A Truly Madly Ordinary Victory

The day of the gymnastics competition had finally arrived. Daughter number two is due to perform her routine today, in front of real judges. She is doing gymnastics for three years and for what I could observe learned nothing substantial, but she likes it. She never wants to skip a class. She goes in happy and comes out even happier so, “what the hell why not keep her in”,mainly considering her not existant inclination to the sport. In her defence, sure it didn’t help that she was born with her right foot slightly turned inside. The foot straightened nearly wholly thanks to physio,but continued to get in the way of the left one for a long time while running.

Being on a Saturday, the whole family had the privilege to go and watch. The traveling husband and daughter number one are not really impatient to attend but when I explained to them that this is the first year that they are splitting the club and so the show its only about her level and will last only one hour, while the previous years the competition was always held during the week and lasted between four and six hours (as all the levels were performing at the same time),they suddenly felt blessed to be there today.
If you are thinking how good of a mother I am to have gone through that the previous years, well..don’t! This is the first gymnastics competition I ever attended too because I have never been able to make myself sniff kids smelly sweaty feet for all those hours.

CG is secretively practising her routine for two weeks, since she received the note with the date and the exercises. She never knew to have nearly risked not to enter the competition because I missed the deadline and it took me half morning on the phone begging to have her enrolled unofficially.

Here we are all four in the car heading to the gym. Just after we have parked, I have been assaulted by one of those existential doubt that just popped into your mind like that, out of the blue. I looked at the travelling husband and said,”now I have the doubt it was tomorrow and not today. I haven’t double checked the note with the date”.He looked at me with a patronising expression that didn’t require any further comment or replay.
We approach the registration table, and while I am silently praying it is the right day, with an incredibly fake self-confident tone I say my child’s name. The girl behind the desk checked the list, three pages, she cant find her. I repeated CG name and surname, in case she got it wrong. She scrolls her list again. I can fell the travelling husband looking at me and thinking,”I knew it”.I avoid looking back at him or smarty pants daughter number one whose mood had already saw an improvement in the chance to go and skip all this. Trying to stay cool I explained that maybe she was not on the list because she was not enrolled online but added later by phone. At those words it was daughter number two set of eyes that I felt on me, her messy mother, but because she is a survivor and a “lulu pants”(as we call her in the house) she pulls my arm and says:”It is ok, I can do it another time”.My heart melted and all my hidden maternal and protective instinct raises:”oh no, don’t worry. I got this.”.There was no way she was not entering that bloody competition today! Whoever fault it was.
If this was not stressing enough, I also had to face the travelling husband who was still standing there beside me conflicted between to be annoyed or amused.
“I am sure it was today, what must have happened is that that list was printed from the online file and that is why she is not in there”, I say to him, and I nearly believed it myself too.

A queue had formed behind us, that it was a good thing because it attracted the attention of the organiser in charge who came to see what was the problem and with evident annoyance she brusquely told the poor desk girl to add CG name by pen at the bottom of the list where,I could see, there were other few names. With my extreme relief that the world is full of other parents messing with their kids’ gymnastics, I proudly escorted my family inside to take seats.

CG is one of the few in t-shirt and shorts because I always refused to buy her the club leotard that inevitably makes my mind go to “little miss sunshine”,as much as I loved Olive and her grandpa.Here she is ,with her long stick legs ,called out to perform her routine. She is focused, she goes by the book, and she is quick and precise like surgeons with their scalpel. Myself, the father and the sister look at each other in extreme disbelief at what we had just seen. The routine was not complicated but very well executed indeed.

Fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled, the competition is over, and it is time to give out the medal and call for the winners.CG arrives second in her level. For the first time in her whole nine years of life she is on a podium.The shock and the joy for the unexpected victory is overwhelming among her family s members.We are all incredulous but profoundly proud and so we also allowed ourselves a loud embarrassing cheer but, “hey”, this is not an everyday achievement for someone who just learned recently not to trip on herself.

