to her picture posts--if she can make the process work. You can probably whip your photos right up their on your blog screen, but for her, it's a sometimes-it-works, sometimes-it-doesn't, sort of thing.
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Crap! Fio's telenovela's time slot got superceded by a soccer game, and she'll have to wait till tomorrow to know if Blanka forgave Eugenio for being a jerk and if Gabriel and Daniela's romance will survive his wealthy father taking away his job and credit cards.
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Hmmm. Fio found the Eye Mart glasses she thought she'd lost and discovered they gave her clearer vision than the Eye Mart replacements she had recently bought. And she doesn't think her ophthamologist was the one who made the error.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pre-Christmas Activity

Fiorella drove to Austin in the rain yesterday, and it was quite relaxing. Her wipers moved back and forth, back and forth, clearing the wetness that pitter-patted on her windshield, the traffic was light and careful, moving a little slower than usual, and there was no problem with visibility. But the return trip was a different matter. Because the rain had been going on long enough by then that water had accumulated on the highway, all the cars ahead of Fio were generating their own camouflaging shower baths, which made them hard for her to keep track of, especially the white cars, which, in gray weather, blend in all too well.
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As soon as she pastes a picture of Baby on the inside page, Fiorella's Christmas card will be on its way to FedEx Kinkos for its annual printing. In the meantime, Fio will be at H-E-B buying Christmas stamps. The rest of the week, she'll be signing the cards and addressing envelopes. Somewhere in there, she may try breathing.
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Christmas brings out the octopus in Fio. Yes, she has her tentacles in every aspect of it--the outside decorations, the inside decorations, the stockings, the tree, the gifts, the cards, even the cooking--as long as no one expects anything more from her than chocolate pudding.




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

On My Granddaughter

Ten tiny fingers
Ten tiny toes
Bright blue eyes
A button nose
A sweetheart smile
And cheeks of rose
She shall have music
Wherever she goes



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mother at 104

Today, on what would have been her mother's 104th birthday, Fiorella will be cremating her artifacts, the leftovers from her life that Fio and her brother have been storing for the past fifteen years. Anything anyone in the family wanted or could use has been doled out years ago, but the personal stuff remains. Over the summer, Fio went through these remnants carefully, saving anything that struck a chord with her--like photos, Mother's report cards, various diplomas and commendations--all of which were packed neatly in a large manila envelope for future generations to appreciate. But so many of the items that were apparently dear to Mother--like those two decorative candy boxes, her college notes, and what Fio suspects were her wedding shoes--had to go. But go where? Fio refused to toss any of her mother's treasures into the trash.

The solution came to her a couple of weeks ago, like a whispered message, and today she and Husband, who also loved her, will burn the remains of Mother's life in their fireplace, and the smoke will rise to the heavens.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Written on Sunday

The ways of computers are unknown to mere mortals like Fiorella. On Saturday afternoon, she suddenly lost access to Facebook, Google News, and her blog. Figuring she had done something wrong--pushed a malware button or accidently put together a powerful sequece she knew not of--she made a mental note to take su computadora to Click early Monday morning.That meant her blog wouldn't go up till afternoon, she realized, but better late than never.

Then, five minutes ago, her blog came blazing on as she was working on her story.  Not one to lift a gift horse in the month, she is making this strange string of events her blog for the day. And if anyone can figure it out,let her know.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Pre-Christmas

It's that time of year when 5:30 isn't daytime any more. Fiorella had grabbed her pruners and journeyed up the south driveway to check on the tinsel garlands she had hung on trees along the way  and to move her bag of supplies further on down the row. She'd been out maybe half an hour when she suddenly realized that the woods had fallen silent, the air was still, and night was coming on fast. Looking around, she hefted her pruners and beat a quick tattoo back to the house.
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H-E-B is really cleaning up on firewood this year. A puny stack of short, shaven, anemic-looking sticks costs almost six bucks.  Good thing Fio and Husband harvest their own fireplace fodder--not that they've had much of a chance to use it this "winter."
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Fio's Christmas shopping is done because all she does at this point in her life is write checks. However her decorating has just begun because she was born art through-and-through and always will be. Yes, you will soon be seeing photos of her creative endeavers.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

War Cry!

I can't march, but I can write
I don't sing, but my pen can bite--
It's my only weapon in the time-old fight
To overcome wrong and uplift right

Friday, December 1, 2017

View of El Parque

This is a view from Fiorella's garage out to the driveway, the one she and her friends lined with rocks. Fio is grateful for the privilege of living in such a beautiful environment, tries to take good care of it, and strives to be worthy of it.

Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor and nature

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Meetin' Up with Beatriz

Forella scheduled for brunch with friend Evelyn, lunch with friend Paula, and dessert with friend Beatriz, then suddenly realized that all of them, like Fio, hold doctorates and are writers. In fact, the same is true of friends Jan, Janece, and Patricia.  Like attracts like.

