Friday, March 31, 2017


Sean Spicer sold his soul
To the devil with orange hair
To  buy himself a seat
In the press secretary's chair
He settled into place
Totally  unaware
That sooner rather than later
He'll be out of there


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sweet Hope

Has Fio told you about her second visit to Papi's Pies? It was a week or two later than she meant it to be, but last Saturday, she and Husband took off for Round Rock and had a lovely dessert lunch. Husband, of course, ventured into quiche florentine and flan while Fio put in an unimaginative order for croissants and chocolate cake.  The food was yummy great, of course, but what was going on across from Fio and Husband was even sweeter. Six of the most voluble people Fio has ever heard were crowded around one table figuring out whom they could hit up for funding a Hispanic arts program and how to go about it. They were all so committed, so emotional, so inspiring, that when Fio and Husband got up to leave, your girl walked over to their table, told them she had heard their every word and was thrilled that there were still such wonderful people in the world. Then she burst into tears, they hugged her, she hugged them, and everyone cried, even the guy who told her she had taken the last piece of chocolate cake which he himself had had his eye on.

Fio is still uplifted by the experience. With people like that on our side, we shall overcome.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Four-leaf Clover

When Fiorella was about five years old, her major playmate was Diane Woodhall, who lived across the street.  One day, there was a stranger in Diane's backyard, her uncle Adam, who occupied himself by talking to Diane, Fio, and the other two Woodhall kids for a while, then asked if we had ever found a four-leaf clover. We all started looking for one in the spring grass and came up empty-handed, but Adam found one in seconds. Then he did it again. Fio suspected some sort of slight of hand, the kind of joke adults will play on children, and backed away. Never trust a trickster.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

When Thieves Fall Out

You can't gather that much tinder without starting a fire, and the Republicans are blazing right now, in full-fledged war with each other.   In fact, Fio's alt-right FB "friends" are speculating that Paul Ryan lied when he reported the vote tally, that Trumpcare really won the day. Next we'll be hearing about the child sex-ring Ryan has in his basement.

Put on your tin-foil caps, people. We've got a long ride ahead.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Review of WEST SIDE STORY, Georgetown, Palace Theater

Fio was excited about attending a performance of Leonard Bernstein'sWest Side Story at the Georgetown Palace Theater because although she could sing along with many of its songs, she had never seen a stage production ot the show. Her first surprise was that the whole show takes place in front of the same stage setting, which, surprisingly, works beautifully. Her second surprise was how dated the show was. Rumbles, shivs, zip-guns--who knows what those are nowadays? Her third surprise was how stereotyped the adult actors were--Fio prefers a little more depth. And her fourth suprise was how much of a ballet the show is--choreographer Jesee Smart approached genius level in putting together all those numbers.

On the other hand, the casting was a little dicy. Some of the "teens" looked over the age limit, and although "Maria" sent thrills of appreciation through Fio every time she opened her mouth, "Tony" needed a couple more years of voice training.   (THE MASK, TONY! SING INTO THE MASK!)

In general, Fio liked the show, and she cried when Tony was killed at the end, which was beneficial bceause she needed a good dose of emotion to drown out the preachiness Bernstein had stuck into the show at the last moment. To be frank, Rodgers and Harmmerstein would have handled the ethnic tolerance aspect better, letting the audience come to its own realization rather than having a character shout it out to them.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pigs, Walls, Celebrities, Landscaping, TV Killings

Well, judging by how her guinea pig post came out, Fiorella needs to learn a little more about transfering pictures from FB.Sigh, just one more electronic hitch in Fio's life. Wasn't technology supposed to make it easier for her?
Fio, of course, is as happy about the defeat of Trump's attempt to toss Obamacare out the back door as she was about the judicial rulings on the Muslim bans. That's two down. Now let's take after the stupid border wall. The delusional border wall.
Regarding Jennifer Anniston, the Duggars, or any present, past, or future Kardashians--Fiorella doesn't care.  She has a mild interest in Harry and Meghan, but a once-a-month update is enough. On the other hand--April the giraffe, that's news!
Fio and Husband have planted twenty-six boxwoods, two gardenias, three nandenas, and one ligustrum in the front garden this spring. They've also been shoring up the rocks lining the driveway, and once that project is finished, they'll move on to the side yard, also known as armadillo heaven.
Husband is watching a detective show on TV as Fio writes. So far, there have  been six corpses. This is not Fio's favorite kind of show. She knows people kill each other, but doesn't understand how they can bring themselves to do it.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017

