Sunday, May 31, 2020

From Writing to Waiting

Fio is a softie. She doesn't like people being hurt, must less, killed, but her response is limited by her age, sex, and the fact that she is neither rich nor famous. But she can write up a storm about injustice and write she does--to friends on her blog, and on Facebook. There are also her books and poems.
You will never guess what Fiorella found when she was clearing out drawers in the upstairs arts-and-crafts room--a five-dollar bill! It'd been so long since she'd seen paper money that, for a second, she wondered if it was a leftover stage prop.
     Since then, she's been given a twenty-dollar bill for her old barbecue, which also threw her for a loop--is folding money coming back into style?
Your girl got good information from Facebook friends regarding her computer's tendency to make the script ant-size, then zoom it up to elephant land, but she hasn't made any headway on reclaiming her Kindle membership, having Bookmark installed on her Mac, or getting hold of printer cartridges. Any volunteers?
The mark of being an adult is that you do what you should do rather than what you want to do, darn it.
The first wave hit the elderly hard. Thinking that it's the younger generation's turn next. Wishing all well, though.


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Hour by Hour

Fiorella had her afternoon all planned out. After she took care of her morning chores, she'd carry the trash out, get a copy of the backyard pathway plans, order a printer cartridge, work on Lolly's story, maybe even contact Custom Pin Buttons, and add another page to Jerusha. What did get done? The morning chores and the trash. Otherwise, the computer started playing games again and she spent a fair amount of time entertaining Apple Care, looking through FB, and waiting for Richard to return Baby Car, which Mazda understandably doesn't want to store while it is totally rebuilding its Gtown headquarters. So now it's late afternoon, and she has nothing to show for it.
     There are still five working hours left in your day, Fio. Get to to crackin'!
Whew, Fio just spent one hour and twenty-two minutes with her fingers pressed on keys that would reduce the chapters she accidentally moved up from 14 to 213 whatevers. She's sure there is some one-stroke method to do the job, but she isn't about to experiment. Now to enter her notes that sew up the loose ends of Lolly's story and give a happy ending to everyone who deserves it.
It is now 6:20, and Fiorella has made herself a list for tomorrow, some items of which have been on la lista for weeks or even months. The ones she will concentrate most on seem to be fairly easy: drive by DQ so Sonia Dog can pose for a photo, get instructions on how get a print cartridge, hire her yardman to mow the lawn plus de-pot the iron plants and jasmines.
     It is 6:26 now, so Fiorella, who doesn't turn on TV till at least 9:pm, will try to deal with a couple of bad guys in Lolly's story.
     Fio took a break, went outside, put more trash in the bin, took a half hour walk, then pulled a fallen timber back out of the woods.
     It's 7:00 now, and your girl has locked up the house, armed the alarm and is set on writing. WATCH OUT, LOLLY, HERE SHE COMES!


Friday, May 29, 2020

Change of Season

It's officially summer as far as Fiorella is concerned. She's exchanged her slacks and blue jeans for shorts and adjusted the air conditioning to 68.
Sonia Dog gets a lot more sleep than Fiorella does. In fact, Doggie spends most of her time snoring on the couch while Fio is up'n at'em by 8:00 a.m. and doesn't stop till 9:00 p.m., sometimes 10:00. First off, she contacts the kids so they know she's still alive, then opens up the house, feeds the dog and herself (in that order), reads the newspaper, communicates with friends and fans, clears out sections of the house, pays bills, wrestles with the whims of technology, works on what she is writing at the time, locks up the house again, gets ready for bed, and turns on TV to catch the evening news.
     Why is it then, that Sonia has a trimmer figure and more stamina than yours truly?
Fio's been advised that Blogger is going to change to a new format, which may leave your girl floating in Neverland. She doesn't handle changes well so this may be her death knell. (Hey, that rhymes!)
This morning, when Fiorella walked through her trees gathered in front of the house, she did her best to listen to them, which she had never done before. The rocks, she understood because they called out to be picked up and be placed where they would be useful, but the trees, she'd always thought, were uncaring.
     However, in the last couple of month, los arboles have asserted themselves as the beings they are, and now Fio cannot walk through their clusters without feeling their their warmth and love.
Fiorella hides her bag of chocolate behind the milk so she won't see it every time she opens the refrigerator. Don't laugh--her system works.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Thank you, Michael and Kathy!