Unfortunately, Paula had to cancel, which left Fio with an hour to kill before she met with Beatriz, an hour which Fiorella planned to use working on her current story. But instead, she started reading through one of her own books, which she'd tucked in her tote to give to Beatriz. To her surprise, she liked it. Maybe she should read more of her own stuff.

Beatriz writes mysteries, and Fio writes romances. Both genres deal with secrets, and both of them have happy endings--the mystery is solved, and romance overcomes all--which are total fiction. because, as we well know, not all enigmas are explainable, and love is not always enough to save the day. But Fio hopes our stories will inspire people to try.








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If you're wondering about fio's spanish langauge romantic comedy-drams telenovela, the matriarch, Idelma, is in the hospital agin, one of ther sons is tryng to take over the family from her anhas fought of death one ore time, but one of her son's Tulio, got her to sign something villainothe main characters, company vice-president Julieta and Dr. Robert/Juan Pablo, are back together, and she is working with a specialist to try to get pregnant again. Meanwhile, his older sister, Marisol, whose husband divorced her for a slutty blonde, is getting very chummy with Xavier, played by a popular Mexican  cantador. And Fiorella's favorites,  tomboy Daniela and filthy rich Gabriel are engaged, but his family has disowend him. Then there's Linda, Robert/Juan Pablo's, youngest sister, who has just discovered the the love of her life, Bruno, is the brother of Julieta, whom she hates. And has Fio mentioned that Robert/Juan Pablo's parents, Blancoand Euegenio are at odds? And that Julieta is trying to reconcile her mother and father?

And Robert/Juan Pablo's family all live together in a a middle-class apartment.  hey all live withn there's the family of Audifax's, family

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cedars, Shopping, Royals


It made Fio feel warm and fuzzy when she saw that even more cedars along DB Woods Road had been hung with colorful Christmas decorations. Dressing trees is a sweet thing for people to do--and to make it even sweeter, she's noticed that the decorations are gone by New Year.
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Fiorella visited a dollar store yesterday and filled up on felt stockings, Russell Stover chocolate bars, and some silver-sheathed pipe wire things that she's hoping can hold her tinsel ropes to the trees along the driveway. Today, she'll visit with friends in Austin, pick up earrings from the jeweler that she'll be giving to her senior daughter-in-law for Christmas, and stop by Walmart to restock el estantes de la despensa con Shredded Wheat (the shelves of her pantry with Shredded Wheat), which Target is out of and H-E-B doesn't carry anymore.
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A special Christmas gift to Fio is the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged. Fiorella likes happy endings, which she hopes they will have.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Preparing for Christmas

Christmas season is officially here as far as Fio goes. She's pulled the trash bag stuffed with tinsel down from its garage shelf so she can decorate the trees lining the driveway, and she's settled on a design for her annual card (non-political this year). After she's finished off these two projects, she'll put the traditional tree together and lure people over to the house to help her decorate it. Then there are the window and fireplace decorations, the doorway swags, more outdoor stuff, and a second tree down in the south meadow. 

And, by the way, if you're looking for a good Christmas-themed book, try Jeanell Bolton's WHERE THE HEART LEADS. You can find it on Amazon for just $2.99.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Espanol--Libros, Vocabulario, y Motivacion

Fio has decided to dedicate una hora al dia (one hour a day), aside from su lunes-a-viernes telenovela (her Monday-through-Friday soap opera), to studying dos libros especiales (two special books): Spanish in Ten Minutes a Day and an old textbook, Espanol a lo Vivo (Spanish Live). She'll never be fluent, pero ella quiere entender (but she wants to understand) what los personajes en su telenovela (the characters in her soap opera) are saying.

For a couple of days there, Fio was trying to find out what "opa," la palabra que lo Juan Pablo y Julieta (the word which John Paul and Julieta), the romantic leads in Mi Marido Tiende Familia (My Husband Has Family), were tenderly calling each other but "opa" wasn't in su diccionario (her dictionary), and her Spanish-speaking friends on FB couldn't figure it out either. But friend Raquel did--la palabra (the word), which Fio had heard through English orejas (ears), was compa (pal, buddy). Apparently it's a recent slang term derived from companero (companion).

Pero (but) why didn't Fio, who is a language person, take el espanol when she was in escuela secundaria (high school), you ask. Porque (because) Fio was following in the footsteps of su madre (her mother), who had taken Latin when she herself was in escuela secundaria (high school). Also because Latin was considered more challenging back then, and your Fio has always been up to un desafio bueno (a good challenge).

