Never Cry Over Spilt Cioccolatti

And so it was an ordinary afternoon, and like every ordinary afternoon, I went to collect the girls from school. We got home and I made the fatal question they were waiting to hear back for months, “do you want a snack?”. Since I went back to work full time, in fact, it has been replaced by something sounding more like… ” Sorry girls I have no time . I have to go back to work. Sort yourself out”, with me throwing at them a bag of crisps.
Yes I know, shame on me, crisps!!! Anyway, let’s not dwell on it and let’s focus instead on the fact that since I am now working part-time, the after-school snacks routine had resumed.
This particular Monday afternoon it was a typical chilly end of summer day and so I thought that a nice cup of cioccolatti would do them good.(*cioccolatti is the word the girls started to use as toddlers, in their unsuccessful attempt to speak Italian, to refer to a beverage that’s nothing but hot milk with some cacao ).
Now that they are both in secondary school and they can properly speak Italian we still use the word and they can have it in their bedrooms to not waste any precious time that they could instead profitlessly use on their phones!!! You thought for a minute I was going to say to study, eh?
Anyway, let’s not dwell on that either and let’s go back to me, diligently toasting their crumpets and preparing their two mugs of cioccolatti. I put everything on a tray under the vigil eye of big years German who is hoping for something to fall and I start climbing the stairs, closely followed by Gino who, instead, is actively trying to make something fall, except he doesn’t have to make the greatest effort as I end up to do a pretty good job myself.

It all happens in a fraction of a second, I missed the last step and while I fall face down, the tray flies up in the air. The wall, the stairs, the carpet everything is covered in cioccolatti.
I looked at the devastation around me, and after an initial impulse to cry and run away, I take a big breath and I assess the damages trying to decide what requires my attention first. The carpet! For sure I don’t want it to get soaked more than it is already, despite the great effort of the dogs to try to lick as much cioccolatti of it as they can.

I send the girls to lock Gino and Kurt in the garden while I get a bucket and some bleach. I kneel down and start scrubbing, and scrubbing, and scrubbing. Half an hour later the carpet was of the exact same brown colour as it was half an hour before, but at least instead of milk, it smelt of bleach, along with my jeans that now have two white circular stains on the knees. I might try to launch a new trend…

Time now to tackle the stairs glass panels, that in the meantime were still dripping cioccolatti. Well, guess what? It’s hard enough to clean them without leaving marks and streaks in normal conditions, after splashing them with warm milk and cocoa is nearly a mission impossible. I washed them and dried them at least 6 times, and then I simply decided that the fact that at least they didn’t smell sour milk anymore had to be enough for me to be satisfied and work on the wall.
The wall! The one thing I should have washed first instead of last! A pity I only realised it three days later. Yes, you heard me, it took me three days, a bottle of bleach and one of cherry flavour washing up before I could eventually climb the stairs without having the impression that three sets of twin babies had just thrown up their last meals all over my landing.

And if you may be wonder where the travelling husband was in all this. Well, he was travelling, (eventually, after two years he went back travelling 🥳) and only came back on Friday, right in time to enjoy the cherry aroma our walls are now infused with and admire the new rug on the landing….Now, let’s just hope he won’t lift it !!!

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Sabina’s Books

Sparkling Joy

10th of march 2021…. is the date of the last actual blog(shameful Easter advertisement aside).
Holy Posy! For how long did I neglect my creature?18 months? And if I have to tell the truth, during these 18 months, I also thought to shutting it down! I know….I am a horrible person, but I didn’t .Did I?! And that’s what matters, right? And in my defence, it has been a very rough time: health issues, family issues, court battles, hormone rebellion and yes, some laziness too. I even cut my hair on a very very short pixie and went back to work full time. I know, I might have gone a bit too far over there, but I learnt my lesson, and one day I came to terms with the ugly truth: besides the blog, everything else was neglected too, the house, the children, the dogs and worst of all I turned into one of those women wearing short hair because it’s easy to keep. Except, because I have very straight hair, it did not turn that way either. It was true my life needed some changes , but I am afraid not the ones I made. But which ones? And that’s when I had an epifany. No actually, that happens only in the movies. To me it was after reading Sarah Knight and Marie Kondo. And if the first one thought me The life-changing method of not giving a f..k (and God only knows how much I needed it); the second one thought me how to keep my house tidy and clutter-free (and only God knows how desperately needed that too), but most of all she thought me how to keep only what sparks joy. And so I remember how much joy my little blog sparked in me ….

