Friday, August 18, 2017

Spanish, Hate, Miata

Well, Fiorella,you say, how is the Spsnish coming along?
Not as quickly as I had hoped, of course, but I've finally found a reliable source for the conjugation of los verbos, although most of my new palabras are gleaned up from context. Our yardman taught me hormigos de fuego--fire ants--yesterday, I picked up tranquila from my telenovela, and I've been composing simple sentence to myself.based on Spanish-language commercials. All of this has meant that I understand a bit more what los actores on La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo are saying. .
The plain truth of the upsurgeance in hate groups is that many people don't think things through. They just  jump on the loudest band wagon that comes to town and get caught up in the mob mentality. Then they don't know how to get out without losing face.
Fio's baby car is in the shop again. She doesn't remember what Richard told her the problem is, but it will cost $1,100 to fix. Fio is not happy. Her budget wasn't expecting a hit like this.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Handicapped Parking

After meeting with her critique group at Starucks inside Target, Fiorella returned to her baby car to find a red sticky thing had been slapped on the door warning her that if she ever parked in a handicapped spot again, the authorities would be called and her car hauled off. Scribbled acrossthe bottom of the thing was "Because of you, a wounded verteran did not have a place to park today!!!"

Now, Fio, a born rule-follower, accepts the fact that she was in the wrong. However, that shaming postscript made her mad. In the first place, she thinks suspects the "wounded veteran" reference was metephorical, that her sleek little Miata was what pissed somebody off. In the second place, Fio disagrees with the curreent veneration of every person who's ever donned a uniform. Soldiers are just like everyone else. Some are good, and some are bad. Some lead exemplary lives, and some are rats, no matter what kind of injury they have received.

Fio accepts guilt, but rejects the shame.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Somewhere in the world there are people who wake up every morning and think "What can I do to occupy my day?" Fio is not one of them.  Her daily routine is to leap out of bed, grab her lista amarilla, and think "How can I possibly get all this done today?" There's the house and the yard, the husband and the dog, the friends and family, the woods, the writing, the Spanish, and maybe a bit of art and music. And now she's wracking her brain trying to figure out a way to topple Trump and his dirty crew.

Yes, your Fiorella is a responsibility kind of a gal. Maybe because she has strong maternal instincts, maybe because she was the oldest child in the family, maybe because she feels guilty when anything--ANYTHING--goes wrong. Whatever, she's driven, so don't try to rein her in. Instead, join her cause. Together, we can bring Trump down.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Fio woke up with the thought that cashiering 15,000 transgenders from the armed forces would not only result in job turmoil within the ranks, but also up the unemployment rates and strain veteran resources. 
On the other hand, the fiat took our minds off things like the Russian scandal and the Scaramucci scandal and the Secret-Service-being-kicked-out-of-Trump-Tower scandal and the leaked incoherent telephone calls to foreign leaders and the almost daily nonsense/horror that flows from the 3:00 am Trump White House. 

Later, she watched the afternoon press conference, and realized our loser-of-the-popular-vote president has fallen off his rocker. Trump Tower is crumbling to the ground, and Putin is rolling on the floor with laughter.


Hate Must Be Defanged!

ROMANCE WRITERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE! What happened in Charlottesvlle is a call to action. We must fight racism, sexism, and religious intolerance through our novels! Books have changed the world before and they can now!
Our current political situation is like the last two weeks of a Spanish-language soap opera--it's always darkest before the dawn. Yes, just as Danilo, Morgana, Estela, and that guy with the scary eyes are headed toward unhappy endings, Trump is going down.
   Fio has been thinking about the schoolyard bullies who show up in
TV costumes at marches and the misanthropes who dominate  Trump's
rallies. These people are in hate with the world and we need to contain
them, cure them, or get rid of them.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Swimming In The Family

Austin son sent Fiorella a picture of himself taking Baby into his wife's family's pool for her first swim, and all I could think of--aside from how sweet my son is and how cute my granddaughter is--was how my mother, who never learned how to swim, was determined that her daughter would learn. Somehow Mom, who didn't drive, got me to lessons at a big, scary auditorium-type pool in Akron, and then, when we moved to Texas, enrolled me for lessons with the local YWCA.

And now, here's Mother's great-granddaughter being introduced to swimming when she is just six months old.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Fiorella is up in arms about what has happened in Charlottesville. The National Guard should be sent in and the whole state put under martial law. What sort of upbringing did these people have? Or were they born with a "hate" gene as part of their make-up? Did they ever stop and think about what they were doing, or were they so simple-minded that they let themselves be swayed by mob mentality?

