Friday, August 31, 2018

Contemplations While Driving I-35

The wind is still, the day it hot, it's hard to breathe, and Fiorella is on the move in short shorts and granny glasses. She enters the freeway at sixty miles an hour and revs up to eighty.  If her mother weren't dead, she would die at the way Fio drives, but all Fio's doing is keeping up with the traffic.
Fiorella loves the conveniemce of I-35 until she misses an exit and loses ten miles worth of precious time. Never mind--she compensated herself with an overload of chocolate when she got home (burp).
Yours truly longs for a self-driving car, but what would she do to amuse herself while her robot driver has all the fun and adventure? Take up knitting?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Stray Thoughts

Daughter has been after Fio to start using mascara and lip liner again, so being an obediant mother, she is complying with her offspring's orders.
Correction: the blue-eyed dominance holds true only for Fio's line of the family. Her cousins are mostly brown-eyed, like their mother.
Why do guys who rig skimmers at gas stations get sent to jail and those who rig elections ride high, wide, and handsome?
Fiorella was creative before it was stylish (when it was just considered weird).
Somewhere up in the universe, John McCain is laughing his ass off as his flag goes up and down, up and down.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Adventure Time

Fio went out on a quick errand to pick up Fix-a-flat for husband's car, amd as she drove down Hwy 29, she noticed there was an unusual build-up of traffic. Then she noticed there was a big white truck that hadn't been able to make the turn blocking the north lane at the intersection of 29 and the I-35 frontage road.

Eventually your faithful correspondent got through to the gas station on the southeast corner of 29 to buy the Fix-a-flat, but then she had to work out a way to get home. Clever girl that she is, she maneuvered out into the traffic going east, the opposite direction from her destination, turned south into a shopping cennter, turned around, drove north under the protection of a traffic light, then drove west into the H-E-B parking lot. From there, she thought she would ease onto the I-35 frontage road, then turn onto Williams Drive, a road which parallels 29, and sail home.

The only problem was that a lot of other people were just as clever as Fiorella. That "quick errand" ended up being an hour-long jigsaw puzzle.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Alone in the Woods

Fiorella was out on the land again today, having a wonderful time pulling rocks out of the ground and throwing them down the bowling-alley lane that she'd hacked out of the tangled woods with her pruners so su piedras would be nearer the entrada de las coches that she, as always, is shoring up so it doesn't wash out when la lluvia comes. There's something invigorating about hard physical work, and there's something inspiring about working in the woods, especially if one is all alone. Fio becomes a child again, a child who wonders about everything, a child who is sure there is a lost civilization under her feet, who talks to the rocks and the trees.

And they talk back. The trees are self-sacrificial, of course, but the rocks can be difficult. Fiorella is glad to report that they've finally gotten over their snit about Fio paying more attention to the gathering of la lena during the cold, hard winter, and are once again presenting themselves to her as candidates for driveway guard duty. They are worthy soldiers, and Fio can ask for no more.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Theories About Nature, Arab Wars, Trump's Core, God, and Self-confidence

Fiorella has spent about an hour outside lately harvesting rocks from the acreage to shore up those brave soldiers already positioned around the driveway. It's heart-warming to see that so many rocks that that weren't ready to be pressed into service last years are volunteering this year. (Side news: mis rocas have come off their ego trip and are willing to be called piedras this year.)
All this 100-degree heat is making Fio understand why the Arab countries are always at war with each other.
Fiorella's theory is that Trump's basest core will stick with him even if he sets the White House on fire. It's like he's their dog, no matter that he's sent a neighbor kid to the hpspital.
Fio isn't going to post this on FB, but she thinks the Catholic church is more susceptible to pedophilia and like abuses because the clergy is considered to be on a higher level than laymen. Wise up, people--everyone is the same in God's eyes.
The secret to getting something done is to believe that you can.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

New Lyrics

Hello, anger, my old friend,
You've energized me once again
And I will scream and write and fight
Because I know that left is right

Saturday, August 25, 2018


Ah, middle school, when Daughter insisted on being let out of the car on a different corner than her brother so no one would know they were acquainted, when girls said they wanted to declare their indivuality, then disappeared into the uniformity of a drill team, when one's mother appearing on the school premesis was an embarrasment beyond enduring.
 Did Fiorella tell you that, as far as she can tell, a dominent blue-eye gene runs in her family? Despite her father and his brother marrying dark-eyed women, all their children--seven total--have blue eyes. Same thing happened when Fio married a man with dark brown eyes. She's got an email out now to check on the third generation of eyes on her uncle's side of the family.
Confession: Fio wanted so much to be able to text her friends and family, but now that she can, she get annoyed by the WHUP sound that signals she has to drop everything to answer a tweet.
Fiorella is very happy about the way Mueller has corraled Manafort and Cohen. Let's see what happens next.

