A Truly Madly Ordinary Scandinavian Awards Tale.

Since my late teens years I have always been fascinated with Scandinavian countries. My love for the Nordics started from Denmark through the director Lars Von Trier and the writer Peter Hoeg. In my mid thirties I eventually went to visit those beautiful lands.Despite the fact I was carrying around a six months pregnant bump,that was the best holiday ever!.All my expectations were met and I fell even more in love with those countries and cultures that ,until then,I got to know only through movies and literature.
Because life sometime has a really funny way to present itself and pleases us,it happened that in the recent years I met few Swedish and Danes and I established my little circle of Scandinavian friends here in Ireland.On top of that,I met Swedish and Norwegian bloggers and,on top of the top of that, even my foster dog is going to Sweden.
Now, virtually over fika,I thank SINDRELF for my nominations.

Five Things I like about Myself:
Oh dear ,I don’t even know if I can go that far with the list but sure I like my positive attitude towards things:always look at the glass half full.
I am over all happy and grateful for what I have.
I like my eyes….if their sight would be as good as their look would be even be better but,as I said, I am happy enough with what I have.

Here I am definitely required to work a bit more with my answers:
1.I started blogging because, after keeping a diary for therapeutic reasons,I eventually remembered how good writing,(that is something I used to do since I was in primary school), made me feel.
2.I have a very sweet tooth , comfort food is cakes with cream.
3.I love horror and thriller movies,always did .
4.I don’t think I have one specific favorite song.It depends on the mood but, “Harvest Moon” always makes feel good and cheers me up.
5.My dream …..: having a book published and live a long healthy life surrounded by lots of dogs,as bats are not really pet material.
6.The perfect evening in is good food,good wine and ideally good company.If not,lets at least hope the wine will be abundant enough to forget the bad company.
7.As I haven’t visited all the countries in this planet I can’t really say what is the best one.
8.I would love a human colony on the moon but only if we will treat it with respect not like we are doing with hearth.
9.How humanity succumbs to extremism scares me to death.

I know I usually don’t do nominations because I don’t want to leave anybody out but this time I will and I will be fair as I am only nominating Scandinavian bloggers (please check their blogs as they really worth it)for a Scandinavian award of my invention:“Sunshine Nordic Little Thoughts “.

No list of questions and no pressure for my nominees ,just one curiosity:
Three things that pop into your mind while “walking on sunshine”?

My nominations are:

Raynotbradbury(raynotbradbury.com)

The Photo Bloggers(photobloggarna.se)

The Helsingian Pathfinder(helsingianpathfinder.com)

Sindrelf(sindrelf.com)

Hanne Siebers(toffeefee.wordpress.com)

The Arrival Of The Foster Dog

“Hey Kurt ,have you seen that?”….”what?you usually bark at everything it moves and you missed that big car pulling over in front of the house?Dear Lord you really have that head just to keep your ears apart”.”Now it is a bit late to start barking sweetheart…..she is already in and she is sniffing my butt.”.

Good morning everybody my name is Clara and,without proud or shame,I will say I am an old cranky lady.Sometimes I am called some word starting with “b” instead of “l” but, I dare all of you not to be cranky when you are totally blind on one eye and an half and live in a house where everybody forgets cupboard’s doors open and move furniture around perpetually.Not to mention the bad habit they all have to talk to me always from the side of the deaf ear.Don’t get me wrong, I love my house,my mama,my papa…and even my two leg sisters.I love even my four leg brotherKurt,deep down.He has giant ears and long legs that,at the age of four,he hasn’t figure it out what to do with yet.He goes around throwing them up in the air all day: embarrassing!When he came along I was not happy at all but,at the time,I was young and didn’t like to share the rides on the dolls buggy.Rudy just passed away and I was eventually not “the other family dog” anymore. I was “THE family dog”, eventually.I had just got comfortable on the role of only dog when one Sunday in February big ears German arrived.He was ferociously annoying but smaller then me,then he started to grow (around his ears) out of control.Big and bold he became and once he even tried to steal my food .Wrong move man!I had to show him some discipline and he learned his lesson.

