Sunday, April 30, 2017

Baby Girl

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Medical Miracle

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

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


Friday, April 28, 2017

Open Letter to My Son's Incubator

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

Thank you.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pruners, GPS, Girl Scouts

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

All Hail Rocks!

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fio Analyzes Shubert

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

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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Art for Animals' Sake

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

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Post-Easter Post

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 21, 2017


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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hidden Figures

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

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

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

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

What other model did we have?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Credit, Rocks, Piano

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


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

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

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

Waiting for Her Origins

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

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017


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


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Pre-Easter Scribblings

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Updating Fio

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Gestapo Mentality

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Great Medical News!

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

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Do Rocks Have Souls?

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

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

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

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

And he's right.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

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

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bones, Spanish, Trump

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

New Beginnings

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

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fiorella Rides Again

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Photo, Computer, Sonia, Easter, Spanish

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

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Rocks in Her Head

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

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

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

Trump Defined

OMG, it gets worse and worse. Now Trump is threatening China, saying the US will go it alone if China doesn't rein in North Korea, which means the only way the Chinese can respond and save face is to back North Korea and say that if we send troops, they'll send troops. This situation is not only scary, but ridiculous. Doesn't our so-called president remember that he personally owes China a boatload of money?

Then there's the way he's loaded the cabinet with losers. And set his daughter and son-law up as presidential advisers. And threatened lawmakers who voted against his health bill. And hops off to a one of his golf courses every weekend. And denies the Russian connection. And tweets at every bird that flies byhis window. And lies and lies and lies.

No way around it. He's a total ass.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Writing,Spanish, Rocks, Politics, Art

Fiorella is clearing the deck to finish writing Phillipa's story, but she'll admit she's a little gun shy. Every time she got going on it, life interrupted--the auto accident, Husband's hospitalizations, holidays, the taxes, you name it. Please send good energy this way.
Fio is concerned that her tenuous Spanish is slipping because she doesn't have a telenovela to watch anymore. She looks at La Piloto every now and then, but can't figure out why Yolanda prefers the drug lord to the ruggedly handsome DEA agent, and she doesn't like it that people are always shooting at each other. Fio prefers more sophisticated murders, like pushing people off balcones or witholding their aspirators.
Now that Fiorella's wall along the driveway is nearing completion, Fio is spending more time exploring the acreage. She finds good rocks along the way, of course, and stockpiles them in cairns for later pick up.
Don't think Fio has faded from the poitical scene. She's still infuriated by the things that are going on in DC, but there are so many things that she's a little dazed. How can our so-called president get away with all these shenanigans? How can anybody? On the other hand, she's pleased that forces are zeroing in on the Russian angle. As she has been saying, Putin smiles.
The church art thing is drawing nearer and Fiorella is trying to decide what to submit. It's a show-off opportunity really, and Fio doubts if anyone ever buys anything, but she's still thinking of a new a painting, maybe of bluebonnets along a split-cedar fence. Or she might just take a portrait she did of Husband when they were newlyweds. We'll see.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Ones Who Went Ahead

I often think of the dead,
the ones who gave me life--
my parents, grandparents, ancestors
back to the first beginnings.
I think of those who were
my friends and teachers,
of everyone my life entwined--
and I love them all
and feel their  love
surrouding me