Archive for April, 2008

Idle time…Idle thinking

Posted in Italy, life, sports on April 26, 2008 by Robin Eller

I slept in this morning until 9 am. Even my dog slept in. I’ve been getting up early every Saturday morning for a 9:30 appointment. I don’t have to anymore. Yeah! It was so nice to sleep in but now I’m so lazy that I don’t want to do a thing on such a gorgeous day. I spoke to my friend in Rome this morning. It seems as if she’s been gone much longer than a month. I could hear contentment in her voice; something I haven’t heard in a long time until she made the decision to move to Italy. It’s no question that Italy is magical if the heart is open for that kind of joy.

Now I’m trying to decide when do I want to make my trip to Italia. I will definitely go between September and October. Of course my representation might be a little angry for my choice of time to go to Italy. Things tend to start up again in the land of television. But I only have one life to live. Besides, I’m trying to create work in other places and not limit myself to just L.A. I was told by a few people to refrain from coming to Italy in November again. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful leaves in the Fall; however my Italian friends seemed to be incredibly busy with work in November to enjoy the colors that surrounded them as I was free to do. I didn’t mind that everyone was busy because we made the most of the time we did have together. I’m told that business slows down in December so Italians are cramming everything in business-wise before shutting down for the Christmas holidays.

The NBA playoffs started and being the big sports fan that I am; I could sit in front of the TV this entire day and watch the games. I know that if I get caught up in good game, I will NEVER get anything done. Truth is, I don’t feel like doing anything so perhaps I’ll just listen to my body and just do….nothing. Oh here comes Guido Panini (photo) wanting to go out again for a walk. Now here’s something I will have to do….take the dog for a walk. We won’t be outside very long. It’s too hot and my dog hates the heat.

Viva Las Vegas??

Posted in food, life, people, travels on April 24, 2008 by Robin Eller

I had a little vacation in Vegas for just 3 days at the Bellagio Hotel. (Photo: Flower garden at the Bellagio) I haven’t been to Las Vegas since 4 years ago. Come va il tempo! (how time flies). Since then, they’ve built the Wynn Hotel, redone the Palms, remodeled the MGM and have started a project in construction that will cost at least 90 billion. Those are just some of the things I noticed and I know there is a lot more. No offense to any Vegas residents or Vegas Lovers but who wants to live in the desert?? Okay,not me…..BUT…Clearly a lot of people do. This new project in Vegas is about building a city within a city. There will be condominiums and more hotels right on the strip. I have a feeling they may have to make cars obsolete in order to get around just the strip at full capacity. These new “homes” will have schools for children within their communities. Perhaps I’m prejudging this; but it appears to be creating an isolated community on the strip. Why?? Clearly the financial reasons are obvious. Will the children take field trips to the casinos to learn their math?? I met a number of people who had just moved to Vegas from another state. Some were older and they wanted to be closer to their kids and grandkids; while others just wanted a change in their life. Well, Vegas would definitely be a change to say the least. I can see this creates potential job opportunities with the building of so many new hotels and casinos. I do have friends who share this same passion for the desert. According to them, with the right job and if one stays away from the casinos; one could earn a decent living.

The fun thing about Vegas is that one can really get a real sense of various types of people that really exist in America. Everyone from across the whole US come to Vegas. I love to “people watch.” Living in Los Angeles, one tends to frequent their choice of stores, restaurants and socialize in certain area. It’s easy to categorize the area that people are from in Los Angeles by the way they dress. One can tell the people from Beverly Hills, from Brentwood, from Santa Monica and Venice area in particular by the way the women dress. It’s also nice to see that the “average size woman” does exist in other parts of America and they’re NOT a size 0 or 2. Okay, I’m a size 6 but I do I have curves. Yeah me!! A lot of the women I saw in Vegas appeared to feel confident even in the clothing they wore; even if they really had no business wearing a particular outfit. But it’s Vegas so…Anything goes!! I suppose… I like the fact that these women had a vibe of being very comfortable in who they were.

