Monday, March 18, 2019

From Junk Drawer to Masscre

Contratulate Fio--she got one of the junk drawers cleaned out. Most of its contents--the mousetraps, the bent tacks, the unknowns--got dumped into the garbage can, and the remainders--the scissors, ties, rolls of tape, and the like-- are neatly arranged in their own open easy-access containers. Heady with her success, Fiorella is now considering making a pound cake, which she hasn't done in ages and never thought she would do again.
Fio is also sorting through her paperback romances--two sets of floor-to-ceiling shelves--to get rid of the ones who don't move her anymore. Her tastes have changed over the years, and she now prefers deeper, more tangled plots. Also more reality.
Sonia Dog goes to the vet this week. She's due for a check-up, and Fiorella has just today noticed a lump on Doggie's left breast area. Hoping it's just a giant mosquito bite.
Elder Son has gone out into the garage to try to bring some order to Husband's haven of whatever-he- didn't-want-to-throw-away so Fio has sneaked over to the TV and muted the sound. She enjoyed Star Wars, lo, these many years agao, but it doesn't move her on the rerun. Again, she's become a reality- kind of gal.
This blog would not be complete without mentioning the horrible massacre in New Zealand. Fiorella is sick to the heart about it. Why do people want to hurt other people, especially people they don't even know? Especially people who are at a peaceful place of worship? Is it BECAUSE they are unknown? Is it BECAUSE they are at peace?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

From Insurance to Bluebonnets

Fio is still slushing through the paperwork required by insurance companies and the technicalities of getting the grave marker composed and "settled in." Then there is Chase Bank, which has gone wonky on her--sigh. All in all, the Treasury people are going to have to wait a l-o-n-g time before she gets around to them this year.
The highlight of Fiorella's day was when she and Elder Son drove into Austin and met up with Daughter, Younger Son, and Granddaughter. Baby is two years, two months now, and a ball of energy, but she's still wary of her grandmother. Fio can only imagine that it was the same for her when she was two years old and the family viisted her father's family in Pennsylvanis, but her grandmother still loved her.
'Tis time to winnow out Fiorella's collection of paperback romances so she's started skimming through them to see which ones still resonate. Strangely, it's mostly the older British ones.
Has Fio told you that she's considering exchanging her PC for an Apple? First, she needs to try one out, of course. Elder Son is saying it would be an easy switch, but Fiorella has her doubts.
Bluebonnets are popping up on the sides of the highways now, but while Fio has spotted some wanna-be patches along her north driveway, only two flowers plants have budded so far. Will keep you in the loop.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Leaping Through Fiorella's Frazzled Mind

Fiorella is a strange, awful, wonderful person, and you can't expect more from her than that.
Has she told you about her plans for not only straightening out the fence around the  backyard, but for finishing-off the fencing of the northeast corner of the property? Transom, anyone?
Fiorella, who's still treading the earth because of the miracles of modern medical devices, hauled out her new pacemaker monitor, spent about an hour wading through about twenty pages of information, explanation, and instruction, then concentrated on the picture diagrams to hook the thing up and record her heartbeats, which were immediately transmitted to the mother ship in Austin. Sje was quite satisfied with herself until she went downstairs and looked at her calendar. The check-up was scheduled for April, not March. Oops.
When (and if) she dies, Fio doesn't want her family burdened by her personal stuff so she hereby announces that they are free to sling it far and wide. Yep--Fio, who likes herself, wants her DNA to be spread across the world.
WHY DO PEOPLE KILL EACH OTHER BECAUSE OF DIFFERING RELIGIOUS BELIEFS? The Catholics and the Protestants, the Christians and the Muslims, the Hindus and the Bhuddists, ad inifinitum? In fact, why do people kill each other at all?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Confessions and Considerations

Beauty alert! Fiorella checked into her on-and-off med-spa to get her forehead wrinkles botoxed, and this may be the last time. Fio has a limit, not to only to her her beauty aspersions, but to her bank account.
Okay, she admits it--on the way home, she dropped in at Walgreens for a Russell Stover chocolate bunny and ate it on the way home, pretty well guaranteeing that this will be a GERD night.
Fiorella waited till Son had left the premises before trying out the new printer, and IT WORKS. She ran off seven pages of instructions from her long-suffering accountant, and  then, gathering her courage, tossed almost 300 pages of a writer friend's new manuscript into the printer's gaping maw to check it out.
Across-the-street widow Charlene, whose husband died at Thanksgiving, paid Fiorella a visit today, and, of course, Fio couldn't stop talking. Hoping she didn't scare Neighbor away. 
Com to think of it, a fair number of the people who live in this area are over the sell-by mark. There may be a landslide in the offing--at least for the men.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Thursday, March 14, 2019


Talk about an overused reference--if Fiorella hears one more thing or person being called iconic or legendary, she will s-c-r-e-a-m.
Your faithful reporter has shed her Gretal persona and has rejoined the chain gang. Yes, she's piling rocks in her little red wagon and hauling it up to the hill to shore up the driveway again.
WOW! Fio thought the funeral home money-grab was over--after all, payng for the grave marker was all that remained, and that shouldn't cost much, right? WRONGO! Try 4K on for size! Son saved the day by finding a less expensive marker on line, but Fio's still going to be paying through the nose.
Should Fiorella shell out whatever she has left in the tatters of her bank account to buy a new computer? Does she dare consider a Mac? Friends have told her the switchover from a PC is difficult and, as you know, Fio is not a technological wunderkind. Hmmm....maybe she could get hold of a Mac on a trial basis.
Don't tell anyone, but Fio has an appointment to get her forehead botoxed. Yes, she knows it's a stupid thing for someone who's worried about money to do, but she's tired of su frente looking like a washboard.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What Day Is It?

Oops, Fiorella messed up again, and the post you'll read tomorrow will be the one she wrote for today so now she'll tell you about today. 

Fio started the day without her morning newspaper, which irritated her immensely because it's hard for her to function without her comic strips and anagrams. Not only that, but Facebook acted like she was a foreign invader and wouldn't let her post any of her trademark scintillating comments.
But she couldn't let the rejection get to her because Wednesday is Drive-to-Austin Day and Fio had scheduled three meet-ups, the first at 10:00 at Starbucks with friend Evelyn, the second at 11:30 at Dan's North with brother and Friend Paula, the third at 1:30 with friend Joan at Dan's South. Unfortunately, what she hadn't scheduled was the on-and-off rain, a parade of HUGE trucks monopolyzing the highway, and two automobile wrecks, all of which made her fifteen minutes late for Starbucks. Luckily, friend Evelyn forgave her.
Although Fio may have seemed a little wild-eyed by then, her rondevous with Bill and Paula, then Joan, came off well, but the drive home was rampant with daredevil drivers. Also, someone had wonked Fio's passenger-side side mirror, and she didn't realize it until she was on the highway.
Coming back to the house, Son taught Fio how to use her new double-duty printer. He also tried to help her get back on Facebook, but it was a no-go--even though she's never posted anything negative about Zuckerberg...yet.
Hey, hey! She  just tried the stupid FB again and was able to post!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

What Happens After the Burial?