10th September 2022: Welcome back good old /new (Ortensia !

And just as you know, my Bob is nearly back , the job is now part time and I have 18 months of stories to tell….and many to comes because you never forget that a laugh and a bit of extraordinary can be found everywhere 😉

A Man In Crisis

Shortly after he turned forty, the travelling husband came back from a business trip to New York with a leather belt decorated with colourful beads.
Here we go, I thought, a typical middle-age crisis sign.
I was wrong,! It was more just a moment of an extreme bad taste in accessorises and he soon went back to his boring black belt, long grey socks and rigorously white underwear.

Nearly ten years later, though, the real thing might have arrived.
And I am not talking about his happy colourful socks or the long beard and long hair, that in fairness I am not even sure it’s on him or more on the fact that the barbers are closed since last December.

I’m not even talking about the fact that he’s wearing his hunting gear all the time, as I am sure that the choice of apparel is exclusively related to the fact that the poor man needs to exorcise the sadness of a miserably short hunting season.

And of course I’m not even talking about the ritualistic evening check for new grey hair, as once it will stop when he will come to terms that he is now the father of a nasty teenager daughter and that’s the cause of the sudden strips of grey.

What I’m actually talking about is the obsession with cocktails!!!
Yes, you heard me, cocktails!

“I miss a proper bar made cocktail and I’ll never complain about travelling ever again!” He said.
“Neither will I!” I replied because if he’s the man in crisis I’m the wife of the man in crisis sitting in the house 24/7 bored and suddenly realizing that travelling around Europe sleeping in five stars hotel and eating out in fancy restaurants is not that bad!

Anyway back to the husband, after long dark days, the discovery of domestic soda syphons brought hope and a smile back to his face.
Professionally prepared cocktails in the comfort of your home!!!! Every man’s dream.
Three days later he placed the Amazon order, the syphon was delivered and the drinking cabinet was filled with bottles of Campari and Martini of every shade of color.
Unfortunately all the above were useless without the CO2 cartridges that were supposed to arrive with the syphon but, the order was never processed. Something went wrong at the check out he was told after waiting the cartridges for two weeks.Two weeks of sad looks at the syphon sitting on the counter incapable to perform his job.
The travelling husband’s reaction,as you can imagine, was not the most pleasant, and especially for the poor call centre operator who had to break the news to him and ask him to replace the order.
For the next ten days he then monitored with compulsive devotion, and constant disappointment, every currier that was driving up the road. No sign of the cartridges whatsoever!
This time the poor operator had to explain to a very angry traveling husband that his ordered went through, everything was fine but it was now stack in custom. Thank you, Brexit!

Eventually nearly a month after the initial order, the CO2 cartridges affair came to a positive end and a box of cartridges arrived; and then a second one and a third one.

“How many did you order?”I asked, naively worried about a mistake in quantity.
” Better safe than sorry, love.” The husband answered back.
100 soda syphon cartridges safely stored in the cabinet: Enough to beat even the longest man middle-age crisis, …….unless the urge for pizza takes over: “I really miss a proper pizzeria pizza!” He in fact said the other night while sipping his americano(the cocktail not the coffee).
So what now? Are we ordering a wood oven? Or two ,or three😱

Ah, how simpler it was in the pre-covid era when the worst a middle-age man in crisis could do was to shag a twenty something bimbo!!!!

A Chat With Pedrol

I know, shame on me!!!!!🙄I ended 2020 saying I was back and instead here I am, procrastinating and neglecting my readers who, by the way, I hope they will find in their heart the way to forgive me.🙏

In my defence , since the last blog a lot had happened: a new book released, a new puppy home, a fully demonic teenager, a preteenager in the middle, a travelling husband who is still at home 24/7, two new lockdowns, and a few new books projects.

