Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Playing in the Dark

Lazy Fio is posting something she wrote a while back when she still lived in Austin:

Central air is a mixed blessing. The only time my neighbors and I see each other during the long hot summer is when we race from our air-conditioned houses to our air-conditioned cars

It wasn't always that way. When I was a kid, the old wheezing window units were all we had, and often it was cooler to sit outside, especially during the long summer evenings when there was a bit of a breeze. Sometimes my father would unfold two vinyl-webbed lawnchairs in the front yard and, toting their own chairs, the whole neighborhood would begin to drift over--the Hickses, the Paules, the Crims, sometimes the Scarboroughs--and their kids would join my brother and me in our nighttime games.

We ran recklessly about in the mysterious dark, calling taunts back and forth, emboldened by the nearby sound sof our parents' voices, the rumble of adult laughter. Somehow, out games were more exotic in the dark--and more desperate--we knew it was way past our bedtime and we could be called in any minite, whenever the adults' converstation drowsed down and they started packing up their chairs for the night,

Sometimes, I still dream about those magic evenings, when I am running acrosss the dark lawn, stretching my stride until it becomes longer and longer--three feet, six feet, nine feet, ten--and still I stretch, realizing that my foot doesn't ever have to ever again touch the ground, that my magical stride can stretch forever into the dark, sweet, summer night.

Monday, July 30, 2018


Straightening up her office would be a lot easier if, ever since she was in grade school, Fiorella hadn't garabbed a pen and started writing every chance she got.
Fio celebrated Daughter's birthday by hauling a couple of big limbs and some nice kindling up from the dry creek today. And believe me, in this weather, that creek is definitely dry.
Doggie has been whining around for her Daddy, who is still in the hospital. Fio misses him too.
Minnesota Son is looking around for a newish cell phone for Fiorella. Her old one has problems taking photos and moving them onto FaceBook.
Did Fio tell you she's currently revisiting the joy that is Linda Howard?

Sunday, July 29, 2018


The children sit in an iron cage
Day after day after day
While the fat old man rides a cushioned cart
Around the links to play

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Continued Story

Husband is still in the hospital waiting to hear whether or not he'll be going under the knife, and Fio is still at home with Sonia Dog holding down the fort. She's visited Husband every day of course, and while it's a relief to seem him comfortable and recovering, the hospital is a total labyrinth, and Fio has to depend on the kindness of strangers to guide her to Husband's room, and then, when she leaves, to an outside door She has also had a problem finding a parking space, and, afterwards, locating her car again. The nice thing is that the hosipital has trained every one of its employees to spot lost old ladies and help them find their way.
The camera in Fio's cell phone has gone bad again, but she doesn't want to shell out big money for a new one right now because the trip to Ohio is coming up, which is the very reason she needs a new one. Got all that?
Fiorella almost forgot to tell you. She had on her home-made DUMP TRUMP button when she visited the hospital this morning and was surprised--and thrilled by the number of prople who commented and gave her the thumbs up. Maybe there's still hope.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Busy, Busy Day

As she writes this blog, Fiorella is sitting here with a "Help-I've-Fallen-And-I-Can't-Get-Up" amulet around her neck because she is alone in the house. Husband took a bad fall yesterday evening and has blood on the brain, which means he will be in the hospital until it dissipates or he is operated on.

Fio spent most of her morning in the Gtown ER and her afternoon in the Round Rock ER and hospital, then came home this evening to take the weekly trash up to the street, contact the kids, comfort a frantic mastiff, and try to catch up on everything she had planned to do for the day.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Still Pondering Mother and Driving

As Fio was speeding down I-35 at her usual eighty miles as hour, she suddenly wondered what Mother's life would have been like if she had ever learned how to drive. Would she have taken advantage of her mobility to make friends outside of PTA, the neighborhood, and the family church? Would she have been the one who picked up the cleaning and did the supplementary shopping instead of Dad? Would she have spelled Dad at the wheel when we drove up to Ohio and Pennsylvania to visit relatives?

One thing for sure, she wouldn't have had to use the bus to get downtown anymore.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Way the Ol' Ball Bounces

Fiorella, as she's told you, has been going through pounds and pounds of papers in her office, reviewing her life, so to speak. She's found long-forgotten poems and short stories, even the first complete novel she ever wrote, as well as highly complimentary student evaluations and faculty references. She's also found substantiation for that old adage that who you know is more important than what you know. Yes, the dark underside of Fio's life is that she was often pushed aside or overlooked in favor of her prospective employer's cronies. On the other hand, she herself got every one of her jobs except the last one by knowing someone.

