Monday, February 24, 2020

From Planning to Politics

Bastrop Son was kind enough to drive up to Georgetown to help Fiorella with the moving preparation, packing, and hauling, mainly out of Husband's office. There's more to go, of course, but the major work is done--although not for Fio--it's her job to decide what to give away, what to donate, and what to put up for sale.
Son also tried to help Fio with the Mercedes, which had put up a screen threatening her with dire consequences if she didn't get the car into the shop muy pronto. Strangely enough, though, the threat ceased when Fiorella gave the hand brake a hard shake while she was driving to Best Buy for help with her computer.
Did I hear you say that you were having a problem with your computer again, Fio? 
     Yes--apparently Your Girl pushed a button she shouldn't have which caused her screen to go dark and emit a high-pitched eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep sound. Neither Minnesota Son nor Neighbor knew what was going on so Fiorella headed off to Best Buy and got in line for the Geek Squad.  The wait was fairly long, but when a cute red-headed guy took charge of Fiorella's computer, the sound ceased.
To celebrate, Fio bought herself a chocolate rabbit and ate it on the way home.
The POLITICS: returns are starting to come in, but Fiorella is keeping her distance. As she's said before, she will support whichever candidate opposes Trump.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Three Aspects of a Good Day

What a good day! Fiorella went through the first couple of chapters of Lolly's story, marking it all the way, and feels very good about her third book's prospects. It will take a while to get the story in shape, of course, but Your Girl's writing better than ever--probably because you've let her hone her skills on the blog (thank you).
The second part of Fiorella's good day was that su donella found the gold watch Fiorella had lost a while back. It was buried deep in the couch cushions, and all Fio can figure out is that she must have put it on a couch arm, then knocked it down the crevice between the arm and the cushion. 
The third part of her good day was that Bastrop son called and said he'll be coming over not only to help her with the house, but also with the Mercedes, which, as you remember, decided to bite the dust on the same day that Baby Car did.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Too Much to Do, Too Little Time!

One of those busy, busy days again when Fiorella has to wait till the evening to look over Lolly's story, but she's determined to do it, come hell or high water. That girl has been running around in Fio's mind for five years now.
Yours Truly's thrill for the day was to discover that not only her beloved Miata, but also Husband's Mercedes are on the blink. Richard at Mazda was kind enough to keep the doors open until Fio got Baby Car over and then drive Fio home, but the Queen Mary is going to have to wait awhile. Meanwhile, Fio may have make use of Georgetown's one-man taxi service.
In the midst of everything else, Fiorella is madly searching through every piece of paper on the dining room table and all the ships at sea, trying to find some very important 2019 tax information, which is very hard to do, what with all the papers she's accumulated this year.
 Did Fio tell you that one of the Bankers at her bank is an aspiring romance writer? Poeple, we are everywhere, and the world is better for us💓!
How can it already be February 22?? Fio is way behind on what she wanted to get done this month, so please, someone--TURN BACK THE CLOCK!!

Friday, February 21, 2020

From Game to Garbge

Fiorella's back on her game. She spent most of her day running around on errands, then settled in with Sonia Dog, cooked up some salmon (yum!), and brought in more firewood to combat the cold weather that has somehow sneaked into central Texas. La lena is wet, of course, but Fio hopes it will dry by this evening. If not, she'll turn up the thermostat.
One of Fio's errands was to stop by the bank to cash a check and ask for copies of two of her 2019 statements, which have mysteriously disappeared into the mess that used to be her desk. While she was there, she visited with one of the bankers, a would-be romance writer, whom she is cheer-leading.
Speaking of cheer-leading, Fiorella found a letter from the organizers of her high school reunion in her mail box today, and, yes, she's planning to attend, but she won't be driving her Miata this time. As you remember, Baby Car is way past her prime so Fio's been using the Queen Mary more and more, but to tell the truth, Fio is considering hitching a ride with Uber this year.
Friend Paula and Fio spent a fair amount of time solving the problems of the world over the phone yesterday, and it was amazing how much in accord we were. Like attracts like!
Congratulate Fiorella! She got the garbage up on the road the night before instead of having to speed up the driveway in her bathrobe when she heard the trash truck coming up the hill.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Evelyn, Dorothy, Lolly, Fiorella, and The Caring Place

Fiorella drove to Austin in the morning, but didn't make contact with writing friend Evelyn as planned. Both of us got the time wrong. Hmm...was God protecting us against something? Fio always wonders.
     Later, Your Girl drove over to a neighborhood she used to live in and visited with Friend Dorothy, yet another writer friend. Dorothy's preference though, is the cold, hard facts of history rather than the anything-goes fiction which Fiorella favors.
Speaking of Fiorella's writing, she does seem to be on track again. Her multiple first chapters of Lolly's story have been sorted out from the packs of other first chapters she's sorted out from her many, many Lolly info pages, and she intends to go through them this evening to see if there are any differences, then dump the repeats in the fireplace and light a match. Whoosh!
Actually, whatever the situation is, she'll be rewriting some parts of said first chapter because she thinks she introduced too many new characters in it. Not that she'll cut out any of her darlings--just move them on to later chapters.
Hooray for late afternoon naps! Fio awoke full of vim, vigor, and vitality, pulled those stirrups down from the back porch, went out front to finish off the porch, then went into the garage and poured another bag of rock salt into the water softener. Coming back to the kitchen, she sliced and wrapped the other salmon she had bought yesterday, cleaned up the kitchen counter, and put together another bag for The Caring Place.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Life and Death

Fiorella has cleaned up both the front porch and the back porch over the last couple of days, although there is still a pair of wooden stirrups hanging up too high on the wall for her to get down.  She's also gathering together all the memento paraphernalia from Great-Grandfather' George's ranch in case anyone in the family wants some of it, but saving out a few things for herself--like the cotton weights, that just might sell well.
Please don't turn Fio in to her kids, but she ate a giant Russell Stover Easter bunny yesterday afternoon. (It looked lonely.)
Fiorella and Daughter have compared primary presidential choices and, while they're not sure of their ultimate choice, they're both in the same ballpark.
Fio met up with two Mac-owner friends at Starbucks yesterday, and they were kind enough to guide her through the intricacies of double-spacing and changing the font in Apple. Now if Yours Truly can just remember what they said....

As Fio was finishing up the blog yesterday, she received word that her sister-in-law's mother, a gallant lady whom Fiorella and her family loved very much, had just died. The world will be the worse for the loss of June, and so will we 🧡🧡🧡


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Plain Talk Valentine

Fiorella is coming out of her blue funk and thought you might like to read a Valentine's Day sonnet she wrote a while back.

               Plain Talk Valentine
We're married twenty years--I cannot write
Of unrequited love; I will not pine
Classically away, my life ablight,
If you ignore this plain talk valentine
   Some years ago, my sensitivity
Was drowned in diaper pails; I will not try
To write a lover's fantasy, for we
Are long since past that fluff, both you and I
   I will not sing a siren's song to lure
Your love; we have three children, twenty years
In sickness and in health, for rich, for poor--
We've life and death between us, joy and tears:
     You need not read the valentine I'm giving
     You today--our love is in the living

Monday, February 17, 2020

Remembering Wendy, the Wonder Dog

Fiorella doesn't see any rainbows in the sky right now so rather than burden you with her miseries, she'll post a selection of her poems about Sonia's predecessor, Wendy the Weimar:

Wendy Saves the World Again
     Her nape is high, her lip is curled
     Her bark is loud and clear
     As Wendy the Weimar saves the world
     From flying bird and chittering squirrel
     And utterly unconcern-ed deer

Canine Gourmet
     Wendy, Wendy, in the woods
     Eating acorns by the score--
     Wendy, Wendy, in the house
     Vomiting upon the floor
     Wendy, Wendy, I implore
      Don't eat acorns anymore

Narc Bark
    Wrapped and treated yet again,
   Totally unconed,
   Wendy Dog's content at last
   To sit and gnaw her bone
   The vet prescribed some happy pills--
   Yes, Wendy Dig is stoned

Weimars Rule!
     Our Wendy is a sweetie dog
     Who understands her place--
     On pillow soft, on couch or bed,
     Being patted on the head,
     Lazing on the bathroom rug
     Or licking at my face

