Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Memories

When the loud, scary visitors of the night rang the doorbell, pre-school Fiorella hid her head under a pillow on the front-room couch despite her parents trying to tell her that wicked witch was her beloved babysitter in disguise. Later, as a kindergartner, she was wary of the costumed kids walking to school on her side of the street. However, by by the time she was a first-grader, she was less fearful, maybe because her mother had thrown a Halloween party for her and her friends in the basement. The next year, Fio went out with a group of kids in her gypsy majorette outfit complete with baton and house shoes with their tops upturned to look like marching boots. What she remembers most was going up on the porch of a house just off Stetler Avenue and discovering a bushel basket of apples on the porch swing with a note beside it asking Halloween beggars to please take just one, which each of Fio's crew solemnly did before walking on to the next house.

Fiorella has probably told you this story before, and she probably will again. It's one of those thinga that's emblazoned on her memory forever.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween Preps and More

Hah! The eagle eye of Fiorella struck again! Walgreen's had an extra box of Russell Stover marshmallow and chocolate Halloween candy tucked away behind some boxes of several other versions on a high shelf that Fio had to go up on her tippy-toes to reach. Nothing to do but dislodge the box, catch it, and carry it triumphantly to the register.
Today Fio will carve Bruno, her pumpkin of choice and will post a picture of him as soon as she finishes up--hopefully.
Yesterday, Fiorella spent half an hour in the Verizon store with a nice young man named Cameron who did his best to teach her how to post pics to her blog. Three pages of scribbled-down notes should do the trick--hopefully.
Sometimes Fio feels like she's spent half her life pushing a grocery cart around a supermarket.
Fiorella's still shopping for winter-hardy, deer-resisitant plants for the urns in front of the house. She's visited Home Depot twice, but the store is so under-staffed in the garden area that she can't lasso anyone to help her. No choice but to check out McIntyre's, the local independent garden $tore.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Political Sabotage

Fiorella's Beto sign, the one she had half-killed herself making stand up in the rocky soil along the road, has been stolen, and Fio is very angry--she would never steal someone else's campaign sign so why should someone steal hers?

Husband drove her all around the neighborhood to see if she could spot the sign lying on the ground or a house that had a Cruz sign posted, but her sign was nowhere to be seen and the one Cruz sign she saw was several blocks away and half-hidden by brush. Thus Fio's only choice was to head down to Beto headquarters and buy a new sign ($5), but  she hesitates to stick in in the ground without proper protection, which she has yet to devise. Suggestions are welcome.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Dog, Politics, Children, Meds, Mirror

Donde esta mi lista? Fiorella asks, knowing full well that, with unerring aim, Sonia Dog has plopped a substantial haunch down on it, maybe with the newspaper under her other haunch. Por que? Fio no sabe.
The attitude of Trump and tribe seems to to be "I've got mine, but I want yours too."
One thing Fiorella and Husband did right was bring up kids who love little children. Daughter and Older Son are adoring uncle and aunt to Younger Son's toddler.
It's turns out that the veterinarian gave Husband the same ointment for Sonia Dog's eyes that the ophthamalagist gave Fio for hers. As far as Fiorella can tell, it's basically Neosporin, but costs a lot  more.
Speaking of ointments, Fiorella leaned too close to the bathroom mirror this morning and discovered that her face looks like a well-traveled road map. Maybe she'd better dig that Sephora stuff out of the waste basket and give it a try.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Yes, Fio's at It Again

Older Son had lottery fever, but you won't catch Fio spending a dollar on a ticket unless she could sell it for two dollars.
Sometimes Fio clicks and sometimes she clunks, but, all in all, she's as strange and wonderful as she's been her whole life. Agreed?
Why are people out buying decorations and geegaws when they could stay home, save money, and enjoy making cuter things themselves? You've seen pics of Fiorella's Christmas, Easter, and Halloween decorations through the years. Cheap and clever is her motto.
Maybe there's hope. This morning, Fio, as usual, pinned her (home-made, of course) DUMP TRUMP button on her UT t-shirt and drove down to H-E-B to pick up some groceries. An older woman approached her, said she liked Fio's button, and asked to shake her hand. Turns out The woman was very concerned about McConnell cutting Medicare. Honey, we all are.
All it takes to make holiday decorations is construction paper, Scotch tape, Elmer's glue, a pair of regular scissors, a pair of fingernail scissors with curved edges, a pair of fingernail scissors with straight edges, and a good eye. Fiorella has also been known to consult the Internet for information, such as exactly what a bat looks like in flight.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Different Angle

The memory of a long-ago wedding came into Fio's mind last week when she was driving around in Waco, where the event took place. The venue was large and the attendence did it justice, but Fiorella , seated with her mother in the back, was surprised to see several black people being ushered down a far aisle. Their inclusion made her feel warm inside--until she realized they were all being seated together in an area separated from the rest of the guests. All those pretty dresses and elegant hats, and they were diminished by segregation.