Hooray! The work on the flagstone pathway that will take care of Fio's erosion problem has begun, and, thanks to her neighbors to the south, it's going to cost a lot less than a contractor quoted your girl a couple of months ago. Now to get hold of her yardman and hire him to do the actual work laying down of the brick.
Fio is also progressing with Lolly's story, although she still has to make occasional calls to Mac Central when she messes up on the computer. Hmm...her PCs never gave her this must trouble-- except for the last one, of course, which ate up her revisions.
Fiorella was bewailing the loss of her languages when suddenly neenu telegoolo maTlaaDa galanoo cartwheeled into her brain, followed by kennen zee auf deutsch sprechen, ya gavaroo pa roosky, nee-hau-mah, and bits of Spanish, French, and Hindi. Of course, all she remembers is smatters, but she treasured every one of her languages except Sanskrit, which was probably was because the teacher didn't like her and the feeling was mutual
   PS: Fio used to know a few words in Arabic and Vietnamese too.
It gives Fiorella a thrill when she  goes through old papers and finds gems from the past, when she was a real person. Almost everything she does now is related to Husband's death. Writing is her only escape. Ah, the joys of make-believe....
Fiorella's favorite daydream nowadays is still that Trump, Pence, and McConnell fade out of the picture before the election and our Nancy has a three-month presidency during which she fixes everything Trump messed up and sets our country right again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Anger, Fear, Frustration

Has Fiorella ever told you how much she dislikes technology? Well, you're going to hear it again.
     The worst thing about technology is that it lures you into its clutches by doing wonderful things, then deserts you when you're working on something important. Translation: after Fio ran off about a hundred pages in the middle of Lolly's story, the printer announced that it was out of ink. Your girl checked the desk drawer for something that looked like it might be a cartridge, but nada, so she called Minnesota Son. He questioned her about things that apparently she should know about and didn't, which always makes him angry and her nervous. Son was able to go through several commands, etc., on his own end of the line, but still ended up with nothing.
    Apparently the printer Fio bought last year is no longer supported.
Holey Moley! Now Apple is telling Fiorella that her iCloud needs updating. Why? she thought Carbonate took care of that.
A big part of the problem, of course, is the virus, because of which Fio can neither go out for help or lure knowledgeable people into her home. She's in this alone--and probably will be for the next two or three years. A virus is not something you can kill. It will run its course as long as it has something--or anything--to feed on.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Varied Nuggets

Fiorella has trained her pharmacy to add her chocolate purchases to her pill pick-up at the drive-thru. That way, she doesn't have to go inside the storeπŸ˜€
When Fio arrives home, even from a twenty-minute trip to Walgreens, Sonia Dog greets her like she's been missing for days, then plops herself down on Fiorella's lap and whispers, "You're mine, all mine, and I won't let you leave the house ever again!" 
Did Fio tell you that she finally found the real mop and its pail hidden behind the water heater in the garage? Fat chance she's going to use them any time soon. Housekeeping is not her forte,
Fiorella is working on cleaning out/organizing her upstairs arts and crafts headquarters, which is a  lo-o-o-ong counter on one side of a w-i-i-i-ide hall leading to the bathroom.
     (Well, she's doing more organizing then cleaning out. Your girl doesn't want to lose a single scrap of colored paper or golden candy wrappers she's accumulated through the years.)
Strange. Fio never thought of herself as "old" until Husband died.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Bits and Pieces of Fiorella's Existance

I missed the trash
But the bin will last
   Until the coming week
There's not that much
But just enough
   That the neighborhood will reek

(Please note how trash and last are half-rhymes, as are much and enough, while week and reek are true rhymes. Fio gets a kick out of playing with stuff like this.)
How sweet to sleep
With a dog at my feet
Fabulous news! Friend Marla suggested an out-of-town (Cedar Park) nursery, and lo and behold, they have both jasmine and iron plants! Now if Marla's husband can just pick them up today....
Your girl posted some of her art from her previous life on FB and warmed herself in the responses. Gotta admit--Fio was impressed too. Why in the heck wasn't she vaulted to the top of the fine art heap? Oh, yeah--because reality isn't in style and she rarely did abstract.  
Sonia Dog has added a new element to her ceremonies of morning. After being let outside in the back yard to perform her ablutions, then in the front yard while Fiorella retrieves the newspaper, and after eating breakfast and receiving first a treat, then a chew stick, it's imperative that she lie in Fiorella's lap for at least ten minutes before the day can progress.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Alcoholism in the Family