It Happens

Fio donned the cute outfit she'd decided on the night before--white clamdigger pants and a red, white, and blue sailor tee. She loaded her tote with a Spanish book and the day's newspaper, in case the doctor ran late. She took off down I-35 at 80mph and made it to Austin with fifteen minutes to spare, depite the fact that it seemed to be big-truck and oversized-load day at the zoo, and was rewarded with a parking spot within spitting distance of the garage entrance. She hurried over to the medical tower, and the elevator whisked her up to the third floor. She identified herself at the desk. The clerk looked confused, then checked her calendar. Guess what? Fio's appointment isn't till Monday.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


When the speed limit is 70mph and you are busting down the highway at 80mph and you're still being passed by every car on the road, when you have such extreme claustrophobia that you can't take an MRI without being knocked out cold and a concrete highway wall is hugging your left side, when your baby car is is suddenly surrounded on three sides by trucks as tall as skyscrapers--then you have experienced what Fiorella did when she was driving into Austin yesterday to meet with friend Evelyn at Starbucks.
Yes, Fiorella has finally figured out how to download photos onto her blog. It was by accident, of course, as all great discoveries are made. After she had posted a baby picture onto her Facebook timeline, she wondered if she could copy a pic from there and put it onto her blog. What the heck--might as well try. AND IT WORKED--expect to see more illustrated Fio in the future. Now to look for other problems Fio can solve just by fooling around with them.
Fiorella and son are planning to display examples of their art in the church art show this year, the one she bombed last year. It should be--uh--interesting.

PS: Think kind thoughts toward Fio. She's driving into Austn again this morning to get her false vocal chords shot up with botox, the only known way to combat essential tremor.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Formal Announcemnt

Say it out
Loud and proud
Scream and shout
Dance about
Be as joyful as you can
Because, you see, a gram I am!

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and sleeping

Monday, March 20, 2017

Poor Darlene

Fiorella told you about nasty Ralph, the boy who squashed her robin egg, but she didn't tell you about poor Darlene. Mrs. Lehman must have seated her second graders alphbetically because Fio sat at the next-to-the-last desk in the first row and Darlene sat behind her. She was blondish, spindle-thin and poorly dressed, lived in a WWII cellar house, and always flunked spelling tests. Fio felt sorry for her so one day she moved her own paper to the side so that Darlene could see over her shoulder.

Mrs. Lehman spotted the maneuver, of course, and thus occurred Fio's one and only school detention. She had to stay in from recess, a devastating blow because (1) everyone knew she had done something wrong, and  (2) she couldn't go out and lead the girls' gang daily charge against the boys' gang.

(Editor's note: for the sake of posterity, Fiorella is writing down every whisp of memory that floats through her addled brain. At least it's a break from her diatribes about DT.)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Important Visitor

Today is the day Austin son and his family will visit Fiorella and Husband in the boondocks. It will be Baby's first long trip, and Fio can only hope there will be many more of them, that Granddaughter will have early memories of exploring the acreage with Gramma and Granddad.

A baby, at last. Fiorella, who loves children, had more-or-less adjusted to the fact that there would be no more young faces at the table, that the talents, skills, and DNA she herself had passed on to her children had reached a dead end. But now there is Baby, beautiful, wonderful Baby, and one-fourth of her is pure Fiorella, which sweetens the deal.

Incidentally, Baby is the first grandchild on both sides of the family, just like Fiorella. Hmm...    

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tax Time Insanity

It took Fio about thirty minutes to reach TRS for insurance premium information, partially because her land line was acting up and partially because her cell doesn't like operating in the boondocks, but she finally got through and a nice lady said she would mail Fio the info ASAP. Fiorella was feeling quite satisfied with herself until her cell started jangling at her and she got so flustered that she dropped the call, but not before she had seen it was from TRS. Fio tried to call back, but it was apparently at the same time the nice lady was trying to call back, which set up quite a cacphony. Finally Fio made it through to TRS again and another nice lady found her first nice lady, who told Fio that her premiums are with ERS, not TRS, so Fio handed the whole scene over to Husband, who has the ERS account, and he spent an hour trying to reach ERS, then trying to get into his account before he gave up till Monday.