The inage has anguished Fio's brain for years, but suddenly, she looked at the situation from a different angle. In early Martin Luther King days, it was a bold statement for that family to invite the father's black workmates to his daughter's wedding, and the seating was probably a well-planned arrangement to protect their special guests and, at the same time, provide them with good seats down front.

It was the best that could be done in that day and time--and damn gutsy too.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Slice of Life

How ingenious is Fiorella, you ask? Well, ingenious enough that she healed Husband's beloved recliner by laying strip after strip of black duct tape on its peeling seat, back, and arms--and it looks surpisingly good.
Fio had lunch with Kaye Northcott at Threadgill's again. Umm...chocolate ice-box pie and good company to boot. Who could ask for anything more?
Note that Fiorella has mellowed down a lot now that the hot water system has been working for two days running. No more filling the tub, dipping a toe in the water, and discovering one is all undressed with nowhere to go.
When the political times get to be too much for her, Fio flees to fluff stories about Meghan Markle. Nothing like a fairy tale come true.
Trump's only use for women is decoration, recreation, and procreation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Tidbit from Fio's Minnesota Story

Half an hour later, she was ready to head out the door. 
“I should be back about five,” Sigrid announcedd, stopping in front of the couch, which seemed to have become Mik’s office, to strike 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. 
Sigrid 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.” 
Let him chew on that.
He grinned and counted on his fingers.  “Let’s see, there’s Mr. Armani, and there’s an assistant district attorney . . . .”  He stared at his erect fingers, then gave her a knowing look.  “A male harem, babe, or just a mΓ©nage a trois?”
Somehow, she managed to keep her voice down to a well-modulated snarl.  “Just remember, Mik, I can still kick your ass out of here.”
His hand fell and his face became deadly serious.  “Not unless you want to lose the story.  Not unless you want to find yourself portrayed as a very unpleasant, very identifiable character in my next novel.”
Too furious to reply, she grabbed her purse and headed toward the door, all the time wondering if women could actually be convicted for killing ex-husbands.  Surely not.  Any decent judge would consider it to be merely a moment of temporary sanity.
Mik followed her into the foyer with one last gibe.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

From the Earth-shaking to the Mundane

Fiorella has a theory about the death-by-dismemberment thing. The thinks Prince Mohammed bin Salman, so handsome and charming, actually WANTED the grisly details of Khashoggi's death to get out as a warning to journalists, dissidents, and potential enemies.
Fio also thinks Trump would like to do the same thing here, starting with Diane Feinstein.
Apparently, most of the immigrants heading toward Mexico and the US are from Honduras. We need to find out what the situation is there--famine, poor government, whatever it is that is driving them to leave their homeland for an unknown future. And the US needs stay aware of what's going on in the countries to the south of us and maybe stick a hand in every now and then. These countries have the resources to support their populace if they want to.
Having older son on the scene has helped Fiorella a lot in her dealings with the world of electronics, but he doesn't know how to post a pic on a blo. Maybe younger son, who's visitng later today will know. Or his wife will know. Or his sister, who's also coming a long. Or his toddler, who looks absolutely brilliant to me.

Fio had a great time this afternoon prowling the east woods for dead branches the storms had knocked onto the ground. She's gathered three piles already, and she really hasn't gone that far back on the property. Yes, lugging branches to the woodpilein front of the house is Fiorella's idea of fun.
It looks like the hot water situation is finally solved. Pray for Fio's heating systerm.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Downer, Downer, Downer, Upper, Downer

Hi, ho, Fiorella is without hot water for the fourth time. This is getting old.
There's nothing like an electronically-knowledgeable son visiting to make Fio feel dumb as a post. He's really great about helping out, but Fiorealla is embarrassed at how stupid she is.
You may have noticed that Fio has not been talking about her WIP lately. She's having problems with her computadora again. Same old thing--la senora Isadora doesn't want to accept Fiorella's revisions.
Sonia Dog turned seven yesterday and we took her to the DQ drive-thru for a puppy cup, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Mom, Dad, and Brother also enjoyed their treats, which were considerably more substantial.
With the cold winds blowing, the caladiums in front of the porch aren't going to last much longer, and Fio and Husband need to drive over to Home Depot and pick up some winter-hardy specimens, Actually, if this year's winter is anything like last year's, nothing will last..