It's been more than two months since Husband died, and he's still receiving solicitations from life insurance companies. Fio, of course, has the urge to fill all those forms out, send off the first payment, then report Husband's death--the extra cash sure would help out around Casa Fiorella. The probate lawyer is costing $3000, and Fio is not looking forward to the bill for the grave marker. To make things worse, Social Security has swiped a chunk out of the joint bank account, which doesn't seem fair because even thtough Husband is no longer sitting at the table, the electric, water, and heating bills still have to be taken care of, the dog has to be fed, the garbage picked up, and the mortgage paid.
Your Fio is running around like a chicken with her head cut off. She has a long list, and it's being added to every day. She's learned just now that she can't drive the old printers up to the side of the road and unload them for some enterprising techie to take home and fiddle with, but instead, has to drive them over to Best Buy (not her favorite store) for recycling.
Older Son has been a real help, but he knows too much--like that the riding mower needs to have new tires before being put up for sale. Fio would have innocently pawned it off on someone as dumb as she is.
On the plus side, you will be glad to hear that Fio, without mishap, ran the dishwasher herself this afternoon. On the negative side, she still doesn't know how to use the new double-decker printer or Husband's old Tablet and, even though Son has  been coaching her on expanding her email skills, she's still shaky. The double negative is that there's still the three-car garage to clean up.
Fiorella has seen a lot of movies in which people die, but she doesn't remember any of the survivors having to deal with this overwheming an aftermath.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Lots of Things Going On

What a day! Nephew and his wife kindly took what seemed like half a ton of CDs off Fiorella's hands, delivered the BBQ smoker to the neighbors for her, and spent a lovely couple of hours visiting with her and Minnesota Son. They also gave Fio some ideas about how she can pick up a few bucks on some of the other stuff lying around the house.
The county is putting in a new bridge at the foot of Fio's property soon, and she's both thrilled and concerned. Thrilled that she won't be house-bound by an overflowing "dry" creek anymore and concerned because of the mess the construction will make.
Fio thought Nephew and his wife's visit would be the highlight of her day, but then she received a call from a childhood friend and they stayed on the line forever exchanging family information and their lives. There's a warmth in getting together with someone who's known you since way back when.
Darn! Fiorella missed Saturday Night Live again--not that she ever watches the whole show. Like Colbert's opening monolog, the cold opening is enough for her. Both of them make her laugh, and then she drifts off to sleep smiling.
What's on your schedule for today Fio? Aside from grocery shopping and getting my blood checked out, not much--just learning how to use my new double-duty printer, trying to get Kindle to release the books I damn well paid for, helping son clean out the garage, contacting someone for dry wall work in the kitchen and upstairs closet, paying bills, reviewing tax information my accountant sent me a months ago but which my old printer couldn't deliver, and handing over a fat check to my probate lawyer. Colbert better be good tonight!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Hello, Springtime!

Fiorella made the big transition last night from heavy robe to lightweight wrapper. Yes, winter is past tense and she's going to walk the driveway to see if her blubonnets are budding like the ones along the highway are.
Ah, there's nothing like a good night's sleep after an exhausting walk around a dinosaur park with Bastrop Son y su familia. Granddaughter (nieta) is still not sure about this woman who trails into her two-year-old life every now, and then, but loves dinosaurs.
That weight-lifting is paying off. Fio was able to transfer two heavy printers--black-and-white and color--into her little red wagon all on her own. The next step will be to haul them up onto the roadside, where she hopes some enterprising techie will find a use for their parts, but that final trip will be made by car.
But Fio, why are you ditching your printers?  Because the black-and-white won't perform and the color printer is clunky. A trip to Best Buy with Minnesota Son supervising Fiorella's choice--a printer that does double duty--was the only answer.
Be on the alert! Minnesota Son has taught Fiolla how to transfer photos onto her blog in eight easy steps!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Auld Lang Syne

All in all, Fiorella has now cleared  six yards of Husband's music CDs from the shelves in the den and packed them in bags and boxes to give to Nephew. Ten years ago, Fio could have made a fortune off them, but now digital downloads have taken over. Fortunately, Nephew likes old hat.
It's odd to glance over at the empty shelves, another reminder that Husband did not make it home from the hospital this time. Sometimes Fio feels guilty because, in effect, she is wiping one of the most important things in his life off the map, but it is essential that she lighten the footprint of the house as quickly as possible. After all, she can't stay out here alone in the boondocks forever.
Fio is downsizing not only the house, but herself. She "makes do" as much as possible and doesn't buy anything that isn't necessary. Financially, she's okay so far, but who knows what will happen tomorrow?
Speaking of finances, Fiorella had an appointment with a probate lawyer on Thursday, and judging by the retainer she's shelling out, probate lawyers lead very comfortable lives.
Su hijo mayor has lightened Fio's burden in all sorts of ways, among them, doing something magic to the stove burners so that they fire up again and showing her the trick to sounding the panic button on Husband's car (which even Husband didn't know how to use).

Friday, March 8, 2019

Sorry about the delay. Was searching everywhere for my vampire story. Finally found it on the machine.

Tally huddled in the far corner of the back seat of the cab returning her to the ferry terminal.  It reminded her of her first trip to New York four years ago, covered with a dark sheet and curled up in the back seat of a limousine with heavily tinted windows.  She had been seventeen then, confused and alone, heading toward the only sanctuary she knew.  Now she was twenty-two, confused and alone, with no sanctuary in sight.
            So, Helen had been right on the money about the effects of sexual excitement.  Tally looked at her nails.  There was blood beneath them.  Well, at least she hadn't bitten him.  But the thought of it made her hunger surge again, almost painful in its intensity.  She pressed one hand to her stomach and studied the cabbie's thick, fleshy neck.  He seemed like such a lout.  Would anyone really miss him?
            No, Tally, you have a choice!  Even louts have families who need them.
            She breathed slowly and deliberately, trying to calm herself.  She could handle this; she had prepared for such emergencies.  Methodically she searched in her purse for a small silver flask, unscrewed the lid, and lifted it to her lips.  She sipped slowly, rolling the dark liquid on her tongue before letting it slide down her throat.  With all the insulation, the flask couldn't hold much, but it was enough.
            She licked her lips and smiled in satisfaction.  God bless anti-coagulants.
            The cab driver's eyes followed her in the rear-view mirror.
            "Just for emergencies," she called gaily from the darkness of the back seat, with what she hoped was a jaunty smile.
            He didn't reply but his eyes snapped back to the road again.  She took one more sip. Why had she thought she had to explain herself to him?  So what if some loutish cab driver thought she was an alcoholic?  He'd probably seen a lot worse--and at least he wasn't dead! 

