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.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Loving the Starbucks Napkins

Aah, the napkins. Fio always grabs a handful of them at Starbucks for the store, the car, and the home.   They're soft but hold together well, which means they're a good place to rest a half-finished cookie, and ideal for patting one's mouth, wiping one's nose, or cleaning up a spill. They're also great for drawing sketches to explain a change to the home landscaping or jotting down notes for blogs like this one.

And they're free.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cast Iron Plants

Brother and his wife donated a big pot of iron plants for Fio to plant in place of the fungus-ridden sages she'd had to hack out, for which she is very grateful, but she didn't realize how hard it would be to separate the individual stems for planting. She tried a screw driver, scissors, a hammer, a shovel, a pick, and, finally, her chain saw. The plant sacrificed several young blades by throwing them into the chain to foul up the saw and save their community as a whole, but Fiorella prevailed and now has enough rooted stems to finish off the west side of the house.

She also understands how that plant got its name.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Yard

 Facebook is, as advertised, really great for connecting with old friends and acquaintances. Of course, Fio always tries to put her best foot forward.  The photos she posts are framed and cropped so no one will know Fio has a pile of mulch in a corner of the yard and the bayberries still aren't hiding the AC units the way she wants them to.
Fio's latest outside endeavor, aside from the driveway edging, is lining the west side of the house with cast iron plants. The flowering sages, which had reigned there for about ten years, caught some kind of fungus infection and Fio had to whack them down to the roots, then ask Fernando, her wonderful yard man, to finish the job. But, alas, Fernando comes just once a month so Fiorella has to do the replanting replacement all on her own. Dig, Fio, dig!

The only drawback to having a driveway lined with rocks is that a riding mower can't get over them gracefully, which is the reason Fio and Husband replaced the rocks with easily-movable four-foot-long landscape timbers at strategic places along the way.  Then Fio realized that although Husband can get his own riding mower through four-foot gaps, Fernando's professional mower needs a five-foot gap. So, yes, that was Fio you saw at Home Depot having eight landscape timbers cut to five-feet plus (just to be sure), lowering the passenger seat of Husband's car as far as possible so the timbers could be loaded, then driving slowly and carefully home and unloading them.  And one of these days,  she promises, she'll get them distributed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Walled Cities

The walls of Jericho aren't tumbling down anywhere near rural Georgetown. Instead, everywhere Fiorella looks, walls are being built around new subdivisons, as if to protect the homeowners from the non-gated savages like Fio that roam the boondocks. Fio thinks the walls are a developer fad that will soon pass, but in the meantime, they're eyesores. And she bets the rancher who lives across Hwy 29 and has a walled city being constructed next to his property is not too thrilled either. Gonna spook the cows.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bang, Bang! You're Dead!

La Piloto is getting boring. Minor characters are being killed off by the dozens as Santamaria and Oscar still chase after Yolanda, who still hasn't realized that Dave is her best choice.  Fio thought the Spanish-language telenovela was building toward a resolution, but maybe not. Besides, the characters talk too little and too fast for Fio's English ear to catch as much as a mucho. They make the Spanish-language news reporters sound like they're drawling.

Fiorella would like to change her allegiance to La Mujer de Vendaval, in which the actors speak at a normal pace, but it doesn't come on till midnight, and Fio has to sleep sometime.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Household

Fiorella is methodical. She lives by systems and lists. Husband is more of a free spirit, which means Fio never knows where the phone is till she hears it ringing. Grrrr!
The east creek bed has yielded some very nice rocks, but its footing is more treacherous than the creek to the south, where the rock tree was, and the overgrowth is scary. Who knows what lurks in Fiorella's back woods?
Has Fio told you that the sages on the west side of the house are being consumed by a fungus? She used her pruners to cut down one of them and ended up with a twenty-minute coughing jag. Allergy? Who knows, but she's planning to use a chainsaw to take the others down with one fell swipe apiece. That is, if Husband can find where he put the charger.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Everyone But Fiorella

Fiorella doesn't understand how people can make  a living out of anything as unproductive as whacking a little ball around a golf course, across a tennis net, or out of a baseball park. Or by attacking another person in a boxing or wrestling ring. Or by tossing a ball into a high basket. But that's entertainment, which Fio, wierdo that she is, considers a wasteful use of time. Time, precious time, which Fio never has enough of.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