Sunday, October 21, 2018

From Start to Finish

Fio dropped $42 on a magical wrinkle-erasing ointment at Sephora, then tossed it back in her suitcase when she arrived in Waco. It was dreary outside and the meeting place was poorly lit, which meant no one could see her anyway.
For the third time in a month, Fiorella had the thrilling experience of stepping into what she thought would be a nice, hot bath, but it wasn't. The heating system had failed her once again. More to follow.
After a couple of heartbreakers, Fio finally realized that ingenuity, talent, originality, and good taste never win when up against splash and flashing lights.
Trump holds rallies so he can bask in the roar of the crowd. He sucks it up like a baby drinking milk.
Fio avoids movies and TV shows that are loaded with loud, dramatic music. She doesn't like being told how she should respond.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Rings, Son, $$$, Khashoggi, Driving

Happy ending--Fiorella found the missing rings. She'd bound them together with a twisty from her bread loaf and hidden them in a little pocket in her purse. Whew!
Now that she's back home, Fio's finding it difficult to settle into her usual routine (organize yourself, Fiorella!), but Son is making it easier. He's good company,  an electronic genius, and has fixed everything in sight. Cross your fingers--Fio is hoping he can also show her how to post pics on her blog.
Fio just got the credit card bill for the month, the bill that includes the charge for the new heating system, and the only reason she's not collapsing from a heart attack is that she keeps reminding herself that she can take the full amount off her income tax.
The minute she heard there was a bone saw involved, the macabre mind of Fiorella knew what had happened to Khashoggi and the order in which it had been done--fingers one-by-one, arms, legs, head. But what caught her by surprise was that the killers had headphones on and were listenng to music the entire time.
Every time an impatient driver honks at Fio when she's indecisive, she wishes she had a rear-facing horn to honk back.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Home Again

That high school reunion stirred up a lot of old memories that gave Fio ideas for stories. But first she has to--sigh--get her computer repaired again. This is getting tiresome.
Husband doesn't know it yet, but Fiorella can't find four rings she took with her to Waco. For the ride home, she took them off and put them somewhere they'd be safe because they're all a little too big for her and would have made the 100-mile drive back to Georgetown uncomfortable as they rotated on her fingers. Wish her luck.
The stop at the cemetery to put flowers in the vase on her parents' graves went much better than Fio had anticipated, even though the weather was not the greatest. For the first time ever, Fiorella, crying as she walked along the rows, located their plot within ten minutes--it's the fifth one from the praying hands. She arranged the red and pink flowers the way she thought her mother would like them, then cried some more. They gave her so much, and she gave them so little.
Once Fio got home, it took her several hours to unpack and put away, bt she still has a few things on the stairs that she'll take up when she goes to bed. Maybe she'll find the rings then. Hoping, hoping.
Son came down from Minnesota to stay with his father while Fiorella was in Waco, and he'll stay longer just to visit. Fio was thrilled to see that while she was gone, he'd fixed the blinds in the front room so she can display her bat mural better. With his help, she may even be able to post a picture of it for you.

Thursday Report

Fiorella is writing this blog while enjoying the comfort of her warm, luxurious bed in the Waco Hilton, which has been a top-notch host. The high-school reunion was interesting, and Fio is coming away with several ideas for stories about a high achool reunion.
One of Fiorella's highlights was losing her Baby Car. She walked up and down the street, using her panic button to check out parking areas, but to no avail. but when a Hilton guy tried it, Baby Car reponded. Yes, he pushed her buttons.
Fio also lost her hotel--yes, she's that talented--but it was all for the best because her attempt to relocate herself took her out to north Waco, where she grew up, and recognizing landmarks not only warmed her heart, but set her on the right track to find her lodging again.
Fio did a lot of walking, of course. partly because she was lost and partly because she likes to walk, but one of her walks was more than she had bargained for. Luckily, Heather, a young, pretty blonde in a cute car, stopped and offerded her a ride. Fiorella also thanks Gayla Miller Webb for rescuing her a couple of times and making sure she was okay.
And now it's time for Fiorella to pack up and go home, making a side trip along the way to visit her parents' graves in Waco Memorial Park to put Hobby Lobby flowers in their vase. πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Rafe and Moira (Where the Heart Leads)

This is one of my favorite scenes from my second published book. Rafe invited Moira, the new director for the theater guild, to a honky tonk and has taken her out on the dance floor. 