But all in all, it's a heckuva way to run a school, a business, or a nation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

music, bullheadedness, writing, Russias, United states, strategy, recoveries

Listening to an orchestra on television, Fio realized that a guitar is like a piano, but sexier.
Fio has always had to discover truths for herself, sometimes to her sorrow.
Throughout her life, Fiorella has done and said things for which, if life were fair, she should have been acknowledged, even feted. But, truth to tell, a spotlight would have made her so self-conscious that she couldn't have operated normally, so she much prefers invisibility.  Except, of course, that she wants her romances to sell BIG.
Fio has just realized that the United States is the target of the same destruction-from-within strategy that Russia has employed so successfully in Syria, but she has no idea how to combat it except to hold her course.
Fio has discovered a lot of stuff she had forgotten about while purging her office of years of accumulations, like the Christmas carols she composed, lo, these many years ago, under the mistaken impression that if she produced good work, it would be valued. Still nothing from junior high yet, but she's still looking.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Fio Reports In

One thing you can count on is that Fiorella will always try to do the right thing, although sometimes it's the wrong thing, and she gets skewered for it, Of course, she often gets skewered for doing the right thing too. That's just how the ol' ball bounces.
A high school reunion--that's when you walk into a room full of old people and wonder who they used to be, which is the same thing they're wondering about you. Fio's going to be attending her reunion in October.
The poundingly nervous music background in shows like NCIS drives Fiorella out of the room. So does John Muir and his voice of imminent doom.
Fast away the old month passes, but Fio's quite pleased with what she's accomplished so far. On the literary front, Sabrina's story is progressing well (at last), Fio is pumping up to finish writing Lolly's story, and has decided to update and publish four other completed romances. She's also reached the half-way point in cleaning out her office. And she's back to hauling in fallen branches and lifitng rocks again.
Did Fio tell you that she's been reading Linda Howard again? Nothing like connecting with an old friend.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Little of This and That

Fio is convinced that, between her art, writing, and compositions, she will be famous and her offspring will be rich....long after she's dead.
Everyone drove over to the family house years ago after father-in-law's funeral. The adults gathered around in the living room, and the kids got together in the back bedroom. To everyone's surprise, Fio's mother joined the kids' group. On reflection, Fio thinks she was over-awed by the in-laws' toney neighborhood and toney house. As you can imagine, Fio didn't get that gene. Remember, she's the one who thought that the royal jewels on display in the Tower of London  looked tawdry.
Fio is beloved of a mosquito. It kissed her on the cheek, then shyly flew away.
Husband, perhpas feeling nostalgic for times gone by, put An American in Paris on the television last night. Twenty minutes later, Fio picked up La Senora de la Computadora and left the room. Too many stereotypical cheeky Americans and charming French children from Central Casting, too much singing, dancing, and blazing Technicolor. The only reason she'd stayed as long as she did was because of the non-stop action, which, as every romance writer knows, is the key to holding your audience's attention.
Target has refurbished its dining area for the worse. It's as barren as a hospital operating room.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Out in the Woods Again

You may see Fiorella as past her prime, but the fire ants see her as prime beef. Filet mignon, to be exact.
Fio was out on the acreage for a while yesterday afternoon, gathering up rocks to shore up the driveway and pulling fallen branches out of the woodsto chainsaw into firewood for the winter--if there is one this year.
Did Fio tell you that one of the boxwoods in the row she and Husband planted two years ago is GONE? She would guess that a hungry deer ate it, not realizing it was deer-resistant. Somewhere on the acreage, there is a deer with a very bad stomach ache.
Did she also tell you that her bayberries are being eaten alive again this year? She sprayed them with the appropriate insecticide, but it may be too late. Damn--she thought they were unkillable.
This is hilarious. At this very moment, Fio is sitting on the couch in the den, supposedly working on her book while Sonia Dog snores on the right side of her and Husband, on his recliner, snores on the left side of her.  And guess who's making the most disturbing racket?