The Pleasure Of Whining

After three weekends in a row, on my own with my entire four and two legs gang, I am officially done. Next weekend the travelling husband will eventually be home, and while he is planning to drag me,(as his partner), to a target shooting competition, I am planning to ditch him along with his daughters. Anyway, I don’t think it is one of that tournament he takes in the high consideration; otherwise, he wouldn’t have chosen me as a partner, considering my average of shot and hit clays.Bad enough my plan of an entire weekend family free has been already ruined by daughter number two gymnastic show; at least I would like to try to save the Sunday off .As far away as possible from my holy loving family.

Last few weeks have been dominated by a rampage of social engagements, not mine of course. I spent most of my time buying presents, wrapping them and driving from a party to another, when not hosting. Apparently, between September and October, there must be a dramatic decrease in the quality of the tv shows with the consequence that people take on a different kind of entertaining activities resulting in a boom of summer babies. All these summer babies then, once in scholar age, will have a birthday parties and here you are in the hottest days of the summer finding yourself nourishing your kids’ social life instead of sunbathing in your back garden or napping. The only exception it will come when it is the turn of your summer baby to have his/her birthday party.That day you can bet a million dollars that the weather will be crap and instead of taking advantage of your garden and the newly bought gazebo, you will have a dozen squicking kids running around your house and leaving sticky prints on every possible surface.
I suppose it is by now no secret anymore that I am among the guilty ones of not having watched enough autumn tv and so one of my daughters is a summer baby too.

This morning, after the alarm clock went off, I killed it with a malevolent pleasure. I dragged myself in the bathroom and then downstairs in the kitchen, skillfully trying to not trip on the dogs that have not left my side since they woke up. Not because of an excess of love for my persona,but because they know that with my coffee also comes their breakfast.
When you get up, and your first thought is “Damn, It is only Tuesday”, it is not a good sign. A sign not perceived by the foster dog who despite all the effort and the training is still not very good on recall. The poor pet just got used to being called by a name, I suppose I can’t ask too much, but I can certainly ask for her not to make me run for 1 km in the shallow water to get her back after she happily took her time wandering around sniffing and chasing seagulls. I am apparently not a great trainer, mainly if compared to big ears german who, instead, successfully and quickly taught her how to snitch food from the counter and the table. Unfortunately, the training has not been completed yet. She still hasn’t learned not to get emotional when told off. If he can snitch and eat a tray with six burgers and a box with four croissants without being sick and without feeling bad about it even after been given out,she instead still pees when addressed with a loud tone. If by chance you are wondering:no,she doesn’t pee on random spots of the house.She pees on my white kitchen rug whose days are counted. No more white after this for sure.

Once back home from the beach, after I mopped the emotional pee of the day and diligently performed my housework, I decided to do some yoga. My writing and reading are behind big time but in a morning like today, yoga seemed the best move. Ideally a good idea indeed, practically a big failure. Clara started to have a dementia attack involving twenty minutes barking at the staircase while the other two, who was finally sleeping on a sunny spot outside in the garden, woke up and after crying randomly along the whole perimeter of the garden engaged themselves in a race from one end of the house to another. They run me over twice and, when in the end Kurt landed with his butt on my head, I declared my yoga time finished as much as their play time. Big screaming mama in action. I unleashed my most evil voice and my most scary threatens because notoriously dogs respond well to verbal threats.Tears of built-up tiredness started to descend on my red by anger and defeated cheeks. The dogs are petrified, they flipped their tails in between their legs and lay quietly on their beds. Mama fairy is unrecognisable and had to admit to being overwhelmed by her own reaction. She is annoyed by her own screaming but as they say: when it is enough it is enough!
Of course when a sleeping force of nature is released you cannot stop it that quickly and so, after this extreme split of personality,(dogs are probably still wondering if I’ll ever go back to their soft mama ), I kept going and did something entirely unprecedented: I whined on the phone with my mom. I complained and complained and complained all over again about how much exhausted I felt,physically and mentally.By the end of the phone call, my mother’s satisfaction was impossible to hide. I made her day! Now, don’t get the wrong idea, she is not a monster taking pleasure from her daughter misery, on the contrary. All her joy was in the fact that I admitted it. I eventually agreed there was something wrong with me. For the first time in 44 years, I said loud and clear that I was not that well and her suspects that I cannot always be in good mood and good health had finally been proved right. She gave birth to a human who can have sad days of hell too.

