May 2, 2009

Diary from the set, part II

Today I am one year older than yesterday. It doesn't feel any different. Unless you count the apricot-sized lump in my throat every time I softly pronounce age to self. Looking in the mirror, I can see the expression lines creeping around my eyes. Too many smiles have left their mark. A handful of silver threads in my hair and my pear-shaped body remind me every day that the spring season is ending, my oak leaves turning tawny.

But not today. Today I feel young and free. Lighthearted and happy. I am with a special boy who grabs my hand and kisses my cheek at the supermarket. He picks out the mortadella from the deli counter and decides for the olive oil crackers, I smell the melons and teach him the word "ananas," Italian for pineapple.

He's becoming too heavy for the seat behind the handlebar, and I had to give in to purhcasing a plastic Pluto doll, despite the fact we have one already. E's eyes sparkle in the Roman sunlight and the warm wind toustles his fine ash blond hair. he looks up at me and says, ero triste mamma, finalmente sei qui - I was sad, mommy, finally you're here.

Am I or not the luckiest birthday girl alive?

Whenever I flush the toilet, the pipes play a deep trombone note that wakes my entire floor. The new hotel is closer to the new filming locations and thankfully doesn't smell like smoke. It is curiously however somehow connected by some bizarre vent system, to the kitchen. So this morning my acute sense of smell was not tickled by coffee and warm croissants but rather by yesterday's minestrone. Not exactly the best wake up call. As I said, not all that glitters is gold. The movie business, and all things connected to it, housing arrangements and food included, can get quite stank at times like these.

It's hard to go back to basics and live in a place with no wireless connection, poor cell reception and cable TV. I've always dreamt of the benefits of living the simple life, but now I can't blog nor be reachable other that on the 3-star hotel land line. Having left my small child in the care of my elderly osteoporotic mother and a non-native nanny, phone communication makes me feel safer. It also cuts down on the guilt factor if I can call my son and coo for a few minutes listening to his stories of lions, dragons and powerful diggers.

The crew's been scattered among 3 different hotels varying in distance from the locations. I’m 5km away, some are a 10-minute drive away, some have to travel a half-hour. But the inverse proportion is closer-crappier, distant-deluxe. For some reason I got stuck with the former. The fun, younger crowd is enjoying saunas and excellent meals 50km away. I'm writing this not sure I can post it before I return home on Friday. And the food here has yet to jolt my tastebuds out of apathy.

Sermoneta, castle 

Yestarday's rain and curvy roads to get here added nausea to the chill.

But this is what must be done, this is what it means to work as a single parent. I'm the breadwinner. The working girl. The sole provider. I’m so tired and worn out, though. I'd like to be home now, snuggled up to my sleeping child and not here in a squallid hotel, with torn towels and noisy pipes. I don't care for luxury, I don't mind the smell after all, I'm easy and I'm flexible. But sometimes I feel I'm giving so much more than I'm getting back. And right now the lonliess and lack of love is making me cry.

The shower towel in my bathroom...

I have to pack my script bag and shlep it to set now, because the call time is on. Today we shoot in a Medieval abbey, I'll take pictures and hopefully post them in my next update.


  1. sounds like you have an amazing young man there. Fun that you are teaching him, and his quote is priceless.

    sounds like an interesting place you stayed on your trip...musical pipes, odd smells, holy towels...looking forward to pics of the abbey.

    Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy,happy birthday! Best wishes for a beautiful day with your little man.xx♥

  3. Brian & Natalie - Thank you so much. More later... Ciao dear friends

  4. Sounds like a wonderful day with your son! Wishing you a beautiful birthday!

  5. Happy Birthday Sweetie! xox

  6. Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful day! Many many Blessings:)


  7. Buon compleanno Lola, gli auguro cento di piĆ¹.
    There is no lack of love you are just carrying it with you in your heart until you return home where you can feel it in your arms.

  8. Happy birthday, Lola. haven't you heard? This is the birthday you start aging in reverse. It's truly amazing... I been aging backwards for several years now! Continued good luck with your work. It sounds very challenging. Your son is very lucky!

  9. Yes, your friend is right!, anyway, age is only a state of mind,and with your beautiful attitude and thoughts you will be young forever! But the secret is, getting older is fun, really!

    Lovely lovely photo of mother and child. Much love to you today on your birthday.

    Oh, and I guess, according to your description, everything is not always as it seems, your job is hard work!!
    ♥ lori

  10. Happy Birthday beautiful woman and may all the best of your birthday wishes come true.

    Life is Beautiful!!


  11. Lola, age is relative. Hang around older folks, and you'll feel quite infantile. Really! I look back at what I worried about in my forties: aging, getting heavier, getting grey, not having enough of this or that. We tend to want to stop time; but look at your lovely young man. He will grow up to be a man before your very eyes and your work, your love and devotion to him will nourish you both. Those things make life worthwhile.

    So, Happy Birthday, And buy yourself flowers as often as you can.

  12. Hi dear Lola: I'm enjoying these posts that you wrote on the road so, so much. The picture of the towel speaks volumes. It's hard to be away from a little one, isn't it. What a sweet little guy. Happy happy birthday, and know that you're not alone. Friends in blogland, including this one, are going through the forties-birthday thing with you. I hope you have a grand weekend.

  13. oh, happy birthday Lola. Is that not the most beautiful picture ever? Perfect. Huge smile.

    You certainly pay the price for an exotic job, don't you. Enjoy your time home!

  14. Welcome back, Lola. I hope any loneliness that you felt is melted away, not only by your beautiful son, but also in some way by the group here who surrounds you virtually with care and support, and applauds your spirit. Happy Birthday!

  15. Ciao Lola! Buon compleanno bella! Tanti auguri! So very happy you could be with E. on your birthday. What a beautiful photo!

  16. Happy Birthday! There's nothing like your children to remind you how lucky you are. And how young they see you as being. I was twenty for a long time :-P

  17. That towel is amazing! LOL!

    Happy, happy birthday! I'm so glad you could spend it with your son!

  18. Thank you all very much for your great wishes and warm comments! Ciao :)

  19. Happy Birthday! I don't know... Uhm, you look familiar. .. Where have I met you?

  20. Happy birthday Lola. I've seen your picture with your son. You are a very beautiful woman, senza dubbio. Without doubt.

  21. So beautiful! Both of you! Those smiles...they light up the world. Happy, happy birthday, Lola and happy days always.

    Loving your journal entries - I feel like I'm right there with you. What a gift you have to making everything come alive.

  22. Sorry I'm late, Happy Birthday Lola!
    You are one hard working mom.
    Medieval abbey sounds interesting!