Fiorella had a mid-morning call from a friend who was seeking advice about dealing with her adult kids, something that Fio admits she's not done a particularly good job of, maybe because her offspring are as headstrong as their mother.
      During the conversation--in which Fiorella, trapped in the bathroom, was pulling up her jeans, adjusting a bra, and working one of Husband's tees over her head--Friend mentioned that she is a recovering alcoholic.
     Now, alcoholism is something Fiorella DOES know something about. Her late husband and her maternal grandfather were full-blown guzzlers.
     Husband was born with alcoholic genes--his maternal uncle and grandfather were full time alcoholics--and when he was in his teens, he hooked up with other high school guzzlers. Being in a college fraternity didn't help, and neither did the elite look-the-other-way club that Husband took Fio to on their first date--which was also the first time she had ever tasted liquor except for holy communion
    Then came the evening that Fiorella staggered into her dorm room drunk as a skunk and vomited on the bed covers. From then on, she was more circumspect, especially since she realized that the only reason she was drinking was to make Husband (then her fiance) happy.
     Moving forward about ten years, Fio eventually became a teetotaler, but Husband, despite AA and other programs, still smuggled liquor into the house until, about four years before his death, he had a blackout and couldn't even remember his phone number or birth date. Fiorella called on the family for help, and Daughter gave him the tongue-lashing of his life, which finally convinced him to stop drinking. Husband died sober, but Fio wishes he had cleaned up his act earlier.
     Gramp's story will come later.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Kitchen, the Computer, and the Chocolate

Fiorella failed the test for floor mopping too. She couldn't find an appropriate bucket so she cleaned out the ash bucket and half filled it with water. For a mop, she used a spiky brush thing she found in the garage that she's guessing is used to clean out the floors of cars.
    Twenty-some years ago, Fio used to mop her own floors, and now she's a total imbecile. On the other hand, she got her boom box to work on the first try and was serenaded by country-western as she swabbed the floor with the spiky thing.
Did Fio tell you that Elder Son put a picture of Sonia on the screen of her Mac? It's the one where Doggie is lying across the open computer, sound asleep, which, as you remember, was responsible for an earlier prolonged conference with AppleCare. (Son gets his sense of humor from his mother.)🧑
The H-E-B food arrived, but just beforehand, Daughter told Fiorella that the store had substituted other kinds of chocolate for her four-bag chocolate chocolate order. Fio, who'd had a heavy day couldn't help but cry at yet another screw up, causing Doggie to be all over her with licks, pawing, and sweet whimpers.
    As it turned out, only one  of the bags was the hated chocolate almonds. Two more were questionable "sweet" chocolate, which Fio has yet to sample. The fourth bag was her beloved chocolate chocolate.
   The almond chocolate will go to her neighbors to the south, who have been very helpful, and the two over-sweetened chocolates will be likewise spread around. The chocolate chocolate has already been...uh...put awayπŸ˜‡

Friday, May 22, 2020

Two Postpones and a Giggle

So much for cleaning the rugs. Many years have passed since Fio did her own vacuuming so it took her a little while to construct the machine--and then, the darn thing wouldn't work. Was it on strike for mi donella's knowing hands or had it run out of gas? Oh well, Fiorella will try mopping the concrete floor tomorrow.
Once again, Fio has confounded the technological world. She and Elder Son spent a l-o-n-g time on line trying to add a word search button to her computer, and then, horrified by the fact that Mom hadn't updated anything ever, he worked on that aspect for another l-o-n-g time, before turning the machine back over to her.
     The computer rejected her password and wouldn't open up.
     Fiorella contacted Son and he tried everything he could, then advised her to contact the Mac support team, which she did the next morning. After more than an hour and the efforts of two two steps up in Mac fix-it heierarchy, the computer finally recognized its mother again, but by then, Fio didn't care. Lolly's story will have to wait.
The lead headline in the newspaper was Bars Prepare to Open, which Fio, for a split second, read as Bras Prepare to Open. That's a romance writer for you.😁

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Thank-you Note to Denny

You will never guess what happened.
    Just when Fiorella needed uplifting, she got a long, newsy email from an old friend, Denny Boswell, who was her coumadin nurse at Austin Heart before it became Austin Heartless.
    Luckily, Denny left before HCA bought out AH, and God rewarded for her prescience with a sweet baby boy and.....drum she's pregnant with a girl. Fiorella is happy for her and for all the rest of us. Every baby born means there is yet hope for the world 🧑🧑🧑
Now, back to egocentric Fio. It warmed her heart to hear from Denny, not only because she is a dear friend, but because she said that she reads Fiorella's blog every day. Fio writes blindly so it's always a shock to her when someone comments on her ramblings, partially because doesn't really believe anyone reads it, and partially because the blog is sort of her secret diary--she writes about what she would never talk about in person. Yep, you're reading the naked Fiorella.  
    Hey, maybe that's why another one of Fio's followers is a psychologist. Can you imagine what sort of study she's come up with after sloshing through a heavy dose of yours truly every day?
Now to get to work. Fiorella has to vacuum the floor, work on the taxes, and help a blonde bombshell named Lolly find a happy ending. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Magical Baseball Mitt

