Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pretty Pink Dress

For about four months, Fiorella has been casting sidelong glances at the little girls' dresses in Target, and now that reality has struck, she finally went into the appropriate department to look through the baby clothes. But there wasn't that much of a selection, and Fio was picky--only the most beautiful little dress in the world would do for Baby--and she finally found it, pink and pretty with a wrapped rose at the waist. She'll try to add a picture of it to this post, but don't count on it. Fio is uplifted by her grandmotherhood, but her electronic skills are still rock bottom.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Can't Keep A Good Girl Down

As part of the endless stream of personal information Fiorella lays on you, she is going to talk about her organizational inclinations. The earliest she can remember exhibiting this tendency is when she put together the girls' gang that warred against the boys' gang in first grade. Later on, she tried to organize a girls' club in the fourth grade that went nowhere, but her neighborhood Wolf Pack howled around for a month or two. In the sixth grade, she was a leader in the Christmas tree war on the vacant lot on the other side of Herring Street, where she wasn't supposed to go. Her junior high years were rather tame, but high school let her stretch her wings as she became queen of the Advanced Latin class. In college, she put out her own newsletter. As a mother, she served as president of her son's pre-school parents' group and junior high PTA, then jumped over to being city-wide PTA president. Newsletters accompanied all three positions, of course, because Fio cannot keep her mouth shut or her pen still when she is pushing a cause. As a teacher, she tried to make each class into a supportive organization within itself, and as a writer, she has organized a critique group and several side relationships. And now she's trying to organize the the country and the world to overthrow Donald Trump. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Up and Down

Fiorella's world goes up and down, from Friday's visit with Austin Son and his wife and the joy, the ecstasy of holding Baby in her arms again to the teeth-grinding irritation of having both her good watch and her secondary watch go out on her on Saturday evening. Not only that, but the two keys she took back to Home Depot because they hadn't opened any doors, still don't work. neither does the TV sound. To top it off, Fio can't find an important tax return page she needs.

But Fiorella will survive. She always does. But meanwhile she'll blame it all on Trump.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Dark Side

Friend PauIa posed an interesting question: how does one find a balance between the world as it is and the world you want it to be for your children? You want to protect them, but you also want them to be savvy enough to be able to protect themselves.

Fio has always been aware of the dark side, what could happen, because she was born in 1942, when no one knew what the outcome of WWII would be. Her family lived in Akron, Ohio, rubber capitol of the world, a prime target for German bombing, and she remembers the blackouts and the fear in her mother's eyes. She remember the shortages, the all-important victory gardens, her father working overtime, and her mother cutting a Christmas dress for her out of Daddy's old tennis slacks,

It looks like we're entering into another dark side right now. But this time the threat comes from within.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Rocking Twilight

Neighbor Marvin was kind enough to dump off  a pick-up load of rocks for Fiorella yesterday, and a couple of hours later, in the early twilight, she started laying them out along the driveway.. The whole time, she was imagining somebody--or something--coming out of the dark woods behind her and catching her by surprise. She'd throw rocks at him/it, of course, and, being the heroine, she'd make it back to the house safely. Or would she? Older women usually get knocked off in the first reel.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


You can't keep a good girl down, especially when she has good friends like Evelyn Palfrey and Paula Marks. Fio met up with Evelyn at Starbucks today, then sped up the street to have lunch with Paula Marks at Dan's Hamburgers. By the time she headed home, she was giddy with love and laughter. There's nothing like having good friends. Nothing like sitting across the table from people who talk the same political language. Nothing like being in the company of people who are knowledgeable, literate, clever, sympathetic, and screamingly funny. 

Maybe Trump could have been a real person if he'd had friends like this. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sick, Sad, and Tired

Fiorella is still feeling blue. She's tired. the house is a mess, her novel isn't moving as fast as she'd like it too, the pharmacy isn't sending her automatic refills like it's supposed to, she hasn't even started on the taxes yet, she's worried about an undocumented friend, and she shudders at the thought that the child composed of one fourth of her genes has been born into an alternate universe ruled by an ignorant, vicious narcissist.

Her only ray of light is the new rock area she found in the dry creek.. How's that for desperation?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Who, What, Why, When, Where

(1) Why is the Easter chocolate put out on the supermarket shelves the second the Valentine's chocolate has sold out? Can't Fio's diet be given a sporting chance?