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Starting With a Contrary Cow

When Fiorella drove past the neighborhood cattle ranch recently, she noted that all the cows were facing the same direction as they industriously cropped the springtime grass--all but one, that is, who was catty-corner to the others. Wonder if her nick-name is Fio.
Fiorella was having lunch in Austin when hijo mayor got dropped off at the door, but he had his own key and by the time Fio got home, he'd spiffed up the riding lawn mower and put it up on eBay.
With Son accompanying her, Fiorella will talk to a probate lawyer this morning. Husband left her everything in his will, but that apparently isn't good enough for Uncle Sam. Fio feels like she's in a carnival funhouse and can't get out.
Fio's glancing through thebooks in her floor-to-ceiling bookcase to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to donate to her local RWA (Romance Writers of America). Her taste has changed over the years, of course. She liked harder-hitting books now, ones with a purpose.
And yes, after a four-year lull, Fio plans to start turning out books head over foot, and she hopes you will buy them, not only because it would be nice for her to have a few extra shekels lying around, but because she has important things to say that she thinks everyone should hear.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Fiorella Has Hopes and Plans

One thing Fiorella has been able to accomplish in the middle of the chaos is the reorganization of la despensa (the pantry) to suit her own needs and arranged everything to her own convenience. The bottom shelf is now for storage of plastic bags, paper towels, and the like. The next shelf up is devoted to dog goodies and grooming, Above that is Fiorella's shelf, which is at just the right height for her, and the fourth shelf will be for Son when he arrives today, while the top shelf is for the storage of plastic containers that often prove useful.
On the negative side, Fio is still sludging through the mud on the finances and may have lost an insurance policy. She's also behind on thank-you notes. And laundry.
The good news is that all of Husband's CDs will have appreciative homes. Fiorella sent a shoebox stuffed full of classical music home to friend Raquel's son, and nephew Barrett will take the rest of the collection off Fio's hands. And did she tell you that neighbor Michael has offered to fill in her outdated koy pond in return for the flagstones built up around it? She'll probably take him up on his offer later in the spring.
As soon as she knows what her finances will be like, Fio wants to straighten and extend the backyard chainlink fence. Also to build a retaining wall to keep the sloping back yard from ending up in the dry creek a couple of yards behind the fence. and, in the front yard, Fio is contemplating protecting her iron plants from the inevitable armadillos by installing a removable metal fence.
Fiorella has noticed that las piedras along the driveway need shoring up again, which means that as soon as the weather clears, she'd better be trundling her little red wagon out onto the acreage and loading it up. She's spotted some good rock sites further into the woods.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Strictly Fiorella

Fiorella puts her watch on first thing every morning so she can get a-tickin', but sometimes she doesn't want to arise, arise, shine. She's had to do all her life--get up for school, for work, to take care of the house and the family, and now that she's all alone, you'd think she'd get a break. But Sonia Dog and her own urinary tract think otherwise.
Fio has narrowed her interests as she has gotten older. Obviously, running hurdles in the Olymipics is off the table, but Fiorella was never much of an athlete anyway. She's also lost interest in being rich and famous. Wealth comes with all sorts of complications, and fame is a two-edged sword. Strangely, she isn't that interested in food any more either--not that she ever cooked that much, but she did eat a lot more at one time. Now she just wants to write, be artsy, play around with langauges and music, and hang out with friends and family.
Elder Son is scheduled for a Wednesday arrival this week so Fiorella is scurrying around the house and trying to get everything in order, which is a bit difficult at trhe moment because she's bound and determined to down-size, down-size, downsize. La despensa (the pantry) has undergone a total overhaul, and los estantes, cajones y armarios (shelves, drawers, and cabinets) in the kitchen are next in line.
Fio filled two trash bags with Husband's collection of herbs, spices, sauces, and the like. Her cooking is minimal, the kids have already taken what they could use, and food closets don't accept anything that has been opened.
Whew--it looks like Fio is half through the legal stuff. She's paid off the funeral home, squared herself with the bank and the car insurance people, sent off her claims to the insurance companies, and this week, she'll meet with a probate attorney. Now if she could just remember where she put the list of the people she should have written a thank-you note to a month ago.
Did Fiorella tell you that she is trying to cut way back on chocolate and cookies? Yesterday was her first "dry" day, and it was hard, but she's determined to take off those five pounds she's put on since the Christmas candy hit Walgreens. (It'll give her leeway for Easter.)

Monday, March 4, 2019

4 Scorpions and a Confession

Flipping on the front room light this morning, Fio spotted an adult-size scorpion casually crossing the concrete floor, which called for an immediate squash and flush. That makes two scorpions this week, and Fiorella is not pleased. When her family moved to Texas long, long ago,  her brother was stung by a scorpion sheltering in one of his shoes, which resulted in our mother instructing all of us to clap our shoes before we put them on, a precaution which Fio honors to this day.
Will Former Friend never stop providing primo fodder for your Fio to analyze? When FF posted about her ailing horse on Facebook recently, Fiorella suddenly realized that the only times FF goes public is when she's angry or depressed.
Fio has trained herself to avoid the "candy" and "seasonal" aisles at H-E-B, but when she dropped by Walgreens to pick up some thank-you cards, she also picked up a chocolate rabbit and four chocolate and marshmallow Easter cookies. Dang! Foiled by Russell Stover.
Trump enjoys stirring up blood fury at his rallies, and he's good at it. He could tell his audience to kill everyone around them, and they'd do it on the spot.
First thing in the morning, Fiorella rubs her face to see if she's still alive.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Visiting Nephew and Wife

Although, according to her cellphone, all Fiorella needed was twenty-six minutes, she gave herself a full hour to make to Austin and locate the home of Nephew and Wife--but she was still twenty minutes late. She'd tried to follow her phone's directions, but it was hard to hear the speaker over the highway noise, and Fio didn't know how to get more volume, which resulted in her missing vital information and making a number of wrong turns.
Along the way, Fio saw a man in a raincoat walking two dogs across an intersection. The dogs looked like they would have rather stayed home, and the man did too. Misery loves company?
Fiorella's glasses moved on and off her nose the whole time she was on the road--on when she was driving, and off when she was tryng to read signs.  Yes, your girl needs bifocals, but she's been told the bridge of her nose is too high for them. La--guess that's one of the problems of an aristocratic bone structure.
Fio had a great time with Nephew and Wife, their three dogs, and the antique furniture they repair and sell, and she was delighted to learn that, like Fiorella, they think that everyone and everything wants to have a purpose.
Fio made a point of  talking to Nephew and Wife about ancient family history--good, bad, and boring. It's part of us, whether we want it to be or not.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Personally Speaking

Fiorella gads around town in her Miata and uses the Mercedes to take the week's trash out to the curb. That's just how she rolls🀣
There's something spooky about your Fio. Apparently, she can control the traffic flow on I-35. Yesterday, when she was driving down the southbound side to meet with friend Jane MP at Fish Daddy's, the flow on the northbound side ran at top speed, while the flow on her side slowed to a stop several times. Then, when she drove home, the southbound side ran at top speed while the northbound flow slowed and came to a stop several times. Hmm....
The stupid Austin Anmerican-Statesman screwed up its delivery system again, and Fiorella had to drive six miles into town to buy a newspaper, which made her very angry. She NEEDS that paper every morning to get her motor running. To be more exact, she needs the funnies and the anagrams. The rest of the paper can "sink into the ocean."
Hey, hijo mayor--the local feed store had two riding mowers out in its yard last week, but now it only has one. Prime time to sell off the old mower?
It's hard to clean out Husband's desk because Fio doesn't know which items were more meaningful to him and should be saved.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Morning Prayer

Help me, Lord, by your grace,
To make the world a better place
Every day in every way
By what I do and what I say

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Fio, Cohen, and God

Yes, your Fio has gained five pounds in the past two months and will probably pack on a few more next month. After all, Christmas through Easter is chocolate season.
Fiorella's high school graduation class newsletter has been sharing nostalgic memories lately so Fio reminded them of the day the principal yelled "Y'all aren't acting like WHITE people!" into the speaker. Fio and her crowd were horrified, but she's not so sure about her other classmates--then or now.
With fear in her heart that she hadn't put the beast together right, Fiorella took her new chainsaw outside and whacked at a couple of dead cedar limbs,  worked! Now she's got her eye on the cedar thicket to the south of the driveway.
WOW! Michael Cohen's testimony was hot stuff and straight from the horse's mouth. No wonder Trump and team tried to saddle, bridle, and hog-tie him.
We grow up with the idea that God looks like a bearded old man with penetrating eyes, but actually, according to Fiorella's catechism, God is a spirit (mind and will, but no body) with the attributes of being eternal, unchangeable, omnipotent, omni-present, holy, fair, faithful, benevolent, merciful, and gracious. Fio likes the way that sounds.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Not a Good Day