Long ago, when Fiorella was a youngling, her parents moved from Ohio to Texas, which, of course, cut her her off from the school the was accustomed to
     There was a school waiting for her in Waco, of course, but she didn't understand any of the games they kids played at recess. At home in Akron, she had been free to use the swings or the sliding board or the monkey bars (which she did not) or run around the large playground and make up games with the other boys and girls. At her new school, the boys and girls were sent out on separate playgrounds, given a bat and soft ball or, at a change in the seasons, a kickball, and after a month or two, a jump rope for the girls and a football for the boys.
    You can guess who was at the end of the line when it came to choosing teams. Yep, there was Fio, the tallest girl in her class, an athletic outcast. And no wonder, the couldn't hit or catch a ball, get her timing right for jump rope, or whack a kickball out of the park.
    And things didn't get any better in junior high when recess was called P.E. and held inside. But suddenly, in high school, Fiorella was able to not only whack balls out of the park, but catch, actually CATCH, a ball thrown to her. Yep, she played second base, occasionally first, and it was all due to her father's magical baseball mitt.
     Dad was a genuine athlete--baseball and football in school, golfing, bowling, and tennis as an adult, but in his closet was his old baseball mitt, and it changed Fiorella's life. With that mitt on her hand, she could actually catch balls because, as she's finally figured out, she didn't have to worry about it stinging her hand.
    Fio would like to tell you she still has the mitt, but she left it on the high school playground one day and never saw it again, despite making constant inquiries about a leather glove that had her name, address, city, state, and planet written on it in black ink.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

From Romance to North Korea

Fiorella has been a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) for about ten years, and she actually has a friend who knew all the writers who established  the group, but your girl has never been totally happy with the organization. How well she remembers when, in an effort to be clever, RWA showed a clip at a national conference mocking Georgette Heyer.
     Everyone but your girl laughed. The idiots didn't know that Heyer was the inventor of historical romance, which many of them were writing and still write. And, by the way, Heyer still sells well too.
Yesterday not one of Fiorella's best days. She lost her cell phone and thus had to get out of her car and go to the door of the local jewelers to claim her wristwatches which had been refitted with new batteries. Even though she wore una mascara, the situation made her nervous. Then when she got home, Sonia Dog whimpered all afternoon as if her heart was breaking, despite being fed, petted, groomed, and (Fio admits it) growled at.
On the other hand, Fiorella was able to plow half-way through Lolly's completed book. She'll spend a couple more hours on it today. Then comes the second round of rewrite....and the third....and maybe a fourth....
Fio will bow to her artistic side today and finally frame a painting she did about twenty years ago from a photograph of herself and Diane Woodhall when they were about five, 
Fio is actually still in touch with Diane's sister, Deborah, and her brother, David.
Has anyone heard anything lately about Kim Jung Un? Not sunbathing in your backyard, is he?

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mourning Bosco

Dogs are such good people. They shouldn't have to die.
   Fiorella has buried eight dogs in her life, and she still mourns every one of them. And now she mourns the death of Bosco, a lively little pug, who had to be put down on Friday. He'd lived a good life in his eleven years, even surviving a recent snake bite, but his medical condition (diabetes) was rapidly taking its toll.
    Son was sniffling when he called to give Fio the news, and she's been weeping on and off ever since as she remembers Bosco tussling with Sonya Dog when Son was living with Husband and Fiorella. The cocky little inkspot saw himself as the canine head of the household, and Sonya, a mere puppy, kowtowed respectfully-- until one day she suddenly realized she was twice his size and let him know it. The tables turned, but the dogs adjusted to the new order and still enjoyed each other.
     When Son moved out, the twosome didn't see much of each other any more, but, in the way of dogs, they still remembered their relationship when Bosco visited.
     Fio is heartbroken for Bosco, Son, and her own memories. Sonya has been all over her, like a mother consoling her child, but Fiorella also weeps for her because, as a mastiff, her lifespan has only a couple more years to go.
     Why do good dogs have to die when so many bad people stay alive?


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Old News

What's been going on with you in the past few days, Fio?
       Well, first off on Friday, she spent several hours on-and-off the phone getting her computer unfrozen and, on the same day, discovered that both her wristwatches had gone dead on her. After several tries by two other Apple people, the computer was finally rescued by a wonderful techie named Adam, whom she has promised she will use for a hero in her next book.   πŸ˜‡
Fiorella spent a lot of time hatching plans to get 10 asian jasmines and 10 iron plants. If she broke into Home Depot at midnight,when no scarf-less people would be around, and left money on the counter top, it won't be stealing, would it? πŸ˜‰
ZOWEEEE! Happiness is when you've spent half the day fighting with your computer, then worked on the house, all the while plotting illegal ways to obtain garden plants (the jasmine at least--the last Fio checked, Home Depot doesn't carry iron plants), then thrown yourself into plotting the last quarter of your book so you can flesh the chapters out and bring Lolly to a happily-ever-after!!!🧑
Right after happiness enveloped her, Fio's printer went bad, and when she tried to fix it, she couldn't put it back together again. Why does technology hate her? 😈
Has Fio ever told you how much she enjoys emojis?😁

