- Before New Year
- [Monday 31st December 2007]
Finally the year is about to end, I'll leave the comments of all the parties and good propositions for 2008 to the next post, for now I just want to wish all the readers:
HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS and GIRLS!!!!
See you next year! :D
- In the end... Party!
- [Sunday 23rd December 2007]
And so it was, the party took place in a restaurant and we managed to reunite all friends coming from abroad too!
Leo and Elena deserve a special mention as they come respectively from Norway and Switzerland, but also Giova needs to be commended as he drove all the way down from Varese, a trait of highway that I know very well, as in the last 5 years I must have done the same for countless times!
Past memories aside, the party was also propaedeutic in order to organize the coming New Year's Party.
The venue was "la Casa del Prosciutto" (the Ham House), lovely little restaurant on the Fiesole hill, we had a lot of very good food, and apparently the group, after many years of diets and impossibility of finishing all the things that we prepare/order, ate a LOT. It was a long time since I saw Francesco having a FULL COURSE (starter, pasta, main dish, cake and coffee), but also the others were in good form so this time not a lot of food was leftover.
I had a marvellous saffron, aubergines and sausage pasta, followed by some "tagliata" (slices of sirloin steak) and a lovely panna cotta (which I believe is now popular also in England so I won't translate it).
Giulia was the star of the evening, of course being a little baby everyone wants to touch her, hold her, take pictures and so on... At a certain point of the evening I was trying to attract her attention to take a decent shot at her, and I was whistling to her like I do with cats... She was not impressed of course!
She is getting to understand her surrounding a little bit more, you can tell that she observes everything! Well she's got a long way ahead of her, in a way I envy her!
The dinner turned out to end quite late because the host kindly let us understand that it was time to move because they wanted to close... A great party, nothing OVERLYFANTASTIC, but for that I am sure that there will be other occasions, such as New Year where Giovanni and Elisa are going to prepare GAMES to play after dinner...
Last time we did something like that it ended with a massive crossword made by Francesco!!
- A Party that was never to be
- [Wednsday 19th December 2007]
The annual Christmas reunion, all friends together, was very un-democratically voted to be held at my place. With the excuse of an house warming party that I never launched, mostly because there was never a moment of "normality" since I moved back to Florence but this seems to be a fact of very little consequence among some of my peers, I was elected host 2007 for the occasion.
Usually 10/12 people get together, we order a huge quantity of "Schiacciata", salami, slice meat, (some) vegetables and off we are to a "Pugi Cena" as documented in several occasions in this blog (See HERE and HERE).
This time due to some unexpected guests and a quite rare 100% confirmed presence we are going to be 19. This put me in the nasty position of having to cancel the dinner at my place, because there is no phisical space to accomodate so many people. Moreover, since on Saturday there were massive cancellations, we would have to do a proper dinner on Sunday, meaning that we would have had to cook as well... Not my cup of tea really!
So instead we are going at some restaurant, at least we can all meet, which is the important part, as for the dinner at my place it will have to wait until we are less people.
- [Sunday 16th December 2007]
Today we had a very long sleep and then around 11ish me and Chiara went to the supermarket to do a bit of grocery shopping.
Technically Chiara finished her thesis meaning that we can spend more time together, a prospect that I quite relish as in the past 3 months we didn't really see each other a lot.
In the afternoon I left Chiara home and went to see some football with Gianfranco and his brother Silvio, Fiorentina didn't play all that well but at least we didn't loose this time! The afternoons spent watching football, drinking beer, it's something that I don't want to miss (when I can) it's probably very close to how TV and movies "tell" us life should be.
Although I do not like stereotypes at all, this one is fits myself perfectly!
It was not until the evening that I met Chiara again and we went to see some cars (this time Renault) and then we went to a Media Store place where we bought a Juicer.
Since I am not a huge fan of vegetables and fruits, Chiara decided that we had to find another way that I could accommodate to eat this kind of food.
It's not like I am not eating ANY fruits and vegetables, but I prefer juices than the real stuff... I know it's wrong of course, but that's the way it is!
So in the end we bought the juicer, and like every technological and kitchen appliance I totally love it and I started playing with it right away. of course we had to buy fruits, and we went especially for that grocery shopping after the Media Center place. I think this was the first time in my life that I actually JUST bought fruits and vegetables...
Anyways the first experiments were quite great, carrot and apple juice and kiwi and orange juice. Both great concoctions, but I am sure that my passion for cooking will soon take me to experiment the extreme! :D (I am already thinking of cocktails with fresh ginger and spices...)
A good Sunday then, we are about to start the last week at work before the Christmas break, let's hope that everything will be fine, but surely the weekend was quite good to rest and take my mind off other problems...
- Giulia Baptism Ceremony
- [Sunday 9th December 2007]
Today we all went to Prato early in the morning (for a Sunday of course), to attend to Ivan and Angela daughter's Baptism ceremony.