Our loser-of-the-popular-vote president isn't going to do anything about Charlottesville. In fact, he's probably thanking his lucky stars that it distracted us from the Russian scandal for the moment, but it's all going to come back to bite him. And Fio hopes Charlottesville will get a big hunk taken out of its behind too.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Romance Writing Update

Speaking of romance writing, Fiorella does not go along with the current trend of writing for word-count in order to turn out book after book in as short a time possible. Fio herself almost fell prey to the turn-them-out-as-quickly-as-you-can contagion that is sweeping through the romance-writing community, but a series of family situations delayed her third Bosque Bend book for two years, and now that sweet little story she'd planned out to garner a quick buck or two  is fleshing out into a full-fledged romance with a strong subtext. Fio wants her books to be profitable, but she also wants them to inspire her readers to help her make the world a better place.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Early Morning Ruminations

Fiorella's life has not been easy, and she is the better for it. She had assumed that after college she would stay home with her children and indulge herself in her art, music, writing, and languages, but family circumstances required her to seek outside employment, an experience that broadened her world and knocked some square corners off her. Those same family circumstances forced her to deal with difficult situations, which made her more sensitive and, at the same time, more confident. But still, she wishes she could have spent more time indulging.

Speaking of languages, La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo is winding up to its conclusion. Yes, winding up, not winding down--everyone is in hot water but the villain. And speaking of writing, Fio is one-third through revision number 3 and taking notes on her next book. The music is dead in the water, but maybe she'll even get around to painting again some day.

If Fiorella sounds a little subdued, it's because of the nuclear threat hanging over the world. Trump is a total idiot--and a dangerous one.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Truth of It


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

United Airlines Can't Get Its Act Together

Another United Airlines story from one of Fiorella's friends:
This morning Simba Dog and I arrived at United Cargo Petsafe to begin our trip to Lake Tahoe. The cargo manager looked at my crate and my dog and told me that the regional airline scheduled to fly us to our first stop was too small to hold Simba's crate. Further, there were no flights available that day that would hold his crate. (Note: I had made this reservation in March and given the dimensions of the crate to the Petsafe people at the time.)

Then, talking to United reservations and trying to get a flight that could hold Simba, I found out that my return reservation--that I had just had to reschedule three days earlier because United changed its arrival time back in Austin -- wouldn't hold his crate, either!

But there's more: the original cargo manager reported to his management that Simba was full grown German Shepard who was too large for his crate. (Uh, he's a Belgian Tervuren and you didn't even see him in his crate, nor did you take measurements.)

So, after months of planning, hours of scheduling airline, cabin, car, horse care, dog boarding ... it's t*ts up.

Thanks United. Fly the f'-ing Friendly Skies.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mother, Haircut, Household, Trump, Pill Bottles

Mother was always helpfully correcting Fio, and Fiorella helpfully passed on the favor to her friends and classmates. Big mistake.
There's a new (at least to Fio) male haircut that's becoming popular. The hair is clipped close except on the front top of the head where it is rolled back, sort of like a sophisticated mullet. Not only are the hombres on telenovelas sporting it, but so was the man sitting in front of Fio at the the theater.
If Fio were not  living in this house, shades would never be raised, doors would never be locked, and toilet paper rolls would never be put in their holders.
Judging by those she's encountered on Facebook, Trump supporters are rude, crude, racist, mysogynistic, willingly ignorant attack dogs..
Fio has a shoe box full of plastic pill bottles she would love to pass on to you. Any takers?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Palace Theater Review, Rock of Ages

Fiorella and her party left the Georgetown Palace Theater's production of Rock of Ages between acts. The auditorium was too warm, the music was too loud, and the show was too frenetic, disjointed, and stupid. It was even worse than Tarzen of the Apes, a depth Fio never thought could be reached.

It was obvious that a lot of work had gone into the production. Choreographer Jessee Smart had her dancers doing deep plies every time they turned around, and everyone was singing his heart out. The band was great, especially the guitarist. But the show itself was more silly than funny and more trashy than cool. The characters were weak stereotypes--the guy trying to make it in show biz, the girl trying to make it in showbiz, the oafish star, the pompous 1930's villain with the German (?) accent, who was trying to shut down the rock club.

Maybe Fiorella's review of the show was affected by the fact that she and her party were seated nearer to the stage than usual, or that she was pretty much engaged with job and family during the show's time period and thus missed all the clever references everyone else was picking upon. But the audience reaction was not overwhelming--except for the front row and a line-up of older women behind Fiorella who cackled like demented hens.

Whatever, Fio was, like Queen Victoria, not impressed.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fivesome Update

Sonia perra tripped nimbly down la escalera at 4:15 a.m.and gave mamacita a sharp bark of demand. Porque ella es una mamacita buena, ella struggled awake and turned off the alarm system, then opened the back puerta so Sonia could usar el sevicio. Si, la perrita es la reina de casa.
The whirlwind is spinning faster and faster. Trump is going down. Doesn't he see the signs? They're the same as when his multiple businesses went down.
Fiorella posted one of her paintings on FB and got a really nice response, which made her hungry to start painting again, something she hasn't done in years, but she needs to invest her time in her family and projects that have the possibility of paying off big, like the writing. The almighty dollar wins out over art every time.
Speaking of writing, Fiorella is engaged in the third revision and the story is really fleshing out. For instance, she now knows that Bram is a nickname for Abram, which explains why a guy who's half Czech has a Dutch-sounding name.
Fiorella plays the piano every morning to keep her hands, fingers, and brain-eye coordination working, but she sings for the pure joy of it. Yes, the botox shots to her false vocal chords are finally working.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bring on the Leaks!

