Supporting the arts : Share The Good Music

 

Sunday afternoon, I am still feeling miserable with aches and pains all over my body and paranoid about typos, when the radio started to play a lyric that immediately captures my attention. I let myself to be transported by the music until I suddenly realize that I know that lyrics and I know the artist.

I am now transported to this incredible singer and songwriter’s house. I have the clear image of him, his daughter and son playing and singing. Then the wife comes along and started to sing along too.  How nature had allowed so much talent in just one family, I still don’t know, but it did. I, on my side, feel quite privileged because surely is not an everyday thing to witness the creation of art, and neither is an everyday thing listen at the radio to a song you know who belongs to.

So, in the excitement of been able to say I know that man whose song is now playing on the radio, I just felt I had to write something because good artists deserve to be heard and shared.

If you love music like I do, (and when I say music I mean good music), and if you like to support arts check this incredible composer and singer-songwriter: Hugh Doolan

https://www.facebook.com/HughDoolan.Music/

https://www.instagram.com/hughdoolan/

https://t.co/6iUzvLBXoo?amp=1

https://open.spotify.com/album/0JhFzfTSpORs3GST1Men7Q?si=WhjtLqG3TCOn1iPBqtYa3g

https://open.spotify.com/album/2E7UKPaTXcXFRPIXEfv6XB?si=U-5w0xOsQG6Nevl4WJYHpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YttrK91Rt24&list=OLAK5uy_mA_B_u7VEfIPKS-ofVuut_2_cdxdONLw4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R4I9GpK6Hg&list=OLAK5uy_nrGwfcBzYHDCoJA0OwIXQNAEoQDnE7nuM

confession of a messy writer

While I spent the week feeling miserable for myself, my gang spent it instead badly concealing their satisfaction in seeing me incapable of verbally giving out.
Last Sunday, I woke up aphonic. Two fireballs had moved in inside my throat and still seemed to have no intention of moving out. On top of this, aches and pains spread all over my body.
Spending the week feeling physically miserable in some way brought me to feel psychological miserably too. I was overwhelmed with things to do for the release of the new book but I was also overwhelmed by the comparison between this book and my debut novel.
It is no secret that every novice has some faults, but the mistakes I realised I did are haunting me, starting with trusting some so-called professional for its proofreading and publication.
I won’t hide that over the months it became an obsession. I walk around the village feeling the eyes of the local on me saying, “here it is the sloppy author. what an idiot!”
I started to believe that nobody will buy any other of my books and that my reputation was ruined. As more pleased I grow with Black Souls and the beginning of vol 1 of The Seacross Misteries, and as more, I feel in need to justify myself in front of my readers and explain things as they are about Fields Of Lies. Sabina the writer has been contaminated by Ortensia the queen of the bad typo. I had to do something, mainly after I soooo much enjoyed my fifteen minutes of fame and glory during the super fun interviews with Dominique (3Cstyle.com) and Victoria (raynotbradbury.com). No denying it, I felt a real VIP…. until reality stroke. But can I let my mishap ruin all the work I ‘ve done so far? No, no and no. I have a five years business plan. One/ books a year and if nothing happens, I can always go back to be a desperate housewife, that if only would be like the one of those living in Wisteria lane, it might be much busier and criminal than in any book. But that only tv, I am walking my dogs for nearly twenty years and i still never found one single cadaver on our way. Come on, every dog walker find at list a corpse in his life according to the movies. Maybe I walk the wrong paths.
Anyway back to my torments, the decision was taken, I unpublished the book and with the help of a friend I started to re-proofreading the whole fecking thing as obviously amending mistakes here and there, when they spotted, as I’m doing for nearly a year, doesn’t work.