So,this is me. Even if I am not an only dog anymore, thanks to my age and my hierarchic position in the house I have some privileges:The biggest of the beds is mine and also the front seat of the car.Over the years we four and two legs siblings reached the perfect equilibrium and,I admit it,most of the time I growl at Kurt just because it is fun to see him going away with his tail between the legs. True must be said,he deserves some credit too:first of all he can reach everywhere with no effort and he always snitches us food from the counter when we are on our own;second,since he likes to play, he is the one to entertain the girls and I can enjoy my retirement .A pretty perfect setting right?So,who the hell is this creature with the spotty bandana settling in with all her things ?”A foster dog? and when did we talk about this?”,Mama is twisting things around here!It is true that she always wanted to do it but, papa always said no.He is a smart man and knows that whoever dog might enter this house might never leave it.What was he thinking allowing her to do this?I might better have a word with him tonight.Unless he has something very terrible to be forgiven for,he owns me an explanation and better be a pretty convincing one.

Anyway,at this point,whatever his excuse is ,it is too late:we will have this Pippa dog at home with us for rest of the week.Big ears German is of course happy and excited.No wonder,for him everyone is a chance fir a play.He is probably still missing Millie that was with us few days while her parents were on holidays.He probably still misses Toni’s rabbit too that,was wit us for a day.Well,may be that is missed for other reasons: more culinary then playful.

Back to us,”sharing is caring”mama says and so we have to share our house with less fortunate dogs.Hopefully I can share Kurt’s attention too.May be,at the end,Pippa will bring me a break from big ears German and a week of peace.
Now, if you would excuse me, I have to go and have a barking breakdown.

Girls Little Chats

I never thought I had seen the end of this week.Still uncertain if it was more atrocious the weather or my mood I would just declare the match had finished with a draw.
Things started to pick up on Thursday. I eventually decided to start talking again to the traveling husband who, was indeed annoyed by the cold shoulder I was giving him since Monday but,indeed secretly glad for the quiet brought by a silent wife.I still like to think that,in the end,he was starting to get terrifically bored.

Beside the husband wronging me and the wintry depressing weather,I have to be total honest here: a week without alcohol,cheese and biscuits might have done the biggest damage to my mood.I know I will be happy for inflicting a such sufferance to myself when I will start trying on summer dresses and beach outfits but,still,it is threatening my mental health.It is even worst then when my mother used to brush my hair like she was raking a path of stones and kept saying, “there is no gain without pain dear”.And then she wonders why I have been wearing a bob for the last thirty years!

By Friday my soul and body got used to have cardboard under the shape of integral cereal instead of delicious digestive biscuits for breakfast.Even the weather seemed to improve,still pretty grey and cold for this time of the year but, at least, not windy and rainy.Because today I have two little pals of the girls in the car,I am moved by a sudden instinct of good hygiene orientated parent: I decide to hoover and clean the car inside.Twenty minutes later I realize the job is far behind my capacity.They will have to be happy just not sitting on a carpet of sands and dogs hair.

Daughter number one and her friend have a party to go. The party is quite far away(over half an hour driving)but definitely worth it as it is a tour of a chocolate factory.There is no time for me and the other two to go home and back so we treated our self at the factory with coffee and babyccinos accompanied by a yummy complimentary chocolate each.For the record,mine is still in the bag untouched.Two hours are long to pass and we are fast drinkers so we decided to venture to the nearest shopping center. Not ideal but better then sitting in the car. Ikea would be close too but I have no space left in the car and,by experience,I know there is no chance to go to Ikea and get out empty hands.