(2) Who will show Fiorella how to move photos onto her blog again? She has a beautiful baby photo she wants to show off.

(3) How did the Austin American-Statesman screw up its comic section two weeks in a row, once last week by not including it in the paper, and again this last Sunday, by reprinting the previous Sunday's comics? Please--inquiring minds NEED funny papers.

(4) What is it about these people who are still posting nasty stuff on Facebook about the Obamas? Why aren't the hoeing their own political gardens? When will Trump's fans finally figure him out? What will it take for them to realize they've been taken?

(5) Where does all Fiorella's time go?  Why is she writing this post at 11:30 at night when she's half-asleep and feeling blue?

Monday, February 20, 2017

United We Stand

Fiorella is heartened by the way the anti-Trump movement has come together with each person working in his own way. Fio uses FB and her blog, posting comments, responses, and poems. Others march or strike or continually contact their congressmen. Others sign petition after petition.  The intelligence community and news media keep insisting on telling the truth. And political cartoonists, comic strip writers, and TV satirists have reduced the situation to its basic absurdity.

Trump may be the first president laughed out of office.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Over the Top

Fiorella is under a lot of stress, but she sleeps well at night because she watches El Color de la Pasion, her Spanish-language soap opera every evening. It's so totally ridiculous that she's amazed the actors can keep their faces straight. Fio herself has been known to snicker cynically as the lovers pledge eternal devotion, scream with laughter as the inevitable blood spurts, and hoot at intricate, unbelievable plot twists. But she keeps on watching, even though she only understands, at best, one word in ten. It doesn't matter--the actors are quite good and their faces and gestures tell the story. Right now, Lucia (Goody Two Shoes) has stood up Marcelo (Handsome Hero) at the altar to take care of her half-sister, Nora (hiss, boo), who is going crazy because she accidentally killed a guy. But what Lucia doesn't know is that Nora is the one who engineered Big Sister being left standing at the altar when she was about to marry Roderigo a while back. And that Nora is not really her sister, but the offspring of Lucia's stepmother-aunt (who killed Lucia's mother and married Lucia's father), and one of her many lovers.

And that's just the main plot. Now you see why Fio sleeps well. .

Saturday, February 18, 2017


My grandbaby will grow up in a different world than I did, and I will do my best to make it a better world. This means I will double-down on my efforts to protect her from Donald Trump, the enemy within.

Friday, February 17, 2017


I am in love with my grandbaby. She's beautiful, with a darling nose and sweet lips and rosy cheeks and a soft, soft skin. She's very cuddly too, and makes the most delightful little cooing sounds--even giving me a delicate little hiccup. All the old instincts came back soon as I smelled her, and I cradled her on my arm and wanted never to let her go. Every tiny movement she made went straight to my heart, but the best part was her warmth--that precious new-born warmth. My heart overflows.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Wall

Conway, Spicer, Ivanka, Flynn--
What a pickle they are in
So who will be the next to fall
Off President Humpty Dumpty's wall?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Music, Mobs, and Poetry

Some day an opera will be written about the rise and fall of Donald Trump, and it will be a tragi-comedy. Fio can hear some of the music now, a rump-tump-a-tump as he enters the room, then his voice  booming out with "Build a wall, a mile thick, a mile tall, that no one can pass through, that no one can undo, and  will be yuge, yuge, yuge, no refuge, refuge, refuge...."
What our so-called president didn't realize when he gathered a mob behind him is that the opposition could also muster a mob. Your Fio is part of it.
Enough of the trivia in Fio's life. She's working on another political poem, and maybe she'll send some of her earlier efforts to the New York Times. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Fiorella awoke his morning to the sound of the resident redbird banging his beak again and again into the dining room window, and the truth she had been seeking came to her. What happens to her in her life does not matter as much as what she chooses to do with her life, and Fiorella chooses to use her intelligence, talents and skills to make the world a better place, at home and away. And like the redbird, she will persevere.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fiorella's Schedule for the Day

Fio finally got the fake Christmas tree dismantled and packed in boxes for storage in the garage, which cleared out the living room. Now she hopes to move the them and all the other Christmas boxes into the garage, which may be difficult because of the huge fiberboard panels that are leaning against the storage shelves. But never feaar--Fiorella is quite talented when it comes to tottering. Her calendar also calls for finding Husband's wallet and showing up for her monthly INR appointment, but she hopes to spend most of the afternoon writing, Then, in the evening, she'll have her reward--her telenovela. Will Nora get away with killing Ricardo? Will she somehow manage to shift the blame onto Lucia? Will Lucia end up in jail? Inquiring minds want to know.