Husband was really good with dogs, but Fiorella beat him out when it came to getting Sonia Dog to take her medicine. He, being a guy, tried to strong-arm Doggie, to force the pill down her throat, but she promptly coughed it out onto the carpet. Next, he tried tucking the pill inside peanut butter or a mushy product sold for that purpose. Sometimes the pill went down, and sometimes it ended up on the carpet again, but Fiorella had no problem. She too used peanut butter as a lure, but she stuck the covered pill to rhe handle of a fork and OFFERED it to Sonia rather than trying to force it down her throat. Ladies like to be wooed, not pressured.
Fio woke up a-rarin' to go, but her afternoon wasn't that great. Her buzon contained two fat envelopes of papers related to Husband's death that she was supposed to figure out and fill out. She started on the insurance papers because they were the ones that would provide her bread and butter in years to come. A couple of hours and a few tears later, she gave up and called the HELP number, then spent another hour on the phone, then had to race off to her bank for vital info. Why don't they just send her a check and have done with it?
She decided to settle herself by going through the six-inch-thick pile of notes she's accumulated about what she wants to write, say, think, do, or research. Bad choice. Several dog interuptions later, her notes were even more confused than they had been. Time to go to watch television and head off to bed. Let's hope the ceiling doesn't leak again.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Odds, Ends, and a Truth

Spring sprung on Fiorella before she realized winter was over, which means she'll have to hustle over to Home Depot to see what's available in jasmine ground covers, then contact her yardman. She's been talking about a ground cover for a couple of years, and now is the time for action.
Those cute amber beads that Fio's been sporting? They started life an eyeglass chain, but the ends kept dropping her glasses so she gave up and turned them into a necklace.
When Fiorella's hair falls forward, she looks like Snape. (Shhh--don't pass it around.)
Did Fio tell you that she encountered a good-sized scorpion crossing her kitchen floor the other day?  Mr. S froze and tried to blend in with the concrete, but Fio went in for the squash.  Good things she was wearing shoes.
Precious things break so easily--that's why they're so precious.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam from Fio's Notes

We are all the centers of our own universes and see everything from our own unique viewpoints, like blind men describing an elephant.
There's a close connection between humor and pain, and the relationship isn't just laughing away one's troubles or singing in the rain.  It's about the adrenaline of cruelty.  Think about the classic guy-slipping-on-a-banana-peel routine.  Think of the Three Stooges bonking each other on the head.
Fiorella heard what sounded like a mower way too close, maybe on her own property so she started walking toward  it.  Yeah, Fio is as curious as a cow.
Death waits for no man, but take it from Fiorella, a newly bereaved woman can wait forever in a funeral home.
Even one Russian-influenced vote is one too many.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Fiorella at Home

Having lectured herself beforehand about overloading on sweets, Fiorella was able to withstand the lure of H-E-B's candy and cookie aisle, but two rows down, she was snagged by the the Easter aisle, which she hadn't expected to be in operation this early. She grabbed a chocolate bunny for her shopping cart, of course, then added a bag of Russell Stover chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies--which somehow found sweeter lodging inside Fio'm ever-expanding tummy on her way home. Have you ever seen someone drive a car with the outside palms of her hands and, with her fingers, peeling open yet another chocolate-covered marchmallow cookie?
Of course, one way for Fio to deliver herself from temptation would be to use H-E-B's on-line shopping service and pick her groceries up at the curb, but she prefers mingling with the populace. Remember, she's pretty well isolated out here in the boondocks.
Have I told you that Fiorella has lost her credit card AGAIN--the same one she lost two weeks ago and received a replacement card for? Cringing with embarrassment, she's going to let the situation hang for a while because she's sure the card is somewhere in the house or car. After all, the day after she received her last replacement card, the original card reared its ugly head in the pocket of one of Husband's jackets that Fio had been wearing.
Fiorella's wonderful yardman came by on Saturday and brought the backyard and the woodpile area up to snuff--even cutting Fio another ring of la lena. Meanwhile, she was inside, shoveling about ten pounds of ashes out of la chimenea and cleaning up the gray dust that hung hung the air. That's all till next year, folks. Primevera is just around the corner.
Speaking of Spanish, or in Spanish, Fiorella is planning to launch an all-out effort to conquer el espanol as soon as she's gotten her life  in shape again. Le deseamos bien!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Taxes, Cookies, Grills, Husband, The Children

Don't hold your breath, but Fiorella is beginning to see daylight. She's finally burned every last stick of the trash wood in the fireplace, gotten most of Husband's affairs in order, and caught up with the laundry. Next comes--gulp--the 2018 taxes.
`Okay, Fio admits she grabbed a bag of galletas de chocolate when she was in HEB to pick up a baguette, and she ate every single one of them on the ride home because she was mad about having to buy a new chainsaw. Dang thing cost almost $180!
Fio's yardman is supposed to come tomorrow. As she's told you, she's going to offer him all three of the decrepit BBQ grills on the back porch. Hope he can use them.
Husband's ophthamologist's robocall asked for him and totally disregarded Fiorella's explanation of the situation. She'll have to call the office tomorrow.
Fiorella's posting about the children Trump and his pals have kidnapped and jailed. What sort of education do they get? Are the younger ones taught readin', writin', and 'rithmatic? Are the older ones perpared for jobs or college? Do they ever play games? Who teaches them nighttime prayers? Do they ever sing? Who comforts them when they cry? πŸ’”

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friends, Fire, TV, Michael Jackson, CDs

Fio's said it before and she'll say it again--she couldn't have gotten this far without her lady friends. Some of them have been keeping tabs on her by phone, email, or Facebook, and some have met her for lunch or Starbucks treats. She loves them all. Thank you.
You'll be happy to know that Fiorella was able to build another fire yesterday afternoon, even though la lena was cold and dampish. She's determined to use up all the old wood moldering away outside as part of her clean-up of the house and yard. It saves on electricity, cleans up the landscape, and reduces the fire hazard.
Fiorella has been so involved in her various self-assignments yesterday evening that she lost the first five minutes of Big Bang Theory--dang! And she's been so tired from her labors lately that she\'s moissed Colbert two nights running--double dang!
We all knew what was going on with Michael Jackson and all those boys, but the worshipful reverence our society has for celebrities protected him. Maybe that's Trump's shield too.
Fio's starting to clear out Husband's six yards of music CDs. He had a wonderful library, but apparently people don't listen to CDs anymore.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