I must confess that after all that whining I felt much better, lighter and calmer. Being the one who rants rather than always the one who listens to the rant is not that bad……every once in a while.

3,2,1 – Quote Me!!

Thanks to bitchininthekitchen.org for the tag .

The rules are easy:

Thank your selector;

Post two quotes for the suggested topic of the day

Select three bloggers to tag

The topics for me and my tagees is “Happiness” and here are my chosen quotes:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ,Dr Seuss

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” ,Marcus Aurelius

P.S

My picture goes with my tagger’s quote that happiness must be counted in friends and not years🤩

My nominations are as usual whoever wants to participate .😀

Be Happy Everybody

Awesome Blogger Award

First I would like to thank Earthwalking13 to nominate me; second I would like to suggest to check his blog as it has the power to inspire and sooth your soul ; third and last ,but not least, I would like to congratulate myself to answer an award so quickly for the first time.

Here are my answers :
1.) What is the title of the book you are going to write, or are currently writing, or have already written?The book is progressing but the title is still uncertain.

2.) What is your favourite magazine or periodic publication?
I am not really a big magazines reader. I am always tempted to buy them before a flight but then always ending up to quickly go through them and read a book instead.

3.) What is your favourite dessert?
Any dessert containing cream and lots of calories but my favourite of all it is “torta millefoglie”, that must not be confused with the Mille Feuille. They are similar but not the same. Unfortunately, the cake is nowadays hard to find. Probably it is considered out of fashion like the gamberetti cocktail, that I love too.

4.) If you’re doing the cooking, what’s for dinner?
homemade lasagne

5.) Who is your favourite poet?
Baudelaire and D’Annunzio.

6.) What is your favourite social media platform?
WP of course.

7.) If you could have a “do-over” in your life, what would you change?
I would leave Italy earlier and travel more before having kids.

8.) Why do you travel?
Because I like to see new places and new thing and get to know new cultures.Curiosity might kill the cat but not Ortensia.

9.) Pets?
I have dogs and wouldn’t stay without them but I like cats too as I grew up in a house full of them. My favourite animals are still bats but ….as I already said once, they are not pet material.

10.) Do you hike or camp in the wilderness and, if so, what do you like about it?
I used to hike a lot but camping has never really been my thing.A holiday in camper van instead is in my to-do list.

Bonus: If you could commit a crime, and knew you would get away with it, what would it be?
I would break in few laboratories testing on animals and free them all.

As I already said in the past I don’t nominate because I am cowardly kind and I don’t like to pick someone over someone else but I invite any of my readers to feel free to consider themselves nominated and answer the three following questions:
1-do you associate memories with smells?
2-are rules made to be broken?
3-sunrise or sunset?

Have a good week end everybody🤩

Compost For Crime


Last weekend was a busy one, I wouldn’t push it to say it was a pleasantly busy one but let’s say busy. On Saturday we had to report for duty at the school summer fete. Last year I managed to skip it as it was my first day out of bed after two weeks victim of nasty bronchitis. If you are wondering if I danced naked in the middle of the night in the rain to fall sick and skip the fete, no I didn’t! As much as it is hard to believe someone can naturally get bronchitis in June.

This year I asked to be assigned to the toys stall and not the cakes one like all the previous years. At least I didn’t have to bake, and I could make sure that neither daughter number one nor daughter number two would buy back some of the toys they have donated. Did I say they have donated? Maybe I should have told the toys I made them donate, under the threat that there wouldn’t have been any new toys or presents coming in the house if something would not have left first.
With her birthday approaching daughter number two panicked and filled three bags of babies dolls and barbies. Daughter number one, whose birthday is not until November, decided to act in advance and said goodbye to all her Spiderman and Batman figurines and her collection of ninja turtles. They were lying untouched in some under the bed storage boxes anyway.
Remote control cars and the mechanical centipede are still living with us keep making me tripping and the dogs going bananas. The weather was a blessing, and my stall mate proved to be a good company, and that is a blessing too. There is Nothing worst then been stack all day with someone you don’t like.