As many of you know my belief in the Christian Church is close to nothing, so the only drive for me to go there was the fact that all the other friends were coming and it was going to be a great chance to have fun together.
The mass was probably the funniest part, basically the priest is not Italian and although he made a good job at speaking in Italian all the time, you could tell that sometimes he used the "pre made" phrases that probably he studied when he was a novice. The funnies part was the fact that the things that he was saying were COMPLETELY unrelated to what he was talking about a minute earlier, a classic escape route that he used when he did not know what to say and (or) the language was a bit rusty.
The other marvel was the fact that he probably said "as a matter of fact" (ecco, in Italian) at least 400 times. I am not joking it was really senseless, but I have to thank him because the mass was long and without him I probably would have fallen asleep.
The party after the ceremony was good, there was the usual kissing and hugging and chatting and so on, until lunch time when me and Chiara had to leave.
A nice start of that day that unfortunately got spoiled by Fiorentina loosing yet another match.
The more I look around the more I see people leaving the Christian path for the atheism or other religions. I cannot help but liking it, although the Italian government and television is pushing forward the Pope and Christianity more and more. I think that Italy is the only country in the world that has the Pope broadcasted on EVERY television news program every day. Yes, EVERY DAY, we are subject to see if the Pope ate a doughnut, slept well, said something against the gay community or science as a whole, or farted too much.
Needless to say that I completely hate it, but nowadays information is totally mouldy here in Pizzaland and it's impossible for me to look at the news for more than 3 minutes...
Anwyays going back to Giulia, who will have the undoubted honour of living in this country (or shithole), I wish her all the best, and I wish her to think when she will grow up about religion and all of that!
- Celebrities Inside
- [Friday 14th December 2007]
Another Friday, another end of the week. I am quite knackered, I have been working at things that I haven't done in ages, believe it or not I am doing web site developments and applied marketing productions (mostly brochures and photographic material)... It seems weird, I should be doing other things, but the marketing side of the job that was assigned to me is taking, at least in these early stages the most of my time...
Anyway, I love it! Really, I just hope that I can keep at it in the future. But that's another story and I'd have to dish out details that I cannot quite tell yet....
So it's time to talk about yet another interesting happening.
Every time that we go out with Chiara to have a meal together we seem to meet some celebrity!
When we went to Sicily we met a very famous Italian singer (Branduardi) and an Italian comedian (Sabani).
Then we met a famous theatre actress at Chiara's hotel, and today we are stepping up the ladder of celebrity having dined NEXT to ROB LOWE!
Actually I completely ignore who this person is, but Chiara seemed to know him. I have to say that I was the first to spot him because he is quite good looking and I told Chiara that there was a quite good looking American at the next table. Then when she turned to see him she recognized him straight away!
Anyway we didn't even exchanged a word with him, I don't know why we are so shy when celebrities are around. I think it is some sort of fear to upset them, after all they are there having fun and eating a meal... I always seem to use the "if I was there" approach in many aspects of my life, I find it respectful of others, even though sometimes I wished I wasn't so "nice"...
We were at Sostanza, a great typical place where you can have the real Florentine Steak. A bit expensive but we were feeling "meaty" and we wanted to go there also last week but it was closed. The meal was great and the hosts are great too. A bit expensive, but ehi, we ate at the same table that Steven Spilberg used when he was there!
A great evening all in all we were really happy and pleased.
If only the work side was more stable and I had a proper car... I could enjoy these moments a lot more, but at the moment I have to relish with what I am given, let's hope that the future will make things better...
- Direct Line Insurance
- [Tuesday 4th December 2007]
It's now six months since my car got stolen. And it is six months since my insurance (Direct Line) is refusing to pay for the car since I was insured with an arson and theft policy.
It's getting really out of hand, the solicitor that I hired to uphold my interests against the car park where the car was stolen is actually doing his job only for my insurance, the very one that should have paid right away.
The ordeal is nothing but started, as we are now suing the insurance company to have something that it's my RIGHT to have (since I have paid after all).
They have not replied to our letters, documents (that they requested by the way) and phone calls.
Finally my solicitor managed to speak to the person in charge for my policy and apparently this person told him that I still had to send them another document, that I need to get from a notary public.
The fact is that on the list of documents that I had to provide this one was not written!!
Then when I went to see the notary the guy asks me if the insurance company had given me the "indispensable" pre-printed form needed to get the document.
Needless to say that after 3 weeks we are not in possession of any pre-printed form, so we are now going to make this document without it.
It's so incredible, they are so quick in asking for money when you make a policy with them but then when it comes to paying they are completely useless.
The real problem is that I still do not have a car, because (hear that) they will not release the bonus/malus document needed to stipulate another car insurance, UNTIL the previous one is "closed" (i.e. until they pay!!!
HOW STUPID IS THAT!!?
So, to recap, they do not pay for some strange reason that I am not given to know, but even if I had the money to buy a new car I cannot insure it at the correct bonus/malus level because they will not give me a document that states my position.