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Bricks, Music, Computer

Fiorella's so happy that the bricks have been moved around to the backyard, and now your girl hopes su vecino will have the time to finish off the design for the pathway and that her yardman will understand how to interpret it.
    She's also happy that Sonia Dog, who went out afterwards to check out what had been added to HER backyard is a female. Urine-soaked bricks would not have produced Fio's preferred ambiance.
In her later years, Fio has developed an appreciation for what is usually labeled "Country-Western" music, and she doesn't care who knows it. When she was young, she was more attracted to classical music because that was what she had heard all her life, from Nutcracker Suite through to the Sunday afternoon operas. No Elvis Presley for her family!
     Of course, her musical preference made her an oddity during her high school years, but that wasn't new.
     Fiorella liked to sing so she joined church choirs and a college choir, but as an alto because Mother didn't like high-pitched voices. Then came the day in grad school that Fio tried out for a one-on-one college voice class annd was declared a soprano. For a couple of years there, she threw herself into singing and composing, but all too soon, life intervened--essential tremor of the vocal cords. The condition stopped her from singing, but not from occasional composing--and definitely not from expanding her musical tastes, hence her attraction to Country-Western.
Fio has got to lure someone to her house who is adept with a Mac and definitely clear of the virus to come over and teach her how to use the PageMark thing--Command+D doesn't work.
Neither of her wristwatches work either. She's going to call the jeweler and see if she can mail them to the store to get new batteries (they're on a lifetime guarantee), then be mailed back.


Friday, May 15, 2020

Fio's Parents were Wonderful, But....

Fiorella loved Latin and her Latin teacher, so when she got a 98 1/2, the highest grade in her class, on her final exam, accompanied by a complimentary note from Miss Osborn, she was high as a kite. But when she showed the exam off to her parents, her father (who'd failed first grade) looked it over, gave her a loving smile, and said, "Why didn't you make 100?"
     Fio, of course, was crushed, but it was typical of her parents' reactions to her scholarly achievements. They meant well, she knows--they didn't want her have a "big head"--but it also ripped her self-confidence.
Fiorella didn't get very many spankings, but when she entered her teen years, her mother switched  her instrument from her hand to a wooden yardstick. Fio, of course, would run to the other side of her bed to try to get away, but Mom would corner her and get in several good whacks,.
     Strangely enough, after Mother hit Fio, she'd always say "Stop crying--that didn't hurt!"
     But it did, in more ways than one.
Your girl can't remember Dad paddling her on his own, but Mom sent him after her a couple of times, and he had a better arm than she did. The one Fio most remembers was when, instead of coming when Mother called, she'd yelled out "Just a minute," and turned another page of the book she was reading.
The worst of this is that Fio knows her kids can also tell horror stories about her and their father. Fiorella's parents were actually very loving, and she herself wanted to be the best mother in the world, but parents are people, and nobody is perfect.
Why is Fio telling you all this? Because it's part of her life, and she doesn't want to take anything with her when she flies off into the wild blue yonder.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

From Passing Whine to Passing Time

With excruciating clarity, Fiorella can remember every stupid, thoughtless, and mean thing she's ever said or done in her life. Why can't she remember better times just as clearly? Surely, Fio had some good days.
Searching the garage yet again, your girl finally found a clipper that she can use to cut down the greenbrier climbing los arboles--which reminds her that she never did get around to writing a country-western song about the venomous vine. She'd hoped Older Son, who plays the guitar, could help her with the chords, but she won't be seeing him again until the dang virus subsides.
Whoopee! The yardman and his son have arrived, which means that all of Fiorella's bricks will be moved to the back yard this afternoon in preparation for el vecinos' instructions for how to build the long-awaited walkway. And yes, this is the same neighbor (and his wife) who brought a treat over to Fio for Mother's Day.  
     Be at peace, Fiorella. You may have not always have been the sort of person you wanted to be, but you have been blessed with a good yardman and good neighbors.
     Then, like a mild-mannered Clark Kent transforming into the man of steel, her gentlemanly date tore off his tie and stuffed it in his pants pocket, rolled his sleeves up to his elbows, and strode in the direction of a large flatbed truck parked by a towering mountain of mulch.
Fio, who writes down everything, found this note while rummaging through her old collections: My seven year old and I have different tastes. I want her to dress like Alice in Wonderland, and she wants to dress like Cyndi Lauper.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