On Sunday we were all up incredibly early, probably since on the previous evening we settled for an early night being all three shattered. The weather was supposed to be cloudy, we had all day ahead of us, and so I suggested to run briefly to the shopping centre to buy sandals for the girls. I was there the previous week, and I saw many pretty candidates for them.
After a bit of drama from daughter number one who hates shopping, we hit the road. At not even eleven we are already there.
By twelve we have been in at least six shops, and none of my children could find a pair of sandals that they liked.
One refuses to wear open shoes unless they are flip-flop and the other one she would wear them, but they are not comfy. Out of energy and patience, I bought them two pairs of flip-flop each. They are fresh and comfy and I m sure that when they are in Italy on their own, some sandals will magically appear on their feet.No way their fashionable grannies will bring them out in the evening in flip-flop or crocks. I will get the blame for my daughters not having proper summer shoes, but they will be forced to wear cute pretty girly sandals. It will worth it!
Not being as fussy as them, I instead found few beautiful things I liked. With our bags full of clothes and flip-flops under the table, we were now at the coffee shop pretending to have delicious paninis and sending pictures to the travelling husband who was taunting us since yesterday with happy pics of himself drinking champagne and eating humungous eclairs while watching the Roland Garros live.

When we got home, it was still reasonably early, and so I decided to eventually move some of my roses and hydrangeas in bigger pots that I bought with my mom to make her happy and shut her up last time she was here.
With gardening, as always happens, you know when you start but not when you finish. I did much more then repotting few roses and hydrangeas, and when I was nearly done and only left with the basil and the lavender bought at the fair the previous day,I run out of compost. My first instinct was to leave everything as it was and plant them the following day as I was starting to be tired and too hot. The cloudy sky had cleared out, and the sun was shining in all its power and intensity.In the end the will to finish and have my garden in order prevailed.
My good garden centre is just down the road and it is open on Sunday too. As I am, I jumped in a boiling car and went.

I forgot that with the beautiful weather city people love to come to the countryside and they love to picnic in the park of the castle close to us. That it wouldn’t be a problem if it were not for the fact that a hedgehog would be faster then this summer Sunday drivers.
I am tired, I am hot, I have the girls home alone,and I am stuck behind a car most probably driven by a tortoise. I can understand the road is narrow and full of twist and turns and it’s not even correctly asphalted but 30 km per hour ? really? As soon as I have some visibility I overtake. Well, maybe I didn’t have that entire visibility I thought:A police officer jumped out from the side of the road raising his arm. It was not waving hello at me!
An infinite series of insults crossed my mind, but I managed to smile at him.
The officer looked at me and went,”In a hurry to go back gardening mam?”,”Or just in a hurry to bury the body of crime?”. We have a jocker here, I think and tried to excuse myself,”I know I know officer,I shouldn’t have overtaken but he was incredibly slow, and I am in a hurry to buy some soil and going back home as I have left the kids on their own”.A thing that is absolutely against the law but it was better than confirming that I was in hurry to get more soil to bury someone’s body ,right? He put on a serious face,”Mam,do it for the kids then, slow down.This road is dangerous”.At that point I wanted to laugh on his face as I drive it at least eight times a day but with extreme curtesy I simply replayed that I know and that my car could go through it with no driver.
“Well you just do it for the city drivers then, they panic enough on these country roads without the locals giving them a hard time”.Put it that way,he could actually be right but ,also,who cares:I am tired ,I am hot ,I am in hurry and right now I just want to get to the garden center ,buy my compost and go home. When I started to think we are done,he gave me a closer look and said:”And I bet you are not even wearing proper shoes, are you?”.Without saying a word I instinctively look at my feet comfortably resting in my garden clogs.He couldn’t see them but he knew:”You know those things are slippery on the pedals? I keep saying the same to my wife too.when you women will get it that you cant drive in flip-flops or clogs?”. “Good”,I thought.If he is taking about his wife we are getting friendly here.Now I know I am getting away with no ticket,and so I can’t help but waving my gloved hands in front of him:”Yes officer,but at least I have rubber gloves that perfectly and safety adhere to the steering wheel!!!.”