And this is the sort of experience that drives Fiorella crazy about taxes.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Objective Advice

Okay, people, get ready for a grammar lesson because Fio is sick and tired of hearing people messing up when it comes to objective pronouns.  This is how it works: the subject pronouns I, we, he, she, and they change to the forms me, us, him, her and them when they are direct objects, indirect objects, or objects of the preposition. And if there is a second pronoun, IT ALSO USES THE OBJECTIVE FORM.

Mary saw me         Mary gave me the book          Mary gave the book to me
Mary saw us          Mary gave us the book            Mary gave the book to us                                           Mary saw him       Mary gave him the book          Mary gave the book to him
Mary saw her        Mary gave her the book          Mary gave the book to her
Mary saw them     Marry gave them the book      Mary gave the book to them


Mary saw me and/or us/him/her/them   
Mary saw us and/or me/him/her/them.  
Mary saw him and/or me/us/her/them. 
Mary saw her and/or me/us/him/them.   
Mary gave them and/or me/us/him/her.

Mary gave me and/or us/him/her the book.
Mary gave us and/or me/him/her the book
Mary gave him and/or me/us/her the book.
Mary gave her and/or me/us/him/them the book

Mary gave the book to me and/or us/him/her/them.
Mary gave the book to us and/or me/him/her/them,
Mary gave the book to him and/or me/us/her/them.
Mary gave the book to her and/or me/us/him/them.
Mary gave the book to them and/or me/us/him/her.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thanks, Chomsky

I think that I shall never see
An algorithm that bests thee,
The most enlightening words I've ever heard:
Tense (model) (hav-en) (be-ing) verb

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rock Time

Fio doesn't know what happened, but yesterday she accidentally deleted a long post she was writing for today. Tuesday was just that sort of day. The landline went out again, and it took forever for Fio's cell to charge up so she and Husband could call to wish Baby a happy one-month birthday. Also, Husband was trying to reach Scottrade to get a copy of whatever it is that the IRS wants, and Fio was trying to reach Allstate to get copies of their auto insurance cards, which she has somehow misplaced. Also, Fio has been on-and-off sicky for the past fews days.

And what does she do when all the world has turned against her? She goes outside and tosses heavy rocks around. It's a matter of power and control.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


And again Fio's going to cut loose on the Duggars and other TV actors who pretend to be Christians. The hypocritical women who talk about modesty, then wear maternity tops so tight that their belly buttons show, who talk about not "defruading" men by looking sexy, then glamorize themselves with seductive hairstyles and come-hither smiles, who see no other role for themselves and their daughters than adoring their husbands, no matter what rats they are, and being available sexually. The males who talk Jesus, but do not love His flock, who do not provide their children with good educations, who do not feed the poor or aid the stranger. Who are intolerant of others and have rewritten the Bible in their own images.

Self-delusion, deliberate deception, or the devil's work?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Way Too Busy

Fiorella had been swimming against the tide lately. She can't find DVDs of El Color de la Pasion, DuoLingo turned out to be a time-wasting dud, she's exhausted from getting the family tax report ready for the CPA, there doesn't seem to be any way to salvage the GPS that Minnesota son gave her for Christmas, the complicated pedometer that Daughter gave her for Christmas is too complicated for mortal woman, the garage roof has started leaking, she's got to find a dry cleaner who will spruce up the baby crib mattress, and she's been sort of sick the past few days.

This is not the sort of life that the TV people live!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Round-about and Back Again

Good morning,
Morning glory!
Glory to God,
God is good,
Good morning!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Dream Car

Fiorella wants a self-driving car so she can get wherever she wants to go without a GPS hanging from her windshield or having to hold a map in one hand and the steering wheel in the other. She wants to be able to write down the ideas that flit across her brain while still en route rather than after she's risked life and limb pulling to the side of the road. She wants to be able to look around and enjoy the scenery during the day, to escape the glare of the setting sun in late afternoon, to feel safe when she has to travel at night. And she wants to be able to avoid any mistakes she might make--misestimating speeds or distances, not seeing other cars, misreading signs, or just plain getting lost. And she wants all this at a low cost with good gas mileage.