Friday, August 24, 2018

IT, Religious Bigotry, Politics, Book

One up, two downs. Jaime at Verizon got Fiorella fixed up so she can text now, but Gmail has forced an unnerving new format on her, and she can't figure out how to retrieve an icon that accidentally got sucked into another icon.
Fio has never been called a religious bigot before, and it sort of amuses her. When a friend commented on FB about the possibility of Pence being our new president sooner rather than later and said he seemed to be an okay guy, Fio replied by calling him out as a religious nut, an appropriate identification, she thinks, for someone who has informed people that Jesus personally tells him what to say. But another of her friend's FB followers took umbridge and labeled Fior a religious bigot. Fiorella Plum, the little Lutheran girl who placed first in her catechism class and prays for everyone she knows and the whole world every night.
These political times, they are exciting, but Fio gets bored with all the talking heads yakking about what may or may not happen next, so she flees outside or to her office , where she has been able to get an amazing amount of work done lately. That third book may come out after all.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Death and Destruction

When I die, my ghost will haunt all the places I used to live in or set my mark upon, and it will guard and help the occupants therein.
When I die, my whole life--good, bad, and stupid--will belong to the universe and someday will be known to all.
Even if everything I've written is burned in a fire tomorrow, it will still exist somewhere.
Even if I remain powerless, my very existence makes a difference in the world.
Even if I die, I will not die.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018



                             AND MORE TO GO!


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Fio, UT, Book, TV, Trump

Fiorella emptied one of her file drawers yesterday and ended up taking a walk down memory name. She's written so many essays through the years, and there was aso a children's music book she'd designed and illustrated. And then there were the pictures of friends she can no longer identify and of those long gone. 
Give three cheers and one cheer more for the merry, merry writer of your favorite blog. Fio is about two-thirds of the way through the book she's been working on. And she's up to 62000 words!
Okay, Fiorella has to admit she is the possessor of a very nice, framed, University of Texas medallion, but she has no idea when it was awarded. When she was a student or when she taught there?
Husband is downstairs watching Penn and Teller. Fio enjoyed the show the first time she saw it, but that was enough. Magic shows bore her. She's a reality kinda gal.
Fio is hoping against hope that the jury will find Manafort guilty as charged, but she's not holding her breath. Aside from the fact that many people are afraid to vote against people in power, the jury was not sequestered and could easily be influenced by friends, family, and passers-by. Nevertheless, this trial is a drumroll that has DC shaking in its boots.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Phone, Politics, Cricket, Poem, Trump, Omarosa

It's go-in-and-out-the-window with Fiorella's new cell phone. She keeps losing it and finding it again. And then there's that she can't reach Facebook or her email with it--or text. The nice lady at the Verizon store almost had things working right, but whoever is sitting at the central control panel won't believe Fio is who whe says she is. Tell her again about how IT is supposed to make her life easier.
Fiorella never thought she'd hear herself say this, but hooray for Omarosa!
There's a Jiminy Cricket who moves around the bottom floor singing Fio to sleep each night. When and how he got in the house, Fio will never know.
Fio's new poem in her children's crusade:
As Trump and company rest their heads
On silken sheets and golden beds
The children wonder if there will be
Ever a day when they are free
Fiorella has suddenly realized Chase Bank is past due on the $319.05 it owes her, and she's considering a big stink.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Music, Music, Music

Fustrated by have to write and rewrite her musical compositions, Fio at some time started working on a plan for a music typewriter. There must be a market for something like this, but Fiorella can't quite decipher her scribblings.
Did Fiorella ever tell you that at one time she taught music to children, voice to adults, soloed in church and at a few weddings, and directed a women's chorus?
Older son's godmother was Fiorella's voice teacher, Edra Gustafson, whom Fio wrote about in the Austin newspaper.
Fiorella was a soprano and her brother, who also studied with Mrs. Gus, was a tenor. Fio's older son has a very good voice and also plays the piano and guitar. Younger son is a karaoke standout. Daughter sang professionally for a while. Fio is thinking it's in the family. Husbands' and Fio's parents were musical. Husband's mother played the piano and his father played the ukelele. Both of Fiorella's parents had good voices and liked to sing. Her mother usually took a harmony line in the times when the family sang on their front porch in the evening.
Fio would still be singing if she hadn't developed essential tremor in the vocal chords. On the other hand, that would mean she'd be pulled in more directions that she already is.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Fighting the Good Fight

Lest anyone forget, for the last five days, Fiorella has been posting a reminder on FB of the 400 immigrant children still in custody. Each of the reminders is original and splashy.