At the end of a week of physical and psychological burden, I publically acknowledged my faults and my naiveness, in the hope that honesty pays back. I went to the doctor too, and guess what? I ‘ve nothing that some paracetamol and rest can not cure.
Being astrologically speaking a Taurus, first I acted and then I asked for advice.
They say never ask a question you might not like the answer……nothing is truer and, in fact, the travelling husband didn’t agree with me.
“No honey, you deny, always. Till the end”, his actual words.
I blamed his attitude to the fact that he is the CIO of an international insurance, and God only knows what kind of things happen in those offices. Still, his words threw me back in the anguish I had eventually gotten rid of, after my “coming out”. I mean I know it might sound unprofessional, but everybody makes mistakes, the important thing is to learn from them.
That evening I went to bed troubled, and in the middle of the night, I woke up in cold sweat. I looked at the man lying beside me, and I suddenly wondered what he really meant by “deny till the end”. Should have I read more in those words? Actually, that is exactly what a long-time friend of ours did when caught cheating by his wife, he denied the most obvious of the evidence.
Those words in the mouth of an Italian middle age man can only be suspicious. Even more suspicious, if I thunk at his tendency to buy identical shirts in style and colours, and socks all of one colour. In twenty years of marriage I actually never thought anything about this peculiarity of the travelling husband, until last week. Last week when I was on my own and in desperate need of distracting myself with some tv program that didn’t require much brain activity to be understood and whose dialogues could be easily read through lips as mu cough covered most of the sound,  I watched this movie about a love triangle. The protagonist, in his tidiness, always changed his shirt before going back home to the wife, who never noticed and suspected a thing because he only wore shirts of the same style and colour. He kept a few spare at the mistress’s  place and that was it.

Fields Of Lies is suddenly not my worry anymore, besides I am fixing it for good, and neither is the launch of Black Souls. I only have one concern now: my marriage.
“Honey do you have a mistress?”, I asked after gently pinching the husband on the arm to wake him up.
“No, silly. That would be far too complicated. I have no time for this stuff. Can I go back to sleep now?”
What a relief, now I can go back to sleep too and keep worrying about Black Souls being typo-wise impeccable and my readers still trusting my writing and all those little things normally crowding into my head.

Happy Week End Everybody.

The Visitors

Every year Nona comes over for daughter number one’s birthday, and this year is not an exception.
This year is also a special one because she will come with two of my cousins and the birthday girl will officially be a teenager.
The cousins are much younger than me (around twenty years), but they are also two of my favourite persons in the world, if not for one little detail: they inherited my mum’s cinderella syndrome. Yes, the cleaning freak gene had skipped a generation, mine, and went straight to them. This means that besides the excitement of having them over, I am also under tremendous pressure. Not only I have to pass my own mother’s inspection but also theirs.
They are coming on Wednesday evening, so I carefully planned my days before the arrival.
Monday and Tuesday I’ll work on the book and Wednesday I ‘ll dedicate the whole day to clean the house and groom the girls and myself, as I forgot to mention the two cousins not only are picky cleaner, but they are also a hairdresser and beautician and share their aunt hate for anything shabby and unkempt.

Unfortunately, as often happens in Ortensia’s world, her plans go basted.
The mechanic rings to say that my car won’t be ready until Thursday, that means I have to collect my guests with the travelling husband car.
Nothing wrong, it also much bigger but because it is the car I use to transport the dogs and he uses to go hunting, it is too much stinkier, and they will have to lay their perfectly packed and clean pieces of baggage on a mucky boot.
As on Tuesday afternoon, I have to wait for an hour daughter number two to finish art class that the perfect time to bring the car to have inside-out wash. All sorted; except after I drop CG to art class, the car won’t start.
“Damn it”
Sure it is not the battery because everything electrical works but oil the dashboard display it mentions something abbot the steering wheel locked.
I decide to leave it to rest for a while, believing that cars are like computers: you just have to switch them off, wait and switch them back on, and everything will be sorted.
I soon discovered that the switch off and back one technique doesn’t work with cars. Now, daughter number two had finished art class; daughter number one is at the train station waiting for me; it is dark, and nearly everybody had already left the parking.
The AAA number is engaged, my friend who lives nearby and that I usually call when I run out of petrol doesn’t answer( not on purpose if you are wondering…..I think), the travelling husband is travelling, and I start to panic.
There are only two cars now outside the art centre, one has nobody inside, and the other is about to leave. I have to act quick. I get out the car and jump in front of the poor guy who brakes to avoid to run me over.
He is puzzled and refuses to roll down the window, despite my desperate knocking, ( or maybe because of my desperate knocking). I keep blabbing about my car not starting, and the poor guy eventually convinces himself I might be a lunatic but not a dangerous one.
He gets into my car, turns the key and voila” the engine is running.
I felt dumb and dumber all in one person. The guy looked at me like I was a total idiot but what matters is that not even twenty minutes later I am safe at home with both my girls…..In the warmth and cosiness of my living room….Not that, I wish it. The electricity was in fact gone for most the time we were out, and the house is freezing.

