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November 2009

Angel On Set

Yesterday I had a very unexpected and wonderful conversation with an angel at work. The parents of one of the younger actors has been on set a lot recently and we've struck up conversations. Turns out, because of the fans and many websites regarding this project, the actor's parents have found this blog and have read it. They told me this on Friday night and I was pleased. (Any writer is pleased when they are being read!) 

Today the actor's mom mentioned she had read about Jen dying and she told me how sorry she was about it. I got choked up by the unexpected warmth and kindness and we talked a bit more about it and I ended up crying a bit more, which I clearly needed to do. 

That was all wonderful enough -- comfort far from home about such a hard part of my life. 

But then I mentioned that my niece and nephew are at a tough age and I'm worried about them and am not ever sure what to do or say, but that I try to stay in touch, even if it's random comments on Facebook. This Angel told me that what I am doing is what I should be doing and to not stop. She said her own mother had died when she was 22 and that her aunt stayed close, always in touch, and by the time she was in her 30's she and her aunt had become really close and she realized how important all that connection had been over the years. This story made me cry harder because I really needed to hear it.

It's hard not to feel hopeless sometimes. I know Grace and Matthew will find their way and be successes at whatever the put their minds to. Jen raised some amazing kids. But it's hard to watch them stumble and not be able to help them every step after what they've been through. After what we have all been through. 

Thank you dear Angel. I will remember you and this conversation for years to come.

Go Tonga!

The Tongan national rugby team is staying in my hotel here in Belfast. Most of you are thinking -- kay, so? Yes, rugby players tend to be larger gentlemen. If you are from Hawaii you are with me right now, smirking at the word "larger." The Tongans are HUGE. 

Here's a picture I ganked from The Daily Mail.

This would give me pause before a match.


Go Tonga!

Learning To Drive On The Other Side Of The Road

You have arrived in the UK and are handed a car key and a rental car. I will now describe the four phases of driving on the wrong left side of the road so you can be prepared when this happens to you. Keep in mind that the will be a stickshift so if you need automatic, make sure you let them know ahead of time. 

Most importantly, don't panic. Just take it slow and take your time. UK drivers are really really friendly and generally pretty patient.

Phase 1 -- Utter panic. Say the phrase STAY LEFT! out loud as often as you need to. This lasts about two days.

Phase 2 -- More at ease. Your right hand will be bruised as you bash it into the door looking for the gearshift. The mirror positions will feel all wrong and it will be hard to know where to look for surrounding traffic. You'll laugh everytime you reach with your right hand for the seatbelt that doesn't exist over your left shoulder. You will walk to the wrong side of the car to get in. This phase lasts 3-5 days.

Phase 3 -- Ease and comfort. You've been driving for a few weeks now, every day. It seems perfectly normal. However, this is the most dangerous time. Because you feel at ease, you are not thinking about driving anymore and your old instincts kick in. At an empty roundabout you will feel the urge to go right instead of left. You may forget to look to the left for cross traffic, etc. During this phase it doesn't hurt to pull out a few "Stay left!"s from time to time. This step can last for weeks.

Phase 4 -- Native driver. Effortless, nothing bothers you and you remember to fold your side mirrors in when you park. This takes months/years.

I am currently in Phase 3 and don't have much more time to get to the native level. I have enjoyed the challenge. Turned out to be much easier than expected. The only thing I can really complain about is the street signage and street names. Hard to see street signs, if they exist at all. And streets tend to change names A LOT. Within one mile a street name can change two or three times. Not saying it's bad, just different.

While I share a car with my colleague, he's never driven and that is fine with the control freak inside of me. I am a spectacular driver and navigator and got us to set in the pitch dark every morning, only having to check directions once or twice. We drove a crew member home the other night from set and she was really impressed that I knew where I was going when she told me where her car was parked (near the production office). I was impressed with myself too. 

I rule.

My Recent Work Life in Review Or Attack of the Bloodsuckers!

The week before last, I got home one day and I was COVERED IN TICKS!!!

Okay, there was only one tick. But it was on my knee, dug in and sucking my blood. I call it the Tollymore tick, or Tolly for short. It really grossed me out and made me twitchy for days. Even now if a raindrop slides down my head or neck, I spaz out thinking it's another tick. [shudder]

(of course I took a photo of Tolly.)

That's about all I can remember about that week of work.

I remember more about this week, though it felt about 3 weeks long by Wednesday. Here's my recap.

Monday = OMG IT'S SO WINDY AND COLD!!! (luckily I planned ahead and was layered up well.) Also on Monday "The bathroom is how far away???" The views were gorgeous,though. 

Tuesday = Great day with B Camera, Paul and Amie. Much laughing amongst the work. I acquired the nickname "Lady Battenberg" and have been assured it's a nice thing. Still not entirely sure. Weather was much better, only cold and occasionally rainy.

Wednesday = COLD. Wasn't quite as prepared with the layers, but not too bad. Much planning and organizing

Thursday = Met a nice extra from Australia, sweet young man on a big adventure. Also much mud and cow manure. I woke up thinking "I haven't gotten much exercise lately" and then ended up walking/running about five miles during the course of that day. Literally. My dogs were barking.