(1) Okay, people. Have we lost focus on the children? Where are they? What's happening
(2) How long have the children been in jail now? When will they be released? Where will they go?
(3) THE CHILDREN (repeated as many times as allowed on FB)
(4) THE CHILDREN (This time surrounded by sobbing emojis)

 This is the reminder for today:

While politicians bid and buy
And Donald sleeps
The children still in prisons lie
And Jesus weeps

Friday, August 17, 2018


Fiorella found this remembrance among her notes:

I phone my father in his retirement home
Every week at seven o'clock, long distance,
And every time, I ask him how he is
And he asks me how I am

I lie, of course, and say that all is well,
That I'm just fine, that all the kids are too
Glossing over the cancer scare, the finances,
The job uncertainty

Dad's eighty-seven now, and as he admits,
His brain is not as as sharp as once it was
The macular degeneration, the deafness, the years,
Have taken their toll.

I will not add more

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Flying is not for anyone who enjoys creature comfort. The seats are quite narrow and the space between rows has been minimized, as has the center aisle. Fio now understand why private jets are so popular.
Fio put a fair amount of time into her office today, but hasn't written a word in her book. Some days are like that, and today was a real loser
Into the night alone
I walk a lonely road
Just as I've always done
Carrying a heavy load

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Everything in Its Place

BE HAPPY ALONG WITH FIORELLA! She has made another massive step forward arriba en su officina. She had already pretty well tossed what she wanted to get rid of, but that left piles of various sorts around the room, and every time she started diving in again, she had to re-identify everything. The solution was staring her right in the face: the file cabinets, the ones she had bought years ago and had only used half of. Now, please excuse Fio while she makes up some file-case tags.
One whole drawer in the cabinets is labeled with her father's family name. Many, many years ago, when Fio was visiting her Pennsylvania relatives, she gathered a lot of information about that side of her heritage, then tucked it away in the shelves in her office. Well, the wife of one of her cousins is interested in genealogy so Fio is sending her photcopies of her own research. This could be interesting because genealogists have so many more tools available now.
Another drawer will be dedicated to all Fiorella's lost manuscripts, the ones she never finished or that are now out-of-date. She'll also start keeping her WIPs in their own drawers. And then there's her poetry and journalistic endeavers. Organized at last--is it truly possible?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Slow, Dreary Day

Fiorella was tired yesterday. Maybe it was the weather, maybe the political scene, maybe she was depressed, maybe all three plus some.

One bright light in her day was that Husband was finally able to get through to stupid Verizon and get the credit card transfer made, but today she herself has to figure out how to convince Facebook, which will not accept her name, that she is legitimate so that she will be able to post pictures again. Please explain again how the digital world is making our lives easier.

Oh--another good thing was that she was able to immerse herself in Sabrina's story and is now up to 60,000 words.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Excerpt from PASSION

“I should be back about five,” she said, stopping in front of the couch, which seemed to have  become Mik’s office. 
Sigrid struck a pose with her hand on her hip.  Let him see what she’d made of herself—she looked damned good and she knew it. The dark wool Michael Kors mini-skirt set off the simple white silk shirt perfectly, and the short, fitted, rust-colored suede jacket from Peter Jensen provided just the right finishing touch. 
Rechecking one of her gold coin earrings to be sure it was secure, she allowed a slight, sneering smile to cross her face.  “Have fun in Elk River.” 
Mik’s eyebrows went up as he checked her out, which should have reassured her, but actually made her a little nervous. He rubbed his chin for a second, then stood up. 
She tensed as he walked around her like Tim Gunn critiquing a fashion design, but she refused to give ground.
That damn eyebrow of his went up. “Hmmm.  Let’s see—the cleavage would give a saint wet dreams, and those suede boots are an open invitation to kinky sex.  Are you—uh--meeting someone special for lunch?”
Sigrid felt her jaw tighten as she strove for self-control.  It was a wonder she hadn’t ground her teeth down to nubbins of their former selves since she’d brought Mik home.
“Don’t start anything, Mik.  We’re not married anymore.  I have a right to have male friends, and this one happens to be an assistant district attorney.” 