On the side, Fio must correct herself--she remembered the murder wrong. It wasn't a swinging wine bottle that dealt Ricardo the fatal blow, but what looked like a Notebook which Nora was using to assault him. It shattered the glass of wine he was about to drink and drove the sharp edges into his neck. (Just in case your inquiring mind wanted to know.)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sleeping Well, Lunes a Viernes

The color of passion is running blood red right now. Vincencio brutally raped the beloved Gaxiola maid and tried to kill the maid's boyfriend, Lalo, who had been his boss when he was working at the Gaxiola tile factory. And Nora (hiss, boo) accidentally killed Ricardo Marques by cutting his jugular with a wine bottle she was swinging around at him because she's--well--crazy. But Fio should have seen it coming because Ricardo, who'd been a dirty dog all along, had a touching scene beforehand in which he wept and told his daughter how much he loved her.

Apparently people weep a lot in telenovelas. And they walk into each other's houses and yell at other people a lot. And get hit by cars a lot.  And have sex a lot. And, if they're villains, they get away with a lot...but there's always someone lurking in the shadows who overhears everything.

The show is totally estupido and Fiorella loves it. For her, El Color de la Pasion is a una catarsis fabulosa. Sweet dreams!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Political Notes

Latest on the troll news--Gwen's attacking another high school acquaintance now. What is it that impels her to go after her former classmates?
Fiorella is very happy with the three-judge court's decision to uphold the ban on the ban. Also happy Kellyanne is being "counseled." Do you get the feeling her day in the sun is getting dimmer and dimmer?
 Trump doesn't look like he's enjoying the presidency any more. Maybe his new sobriquet should be "Trump the Grump."

Movin' On

Christmas is almost over at Casa Fiorella. Husband kindly packed away the last of the Christmas ornaments yesterday afternoon, and Fio hopes to get his help unwinding the lights from the tree today. Maybe we'll even get the tree disassembled and stuffed into its many containers.

Fiorella loves decorating for Christmas and is always a little sad when her creative efforts have to be banished to the garage shelves till next year, but it's not just that Christmas has a limited shelf life--it's that tax time is just around the corner, which means that Fiorella has to turn her mind to IRS and her dining room table into a processing station.

At the same time, she's trying to rock-line a driveway, learn Spanish, write a book, and pretend to be human.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Under Attack Again

Fiorella's major troll somehow broke through being unfriended and showed up on Fio's Facebook timeline again, foaming at the mouth with accusations and threats. Fio, who tried to play nice at first, ultimately had to appeal to her Romance Writers of America chapter for instructions on how to get rid of said troll, then blocked her--once and for all, she hopes.

Fiorella is perplexed about why a seemingly nice person would go so ape-shit crazy over her political postings--maybe because they make sense.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Busy Bee

This will be a busy day. Wednesdays are always busy for Fio because that's when she drives into Austin, which means she's scheduled to the hilt. Her lista amarilla (yellow list) is instructing her to start with a visit to her CPA, where she hopes to learn how to simplify her tax preparations and get advice on handling hijo menor's (younger son's) student loans. Then Fio will scoot across town to meet up with friend Paula at Dan's Hamburgers and find out if she and her husband can join Fio and Husband for a Palace Theater production of West Side Story. Then Fio will drive up the street for a business appointment at 1:00. Finally, she will head down to the periodico (newspaper) office and hand over chocolate and copies of her political poems to Serena, who guided her through her commercial debut.

At home, Fiorella will devote herself to her current book, pack away one more box of Christmas ornaments, and maybe work on her mura de rocas (wall of rocks), then settle down for another episode of El Color de la Pasion. Did she tell you that it's turned out that Nora Gaxiola has just learned that her father is not Alsonso Gaxiola, but Alfredo Suarez?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Lucia, Marcelo, and Sex

Thank goodness last night was a week night and El Color de la Pasion was on TV. After the stress of the day, Fiorella needed to lose herself in a gripping telenovela. The last she saw on Friday evening, Lucia, the heroine, was about to have sex with Roman, and Marcelo, the hero, was about to have sex with Daniela (who apparently is not his half-sister after all).