Republican and Democratic lawmakers may be united in condemning the recent White House leaks, but Fio thinks that whoever released those transcripts of Trump's childish conversations with two foreign leaders is a true patriot, a national hero, because now the whole country knows that our so-called president is a total egotist who whines like a baby when he's trying to back out of "deals," and that he used his campaign rallying cry for "the wall" to fire up his alt-right base, but really doesn't care whether it's built or not.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Poetry, Politics, Pens, Pisces, Program, and Pacing

Why is there nobody out there who's tried to cross political pens with Fiorella? Can it be there's no one on the right who can rhyme, set a beat, or count accented syllables?
Fio doesn't understand why people advertise on pens, but then, she's not the type to be influenced by the name emblazoned on her ballpoint.
Ah, salmon and fries for dinner--nothing better. Fio is replete.
Fio's nightly telenovela has been running two hours this past week, which is daunting. Fio can only take so much elevated drama at a time. Por favor, kill off Danilo and Morgana, give Leticia's family a happy ending, and let Ryan and Laura live happily ever after.
As Fio said back when Flynn got canned, Trump Tower is crumbling, brick by brick. Quite a few bricks have fallen since then, and the pace seems to be accelerating.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Escape into Television--THWARTED

It's so relaxing every evening when Fiorella escapes Trumpdom and loses herself in the murder, rape, scheming and screaming of La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo, a Spanish-language soap opera of which she can only understand one word in ten. The important thing is that while the DC Halloween horror show is real and Fio doesn't know where it's going to end up, the telenovela is scripted for a happy ending. Ryan and Laura (formerly Estela) are going to pull through, but Fiorella isn't that sure about the USA.

Postscript: After writing the above, Fio settled down to watch last night's episode of Estela Carrillo and found it had been knocked off the programming by another stupid soccer game. HOW DOES UNIVISION EXPECT FIORELLA TO HAVE A PEACEFUL NIGHT'S SLEEP WITHOUT HER NIGHTLY DOSE OF MAKE-BELIEVE?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Life, Art, Trump, Book,

Yours truly has had a couple of close calls in her life, but the Fio-wagon keeps a-rollin' along, maybe because the close calls have taught her to make the best use of every minute she has on this earth.
The art isn't in the hand or the brush. It's in the artist.
The Trump administration has hit the fan, and Fio doubts if Humpty Dumpty can ever be put back together again. Fiorella got a lot done on her book yesterday, but the political scene remained a mess, not matter how many profound analyses she posted on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

In and Out the Window, As We Have Done Before

The whole Scaramucci episode was both hilarious and sad. Hilarious because it played out like a fast-moving half-hour television comedy, and sad because we have a president with such poor judgment that he hires a foul-mouthed, egocentric toady to be his communications director. And now, he's hired an up-tight military man as chief of staff to clean up the mess. Five will get you ten that the general won't stop with the Mooch, but will try to do a thorough job, which means disciplining all the advisors and hangers-on, including the line-up of Trumps. Including the prez himself.

Kelly won't last long.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Miata, Television, Poetry

At least once a week, someone tells Fiorella how cute her baby car is, and they're not just guys who are checking out her legs.
Fio watched a lot of TV as a child and assumed she would end up living in a New York high rise like the characters in the shows she watched. Instead, she lives in in a lovely home she herself designed which is set the middle of a five-acre wooded wilderness that she has yet to totally explore. Life couldn't get any better.
My goal is the same when I awake
Every morning, and through the day--
To make the world a better place
By what I do and what I say

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Five Factoids

Yep, your Fio is a delicate flower. As she confessed to you yesterday, she does not fare well in hot weather. Neither, she wants you to know, does Sonia dog. Poor baby follows Fio out the door, then, five minutes later, barks to be let inside again. Mastiffs aren't designed for Texas summers.
Three words that Fiorella wants newscasters to memorize the pronunciation of: realtor, nuclear, and athletic. They are NOT re-la-ter, nu-cyu-ler, and a-tha-letic.
Every life hangs by a thread. Anything can happen any minute, no matter your age, your health, or how careful you are. Fate is fate.
The way one says "Good morning" in the Nigerian dialect that Tosin at the Verizon store speaks is "e-k-a-a-r-o," which is pronounced like a rainbow. starting at a lower pitch, rising in the middle, and settling at the end. Fio would have loved to have studied a pitch language at some time in her life, but maybe there's still time after she learns Spanish, reviews her Russian, and picks up Telugu again. And then there's her Latin that she'd like to renew, and her German, Fio's study of which was cut short after ein semester. Oops, she didn't mention the French, which she passed a reading a exam on long ago, but which she never did learn how to speak.
Surely the circus act in DC cannot continue much longer.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Happy Birthday, Daughter!