La Perra, El Hermano, Trump, La Amiga, El Espanol

Sonia Dog is a good listener, but not much of a conversationalist unless she wants (1) mas comida, (2) un leche-hueso, or (3) the top of the toilet raised so she can drink from the bowl.
Bless Fiorella's abogado brother. Su hermano shepherded her through the winding ways of northwest Austin to find the death certificate headquarters, then stood in line with her for at least half an hour till Fio's turn at the bat came up. Of course, Fio, who is easily bored, talked to people up and down the line the whole time, even excercising her meager Spanish if appropriate--or not.
Hey, hey, hey--must tell you that Fiorella, of course, had her DUMP TRUMP button pinned on her jacket the whole time, and she lots of got smiles, nods, and thumbs up. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜„
Before her trip into bureacratic wonderland, Fio had lunch at Fish Daddy's with friend Susan Craig, a fellow romance writer who moved to the Houston area a while back. The food was good, the service was great (same waiter as the one Fiorella called down after the funeral), and the conversation was not only lively, but inspiring. Fiorella's chawing at the bit to start writing again, but it's hard to get  anything going when her computer eats up revisions and her printer has stopped working.
Has Fiorella told you that she makes up little Spanish sentences (fraces en el espanol) in her head all the time? She doesn't have a big enough vocabulary (especialmente in regard to los verbos) to go full blast, but she'd like to think that big oaks from little acrorns grow.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lies Fiorella Tells Herself

That she's only going to eat half the package of black licorice Twizzlers.
That she's going to buy herself some new black shoes and get rid of her twenty-year-old lace-ups that she freshens up with Magic Marker.
That it's a good idea to put off researching boring legal stuff this afternoon because she'll be more alert in the morning.
That if she tunes in the Spanish-speaking TV stations every now and then, she'll eventually learn to speak el espanol.
That she looks twenty years younger than her birth certificate when actually she only looks ten years younger.πŸ˜‰

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Fire Blazes On

Fio lied. She'd said yesterday's fire would be the last one of the season, but actually, she's decided to BURN, BABY, BURN until all la lena in the hoops across the driveway runs out.
What is it about a fire that fascinates Fiorella?  Maybe it's that it's beautiful and horrible at the same time. Maybe it's that controlling a blaze is is like taming a lion--so interesting, so dangerous.
Fiorella had a nice long-distance conversation with her only surviving cousin on her mother's side yesterday afternoon. And like all mothers, the main topic of their conversation was their daughters.
Determined to get back into the writing game, Fio has bought two reams of pre-punched paper at Office Depot, hoping that hijo mayor can get her printer working again when he comes in March. Fiorella has a list of about ten other things she also needs help with, but don't tell him that.
As Fiorella writes, Sonia Dog is cuddled up beside her on the couch, snoring away. Do the imprisoned children have dogs to love them? Does anyone love them?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Last Fire of Winter

Trash fires are Fiorella's specialty. She tosses all her torn-up newspapers and used Kleenexes into the fireplace, and, when the cold weather hits, tops the mound withher collection of firewood debris and the shredded advertisements the post office has generously favored her with. Then, with the back door open for draw, she strikes a match or two and the flames flare up.

Fio figured out  a while back that the trick is to warm up the cavern and  keep it warm so, accordingly, she scurries back and forth from the den to the foyer to pick up more rickety sticks and a couple of more substantial pieces de madera, including actual logs, which she keeps in a separate pile.

Wait a minute, Fio--did you say you keep your trashy firewood INSIDE the house? 
Well, yes, I do. It's not just the fireplace cavern that has to be warm. Madera that is cold/damp is reluctant to burn, so I provide mi lena with a hospitable environment.

You talk about su lena as if it is sentient. Doesn't it then make you fell guilty to toss it to the flames?
Not at all. Remember, my theory is that everyone and everything wants to be of use. What else are we here for?

Oops, the fire's dying down. Gotta go grab a couple more logs. See ya!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Another Excerpt from PASSION

Sigrid sat on the edge of her bed and looked around dully, not sure what to do.  Images from the fire appeared on the movie screen of her mind--the flames leaping and crackling, the smoke, the drone of the water hoses, the yells of the firefighters shouting back and forth as they battled the flames. 
The stench of burned flesh.     
Mik rose to leave.  “I’ll turn off the light.” 
A wave of panic flashed through her.  “No, keep it on!” She grabbed his arm. “Don’t leave me!” Waves of shivers ran through her. “Stay with me.  Please, stay with me.”  All her defenses had been burned through, and she couldn’t bear to be alone tonight.
Mik looked at her for one long moment, then came back to the bed, sat down and took her ice-cold hands in his.  
“Do you know what you’re asking for, Sigrid?”  His pale eyes bored into hers.  “If I stay in this room with you, I sleep in this bed with you.”
She knew exactly what she was asking for and why she shouldn’t be asking it, but she couldn’t help herself.  It was hard to always be tough, to never let anything get to you.  Sometimes it was more than she could bear.      
She tried to explain, to make him understand, but couldn’t get the words out right.  “The smell--I saw people with horrible burns--children--there was a child . . . . . Stay with me.”  Her teeth started to chatter. "I need you."   
Mik nodded, then, and slowly, solemnly, drew her into his embrace. His face was rigid with intent.  If she wanted to forget, he could make her forget.  But first he wanted her to remember, and this time there would be no interruptions.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

From Trash to Trump

Fiorella went out onto the back porch in the morning to detrash it, then, in the afternoon, detrashed the backyard. There's still a little more to go, but she's making progress.
In between, Fio beta-read Annabeth Saryu's second book, Crazy Hearts. Annabeth's first book, Fighting Hearts, zoomed up to the top of the romance  charts. Try it--you'll like it.
Fiorella wants to get back to working on her own books, but after-death responsibilities and legalities take precedence. (Sigh.)
Actually, Fio's tummy isn't feeling well, maybe because she whipped up a big plate of Carnation's Famous Fudge and ate half of it.
If Trump's ego demands a national emergency, how about a real one, like the Border Patrol kidnapping and jailing innocent immigrant children?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Facing Facts

Well, Fio's fianally learned what probate is for, and she's going to have to hire a lawyer. Dang it, there goes that nest egg of insurance policies she's been building up.
If the cold weather sweeps back in like it's supposed to this weekend, brace yourself for the biggest fires of the season at Casa Fiorella.  She's done her best to empty the woodpiles out front this year, and this will be her final opportunity. Spring cometh.
Fio has spent much of her life accumulating things that she's now she's trying to get rid of. None of them seem to matter anymore
When someone close to you dies, a chunk out of your life is gone forever, but Fio doesn't believe in death. She can understand that we will all stop breathing at some point, but she doesn't think that means we are dead-dead, just dead to the living world.
Fiorella is a sweet little old lady until the shyster phone calls start flooding in. The it's GRRRRRRR!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

From Gripe to Whimsy

Fio doesn't know about what's going on with other cities' newspapers, but the front page of The Austin American Statesman is edging toward tabloid reporting. Long-winded features rule the day. THE WHOLE STORY IS ABOUT TO COME OUT was the front-page headline in a recent paper, with DID MEDICS DO ENOUGH TO SAVE A DYING MAN" as its sister  scoop. Whatever happened to who, what, why, when, and where?
A TV special covered an all-girls high-school shop class in a high school the other night, and Fiorella couldn't help but remember how interested she had been in taking shop when she was in high school. She was rightfully discouraged by her mother, of course, because girls did not take shop back then. Besides, Fio also wanted to take every other class Waco High had to offer.
Come to think of it, Fio has "shop" in her blood. The easel her maternal grandfather made for her is still in the garage, and she's pretty sure her brother has the wagon, table, and chairs. Gramp could build anything.
To cut down on electricity, Fiorella gathers fallen limbs to build indoor fires. Then she harvests the ashes to enrich the yard. It's a reciprocal.
Fio wonders--if she could live her life over, would she be a better person next time around?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What Did You Do Yesterday, Fiorella?