From Normal to Destruction

For several years, Fiorella has written pppwww, espanol, piedras, arboles, lena at the top of her to-do list, but everything changed when she became a widow.  Paper, plies, post, weight, walk, write, rocks, Spanish, trees, and firewood did not seem to be as important as they used to be because Fio had entered into a new normal--the legal aftermath of a death,  and now, with coronavirus, she's in yet another new normal. Within a year, she will probably have sold her house, which will catapult her into yet another new normal. Come to think of it, there have been quite a few new normals in her life that she has had to adjust to. Maybe that's just how the ol' ball bounces.
Fio now understands why one of her first romances, Ann and Neil's story, never got picked up by a publisher. She had too many subplots within the main story and had given names to every passer-by. Does that mean Fiorella will ditch her leading characters? No way! She likes the basic set-up and will try to work from there.
Fio had started doubling down on groceries a couple of months before the virus struck, but she didn't remember she'd done the same for extras too until she ran out of hairspray and checked her bathroom supply closet. There it was, a second a big, tall, black can of Tresemme. Same for her sunscreen.
How your girl would like to use her sheltering time is to paint, write, and compose. What she's ended up spending most of her time doing is destructing the house to get it ready for sale.
At some point, Trump is going to lock himself in the bathroom and blow himself to smithereens with non-stop tweeting. C'mon now. Everybody must have realized he's gone over the hill.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Observations from the Past

Fio has been Fio since way before she started blogging, and she just found this gem among her papers:
    Why is it that in a household of two adults and three near-adult children, I am the only one who understands what a trash can is for? Who knows how to refill the refrigerator water bottles? Who knows how to swab a toilet?
Aaaaaand, Here are some crusading poems from olden times:

Airplanes to Biafra
Foodstuffs by the score--
    But don't you hear the hungry crying
    At your own front door?

Sympathy for Jackie
For Rose and Ethel too --
    But don't you hear the children weeping
    Who live so close to you?

 Charity is stylish
And sympathy is fine
Especially if they're far away
And don't require much time

Monday, May 11, 2020

From Hair to Heartbreak

Fiorella and her brother both have full heads of hair and very little gray. They also both have essential (familial) tremor. Wondering if the hair genes and the tremor genes are related. Hmm.......
Sonia dog knows her mommy's morning routine so well that she whimpers and nudges when Mommy forgets to put on her wristwatch.
Fio was brought up to be judgmental, which has good aspects and bad.
This is a nice, angsty poem Fiorella found when she was pawing through old papers:
    Now I sit here, deathly still,
    And let fate toss me at its will--
    Once I tried to hold my ground
    But soon was downed
Speaking of going through old papers, Fio, who writes about everything and saves every page of it, has had to revisit more of her life than she wanted to. Misunderstandings, betrayals, and heartbreak are rife.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Yesterday's Mother's Day

Fiorella's Texas kids treated her to a very nice pre-Mother's Day yesterday. Daughter set up lawn chairs and, instead of hollering through the front door, we all sat about eight feet apart in the driveway and filled each other in on our respective lives. Cross your fingers, but everything seems to be looking up for all three of us. Fio won't go as far as to say that sheltering and distancing has been a godsend for her family, but it hasn't been the catastrophe that some people have experienced.
Earlier in the day, Fiorella finished off yet another box of old papers, reawakening memories of things she was proud of doing, things she wasn't, and things she didn't remember in the least.
Son was kind enough to volunteer to help Fio open up her dormant PayPal account so she can buy books and other items on line. Your girl used to be quite adept at so doing, but that was four years and two computers ago. Son is also going to search out iron plants and jasmine for her.
Some of the memories our threesome talked about did not paint yours truly in a very good a light. All she can say is that she tried.
Later in the day, the food wagon arrived, and now Fio's pantry and refrigerator are full for at least two weeks. Thanks to Daughter for arranging this service. Fiorella may not have been a perfect mother, but all of her kids are top-notch🧑🧑🧑

Saturday, May 9, 2020

From the Other Side of the Glass

Fiorella is glad that she'll be seeing her two Texas kids in person today, but it'll be with them on the other side of her front door which, luckily, is glass. Your girl is going to shove a big box containing Husband's poetry collection out onto the porch before they arrive in hopes Daughter will claim it like she said she would several months ago. Fio will also ask Son to go into the house by way of the garage and pull a heavy box out into said garage while Fio blocks up herself and Doggie in the front room.
     Preparing to move while the virus is running the show is not the easiest thing in the world.
Can anyone out there tell Fiorella how to take herself back to the place in the manuscript she stopped writing the romance-of-the-century an hour or whatever ago? Holding a button down while the machine goes through eighteen or so chapters to get back to where Fio stopped in the middle of a rapturous scene is not only irritating but a waste of time.
Speaking of irritation, how is it that Fiorella found Ann McCoy's story last week, but can't find it today? Is Sonia Dog hiding things from Mommy?
Fio never knew there were so many heartless and stupid people around until the virus reared its ugly head. From drinking Lysol to threatening medical personal, the know-nothings are in full bloom.
While she was going through her file drawers, your girl found masses and masses of college papers that she now can't make heads or tails of. Even worse, she found assignments that she had given to her own students that now totally baffle her.