In her dreams.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Devil's Spawn

The second Fiorella is out of sight, parking garages rearrange themselves so that when she returns, she has to press her obnxious alarm button for what seems like forever to find her car. And when she finally does find it, the odds are that, like yesterday, an Accura will be nestled so tightly against her Miata in a "compact" slot that Fio can only open the door of her baby car halfway. And when she gets to the check-out, she won't be able to find the stupid ticket, no matter how many times she goes through her purse, tote, and bra. 


Thursday, March 9, 2017


Blame it on the creative imagination of mankind, but fake news has always been with us. People have always told stories about things that never happened and beings that never existed to people who like to hear stories like this. Think of ancient myths, of Shakespeare and other playwrights, of movies, television shows, and tabloids. Think of snake oil salesmen, of advertisers for miracle cures, of promises to renew your youth. Think of political lies, smears, and accusations.

Most of us understand that entertainment fiction is not real life, and I hope most of us learn to be wary of miraculous cure-alls, but too many of us seem to be willing to swallow whatever "truth" suits our preconceptions when it comes to politics. Buyers, beware. Fiction can't hurt you, and most fake medicines can't either, although they may cost you a pretty penny. But supporting fake political news can cost you even more--your safety, your health care, your social security, and, ultimately, your freedom.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Odd Woman Out

Has Fiorella ever told you about the time she was kicked out of a critique group? It was the first one she'd ever attended, and Fio doomed herself from the start by going into English/Creative Writing teacher mode and getting picky, but she put the cap on it by calling out one of the authors for having her heroine screaming liike a banshee during childbirth, then throwing things at her husband because he was the cause of it all. The author came back at Fio, of course, and yours truly made matters worse by saying that, without screaming or throwing things, she herself had endured six hours of induced labor with the ptosin up as high as it would go, then an emergency c-section sans any kind of anesthesia. And that the baby, her first birth, weighed eleven pounds, seven ounces.

A couple of days later, Fio got a phone call aplogizing for not telling her sooner that the critique group was limited to five people and she had been the sixth.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Final Episode, Final Review

They pulled out all the stops last night on El Color de la Pasion, starting with Marcelo's mother, who had been a real bitch about Lucia, being the one who brought the two lovers back together again. Also, Mario and Magdalena adopted a baby, Daniel and Roderigo received both of their now-single parents' blessings for the baby on the way, Gloria made a play for Roman, Normita caught the bouquet and hugged Narazino a lot, Segio gave Leticia an engagement ring, and Lucia and Marcelo had an elebaorate wedding at a beautiful church, then a lovely honeymoon at the beach.

Fio was especially interested in the wedding ceremony, which involved elements not found in her own plain and simple Lutheran wedding and maybe unknown to non-Mexican Hispanics either: Marcelo poured something that looked like gold coins into Lucia's hands, and the priest draped a kind of silver rope around them. But that's just another reason Fio needs to get DVDs of the show--so she can study all the details.

All in all, El Color was drama at its best. The plot twists were non-stop,the cinematography was outstanding, and casting was perfect--supposed family members actually looked like each other. Oh, and there 's one more twosome that Fio should add to the list--Amador and Vicinio. They both ended up in jail, in the same cell. Happy life, muchachos.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Farewell, My Bedtime Soporific

El Color de la Pasion winds up tonight. The mother-and-daughter female villains have committed suicide, the male villain is in jail, the various sets of lovers seem destined for happy endings, and your Fio has picked up a little more in-context Spanish. By the way, if you decide to try out a telenovela, these are the key words to listen for: amor (love), esposa (wife), esposo (husband), embarazada (pregnant), pistola (pistol, of course), asesinar (kill), You can figure out the rest of the story from the acting and facial expressions. One thing to look out for: THE SLAP. In fact, the Mexican Oscars list it as an award category.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Babies, Spanish, Ethics