TV News

Fiorella is inerested in the route Big Bang Theory is taking with Amy going off to Princeton for two months, which leaves Sheldon behind in California and, according to leaks, prey to the cute redhead who went after him before. But Sheldon and Amy had sex just before she left, which Fio guesses wasn't was just a cute end to the episode. What if Amy turns up pregnant? Can you imagine Sheldon as a prospective father? As a father? As becoming a close pal with Howard as the only two fathers in the group?
La Piloto is obviously working toward its grande finale. Yolanda finally realized Oscar is not her friend when he lured her to a desolate spot and started shooting at her. Also, Colonel Santamaria is on the run because he was revealed to be part of the drug trade. And Zulima, la bruja, walked in on John (whom she had enchanted away from Yolanda) in bed with another woman, which is bad news for John. And Dave the incorruptible turned in his DEA badge and gun when he realized his bosses were part of the drug trade, which means he is now rogue in his persistance to find and protect Yolanda, whether she wants him to or not.
Lucifer is back, thank goodness, and the plot thickens. Fiorella likes the way the story is obviously working toward a resolvement instead being episode after episode of crime-solving, which was never that strong a feature anyway. Maybe Lucifer is ushering in the era of of English-language telenovelas.

Claiming Her Canine Rights

When Sonia dog realized we were preparing to go out yesterday, she slipped past Husband, padded around the car to "her" door, the one Fio always opens so she can hop up onto the back-seat hammock, sat down, and waited expectantly for Fio to open said door. This is a new trick on her part, but not suprising. Sonia is a dog who looks and learns. But Fiorella isn't dumb either. Hauling a 120-lb dog who's posed like the Great Sphinx of Giza back into the house is impossible, but luring her in with a spoonful of peanut butter took only a minute or two.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Overwhelmed by the Latter

There are things Fiorella wants to do and things she needs to do, and the latter always takes precedence. Somehow, she thought it would be different as an adult. Who knew she would be working on the yard instead of taking Spanish lessons? Taking care of the house instead of painting portraits? Figuring out family finances instead of writing poetry? Dealing with various repairs and construction instead of lolling in a hammock? Handling family crises rather than writing books?

Is there no relief?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What's on Fio's MInd

The signs that say to keep your eyes on the road, the ones that you have to take your eyes off the road to read...
Click Computer is talking about shutting down operations in Georgetown. Fiorella doesn't like changes and she doesn't like the idea of losing her guys. She wants Travis, Patrick, and Charles to stay around forever--with occasional drop-bys by shop owner Rob, of course.
What is it with Trump supporters? Like lemmings, they'd follow him off the edge of a cliff, cursing at the rest of us all the way down.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Personal News

The only reason Fiorella switched to Gmail is that Microsoft quit supporting Windows Live Mail, and she's been in trouble ever since. Windows was so beautifully intuitive, and Gmail doesn't make any sense at all.  Far too often, Fio ends up scurrying to Click Computer Repair or friend Patricia to untangle the electronic webs she's woven trying to figure things out for herself. GRRRRR!
Fio is now officially addicted to La Piloto, another telenovela. El Color, which she still wants to find a DVD set of, was a romance pure and simple, but La Piloto is a fast-moving action movie. Everyone carries guns, even Yolanda, the heroine, who, yes, is in the drug trade, although ultimately, she's going to end up in the loving arms of Dave Mejia, the stalwart, uncorruptible DEA agent. Right now she's engaged in escaping from the arms of Colonel Santamaria, who is chasing down drug dealers, including her former boyfriend, John Lucio, who's fallen under the influence of Zulima, a  practicing bruja, cigars and all.
Fio finished laying the last rocks in the north driveway yesterday. Now to check out the south driveway to see what needs to be shored up. A rocker's work is never done.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Trump, the Performer

Trump has reinvigorated comedy, from stand-up to TV to newspapers, and it's not just the newapaper columnists and the editorial cartoonists who've been inspired. The comics pages have also gotten into the act--strips like Candorville, Mallard Filmore, Non Sequitur, Wizard of Id and, of course, Doonesbury.  It's hard to resist such good material.
Trump is determined to put his brand--his name--on everything, espacially a big, flashy, neon-lit wall. Ah, Ozymandias, nothing lasts forever, which is a reference our so-called president lacks the educational background to understand. By the way, his latest "alternative fact" is that the Civil War was senseless, that no one knows why it was fought.
His basest base still gives him high approval ratings, mainly, Fio thinks, because none of us like to admit we were wrong. And then there's the circus element. It's so much fun under the Big Top.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Relax, Bugs Bunny

Falling under Firorella's poetic influence, friend Patricia, who lives on a ranch, has composed the following epigram:

Oh, for the terrified rabbit
Who runs from me while I mow--
Your beheading is not my intention
I just want my grass cut down low

Perfect rhyme, perfect iambic trimeter, funny as hell.