July 29, O blessed day, the day Fiorella's daughter was born. Baby was an early bird, taken two weeks premature because she was already at nine pounds, nine ounces, and Dr. Stahl was concerned she might rupture Fio's slash line from when Baby's brother had been born nineteen months earlier. But this time around, Fio got an epidural so eveything went smoother. She's told you how she sang "May she be like Ruth and like Esther...." when the doctor announced Baby was a girl. In fact, Fio's told you the whole story before, and be warned--she'll probably tell it to you again next year. July 29 is a sacred day for Fio, as are the birthdates of all her children.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Overcoming Adversity on a Hot Day

Fiorella is running late today because her computer disowned her this morning. She could open it up, but couldn't reach any of her sites, so she packed her computadora in her leather tote along with the cell phone that wouldn't let her post on Facebook and drove off to Click. Of course, her computer behaved perfectly when she tried to show Travis the problem so she packed up and drove over to the Verizon store, where Tison switched her cell phone out of "flight" mode (embarrassment), and taught her how to say "Good morning" in his particular Nigerian language. After depositing a check at her bank and picking up six boxes of Shredded Wheat at Target, she started home.

It was hot and still. Even with the AC on, Fio was sweating like the proverbial pig. When she got home, she collapsed on the sofa, then drank a lot of water, changed into shorts, and opened up her computer. She still couldn't reach any of her sites.

But Travis had warned her this might happen, that the source of the problem might be other electronics in the room, so she moved into the front room to test his theory out. Bingo! And that's why Fio is able to communicate with you today.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Computer, Television, Weather

What happened? Fiorella had written out a full blog and suddenly it disappeared--apparently her left hand had drifted over the keys in some  inappropriate manner. It figures. The computer has a habit of doing Fio dirty. For instance, the pictures of Baby that Son posted on her timeline weren't able to be seen by anyone but her, and everyone knows that the main reason for posting baby pictures is to collect "likes" and "aws" from friends whose baby pictures you've been "liking" and "awing" for years.
Fiorella remembers a time when when lawyers weren't advertised on television. And neither were doctors, or medicines with long lists of warnings attached, or women's sanitary supplies. How quaint that must seem to her children.
Fio had wonderful visits with friend Paula and friend Joan in Austin yesterday, but the day was very hot (103+ degrees) and she wilted all the way back to Georgetown, then was out of commission all evening. Fiorella is not made for Texas summers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Spanish Woes

Fio is still searching for a Spanish language program that suits her.  She tried Duolingo, but it was too slow and repetitive for her, and it never explained errors. Then she tried Babbel, but it was obviously continental Spanish instead of Mexican Spanish, and Fio isn't interested in being hoity-toity. She looked at Michel Thomas too, but ran into la problema misma.  Maybe Mango or Rosetta Stone will work, but Fio needs a break right now.
Okay, Univision, donde esta mi telenovela La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo? Fiorella settled down in front of the TV at 8:00 last night, and Joseph of Egypt came on, which irritated the heck out of her because on the previous night, Estela had made friends with an old enemy and was pumping her for information so Fio was expecting a bombshell last night.
It all would have been much simpler if Fio had taken Spanish in high school, but she went Latin all the way, then added in Russian, German, and Telugu in grad school, all of which went down the drain from lack of use

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Not Fio's Day

Fiorella thought she had her day all laid out, but it went to pieces on her once she got to Austin. Her doctor's parking garage was dark as a dungeon, and it was hard to find a space for her Miata what with all the ocean liners squatting in the spaces marked compact. She was finally able to shoehorn herself into a narrow space between two SUVs, but then came the voyage to the medical building while toting a tote weighed down with her computadora, her bolsa, her celular, and her lista amarilla. She rode up to the third floor and trudged down the hall to the doctor's office, slung her tote on the counter and announced herself to the nurse.

Shock. Her appointment was until the afternoon. How had Fio messed up this appt for the second time arround. Are they gaslighting her?  No, Fio. Face it. You wrote down the the wrong date in su calendario.

Nothing to do but set up an appt for next week, reshoulder her tote and stagger back to the parking garage. Getting out was a lot easier than getting in. But what could she do with her time? She had to be back in Gtown for an INR appt at 1:00, but she didn't want to be half an hour early and sit  in the cardiologist's office twiddling her thumbs. Nothing to do but find a Starbucks in Austin and write a little. Of course, she had to purchase something to rent a table, though. No problem--she loves Starbucks' chocolate chip cookies. The day was saved!

Except that Starbucks was out of chocolate chip cookies. All she could do was indulge herself in a cup of milk.

Some days, you just can't win for losing.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Trump Opera

I've been thinking about my Trump tragi-comedy opera. It should start on election day, I think, and Donald should be pacing and singing about the campaign and how wonderful he is, and all the nasty things he's going to say when Hillary wins. ("When Hillary Cheats Her Way Into the White House") Of course, he pauses from time to time to post venomous tweets. (Note to self--use actual tweets---which rhymes with "cheats" and "beats") The results start coming in, but he refuses to watch them, singing about what a winner he is. "I'm winning if I say I am!" When he finally faces the board and sees that he's won, He turns to the audience with shock on his face and says. "What do I do now?"

Fast forward to Inauguration Day, the poor turn-out, and his insistence of the opposite. ("Opposite" aria?) The Women's March, the protests, etc. Arrogance grows, more and more in la-la land. Staff comes and goes. Russians, (Russian chorus?).  Melania floats in and out, a mystery figure. The Trump family is a constant chorus. Maybe the White House (Mar-a-Lago?) is stormed. Not a pretty ending.