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Fiorella Is Afraid

Trump is coming after Fiorella's Social Security (which already has had a tax put on it by heartless Ronald Reagan), which will totally skew her finances. Sure, she got some money from Husband's insurance, but it won't last forever, and the cost of living keeps going up, up, up.
It's hard to move from one kind of computer to another. Elder son has been kind enough to help long-distance on the phone, and the Wednesday afternoon Georgetown Library computer people have helped too, but no one knows how to enlarge the type font. There's also half of a book missing that no one seems able to find. (Thank goodness that Fio, being the old-fashioned type, made a paper copy --but it's going to take a lot of time transferring everything word-by-word to the Mac.)
The world has turned upside down--right is called wrong, and wrong is called right; lies are called truth, and truth is called lies. Fiorella is afraid, and you should be too!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Second Page, Finally

    The alcohol was beginning to hit his system now so he took a long swallow to accelerate the effect.  Aah--that felt good--just enough agave to relax him before he hit the hay.
     He looked up at the mirror again as the brunette with tattoos up her arm half-arose from the table, her voice cutting through a sudden lull in the crowd noise.
     "--exactly like Michael McConaughey when he was hot!"
     Cotton gritted his teeth. Not that again. Do all guys from Texas look alike?
     The bright blonde shook her head in disagreement, but the rest of the pack turned on his champion. They seemed to be mocking her about something, but she was hitting back. Then, suddenly dropping out of the fight, she leaned back in her chair, and said something that made them gape, then squawk like angry chickens.
     Cotton lifted his glass to the mirror. Whatever is going on, I'm on your side, Babe!
     Rising from the table, she looked back at her friends and struck a defiant pose with her chin up and her hand on her hip.
     Heads turned in her direction as her voice fluted above the crowd. "I'll show you what I mean! Watch and learn!"
     Cotton took another sip of his drink and let the alcohol slide around his tongue a couple of seconds before swallowing. Whatever Dollface was up to, it was a lot more interesting then watching the post-game analysis on the big-screen TV up against the ceiling.
     Tossing her head and swelling an already-spectacular bosom, she strolled toward the bar, winding her way between the tables and evading the outstretched hands of glassy-eyed celebrators inviting her to join their parties.

     Cotton froze in place.
    Shit! Dollface was on a voyage of conquest, and she was heading his way!
    This was all he didn't need--being targeted by a rich man's headstrong daughter. He knew her type--young, spoiled, and too sexy for her own good. That lime green beaded number she had on had must have cost a fortune, and her hair looked expensive too--some kind of fancy up-do with curls bouncing in front of her ears.
     Yep, Dollface probably had a butterfly on her butt, a rose on her breast, and weed in her purse, none of which Daddy knew about and Cotton sure as hell wasn't going to try to find out about.
     She was going to get herself in real trouble one of these days, but not with him.    

      This page is a little rough, but you get the idea. Fio has now introduced you to the two antagonists/lovers.

Friday, February 14, 2020

More Mac Drama and Some Life-saving Information

Friday the Thirteenth hit Fiorella hard yesterday when she was trying to give you the second page of Lolly's story--the program insisted on messing with the layout, making the text hard to read and utterly unworkable. (And this was just when Fio thought she finally had all her problems with the Mac taken care of.)
The day wasn't too good for another woman either.
     Fiorella wended her way toward the back of Target to find someone--anyone--who could tell her where children's games were, and ran into a desperate situation. An fifty-ish woman, gray in the face, was seated in a hastily-provided chair and telling two employees that she didn't feel well.
     The employees were trying to hurry her purchase (Target's phones were having their own Friday the Thirteenth) without success and the woman was getting weaker by the moment so Fio took up station by her side, ready to catch or comfort her--whichever was needed
     "Get me a soft drink," the woman muttered to one of the employees. "I'm diabetic." Confusion reigned as the employees ignored her and tried even harder to get the phones to work, but Fio made her own voice heard. "Forget the phones! Get her a drink, NOW!"
     It took more time than Fiorella thought it should have, but the male employee did come back with a soda of some kind that the woman guzzled down. When she had her color and her voice back, she thanked all of us and told us that when diabetics are in trouble, they need sugar.
    Fiorella replayed the situation in her mind all the way home and, to be sure she would never forget, muttered DIABETICS IN TROUBLE NEED SUGAR to herself again and again.
     She hopes you will remember it too.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thursday Blues

Fiorella is doing her best to be cheerful and forward-looking, but actually, she's somewhat frightened by the dirty tricks coming out of the White House.
     She's also reeling from another couple of rounds with technology yesterday, first at Click, then at the library, which helps dummies like her on Wednesday afternoons. Hopefully, the problem about the iCloud and privacy protection are now solved, but just in case, she's visiting Click again today.
     Life was so much easier when paper, pen, and typewriters ruled the roost.
Speaking of paper, pen, and typewriters, Fiorella is meeting up with writer friend Ann Bell at--where else?--Starbucks this morning, and hoping to get tips on self-publishing. Everyone else has been doing it for five years, but It will be a new adventure for Yours Truly.
And yes, yes, yes, Fiorella will tease you with one more page of Lolly's story tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Author at Work

Whether you want to or not, you are going to get a peek at the first page of the romance Fiorella is now working on. She wrote half of it a couple of years ago, but her publisher said it was too hot to handle so Fio put it on the--uh--back burner 😉

     The bartender was johnny-on-the-spot when the tall, tired-looking man stepped into the hotel bar for a quick drink before going up to his room.
     "What can I get you, bud?"
     Cotton's eyebrows went up. Damn. The kid didn't look old enough to belly up to the bar himself, and here he was selling the stuff. Apparently the usual middle-aged staff had been augmented by the younger generation to handle the crowd tonight.
     "Tequila sour. Put it on my room tab. Bogart, 516."
     "Comin' right up."
      Cotton gazed absently at the long mirror behind the bar. Like probably every other venue in Austin, the Peplum was full to overflowing with Capitol City Community College students who were  enjoying their last night of freedom in the record-busting summer heat before second semester summer classes began--and with CCCC's enrollment up over 40,000, that made for some very happy barkeeps.
     Suddenly, his eyes caught a group of giggling girls sitting a couple of tables behind his back to the side--a bright blonde, two brunettes, and two in-betweens, who were staring at him, putting their heads together, squabbling, then staring at him again.
     What was their problem? Didn't like his sweat?
     Sorry, sweet things, but that's what happens when a guy works eight hours straight in hundred-degree heat clearing acetylene torches out of a supply closet to make room for boxes of petrified bones and plaster casts.  
    He gave himself a cursory glance. Yeah, his T-shirt was streaked with grease, his cargo shorts looked like he'd been on a month-long dig, and his Birkenstocks had absorbed enough strata to take him back to the Mesozoic.
     Rubbing his hand across his stubbly jaw, he realized he hadn't shaved today either.
     He took a taste of the drink the bartender had plopped in front of him, then hunched his shoulders and studied the intricately-carved wood railing above the mirror.
     The Peplum was a classy place. Maybe the ladies were planning to get him kicked out.

WARNING: Fio will be adjusting this page as she writes further.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Eight Truths can tell you where the group that contributed to your DNA has lived in the past, but not your ethnicity. Thus Fiorella's strong Carpatho-Rusyn heritage, dappled across central and eastern Europe, was never recognized until her cousin's wife traced it down.
Fio can't even make a grocery list without her mother's ghost whispering in her ear about the importance of good hand-writing.
Your girl's lady friends, most of whom do not know each other, are what keep her going. Bless them, one and all.
Fiorella was so startled that she floundered for words when a friend she was meeting up with asked her if she knew where she would go when she died, but, on the way home, she came up with just the right answer: "I will be in God's grace, as I am now."
I write to bite
I write to kiss
With either one
I never miss
If you cut me, I'll bleed words.
Just as Fio bewailed her mother not knowing how to drive, her own kids bewail her lack of computer skills
Fio isn't interested in the pundits' interpretations of what's going on in the world. She wants to know what has actually happened, and she'll take it from there.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Speaking of Elmer Gantry.....