Wednesday is the day of the guests’ arrival.
I drop the girls to school, walk the dogs, and go straight home. The cleaning awaits me. I decide to work my way up.
The ground floor is done, and candles are spread all over the kitchen in the hope, with the cooperation of the curry I’m going to cook for dinner, they will camouflage the wet dog smell. The weather is horrendous, and it never stopped raining g since the previous night.
Time to take care of the upstairs. As the cousins will take over the guest bedroom, Nona will have to sleep in the daughter’s number one room. That means I had not only to change the bedding and accurately hoover and dusting, but I also have to remove everything that can affect her asthma…..basically half of the items in the room as the new teenager is notoriously a hoarder.
Once that is done, I pass to daughter number two’s room, and there is where things get complicated. The two sisters will have to share the place for the coming days. Not a problem as they often do on Saturdays night, but sharing the bed. This time as they will have to sleep in the same room for a few days on of them will sleep on the sofa bed we recently bought. Well, I bought it, as the travelling g husband was sceptical and afraid it would take too much space. Of course, I ignored his worries. CG’s bedroom is a big room, and I took precise measurements before proceeding to the purchase.
Or so I thought because it turned out that once opened the bed doesn’t really fit in the room as it is.
There is only one way: I spin around myself and turn into wonder mom, and I moved furniture around for the next hour.
Now have you any idea what effort it takes to move a wardrobe from one side to the other of a room alone? I can tell you, the same effort that it takes to move a desk, a bed, a chest and drawers. My back still hasn’t completely recovered but it worth the pain as now, with the new bedroom layout once the sofa bed is fully opened, you can not only walk around the room….you can dance!
House is done, deep cleaned and tied, now it is the girls’ turn.
By 4:30 pm they are showered and in their pjs so that I have the time to give the bathrooms one last clean before I eventually go to have my hair done.
6:00 pm I’m back from the hairdresser and ready for a coffee with my feet up before starting dinner…..No, not really as I realised the plants I bought for the garden are still there waiting to be planted. I had totally forgotten about them. They can wait for another day, you might think, except I told my mother I planted the winter flowers a week ago.
Torch on one hand and spade on the other I’m pottering away under the rain……..and when I’m done there is nothing left of the professional blow and dry I had paid like gold but, at least, the mushroom hat the hairdresser blew on top of my head had flattened.
8:20 pm, I just collected my guests from the terminal, and we are heading home ready to enjoy four days of pure fun.

Knit away

Black Souls is done. Only a few technicalities to look after but nothing major and so eventually the high pressure is off.
Ortensia can go back to a sort of routine.
The last three weeks her alter ego, in the person of the murder mystery “writer”, Sabina Gabrielli Carrara, possessed her entirely and kept her prisoner of the editing cave.
The midterm had passed without me enjoying any lazy late morning or useless afternoon, but as they say duty first.
This week eventually, life had started to go back to a bit of normality, except for the fact that now every spare time that I have must be used to pick up the knitting needles.
Daughter number one, who is still possessed by her new “ME”, needs gloves, hat and scarves. Winter had arrived, but apparently, she can’t use any of the dozen she already has to go to school .
“Just wear your stripy scarf honey, and you’ll remove it when in the school premises,” I suggested, at the best of my Italian “let’s sort it out some way attitude”.
“I cant. Mrs P said that when we wear the uniform, we represent the school and we must be impeccable.”
She left speechless. Also, she made me feel a bit lousy in my values, but most of all, she scared me.
I had a vision of an army of girls in their clean and perfectly ironed green and blue tartan uniform, all assembled in the school hall and trained by a Mrs P looking like Sgt Gunny with long hair.
“Plus now I am class prefect, and that makes me even more responsible for the name of the school. I have to give an example!!!!” she then added, while I was still standing mute and humiliated, and she was done another vision appeared in my head:
Reese Witherspoon in the “the election”!!!! And suddenly I imagined my daughter technology teacher as Mathew Broderick and me baking thousands of cupcakes to bring to school because obviously after running for class prefect she will want to run for school prefect right?
Now I only have to hope that this vision won’t come back to me when ill go for the parents-teachers meetings, because I am not sure I will be able to hold myself from laughing.
That’s the story of why I got back out my knitting needles and spent a fortune in wool yarns of a shade of blue and green that perfectly match my daughter, the class prefect, as the badge she religiously wears every day, reminds us all.
P.S
As strong as the new “me” is, unfortunately, for daughter number one, the old one is still living somewhere inside her. The other morning I had to go to rescue her at the train station, where I had dropped her ten minutes earlier because she realised she had forgotten her train card.
“Pew”… I thought in the greatest relief ……she is still infallible mainly considering we this is already her second train card, because of the first one she had lost it a couple of weeks after school had started.