To be totally honest ,all this, if from one side kept me away from WordPress on the other way sure gave me lots of ideas for new posts… and… I swear, I wrote a few , just I never finished them or publish them that I suppose made me the queen of procrastination 🙈

But now all this is over and it’s over thanks to my friend Pedrol.😃🎉

Do you know Pedrol from https://worldwidepedrol.com/. Well if you don’t , I strongly suggest you to check his blog and Instagram page (https://instagram.com/worldwidepedrol?igshid=1lay46kz3wh25)because he will take you travelling and visiting amazing places, and let’s face it, don’t we all need some traveling around nowadays?✈️🛥⛵️🚘🚍🚊 Well I do indeed but as we are still in lockdown 😷I have to travel virtually and my first stop is in Pedrol company in some cafe ☕️🍰in a colorful city🌆 answering his questions📝:

First things first: what would you say about yourself that can be surprising?

That I love bats🦇 and that despite my bubbly approach to lifeI love to be alone, no actually I love to be in my own company.

Where do you live and what are your 3 favorite things about this place?

I live in Ireland, in a rural area I love the that I’m in the countryside and I can walk in the fields but I also have the sea  just 3 km away and I can go swimming all year around. I love to have Dublin half an hour driving away also for every time I fancy a bit of city life. I love the way this country is still naive in so many ways but so advanced in others, and I love Irish weather. Yes, you heard me, I like Irish weather and in particular irsh summers, warm enough to undress but not too hot like in italy.

If it wasn´t the pandemic and you could be abroad, where would you be at this moment and why?

I would certainly be in Iceland because that’s where we were set to go last year but then the pandemic came.

why Iceland? because I love Scandinavian culture and Finland and Iceland are the only two countries I have not been yet, plus im dying to sleep in a ice hotel and see the northern lights.

Either on blogging or arts or maths, what are your biggest inspirations and how do they inspire you?

I’m definitely not a number person and it’s a matter of fact that I still count with my fingers; I’m not much artistic either but I write. That’s what I do and as I like murdering people in my books there is one and only person who inspired me: Agatha Christie.

Morticia Adams and Jessica Fletcher too…. what? They are not real? Ok then, Camilla Lackberg and Peter Hoeg.

What are your tips to have a successful blog?

I’m not sure I’m the right person to answer this question but if I have to , I would say write from the heart about what you are passionate about and try to put a smile on your readers face.

What are you goals for this year and how do you imagine yourself in a decade?

Publish my forth novel in english and danish and the first two in italian.

How do I see myself in a decade?  Not much different from today but hopefully with more time to write and myself.

I’m not bother at all by wrinkles or grey hair, aging doesnt scare me as soon as it doesn’t affect my energy and my mood.

If you had the chance, what would you ask about me? (and I promise to answer in a future post! ahah)

Pedrol how do you do it all?

P.S.

Thank you Pedrol for the shout out and most of all thank you for forcing me back to blogging again.

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Troubles come with Christmas

This post should have been out last week but as usual in Ortensia’s life, things didn’t go according to plans.

If last year around this season we were rushing to find nappies for poor old Clara, who really seemed to be on her very last leg, this year we spent the time spreading big ears german with hydrocortisone cream and stuffing him of steroids and antibiotics after he dived, repeatedly, in a poisoning bush.
So the two weeks before Christmas I spent my days back and forth the vet and nursing the poor animal who barely left the couch and was dramatically indulging in self-pity.