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Apparently Kanye West likes anything that is big, dumb, and shiny.
Fio overdosed on chocolate chip cookies yesterday and paid for it all night.
Corruption is the new normal. 
Has everyone forgotten about the children?
Why does Fio's computer refuse to maintain her document corrections?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Akron Aftermath

Fio dove into the deep end and worked out an acrostic with the names of her paternal cousins, then added in their spouses, and is sending a copy to each one of them as a bread-and-butter gift. She's planning on photcopying old family pictures for her cousin on her mother's side.
Fiorella likes the way Daughter interacted with both sides of the family. Needless to say, she related more to the younger generation than  than to Fio's agemates, but that's as it should be. If the families are to stay togther at all in the future, they have to make solid bonds now.
Everyone takes Fiorella's art for granted, but she thinks it's pure magic and has no idea how it  happens. Some sort of weird collusion of her imagination, hands, and eyes, totally unrestrained by her brain. (Collusion--that word pops up everywhere.)
Fiorella will admit it--she made a complete ass of herself in Akron. But then, she's never been one to do things by halves.
 Oops, Fio almost forgot. She promised to send the genealogy research she did on her own thirty years ago to the Keeper of the Family Tree, one of her cousins-in-law. More stuff to track down--good thing Fio is working on the "office," which contains all things your faithful correspondent didn't know where to put for the last century or two.

Friday, August 10, 2018


Fiorella is finally pulling herself together. The let-down from leaving the fun and jollities in Ohio, the desperation of of almost losing a flight in the airport, the frustration of trying to learn the new cell phone, the exhaustion from everything--they had all worn Fio down. Then there was the sinking back into the patterns at home. After taking Husband to his doctor's appointment, then driving down Round Rock on a fool's errand, then getting caught in a long line-up from a wreck down the highway, then making H-E-B $100 richer, Fio came home and collapsed.

But Husband and Doggie are now upstairs asleep, Fiorella has sorted out the last of her travel detritus (even finding her charge cord and plug-in), and her to-do list is sitting beside her on the couch. Tomorrow is another day

Thursday, August 9, 2018


The way Fio sees it, her fire comes from her mother's family, and her steadfastness comes from her father's family.
Fiorella has no control over anything or anyone, and sometimes she even loses control of herself.
Not until this year has Fio realized how many bad people there are in the world. In fact, they seem to be in the majority.
Is there even one woman on TV who is wearing her real hair color?
Leaving, my dear, is not what I do
Instead, my dear, I stick like glue

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Rocks and Trees Take Care of their Own

As you may have gathered, Fiorella has been a little down since she returned home. The travel itself had some unexpected dramas, she was disheartened at how the neighborhood in which she had spent the first seven years of her life had gone downhill, and while her cousins were wonderful, their hearty health made her aware that she, the matriarch, is aging by the moment. Also, the whole trip made her painfully aware that every minute of the day involves electronics now, an area in which Fiorella is totally inept. Without Daughter along, she would have spent the rest of her life sitting in the Akron airport.

By the time she got home, Fio was dog-tired and her self-confidence down the drain. The next day, she did a lot of lying on the couch. She felt like such a loser--a frail old woman who had to be helped at every turn and was of no use to the world. In late afternoon, after eating a giant choclate bar, she decided to go outside and check the plantings dying from the unusually hot, dry summer. As she surveyed the woods around the north side of the house, a sunny glade invited her to come look it over. Keeping her eyes down to avoid the afternoon glare and and drowsing rattlesnakes, she worked her way through the grasping cedars into the small meadow.

Wow--this place was loaded with good rocks!

You know what happened next. Fiorella picked up several good loads of rocks and tossed them up into a yard to use later. Then as she was about to rejoin humanity, she caught sight of a small dead tree that would make good firewood (lena buena) so she pushed and tugged at it until it broke, then hauled her trophy out to the yard to be moved to the woodpile on her next outdoors expedition.

Fiorella is revived! She may not be able to handle the digital demands of an airport, a hotel, or even her new cell phone, but when it comes to the great outdoors, she is queen of the jungle. Gracias, mis piedras y mi lena!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Glad To Be Home

WHOOPEE! Home again! A full night's sleep! Fio is ready to rock and roll! But first the family picture. Hold on while she uses her magic fingers to transport it in from Facebook.

OOPS--that didn't work. Obviously, Fio has a lot yet to learn about her new Iphone.

