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!