Basically if I want a new car I must insure it at the highest possible premium, as if I have had 10 accidents in the last 2 months... :(
So now we are about to go to court. I do not place a lot of faith in the Italian legal system, it's long, troublesome and since we are in Italy even in a case like this my lawyer said that 9 out of 10 I will win the lawsuit (in 10 years), but that 1 chance is really bugging me!!
Oh well, I guess that it's part of having a telephone/internet insurance policy, but it shouldn't really be like that, I am really disappointed at how these companies (that are protected by the government on almost everything wrong that they do), they are forcing me to go back to a normal insurance policy once I manage to get my new car...
Just in case someone thinks that I am stepping out of boundaries denouncing this fact (because on the internet you shouldn't make the names of private companies), well, I am just reporting the ordeal that this company is giving me.
I am sure that there are a lot of people working there that are honest, but this doesn't make things better for me at all, and as a matter of fact I am a customer that they have lost FOREVER.
All was good until they had to pay, which is too easy in my opinion, they should make sure that the same quickness in asking for money is adopted when having to pay.
But that's another world probably, and this realization just makes me sadder.
- Sick again
- [Monday 3rd December 2007]
Well the title says it all, I have got the flu or whatever it is ONCE AGAIN... I am turning to be a total wimp, you could argue that I was never the first hero in the world, I do tend to cry on myself a little too much, but if before it was partly an attention seeking activity, now I am getting worried.
First of all I am gaining weight. I hate it. I am forced not to do any sport because I do not trust my knee a lot. My sister's husband is a doctor, his specialization is sport related injuries, so I am kind of waiting that they come to Florence so that he can take a look at the knee.... Then we'll see what it can be done about it.
Workwise things are not easy, so all in all I feel quite a lot of pressure on several sides and little light at the end of the tunnel.
I am really putting a lot of effort in the job at hand, but it will not be until April that I will know if that paid or not.
Well, I will have a lot to talk about once the Japanese situation clears a little. At the moment it seems as we finally reached some agreement, but payments have not started yet... Oh well we will see I guess...
That's it really, Chiara is doing her thesis so I am alone at home once more, I quite hate it to be honest... :P
- A good Saturday
- [Saturday 1st December 2007]
Today it was a very good Saturday.
First of all I managed to sleep soundly and with no "incident" like it happened during the week with me turning and sweating a lot...
Then I had some quick lunch at home and took the bike around 2 PM to go to the centre of Florence where Chiara was waiting for me at the hotel. Finally after more than 2 months we managed to have an afternoon together!
We went shopping (got a pair of trousers) and then walked around a lot to look for Christmas presents.
Around seven-ish we decided to go for an early dinner, Chiara wanted to have some "boiled" ("bollito" as we call it here, it is essentially boiled parts of pork and cow with a green sauce, very Florentine and quite nice), but the restaurant of choice was closed (name of the place "Sostanza detto il Troia" - "Substance a.k.a. The Bitch", one of the oldest most popular places in Florence).
We then decided to go to another one with a more agreeable name "Marione", quite famous as well. Dinner was ok I guess, we shared a "Ribollita" (Vegetable and bread soup) and then Chiara had her "bollito" while I went for a "Tagliata" (Steak cut in slices, hence the name Tagliata which means "cut").
To be honest wine and Ribollita were great, but the meat was not so good in my opinion. All in all the dinner was quite cheap so we went out and separated, Chiara has to finish her thesis and I had an appointment with Gianfranco and Federico to go to see 1408, with Samuel L.Jacson and John Kusak.
The movie it's okish. Nothing majorly great but there are some parts where you jump in your seat. The end it's quite disappointing but hey, I think they didn't know how to bring it to a close...
When I came back home Chiara was there writing away and we went to bed after some review of the paper.
A very good Saturday, took my mind off many problems that we have at work, it's a shame that I cannot talk about it on the blog, but it's a price that I have to pay if I want to make sure that my previous employers pay me the outstanding invoices...
- Lox, Lorenzo... ME!!
- A little introduction about the author and the blog itself. Plus contacts and CVs... You never know!
- A Selection of the best pictures that I have taken all over the world during the years, all nicely indexed by year and geographical area. Jolly good!
- History of this Blog
- A collection of all the articles that I have wrote so far, divided by month/year.
I have had the bad idea of writing my e-mail address on the board before, so this time I'll try to prevent some spam to get to me by putting this little image.. Let's hope it does the trick!
A reminder to Myself
Left and right
Like day and night
That's what makes the world go round
In and out
Thin and stout
That's what makes the world go round
For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round
You must set your sights upon the heights
Don't be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You see my boy it's nature's way
Upon the weak the strong ones prey
The human life it's also true
The strong will try to conquer you
That is what you must expect
Unless you use your intellect
Brains and brawn, weak and strong
That's what makes the world go round