Friday = Woke up grumpy to my alarm going off (normally I wake up a few minutes before). Knew it would be a bad day so I blasted some Green Day while getting layered up. Didn't help much. Should have won an oscar for my "smiling great attitude" performance. After work drinks with co-workers with much laughter, but I still felt like I was pretending. Probably had 12 too many cocktails.

No, I didn't actually have 12 cocktails. I had four or five (hmm, can't remember, that seems bad) over the course of six hours. Walked back to my hotel at 3:00am while on the phone with Kurt. Does it count as "drunk dialing" when you call your own husband?

Up and blogging and a bit of coffee, trying to decide what to do with myself. I have lots of work to do this weekend, and will try to get some done today so it's not all left for tomorrow. 

Plastic Pants

Almost every work day I put on my wind/rain pants. If it's not raining they keep me warmer and if it is raining, they keep me dry. But every time I put them on I hear the sound of plastic baby pants. The ones you used with cloth diapers to have a moisture barrier, way back when (or maybe still). For some reason it brings back memories of Kahala Avenue when Josh and Briton were babies and Jen and Sloane would let me tag along and listen to their Tony DiFranco records. Funny how those memories pop right up when prompted by a simple sound.

Anyway, plastic pants ON! Now I'm ready for work.

Random Things That Made Me Laugh Today

A) Telling Robert about the tv show Extras and the part when Ricky Gervais's character talks with David Bowie. Makes me laugh so hard!

Gods, I love David Bowie!

B) Having a chat with Laura today on set and we were discussing ducks (don't ask) and she said totally seriously, (and you have to imagine this with an Irish accent) "They're angry, ducks are." I might have done a spit take...

C) Later, Laura (I swear we were working!) and I were discussing a certain male person and she said about him, "If he pointed at something, I'd buy it!" I love this new phrase! I liken it to "I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers."

I had a great day today! Much laughter and hugs and tea.

I think the best part about today was that there was a heated, regular bathroom right near set. HEAVEN!

I Hate The World - I Love The Internet

When your sister dies too soon, everything is harder all the time.

I'll just start with that to explain the first part of the title of my blog post.

I've been crying for a while now, tonight. Part of it is just release from a stressful, cold, busy week here in Belfast. The work is not hard. The weather is not that bad (and I was prepared for it). My schedule is not outrageous compared to some shoots I've been on. But all together + a touch of homesickness + time difference + grief = it's all exponentially harder. It's unexpected and surprising, this burst of tears and sobs. Maybe it's just my day off and I'm letting it all go, after working most of the day, to prepare, to gird my loins, for the week to come. Who knows. Maybe I just needed a great sobbing cry and it would have happened no matter where I was, no matter what was going on.

Here's a funny thing. I wouldn't have shared this much detail directly with Jen and yet I would have shared some of this with her and she would have been supportive and said helpful things, even if they were sort of just platitudes. Hard to explain how sisters are. Every sister relationship is so different, even within one multi-marriage family. 

You know what is hardest about being on location without husband or friends nearby? You miss hugs. But somehow, within a week or so, you find one or two people on set, on the crew, who you can hug every day and it's not weird. It's like emergency rations of affection. The video playback woman, Grace, is one of my hug-buddies. So are Paul and Amie on stunts. Great people all. Thank the the gods for them. Gemma too, when she's here, but she's always on a different set, preparing when we are shooting. I'm grateful for my hug-buddies. I don't know how I'd make it without them. And it's not even that long of a shoot.

Then there is the internet. 

I started this job with some blog posts about our location scouts and had to take them down because they were a bit too much information for the wonderfully passionate group of fans surrounding this project. Because of that, I started to read a few of their blogs and am having a lot of fun with it. There is one blog that has almost daily updates and I love reading about what I may or may not have been doing during my work day. It's great. And from that blog, I have gotten many new twitter followers. I have made it clear they will be disappointed by my tweets and blog posts from now on (in regard to the project), but still they are there and they interact with me and you know what? It's awesome. Two of them have even sent me HILARIOUS safety graphics and I posted them this week. I feel like, even though I have a very small part on this project (and those of you who KNOW me know exactly how I feel about this small part), these new fans/followers have kind of become friends. Paul and his 3 year old daughter in particular have been so kind and funny and supportive. When I tweeted that I hated the world and everyone in it today, he sent a supportive and funny tweet back in response. When I said how much I appreciated his and his daughter's support and even more so because we'd never even met, he sent me a picture of his daughter giving me two thumbs up. It made me burst into happy sad tears again. What a crazy wonderful thing this "social media" is. 

Then there is Dor who is now on Twitter and who sends me emails with LOLcats in them. My other dear sister Dorian. Thank all the gods for her too.

And I'm listening to Green Day. Billie Joe and Tre and Dirnt are sort of helping. If only I had drumsticks right now, I would be in great shape. 

My clothes are laid out for heavy weather tomorrow. It's 8:30 and I have to be up at 5. I'll be going to bed soon. I'm exhausted.