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pondering, Christmas Preps, Generosity

Sometimes when Fiorella wakes up in the morning, she lies abed for a while pondering herself. Fio's done so many dumb, stupid things in her life, things that make her cringe and hang her head in shame and embarrassment. Then she thinks of all the heartbreaks she's endured. Maybe it all evens up.
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Warning--Fio starts Christmas decorating tomorrow, which means she'll be up on a ladder hauling down a giant plastic trash bag stuffed with the tinsel she hangs from branch to branch along the driveway each year. But this year she's going to try using clips to hold the tinsel in place instead of the wire she used last year and the string she used in years before.
Warning # 2--Fiorella has sketched out this year's Christmas card and will be finishing it off in a few days. It won't have a religious theme, like many of her cards have had, nor is it political, like last year's card was. Instead, the card will celebrate what Fio considers to be the most wonderful historical event in 2017--the birth of the first baby in Husband's extended family in thirty-five years.
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Want to know what makes Fiorella cry? A newspaper story about a wealthy man who, on accidentally learning of the need, gave $800,000 to a local traditionally black college to buy Steinway pianos for its music department. Fio hopes that if she ever has that much moolah hanging around, she will be just as generous.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Once A Ham....

Fiorella will admit it--she'll probably get banned from Walgreens because she had much too good a time this morning when she realized that the pharmacy had set up a mirror-like security camera to record all  transactions at the counter, and, since Fio had a bit of a wait while her Rx was being located, she entertained herself by popping in and out of the picture, waving, and striking poses. And, after she'd finally gotten her prescription, she sang "I wish you a merry Christmas," complete with descant on the last line.

Yes, now that her mother is no longer around to rein her in and her children live far enough away to be safe from embarrassment, Fio can do anything she wants to do. The world is her stage















Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving Season


So, Fiorella, what have you been up to recently? Aha---acknowledging everyone who has contributed to the rock edging around your long, long driveway. And hey--that timber is five feet long!

Image may contain: outdoor

Thursday, November 23, 2017

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Fiorella and Husband are off to Brother's house to enjoy a family get-together. Daughter and  Austin son's family, as well members of Brother's wife's family will be there too, but the star of the celebration will be Baby, the most beautiful, charming, intelligent child in the whole wide world. Fio is bringing with her the family christening gowns so Baby can try them on, but it's been almost ten months since she was born and the gowns may be too small. Fio hopes not. A century of  infants in Fio's mother's family wore those gowns, and Fio hopes Baby can too. It would be a blessing.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Al Franken and Me

Fiorella's fascinated by how the Al Franken thing is unrolling--falling apart, actually. She thought there was something fishy going on because the woman's accusation was such a conveniant counter to the Republican sex scandals, but she started snickering aloud when Franken, without attacking the woman, gracefully apologized  for whatever happened on a long-ago USO tour he said he really didn't remember, then stood up in Congress and insisted that he be investigated.

Why was Fio laughing? Because soon after the presidential election, when she was expressing her sorrow on Facebook, she was personally attacked. Fio responded at first, trying to explain herself, but all that did was give the attackers new energy. The day was saved when several FB friends leaped to Fio's defense. They could say what she couldn't.

It was the same with Franken. If he had defended himself by attacking his accuser, it would have dragged him down to her level. But by apologizing for what he knew he hadn't done, then demanding an investigation of himself, then shutting up, he roused an army of defenders who did the job for him. Defenders like thirty-nine women who had worked with him through the years, like the strangers who dug up information about his accuser's background (X-rated) and her current employment (Fox News), like the guard who was with Franken every minute of the tour, like the people who had witnessed the staging of the claimed assault. They could say what he couldn't.

Third party intervention saved the day for both of us. Thank you.



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Random Observations

Fio saw her first roadside Christmas tree of the season road today. She also saw cloud formations that looked like hundreds of sheep grazing in a blue meadow.  Autumn has hardly began, and winter is upon us.
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Politics are getting boring--and repetitive. How many corrupt politicians, how many godless pastors, how many clueless plutocrats have to be exposed for America to come to its senses?
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'Tis the winter of our discontent, but discontent is the mother of action. Fio is still in the game. Are you?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Christmas Gift

Fiorella bought her granddaughter a Christmas present yesterday--her first piano, a roll-up electronic keyboard. Fio herself would have given her eyeteeth--if she'd had any at ten months of age--for a gift like this, but it wasn't till she was nine that her family acquired a piano, and although she's no concert pianist, she still enjoys playing and hopes Baby will have the same experience.

Speaking of Christmas, Fio's got to pull her decorations down from the garage shelf soon. The first thing to go up, of course, will be the tinsel garlands along the entrance to the driveway. Then Fiorella will put together her aging fake tree and load it with lights and ornaments, along the way, attending to swags and displays. Yes, Fio goes insane every Christmas, but it makes her happy.

Of course, one of the most important aspects of Fiorella's Christmas is composing the greeting card. Last year it had a political theme, but this year, it will center around Baby, which is only right. Christmas is a celebration of birth.