Three dances later, Rafe was holding Moira tight against him from shoulder to knee, and it felt good.  He leaned down to nuzzle her neck.  She smelled good too, and he liked the feathery softness of her short-cropped hair brushing against his lips.  In fact, everything about her was just right.   Maybe he could take her home with him tonight—Delilah was staying with his mother and wouldn’t be back till Sunday—but it was too soon.  Besides, he was sorta her boss, and he didn’t want her to think the job came with strings.   He’d better clear that up on the way back to town.
In fact, now would be a good time to leave, while he was more glow than flames.  He made a production out of looking at his watch.
“Time to call it a day.  Your sister said y’all were plannin’ a big mornin’, and I have to get up early to take care of castrating our new calves.  Shit—he didn’t need to say that.  But raising cattle was an earthy business, and he was feeling pretty damn earthy right about now.
Moira opened her eyes and moved out of his arms, then gave him that soft, fuzzy look women get when you’ve just awakened them.  Screw being Mr. Nice Guy—he wanted her now!
No, Rafe.  Play fair. 
He took a deep breath and caught up with Moira as she collected her purse and sweater, then picked up his hat walked her to the door.  A nighttime breeze rattled through the live oaks, and she pulled the sweater around herself like a shawl.  No need for that—he put an arm under around her shoulders and warmed her against him.  God, he was so hot, she should have felt branded.  Not that he hadn’t already branded her as his in another way—by tomorrow morning, everyone in Bosque Bend would know she’d been slow dancing with him at Good Times.   
She circled an arm around his neck and rested her sweet breasts against his chest when he lifted her up to the passenger seat.  Easy, Rafe.  Inside the cab and all belted up, she leaned back and closed her eyes.  Poor baby. She must be exhausted—within twenty-four hours, she’d moved into a new house, met her employers, been yanked out to a honky-tonk by a guy she hardly knew, and slow-danced against him like she meant it.  He tried to avoid the major bumps and jolts as he drove onto the road so as not to awaken her. 
His eyes narrowed.  It didn’t matter how tired she was—he had to set a few things straight before he got her back to the house.  Dropping his speed, he pulled off the highway into the entrance of a BUY ONE-GET-FIVE-FREE fireworks stand.  A protective steel wire with flags hanging from it blocked access to the white-painted stall itself, but left enough room in the clearing to accommodate the truck. 
Moira’s eyes snapped open as the ruck jerked to a stop and she glanced out the side window at the lonely darkness, then backed as far away from him as the seatbelt would allow.  .  “What are you doing?  Why are you parking here?”    
 He tried to sound as non-threatening as possible.  “Just wanted to talk, Moira.  Thought it was a good place to sort out a couple of things in private without Mrs. Fuller countin’ the minutes we parked in front of the house before you went in.”
Her hand moved to the door handle, and he could almost see her brain churning out possible escape routes.  “I don’t like being locked in.”
He flipped open the latch and leaned back.  
Pretty good bet she wouldn’t hop out into a cedar forest in the middle of the night. 
“First of all, I want to say thanks for going with me to Good Times, and, second, I’d sure appreciate it if you and your sister would consider coming out to the ranch Sunday afternoon.”  He gave her a lopsided smile.  “The only way I could get Delilah to stay with Sissy this mornin’ was to promise her the pretty lady would visit us this weekend so I figure two pretty ladies would make her even happier. 
Moira’s shoulders relaxed a little. “I don’t see a problem with that, but I get the feeling the other shoe is about to drop.”
He ran his hand through his hair.  How could he say what he wanted to say without her becoming one with the truck door again?  
“Okay, here goes--number three.”  He took a deep breath.  You know I’m attracted to you—I made that pretty clear in the museum this mornin’ and while we were dancin’ at Happy Times.’  He risked a joke.  “FYI, that wasn’t a nightstick pressin’ against your belly.”     He glanced at his wedding ring, then looked at Moira.  “I’m committed to Beth in eternity, but down here on earth, I think we’d be good together.”
She was glued to the door again.  
Damn it to hell, he’d blown it.  
“For God’s sake, stop looking at me like I’m goin’ to have my wicked way with you!  Yes, I want you in my bed!  Yes, I’d like to roll you under me right now, but what I’m tryin’ to say is that whatever relationship we have is up to you!”  He ran his hand through his hair again. 
Crap, she’d grown up in Sodom and Gomorrah.  She’d probably had twice the number of lovers he had. 
“And the fourth thing I wanna make clear is that whatever you decide won’t affect your job!  You have an iron-clad contract, and I’m not in it!”
He shoved the truck into gear and floored the accelerator.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Princess of Bosque Bend...Again

This is the original opening scene of my first published novel, which I called Princess of Bosque Bend and my publisher renamed What the heart Wants.  