If the drive to the party was all about what was going to be the chocolate factory and an interminable sequels of laughs and giggle at the expenses of a poor boy who, since first grade, unsuccessfully proposes to every girl in the class;the drive back home proved to be intellectually more challenging.May be without the rush hour traffic I could have make it to keep the conversation strictly about the just spent afternoon but,with all that extra time at our disposal while stack in the motorway, the little four devious minds I was transporting started rambling around.Two fifth grader plus two third grader who are also two couple of sisters can be the most explosive combination but also the most funny.

The eldest sisters started lecturing the youngest ones about puberty.From there we went through the possible code names they could use instead of “puberty” as,apparently,it is an unpleasant word.I diligently explained that it is exactly its name and it is not unpleasant or shameful and everybody goes through it.”Yes even the dogs”,CG said,”Kurt is now a teen ager in dogs years and he has spots.”.Actually Kurt,the giant dog,might correctly be a teen ager in dogs years but more likely the spots that keep showing to his head and disappear, have to do with him learning how to open the utility room’s door and eat directly from the container of his food.Better safe then sorry,I played along.They were all happy about the subject of puberty but still quite in shock by the fact that dogs grow boobs too, to feed the puppies. As consequence ,I have been ask to have a litter with the next dog so she will grow boobs to see.Great,now not only my mouth gets me in trouble with adults but also with children!

Nearly home,tiredness started to kick in:the voices went lower and the talk was about dreams.A safe topic eventually.No,not yet safe: the proposing boy is still the protagonist but,this time,he proposed to a class mate and then “they had the thing”.This,to quote one of the third grader who was telling the dream she had. “What is the thing?”,the two fifth grader asked in a coir ….they can be older but the youngest sisters are a step ahead,no doubt about it .”The SEX”,and this is CG,my daughter number two that I quote.Loud and clear she spoke and I nearly crashed in the car in front of me.Thing last one,that I am really not allowed to do ,again. This time I doubt I would be so lucky to get away with a pan of homemade tiramisu.

At that point I don’t know what gave me the greater relieve:the disgusted expression they all had at the sound of the word Sex or the big sign on the side of the road stating we were eventually home!

A Little Thought About Friendship In The Samurai ‘s Garden.

I finished the book.Slowly but surely I did it even if with a bit of delay compare to my book club companions. In my defense I must say that,in the last two months, my bed side table has been the home of five books of which three I borrowed and had to return.On top of that,like every other human on this planet,I only have 24 hours for each of my day and I really need some of them for my beauty sleep.

Back to the book, I will say that the second half has been a delightful and gracious reading as much as the first one.I already mentioned how since the first few pages I was captivated by the author light writing and her ability to define the leading characters without even describing them.Once the introductions are made,page after page,they take shape,spontaneously.Places follow the same pattern.
The Samurai’s garden grows in parallel with a young boy starting his journey to become a man. His thirst for life and knowledge of the human nature makes him enter the adults world more knowingly then forcefully.Around him there is net of characters undoubtably playing a key role in the development of the story and in Stephen -San nearly Kafkaesque metamorphosis.
In my vision The Samurai’s Garden is a little book about human nature with its strength and weakness.It is a little book about relationships and loyalty, inside families, between friends and between lovers.
To me,friendship is the leading topic in between the lines.It is the source of every action,the food of every feeling and the hand that hold the threads of the story.

A while ago I wrote a post about friendship.The real one:the one that never makes you judge or feel judged.
“A real friend never judge”.Since I started to apply this simple rule to myself and my so called friends, I realized they were not as many as I thought and,most shockingly, they were not even the ones I thought they were.Applying the same rule to myself,it meant instead coming to terms with the fact that I am not that such good friend I thought I was.Harsh discovery but inspiring and enlightening. If I would have applied that rule sooner I would have wasted less time with the wrong people,I would have been hurt less and I would have hurt less.

Toni and I used to live in the same estate for years until, she moved further south and I moved further north.Despite the busy life we both have and the distance,we kept in touch and try to meet regularly,usually half way.
Now, you are probably thinking I lost the plot and I am mixing posts here.I am not!May be the plot I do loose it,sometimes, but not in this occasion.I am not certainly mixing the posts either and when you will get to the end of it,you will understand what I am talking about.This is not a threat.I swear!