Going through pages so old that they'd turned brown and brittle, Fio finally found the information she'd collected several years ago to write a newspaper tell-all regarding a new-to-town prosperity preacher who'd set up shop in North Austin. His twist was an anti-pornography push, and everyone in the area received countless letters in the mail inviting them to join the church's noisy crusade.
     Fiorella was not impressed. In fact, she was so skeptical that she contacted a local newspaper, presented her credentials, and got its backing for a story about the the church.
     Since research is always the name of the game, Fio visited said church one Sunday, and it was quite a shocker to her genteel Lutheran upbringing. The doors were LOCKED SHUT when the the service started, the preacher man invited his richly-dressed bleached-blonde wife to join him on the stage, people made call-outs of thanks from from the audience, and the primary topics were pornography, wealth, and success.
     Later in the week, Fiorella interviewed one of the preacher's five sons in his private office. He shut the door, opened a locked file drawer, sifted through the collection of paperbacks, and pulled one out to show me the kind of "filth" his family was protesting. Sitting down close beside me, he read aloud the most salacious lines, which had been underlined with a red pen." Needless to say, Fio was uncomfortable and wrote up every word of the experience as soon as she got home.
     Here's where the story has an unhappy ending--for Fio, at least. She was trying to do too many things at once (as usual) and lost the notes.
     But it didn't end well for the preacher either. A congregant spotted his car at a local motel where he was shacking up with a woman he was "counseling"--and that was just the start of his troubles. There were also some questions about his high-flying lifestyle, and one of his sons (not the one Fio had interviewed) ended up on the police blotter charged with sending women obscene letters.   
     Needless to say, Preacher Man folded his tents and disappeared into the night.

Hmm...wonder if the whole scene could be written into a book....


Sunday, February 9, 2020

Three Times of Day

MORNING: Fiorella's trip to Austin did not have a happy ending. She couldn't open up her computer, no matter what "password" she fed it. After rushing around, feeding the dog, picking up the house, and considering suicide, she decided to face the music, which meant calling the kids and telling them she wouldn't be contacting them by computer, email, or cell phone for a while.
     Daughter was first in line.
     Fio explained the situation to her, expecting a word or two of sympathy, but instead, Daughter gave her Apple's NATIONAL phone number.
     Fiorella was on the phone within two minutes of hanging up, but it took more than half an hour for a patient young man named COLTON to get your girl back on line. So far, so good, but Fio's going to see what happens next before she declares herself a winner. Once burned, twice shy.
AFTERNOON: It DID work, and Fiorella spent a fair amount of time getting herself up to date on Email and Facebook. Apparently, one of her recent posts about The Children has gone big-time.
 EVENING: Fiorella decided to take the plunge and started rewriting Lolly's story from the very beginning.  In the meantime, she's had a couple of brainstorms about some of the supporting characters. Aah--yippy-yi-ka-yay--it's good to be back in the saddle again!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Fiorella's Adventure

Fiorella spent yesterday morning preparing and delivering Valentine's treats to Chase, Mazda, and Click, then took off to Office Depot, where a nice young man tried every trick to convince her Mac that she was, indeed, its legitimate mistress, but to no avail so he sent her off to the Geek Squad at Best Buy, who sent her off to the Apple Store in the Domain in Austin.
     And that is how Fio ended up spending seven hours in hell.
     The traffic was heavy, of course, but even worse was that Yours Truly had only vague memory of the location of the Domain, a village unto itself. She finally found it, by stopping at a couple of drug stores to get instructions, but what she hadn't anticipated how much the Domain would have grown.
Again Fio relied on the mercy of strangers finally walking through the glass portals of the Apple Store at about 4:30  It was not as upscale as she'd thought it would be. Instead, the one big room was crowded with people yelling back and forth at each other.
      Fiorella's helper, Nevy, had a new tattoo on her arm (the cellophane was still on it), and her nails were painted with an increasing shade of blue, but she knew her business and could shout over everyone in the room. Best of all, she put Fio back on line.
     Now for the trip back home. Fiorella, who had once lived in the general area, thought she could make it back to I-35 with only minor problems, but she was wrong. Things had changed over her twenty-year absence, and she finally had to stop at an H-E-B for help.
     Her trip home took almost two hours, with the sky darkening every moment, and Fio was very tired, but there was more to come--as she was preparing to pull into her driveway, blinding lights came over the hill and a horn sounded. Your girl covered her eyes, slammed on her brakes, and prepared to get out of her car, but the other driver gunned his/her engine and took off with a bit of a scraping sound. After Fio pulled into her garage, she checked the driver's side of her car, but couldn't see any damage so she assumes all is well.
      To finish the story, Fiorella was greeted by a frantic Sonya Dog, who desperately needed to go outside, then hurled herself across Mommy's lap as if to never let her go.

Friday, February 7, 2020

From Politics to Penmanship

Trump's lackluster State of the Union address will be  relegated to the dustbin of history, but Nancy Pelosi's dramatic ripping of the text will be forever remembered and celebrated--like when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the castle door at Wittinberg🧡🧡🧡
With Valentine's day fast upon us, Fiorella is loading up with chocolate kisses for her neighborhood friends, her Chase bank pals, and her Mazda pals who have kept Baby Car alive, lo, these many years. For the guys at Click Computer Repair, who are all on diets, she'll provides bags of nuts. (And, yes, she puts on her bunny ears when she delivers the goodies and has even been known to hippity-hop up to the curb/door/counter.)
Sonia Dog, who used to gnaw on Barkley rawhide twists till they disintegrated, has been getting persnickety lately, dropping each twist after a single chew, then begging for another one, which flies against Fiorella's grain--those things are expensive, and she doesn't want a single one to go to waste.
     Surely there was some way she could make the bones more appealing to Doggie. Hey, how about melting a half-stick of butter and rolling a couple of Sonia's cast-offs in a flat pan?
     It worked!
Yours Truly has geared herself up by re-reading her first published book and a couple of chapters of one of friend Shiloh Walker's books, and is now getting herself organized to complete the third book in her Bosque Bend series. And yes, God willing, there will be two more after that, each more shocking than the last 😉 😉😉

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Three Poems, a Cry for Help, and a Tease

Please smell
My Chanel
And notice that
My hair is curled--
I'm going out
To meet the world!
Fiorella is a weird duck,
I heartily agree--
You never know just what it is
That she will say or see
And that's the very reason now
That you are reading me
Fiorella writes
All the time
Sometimes in prose
Often in rhyme
As Fio told you, her first strep in reviving her career in romance writing was organizing her old manuscripts. Now she's moving on to step two: skimming though a couple of her favorite authors' books and her own offerings. This step will probably take her a couple of days, especially because she'll have to find somebody who can help her buy and read books on the Internet. She used to know how to do it, but can't figure out the technique on the Mac. (Also, her account might have been closed down.)
Fiorella's first-published book was set in Waco, Texas, as everyone she went to school with figured out. The characters were all fictional, of course....or were they? 😉

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

All You Wanted to Know about Romance Writers

Fiorella's double-decking in Austin today with two of her best friends, Paula and Evelyn. Strangely, they've never met each other, but they're both high-powered woman and both writers. Hmm...that description could be applied to Fio too.
Speaking of writing, Yours Truly has laid out a plan to get herself into the romance-writing mood (pant, pant) again. She's skimming some of her old favorites like Linda Howard  (pant, pant, pant) and is also picking up new books by various friends (pant, pant, pant, pant).
Seriously, omances novels are about relationships, which means more than sexual high-jinks. The writer has to create an atmosphere, a background, that most people can relate to and even identify with, then introduce her main characters and put them through hell so the reader will consider their Happily-Ever-After to be well-earned.
Most romance writers are female and write traditional male-female stories, although some male writers also go the traditional route. Other authors, both male and female, write about male-male or female-female romances. Fio has no problem with any story that involves a loving relationship, but opposes sadism in any form. In fact, she and her heroine waged war against it in Fio's second published book.
Many authors have signature characters in their books. Fiorella's is---guess what--a dog! Your Girl cannot imagine life without a dog so neither can her heroines.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

From Liquor to Revision

Some people choose liquor
Some people choose weed
I load up on chocolate
When I am in need
Celebrate with Fiorella--she finally tracked down a way to get her coumadin-thinned blood checked on a monthly basis. As you will remember, Austin Heartless fired its coumadin nurses a while back and hooked up with a company that provides patients with contraptions with which we're supposed to prick our own fingers, then send the coded info back to the mother office, which sends it on to Austin Heartless. Fio couldn't bring herself to follow through so friend Marie, a former coumadin nurse, was kind enough to drive out to Fio's house to do the job.
     Fio knew the arrangement couldn't last forever, but she was caught by surprise when Marie's son needed extra care night and day. Nothing for Fiorella to do but pray for both of them and seek another way to handle her own situation--which she did today. It took three hours of going from pillar to post, but she finally located a blood-letting operation she can depend on--for now, at least.
     She also learned something else along the way which surprised her---that she isn't the only person who can't wound herself. Her doctor's nurse confessed she couldn't do it either.
Yes, Fio admit the above has been revised. She often looks over previous posts and readjusts them to suit her fancy. It's legal--she's the original source.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Deep Thoughts Etcetera