Laurel held the long rope of pearls up to the light shining in her bedroom window and wondered how much she could get for it at her favorite out-of-town pawnshop.  Maybe enough to pay the bills for the next couple of months, if she was lucky.
The doorbell chimed from downstairs. 
Who was it?  Prince Charming magically appearing to rescue her from Bosque Bend?
Her shoulders slumped.  She didn’t believe in happy endings any more.  Dropping the glowing beads back into their padded box, she stood up from her dressing table. 
More likely the paper boy come collecting, though it didn’t seem time for him yet.  Obnoxious twerp—always peering behind her into the hall as she handed him the money, then running as if all the demons in hell were after him. 
Immediately her overactive conscience charged into action.  Of course, the paperboy was afraid.  Who could blame him?  The house was probably notorious by now.
If only she could mail in her payment, like when she used to take the Dallas Morning News, but this was Bosque Bend, barely fifteen thousand strong, and old ways died hard.  Mr. Sawyer, the game old codger who put out the Bosque Bend Retriever, the town’s bi-weekly newspaper, had never met an innovation he didn’t dislike.
    She walked out into the hall and started down the wide stairway.  Think positive, Laurel Elizabeth.  Maybe the person at the door was a prospective buyer the realtor had sent over, but, darn, someone should have phoned her first so she could’ve changed out of her slacks into a nice dress.
     Good grief, she was channeling Mama!  And even Mama had finally accepted women wearing slacks.    
The doorbell pealed a second time, as if urging her to hurry, but Laurel refused to alter her pace.  She might not have anything else left, but she did have her dignity.  Three generations of family portraits on the staircase wall watched in solemn approval as she regally descended the steps.  As a child, she used to cringe from their see-all stares, but now she drew strength from them.  They were her heritage.  She might have to sell the house out from under them, but she wouldn’t disgrace them like her parents had. 
Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders before opening the big wooden door a few inches and peering around it.  With what she’d been through the past two years, caution was the name of the game.  
The man on the other side of the screen was tall and intimidating, a giant figure darkly silhouetted against the red blaze of the summer sunset.  Definitely not Prince Charming--more like The Hulk. 
Laurel glanced down to be sure the screen door was still latched.  Everyone knew she was living here alone now. 
"Laurel?  Laurel Harlow?"
           She pushed the wooden door open wider and the hulk moved forward to examine her through the wire mesh.  Confused, she retreated a step.  The voice was familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it.
     He smiled, a slight baring of his teeth, and took off his sunglasses.
"It's Jase Redlander, from old Bosque Bend High." 
Her heart skipped a beat. Jase Redlander!  Of course.  His voice was deeper now, his shoulders broader, and he seemed even taller, but it was definitely Jase. 
Jase, whom she’d loved to distraction.  Jase whom she’d thought she’d never see again.  Jase, who sixteen years ago had been run out of town for having sex with his English teacher.
"Sorry to bother you, but I just drove in from Dallas and I’ve got sort of a--well, a family emergency that I think might end up on your doorstep."  He glanced behind himself at the noisy traffic moving up and down Austin Avenue and grimaced.  "Could we talk inside?"

Sunday, October 14, 2018


I took a quick glance at the pumpkin outside of H-E-B today when I stopped by the store for extras and was bothered by their unnatural perfection—l suspect cloning. Then I caught sight of a squat felllow with a misshapen brow and a strong stem half-way down his forehead, so I grabbed him in my motherly arms and gave him a place of honor in my cart. I don’t usually buy pumpkins this early in the season, but I couldn’t let Bruno get away.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