Good thing that at least my Christmas shopping was all done and dusted by then. To close the circle, in fact, after Easter and all the family’s birthdays, even Christmas would be spent in lockdown, that meant that I had to be sure at least the close family and friends present were secured.
I researched curriers to have my parents present sent to Italy, after buying them locally and oblige my duty to support the small businesses, for afternoons until I found a reasonable one that would guarantee me the delivery before the 24th and the same I did with the husband’s and the girls’.
Daughter number one doesn’t believe in Santa for a couple of years yet, but she still believes in her right to have a gift, and this year she had her mind well set on a new bike. Nothing wrong with her old one but its time to upgrade to something technical, she told me and from there she went on for an hour about bike suspensions, back and front, off-road asset, cross wheels etc, etc.
“Ok, ok…..but maybe you better go explaining all that to your father …”I said still trying to figure most of what she said, and whishing her knowledge of algebra was half of her knowledge of bikes. Surprisingly I kept it for myself. It was not easy, but the fact the mean teenager phase seems to be put on hold in favour of a more civil and human one, made me do it. Certainly, we don’t want to go back there, and especially around a Christmas lockdown when we won’t even be able to send her out of the way for a while.
So while the travelling husband sorted the bike and daughter number one, I sorted daughter number two. Daughter number two didnt have a specific request, “I would like a surprise.” She said. From who is not clear and we both let it hang in the air. Daughter number two is still no chicken and no fish, she is what they call a tweenie (not a teenager but not really a child anymore). Does she still believe in Santa? Who knows. Do I want to be the one to break the news about the ugly truth? No. Find a nice surprise was not easy but in the end, I got the perfect present idea. I ordered it well in advance and by the schedule, it was supposed to arrive two weeks before Christmas, except it didn’t!
Every day I checked the tracking app and harassed the help centre and every day I was told it was out for delivery. What route the driver was doing to get here I don’t know but it must have gone through the North Pole considering how long it was taking. Maybe it was a tactic to make the Santa thing more real but more likely not because on the 22nd of December they ultimately admitted that my parcel was lost.
Panic!!!! And a lot of swearing!!!! 😱I certainly could not leave the poor child with anything under the tree to open. I started to check all the possible shops in the area that could have sold something similar and I found one. Relieved that there was a solution, I rushed to the shop, grabbed the last they had, spent triple of what I spent for the other one, but daughter number two had her present.
With a light wallet but a peaceful mind, I am a driving home when the husband rang, “A parcel for you had arrived. It could be Carla’s present.”
“We’ll never know if you don’t open it, love!” and I admit it, the tone was harsh and the “love” sarcastic but what the heck…..ever heard of the word initiative?
A few minutes later a received the picture of the open parcel.
Off I go back to the shop. I shamelessly lay saying my husband had already bought it but haven’t told me and I return the purchased.

All good, in the end, apart from my level of stress even considering g that my car charge is nearly down as I was not supposed to drive for so long and I didnt charge before leaving the house. At least my credit card is back to be slightly chubbier.

Home sweet home. I park and dream of a coffee with a mince pie because after all this stress and driving I’ll be damned if I don’t deserve it except the doors guy are still in the house, there is dust everywhere and the house is freezing.

Yes the doors guys, did I not mention we are replacing doors, stairs and repainting? Of course, I didn’t because it was all supposed to happen back in October but once again all my planning fell through and so the stair will be replaced with the new year. That’s ok we just need to be sure not to lean on the bannister as it’s as wobbly as child milk tooth about to fall. The painter instead will probably show his face, hopefully, by February but at least we (the husband and I) achieved an agreement on the colours. There is only one problem….we now can’t remember which one we choose. Not too bad as we sure have plenty of time to stare at the test patches on the different walls of the house and try to remember.😝

Yes, things don’t always go as planned, and Mr Covid sure doesn’t help but even this year we had presents, lot of food and wine🤢 and a working wifi to video call the grandparents.💗

We’ll see what the new year will bring, hopefully some normality under form of jab😉
Happy holidays season everyone.

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New Car New Life

Back in May I sold my car. My companion of many adventures was handed to a not even yet licensed girl, and a pretty lucky one if you ask me; I mean, my first car was older than me and before it came into my life I had to endure years of car pooling and public transport.

Anyway, with great surprise just a few days after we put the car for sale, a lady rang us interested to see the car for her daughter. I am not sure if the girl was enthusiastic about the car or not but the mother sure was and she was the one who had to pay. Not even the big dent on the passenger door stopped her.

“God only knows how many she is going to give it” She replied when we told her we had a quote to fix it and we had all the intention to deduct it from the asking price.

Obviously the poor woman, after months of driving practice with her daughter, had enough of finding new scratches on her car. The daughter needed her own car to torture.