And that is as far as Fio's gottten. Is Rossini still available?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Birthday Girls

 Because Fio's birthday was last week and Daughter's birthday is next week, they combined their celebrations and met at Central Market in Austin. That way, Fio didn't have to drive too far from Georgetown and Son and his family didn't have to drive too far from their home near Bastrop. The party lasted about two hours, so it's safe to say that a good time was had by all, but Fio was especially thrilled that, when she got to hold Baby, Barbara made a grab for Fio's nose, sucked on Fio's finger, and pulled an earring out of Fio's earlobe.

A special treat was that Daughter stayed at the table for a while after Son and family left, and she and Fio had a searching talk. Fio is still glowing with pride about the thoughtful, straight-seeing, compassionate young woman that Daughter has become.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Who Is Fiorella?

Who is Fiorella, that all her swains commend her? 

Well, Fio isn't too sure about the swains, but she is all too eager to tell you who she is because, first of all, she's analytical, which means she's always trying to figure herself out--and everyone else.

Second, she's as creative as they come, not just as a writer and an artist, but also when it comes to problem-solving. If you ever want a wacko solution, check in with Fio.

Third, her goal as a college student was to learn every language in the world, and it still is.

Fourth, she's dramatic--the world is her stage.

Fifth, she has an easily-ignited irreverent sense of humor, as you may have already figured out.

Sixth, she's high energy and always wants to be DOING something. Not things like whacking a tennis ball back and forth, which she considers to be a waste of time (precious time, of whch there is so little), but projects which would make her world, her family's world, and everyone's world a better place.

Seventh she has always attracted a following and is intensely loyal to her friends, but loves everyone, even the people she dislikes.

Eighth, she is always praying God for help and sending up paeans of gratitude, but she also talks to animals, rocks, her car, and all other beings because everything has a soul.

Ninth, sometimes her life falls apart and she collapses like a deflated balloon, but so far, she's always fought through and survived.

Fio's sense of balance tells her there should be another characteristic that will bring the list up to an even ten, but she's run out of steam. See you tomorrow!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Telenovela Foresight

No! Fiorella's telenovela was pre-empted by a copa oro soccer match last night, and she's still fuming. La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo is not her favorite Spanish-language soap opera (she liked El Color de la Pasion better), but Wednesday night left Estela in a very precarious position, and Fio wanted to see how it turned out. She's sure the judge will find Estela "not guilty" of everything that chief villain John B. Green is accusing her of, but who knows--there are always loopholes and complications.

The big surprise to Fio, who started watching the show after it had already been on a couple of months, is that Paloma. Estela's little girl, is not really hers, but a baby she rescued from John B four years ago.  Fio's a bit hazy on the details, but apparently Greene was involved with a prostitution ring.

Fio thought the La Doble Vida was about ready to wrap up, then read that it had gotten a contract for a second installment  in 2018. Guess Fiorella knows what she's going to be doing from 8:00-9:00 p.m.for a while yet

Thursday, July 20, 2017


7-19: Fiorella has given up on the house--it will be what it will be. But she hasn't given up on herself. Instead, she's doubled down on her own life and what is important to her--writing, languages, art, family.

7-20: Fiorella woke up bursting with joy. Maybe it was that she slept soundly, without disturbing dreams, and apparently in such good posture that she could mmediately leap to her feet without her back hurting. Maybe it was that she ate the right things yesterday (chocolate chip cookes,  hamburger, chocolate ice cream?) or that her book is moving, really moving, again. Maybe it's that the irritating webs cleared from her brain ("Gene Kelley and Fred Astaire" were her first thoughts of the morning.) Maybe it's that she had a long, rambling phone conversation with Daughter yesterday, or that she attended church with friend Sharon, then had a two-hour visit with her. Maybe it was because her telenovela is resolving or because of the Russian flavor of the stupid Colbert show. Or maybe it's an intimation of something wonderful about to happen. On the personal scene, will all Fio's personal problems be resolved? On the national scene, will Trump be trumped?

Whatever, Fiorella cannot stop grinnng. She feels cleansed, powerful, and ready for action. God's in his heaven, and all's right with the world.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Fio lives in a house overflowing with wires and cords. Everything is connected to something, and then there are all the loose cords, like the ones that have found a snarled home beside husband's recliner, the ones under his desk, the ones in the several snarls of cords in the garage, and the many hoses outside that twine around each other like a family of boa constrictors and trip Fio when she goes out to water the yard. Wireless electronics cannot come soon enough for Fiorella, but the hoses will be always around...and around...and around.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rooskee Yazeek

Fio will admit that she screamed "Dummkopf!" at Stephen Colbert last night when he mispronounced the Russian word for "Thank you." She loves her languages, especially Russian with its wonderful "zh's" and "kv's" and "rrrrr's." She hasn't retained very much of it, and she could never have carried on a conversation in it, even in her third year, because translation of a written text was the teaching emphasis back then. Maybe a fourth year would have helped, but the Linguistics Department at UT required two semesters of a non-Indo-European language, which meant Fio had to drop Russian and take up Telegu. Fio grew to love Telegu too, especially because, like with the rooskyy yazeek, she had to learn a new and different script. But again, she has lost most of the language. If you don't use it, you lose it.