VOLUME I: After a glorious awakening with a lovely poem in her mind, Fiorella's day did not go well. The newspaper didn't arrive on her porch, which meant she'd have to trudge up to the top of the driveway in her robe to claim it or wait till she went out to meet with Endor, her long-time writing group, in mid-morning. She chose the latter and, when the time came, scrambled into a cute Chinese jacket, dark blue slacks, and flowerdy shoes, then did her face and hair, splashed on some Chanel,  ready to take off for Starbucks. But wait--maybe she'd better check her email to see if anyone had canceled.

Bad luck--Ashley couldn't come because of allergies. What about Carol? No reply, which meant  either she was coming to the meeting or that she'd forgotten about it. Hoping for the former, Fio gathered her purse, glasses, and keys, dashed out the door into the garage, and pushed the button to open the garage door.

Nothing happened. She pushed the button again--and again. Dang, that fix that neighbor Michael had put on the mechan Fio spent her time filling out an insurance form, paying bills and going through the bank statements, then  working on the Christmas mess in the garage, but the highlight (gracias a dio) was when she finally found Husband's death certificates.ism the evening before wasn't working. (One more strike against technology--Dad's garage door never stuck when he hauled it open!)

Nothing for Fio to do but  change into grubbiess, work around the house, and hope she could get the garage door working by the next day, when she was supposed to drive to Austin to pick up copies of  Husband's death certificate in the morning, get together with with friend Kaye at 12:30, and meet with friend Deborah, her hair stylist, at 2:00.

VOLUME II: After a major sulk, Fio spent her time working on the Chritmas mess in the garage, filling out an insurance form, paying bills and going through the bank statements, and searching for  Husband's death certificates. Before she closed the house down for the night, she tested the garage door again and--voila--up it went. But just to be sure she had transportation for the next day, she backed the Queen Mary out of the garage before she closed the door again.

VOLUME III: It's a new day so Fiorella isgearing up for her rule-of-three errands--assailing the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, visiting with Kaye, and being pampered by Deborah. Wish her well!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

On Awakening and Looking out the Window


          Thank you, God, for a beautiful morning

          Thank you, God, for a restful night

          Keep my mind sharp, my vision clear

          And give me the strength to fight the good fight

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Morning Considerations

When Husband was in the hospital or rehab or whatever, it was Fiorella's job to hold down the fort--to keep everything the same as it always was. But now everything is different, and there's no way to turn the clock back.😒
Fiorella didn't realize how much time and thought she spent trying to please Husband. And she still does.πŸ’“
Fio gets a kick out of it when she and a couple of friends she went to high school with gang up on former classmates who put outrageously right-wing posts on Facebook with the truth. Nothing like the search engine to blow holes in stupid conspiracy theories. 😁
Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, whatever--Fiorella's experience has been that there are good people and bad people in all religions. The trick is to avoid the zealots and the tribals. πŸ˜•
Your Fio is a miracle of modern medicine. She's had two spinal surgeries, two C-sections, a hysterectomy, gall-bladder surgery, hand surgery, a partial thyroidectomy, all sorts of eye surgeries, a pacemaker, an aortic valve replacement, and a hip replacement--and she's still galloping along. (Oh, and she was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis for a couple of years, but that cured itself.) πŸ˜„

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Collisions, Consequences, Confusions, Coincidences, and Fio

Fiorella just spent twenty minutes trying to cancel Husband's subscription to Cooks' Country, a pricey cooking magazine, but guess what? The cancellation will not take place till the end of the six-month subscription in July, a neat way to squeeze very last centime out of dissatisfied customers or new widows whose idea of primo cuisine is popcorn or chocolate pudding.
In the years to come, the USA is going to be paying through the nose for snatching the immigrant children from their parents and imprisoning them. Can you spell  L A W S U I T ?
Fio's gotta drive over to Click on Monday and find out if iCloud saying she only has 25% of storage left, Vipre telling her needs yet another update, and Google putting a strange orange message on her blog mean anything.
Did Fiorella tell you that she and Sonia Dog witnessed and experienced GRAUPEL yesterday when she drove off to Dairy Queen for their chocolate dipped cone and puppy cup, respectively?
Fiorella's been weird her whole life. Why should she change now?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Holidays Past and Present, Homemaking, Awareness, Nature

Fio isn't moving as fast as she had hoped regarding the de-Christmastation of the house, but she has everything down to one room--the dining room (aka command center). The next phase is to pack the remainder and move the boxes to the garage shelves. Hoping it will all be done by Monday (lunes).
But what about Valentine's Day, Fiorella? . 
All taken care of. After dropping by Mazda to deliver three bags of Hershey kisses, Fio drove over to Click Computer Repair with a bag of H-E-B's best nuts in hand. (The guys in the back room are on a diet.)
Fiorella has to stock up on some healthy cook-it-yourself food the next time she goes to H-E-B. The only thing she could find in the pantry today was chocolate pudding--which she likes, but not as a steady diet.
It's so odd to take just three bag of trash to the bin when she and Husband always took six--or more.
Central Texas is having a cold snap so Fio is using her recently acquired fire-starting skills to keep the house warm. Yes, she has central heat, but why run up an electricity bill when nature provides? Besides, it would be a sin against God's bounty if she left the firewood racks to rot.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Updating Fio's Friday

It's a first! Fio followed the directions on the popcorn popper she'd bought on sale ($7) at Target and popped a big bowl of popcorn for herself. She won't starve after all!
Driving back and forth to Austin is a big, fat waste to time. How does one sign up for teleporting?
One of the first things Fio insisted on buying after she and Husband were married was a sewing machine, and, yes, Fiorella made many of her own clothes. She hasn't sewn in years, but maybe after her life gets organized again....
Hey, hey, hey--for the first time since Husband died, Fio did all her morning exercises--the weight-lifting, the plies, the standing push-ups--and she has to admit her back feels a lot better.
Sonia Dog has always taken a couple more steps more after being signaled to stop in her tracks, and Fiorella has always chalked it up to command taking a while to penitrate her massive mastiff brain. On the other hand, Doggie is johnny-on-the-spot when her food bowl rattles. Hmmm.....