Just to show you how weird Fiorella is--and has always been--she's going to admit to having an abnormal sense of the passing of time. It's always been there, but the one that really shook her up was when she was six and playing cowboys and Indians with Barbara Tromer in the wheat-like vacant yard next to her friend's home. Everything was going swimmingly until Fio got a strange feeling that stopped her in her tracks--she had gotten so involved with play-acting that the whole afternoon had passed without her realizing it.
     The same feeling can occur even now if Fiorella buries herself in one of her projects for too long without a break. Maybe it's a matter of intensity, but whatever it is, she doesn't like it and she's going to quit writing about the feeling because she's getting it right now. Brrrrrrrr.....
Lolly's grave is about to be reopened. Fio gave up on her a couple of years ago when her publisher, Hachette Group nixed the story line, but times and publishing have changed since then, and Fio wants to give ol' Lolly a second try. After all, those three notebooks full of rewrites should be good for something.
Speaking of projects, Fio is planning to get the back-yard erosion and the whacko fencing taken care of this spring. In the meantime, she's been clearing off the junky stuff that's collected in and around the woodpile on the other side of the driveway and the back porch.



Sunday, February 2, 2020

Politics--Soft Middle--Politics

Fiorella is so excited--someone has put her DUMP TRUMP slogan on yard signs! 
Another milestone for Fio--she's found all five of her Lolly notebooks, the first step in uniting them into one giant loose-leaf libreta. Lolly, for those of you who haven't read Fiorella's first-published romance, is the daughter and of the hero of the first book, and she's as headstrong as they come.
     Going through the years of writings she's now stacked on the steps of the staircase, Fiorella was surprised to learn that she'd been pretty damn headstrong herself. As a reporter, she stepped into some situations that could have been sticky or even dangerous (more on that later), and as a professor, she did things like put together her own curriculum for her Creative Writing class instead of making the students buy a stupid textbook.
 On the side, Fio is trying to collect all the poetry she's ever written through the years. Thank goodness that she'd posted a fair amount of it on her blog because it's hard to keep track of single-sheets of paper. Where the heck is that poem she wrote years ago about herself and her little brother being together under an umbrella while it was raining?
The impeachment thing went about like Fiorella thought it would, which was disgusting, but your girl still has hope. The whole nation has now seen blatant corruption close up, and Nancy Pelosi is not one to put all her eggs in one basket.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

     Sonia's Prayer

Whenever Fio comes back from town,
Puts away her groceries, then sits down,
Sonia Doggie claims her lap,
Closing her eyes as if to nap....
     Mommy, don't ever leave me again--
     I don't know where you've gone so then
     I worry about you. My greatest fear
     Is that someday you will disappear
     Like Daddy did, and never come home
     And I'll be left waiting, all alone 🧡


Friday, January 31, 2020

Random Thoughts and Events

Breathe in and smell
My Chanel
And notice that
My hair is curled--
I'm going out
To save the world
It saddens Fiorella that people judge (and buy) art because of the name of the artist rather than their joy in the work itself.
Fio wishes all the energy Trump and cronies heap on berating reporters would be directed toward improving the plight of The Children.
This is SOOOOO exciting! For the past two days, Sonia Dog and our neighbor's canine crew have been barking up a storm in the early morning so los vecinos set up their game camera along the the fence in Fio's furthest-back acre. A mountain lion? Big Foot?  Will keep you posted.
Fiorella went into shock when friend Joan told her she keeps up with the blog because Yours Truly-always thought she was writing to an anonymous audience--except for her kids, of course, who check in regularly to find out what embarrassing stunt Mother is up to now.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

From Self-flagelation to Hope

It was cold in the house so Fiorella got one of her trademark trash fires going, added in some nice dry firewood, sat on the couch and stared at the flames, and, as is her wont, berated herself for every stupid thing she'd done in her life from as far back as she can remember--which was when she was four years old and handed her porcelain-headed baby doll--which had been her mother's and grandmother's before her--over to her little brother to hold while she opened the back door. He dropped the doll on purpose and it shattered into pieces. Mother didn't punish or admonish either of us. but Fio could tell she was crying in her heart.
     HOWEVER, not taking proper care of the baby doll--and several other things your girl has done purposefully or not--are in the past, and Fio must move forward--ever forward--if she is to save the nation and the world.
     Her current project, as you know, is gathering together everything she's ever written and either tossing it or preparing it for publication. Things have changed since the Big Six controlled the publishing world, and Fiorella wants to dip her toe in the fresh water. After all, according to the royalty reports of Hachette Group, which published her first two books, Fio's still selling, so maybe she has a chance.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Guilt, Gratitude, Problemas

Fiorella has been feeling guilty lately because her overactive conscience keeps telling her to do something creative instead of dragging cardboard boxes down the stairs to the front room so she can sort and label the contents. But Fio, being a good girl, resisted the siren song and invested her time in gathering together her precious writings, then spent half her afternoon going through notes, stupid  plots, church bulletins, newspaper clippings, and some truly asinine set-ups for romances.
     The highlight, though, was that Fiorella found a big envelope containing information on her heritage which she'd thought she'd lost. Immediately, she emailed the news of the discovery to Cousin Norma, the family historian and promised to send her copies
     The stupid notes and their ilk ended up in the fireplace and, in gratitude, the hungry cavern flashed into flame on its own.
(1) After making lunch for herself and Doggie,  Fiorella drove into town and picked up four bags of rock salt, and, returning  home, was pleased to discover she can still lift 25 lb. bags and carry them a couple two yards to the wall of the garage. Pouring the salt into the hot-water tank was another matter, though. Help!
(2) Fiorella just discovered that she didn't put page numbers on several of her early stories. Help!
(3) Every time Fiorella puts down the Sharpie she is labeling her boxes with, she loses it. Help!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

All the News That's Fit to Print

For better or worse, Fiorella has been spending most of her days (when she hasn't been chawing down on the frozen Hershey Nuggets she's got in the refrigerator ) wading through still more papers from her upstairs office, and some of them go way back--like when she was writing a weekly column for the Austin American-Statesman. 
     Being the daughter of a journalism teacher and having edited two high school publications, Fio got a real kick out of having her own column, especially since the newspaper asked her to take photos too. Her favorite was a shot of a neighborhood man putting up Christmas decorations with a begonia in full bloom beside him. (That's Texas for you.)
     The negative part of the job was that whenever Fio ran into a really good story and wrote it up, the Statesman published it under a full-timer's name. Also, she was once accused of using the newspaper camera to take pics of her kids, which Fiorella had never even thought of doing. When she looked at the shots, she was even more confused--those kids weren't hers.
    One of the joys of the job was talking to the full-timers when she waltzed into the newsroom with her copy, but technology was beginning to rear its evil head and personal relationships were being replaced by metal things called modems, which were not your girl's cup of tea. Needless to say, she soon parted ways with the Statesman, although she's kept up her subscription through the years. It's not just the news--it's the comics.
     Your Fio can't go a day without the funny papers.