Japanese Tea with and Italian twist……

Tea is served…enjoy a cup, relax and take a peek at Black Souls’s Synopsis :

“Lola never met her father, and her mother took her own life when she was still a toddler. Raised by her aunt Mara, a callous woman who never showed any affection towards her niece. As soon she turns 18, Lola moves to Malta where she meets her future husband, Fergus. The two of them will ultimately build their dream life in Ireland. Lola’s past seems forever forgotten, until the day her aunt Mara dies under suspicious circumstances and her cousin Giulia vehemently discourages her from being involved.  Uncertain about what to do, in the end, Lola flies over to Ponte Alto with her husband.

The old town had not changed much, and neither had the twisted dynamics inside the Kopfler family. Lola is transported back twenty years, and the ancient feeling of being an outsider is back. But that is not all: her presence is a threat to someone; someone who doesn’t hesitate to leave a trail of blood behind to keep their secrets safe. 

The events unfold a spiderweb of evil acts, lies, and a  truth that is far crueller than anyone can imagine, and soon Lola and Fergus find themselves at the centre of a killer hunt. What they cannot imagine is that the search for the truth will bring them back to Dublin. The vicious attack of their neighbour and friend, in fact, is some way connected to the savage murders in Ponte Alto, but how? 

 Inspector Furio Zamparelli and Detective Enda McCarthey will have to join forces and start a race against the clock to stop the killings. 

The deception of the powerful Kopfler family had started. There is no coming back: Will Lola be spared? “

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When life gets in the way

Time had certainly flown by in between travelling back and forth to Italy to sort some family business, then Nona came to visit and soon all my spare time went writing. Without me even realising it, weeks had passed without Ortensia been able to sit behind the desk.
Actually, the plan was to go back blogging last week, but an injured husband and some unexpected DIY job got in the way.
Last Saturday, the travelling husband and daughter number one went out to the lake for the day, while I and daughter number two went to the shopping center to buy a birthday present. With the start of the school, in fact, you are inevitably trapped in the terrifying and expensive spiral of the birthday parties.
By 5:00pm, father and daughter were surprisingly back already.
Daughter number one came in first and immediately warned me that the travelling husband could be slightly cranky because he missed a few birds that, apparently, were a child play.
I said nothing, as I learn to joy inside every time a poor animal is spared and won’t end up in my freezer.
As soon he stepped into the house too, I noticed there was something odd but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
Then I realised that his head was completely tilted on one side.
Because his face is asymmetric, he always keeps his head slightly bent, but this was different. His right ear nearly touched the shoulder.
“What had happened”, I exclaimed.
“Well, you know the little pain I felt this morning when I got up?”
“Yes….”
“Well it got worse, and the wind on the boat didn’t help.”
“Defo”, I said, still incredulous that he managed to stay out all day and drive for over two hours with that stiff neck. I also thought that the pain he had this morning must have been far worse than he said and that he had been a total “moron” to go hunting anyway, but, once again, I kept it for myself.
Then, I thought of what daughter number one said about her father shooting badly, and I really hoped she had said nothing to him because then, I bet he was cranky. How he could have only held the gun is still a mystery to me. An other mystery is how she had not noticed that there was something strange in his father head. I suppose this is what they mean when they say that teenagers live in their own world.
Anyway the poor man was in real pain, but not enough to stay put . He managed to open a bottle of red wine and pour himself a glass with the intention to sip it while watching TV from the couch.
I purposely said “with the intention” because while the husband reached the couch, the glass never reached his lips; instead it reached the sofa, the wall, the floor and everything around the area.Now you would think that is not a big deal, a wet cloth and everything is wiped off. Nop, red wine is lethal, and after I spent half an hour scrubbing walls, floors, rugs, books etc etc, still one side of my kitchen sofa has reddish dots all over. The paint on the wall , on the other end, got entirely corroded. So guess what I did the following morning instead of blogging? I painted under the supervision of the man with the tilted head. He still had not realised how lucky he was that my big chopping knife was in the dishwasher and nowhere at hand reach.