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thoroughly Trump

Trump's SOTU speech was a bombastic, blowhard delivery that went nowhere. And what the heck was going on with his hair?
What an interesting contrast between Pence and Pelosi. She was human.
Fiorella couldn't help but laugh at the "Bette Davis" that Nancy pulled on Trump, taking the audience's attention off him by picking up papers and looking them over just as old-time Hollywood star Davis slowly removed her gloves in a stage play to take the auidence's attention off the leading lady.
Trump has so thoroughly alienated every other country in the world that if the US were attacked by Martians, none of them would care--except maybe China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, who would  fight each other for the spoils.
The Wall is Trump's Holy Grail, and we all know how successful that quest has been.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

From Credit to Insurance

Fiorella is giving up on finding her missing credit card, but knows it will turn up the second she calls her carrier for a replacement.
Hooray for yours truly! She took all the ornaments from the swag sobre el mostrador en las cocina, then removed the fake greenery and stuffed it in a big plastic bag with the other greenery. The ornaments are still lined up en el mostrador, but Fio has to pack them individually.
Fiorella is looking forward to meeting with friend Evelyn tomorrow, not just because she's a lot of fun, but because she's a lawyer and might be able to help Fio with some of the legal mumbo-jumbo.
To tell the truth, Fiorella really likes the excerpts from her novels, published or not, that she's been posting, and can hardly wait to get back to writing sultry romances again. You'll be the first to know!
Time is passing and Fiorella still hasn't written any thank-you notes. Everything else seems more pressing--like trying to figure out the life insurance forms.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


An excerpt from PASSION, an unpublished romance Fio wrote several years ago 

The timer sang out and Sigrid retrieved the pizzas from the microwave, then set a single place at the table and put a couple of ice cubes in the tall glass beside the plate.
Right on time, Mik emerged from the hall, sauntered over to the dining table, and braced a hand on the back of a chair.
“You’ve changed your clothes,” she blurted out.  Clean Levi’s and a fresh white pullover did a lot for him.  Too much.  Her skin prickled.  Damn.  She had to get him out of here quick.
“And I’ve washed my hair and shaved.”  He stroked his jaw, then swept his hands through his dark, shoulder-length hair to push it behind his ears.  “Nothing’s too good for you, babe.”
Damn.  He knew how to hit her buttons.
“I’ve told you, don’t call me . . . where—where did you get those jeans?  I don’t have any men’s clothes in the bathroom.” 
He raised his eyebrows, then gave her a sly look. “I carry extras in my backpack, but am I to assume from what you say that there are men’s clothes stored elsewhere in the condo?  Are you living with someone now, Sigrid?  Will our little tete-a-tete be interrupted by a jealous lover?”
She managed a small, tight smile but her voice was colder than the ice in his glass.  “In the first place, Mik, this is not a romantic rendezvous, and in the second place, it’s none of your business if I have a lover.  I don’t have to answer to you.  We’re divorced.”
“Just curious.”  He shrugged, then made a big production of sampling the air.  “Is that dinner I smell?  A homemade meal?”  He cocked an eye at her.  “Welcoming the prodigal husband?”
“Don’t get too excited.  It’s Lean Cuisine frozen pizza.”
“Mmmmm--one of my favorites.”  He smacked his lips.  “You always were a great cook, babe.”
She gave him a darkling glance. “And you were always a great eater, babe.
“Ouch!  TouchΓ©.  I guess I really packed on the pounds after we got married.  Was that why you left?  Didn’t like the love handles?”
“Cut it out, Mik.  Why are you being such a smartass? You know exactly why I left.  You were an indolent slob without an ounce of ambition except to win Resident Evil and drink yourself to death, and I finally had enough of it.”
He whistled mockingly.  “That’s really laying it on the line.”
God, couldn’t he just shut up?  She added the salad bowl to the table and pulled a plastic container of green jasmine out of the refrigerator.
His eyes danced as she poured the tea into his glass.  “Iced tea?  You don't have anything stronger?”
She gave him a dirty look.  “Not for you.  Now, sit down.”
He glanced at the single table setting and one dark eyebrow arched.
“And where are you going to sit?”
“I’ll eat later, after you’re gone.”
His pale eyes narrowed to ominous slit, he smiled that slow, sexy smile that had always sent hot shivers down her spine, and his voice turned honey smooth.  “Babe, if you want me to leave at any time ever, you’d better set a place for yourself and join me for dinner.” 

Monday, February 4, 2019

What Are You Thinking About Today, Fiorella?

Fio spent most of the day yesterday packing away Christmas and being sad. Usually, she half-enjoys the putting-away process, but things are different now. After fifteen years of perfecting the tree, the lights, the swags, wreaths, and displays for this house, she doesn't have any idea where she'll be for Christmas next year. 😟
According to Fiorella's brain, Husband is still around. When she woke up from an afternoon nap, she found herself deciding to talk him about the two burners on the stove that aren't working. πŸ˜₯
Okay, Fio will admit it--she messed up trying to boil eggs and had to consult the internet to find out where she'd gone wrong. πŸ™ƒ
Your faithful correspondent is not as taken with kiddie talent shows as the rest of the world is. Please, let the children grow up a little before activating their competition genes. πŸ’—
Fio's going to be making the rounds this morning to pick up a popcorn popper, get her chainsaw fixed, and maybe find out what's making her printer misbehave--not all at the same establishment, of course. πŸ˜„

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Family Love

Fiorella's day today made up for yesterday. She worked in the garage for about two hours, getting passageways cleared to accommodate the disassembled Christmas tree, and then, after a trip to town to mail letters, do some grocery shopping and stop by the pharmacy, she went home to pull red ribbons off the necks of about fifty individual shelf displays. Nephew Barrett and his wife, Rachel, arrived in time to help with the ribbons and, after being bribed with Skinny Cows, were kind enough to move all the bags of  Christmas tree limbs to the garage and pack them onto the shelves, no small task considering Fio couldn't even lift some of those bags. They also shelved eight bags of wreaths for Fio. They also jump-started Fio's Miata and stayed close behind her as she drove over to Mazda to check Baby in for the weekend. They also took the Christmas stree stem apart for Fio so it could be stored.

Afterwards, everyone sat down in the den to recover from their labors, and Fiorella passed out the last of the Skinny Cows. Enjoying each other's company, they talked about Husband, his life and death, and the family general. As they left, Barrett and Rachel told Fio to contact them for anything she needed, or if she just wanted to talk.

Fio is humbled by their goodness, but everyone in the family has reacted the same way to Fio's sudden widowhood. She is blessed.

Saturday, February 2, 2019


(1) Aside from the pyromaniac aspect, yesterday was not a good day for your faithful correspondent. First of all, after she loaded up Baby Car, the Miata, for an appointment with Austin Heart, the car wouldn't start, even with the new battery Mazda had put in it just a few weeks ago, which meant she had too hurriedly transfer into the Queen Mary, Husband's Mercedes.

(2) Everyone was running late at Austin Heart, and Fio not only had to sit in the waiting room for half an hour past her appointment time and listen to a series of obnoxious medical infomercials, but to be the guinea pig for a cumadin nurse in training. (Citing her years of experience with a parade of cumadin nurses, she advised him to learn all he could, then jump ship to a higher-paying posiiton elsewhere.)

(3) Home again, Fiorella, who'd planned to have popcorn for supper, a treat which she and Husband used to indulge in a couple of times a month, but she couldn't find the popcown popper. Had Husband taken it with him? But no--she suddenly remembered that she'd given it to Daughter after he died. Not being an Indian-giver, Fio's put a new popcorn popper on her grocery list. Maybe there are single-serving ones available now.

(4) Ah, well, even if Fio couldn't enjoy one of her favorite treats, she figured she could get a kick out of one of her favorite TV shows. No such luck. Big Bang Theory was such a bomb that Fiorella changed channels half-way through.

(5) Determined to do get SOMETHING done,  Fiorella decided to take a photo of the new DUMP TRUMP button she's made and post it on Facebook. You guessed it--her iPhone is jammed and won't let her send pictures to FB anymore.

Friday, February 1, 2019

From My Fireplace to Yours

Fio's gotten pretty adept at starting fires. If she'd been with that guy in Jack London's bad-luck story, he would have survived.
She's also pretty good at eyeballing how much de la lena she needs to bring into the house every day to keep the fire going till bedtime, and it's a lot--at least half a ring. Obviously that boy who tended the fireplace in oldern times was very important.
Husband was an aristocrat when it came to what went into the flames, but Fio will throw in anything that burns--rotten wood, used Kleenexes, old newspapers, ads that come in the mail, anything.