Mother was good with babies, but, as she told Fio, she liked children better when they were older and she could teach them things. Fiorella, on the other hand,adores kids at all ages, but especially babies.
Your faithful correspondent is trying to learn a new list of palabras (words) en espanol (in Spanish)--deprimido (depressed), cansado (tired), triste (sad), infeliz (unhappy), desalentado (discouraged), preocupado (worried)--so she can figure out what is going on sobre su telenovela.(on her soap  opera).
Fio's noticed that whenever there are bad people swarming, there are good people who come together in opposition. Fiorella wants to be one of the good people.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


Fiorella remembers when black people weren't allowed to walk through the doors of "nice" stores in downtown Waco--unless they were part of the clean-up crew, of course. She remembers when the president of her church youth group and another girl got on the office phone and, just for kicks, called phone numbers in the black area of town and told whoever answered that he had won a million dollar prize and where to pick it up. She remembers a high school guy she knew telling her how much fun it was to go down to South Waco and pretend he was about to run down old black women because they'd screech and drop whatever they were carrying all over the street.

Don't tell Fio that racism didn't exist before Obama took office.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Another Adventure

Fiorella has been exploring the property again lately. A couple of days ago, she took a break from rocking the north side of the driveway to wander further into a the woods and found a charming dell her yardman had obviously mowed. Further on down, she came across the northside dry creek and lifted some rocks out of it to add to her cart. The whole time she was very cautious because she'd taken a bad fall when she was exploring the southside dry creek last week. It's an area she wasn't familiar with, and she lost her footing, ending up on her back and unable to pull herself, so she had to  scoot a couple of yards on her bottom to the fence line and haul herself up on an iron pole.

Fio likes a challenge, but this one was scary. She lives in rattlesnake country.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

How Fiorella Lives Her Life

Fiorella had a wonderfully social day yesterday lunching with friend Jane Perrine, then driving into Austin to visit with friend Deborah Radel. Politics was the topic of the day and both of her friends were so clever that Fio laughed herself silly. Jane fights the good fight by contacting her representatives and contributing to various liberal causes, while Deborah is looking forward to the next one. Empowerment is addictive.
Fio has started exploring the unknown territories of the five-acre wooded tract that she and Husband live on. Yesterday she discovered a charming dell off the side of the north driveway that Fernando, her yardman, who also likes discovering things, had obviously mowed. She also found the north branch of the dry creek that edges three sides of the property. but she didn't go too far because that area is unfenced and she didn't want to get lost. Again.
The last day for El Color de la Pasion is Monday, March 6, and all its plot threads are rapidly being resolved. Rebeca is homeless, Amador is in jail, the guy who raped Tene is in jail, Nora has committed suicide, Nazario was visited by the spirit of his late wife who tells him to marry Norita (Fio thinks),Rafaela is back with a chastened Milagros, Lucia and Marcelo are engaged (again), and Lucia will be sole owner of the art tile factory, Your Fio plans to buy the whole series and watch it again. It's a great way to learn Spanish, she picks up drama pointers from it that she can use in her books, and watching it before she goes to bed ensures a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Catching You Up on El Color de la Pasion

Fiorella doubled down on el espanol yesterday. Or rather, tripled down. During the afternoon, she posted two pages of verb tenses for ser ("to be") on the wall above her desk. Later, about twenty minutes before El Color de la Pasion came on, she played with Duolingo on her phone. Then she topped the evening off by watching the telenovela. All the prep work was worth it--not that there's anything subtle going on, but Fio caught a few more words and phrases. To bring you up to date, Tia (Aunt) Rebeca, the villainess, has been tossed out of her luxurious casa (home) by sweet Lucia, who turned into a spitfire when she learned that Rebeca, out of jealousy, had shoved her older sister, Lucia's mother, over the balcony when Lucia was a baby. Then Daniela, who is embarazada (pregnant) broke it to Milagros,who had tried to set up an assignation between her and her son Marcelo, that Marcelo was not the father of the child. The hour ended as Brigita, who had put her homeless friend Rebeca up for the night, walked into the guest bedroom to witness her despicable husband, Amador, groping and kissing a struggling Rebeca.

And those were just the highlights.