Sunday, November 19, 2017

Three Rescues

Facebook never lets Fio down. She's bringing an old manuscript (not the one you saw yesterday) up to date  and needs a replacement for a youthful Michael McConnoughey-type character so she asked her "friends" to bombard her with names of blondish male movie stars. And they did. Checking out pics on Google, she's narrowed her list down to three. Will let you know when she decides on the winner.
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Some other good news, if you're following Fio's telenovela. Gabriel put on a big perfomance and asked Daniela to be his novia (fiancee), and she now has a ring on her finger. This will be happy news for the Corseca family, which, with Tulio threatening them financially and both Abuela and Papa hopitalized for health problems, is in a jam right now.
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Husband let Sonia Dog out into the front yard while Fio was piling rocks into her little red wagon and, at the same time, trashing several loads of chainsawed cedar branches. Doggie trailed around after her for a while, then retired the porch to supervise. But when Fio, dripping with sweat, took off her heavy overshirt, Sonia sprang into action, trotted out into the yard, and whined at Fio to go back inside. OMG, since when did Fiorella's dog become her mother? 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

One of Fiorella's Novels She's Planning to Rescue From the Closet

Chapter One
The perfectly-coiffed blonde in the Volvo S80 slowed for the yellow light and glanced at the action on the traffic island. A scruffy panhandler was holding up a sign.
                            You CAN go 
                            home again.  
 Sigrid would have raised her eyebrows if she could--she certainly hadn’t run into that erudite an allusion last month when she was doing her exposé on the Twin Cities’ homeless situation.
The light turned red, and she took another look at the man.  Typical homeless--hair down to his shoulders and sweatshirt that looked like it had been pulled out of a trashcan. Fighting the dregs of her last Botox injections, her forehead tried to knit itself in concentration.  There was something familiar about him, about the set of his shoulders and the way he moved. 
Good God!  It was her ex-husband!
A pang of grief swept through her.  Just as quickly, she threw up her mental barriers. 
No, don’t feel sorry for him--he doesn’t deserve it.  You gave him everything you had, and he let you down.  He let everyone down.  

But the hell she’d let him stay out here begging on the street.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Alone in the Silence

Fiorella is on a writing binge, which means she's in hog heaven. Not only is she moving along on Phillipa's story, but she's pulled some of her old short-shorts out of storage--you've already read a couple of them--and is dusting them up for possible publication. And in the back of her mind, Marisol and Tony's story is taking shape. Then there are the completed--and prize-winning--romances she's still got in her Documents file. The only thing that could make her happier than she is right now is if  a fabulous poem popped out of her ever-fertile brain.

What has caused this literary avalanche, you ask? Well, probably that Fio has set aside defined time slots for herself when she goes upstairs to the attic room, where nothing is going on and she can't hear the television. Yes, your hyper-social Fio needs privacy when she writes. It's inspirational.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Great Outdoors

Look at the big boulders Sonia and Fiorella came across while they were exploring some bad terrain on the property. And look at how Fio is clinging onto a spindly tree for dear life..

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dinner with the Old Belle

Dinner with the Old Belle
She sat across the restaurant table from us, chewing on her hamburger steak, then spitting it into her napkin, which she discreetly emptied beneath the table. I knew from past experience that when she finished her meal, she would wrap the leftover rolls in a Kleenex and stuff them inside her purse. It was hard to stomach eating across from her, but she was family, and we knew our obligation.
Joyce was a widow, my husband’s much-older sister. Her hands were gnarled from arthritis, purple blotches colored her arms, her head shook, and her voice didn't work right. She had once been beautiful, a debutante, the belle of the ball.  Now she dyed her hair red in the bathtub and insisted it was her natural color, dressed in bargains from the thrift store although she could afford better, and, this evening, had hung a cameo from her neck by a chain attached to a large safety pin that winked at me every time she moved. She looked like a bag lady we were treating to a decent meal.
The dinner conversation was strained. I remember that she asked us for ideas as to where she could meet men her age, and all we could think of was antique car shows. 
As we left the restaurant, a flurry of white-haired women came in—laughing, well-groomed, confident women enjoying each other’s company.  They recognized Joyce as a schoolmate and called her by name, smiling and reaching out to her.  But she shrank back in horror, not allowing them to touch her.

She was too young to be as old as they were.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

In A Bad Mood

Facebook  is driving Fiorella crazy. After a couple of months of allowing Fio's photos to be easily transferred onto Blogspot, it is now refusing to do so, and that is why you are NOT seeing a portrait Fio did of her Uncle Al years ago. Fio is angry because she had posted the painting on FB specificably in order to copy it over to Blogspot, the only pathway she has found. Fio is also angry because she's on a cedar-cutting binge, but is having problems with her chainsaw, the chain of which, despite Husband's valiant efforts, is always too tight or too loose. And she's also angry because she's not over her stupid cold yet.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Monday, November 13, 2017

HAVE MOWER, HOE, AND SHOVEL, will travel

Everywhere that Fiorella and Husband have lived, they've improved the looks of the land, even from their very first residence, a duplex with a neglected postage-stamp-sized front yard which they not only mowed and watered, but planted with a camelia and two azealias. Then, when they moved to a two-bedroom house two years later, they planted red sage around the front porch and created a little pond in the back yard, bordering it with yuccas, irises, and crocuses.