Friday, May 8, 2020


Cleaning out the house has been a voyage of discovery--and sorrow. Why did Fiorella save some of these things? Why didn't she save more of other things? Why can't she tell the baby pictures of her kids apart when at one time, she could recognize each of them at a glance? Also, had Fiorella ever really been that overweight?
    One thing your girl can say--she's lived a full life so far and intends to keep on going at top speed.
If you're wondering, I just got an order for more DUMP TRUMP buttons. Fio's sorta let that project go for a while, but it's still in the back of her mind.
Fiorella's knowledgeable intervention in a romance writers' discussion of grammar won't win her any friends in Facebook, but it irritated her linguistic training that everyone seemed to think that a verb  phrase like "is running" is passive voice. No. Passive voice involves a passive  receptor of the action.
With Mother's Day tomorrow, Fio can't help but think of all those children in Trump's prisons. Do any of them even remember their mothers? To go further, have they ever had any kind of loving person taking care of them since they were jerked out of their parents' arms?
Darn--Fiorella still can't find Love in the Shadows, the romance that she wrote about a college girl and a handsome but troubled millionaire. She's also missing a story about a grade-school art teacher and--you guessed it--a handsome but troubled millionaire. Don't cringe--it was how romances were written it back then.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

From Chocolate to Sonia Dog

Luckily, your girl bought out Walgreen's stock of leftover chocolate bunnies a couple of weeks after Easter because it looks like they are going to have to be a major part of her diet before her real food arrives this Saturday evening.
Delivered orders are quite expensive. Fiorella now pays about $400 a month for what used to cost her about $100. On the other hand, she never drives anywhere now, so she's saved on gas.
 Changing the subject, Fio is now up to 50,000 words in Lolly's story, and there's a lot more to tell. Fio is really excited about writing again because (1) she doesn't like to leave projects unfinished, (2), she enjoys the characters and the story line,  (3) she hopes it will give her another source of income.
Grab a board and hold on tight--
Your ship is going down
But if you've played your cards just right --
You'll take the bastards with you as you drown
I don't understand. Mommy is always frantically pushing buttons on her computer thing, but when I try to do the same, she goes ballistic and starts yelling at me πŸ˜’          


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

From Jerusha to Coronavirus

Fiorella is proud to announce that she has opened up a new computer page under the name Jerusha Bolton in which she'll talk mostly about writing and being a writer. Look for
Your girl has really been making progress on her long-awaited Lolly story, but it will probably be a month or two before she is satisfied with it. Then comes the hard part--learning how to self-publish.
Fio tends to divide her day into two parts: in the morning, she catches up on the news, the bill-paying, and the housekeeping, and in the afternoon, she throws herself into writing and packing for the move. But then, there are days in which anything that can go wrong does go wrong. Been there?
Red, Fio's resident cardinal, has disappeared. No longer does she hear his unrelenting attacks on the dining room window all morning and late afternoon. Maybe his beak finally fell off or maybe a coyote got him, or maybe he and his lady just moved on--Fiorella checked, and the ragged nest in the pyrocantha no longer exists.
Fio never realized there were so many suicidal people around until they started rebelling against sheltering, masks, and social distancing. Sure, they may luck out, but....they may not.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Darkness, Solitary, Dog Cap, Grooming, Gardening

Most of the short stories Fiorella has written are dark because those are the kind of stories that were in her schoolbooks--and also in the books she later taught from. However, when it came to writing full-fledged books, Fio chose romance, the genre that guarantees happy endings. There's enough pain and sorrow in the world already so why should she add to it?
Fiorella had a lot of time to think things out when she was a kid because, while she always had a good friend or two, she was never part of a group.
     How well she remembers her misguided junior high attempt to fit in. She sat down to eat lunch with a gang of girls in her classes, and when she left the table for a few minutes, they stuck a pickle in her milk carton, then laughed at her because she hadn't tasted the sourness. From then on, Fio walked three blocks home for lunch each day.
     When it came to high school, Fiorella never even tried to join a lunch-time group, preferring to go to the study room and finish her homework. Come to think of it, she wasn't part of a crowd in college either--and even now is uncomfortable in a group of more than three--unless she's holding the gavel.
Whoopie! Fio just drove the Mercedes down to the gas station and filled it up without the kindness of strangers, something she's never been able to do until neighbor Michael added a dog bone handle to the gas cap.
Can't find Sonia Dog's grooming comb and brush. Where has she hidden them?
DANG! Your girl thought she'd be able to order some iron plants and jasmine on the phone, then make use of Home Depot's curbside pick-up, but the store doesn't have any iron plants, and Fio would have to go into the store to buy the jasmine.  FOILED AGAIN!