More Than You Want to Know

Fio lives in fear of forgetting something importent so she tries to write everything down, which means her lista amarilla is about two inches thick with notes, which means, yes, that she often loses or forgets thing.  Now you've been warned.
Fiorella also lives in frustration because there's really nothing she can do to save the nation except post her anger on FB. And talk about anger, she is seething at the reports of efforts to make it difficult or impossible for black or Native Americans to vote. Hmmm... maybe she should get herself one of those AK-15 things.
Trick-or-treat time approacheth so your Fio braved the crowds in the Halloween aisles of Target and bought about sixty dollars worth of candy, including the big bags of Hershey kisses whe gives to her guys at Mazda and at Click Computer Repair every year. Looking around, she was a troubled by all the costumes for sale. Sure they were cute, but they all looked alike. Where was the individual? Fiorella remembers the gypsy majorette costume she and her mother put together when Fio was in the first grade. The skirt and bolero were stock from God only knows where, but her mother fashioned earrings out of canning rings and tied a scarf around Fio's head while Fio turned the tops of her house slippers up so they looked like boots and, of course, carried her baton.
 How desperate is Fio to write down her every thought?  So desperate that, as she was going through the H-E-B checkout line, she smiled disarmingly at the clerk and grabbed one of the advertisements for part-time workers ($12/hr). The second she was out of sight, she jotted down notes on the purloined page for an essay on homemade Halloween costumes. Yes, people, there's more to come.
Fiorella's planning to use the Maps app for everywhere she goes, starting today, so that she'll be comfortable with it when she drives to Waco on Tuesday for that high school reunion. Wish her well. Electronics are not her strong suit. Neither are reunions.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Fiorella and Kanye

What separates Fiorella from most other people is that she's not in the least bit interested in being anybody else. Not a movie star, not a celebrity, not a man, not taller or slimmer. Okay, she wdn't mind being younger, smarter, and having more money, though.
Something else about Fio--competition is not her game. She thinks sports competition is a waste of time, energy, and money, that competing with other people in any way always ends badly, and that flashy contests are rigged. The only person she competes with is herself.
Kanye West made a fool out of himself and an even bigger fool of Trump, who usually does a pretty good job on his own. Do either of them think this performance would win over black votes?
Fiorella has put a lot of time and energy into her Halloween decoration this year. A small plastic skeleton hangs from the mailbox, and orange Tide containers decorated as jack-o'-lanterns sit at the top of the driveway. Inside the house, Fio has swirled paper bats up from a paper pumpkin and across the front windows up toward the next window, where they change into miniature witches as they reach the orange moon in the far corner. She'll try to post a picture of the mural once it is finished.
Q: Fio, you've been through a lot lately. How do you survive it?
A: Well, I'm not quiet about it and may throw a screaming fit, which helps. But I also remember when I was sick as a dog in elementary school, and my parents left me home alone because it was Saturday and they had to go buy groceries. Soon after they left, I knew I had to vomit. The bathroom was fairly close, but I was too weak to walk so I squirmed out of bed, crawled on my belly down the hall, threw up in the toilet, flushed it, and crawled back into bed. When I told my mother what had happened, I expected her to apologize for not being there and maybe even make a little fuss over me, but she just nodded as if she hadn't heard me. I resented her lack of reaction for years, but finally realized it had made me a stronger person, taught me that I could handle any situation on my own if I put my mind to it. To prove it, look how I was able to deal with the loss of the heating system, Husband's hospital and rehab stays, and other things I won't tell you about.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Truths and Confessions

Husband watches a Dr. Who marathon while Fiorella is up una escalera fixing the cord that turns the ceiling fan on and off.  Yes, Fio is now the muscle in the family.
It isn't just the immigrants who are under seige. Hitler Trump is closing in on all of us.
Melania--why do I get the idea that her African jaunt is more a photo-op of her latest wardrobe than anything else?
Yes, Fiorella writes incendiary posts. Why? Because she has a talent for it, it keeps her stoked, and  it keeps her readers fired up. Fight the good fight!
Fio alway lives on the edge, trying to please everyone and still be true to herself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Sexual Assaults

Speaking of sexual assaults, nerdy Fiorella always felt comfortable with her high school and college dates, but after she was married, she had three minor incidents involving older males plus one almost-major incident involving a glassy-eyed guy her own age who--thank-you, God--was afraid of dogs.

But Fio's relative security does not mean she's unsympathetc to or complacent about the assaults on other women, not just because of they are females, but because they are human. In Fio's preferred world, people do not hurt each other in any way.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018


Fiorella is a caged lion, and she doesn't like it. Ther land line is down through at least Wednesday, which means she can't call the septic people to ask about the immovable cap, the window blinds shop to come fix a shade that won't go down, Mazda to see if they think Baby Car can make it to Fio's high school reunion, the woman who has Husband's grass lease in Colorado but hasn's sent the check, or her children to see how they're doing. She can sorta text her daughter, but that doesn't help any of the above.