ANYWAY, all Fiorella's cousins, both sides of the family, are wonderful and beautiful, just like Fio.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Family Is Everything

Fiorella and Daughter are flying home to Texas today after having a wonderful time on Sunday, first visiting with the paternal side of the family again, then driving over to the Portage Lakes to visit with the maternal relatives, who gave them a two-hour boatride around the lakes and caught them up on everything that's gone on since Fiorella last visited Ohio way back when. Then their host took everyone out to the Rose Villa for dinner, where they met up with Cousin Sheila and her husband.
Daughter and Sydney seemed to hit it off and were exchanging email addresses, which makes Fio happy because she's doing her best to cultivate family relationships.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Translation into Ohio-ese

Fio is in happiness overload and has to take a breather. Yesterday, she and Daughter drove out to her old neighborhood in Ellet, took pictures of her old house--which is now somewhat the worse for the wear--and walked down the street to her old elementary school, which has been replaced by a new schhol. Then they drove over to Cousin Miriam's house and joined in a family picnic, Yes, you've caught on: all family get-togethers involve food.

And tomorrow Fio and Daughter will visit the other side of the family, which means there will be more food. Yes, in Ohio, "love" is spelled F-O-O-D,

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Ohio Happy

Fiorella woke up feeling WONDERFUL today because yesterday was a GREAT day. She made contact with both sides of her family and set up dates and places to meet, she and Daughter drove around and did a little shopping, and in the afternoon, they met up with her father's side of the family, Every dang one of her cousins was in attendance at the reunion, and they all acted glad to see her. In fact, she was the belle of the ball.

Something you must know about her cousins. They are all outrageous and all a lot of fun. They are also good people, and Fio loves them very much.

Fio also loves being in Ohio again--the tall trees, the green grass, the houses built to withstand winter weather, the friendliness (which overwhelmed Daughter), the way her seven-year-old subconsience recognized places. And today she'll meet with her paternal cousins again, annd tomorrow, she'll meet up with her one remaining cousin on her mother's side of the family, who is treating Fio and Daughter to dinner at Rosa Villa, which Fio has vivid memories of from childhood.

Happiness is being in Ohio again.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Back Story

The second day of Fio’s adventure was not that great so she’ll regale you with more of her canned comments:

Fiorella has noticed that her baby brother’s mustache is graying.  One of her friends is planning a facelift. Another one is suddenly a grandmother. Everyone is getting older—except for Fio, of course. (Although she will admit she is pathetically grateful to any young squirt who admits he’s forgotten something.)
How do you know you’re all grown up? Stage 1: Teenager supermarket clerks quit hitting on you. Stage 2: They address you as “ma’am.” Stage 3:They start hitting on your daughter.
Fiorella wants to be cloned so she can do all the things she wishes she had done when she was younger. But she wants to keep the experience she has now—it’s been hard won.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

All about the Weather

Fio and Daughter have been gliding aorund half the aftermoon, and are finally settled, ready for bed. Lift off is about 7:30 tomorrow morning. In the meantime enjoy relics of Fiorella's past: 

When Daughter was born and Fiorella gazed on her milky-white redheaded complexion, she realized that the first word she would have to teach her was sunscreen. At some point those head-to-toe coverings worn by conservative Muslim women began to look practical.
Fio remembers that when her family drove home from visiting relatives Up North, the temperature notched up with every state until we pulled into our own driveway at a bacling 103 degrees. Four nights previously, we had attended a highs chool football game and wrapped ourselves in blankets to ward off the chill.
Another vacation was spent at Disney World. Fio could cope with Florida's soaring temps, but went into shock when she saw the amount of water lying around in ponds, puddles, and ditches. Like a character out of Dune, her first instinct was to make arrangements for its conservation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Planning and Preparing

Fiorella is packing for her trip to Ohio. She has a list and is checking it twice, but knows she'll forget something vital. But one thing she won't forget is La Senora Isadora de la Computadora. You'll be receiving daily updates.
Minnesota son helped her buy a NEW CELL PHONE for the trip and sent it to her overnight, and of course, as she's already mentioned, Daughter will be accompanying her on the trip. To top it off, Bastrop son will be checking on his father daily while Fio is gone. So proud of all three of them.
This will be Fiorella's last trip to Ohio so she'll be taking a lot of pictures. She's especially interested in getting a picture of her daughter sitting on the same glacial rock that Fio has  photo of herself sitting on when she was about seven.