Friday, July 20, 2018

More From Fio's WIP

     As they entered the building, a tall black man came out of the docent’s office, stopped in the middle of the hall to read through the playbill in his hand, then started walking toward the stairs.
     Bram jerked to a stop. “Derek Benson Edgefield, come on over here!”
     The man turned around, a big smile on his face. “Bram, you ol’ dog, you!”
     Sabrina’s watched in wonder as they did an elaborate knuckle and elbow thing that ended in both of them yelling out “Panthers forever!”
     Bram grabbed the man by his upper arm and pushed him forward. “Sabrina, I want you to meet Derek Edgefield, my best friend since high school and the greatest business partner ever.”
     The man laughed, a mellow, melodic sound, and put his arm around Bram’s shoulders. “Better not let Rafe hear you say that or we’ll lose our finance man.”
     Finance man? Business partner? Was this some kind of joke? Sabrina looked at Bram for an explanation
     Bram hurried to explain. “Derek and I are in an investment partnership with Rafe McAllister. He’s our money bags.”
     Derek nodded. “Bram is the brains of the operation. Rafe supplies the money, and I just sit on the sidelines and reap the profit.”
     Bram snorted. “Don’t believe him. Derek’s our wheeler dealer.”
    She could believe it. Derek Edgefield had a beautiful voice. The cadence, the overtones--she could listen to him forever.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Politics, Latin Class, Writing, Asylum Speakers, Sleep

Sarah Sanders may be merely a paid employee, but there are consequences for lying.
Has Fiorella ever told you that she was a Latin star in high school? Got all A's, edited the local mag and the state newspaper, won all sorts of awards. So you can imagine how taken aback she was, when, when, at a class reunion, Elta Ann Owen, who'd been telling someone how she'd corrected her grandson's Latin, turned to Fio and said, "Did you take Latin?"
Fio's decided to go ahead with Lolly's story, come hell or high water. No writer ever got anywhere by playing it safe,
If you really want to know why Mexicans are seeking asylum across the border, watch a few telenovelas. Fio suggests La Piloto and La Doble Vida de Estela Carillo.
It's amazing how much better Fiorella's brain works when when she's had a good night's sleep. Zzzzzz......

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I painted this portrait in the year I started college. My mother didn't like it. 
Okay, I confess, My hair never really looked that good.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Truth and Nothing But

MR. ROGERS: Older Son was mesmerized by him, but Fio thought he was weird--until she saw his puppet opera and realized she too could write an opera, but her opera, of course, would be for the women in her choral group. And she did--The Three Little Pigs, which was performed at a couple of day-care centers and old-age homes. Fio, of course, not only wrote the music and the lyrics, but also made the scenery and the head-pieces. The three houses are long gone, but the porcine ears and tails are are still around here somewhere. Hopefully, the score is too. (PS: Fio played the wolf.)
Dogs exist to love and be loved. Every home should come equipped with one.
Fiorella has been assigned to this world so therefore she is responsible for it. She will do her best.
Undocumented immigrants are probably the safest drivers on the road. They don't want to be stopped and asked for their driver's licenses.
Some guys look just as ridiculous with beards as they did with mohawks. A combination is even worse,

Monday, July 16, 2018

Baby Girl

I painted this picture of Daughter about ten years ago from a photo of her when she was a child. And yes, she really did have that much hair.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Information Round-up

Like most people, Fiorella has several different aspects to her personality. The one she chooses to present on her blog is different from her Facebook persona. The heroines in books she has written only vaguely resembles her, and the Fiorella that her friends know is subtly adjusted to suit each one of them. Don't look at me like that--you do the same.
Fio is still finding gems among the moudering remnants of her lifetime of writing. Maybe she'll try to revive some of them.  Be prepared for a vampire story.
Sabrina's romance is moving along again. It's rough, but the story line is holding together. Pray that Fio isn't in a car accident, her computer doesn't break down, she herself doesn't get sick, her husband and kids stay well, and the stars stay in her corner.
Did Fio ever tell you that she filed a lawsuit against the last college she taught at? She lost, of course, which introduced her to the great fraud of the American justice system. At the time she was devastated, but now realizes it was for the best. Otherwise she would never been able to throw herself into full-time writing.