In their first "boughten" home, they added three ashes to the front yard, mimosas to the side yards, and cottonwoods to the back yard, then rooted St. Augustine grass, laid a paving-stone path from the garage to the front porch, espaliered pyrocantha on a front wall, and planted boxwoods and daffodils. The yard of their next house, where their children grew up, received a full frontal make-over involving a swooping line of boxwoods and pittosporums, balanced by ligustrums and mountain laurels on the side of the house.

Because their curent abode is in the middle of a five-acre cedar-hardwood jungle, Fio and Husband have spent more time chain-sawing than planting, but they have managed to start a boxwood hedge around the north garden, which they had to replant with nandenas, gardenias, ligustrums, and bayberries after a disastrous professional job. The west garden is still in need, but Fio is confident she and Husband will eventually get it shaped up. After all, landscaping and gardening are their specialties.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Race and Writing

Fio writes characters of different races and ethnicities in her romances because that's life, or, at least, life as it should be. She doesn't like to make too big a deal out of this practice, but she does want non-white characters to be identifiable as such by readers. Sometimes Fiorella's characters out themselves, like Moira, the heroine of her second book, who tells the hero she is one-fourth Japanese. Hispanics can often be identified by their surnames, but Fio wracks her brain with subtle ways to identify black characters as black without sounding awkward. She doesn't use the term "Afro-American" because it's unwieldy and because she herself, despite the fact that her family has been in this country for only a couple of generations,  has never been called "Slavic-American."  She won't use the term "people of color" either because everyone is some color. That leaves her with references to things like hairstyle (a member of the theater guild board in her second book), a certain girl that a bigoted father doesn't want his son to date (second book again), or an AME minister being kind enough to conduct a burial service for a disgraced clergyman (first book). But sometimes, like in the book she is now writing, Fio just up and says it:

"A tall black man came out of the door of the docent’s office and headed toward the stairs, his head bent as he concentrated on the playbill in his hand."

And, in case you're wondering, he's the hero's best friend.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Symptoms

Fiorella is sick. She has a cold, the first one she's had in years. She's whiny and querelsome, her throat is scratchy, her brain is clogged, her head hurts, she's sneezing up a storm, and her nose is running like a faucet. Hello, huddling on the couch and complaining about the temperature being too warm or too cold. Hello, peering around with eyes half-closed. Hello, chicken soup, jello, and hot chocolate. 

Hmm...hot chocolate. Maybe it's not all that bad.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fiorella's Fireplace

Fio and Husband have central heating and don't really need a roaring fire in the fireplace. In fact, they don't even need a fireplace, but fireplaces are ingrained in her. She spent the first seven years of her life in a house with a one in the front room, although it wasn't used much because there was some sort of giant boiler in the basement. Her next house, the one her parents bought when theey moved to Texas, was bereft of a fireplace, as were the first couple of houses Fio lived in as a married woman, but she hit the jackpot with the house she and Husband moved to after the children came along.  Now that Fio and Husband have moved to the boondocks, they have not just one fireplace, but two. The one in the front room is gas-powered, but the one in the den, the family room, is powered with logs harvested from their own land. Guess which fireplace Fio prefers.



Thursday, November 9, 2017

WWWWW

When Fio gets to heaven, she's going to reunite with all the people she's lost touch with through the years and catch up with their lives, starting with Jannie Orchid (Janet Orcutt), her first childhood friend.
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When did "thoughts and prayers" come to mean that not a damn thing is going to be done about gun control?
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Why are the Arab countries at war with each other THIS time?
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Welcome to autumn. The sky is clouding over, the leaves are rattling down the driveway, and Fiorella can breathe again.
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WayMo, an arm of Google, is going to put a self-driving rental car on the road next year, just in time for Fio's next high achool reunion. Hmmm...


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

TV and Me

Another good TV show bites the dust, at least as far as Fiorella is concerned. Lucifer is no longer funny, just screechy and stupid, so she's no longer watching it, just like she is no longer watching The Little Couple because in the years between when the old show went off the air and the new one debuted, Bill and Jen became so entitled that Fio doesn't care about them anymore. The only shows she's watching now are Big Bang Theory, which, even after ten years, is still amazingly fresh, funny, and human, her telenovela, the first fifteen minutes of Colbert, and an occasional 600-Pound Life.

It may be that Fio's simply bored with television. After all, she's been sitting in front of the boob tube sine she was four. In fact, her college years were the only time she was away from TV.