Monday, January 27, 2020

The DNA Gets You Every Time

Judging by notes written many, many years ago, Fio did quite a bit of car-pooling and volunteering in her day. She was also at her kids' school a lot more than the teachers probably wanted her to be. Although her boys didn't mind, her daughter did--Daughter was furious when Fio brought her forgotten lunch to the elementary school, and again when Fio showed up at a junior high awards ceremony when she was an honoree.
     Hmm...Fiorella may have showed up more than her own mother ever did because she could drive, which her mother couldn't. Also because as a child, she was jealous of the kids whose mothers did visit school.
Fiorella took notes during vacations and road trips too, and she's planning to make copies of them for the kids for their own horror and enjoyment. She won't be handing out copies of her notes about Mom's last years, though. Mother could be vicious, maybe because of her own pain.
Digging through her past, Fiorella's also came across the name of a high school friend who became a college friend. Carolyn Evans had divorced her husband, changed her name to Katya McCall, and picked up a new last name (Walter), then, as far as Fio could tell, has drifted off to double-bubble land when he died.
     Can't help but wonder if she's still alive under any name.
     L'envoi: Strangely enough, her mother and Fio's father became great friends when the two of them were in a home for the elderly together.
Some of the things Fiorella is digging out from the mess are heartbreaking, but she's also found a few gems like this one:
Can't control
What I do or say
Don't blame me
It's the DNA

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Library Rap

As you know, Fio is going through everything she's written since the beginning of time--the stuff her mother didn't throw out, that is--so buckle your seat belts. You're in for a ride, and it starts at the library of the last college she taught at. After taking roll of her students, whom she had told to meet her in the library, she launched into Rap:

     Now that you
     Have found a seat
     I want to introduce,
     I want you to meet,
     Ms. Fulton, Ms. Fox,  
     And Mr. Hive-lee
     Who are all your guides
     To the libraree--

      If you wanna learn,
      If you wanna know---
      The libraree
      Is the place to go.
      If you wanna read,
      If you wanna just sit,
     The library's
     The place that's it.

     If you want some help
     Or just a nice space,
    The library
     Is your kinda place.
     I'll end with this--
     I guarantee
    You'll benefit always
     From the libraree!
    (The librarians, warned beforehand, stepped forward
with smiles on their faces when their names were called.)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Catching Up with This and That

Fio's has built up big pile of trash in the fireplace so she can start another fire tonight. Her do-it-yourself tactic not only lightens her trash-can trundle, but reduces her heating bill. Also, she likes to watch the flame (insert devil face emoji.)
Why is it that hatefulness has become stylish? That education is derided and kindness has been shoved into the back closet? That our world, which a short time ago was dreaming of settling Mars and beyond, is now intent on destroying Earth and each other?
Pray for Fiorella. After losing five pounds by swearing off chocolate, she's gone on a Hershey's Nuggets binge and is gaining it all back.
Hmm...checking her blog stats, Fio noticed that although the US is still in the lead, France and Russia, once her major audiences, are back in the running again.
Friend Judith posted a photo of their elementary school Campfire group on Facebook, and Fio was top and center, but by the time she hit high school, the other girls had caught up with her height. It was a real shock when she was moved down to the bottom row in P.E. class.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Sonia, Writing, Writing, Writing, Sonia

Oh joy--not!
Fiorella is going to have to look into dog car-gates. Sonia doesn't mind Fio harnessing her up and attaching the leads to the back seat, but the moment the car starts, Doggie wants to move into the front seat. She's getting a good part of herself through the break between the two front seats now, and  her left paw can almost touch the hand brake.
     This is a serious situation. Fio will not only be unable to take Doggie along on a casual country jaunt or a drive-through at Dairy Queen any more, but also to the vet or a kennel.
Is Fio down? Yes, of course. She's going through bags and boxes of a lifetime of writing, and a lot of it is quite dark because that's the way she was seeing the world. When she decided to concentrate on romances, things started looking up --in fact, she even sold.
One thing that's amazed Fio is the way, even as a child, she took notes on appalling things going on around her at school, in the neighborhood, and at home--things that no one else seemed aware of, and you can bet your boots that she's going to write up some of them in a book of short stories which may languish on the shelves, but will at least have seen the light of day.
After a year of battling the insurance and investment companies, the government, insurance, and her own exhaustion, is Fiorella firing up to start writing again? YES!
Sonia's been cozying up to Mommy ever since we got home. She knows she made Fio very angry--that those bellows of NO and that arm thrown across the divide between the seats did not mean "How nice to see you!"

Thursday, January 23, 2020

From Writing to Rage

Considering activity to be the best remedy for  depression, Fio combed through about three hours of her past last evening, which made her depressed all over again. She finally found a cache of short stories she'd written when times were so bad that she was seeing a shrink, and most of the stories are dark, one of them so dark that, recognizing it immediately, she didn't read past the title.
     Fio, did you throw it in the fire? Heavens, no! It's one of the best things I've ever written!
There were several observations and notes-to-self in one of the folders Fiorella was going through--travel ideas, what her characters should be wearing, brainstorms for new stories, even a plot for a TV sit-com involving four romance writers who live together. Hmm...that one still sounds pretty good.
Even more depressing, there were all too many notes that Fiorella couldn't figure out in the least, like the ones from her grad school days, when she could actually read Latin, Russian, Telugu, French, and some German. Others involved deceased friends like Nicole Domingue, and Sharon Kite.
Of course, the current political scene doesn't help lighten your faithful correspondent's mood. She's written SHAME on so many Facebook posts that readers must think it's the only word she knows, but she never even imagined a government could be so out-in-the-open corrupt, nor that so many people would endorse it. For herself, all she wants to do is settle down with her family, her writing, her art, her musical compositions, and maybe be able to pick up some of those languages she's lost.
Okay, Fio admits she wasted too much of today running around Georgetown for (1) a 1960's country-western CD she wants to buy, (2) a bag of Hershey Nuggets so she wouldn't spend all her time cooking up her last box of chocolate fudge, (3) the local jeweler to find out if the gems in the stickpins she's found are real or not.
     HOWEVER....neither Target nor Best Buy could guide her to the CD, neither Target nor H-E-B had any Hershey Nuggets in stock, and the jeweler told her the stickpin gems weren't worth . anything. Angry about the waste of time, Fiorella stopped by Walgreens as her last resort, found the Nuggets, and, in her rage, bought four bags. By the time she got home, there were just three bags, and she was burping a lot.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Fio's at a low spot right now so please be kind to her. She's been working like a dog on emptying the house for a while now, but no one seems to notice. In fact, she's getting complaints about not having done more and will probably get more complaints now that she's begun cleaning out her office and has transferred most of her writings downstairs for evaluation.
Dogs are so innocent. All they want to do is love and be loved. Sonia's favorite thing is to sit in Fiorella's lap--all 130 pounds of her.
It's a cold, rainy day, but your girl has lost her touch and can't get a fire started. Oh well, we do have central heat. (Unfortunately, heating up the room won't take care of the two anagrams she can't seem to figure out.)
     Your Fiorella ate the rest of the chocolate fudge and sat in front of the dying fireplace, pondering her course. Then, suddenly, she knew what to do: TAKE CHARGE.
     The first thing she did was feed the fire with every paper item in the house she could find until it finally caught on its own. Then she walked into the dining room and decided what SHE wanted to do with the stacks--no more consulting kids about what they might want. Then, remembering that she is a writer and wants to turn out a few more books, she sat down and skimmed through an old paperback she'd forgotten about that used to be a favorite. It's references were out of date, of course, but the love story held--the murder mystery subplot didn't.
      Next was lunch--two hours late, as Sonia Dog informed her. Afterward eating, your girl sliced up two salmons for future lunches and tossed them in the freezer. Now she's planning to venture outside during a lull in the rain and check her mailbox. Tally ho!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Music in the Family

I've assigned myself the task of going through a three-foot high stack of music today, and only twelve pieces down, I'm crying like a baby. Oh, the dreams, the hopes--the work--that went into each one of the pieces, like the violin books from Fio's six-month study which came to an end when she became pregnant with younger son; like the violin books from when younger son was a child and saw a little boy on TV and said he wanted a violin. He got it, of course, and was quite good, just like his father had been when had played the violin for about six years when he himself was a child.
     Son stayed with the violin for a couple of years, but when his teacher moved across town, he quit.
    His father had quit when he hit junior high and switched to the French horn to attract girls.
    Meanwhile older son, who, as a toddler, had refused to leave church until the last organ chord played, was in a city-wide children's choir, took piano, and learned to play the trombone. Baby Daughter also studied piano, then took dance lessons. She had professional potential on the flute, but her true love was voice--singing. Of course, she'd heard me singing all her life because, while I was getting a degree in another field, I also took voice lessons and signed up for music composition classes.
     I think that Husband, at the time, was learning guitar and toying around with the harmonica, banjo, and ukulele. 
     Daughter went professional with a couple of bands and got some nice reviews, but, as far as I know, she's more of a listener now. Older son plays the piano some at home and the bass guitar at church, while younger son is game for karaoke any day of the week. I was sort of keeping up piano, and composing a little, but that went out the window when Husband died and I had to dedicate all my time to the aftermath.  I'm moving out of the house soon, so it's is important that I winnow out the books and sheet music, but all I can do is cry.