 Today is Fiorella's birthday. Shhh--no one knows.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Life, Death, and Television

Fiorella tossed twenty-three years worth of attendance charts, grade books, and syllabi into the trash can today. Twenty-three years of her life, but it was time to move on. She's been out of the academic scene for ten years now and needs to clear the shelves to store her books, stories, poems, and essays.
Husband likes to watch television ALL THE TIME, which drives Fio crazy, especially since he usually has the volume turned up, so last night she ran upstairs into her office for respite--only to discover that the TV in the master bedroom was also going full blast. GRRRR!
Fio just learned the her old college roommate, Mary Cornelia Spinks Weil, died in January. Corny became a renowned journalist, but more important to Fio, she was a great roommate, and wherever she's headed now, Fio wishes her well.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fiorella was born an artist, a real artist, in an age which considers crinkled cellophane to be art


When I put my wristwatch on each morning is when I start a-tickin'.
Thank you, God, for a good night's sleep
That washes out the anger of the day
Soothes frustration, heals the hurt
And sweeps the pain of yesterday away
So much is on my back
The world is out of whack
Why is it always up to me
To get it back on track?
So much depends on me and always has.
Forced religion is false religion.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Fiorella wrote this a year ago, and it bears repeating:

I thought that I would never see
A president as dumb as he
Putin's hand in his hand, Putin's ring in his nose--
He shall have riots wherever he goes

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Internationally Famous Fio

Blog pageviews--This is hilarious. I'm convinced that the Rooskies think I'm masking secret instructions to American operatives and the French are using my blog to teach colloquial English.
Italy 314
France 159
Russia 107
United States 100
Germany 11
South Korea 7
Romania 7
United Kingdom 5
Portugal 5
Canada 3

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Blasts From the Past

*Male cats always died on us so we switched to females, three of them, which are now going on ten years. Apparently, they will never die, but from time to time, I could kill them.
I've noticed that when Daughter and her friends get together, they talk about boys. When our boys get together, they talk about cars.
Would you ever guess your fingers can sweat while you're playing the piano?
The catcozy bed had been designed for felines so, of course, ours preferred a cardboard box.
For me, it's hard to choose between fame and money, but right now I'm writing for peanuts under an assumed name.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Why Do I Write?

I found this little essay in one of the piles of papers I am clearing out of my office. It was obviously written soon after my mother's death in 1992.

I am the woman driving erratically down the freeway as she scribbles lines about her mother's death on the backs of checkbook deposit slips. I am the woman dashing into the restroom, ripping down paper towels, and counting iambic pentameter on them with an unsheathed lipstick. And sometimes I stand on a chair in the part-time faculty office, declaiming my latest composition in a loud and resounding voice.

For the past dozen years, I have concentrated on sonnets. I taught the pattern to a literature class once and decided to try it myself, as an alcoholic takes that first drink or a harlot loses her virginity.

I love the contrast of the formal pattern against the intense emotions, a clay-lined basket barely containing its fire. In a sonnet, the form and feeling are in an exciting, escalating competition. It's good sex--and, after all, what worth is a poem if it is not memorable?

I use a personal context for my poems, but strive for a universal meaning. Not for me the idiopathic Plathian psychology, the obscure, gleeful trip to the kitchen to bake my brains with gas. I scream loud and long, in hopes someone will say, "Yes, I hear you, and I know exactly what you mean, and your poem has given me a way to express it."

I write because I am alive, and the dead don't write at all.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Yellow Line of Life

Another one of Fio's country-western songs which she means to score someday.

Been crossin' the yellow line of life
Out of control and fixin' to crash
Hard livin', hard lovin', my darlin', darlin'
Never sure how long I'd last

But give me another chance, my darlin'
I'll put on the brakes and cut my speed
Drive in the slow lane from now on
Because you're the only darlin' I need

I'm sittin' at the red light,
Waitin' for the green light
To sleep on your shoulder tonight

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Disputed WInnings

When Fiorella was in the eighth grade, she placed first on the DAR history test and won a medal, but the situation was fraught. The administrator handing out the awards gave the medal to Bonnie Jackson first, then realized her mistake and called Bonnie back down the aisle of the auditorium to return the medal and give it to yours truly. Bonnie cried all the way down the ramp and Fio felt awful, even trying to give the medal back to Bonnie. Everything worked out okay because the next award, the ninth grade English test medal, went to Bonnie legitimately, but Fiorella could still feel the rancor of the other students. Bonnie was the hometown favorite. Her father, a popular minister, had died recently, and, because her mother had to get a job to support the family, Bonnie had a driver's license at age twelve to drive herself to school. Needless to say, Fio did not receive many congratulations on her way to the next class. After all, she was the girl who stole the history medal from sweet Bonnie Jackson.