And, by the way, "dummkopf" is German (Deutsch), which Fiorella had one glorious semester of.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Speaking Of

Fiorella is the beloved of the mosquito community. There's something about her that attracts them even as she sleeps.  Blame her DNA.

Speaking of DNA, the headline in today's newspaper is "Illness linked to SUVs hits APD hardest," which reminds Fio once again that we  live in an acronym age, an age of LOL, WTF, LGBT, GOP, DNC,  and POTUS. Linguists of the future will have no trouble tracing the decline of American English back to the internet.

Speaking of the internet, it will also have to take responsibility for print news going down the tubes. Newspapers in the thick of the action like the NY Times and the Washington Post still attract readers, but for how long? It's so much easier to listen to broadcast programs or read capsules on your computer.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fiorella in Three

Fiorella, a let's-face-reality kinda gal, does not understand people who aren't, the ones who prefer fiction, who cling to anger and revel in lies. How can anyone still support Trump? Don't they see by now that the emperor has no clothes? And even worse, that he doesn't know he has no clothes, that he's living in his own self-delusional world?
Fiorella is still reveling in the birthday greetings she received yesterday. Birthdays are important to Fio, and she celebrates not only family birthdays, but the birthdays of her friends as well. It's her way of saying she's glad they're stilll walking this earth with her.
Fiorella is a dog servant. When Sonia wants out, Fio opens the door. When Sonia lets herself in, Fio closes the door. She dishes out Sonia's kibbles, refills her water bowl as needed, and periodically washes the vinyl dog tray Sonia's bowls rest on. Then there's the required morning pet, which must include clucking and a body massage, and then there's the  required distribution of rawhide bones throughout the day. Yup, Fiorella is dog tired.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Immersed in the Past

Is this how it starts? Is this how carefully organized, nicely decorated homes turn into junk piles? Fio remembers Husband's aunt's house, and his sister's house, even the house of his family's life-long maid, and the winding trails between stacks of stuff the three of them had collected through the years. Did his aunt and his sister and the maid all start out with the good intention of honoring those who had gone before them? When does honoring turn into hoarding? How can one move forward when one is immersed in the past?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Passing It Down

Fiorella's brother unloaded two stacks of family memorabilia on her, and she is both thrilled and overwhelmed. Dad's high school graduation picture hit her hard, and the elementary school essay on Christopher Columbus by her uncle Russel, who died of a burst appendix when he was fourteen, made her cry. Then there were Mother's report cards and the  carefully preserved receipts for her payments on the loans she had to take out to pay for her final years of college.

The emotion is overflowing, but so are the chairs in the front room. So are the shelves in the bottom of the china hutch and the shelves beside the front room fireplace. How can Fiorella respect the memories that were precious to her parents, Husband's parents, and those back down the line without setting up a fire hazard? And how can she preserve the albums and photos and miscellany without unduly burdening her children?

One thing for sure--Fio better start winnowing her own memorabilia. No need to add to the pile.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Like Attracts Like

Romance Writers of America is a world-wide support group founded by seven Texas writers thirty-some years ago, and it works. When Fio was at the bank yesterday, she not only gave her own business card to the lovely young woman who helped her, but, when she learned the woman was from Louisiana, also gave her the name of a Louisina author (Farrah Rochon) whom she might want to check out.

Romance writers are pack animals. We clump together for improvement, encouragement, and inspiration, and it's not a new concept, but a universal of mankind--think of the Byron-Shelley-Keats crew,  of clubs you've joined, of your work relationships, of your family ties. Where would we be without each other?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Mother's house was her snailshell, except that she never moved it, perhaps because her childhood was spent moving from house to house according to her father's employment fortunes, which were controlled by how well he knew the local politicians and how much he drank. Well, Mom did move once, to Texas, because Dad, who was also good with people but who didn't drink, got a job promotion.

Waco, Texas, was a shock to her because it was so different from Akron, Ohio. Texas accents back then were so strong that they sounded like a foreign language. And there weren't many natural trees around. And the rather plain one-story house Dad had bought for the family was so different from her charming two-story in in Ohio. Sure, the Texas house came equipped with a dishwasher, washing machine, and two bathrooms, but its front porch was minuscule, the kitchen was a quarter of the kitchen she had left behind her, it lacked a real dining room, AND THERE WAS NO BASEMENT.

Fio remembers the look of horror on Mother's face, the tears in her eyes, when she met the house for the first time, but being her mother's daughter, she rolled up her sleeves and went to work, dragging Dad in her wake. The garish wallpaper was the first thing to go.