Fio knows she hasn't gotten everything right time-wise in this blog, and she's probably forgotten things she should have mentioned--like that all three of her children qualified for the city-wide music contest--so you may see corrections if you check this blog later in the week.

Monday, January 20, 2020

From Religion to Angel

Forced religion is false religion.
Organized religion can be dangerous, but disorganized religion is even worse.
All religions are adjusted to/by the local populace.
In heaven, Fio hopes to lay claim to the gold bracelet she lost in a dressing room at Baylor when she was eight and playing the roll of Hippolyta, a diamond ring she lost wading in a lake while visiting with a friend, another diamond ring that was stolen from her suitcase on a trip home from one of Husband's company meetings, and a diamond pin Husband had given her, but which somehow leaped off her dress while she was walking to a PTA meeting.
If Fiorella were triplets, she could get three times as much done.
Yesterday morning, Fio wrote a check to her neighbor for their repair of the north fence, the one that frequently floods. This time around, the reconstructive construction is higher off the ground. Wish us luck.
Congratulate Fiorella--she delivered 200 VOTER REGISTRAR badges to a lady who will pass them on to our local voter registration organizer. Fio would like to make more badges, but she's already overspent her political allowance. Hoping an angel will contribute.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

From Black to Brown

Fiorella heard the phone ring yesterday evening while she was in a deep drowse so she grabbed the  nearest electronic gadget, panicked when she couldn't figure out how to answer her caller, then realized she was holding the TV remote. Why are all these darn things BLACK?
Your girl finally found the power cord for her PC, but now can't find the PC. It'll show up--probably when she's re-lost the cord.
Prose compositions take a lot more time to write than music compositions because music is a closed system with a limited vocabulary, while writing is an open system that involves 26 free-wheeling alphabet letters. Fio is experienced with both.
Fio and Doggie just got back from checking out the new half-fence her northern neighbors put up, and it's perfecto. WHAT A RELIEF!
Daughter, Bastrop son, and his wife came over to speed Fiorella up on clearing out the front room. Fio put the skids on a full scalping, but is quite happy with the partial. It gives the books room to breathe. On the other hand, the east side of the garage, which she'd just gotten cleaned out, is now a depot of big, brown boxes.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020

From Deep Thinking to Dog Training

Fiorella confesses that as much as she craves recognition, she wants it to be from a distance. For some reason, close-up recognition makes her nervous and she says dumb things. A pseudonym would fit the bill, although "Fiorella Plum" has never hit the big time.
Fio wakes up in the morning, notifies the kids she is still alive, gets dressed, brings in the newspaper and leafs through it, feeds herself and the dog, lights a fire, checks out email, blog, and Facebook, then starts in on the thousand-and-one tasks she's assigned herself for the day, knowing there will be even more tomorrow.  Sometimes Fio gets tired of the day after day after day.
With a well-tended fireplace and a dog who eats anything, Fiorella doesn't put much out on the road for the trash pick-up anymore. No wonder the guys didn't complain about the Christmas tree special.
Thursday was the day that Fiorella decided to test the harness with which Elder son and wife had kindly supplied her that would, in theory, keep Sonia out of the front seat of the car.
     Doggie, who loves rides, leaped into the only back door to the Queen Mary that was open, and Fio quickly hooked up the right lead to the underside of the harness, then discovered that the left lead was secure under Sonia's walrus-like bottom. Whipping around to the other side of the car, Fiorella pulled the missing lead out from under Doggie's ampleness, snapped it in place, closed the door, and started up the driveway.
     As Fio moved onto the road, Sonia decided she wanted to come up front for a better view, and actually got her face and paws between the sides of the front seats. Fortunately, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't get through the breach, although the scrabbling drove Fio crazy.
      When they reached Dairy Queen, Sonia seemed quite satisfied to finish off her Pup Cup in the back seat and behaved herself all the way home--sort of--but all's well that ends without Doggie in the front seat.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

From Scales to Tales

How can the doctor's scales say Fio weighs (number redacted) when she went through what was surely ten pounds of Kleenexes last week?
Wish Fiorella well. Today's the day she and Sonia Dog will make their maiden voyage over to Dairy Queen with Doggie dressed to the nines in her new red harness. We HOPE it will keep both her and Mommy safe, but if there's any indication to the contrary, Fio will make a v-e-r-y s-l-o-w turn and return home.
A new baby in the family! At long last, friend Evelyn's physician daughter is pregnant.  Ladies, it's never too late nowadays 🧡🧡🧡!
Fio had a long two hours to fill yesterday between her Austin meetings with Friend Evelyn and Friend Kaye so she took a big, heavy, three-ring notebook with her, hoping to review that story she wants to finish up, but it was hard to concentrate in Central Market with the ravens flying in and out around the tables--though the ravens did give her ideas she might add into another story.
Fiorella and her neurologist had a great time exchanging stories yesterday, and he didn't have any problem with her not being able to find her Humana card. But then, he's been shooting her up with botox for at least fifteen years so he knows she's legit.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Protest Poems

Why was it cold in Starbucks today?
Because their heater is on the blink?
A broken pipe? A wrong connection?
Or because they're pushing a new hot drink?
Yes, Fio's angry,
Angry and mad--
For the plight of The Children
Is worse than bad
When did being a child
Become a federal crime
For which one has to serve
Endless jail time?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Burglary Heartbreak

Did Fiorella ever tell you about the time her parents were burgled? It happened when Brother and Fio had left home, which meant Mom and Dad didn't have a back-up crew.
    Mother, who had horrible leg cramps, had started sleeping on the couch in the front room so Dad could get some rest without her kicking him. The arrangement worked just fine until the night she was awakened by somebody busting into the house Front door, raised window--Fio doesn't remember the details, but she does know that Mom, in her nightgown, ran down the street to the house of some reliable (i.e., young) neighbors for help. In the meantime, the burglar made it to the master bedroom and rifled through Dad's chest of drawers as he battled Dad, who kept yelling, "Where is Eileen? What did you do with Eileen?"
     The burglar knocked him to the floor and made off with a lodge ring that his Uncle Jake had bequeathed to him. The ring meant a lot to Dad, not because of the lodge affiliation--he had none--but because it was willed to him by his beloved uncle.
     The neighbors called the police, then escorted Mother home.
     Fio assumes that, the next morning, in the bright light of day, her parents reevaluated their security arrangements. Maybe screens latched with hooks weren't the best protection.
     About the ring: Fio wanted her father to follow the cops' advice and call the local pawn brokers to see if any of them had it, but Dad said said it would be useless. Fio now thinks he meant meaningless, that Uncle Jake's ring would never be the same again.

Monday, January 13, 2020

From Battles to Kindnesses

Someone Fio used to know posted one of those horrible hate memes your girl dislikes so she answered it with the truth. Immediately, her former friend's family, in a blast of misspelled oratory, called Fio every name in the book. Keeping her cool, Fio politely and without rancor, explained her stance further--and was attacked again. The situation went back and forth a couple of times, until Fio's antagonists finally ran out of vitriol. Poor things--they didn't know they were up against someone hardened by two years in high school debate.
Simplification and thriftiness are the name of Fiorella's game right now. She uses the same plate, knife, and fork every day for her noonday meal and rinses them in the sink instead of the dishwasher, and, to warm the house , she relies on home-grown firewood and old newspapers.
Nephew Barrett and his wife were kind enough to give Fio help during the early afternoon yesterday by loading the old, broken-down one hundred-plus yearnfamily sofa into their pick-up and taking it home to repair and sell, which is one of their sidelines. While they were at the house, they also helped Fio with the garage and the six-foot-tall file cabinet, but the best part of their visit was sitting around and visiting with them. 🧡🧡🧡

Fio spent most of the evening shredding a drawers full of files relating to Husband's employment. Her heart warmed at the commendations he received through the years from his supervisor and the people he had helped, but there were too many of them to save.
Elder son and wife kindly sent Fio a harness for Sonia Dog to wear in the car, and Barrett and his wife kindly put it round Sonia because yours truly is not that good at working without written directions. 🧡🧡