On the other hand, maybe it's just that Fio has finally grown up. Fiorella? Grown up? Never!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Perfectionist

Mother had a good heart, but she was prone to judge everything and everyone that came along. Names were a prime target. Even though Mother had given her own daughter a weird name, she felt free to critique the names other people had bestowed upon their children. Houses were also  fair game. As a devoted reader of Better Homes and Gardens, she mentally critiqued every dwelling she enetered, and, when she was home, gave the family her review. Her gavel also came down on how people dressed, fixed their hair, and lived their lives. Of course, Fiorella absorbed the perfectionist eye--and the mouth--at her mother's knee and made herself extremely unpopular in school by voicing her own judgments. Even now, in her dotage, she struggles to scrub off the vestiges. Back off, Fio. Live and let live.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Glittered as She Walked


When I was in college, I would have given my right arm to be Micki Greene, which would have completely invalidated my purpose because Micki Greene lacked for nothing.
Eighteen-year-olds aren’t old enough to be called beautiful, but Micki was headed that way. Her eyes were blue slate, her short, coiffed hair was silver blonde, and her complexion was glowing. To top it off, there was something fragile and charmingly confused about her, and she had the most adorable way of talking, in excited, almost lisping bursts. Perhaps she cultivated it, but it worked.
She called herself Micki, short for Michaela, a unique name at the time, but  Micki's name was not the only thing that made her stand out. One way or another, we always became aware of her.  I remember how everyone laughed when she sneezed thirty-one times in a row from the upper back side of the auditorium during a particularly boring philosophy lecture.  The teacher called her down, saying she was deliberately disturbing class, but I thought it was just Micki.
At the time, it seemed to be a wonder that this magical creature and I both lived in the oldest women’s residence on campus, but I was there for economy while Micki was there for tradition.  She pledged Pi Phi, wore pearls in her pierced lobes when no one else was wearing earrings, and zoomed around in a powder blue MG sports car—illegally, of course, since only upperclassmen were allowed to have cars, which only added to her legend. Dorm gossip had it that her rich, handsome father regularly appeared to escort her out to dinner, and that she talked about visiting her mother in places like Monaco and Madrid. 
My roommate gave her one look and said she was crazy.
Micki may have acted confused, but she was no dummy.  She was in the liberal arts honors program, although everyone knew she wasn’t destined for Phi Beta Kappa. This was the era when prizes like Micki considered their college time well spent when they left after their sophomore year to marry up-and-coming young lawyers. Strangely enough, I was the one who married early, although, after getting my ears pierced for pearls, I stuck around college long enough to pick up a history degree, magna cum laude.  Somewhere between the laundry and the senior thesis, I have a dim memory of the society section reporting that Micki had married an up-and-coming young lawyer in a lavish ceremony worthy of her. 
My husband, who had gone to high school with Micki, said she was crazy.
Ten years later, my Micki update came from a friend who told me about a woman who had sat down next to her in her children’s swim class and poured out her breaking heart about her cheating and abusive husband, then said the lawyer she'd hired out of Houston would cut his balls off.
My friend’s husband, who’d known Micki’s mild-mannered husband since childhood, said Micki was crazy.
Another decade down the line, I spotted Micki at a high school football game. She entered the bleachers two rows in front of us, and I recognized her immediately even though her silver-blonde bob had become a pewter-blonde braid and her teen-age slenderness had rounded out into womanly curves.  Going with the current fashion, her skirt was romantically ethnic and she had topped her Mexican blouse with a long, trailing scarf. Micki was beautiful now, with that same charming aura of fragile confusion. 
But Mickey was sitting alone because she was divorced, again. I knew this from my friend, who got the lawyer gossip from her husband, and because the year before I had seen newspaper coverage of Micki and her daughter at home in a stylishly gentrified area of the city.   It was hard to tell which was which, of course—and I could tell that the reporter was as as entranced by Micki as I had been. 
The bleachers were crowded.  Micki waved at her daughter who was, of course, a cheerleader, and picked her way down the row, finally putting her stadium seat down beside an expensive-looking couple who greeted her by name. I caught a thread of their conversation now and then, but after a while Micki's friends seemed to tire of her, and their replies became shorter and shorter, then ceased altogether. At halftime they moved three rows down and across.  
All alone, Micki rocked herself back and forth on her stadium seat, lisping softly to herself as she played with her long, trailing scarf. 
I finally got it. Micki was crazy.



Sunday, November 5, 2017

Woman in Action

As those of you who follow Fio's alter ego on Facebook know, she doesn't hold back. Emotions boil up within her, and she spews out the words like a vocano blowing its top. But please note--those words are original. So is everything else Fio posts on Facebook and on this blog. It's always been that way. She writes her own accolades, poems, diatribes, and snide remarks. She writes her own books. She's even written a children's opera and composed songs. and in addtions, she paints and draws her own pictures, decorates her own house, and used to sew her own clothes (well, some of them). Yes, Fio is a driven woman, and sometimes it's hard for her to live with herself. But being who she is, it's even harder for her to NOT be herself.