Of course, the evening was not all wasted, and in the end, I did sit down and enjoyed my dinner with a glass of wine that I carefully made sure to bring straight to my lips. All the previous mayhem was forgotten.
Peace and quiet at last….until the door open and daughter number two comes in carrying a tray with hers and her sister leftover dessert. It all happened in a fraction of second, so fast that I didnt even had time to realise what was coming until Clara the dog skids away, Carla the kid stumbles, the tray flys in the air and its content lands on the floor and a bit all over any surface of my kitchen.
I scream, daughter number two screams, Clara runs, daughter number one-half steps into the kitchen with a face saying “not my fault” and the travelling husband stands up to his feet to turn his entire body in the attempt to position his head in the right trajectory to have a clear view. Kurt, stays put on the coach, for once he is not involved in the mess!
What happened is soon explained, Clara the dog who is now completely blind, bunged into Carla, the kid who, been already prone to trip, had stumbled and dropped the tray. Outcome: three broken plates, two chipped glasses and whipped cream splattered all over the kitchen cupboards ,my new lovely fridge, the bookshelf beside it and of course the floor.
Here you go woman, get that mop back out and kneel down to scrub.

The Hairdresser

I hate going to the hairdresser. I always did and probably always will. I hate the feeling of a stranger ravaging on my head and torture my ears with conversations I could not care less. The same way like I hate how they usually blow and dry the hair making you leave the salon wearing a humongous mushroom on your head.
Only recently, I found a place that makes my hairdresser ‘s visits more pleasant. I always ask for Miss M. She knows my hair by now, she is not that chatty and most of all if I say “no mushroom” she won’t blow and dries my head like there is no tomorrow.
The salon is around the corner from the girls’ primary school, that is perfect because I can go and they can join me after school and have their hair trimmed too.
Daughter number two is fine with it. To her, the hairdresser is a form of pampering.
Daughter number one, instead, inherited my hate for it.
Up to some years ago, I used to cut their hair myself, but since they started school, I felt they needed a professional doing it.
Exception made for those emergency situations when some slime got glued on their hair, or the knots were so hard to brush that chopping the entire tuft of hair was much easier.
Thankfully this is all in the past. The girls are now old enough to know how to avoid to go tangle extreme and stay away from chew gums or slime.

Back to daughter number one, as I was saying she is still reluctant to step into a hair salon unless it is my aunt’s one.
Unfortunately, Aunt Paola’s shop is in Italy, thing that made not so easy to regularly go. We try to do our best to get her hair done while visiting but not always is possible, like last summer. Since it was February, the previous time daughter number one had a hair, after I tricked her into coming to the salon with me, now she is really in need of a good trim.
As after the hols I needed a restyle too, I thought to get three pigeons with one stone, and I booked for the all three of us. It didnt work, and one pigeon managed to miss the stone!
“Please, mom, can you cut my hair yourself at home?”
The fact that my aunt and cousins are hairdressers make my daughters think that I can do it also. I tried to explain that you do not learn how to cut hair by osmosis, and neither it is a skill that you inherit, but they still believe I am good at it.
“You always cut our hair when we were little!”
“Yes darling but that it was when I could get away with anything because you were still a toddler and nobody noticed if your hair had different lengths and your fringe resembled Saint Frances’ one.”
Still, daughter number one faith in my coiffeur ability is strong, or it is her hate for the stranger touching her head? It doesn’t matter, and it does not change the fact that last Sunday, after rotating around myself, I transformed into the Wonder Hairdresser of the house.
“We aim for a shoulder-length ok?”, she says
“I am on it”, I say
And so it was. After the first cut was completed, daughter number one had a lovely shoulder-length bob that she proudly wore for a day.
Then every time I looked at her, I saw a tuft of hair of different length here and there, and for the following week every day I had my scissors in hand.
Chop chop chop, trim trim trim…..Daughter number one she is now “proudly” wearing a neck-length bob but so precise that it could go on a geometry book.