Her next step is to drive over to Verizon and ask one of their ladies how to use the telephone on her iPhone. Also how to move her pictures onto FB. But first, she has to pick up groceries as H-E-B, get Shredded Wheat and a new water bottle at Target, buy a boxwood to replace the one the deer ate, check on zoysia fertilizer, and stop by the optomatrist to get the lenses secured AGAIN.

Put all this on top of Kavanaugh (GRRR!)and not being able to solve two of the anagrams in the newspaper this morning, and you have a Fiorella who's roaring. snarling, and looking for a good fight.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Ups and Down, Downs, Downs

The land lines are out and Frontier won't be able to fix them till the 10th. For some reason, her cell phone won't let her call out. Husband's car is still down and won't be repaired until Son arrives on the fifteenth. Fio is beginning to feel cornered again.
The second that  the land line is repaired, Fiorella will send off her Letter to the Editor to the local newspaper. She's following up her FB series by calling for the immigrant children to be freed. (Must have land line so newspaper can okay Fio's existence.)
Your artist in residence has almost finished her Halloween decorating, which, of course, no one will see because her house is set so far back in the woods, but she still has to do it. Maybe she'll get a good picture of the Tide containers she made into pumpkins and  the construction-paper bats she has flying across her front windows--if she can figure out how to put them on FB and her blog. Why are electronics so GD complicated?
On further analysis, the pipe dream of Fio and her FF working together on a novel, much less the five-book series Fiorella conjectured, was doomed from the start. Fio writes humanity and FF writes IT.
I may have said this before, but I've had it with vets and police officers being lionized. They're just people, like everyone else, and some of them are good and some of them are bad.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Five Rules for Driving from Georgetown to Austin

(1) Never look at your watch. You'll get there  when you get there.

(2) Keep your eyes focused on the lane in front of you, but also stay aware of what's going on in the lane(s) next to you.

(3) Move into the fast lane as soon as possible because then you're at least safe on the left.

(5) Keep up with the speed, but like Fio's driver-training teacher (Mr. Tyler) said, aim for a five-car- length distance between you and the car in front of you

(4) Pray, pray, pray.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

All about Fiorella, from Halloween to Horror Show

Fiorella always seems to gain weight during the Halloween season. Wouldn't have anything to do with Russell Stover, would it?
Let's hope Fio doesn't get seated at the Fox News  table when she's at her high school reunion because she isn't shy about expressing herself.
When Fio kicks the bucket, it's gonna be with a hot pen clutched in her cold, dead hand.
When times are difficult, Fio usually finds ways to work around them, but occasionally, she goes bananas and throws a humdinger of a hissy fit.
Fiorella has the Kavenaugh blues. A histrionic alcoholic who's been disowned by the American Bar Association on the Supreme Court--nothing good will come of this.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Covering the Waterfront and Then Some

Fiorella always tries to do more today so she doesn't have as much to do tomorrow. Unfortunately, "tomorrow," as it turns out, is also overloaded.
Fio withdraws her ecstatic review of the new Murphy Brown. It was stupid to the point of embarrassment. The story didn't hang together, the pace was off, the original characters seemed uncomfortable in their roles. Actually, it would have been much better if about fiftten minutes had been devoted to Murphy's shnanigans getting around the guards, etc, to sneak into the press conference. And about the speech she gave--it was nice, but every newsman on TV has already said the same thing. Fiorella will give it one more try next week.
Hey, hey, hey! Fio just realized that Former Friend said she talked with some of her other friends about Fiorella before breaking up with her. You know what that means--FF has an entourage! πŸ˜„
The nearer Fiorella gets to her high school reunion, the colder her feet get.
Fio was so excited about getting her mail-in ballot that she put it in the wrong return envelope. No harm done, she was assured. The ballots were all going to have to be reprinted and remailed because a candidate's name had been left off, and the address on the return envelopes was incorrect. And we think they have trouble in DC!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sonia, the Brainiac

Sonja Dog loves to go on rides with Mommy and Daddy, but with Daddy's car being on the clink, Daddy himself being in and out of rehab, and Mommy whipping around town in her two-seater Miata, there hasn't been any way for her to travel in style lately. So when Mommy want back to the house to pick up her forgotten purse after dropping Daddy off at his doctor's office, Sonia pushed her way past Mum to get into the garage, circled Daddy's four-door, then settled down beside it like a sphinx and looked at Mommy inquiringly--when are you going to open my car door so I can get in and you can drive me off to Dairy Queen for a Puppy Cup?