A Tennis Match For The Paradise

Daughter number one and the traveling husband are getting ready to go play tennis and daughter number two decides to go along as well.I bet she goes more for the chance to wear her new outfit then for the love of tennis but,whatever her reasons are ,the fact that she is going leaves me being the only one missing….one more time!Two sets of pleading and disappointed eyes are looking at me.I am thinking at a reasonable excuse that has not been overused .I can’t say that I am tired and I want to rest and chill because I have just resuscitated from the most amazing afternoon nap ever.I don’t know you,but I believe that hot summer afternoons are particularly ideal for a nap,cuddled by the breeze that comes in from an ajar window:pure heaven!The best excuse I come up with is that it is too hot for me to play,and it wouldn’t even be entirely false if it was three in the afternoon.Being instead six in the evening,at my words an other set of eyes joined in disbelief :”Seriously you couldn’t come up with anything better?Born and raise in Italy it is too hot to play tennis in Ireland?”.
As soon they leave the house I am starting to feel guilty and even more guilty for the fact that I don’t actually feel guilty to not want to play tennis with my gang but more for the fact that I should be out there moving my ass considering all the wine and cheese I managed to shovel down my throats over the long weekend.I am supposed to fit into that evil invention called bikini in a month and all the odds are conjuring against me but,I am determined to fight back. In a flash I am changed and I am riding my bike to the tennis court.Father and daughters are genuinely and pleasantly surprise to see me.The most happy seems to be daughter number two who,like the mother,she is notoriously not competitive and not really athletic either.When I arrived the poor thing is caught in the middle between her sister and her father lecturing her about the basics of tennis when not busy trying to trick each other in order to win the game.

This tennis court is tarmac and my cracked knees find particularly hard to hold on.Over the years I did fall an impressive number of times and few of them with some serious injuries.Eventually ,last summer,I changed club and switch to one with artificial grass.This is in part the reason I usually don’t come play with them here.An other reason is because I really value to stay at home on my own.Last but not least,I secretly hate playing against the traveling husband.He plays much better then me,thing that saves me from being picked as partner for tournaments and that it is not too bad but,the main problem,is that he is left-handed and consequently mainly serves me ball on that side.My backhand is really weak and playing with him it is a torture.I spend most of the time on court twisting and contorting in order to manage to hit the ball back with my forehand.The movements and the efforts I do to avoid using my backhand always generate in my opponent an annoying and patronizing look.In me, instead,they generate the assumption that, If the times would get hard, I have an open career in the circus as a contortionist.

After two hours we all have enough. The travelling husband is lobster red on the back of his neck;daughter number one is satisfied because she won;daughter number two showed off enough the new outfit and she is starving;me,I am happy enough convinced that not only I lost some calories but I also gained a couple of position in the queue to paradise.I mean,what I just did was nothing but the purest sacrifice of a pious and considerate mother and wife.

Unfortunately, once at home,those few positioned I so hardly gained,are destined to be lost when I unleash my swearing mouth at the sight of dog’s diarrhea on the white rug in the kitchen. Why they never dirt on the bare floor will always be a mystery. It happened the previous night too,just not on the white rug in the kitchen but on the white carpet of my bedroom that,thankfully,can be washed with bleach.