Did Fiorella tell you that she's using Starbucks bags to haul the ashes out of the house to spread on the lawn? Remember, she's the "everything wants to be of use" girl.
Sonya Dog is jealous of the amount of time Fio is spending tending the fire and wants Mommy to spent more time tending HER.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Firewood Rings

If you took a walk around Fiorella's circular driveway, you'd notice a stand of iron firewood rings on the other side of it, anillos grandes filled to capacity against la clima invernal.  Husband and Yardman supplied the bigger stuff and Fiorella specialized in the twigs, small branches, and trash wood, which are vital for starting un fuego en la chimenea. The scene is quite picturesque, but if Fio had seconds, she'd move the firewood into a shed at the back of the house, where it could be kept drier and be more accessible. In other words, instead of having to be lugged in through the front room and dining room to the fireplace in the den, the wood could come in through the den door.
But how did you get the idea of putting firewood rings in front of the house in the first place, Fio?
I saw one in front of Red Lobster  fifteen years ago. It was absolutely charming. Of course, the logs--all the same size--were stripped of their bark and had probably been dipped in lye, but never having never lived in the country before, I had stars in my eyes and bats in my belfry. 
Whatever. Right now, Fiorella has no choice but to make the best of it, which means she's stuck with toting firewood through the front room and dining room to the den, all the time trailing bark, twigs, and leaves behind her. The firewood rings may not be worth it, but the fires are.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hour by Hour

Today was the first day Fiorella had gone out into the backyard since Husband died, and she found FOUR good-sized fallen branches, an obvious gift from God. Gracias a Dio.
Right now, Fio is sitting on el sofa en la sala, drinking chocolate caliente, and keeping un ojo on la chimenea mirar si un fuego will start. All she has so far is whisps of slow smoke. Why is it that el novio de su hija can start un fuego en cinco minutos, while it usually takes Fio una hora?
The fire was still not doing more than smoking so Fio unleashed her frustration on a stupid FB post that said that according to a Gallup Poll, Obama was the least popular president ever. Even Obama-haters know that's a lie, but Fiorella felt ornery enough to leap the fray with a simple "That's untrue." Then came the bombast of nastiness, of course--why is it that so manyTrump supporters have to get personal--but instead of ignoring it, Fiorella decided to bomb the playing field. And she did, listing every one of Trumps sins she could remember without having to consult an encyclopedia.
As Fio finished up her red-hot diatribe, she heard a snapping sound from the fireplace and looked up to see a fan of beautiful orange flames. Obviously, her anger had turned the trick! OMG--does that mean she's a superhero and can turn on the heat anywhere she goes?
After a couple of hours, Fiorella let the fire die. The fireplace is about three inches thick with ashes and she wants to clean it out tomorrow. Meanwhile she is watching the news/weather/sports on TV and wondering when broadcasters decided to become comedians. Walter Cronkite never felt the need to lead off with wisecracks or get chummy with his audience.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

From La Chimenea to Weird

As in everything else, when it comes to feeding el fuego en la chimenea, Fio prefers the weird-- branches that twist and turn, the ones with bark still on them--the ones that call themselves to her attention.πŸ™ƒ
Out of vulgar curiosity, Fiorella's been trying to trace down a guy she used to date in high school. He was very bright and, most of us thought, destined to make it big, but she can find neither head nor hair of him through computer searches. On the other hand, if you research Fio through her alternative identity, she's made quite a splash.😊
For years, Fio thought badly of her mother-in-law for being angry at her husband when he "died and left her," but now, in her own bereavement, Fio understands. M-in-L's anger was a way of dealing with unbearable sorrow, just as Fiorella is dealing with her own sorrow by being constantly active. πŸ’—
Looking good--we all want to. From the moment we are born, we are complimented on how cute , handsome, or pretty we are. Everywhere we go, we know we are being judged on how we look. It's not just our faces, figures, and wardrobe choices, but our possessions--cars, houses, lawns, etc. It's a shallow judgment, but the only way to prevent it would be for everyone to go blind.  πŸ˜•
Suddenly this afternoon, Fiorella suddenly understood that we are, each one of us, everywhere we've ever been at the same time we are wherever we are now. (That's the sort of enlightenment that made Mother say, "You think too much.") 😧

Monday, January 28, 2019

Tidying Up

Fiorella's Christmas decorations are about half-way down, thanks to the efforts of los vecinos, su hija, y el novio de su hija, but there's still a lot she has to handle by herself. Yesterday, she gathered all the  Christmas light cords and stored them in a big box, then gathered all the wreaths--eight of them--and prepared them for storage in a another big box. Today, she plans to take down all the swags that she can reach. She'll also have to figure out a way to mark the iron branches of her twenty-year-old H-E-B tree so she can use it again next year--the identification tags on the limbs and the stem of the tree have half-disintigrated over time. (Her first option for replacement is different-colored twisties.)
Oops. Glancing over at the fireplace, it looks like Fio has at last overloaded the poor thing and killed the flame. So much for her plan of using home-grown lena for heat for the rest of el invierno.
Fiorella's heart is touched thats so many people have consoled her and volunteered to help her. She is also touched by all the sweet sympathy cards she has received--which actually outnumber the Christmas cards she got this year.
Okay, Fio will admit she has been putting off going through Husband's desk and file drawers to find financial statements that the probate lawyer says she will need. She isn't worried about surprises--Fiorella handled most of the finances herself--but it just seems so intrusive.
Fiorella has been wearing a lot of Husband's t-shirts lately. He won't need them anymore, they fit her just right, and she needs extra shirts to wear under the vast wardrobe of his pull-overs she's inherited. Besides, wearing Husband's clothes make her warm and loved.πŸ’”

Sunday, January 27, 2019


Day after day after day after day
Night after night after night after night
The children waste their youth away
Waiting for wrong to be set right

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Excerpt from WHERE THE HEART LEADS (with a few revisions)

Before he did anything else, he had to visit Beth.

He parked on the church road and walked to her grave, then squatted down to put the Thanksgiving chrysanthemums in the vase and think things over. He remembered when he first saw her, the weekend she'd met his family, their two-year courtship, the day they got married, their honeymoon in the foreman's cottage. They were so young, so infallible.

Their years at The University of Texas had been difficult, but somehow the hardships drew them even closer together, and when they graduated, the world had opened its arms to them. Beth was starring in Dallas musicals, and he was an up-and-coming architect. The birth of Delilah had been the icing on the cake.

Then Dad started having stomach trouble, and he'd found himself spending every other weekend in the Bosque Bend Hospital waiting room. And when the end came, he knew had had to move Beth and Delilah back to the ranch.

He'd been surpised at how quickly Beth had adjusted to the lifestyle. Oh, God, they'd had so much together. Every day, they'd ride out together wiht Delilah on the saddle in front of him. And the week befor Beth died, she'd told him she was pregnant.

He gazed at the chrysanthemums again. He would always love Beth, but she was slipping further and further away from him every day, while Moira was drawing closer and closer. He bowed his head for a long moment, then stood up, tugged Beth's gold band off his ring finger, and put it in his pocket.

Beth had been the wife of his youth, but he wanted Moira ro be the wife of his maturity.