Sunday, January 12, 2020

From the Garage to Roses

Fio does not like having to be a one-person clean-up crew because there's no one there to tell her what a great job she is doing--and no one there to catch her if she falls. Yes, she was out in the garage again, this time trying to organize all the Christmas paraphernalia she carted out there last week.
 Most of the garage is a guy sort of thing. Fiorella knows how to operate a chain-saw, but the rest of the other periphanalia is a mystery to her, which means she doesn't know whether to keep it, sell it, or toss it. She's always been inclined to keep slats of wood, of course, but now that she's planning to depart the residence, they too will go. Her neighbors will have a field day.
Confession time. Fio dropped in at Target yesterday to pick up a couple more libretas amarilla, then wandered over to the children's department and bought a few more  cute outfits for her granddaughter. Remember, Baby is her only grandchild, and Fio's waited a long time for her.
You'll be glad to hear that Fiorella seems to be recovering from whatever she had that laid her low. It hit again Friday evening, but by noon, she was in good shape, and now she feels normal, whatever that is.
May God bless Fiorella's donella. She was here for four hours and the floors and carpets are clean, the kitchen shines, everything that was out of place has been put back in place, and the house smells like roses 🧡🧡🧡

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Daily Report

Cedar season has its good points. Those three pounds Fio has lost are probably from blowing her nose. And those fires in the fireplace that are blazing  extraordinarily well--they're probably the result of the two boxes of dirty Kleenexes she tossed into the cavern.
Never underestimate the power of chocolate. Fio has been feeding it to the trash men on holidays for fifteen years, and today they made off with her twelve-foot spread of the family Christmas tree. The pick-up was both terribly depressing and yet a relief for Fiorella--it represented the end of an era in her life, but the cut was clean.
Fiorella skimmed through one of her favorite old romances in the afternoon, partially to get her mind off her depression, and realized--again--that formulas and how-to advice are meaningless. TELLING A GOOD STORY is what counts! (Thank you, Linda Howard.)
Fio always puts her own heroes and heroines through hell before they reach their happily-every-after, but  in her own life, the hell came after marriage, mostly because she was a wife for a lot longer than she wasn't, but also because Husband could be difficult from time to time. Widowhood hasn't been that great either.
Some people listen to neither God nor Man, but only to the evil that dwells in their own hearts.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Deep in the Heart of Fiorella

Going through long-forgotten piles of paper, your girl found her very first postings under the name Fiorella, only they weren't on a blog, but on a short-lived little eight-pager called Suburban Notebook, for which Fio herself, woman of all trades, did the art and most of the writing. She's now thinking of printing several copies of Fiorella's initial existence in booklet form and handing them out to friends and family.
As you know, everything Fiorella has written, drawn, painted, or composed has become more and more important to her as the years pass. She just wishes she hadn't been so generous with her talents in the early days, that she'd made copies or photos of everything.
Whatever happened to Fiorella's junior high and high school art--like her dramatic full-length portrait of a sorrowful, defeated Beowulf sitting on a rock? Mr. Cornelius said a janitor must have thrown it away, but, in hindsight, Fio thinks that was unlikely. She also painted oil portraits of a couple of Shakespeare queens for his class. Wonder who has them now?
Speaking of, if you come upon a full-length painting of a little black girl in a pink dress, please let Fio know because she'd like to have a picture of it. It was one of her favorites, especially because the family liked it so much that they commissioned a second edition.
It isn't that Fiorella wants to gather all her various compositions together like sheep in a fold, but she does want to know her work is alive and well and appreciated. Also, let's face it--she wants posterity to know she existed.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

From Laughter to Shame

Another busy day for Fiorella. She drove to Austin to meet with friend Paula, which is always a treat. Of course, most of their time was spent laughing, but that's what friends are for.
     Afterwards, Fio dropped by her neurologist's office to find out why she hadn't been scheduled for her three-month botox injections. As it turned out, the woman who handled the botox ordering, scheduling, etc., had given the office a one week notice, then disappeared.
     Now, this is the same woman who was so difficult several years back that Fio so much turned her in to one of the doctors, so she wasn't surprised at the sudden disparture. In fact, she was in raptures.
Elder son and his wife have sent Fiorella a special harness that will allow Sonia Dog to ride in the front seat of the car with Mommy without causing mortal injury to either of them. They'll be trying it out today, their usual Pup Cop day. THANK YOU!
On arriving home from Austin, Fio bundled all the rest of the Christmas tree branches, plus the iron spine and accouterments, into the trunk of the Queen Mary, drove up to the road, and arranged them rather nicely, hoping someone will give them a try. Will keep you informed.
You know how Fiorella has been flaunting her fire-making skills? Well, last evening, it took her several matches to ignite even one taper,  which then burned so joyously that, to avoid singing her fingers, she had to drop it to the floor of the fireplace to die. Then, of course, she tried again.
Today is the day, Fio will go through the closet of Husband's office. She's telling you this to shame herself into action because she's been putting it off for about a week now.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

From Fire Folders to Furniture

Fiorella spent the morning (and then some) going through all of Husband's file folders that had anything in them, then took a couple more loads of the branches of the old Christmas tree out to the road, then set off for town to (1) make sure she and the bank were in accord about her account, (2) mail some letters, and (3) pick up groceries. Somewhere between the bank and H-E-B, she lost su libreta amarilla, which made her so angry that she bought a Milky Way and a bag of Hershey Nuggets and is going to be very sick tonight.  
     Why do things like that happen to Fio? She works so hard, tries to be kind and helpful to all people, sacrifices her life for the sake of theirs. Not the wants or expects to be thanked--that isn't how the world works--but she would at least like for her yellow notebook not to disappear in transit!
     But maybe tomorrow's meet-up with longtime friend Paula will put Fio in a better mood. And maybe, when she inquires again tomorrow, the bank or H-E-B will tell her that a a good Samaritan found Fio's precious libreta in the parking lot. Praying, praying, praying....
Now that Husband's file cabinet is cleared of content, Fiorella needs to get it downstairs, which is not a one-person job. In fact, Fio is wondering how they ever got upstairs in the first place. Ah--nephew Barrett and his wife will be coming over soon to pick up the lovely antique sofa and chair Fio inherited from her mother-in-law, who inherited them from her mother, and maybe Fiorella could hornswoggle them to help her with the file cabinet.
     Fiorella should add that both the chair and the couch are half falling apart, the same as they were when Mother-in-law owned them. She, like Fio, had planned to have them repaired and reupholstered, but never got around to it. Maybe third time is the charm.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

From Sickness to Recovery

As it turns out, Fio doesn't have a cold. She's sick, complete with nausea, tiredness, insomnia, and all the other nasty symptoms that come with it. The good thing, though, is that she was able to sleep a couple of hours this morning and woke up feeling human again, witness the fact that she grabbed una escoba y un recogador de polvo (a broom and a dust pan) and cleaned up the remnants of Christmas scattered around downstairs. Then, of course, she was exhausted again.
     Take it easy, Fio. You're over the hump, but still have a way to go yet.
After lunch with Sonia Dog, Fiorella decided to bring all the file folders down from Husband's office. Most of them are empty, but they all look like they're in good condition so maybe someone else will want them. Note: that someone will not be Fio. She tried using file folders many years ago and learned that she doesn't have a bureaucratic mind.
Your girl girded her loins and carried her first load of the Christmas tree branches up to the top of the road. She'll be adding to the pile every day in hopes that someone will see their potential and make off with them. Either that or the trash pick-up guys will do their duty--after all, Fio gave them bags of Hershey kisses for New Years.
Come eventide, Fiorella was feeling even better, thank you. She didn't get as much done as she had put on her list for the day, but at least she wasn't having too-hot/too cold shivers anymore. The whole experience, though, leaves her a little uneasy. Sonia Dog is wonderful comfort, but Fio would also like to have a communicating human being around when she's ill.
What's on you magic tablet for tomorrow, Fiorella?   
     Well, number one is finding one of my half-written romances and bringing it to life again--Lolly's story has waited a long time to be told. Then there are the desks in the den that need cleaning out, plus a visit to my bank to make sure everything is okay. 
     My self-assignments don't seem like much when I write them down, but trust me, a thousand other things will pop up in the meantime.