While I’m busy cleaning,the traveling husband offers to feed the dogs that,having properly cleansed themselves,are evidently hungry.He came out the laundry room with their bowl and showed them to me with a self pleased expression:”See:less food ,less poo”.The amount of food was scarse but I honestly couldn’t argue with that.I actually get his logic,I really do.The problem is that if the previous night I barely slept because busy cleaning dogs ‘shit;this coming night I will probably barely sleep terrified that those three starving dogs decide to have a midnight snack with their owners.

Nona’s Truly Madly Ordinary Encounter

The glorious summer weather that was with us since last Friday is giving us a break today. It is still warm but cloudy, humid and heavy. Low clouds impair the visual of the horizon. With the weather, I am taking a break too. The past week has been long, and I am starting to feel the tiredness.
I barely had time to open WP or write, but I had a great time with my mom. She needed some rest and a change of scenery and came over for the week. Perfect timing as to when she arrived the travelling husband left. I won’t indulge in any sarcasm about that because she discovered google translate and occasionally reads the blog.
I am afraid this discovery of hers is going to put an end to my making irony about how much I have to clean before she comes. She can now read I don’t clean behind my couch and toilets every day. In the same way, she might discover that the bag of paraphernalia to be stored away and that was happily living in my landing for the last three months, left to go to the attic only an hour before I went to pick her up at the airport. To be honest, it is no secret that the family cleaning freak gene skipped a generation and went straight from her to my cousins, her sisters’ daughters. Thinking about it better, my aunts are cleaning freak too, not to her extent but they can do quite well for the cause of the family. Maybe it would be correct to say the gene didn’t skip a generation but just one cousin: ME. At least, I have been spared from the worrying wart gene too. In the end, it is not a total loss.

Nona arrived right in time for the fiddle concert of daughter number two. High excitement in the child and great exception in the grandma who probably was not expecting to have to endure over one hour of beginners tunes plus another hour of advanced tunes. In fairness, the advanced students were healthier for the ears of the audience but, still, a threaten for the mental health. At the end of the first part of the concert, that was also the end of the beginners’ performance, Nona didn’t hide her will to take her granddaughter and go. Upset by the fact she couldn’t, she then didn’t conceal her boredom for the rest of the concert and neither her intolerance for the younger and very noisy siblings of the performers either. No doubt these are the occasions when she regrets to be still too young to wear a hearing aid that can be opportunistically removed according to the situations.

I confess I was concerned to have my mother, my dogs and the foster dog all under the same roof for a week. On purpose and out of cowardy I omitted to warn my mother that Indie started to suffer from cystitis after her surgery and had no control over her bladder. The plan was that at the first accident at the presence of Nona we would have just pretended it never happened before. The girls spent days practising their outraged and surprised reactions. Nona is a cat person, but she fell in love with Indie. I can understand it because she is adorable, but I would have never expected from my mother. Maybe it is the fact that the dog is quiet and not a perennial tornado around the house like Kurt, or perhaps it is the fact that doesn’t attack you everytime you sit at the dinner table like Clara. Whatever the reason Nona and the foster dog bonded since day one and if it was not for those two centenary cats she still has in the house she would have considered to adopt her. I wonder if the cats would survive the scorching summer they are going to have in Italy this year.

For the past week, the house was a girls’ kingdom. Exception made for the giant dog. It went very well but by Friday I missed the travelling husband and my free time and Nona started to struggle to hold her tongue on those suggestions that are supposed to help me be a better mother a better wife and a better housewife.

Her flight was in the afternoon. We had time for some last minute shopping and browsing around in one of her favourite garden centres.
We split for a brief time, and when I went back where she was, I found her using all her shy English to converse with an old man who soon started to sing a Dean Martin’s song.
He said he always wanted an Italian girl and if she was from Venice even better. My mom successfully passed his test agreeing he resembled more George Clooney then Brad Pitt and qualified as the perfect candidate for his future romantic plans. Unfortunately, I had to break his heart and hopes to inform him my mom’s husband is still alive. With great disappointment, he kissed her hand, and after making sure she would ring him if suddenly becoming a widow, he left. Amused by the strange encounter and touching all the wood around us, we went too.
Now I know my talent to attract odd people and situations might be genetical.