I wonder if next time she will rather prefer to suffer half an hour at the hairdresser than a week at home.

The Host

Do you remember daughter number one? The hypochondriac one; the one I had to bring to the doctor, for a fee of 50 euros per visit, so she could hear a professional telling her the same exact things I told her at home? Yes, her: the iper-anxious one who fell victim of terrible belly cramps every time something new was around the corner!
The one we always joked she would never be a problem as a teenager because she was moody since the age of three. Well, she is not among us anymore. No, don’t think the worst, nothing bad happened, she simply fell victim of alien abduction, or to be precise of a body snatcher.

I started to suspect something was not right at the end of the school year when the idea of leaving primary school to start secondary still didn’t raise any anxiety in her. But in fairness, things had degenerated so badly in her former class, that anything could be better than that. The fact the poor child was excited at the idea to leave and not to see the old crew that made her life miserable, was totally understandable.
The excitement of going to a new school and meeting new people and be able to make her friends based on genuine common interests had obviously overcame the possible nervousness. May be there was nothing to worry about after all and, it was still daughter number one we were talking about: we only had to be patient and wait for the last minute tantrum.

The Summer passed and still not a drop in her mood; on the contrary, she even became chatty.
Now, if you think that it is normal for a nearly thirteen years old girl, you also have to bear in mind that up to a few months prior, she used to drive with her father for two or three hours to go shooting without any of them to speak a word. Telepathic communication….their specialty, just a pity nobody else is ever synchronized in their frequence.
Anyway, back to the facts, holidays were over, we were back, and it was time to go through all the books; label them and put them in a different folders of different colours so to make it easier and quicker to grab the subjects she needed from the locker.
The number of books, the variety of subjects, the fact that she had a limited time in between classes to reach her locker and go back to different rooms for different classes, should have freaked her out if she was her real self. It didn’t! Now, my only hope was on the afternoon before the first day of school. That afternoon we were supposed to go to the school in full uniform( skirt included and she was not wearing a skirt since she was two),get the locker’s number, the padlock to bring home and practice to open it and close it and the student journal. Are you wondering what the school student journal is? It is enormous “thing” full of rules, advice, graphics and only God knows what else but whatever it is, it must be of extreme importance because students must carry it with them everywhere they go.
It turned out that while I was totally overwhelmed by the whole process , my daughter or whatever she was now , was still cool about it. Day one in school came, she left with a big smile and came home with the same big smile, plus a list of new possible friends. There was no more doubt about it: something possessed her.Three weeks into the new school and new routine and she is still happy out. She names someone new she talked to every day, and she even asked to go by train already unless it is slashing of course. Some extraterrestrial creature might inhabit her, but sure it is a clever one and doesn’t want to get to school soaked!

I must say I enjoy this new person shaffling around my house lighthearted and chatty, but I cannot think of when the body snatcher will get bored with her and passed on another host. Will I then have my still beloved cranky pants back?
In a total inconsiderate and emotionally weak moment, I share my concerns with the travelling husband.
Wrong move: he is a numbers man, cold, rational and practical: “honey, body snatchers don’t exist. She can be a case when a girl hitting her teens gets nicer rather than meaner, but I don’t believe that either. Wait and see”.
Damn it. He was right, again. Miss cranky pants was back last Friday when I tried to drag her to the hairdresser.
“I am not coming in there. You do it,at home”.
-Pew, maybe she is not fully possessed-, I happily thought and most of all she is still happy with her mama cutting her hair!😍#veryproud mamaofaverysoecialgirl!

P.S
For some reason both my girls believe that because I have an aunt and two cousins who are hairdresser that gives me the skill to cut hair too……..as they say : whatever it works! Except not always it works, but this will go on another post.