Sunday morning I finished the book and on Sunday afternoon I met my friend Toni.Driving back home, I was mentally going through what to write on my book’s review and suddenly my speculations about the book merged with my thoughts about the woman I just had lunch with.In the last twelve years she has been a constant presence in my life.I actually never realized that,in my adult life,she is indeed my oldest Friend.The “F” is not a typo mistake but the result of the fact that in all these years neither I ever felt judged nor I ever judged her once.I suppose that our relationship developed in a such spontaneous way that I never had to question or label the nature of it.We might not see each other every week anymore but we sure turn to each other when something is up.

When you move town there is always the promise to keep in touch with the old neighbors and friends etc.It might happen for a while but,then,both sides go on with their new lives. The distance sure doesn’t help and soon becomes the perfect excuse to not make the effort.Truth must be said,if you don’t feel to make the effort may be it doesn’t worth it but, if and when you do it,then it is when you are off to meet your True Friend.

Award Time:Versatile,Sunshine and Tag Award

It is award time again.Some of them are old and apologize for taking so much time but I guarantee it is not a sign of no appreciation,on the contrary.
P.S. The order I am posting them is strictly chronological:

Thank you very much Hitting 60(hitting 60.com)for the nomination.
I am not good at talking about myself straight and I must confess I had some difficulties to find seven facts about myself decently interesting and that wouldn’t make me sound weird or dull.
1. Ortensia is a pen name with a very personal meaning as it was the name chosen for a daughter who never made it long enough to meet her sisters.
2.I went back writing after many years of abstinence and forgot how good and alive makes me feel.
3.I hate slow driver and bad parking.I allow myself to swear a lot in the car and I beep a lot too.Not much of an example for my offspring I am afraid but considering it runs in the family they seem to be immune to it.
4.After spending so much time on a dark(ish) side I now refuse negativity.The glass is always half full to my eyes and a smile must never be denied to anybody,unless they are proven assholes.
5.Over the years I pleasantly discovered that I can be a nester and a gipsy at the same time .
6.I feel uneasy around people who take themselves too seriously.Actually I find them a bit boring.
7.I deeply love my dogs but I aim to a pet bat.

The TAG Award.
Excuse the ignorance but it’s the first time I hear about this award so ,thank you Viola Blue (ideas.become.words/violableau.com))for nominating me and make me discover it.
Two questions to answer here:
1.Reading in bed or on the couch?definitely in bed ,before going to sleep or,my favorite time,on those lazy Sunday afternoons over summer when it is too hot to stay outside or when it is raining and you can read cuddled by the sound of the rain.
2.Male main character or female main character?by instinct I would say female but looking back at how I pick my book and at the books I read it actually doesn’t really matter.My choice is done through the plot and the gender of the leading character doesn’t affect it.


First of all thank you to She who nominated ,second of all,I recommend to check her blog thisdoorisallarmed.wordpress.com
I won’t hide that I had to work with this award as there are ten engaging questions to answer to:
1.My most treasure possession and its meaning: it is an antique wrist watch called like me that I have been given from my stepfather many many years ago.It is beautiful and it means love to me as he went through a lot of trouble to find it.
2.My quirk.?Unfortunately for my family I have many but they are well used to it by now,you,I don’t know so to just not put you off I will tell you the most normal one:i judge people by their house bathroom,so you know…if you will ever invite me to your house and i will ask to go to the toilet you know what I am up to.
3.I will pass question number 3 as I don’t feel to nominate one blog over all the others as my favorite.
4.Five things to accomplish over the next five years:have something published,move to an other country and mostly keep up my life as it is as i am so lucky to be happy with what I have.
5.How would I be described if I was a book character?frankly I learned that how people see you is very different from how you see yourself so this is a tough one really.If it was me describing me,I might say loyal and positive….possibly bubbly.
6.What i wish to change in myself?This s easy,I wish to change my butt with a smaller one.
7.Stated that i love accessorize and i never leave the house without them(pendant earrings,chunky necklaces and bangles are my favorite)there are jewels that I always wear like y wedding and engagement ring along with he rings i have been given when my daughters were born. Recently they gave me a charm bracelet and that is always on my wrist too.
8.If I had a superpower i wish it would be a healing power.
9.As much as it might sound arrogant I am proud of all the work I have done on myself,and of how I change.
10.What blogging taught me?To trust the web in a way.