 In a few days, they came back with a family friend who was a mechanic, just to be sure the car was ok. While the mother was chatting away with us and the daughter was dreaming of her soon to be road independency, the man inspected the car to obsession and kept asking questions and in the end suggesting a price drop. In the beginning, I thought I saw some embarrassment on the woman’s face but when the guy kept going about the fact that it might have been better to also see something else for the same price, I realised she was not embarrassed, she was pissed off.

“Do you mind if we have a word in private?” she asked us and we graciously stepped back to let them talk.

They talked for a few minutes with very low voices and then we suddenly heard,”For God’s sake. Is it in good condition or not and does it worth what they ask for?” She said exasperated and not caring for the volume of her voice.

 “Yes, indeed, I was just trying to get you to pay less, you know…” we heard him say apologetically.

She didn’t even let him finish and turned to us, “We take it.”🚗🎉🎉🎉

And that was the end of it .

By the end of the summer, we desperately missed the car. To be precise I didn’t miss the car but I missed to have a second car. Bad enough that it’s since march that we are living 24/7 altogether in the house, with only one car, we had to do everything together even outside the house, and then the new hunting season approached and the girls’ hockey season so, no staying with just one car was utopistic.

The decision was made. We were going to get the other car and this time I chose it: small, iconic and fully electric. After all we also installed solar panels on the roof ….it’s a choice making perfect sense.

So here I am, a couple of months later, sending commands to my newly arrived electric car from my phone: cool!!!! I feel like a Californian girl: plug, unplug ….except for the fact that in the morning I had to activate the climate to defrost the car rather than cool it down.

If you still haven’t realised it, I love my new car, but there is just one slightly small problem with it: the noise. When I had my test drive I didn’t have my new Dyson hoover and so I couldn’t know. Now, you are probably wondering what a vacuum cleaner has to do with an electric? They do the same noise when you switch them on. Apparently, I am the only one in the family to have noticed that. 

As they say: You can take a housewife out of the housework but not the housework out of a housewife. 🧹Or simply I am the only using the hoover in the house, more likely. But even the most desperate of the housewives can be saved and so last Monday, after dropping daughter number two to art class, I switched the car from green mode to sport and myself from eco mum to cool gal. I had a nice spin around and also grabbed a fancy soy chai latte from the fashionable coffee shop. I felt like a diva and slowly drove back to the art school still with half an hour to wait while sipping my dring and browse around IG. I drove into the parking and there there was a poor kid in the pitch dark shivering for the cold.

“Jeez, poor pet, where the hell are her parents?” I muttered under my breath.

In their new car!!!!!! 

The art term was over the previous week and the poor pet waiting fir half an hour in the pitch dark getting her ass frozen and risking some weirdo to get to her was my daughter😱🙈

What a lousy mother I am. I felt so sorry and terribly bad!😭😫

“Honey I’m sorry I’m sorry, I’m sorry…..but they dint send any email to say last week it was the last lesson…. “I tried to justify myself with her and myself.

“It’s ok, I’m just a bit cold” She smiles at me and I smile back. No, actually after the first ten minutes of mortification and self fustigation I laugh thinking how lucky I have been it happened to her and not her sister, aka the mean teenager.

Yes, being the quiet one is not always rewarding. 

What instead it is indeed rewarding, is not to have that ugly red light from the petrol level indicator to haunt me all the time. Of course ow I need to mon tor the battery as if running out of petrol can be easily solved with a walk to the nearest garage; running out of charge has only one solution, the tow truck; and that is an experience I don’t want to go through again. Yes again, but this story for another time because now, I have to go and put my girl in charge as tomorrow I’ll venture into town.

Happy Weekend everybody🤩

The Last Witch

And as promised here it is what kept me away for all these months:

“Back in 1974 the dormant Irish village of Seacross is shocked by the gruesome circumstances of young Margaret Morehouse’s death. Forty-five years later history seems to repeat itself and the quiet life of the coastal Irish village is suddenly shaken by a series of ritualistic murders.
Someone had broken the pact of secrecy to obtain justice, but if the truth comes out nobody will be spared, from the future Taoiseach to the local men of power. Inspector Billy McCabe is called to investigate but not only will he have to face his demons and test his beliefs but he will also have to watch over his shoulder because nobody can be trusted, not even the ones closest to him.”

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