Monday, May 4, 2020

Patchwork Day

Your girl spent at least an hour on the the phone yesterday with friend Cheryl, who not only writes, but knows everything there is to know about computers, runs a publishing business, and designs book covers--just the sort of person Fiorella needs to know now that she's in the romance writing game again.πŸ˜€
Did Fio ever told you that for about three years, she had a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis? Then, one day, her doctor looked at new x-rays and said she didn't have it--which mattered not because Fiorella had already decided she would move forward as best she could.
Now that she's telling all, Fio has to confess that in her first year behind the desk, she was probably the worst teacher in the world--and her student evaluations proved it. Luckily, two wonderful friends guided her through her second year and her student evaluations improved.
Hmm....Fiorella is wondering if she can persuade a home and garden store to deliver twenty Asian jasmines to her doorstep so she can get them planted in front of the house.  And if that works out, she'll put flagstones and fill dirt on her list.
Fio found six chapters of Sigrid's story and has run them off, but where are the rest of them hiding?


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Lost and Found, Found, Found

After a long night of worrying, Fiorella finally discovered where the missing order of supplies from Target had been deposited--beside the trash can about eight feet down from the road, which meant W-A-Y down from the house. The three boxes were too heavy for Fio to carry so she walked a dolly up the drive to wheel them back to the house one-by-one. But after but that first box, she knew she couldn't handle the other two by herself.      
     Nothing to do but leap into the street when the next car came by, wave her arms, and yell HELP!
     Which she did.
    Thankfully, a pickup carrying three masked occupants stopped and rolled down a window. After Fio explained her situation, the driver loaded the remaining two boxes into his car and delivered them to Fiorella's front porch, receiving Fio's profuse thanks all along the way.
     The boxes contained dog foods of various types so nothing had spoiled during their overnight stay in the woods which means your girl can file the whole episode away as an adventure. But what if the order had been for people food? Fish, milk, and veggies do not fare well in overnight stays in the woods by the side of the road.
Fiorella's own food order should be arriving with Bastrop son on Mother's Day. She only has two gallons of milk left and needs to beef up her refrigerator's fish tank.
Dang--Fio's lost her strip of postage stamps and she doesn't want to have to stand in line at the Post Office or H-E-B. Anyone got suggestions?


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Emoji Day

Ever since Fio inherited Husband's Mercedes, she has relied on the kindness of strangers to fill up her gas tank because she doesn't have the hand strength to open it up. Then Michael, her wonderful neighbor, entered the scene. He not only carved out a tank handle for her, but made it in the shape of a dog boneπŸ•
Have finally realized that not only did "I let my golden chances pass me by," but that sometimes I kicked them out the doorπŸ˜•
Fiorella was quite proud of making Jello last night with a packages that had been in the pantry forever,  but after she tasted a spoonful of it this morning, she threw the mess in the garbage disposal. Apparently Jello doesn't age well. 😝
Fio had a robo-call yesterday morning saying a certain amount of $$ had been removed from her bank account for virus insurance. It was a scam, or course, but how was it supposed to work? Fiorella is still a little nervous about it. 😟
Sonia Dog adds her two cents worth:
It's too bad Mommy just has two legs because sometimes she's a little wobbly when she wakes up in the morning. On the other hand, if she had four legs like me, she wouldn't be able to reach the shelf  that the doggie treats are on. 🐢

Friday, May 1, 2020

As Fiorella Blunders her Way through Life....

Living alone in the house during the time of the Coronavirus has reawakened Fiorella's memory of gazing at Husband's dead eyes and gaping jaw and thinking it's all up to me now.
The Coronavirus plague has driven Fio and her neighbor to the north, back to their school days. Fiorella confided to Carol that since she can't visit her hairdresser for a trim, she's using bobbie pins to hold back her errant tresses, and Neighbor said she's doing the same thing.
     Next come the pony tails.
Fiorella hopes that when their time comes, there will be a special throne in Heaven for her neighbors to the south. From the very beginning, Michael and Kathy have been angels in disguise, and yesterday, Michael came over and spent two hours working on Fio's car and sketching out plans for your girl's backyard wrap-around-the-house sidewalk.
Another advance in Fiorella's culinary skills. She found some old Jello boxes in the pantry and followed the instructions to make herself a tasty dessert. Wow--the sheltering is making a chef out of your girl!
Somehow, even though she can't leave the house, Fio has too many irons in the fire. She's just finished talking to Pastor Karl, who was checking up on her, and before that, she talked to fried Ellen in California, tried to send a pic of Sonia Dog's favorite treat to Daughter, and tried to talk to friend Cheryl about the new blog (which hasn't materialized yet). Oh, and while she was trying, trying , trying, friends Michael and Kathy showed up with Fio's new gas cap opener (which Michael had made).
    While they were here, Kathy pointed out that Fiorella has GRAPEVINES in the trees to the north. WOW!