Through the years, Mother brought that little house on Proctor Avenue to its glory. It was her creation, her haven, her stability, and she lived in it the rest of her life, never having to move again.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bras, Kardashians, Estela Carrillo, Trump, Afterlife

How do men survive without bras? Fio stores her glasses, credit card, car keys, lipstick, and a couple of Kleenexes in her bra while she's out gadding about. Good thing she doesn't have go through any metal detectors.
Fiorella is tired of the stupid Trump family. She wants everything back to normal--you know, with the Kardashians being the dopiest family on television.
Fio will admit she herself has been around long enough to know it's true that what goes around comes around, like names, fashion, politics, and philosophies. Nothing new under the sun, as they say. Hey--maybe that will apply to people too. See you in your next life!
La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo is drawing to its inevitable close, but it's still spitting out screwball drama. Danilo knocked out Estela with an anesthetic for horses so he could rape her, but she doesn't know it yet because she was--well--knocked out. That boy's getting more and more vicious--remember that he strangled Tommy to death last week--and there's not much further he can go, though it might be a good idea if, on his way out, he took down Mr. Green, the evil Americano politician who held Estela and her daughter captive for a week or so.
What if Trump once upon a time had a brain of his own which was replaced by a Russian model installed by Putin and is operated by Melania?

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Best Is Yet To Come!

It's a wonderful day today! A friend of Fiorella's won $10,000 on a TV show last night, and was given a national commercial to boot! And yesterday afternoon, Fio's critique group met and had a great time! What better introduction could there be to a brand new week--a week, Fio privately confides in you, that will wind up with her own happy birthday.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Three Questions

Item by item, Fio is checking off her list--watering the yard, paying the bills and balancing the checkbook, doing the laundry, emptying the dishwasher, practicing piano, studying her etiquetas, picking up prescriptions, working on her book, pretending to be human.  Is it any wonder she sleeps like a log at night?
Fiorella is both horrified and fascinated by Donald Jr's use of a Twin Towers cartoon showing his father as one of the Islamic terrorists. Repulsive, yes. Bad taste, yes. But could casting his father in a villain's role have also been an expression of deep-seated resentment, even hatred?
Can Fiorella sue Governor Abbot for releasing her voting record to Abbot?

Saturday, July 8, 2017


Putin's hand held in his
Putin's ring in his nose
He shall have riots
Wherever he goes.
I thought that I
Would never see
A president
As dumb as he

Friday, July 7, 2017

To Spanish or Not to Spanish

Husband is tucked away upstairs for the night so Fio has parked herself on the couch to watch La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo--but there's some dumb awards show on instead. GRRRR!
Fiorella can translate written Spanish better now, but she hasn't made much progress with the spoken language. It's a matter of not having anyone to practice with.
Strangely enough, trying to learn Spanish has triggered Fio's long-forgotten Russian again. She keeps saying things like myedlenuh, puhzhaulsta (slower, please) or deliberately combining the languages, like gdyeh estan mis pildoras (where are my pills?), which makes her laugh. But then as Husband has always said, Fio is easily amused.
Fio is looking at the awards show screen now. Good grief. The "dress" that Mexican cantante is almost wearing looks like a single layer of some ultra-shear semi-fabric. Fio knows that's show biz, but she'd like to see more taste and less skin, more elegance and less "I've gone about as far as I can go." Has it ever dawned on anyone that the end of extreme has been breached and the only outfit that would be different enough now to draw everyone's attention is a something simple and in good taste?
Fiorella has learned a lot about the Mexican-American music industry from La Doble Vida. And about being undocumented. And about drug lords and crooked politicians. Yep, it's cup runneth over.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Down to Austin and Back

Fio's said it before and she 'll say it again. There's nothing like busting thirty-some miles down the road to Austin to rev up her writing brain. She actually pulled off to the side a couple of times, both ways, to record her thoughts--well, actually, one of those times, she had the fortune to get caught at a red light.

On the way down, Fiorella thought about Trump and the way that every time it seeems like she's run dry of blog topics, he comes through with something dumb, mean, or obscene that she can comment on. She also thought about how FB responders, by doing such things as mistaking the Declaration of Independence for an anti-Trump rally call, reveal their low IQs and educational levels.

On the way back, Fio reflected about over-eating, probably because she had just dined on chocolate chip cookies with Friend Evelyn at Starbucks and a hamburger with Friend Paula at Dan's. The spices were still on her tongue and the warmth was still in her digestive tract, but she knew that in an hour or so, the taste would turn bitter, her stomach would feel bloated, and she'd never want to eat again. Yeah, sure. Once Fio has downed a couple of chocolate chippers, her brain turns into a ravening beast and it's only the prospect of total embarrassment that stop her from going up to the counter and buying a box of them. Certain foods are  like drugs to Fio, but if there's one thing she's has learned from "My 600-Pound Life," it's that over-eating is emtionally driven, and that instead of trying to smother one's emotions, one needs to investigate and understand them.

Besides, the more cookies she eats, the more GERD she'll have later on.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pondering Species Regarding Fourth

Daughter drove Son, Wife, and Baby across the miles to spend the afternoon of Independence Day with Fiorella and Husband, and we were thrilled, not just because they came to see us, but because we got to know Baby a little better. It's important to us to be part of the life of our granddaughter, the one-half of us that will survive.  It's important to her too because species-wise, offspring are safer in an extended family unit.