So just pat her head, say "Good Doggie," and throw that woman a bone.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

La Familia Corcega

Fiorella is fascinated by the distinctiveness of the members of la familia Corcega, Juan Pablo's extended family on her telenovela, Mi Marido Tiene Familia. Imelda, la abuela (the grandmother), is something of a conniving despot. Her hijo mayor (oldest son) runs the family bakery and is a solid, but old-fashioned guy with a wife and four adult children. Her second hijo, Tulio, is rich, has a beautiful, but nasty wife, and no children. Her third hijo, Audifaz, is a mess of braggadocio who has a sweet wife and a nice son.

Then there's the third generation. Juan Pablo, the hero, is smart, kind, loving, and so sensitive that his weeping is beginning to annoy Fiorella. His older hermana (sister), Marisol, is the very model of una esposa buena y madre (good wife and mother), but su esposo (her husband) has left her. Daniela, next in line, is a spunky nino-nina (boy-girl) and one of Fio's favorites. Linda, la bebe (the baby) is downright mean.

Add in Juan Pablo's lady love, Julieta, who is just as weepy as he is, and su madre (his mother), Blanca, a good woman prone to fits of screaming anger, plus Tulio's esposa, Ana, who is mainly concerned with herself , and you have a cage full of tigres (tigers). Oh, and has Fio mentioned la madre de Julieta, Catalina, a squinty-eyed villain who can't get along with anybody?

But there's one character that justifies the whole show for Fiorella--Gabriel, who's not related to la familia Corcsega, but wants to relate to Daniela. He's rico (rich), guapo (handsome), funny, has an expressive face, and is unbelievably acrobatic. Every time Fio turns around, he's falling out of something or over something, but he always lands on his pies (feet)--as Fio is sure all the Corcega family will by end of el producion (the show).


.

Friday, November 3, 2017

More Than You Wanted to Know About Fiorella



Fio has done many dumb things in her life, and sometimes those memories jmmy open the doors of the past and tell her what an idiot she has been. But still she marches on--what choice does she have?
*
Fio picked up one her romances and started paging through it. OMG--it's good! So good that she forgives herself for having her theater director say "practicing lines" instead of "running lines."

Fiorella has always known she was one who stood apart. Maybe because Mother preferred it that way, maybe because Fio was born that way. It doesn't matter. It is.

Fio has a full tank of false bravado that shakes and quivers when challenged. Maybe that's why she always felt safe on stage or behind a podium--because everything was choreographed and she knew her role.

Fio hopes that in the future, every unwanted fetus will be placed in a machine that will incubate it to term so it can be adopted by a loving family.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Professional Sports

 Fio doesn't have a problem with amateur sports, when people play for fun and exercise, but she destests professional sports, the ones on TV, the ones that attract stadiums full of people and pay players frighteninglyenormous salaries. They are over-loud, time-consuming, and interfere with Fio's productivity. She needs silence so she can think, so she can organize and create. She needs all the minutes and hours she can get because a clock never runs backwards.  And she needs to to be busy at all the times because accomplishment is what make her life worthwhile. And while she's ringing her cowbell, she doesn't like senseless competition either because someone always senselessly loses. The only person we should compete with is ourselves. That way, we're all winners.






Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Surprise Phone Call

OMG, as Fio was sitting on the couch working on Phillipa's story, her ophthamologist called to tell her how much she'd enjoyed reading WHAT THE HEART WANTS! And said she's going to read WHERE THE HEART LEADS too! Fiorella is thrilled! What an upper!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween

Our gap-toothed pumpkin face is carved and lit
And witches' squadrons ride our windowpanes
While vampires, devils, ghouls--in counterfeit--
Seek treats or trickery at our door again.
My children hold me tightly by the hand
As I escort their Halloween debut
And shrink from every boisterous beggars' band
Because they fear the trumpery is true.
So I explain and soothe and hold them close
And tell them all is clever-made deceit--
Each Frankenstein, a playmate grandiose
Each ghost, a neighbor child wound in a sheet
But yet--a sound, a touch, a shadow--hark!
I glance behind my shoulder in the dark

Monday, October 30, 2017

Homegrown Firewood

Fiorella and Husband have been storing up firewood for winter. He discovered four dead oaks in a thick thicket of cedars a week back and the pruners and chainsaws were called into action.  We set up a couple of sawhorses near the edge of the western woods, and, over the next couple of days,  Fio hauled out promising dead branches while Husband sawed them into fireplace lengths.  Next, we loaded the logs into the trunk of Husband's car and delivered them to the firewood rings in front of the house. There's probably have enough firewood to last a mild central Texas winter, but we may cut and saw another long branch or two, just to be sure.

Fiorella loves being firewood self-sufficient. It's not just that supermarket wood is pricy, but that it's sawed and shaped to fit in small apartment-sized fireplaces, and Fio's fireplace is almost four feet wide. Also, there's something "Little-House-on-the-Prairie" satisfying about burning wood you've harvested off your own land.  In fact, Fio got so carried away by the pioneer spirit that she grabbed her pruners and hacked her way through the jungle behind the house, making a pathway to the huge boulders she'd spotted a couple of months ago, but couldn't get to because of the cedar.