Were Lucia and Marco going to realize they are with the wrong partners and back off at the last moment? Or would someone burst into room on one or the other of them? Or would a phone ring or a fire alarm go off?

As it turned out, little puffy memory clouds vaporizing above their heads, which the show has begun using lately, caused both of them to beg off with the wrong partners and find each other again. Regarding further action, Nora got threatened by Ricardo and Daniela caught her father in bed with Rebeca.

Golly, if Gaspozha Skarjinskaya had directed her class to a Russian-language telenovela, Fio would have learned and retained russkee yazeek much better.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Child of Scorn

Miniver Cheevy

"Miniver Cheevy," by Edwin Arlington Robinson, was one of Fio's mother's favorite poems. She liked the bounce of the rhyme and rhythm and saw Miniver as a comic character. Some critics see MIniver as a reflection of Robinson's longing for a kinder, gentler world. Fio sees Miniver is a man-child who refuses to accept responsibility for his own life choices. 

Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
  Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
  And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the days of old
  When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
  Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,
  And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
  And Priam's neighbors.

Miniver mourned the ripe renown
  That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
  And Art, a vagrant.

Miniver loved the Medici,
  Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
  Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace
  And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the medieval grace
  Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
  But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
  And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
  Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
  And kept on drinking.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Christian Soldier

If there is anything that brings out the Christian in Fiorella, it is unkindness. Fiorella may not be able to recite the Bible word for word, but she's got a pretty good idea what Christianity is all about--loving one's neighbor as oneself, taking care of people in trouble, being truthful, reliable, forgiving, and faithful.  It's also about fighting the good fight. Fiorella has had her share of failures, but she will never give up on trying to make the world a better place. And she hopes you won't either.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Alternate News Alert

In an alternate universe far away
Ruled by Princess Kellyanne Conway
Where right is wrong and wrong is right
Where night is day and day is night,
Where science is a left-wing scheme
A massacre occurred in Bowling Green

Friday, February 3, 2017

Catching Up on Fiorella

Fiorella wants a self-driving car. It would solve a lot of problems for her, especially since she can't drive at night anymore, especially since she has no central vision in her left eye, especially since it would have a built-in GPS.
With frequent posts, daily responses, and four poems, your Fio has made something of a political splash on Facebook, And to think, the only reason she got on the site was because, four years ago, her literary agent told her to.
Fio is having a great time watching El Color de la Pasion, a Spanish-language telenovela, not that she can understand mucho mas than the actores' facial expressions and tones of voice, but it helps that she knows most of the characters' names and familial relationships. However, she's still trying to figure out who Ligia is and why Amador killed her.
Has Fio told you there's a FOURTH Starbucks in Georgetown? And that it is REALLY posh? Wow--if there are four Starbucks in Gtown, which isn't that big, how many are there in Austin?
Fio and Husband are going to send their spittle off to Ancestry.com tomorrow. The results should be hilarious.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Movin' On

Fio is not happy. She spent a full hour--despite the TV being on full-blast, despite Husband bawling her out from the top of the stairs about her complaining when he kept waking her up last night by banging his heel against the sideboard--composing a beautifully-worded blog talking about her wonderful day with friends and the people at the Amerrican Statesman yesterday, then segued into the state of the nation and ended by analyzing the structure and import of her little poem about the Ugly Man.

Then did something or other that lost everything.

Oh well, such is life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Laughter Makes Fio's World go 'Round

Hi, there! I'm back home again! Let me tell you where I was all day.

First off, I drove into Austin for lunch with friend Paula at Dan's Hamburgers, where we laughed, exchanged stories, and laughed some more. There's no friend like an old friend, er...a long-time friend.

Then I drove over to the Austin American-Statesman, which I wrote a neighborhood column for in times gone by, met a lot a nice people, and got filmed for bit part in a TV commercial for Roger Beasley Mazda, which I was happy to do. Those service guys are angels on earth. Actually, I'd gladly do a commercial for the Statesman people too.They were almost as much fun as friend Paula!

Live life, laugh, and be happy.