A Truly Madly Ordinary Little Vacation.

Last minute we decided to make the most out of the school holidays and take a little family vacation in Ireland.On Easter Sunday we packed the car and headed toward County Kerry.Dingle peninsula,Ring of Kerry , Blasket and Skellig Island,that was out itinerary.
Unfortunately the weather was not quite an alliance. The first day never stopped raining.Not much of a bother as most of the day was spent in the car driving down.

The hotel I booked was supposed to be amazing:big rooms with canopy beds and huge en suits with vintage bath tub.Old style recreational rooms with library included and ,all this,inside a sub tropical garden.
By the time we arrived it was nearly dark and slashing rain.The road to get to the hotel was remote, secluded and narrow.Only one car at the time could pass.All around there was a forest of trees and bushes whose branches kept slamming on the car.The traveling husband became Brad and I was Janet.With great disappointment, my mental (rocky horror)picture(show)was broken by the hotel owner:very nice but very ordinary,not resembling Frank’n Furter at all!
That was not the only disappointment.As soon we checked in we discovered that those luxurious rooms I saw on the website were reserved for kids less people.Yep,the happy parents of under 14 and their precious ones were instead confined in apartments outside the hotel ‘s main building.Nice accommodation indeed,nothing to complain about but, still no canopy bed and no huge luxurious vintage style bathroom.Our chance for a glimpse of the luxurious part of the hotel,it was when down in the morning for breakfast.The subtropical gardens,on the other hand,were better then expected:Palms,wood sculptures,a cord bridge over a river and a spectacular view with the mountains at the back and the ocean in the front.

The forecasts for the week were depressing:rain rain rain but,we were determined to do whatever was in our agenda anyway. Our commitment and good will has been rewarded and the weather ended up to be not that bad.If from the second day the rain spared us,unfortunately the wind persisted paralyzing all the ferries to the islands.No Blasket Island,no Star Wars Skellig Island and no tour to see Fungie,the oldest dolphin in Ireland. Fungie is supposed to be around and entertaining the tourists for thirty five years.I might be cynical but,I am not that convinced it is always and only him.What makes me doubt it even more, is that you pay for the boat tour only on your return and only if you see him.Now,that is a quite an hazard for business I say.My idea is that they have a multitude of Fungie out there,trained to dance around the tourists and,if we want to go more sci fi,they might have a mechanical Fungie,operated by a remote control. Obviously this is my devious mind talking…..the true is sure Fungie is there for thirty five years and of course is not fed by the tour operators that ,if he doesn’t show up,don’t mind to bring people around for two hours for free.

Having to exclude the tours of the islands we had more driving to do :the traveling husband never stopped traveling ,not even on holidays. True to be told he was not bothered at all as the Wild Atlantic way we drove through was absolutely spectacular.

On our way down to Dingle we stopped in a couple of beaches.Last one was crowded with surfer.Myself and daughter number two were dying to try but the husband and daughter number one highlighted the fact that even if we were given a wet suit we needed swimming suit underneath or we were going to stay for the rest of the day with wet panties.While that made daughter number two change her mind, I am still convinced that we could have done it and then we could have put our underwear to dry on the dashboard.Unfortunately,being three against one,I had to give up the idea of surfing…for the day.

The days flew by and we were thrown from a breathtaking landscape to an other.In the evenings ,when eventually back to the hotel,we were exhausted but with our souls and hearts filled of images of how beautiful and mesmerizing nature can be.