The time will come when Fio and Husband will have to leave this wonderful untamed land, but not yet, not yet.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Out of It

Gonna be quick
I'm feeling sick
Truth to tell
I didn't sleep well
Have nothing to say
So go on your way
And have a nice day




Saturday, October 28, 2017

Miscarriage

The heroine of Fiorella's telenovela had a miscarriage, which opened wide the memory gates that time had built around Fio's own miscarriage.

She remembers how, with her dripping blood all along the way, she and Husband had to wind their way alone through the entrails of the dimly-lit night-time hospital because her obstetrician didn't show up at the back door like he said he would. How she didn't know she was having a miscarriage and went into surgery thinking the doctor would make her bleeding stop and all would be well. How afterwards she was assigned to the maternity wing because the other wards were full, and some senile old nun doddered in and asked what she had, then turned huffy when Fio said she had a dog and a guinea pig. How when it was time for her to leave, the staff member helping her down the hall said the hospital wouldn't let her have a wheelchair because then she'd  feel sorry for herself. How one of her neighborhood friends told her that the miscarriage was God's way of saving her from having a deformed baby.

There are some of the better memories Fio has. The worst are even worse.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Three-part Adventure

Fiorella started the day by meeting up with an old friend of hers, a fellow poet, and they discussed the state of the nation, the country, and their own lives. Carol, who is more philosophically inclined than Fio, calls herself an old soul, but Fiorella suspects she herself is a newbie because that's the only way she can explain the stupid things she's done in her life

On the way home, Fiorella stopped at the post office to mail some packages, but time and time again, the self-serve machine rejected her so she had to get in line for counter service. The woman in front of her was on her phone, and Fio's ear caught a slight accent, so, of course, as soon as the woman finished her call, Fiorella asked her where she was from--PUERTO RICO! The woman had been speaking to her mother to see if the supplies she had sent home had arrived yet, and she told Fio that her parents were lucky because their home was built of concrete and they had a generator, although it would only run for about three hours a day. "Most people are not that lucky," she added.

When it was Fio's turn at the counter, her ear caught another accent. She looked at the post office man, then at his name badge (Hoang) and took a chance. "Vietnamese?" He looked surprised, but said "yes." Fiorella, of course, asked him how to say "hello" in Vietnames, and she thought he said something that sounded like "gau," which she dutifully practiced all the way home until she suddenly remembered that years ago Michele Bidelspach had taught her that "chao" was how to say it." Maybe the post office man was using a dialectal version or maybe Fio's linguistic ears aren't what they used to be. She's betting on the latter.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Obviously, sometimes the mighty lords og=f technology wli;; sometimes allow Fio topost a picture on her blog and sometimes they won't. Is she not paying the right tribute? What's going on--or not going on? What magic touch does Fio lack.

Yo y Mis Lentes

If you have a collection of plastic pill bottles you want to go to a worthy cause, consider Matthew 5 Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242. Used eyeglasses can be sent to New Eyes, 549 Milburn Avenue, P.O. Box 332, Short Hills, New Jersey 07078. Fio's just sent her boxes off and hopes you will consider doing the same.

Speaking of glasses, Fiorella has two new pairs. The way glasses disappear on her, she always has to have a back-up. She's convinced that when she gets heaven, all the lost glasses will come tottering toward her in a single accustory line.

But Fio, you say, why don't you get contacts or have your eyes lasered? Because I have permanent lenses by way of a cataract operation, Fio answers, and anyway, I think eyeglasses make my squinchy eyes look bigger and more limpid. Don't you?

Do you have graduated lenses, you further inquire? No, I tried those a couple of years ago and they didn't work at all. The optician said it was because my nose wasn't the right shape, which I've always thought was hilarious--and unique.

Besides, it's not as if Fio wears her glasses all the time--just to drive or watch TV. Otherwise, she fling them wherever they land. Oops--maybe that's the problem.









He Never Met A Stranger

Fio is her father's daughter. Dad always had a smile on his face. He talked to waiters, bellboys, people in cafeteria lines. No wonder his nickname was "Buddy," and he was president of his high school class. No wonder he moved upward at work, despite having only a class or two of college. No wonder he was able to organize bowling and golf leagues.

Fio is her mother's daughter. Mom had the eye and knew not only how to dress, but also how to decorate home and garden. She was a hard worker, devoted to her family, and particularly sensitive to the needs of children and old people. Musical-harmonica and piano by ear. Lovely singing voice, but shy about singing. Shy about people too, the axact opposite if Dad, but she was a dtermined PTA member both to help her children and because a PTA scholarship had helped her finish college. Spelling, loyal to PTa, perfect attendance.