Winning the Ready Writing contest when she was in her first year of high school didn't do much for Fiorella's popularity either because it "should have" gone to Darby Ann Boyd, who was a couple of years older than Fio and had come out on top the year before. Addendum--Fio won Ready Writing the next year too, and even placed in state. (She didn't do Ready Writing the third year because the date of it conflicted with the state Junior Classical League convention, and she was the editor of JCL's newspaper.)

Fiorella would like to tell you that somewhere along the line she learned to raise her shields and protect herself against what other people were saying, but she didn't. She's still over-aware and oversensitive.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Morning Prayer

I close my eyes and then I pray
How can I, in my meager way,
Set the world to rights today?
Fiorella is all abour relationships. Her art involves relationships between spaces and colors. Her music composition involves relationships between pitches and time. Her languages craze involves relationships between words and cultures, and her books involve relationships between people and people.

The rule of three
Is calling me
But I have naught else to say

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Making of a Crusader

Yes, your Fiorella is a firebrand, a flame thrower, a hell raiser. Why? Because her mother wasn't.

Mom had a keen sense of right and wrong, and she had no trouble expressing herself--at home when the family was watching television or in the car when we were on our way to church--but never in public. She may have been afraid to speak out, but her daughter wasn't. In fact, Fiorella probably spoke out way too much during her schoolroom days, but through the years, she learned to pick and choose her battles, like right now, when our country needs her. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Evil, Dancing, Attendance

Why do people do vile things like steal all the money out of the savings account of the nation's oldest veteran? Like shoot a random teenager dead at a gas station? Like massacre five journalists in their office? Like imprison young children? Like make fun of someone who is disabled? Fio doesn't understand people like that, never will, and really doesn't want to.
There'll be dancing in the street
When Trump is gone
Dancing on the street
And dancing on the lawn
Dancing at dusk
And dancing at dawn
Glad to see the last
Of Putin's pawn
According to Mother's school attendance records, she was never late nor did she miss a day from first grade through eighth. A worthy record, and she expected the same of Fiorella, who was sent off every day, rain or shine, in sickness or in health--except, of course, for scarlet fever, chickenpox, measles, whooping cough, and a couple of bouts of the flu. Yep, Fio never got those extra points for perfect attendance on her report cards.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bodice-rippers, Begone!

As Fiorella has told you, she has recently discovered several chapters of several unfinished historical romances that she wrote several years ago. What she hasn't told you is that she is aghast at the plots, which were typical of the day--handsome, lusty heroes forcing themselves on virginal young women, and, after a book-long of adventures and back-and-forth, the couple finally deciding they love each other and settling down to live happily ever after.

The underlying premise was that any "good girl" would never have sex willingly--at least, not initially. Then, partially because of birth control options, partially because women were flooding the workplace, everything changed, and relationships and sex scenes in romances became more realistic, A working woman herself,  Fiorella packed away the past and converted to the new school, and now it's time for her to burn her old-school stories, which is why she wrote this obituary. RIP

Monday, July 2, 2018

Monday Morning

The rocks love me and are vying for my attention again. 😊
Going through the foot-high piles of papers in my office, I realized that, by tonnage, I must be the most prolific writer on the face of the planet. 😉
By virtue of participation in creation, we are all a part of each other forever, which means that Leonardo de Vinci still lives because I live. 😃
The abuse of children and abuse of the elderly are talked about as if they are unrelated phenomena, while actually they are both same take-advantage-of-anyone-weaker-than-you-are ethos that some people live by. 😠
Don't look now, but I think Trump's days are limited. 😂

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Gems Among the Ruins

Fiorella has been going through pages she wrote many, many years ago and these are a few of the gems she unearthed:

Sometimes nonsense is the only thing that makes sense.
Children are not production models.
Creativity is a turn of mind that cannot be taught or tested, and, by its very nature, is inimical to the classroom.
I see what I see and say what I say
If you don't like it, go away
Her teaching manifesto: Yes, I want my students to master  the subject matter, to write well, and to develop a love of literature, but I also want them to be better human beings for having been in my classes. They are the means by which I hope to change the world.