Monday, January 6, 2020

From Christmas to Her Left Hand

Fiorella un-decorated the Christmas tree--lights, ornaments and all--then took it apart, then realized that there was no way she could get the iron branches and fake evergreen up to the road. Right now, she has the waist-high remains guarding the front porch and is hoping her yardman can take them to the country dump for her.
     All in all, though, Fio is moving ahead with her life. There are still a few holiday leftovers around, but getting rid of the tree was vital to the new life ahead of her. She cannot let herself live in the past, no matter how sweet.
God bless Fiorella's lady friends. She can tell them anything and everything, and instead of giving her advice, they share their own experiences 🧡
Kleenex is making a mint off Fio this week. She has a heavy cold and is honking like a goose. Well, at least she got the Christmas tree down.
Just remembered that Austin Heartless wants to get together over the phone with Fio and her RN friend on January 6 (or was FEBRUARY 6?)--about the INR thing.  Don't think it's gonna happen because Fiorella can't even find the note she wrote the information down on.
Why is it that the veins on the back of Fio's left hand have a different configuration than the veins on the back of her right hand?


Sunday, January 5, 2020


Hooray for Fiorella the Magnificent! Last night, she fulfilled her self-assigned assignment and moved all the rest of the Christmas decorations--every one of them bagged and secured--not only only to the dining room table, but to the kitchen island and then off to the garage. And Fio didn't have to go out and buy special containers  for breakables because, penny-pincher that she is, she wrapped everything in several layers of the plastic bags that had been accumulating in the pantry closet.
     Today, she'll be taking down her beloved Japanese Christmas tree for the last time, then haul it, branch by branch, to the side of the road for pickup by anyone who wants to try to put it together or, if its time has come, to be hauled away by the trash service. (Sad face emoji.)
 Have you read any of the long poems that Nicholas Kastinovich posts on Face Book? He disarmingly calls him self "just a simple man," then goes into blusterous, repetitive, badly-rhyming rants against the current administration. Now, your Fio isn't fond of Trump and his cohorts either and has written some quite withering poems about them, but she always strove for not only bull's-eye context, but good form. Kastinovich's poems do neither, yet "K," as he calls himself, has about three-hundred followers on FB alone.
     Why hasn't Fiorella's poetry attracted that many fans? This year's Christmas sonnet, one of the best she's ever written, should have at least catapulted her onto the NY Times.
      But non-recognition is a glass wall that Fio's run up against all her whole life. She's a talented artist, but while paintings of wide-eyed cartoon children were grossing hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, she could only pick up small-pay commissions. Fio also has a talent for music and has written several short performance pieces, but--again--no market. And, while she's had a couple of books published, she did not know how to ballyhoo them into the spotlight.
Recognition....maybe Fiorella will get it after she dies, but more likely, her poetry, music, and writing will be swept into the dust bin of history, only to be hijacked by someone down the line who will claim the credit and know how to publicize himself.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Afternoon of Revelation

Fio, determined to get more done each day, raced up to the road to place her Happy-New-Year bag of Hershey kisses on top of the trash to show her appreciation for the guys who the empty it every week, then hurried back to the house to take care of Doggie, then ran upstairs and, stretching her 5'2"as far as they would go, emptied out Husband's filing cabinet, then went out again to take down the garlands from the right side of the driveway, got discouraged by the snarls, and went back at the house in defeat, sat down in front of the fireplace, frowned at the shelves she'd recently rearranged because they weren't perfectly balanced, and depressed and discouraged, fell asleep.
     When she woke up, her eyes fell on the very same fireplace and the shelves surrounding it, and she realized it was unbelievably beautiful, that everything tied together. Yes, there were imperfections, but they challenged each other, making a perfect connection that lifted the composition beyond itself. And she was the one who had created this masterpiece.
      And that was when she had her revelation, that imperfection could be beautiful and was even more interesting than perfection which, by its stolidness, can be quite boring--cold and boring.
      Energized by her new view of life,  Fiorella rushed outside to finish the job on the driveway, and this time she took scissors with her and was able to cut the recalcitrant garlands apart until only a foot of tinsel, which Fio couldn't reach with her scissors, was left flying like a pirate's flag in a tree next to the road.
    Yesterday, she would have hauled a ladder outside and removed it, but today, she saluted it for its piquancy.


Friday, January 3, 2020

How Did Your Day Go, Fio?

Fio really got a fair amount of work done yesterday, but none of it was what had been on her yellow tablet. Instead of making necessary phone calls, going through the drawers in Husband's six-foot-tall office file, and dropping by H-E-B to pick up some Ovaltine and hamburger meat, she spent most of her time cleaning up from Christmas.
     Actually, your girl accomplished quite a lot. She threw out the Christmas dinner leftovers, yanked about half of the tinsel garlands on the driveway, and pulled the red cardboard bells and the paper snowflakes off the windows. In fact, she felt so good about what she had done that she decided to pack Sonia Dog in the Mercedes and drive over to DQ for a small dipped cone and a Pup Cup.
     And that's when the you-know-what hit the fan.
     The tarp that Minnesota son had fastened across the front seats to bar Doggie from joining Fiorella when she was driving turned out to be no barrier to a 130-pound dog who wanted to sit in her mommy's lap. Yep, as soon as Fio turned onto the highway, Doggie joyously leapt the tarp, stared around at the countryside, then gave Fiorella a loving glance.
     Fio knew what was coming next.
     Dang. Nothing to do but slow down, turn into the first side road, and circle back toward home at a snail's pace, the red "no-seatbelt" light blinking the whole time.
     After shoving doggie back into the house, your faithful correspondent drove down to HEB as planned, but instead of Ovaltine  and hamburger, she bought herself a Milky Way and a can of chocolate frosting. Fio may not drink liquor, but she does eat chocolate.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Lotsa Contemplation Going On

 Thinking about it, Fio realized that although January 2, 2019, was when she legally became a widow, she had, on and off, been in training for the past couple of years as Husband's activity level and health deteriorated. Still, having to go full throttle was both a shock and a challenge, but your girl has survived and maybe learned a thing or two--like how to take it easy. Last year, Fiorella nearly gave herself a nervous breakdown trying to make Christmas bigger and better than every before, but this year, she was cool.
     It helped that she toned down her decorations and expectations, but even more important was that Minneapolis son and his lovely wife helped not only with Fio's attempt at clearing out the house for resale, but also with the Christmas dinner and clean up. Also that Bastrop son and Granddaughter decorated the tree beforehand, and that the whole family  showed up not only for the dinner, but stayed for the dang clean-up that used to take Fio and Husband two days. Then, of course, there was Daughter, who planned and supervised the dinner with the help of Fiorella's brother and his wife and nephew Barrett and his wife. All your faithful correspondent had to do was set the table with the Haviland china and Sir Christopher silver--both of which she hopes to sell, by the way.
     So yesterday, for the first time ever, Fiorella started taking down Christmas decorations on New Year's, when the rest of the world does. It will take a couple of days more, because she isn't hurrying the process, but everything should be packed in H-E-B bags and stored in the garage by Sunday 🧡

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New Year's Contemplations

Yes, Fiorella and doggie were alone for New Year's Eve. Fio and Husband had outgrown the accompanying antics many years ago, and Sonia never seemed interested in watching an iron ball drop on a TV screen so you'd guess that Fiorella's New year's Eve wasn't much different than last year's--except it was. Fio's life has turned upside down, and she's still struggling to deal with it.
     At least she's lightened the load around the house and cleared all of Husband's clothes out of his closet, and at least Minnesota son was able to get a few bucks out of Husband's treasured book collection at Half-Price, and but there are still more books--and gadgets--to go. At the same time, Fio is trying to consolidate her own belongings and prepare the house to be sold qhich means that some hard decisions will have to be made when she takes down the Christmas tree and holiday decorations.
    Thank goodness that Minnesota son was able to clear most of the garage floor because it will provide Fio room to store whatever she decides to keep. It will also save her from having to rent a fortune in storage units until she settles into her new residence, wherever and whatever may by
     Fio isn't happy about having to leave her beautiful rural haven, but she consoles herself  remembering that she has lived in eight different places in her life (Akron, Waco, UT, duplex, rental house, North Oaks, Parkfield, current residence) so she should be able to adjust to a new home. But, oh, how she will miss her rocks and trees, the wildlife, the spring wildflowers, the thrill of discovering a sun-dappled glen she hadn't noticed before.
     Anyway, today is a new year, and your girl will do her best to make it a good year for everyone she knows and doesn't know --WELCOME TO THE WORLD, 2020!