There was no way to lure Sonia back into the house. Doggie knew her rights.

After about ten minutes of frustration, Fiorella came up with a diabolical plan. She knew that as long as she stayed next to the kitchen door, ready to close it as soon as Sonia came inside, Sonia wouldn't budge. But the clock, it was a-tickin', and Fio had to get back to the doctor's office to pick Daddy up, so she unlocked the front door, then ran back through the house to the kitchen door and strrolled out onto the driveway as if she were going on a walk. Sonia hefted herself up from the grage floor and came outside too, making herself comfortable on the concrete.

It was now or never. Knowing Sonia did not like to stay out of the house alone, Fiorella activiated the garage control, closing Sonia outside, then walked around the house and in the front door, sat down in a chair, and waited. Within five minutes, Sonia ambled up on the porch and yelped to be let in. Once Her Majesty had been captured, Fio ran to the kitchen door, car keys in hand, slammed the door shut, and took off to fulfill her chaufeur duties.

If Sonia Dog is any measure, Mastiffs are a lot smarter than they're cracked up to be, but Fiorella won the day. This time, at least.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Bad Vibes

Fiorella woke up feeling terribly depressed and frightened this morning, like there is no hope for her, like all the good things she's done are forgotten and all the stupid things are remembered. Like she's criticized for even the slightest infraction, but he same people never notice that she's dedicated her life to them. Let's hope Fio's insight was just the superfluity of chocolate Halloween candy she consumed yesterday, but she's not betting on it.
Existentialsim is for teenagers realizing they aren't children anymore and oldsters with lots of time to spare. Fiorella prefers her to-do list.
Fio wishes the political scene would go back to how it used to be when she felt safe ignoring it.
Husband, home from rehab now, watched a Dr. Who marathon at full volume last night, which nearly sent Fiorella into rehab herself.
Fio is sick, sick, sick about the immigrant children being kept in captivity to punish them and their parents for trying to find a better life. And now they're being whisked offin the dead of night to some sort of tent city near the Rio Grande. God, where are you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Halloween Interview

Fio has gathered together her Halloween decorations yesterday and will start the process today. The small plastic skelton will hang from the maibox at the road, and she'll do something clever with the four plastic Tide containers she's accumulated during the year--they're bright orange and shaped like pumpkins. She'll also Scotch-tape the construction paper bats in a swoop from one front window to the other again.

Q:Why do you do this, Fio? Why are you so intent on separating Christmas, Easter, and Halloween to the nth degree?
A: Probably, because my mother usually had a bit of decoration up on these holidays. although I admit Mom whould be horrified at the extremes I go to.
Q: Why do you go to these "extremes?"
A: There's something inside me that insists on it and enjoys the results. Maybe it's my artistic drive, maybe a leftover from my kindergarten teacher, who could make anything out of paper, maybe just to see what I can do.
Q: Do you hope to be lauded and applauded for your decorating?
A: I think I once did, but now I just do it for myself. It took me a long time to realize that most people wouldn't recognize art if it bit them on the nose, that some renowned "expert" has to tell them what is good. Recognition is all about marketing and who you know.
Q: You sound bitter.
A: Maybe I am, but I can't do anything about it so I just keep on going, doing what I am driven to do, not only in my Halloween docorations, but in my writing and the way I live my life.


Monday, October 1, 2018


Fio is tired of all the horrible people in the world doing horrible things, and she has a whole list of them that she'd like to see shot at dawn.
Sonia Dog huddles herself on the couch and looks sad when Fiorella comes downstairs smelling of Chanel. She knows that means Mommy is going somewhere and not taking her.
Husband is home and has reestablished his lair in the recliner, with all his necessities spread out on the floor around him, threatening to encroach on Fio's territory.
For some reason, Fiorella's brain recently replayed an old high school memory that shocked her at the time. The day before a big test in Speech class, Fio watched the pretty blonde who sat across the aisle from her writing down the the key information that teacher Mattie Bess Coffield had given the class on thin strips of paper. "What a great idea," Fio thought. "That way Maeve can study the info anywhere she goes without hauling out a big tablet." You can probably figure out the rest of the story--the next day, Fiorella glanced across the aisle and saw her friend unrolling the strips one by one to fill in the answers on her test page. Needless to say, Maeve made the highest grade in the class.
F.iorella is a clean-up-as-you-go kinda gal and Husband is a let-it-fall-where-it-may kinda guy. Fireworks ahead.