(Sorry to be running so late. Fio wrote the above paragraph last night, but forgot to specify when she wanted it posted.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Three for the Fourth

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! Fio and Husband have Daughter, Austin son, his wife, and baby coming over, and, since Husband is still incapacitated, they will do the cooking. We are blessed.
Fiorella remembers Fourths when she was a child. "Uncle" Wiley Smith and his wife. Emma, would host parties at their farm in Mogadore for the foreman he supervised at General Tire. Fio doesn't remember what the meat was, but she developed a lasting taste for roasted corn.
Fio dropped off flags and chocolate kisses to Click and Mazda this morning. Good people deserve recognition and appreciation, and not just on the Fourth of July.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Early Morning Tweet Again

Fiorella could say that it's fake news, or that we should ignore it because it's just what we might expect from a grade school mentality. Or that it's hilarious because he can't even walk seven hundred yards, much less wrestle anyone to the ground. Or that Ivanka should have closed down his Twitter account months ago. Or that Fio wants him to continue tweeting vicious stupidities in the early morning so everyone can see what a dumbass he is. Or sigh and say his dementia is getting worse, then mention that a regent replaced George III when he went dotty.

Your choice.

Show more re

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Fio met Friend Patricia at the gucchi Starbucks yesterday afternoon for chocolate chip cookies... er, FOR A WHOLESOME SNACK. They discussed their dogs, their blogs, Fiorella's yard man, Patricia's horses, their families, and the importance of true grit. And that just about covered the watefront.
What will Fio be doing on the Fourth, you ask? What she does every day--try to keep up with her life, but Daughter and Austin Son will be visiting as well. Fiorella is blessed
Big Bang Theory, Lucifer, Bodies Bizarre, 600-Pound Life--all of Fiorella's faves are off for the summer or in reruns. Fio has a lot of other things to keep her busy, but she'd like to have a little of her favorite entertainment too.
How odd that a man with a face like a smashed pumpkin and the bodye of an overstuffed dumpling feels he has the right to criticize the looks of a rather pretty woman--or any woman, for that matter. But one would guess that someone who's never had to abide by boundaries never will. Sad.
Fiorella has never fully adjusted to the electronic world because it is based on algorithms, which are exact, step-by-step instructions, and Fiorella has always done things her own way, skipping rungs and leaping right to the top of the ladder. And algorithm or not, she'll figure out a way to continue skipping the stupid stuff.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Here and There

The older Fio gets, the more she likes clouds. Hope that means she's headed to heaven someday.
 Ah, a new month, a new chance. And this month has Fio's birthday in it, which gives her a double chance.
Fio's book is jolting along, and what drives it is some advice Fio's literary agent, Liza Dawson, gave her four years ago: every scene must move the story forward. (To which Fiorella adds what Tracy Wolff once said at an RWA meeting: let the POV be from the viewpoint of the person who has the most to lose.)
Fio's getting closer and closer to signing up for an on-line Spanish class. She just can't stand not knowing what the characters on the telenovelas are talking  about.
Speaking of telenovelas, Minnesota Son said most of the guns the characters on La Piloto were toting were berrettas. Apparently there is not much diversity in the television gun wardrobe closet.

Friday, June 30, 2017


Fiorella wrote this sonnet twenty-five years ago, and it holds true today: 


When I am old, so very old I stink
Of unwashed underarms and brain cell death
So old I shake, my spine and stature shrink,
I whistle, quake, and rattle with each breath--
When I am old, so very old I drool,
And age spots big as elephants appear,
When I forget my name and act the fool
And talk too loud because I cannot hear--
Even when I'm angry, trapped in rage,
Become a miser, call each dime misspent,
When I am cruel and stupid in my age,
When I reject you, scotch your good intent--
     Remember once I loved you of my will,
     And in my heart of hearts, I love you still.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Where Credit's Due

Thursday, and Fiorella is late again, but she's been gadding about. To thank Minnesota son for coming to town to help take care of Husband and rebuild his automobile, Fio took him out to Friend Patricia's horse ranch to meet her friend's Arabians. Son has always been a horse nut, but he hasn't had access to one in several years so this was a real treat for him. For Fio too, who read a lot of Walter Farley in elementary school, but never got to meet a horse up close until she took a college class in Horsemanship (at which she was a total failure).

Anyway, Patricia was a charming and infirmative hostess, and Fio thinks the visit was the crowning glory of Son's visit, a glory he deserves, because Fiorella couldn't have survived these past few weeks without him.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Snippets Of Real Life

All hail to nurses because Fiorella isn't cut out for it. First of all, she doesn't have the build, so thank goodness that Minnesota son came down to Texas to help. Six-three and and solid, he could provide a lot more ballast than Fio could when walking Husband down the stairs. Second, Fio will admit that she doesn't has the temperament for nursing. She's sympathetic, but impatient.
Fio, who was clocking at 82 mph in the fast lane, was passed in a New York second by a line of cars in the next lane over who quickly disappeared in the distance. It was a Flash pass.
When you need refueling, there's nothing like having lunch with a good friend, one who's stuck with you through thick and thin, who knows everything there is to know about you. Thank you, Paula Marks. You're my lifeline.

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 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.