If none of us was bothered by the mileage covered in a such short time,the car was.On the morning of the third day “she” expressed “her” tiredness and started to do a quite alarming noise.We drove for fifteen minutes open windows trying to understand where the noise was coming from.Having had no success on detecting its source, we pulled over and checked the engine,under the car ,the tires and everything we could think of that could be connected to the noise. No luck,the noise seemed to come out of nowhere.We went back to the road with the intention to stop at the nearest garage.”Garage”,the magic word,just like “doctor”:apparently,daughter number one is not the only hypochondriac in the family,the car is hypochondriac too.As soon we approach the garage,in fact, the car stopped doing the noise.Placebo effect?Who knows but,as the noise was not there anymore,it seemed just a waste of time to stop.In perfect line with the family approach to car’s trouble,we decided to ignore the one there noise and keep going.The mystery stays(even if nobody really gave it a second thought)but the car safely brought us around for an other couple of days and back home.

P.S
Little note for my regulars and not.Now you know why I haven’t been checking posts in the last few days.Nothing personal folks.😍

The Shortest Long Week of All.

The shortest long week ever,this is what this week felt to me.
It Started with 36 hours in Italy for taking care of legal business that, thanks to Italian bureaucracy, are driving me demented since last April. Eventually I managed to write the word “end” on the matter going to court to collect in person some papers that, apparently,were going back and forth from Italy to Ireland since last August. To not bother you any further and to not fall into temptation of using the best repertory of my potty mouth, I will just draw a line on the fact that the reason of all this was that someone from the judge chamber kept writing the wrong address!

The positive side of this brief trip was flying on my own.A luxury I don’t get to enjoy very often.Once at the airport it took me a while to realize I didn’t have to keep looking over my shoulders to check on the girls: They were not with me.Easier to say then do: 12 years of travelling with my beloved ballast left a mark.This time I traveled with my laptop instead:when will it happen again I have 5 undisturbed hours to write!

If going was a happy stroll, coming back was a nightmare. I had to queue nearly an hour only to pass the security checks and an other half an hour to show my passport.When I eventually made it to the gate, I wait what it felt forever to board.The waiting was bad enough ,leave alone the fact the we were all squeezed in a far too small space and with a tropical temperature.No wonder once on the plane there was a couple of girls walking toward the bathroom with a beauty mask on.They need to hydrate their skin.I confess my first reaction was a giggle and,I can guarantee you, I was not the only one but,I must recognize they sure knew how to optimize their time.A pity they were sitting few rows in front of me so I couldn’t see if by the time we landed they were also wearing their night gown.It was late in the evening after all:why loose precious time.

By Tuesday night my adventure as traveling wife was over.Done and dusted, I had to give the Olympic torch back to the traveling husband who, on my return,I found as tired as Hercules after the seven labors.Despite his clumsy attempt to hide it,he was obviously relieved to leave the following morning.The life of the domestic God is not for him.

Friday morning the loyal Sahir,(who for once saw me at a decent time of the day and not just after dawn in my night shirt and with the energy of a zombie) dropped the traveling husband home.He came in barking,”Well,hello and welcome back darling!what?my car’s keys and my purse?they are in the hall as always”,”What?Are they not?”.No,they were not and all the fuss was about me forgetting overnight my bag and wallet on the car’s seat in clear visibility along with keys on the panel.I know it is bad but it is not that I did it on purpose,did I?It just happened,beside: “Why the hell did you look into my car?”,”Who does that,who spy inside his wife car?”,”Oh,the driver window was down too and it is raining inside the car”.I suppose at that point there was no much I could say!So,hiding the fact that I was terrified of finding my car totally soaked,(I knew it heavily rained all night),I gave him my biggest,sweetest,sorry smile and I decided to abandon the defensive tactic in favor of a geisha wife attitude for the rest of the day…….after I dry the inside of my car.

P.S.

Have a great long weekend you all.