Another fact about Vegas: People actually eat in Vegas. Okay, maybe too much for my taste. I noticed the long lines for the buffets. The thought of a buffet does something to me. It makes me feel full. I get full just looking at all of that food. I have never been able to really enjoy buffets so I don’t bother. I do remember enjoying a buffet at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara. Give me a menu where I can enjoy what I want and that’s it. In L.A. most women are too busy doing the “closet binge and purge” in fear of being seen eating “too much.” In Vegas, it doesn’t seem to be problem. I remember seeing this attractive blonde sitting at a table next to mine and she ate every bit of her grilled cheese sandwich with a nice size bowl of tomato soup. Before the main course she even ate her share of pork dumplings with her husband. I settled for the grilled vegetable pita but I surely ate some dessert later that night. After all, I couldn’t resist a chocolate cake made with the Italian’s version of peanut butter called Nutella?? Che buona!!!

In spite of the constant building in Vegas, the good restaurants and my enjoyment of the spa, I much prefer being outdoors. We walked a mile outside to go from the Bellagio Hotel to the Wynn Hotel. It was a welcomed change from the a/c. Give me the outdoors any day! Give me Filicudi any day!! I actually longed for the smog in L.A. after 3 days of breathing in 2nd hand smoke and smelling more perfume than I cared to smell in elevators. I thought one wore the perfume not the other way around.

Not sure if I’ll be running back to Vegas anytime in the next month but it was enjoyable in spite of the air conditioning. If the right job came along, well I could be whistling another tune about Vegas. If a friend visited from out of town then of course I’d go back. In terms of living, my first choice would be Italy but for now I’ll take the frustrations of Los Angeles. At least I can drive down to the beach to take in the ocean and clear out my smoke filled mind.


Posted in life, politics on April 15, 2008 by Robin Eller

I decided to log on to a site I am a member of to see what was the feedback; because I knew there would be quite a bit written about the Italian elections. All I can say is Mamma MIa! I have never seen such chaos in those posting their opinions of whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that Berlusconi won. First of all I can admit that I am not well-educated in European politics; I do know however that the some of the problems they are having are universal. If you are considered “middle-class” or god forbid anything lower, then the politics are clearly not going to be in your favor. To some people, voting seemed irrelevant and there are many who chose NOT to vote. They don’t think their vote will make a difference OR vote with hope that perhaps this time something will be different. I had to laugh at someone who made a comment about Berlusconi being “pro-American” and there was a bit of “American bashing.” Now what H**** does it really mean to be pro-American?? Is Berlusconi “Pro-American” in what way?? One would have to read the post to understand why I ask what he meant. The same person doing the “America bashing” went to the University of Santa Cruz; which leaves me to the conclusion that America was good enough for him to attend an American University or maybe he just forgot. It was sad to see people from a country that I am very fond of show this “bitter side.” Do they have a right to be upset about who’s in power and what that means to them, their future financially or anything else? Absolutely! However it was strange to see this otherwise friendly site being used as a forum to express anger and insults to each other. It’s the “italian way” to get so passionate about things so hopefully it was just that….”the heat of the moment…”

It’s clearly we have out own political issues in the good old USA with our upcoming election. There was someone on this same site hoping to attract Americans to talk about voting for Hillary or Obama but the majority of responses came from non-Americans. One woman did write and say that she would be happy for either one to win as long as there is not another Bush in the white house. I happen to agree. It’s going to take a few Presidential terms to return America to a semi-respected country amongst other countries.

Monday blues

Posted in life, Missing Italy on April 14, 2008 by Robin Eller

The heat has arrived and it’s time for the beach. FA CALDO!! I actually think I could stand a little color. Why would “I” need to tan?? Well one of my reasons is when I took a photo and was standing next to a friend of mine from Columbia and he was darker than me.

I took my dog out at midnight last night and it was so hot. The weather for some reason reminded me of Filicudi. Oh, I got so sad. This will be the 2nd year that I’m not going over to Sicily in the summer. I’m going to hold off until the Fall again. If I want to explore the “work” scene, then I’ll need to wait for people to come back from summer vacation to do business. If I try and contact people too soon as my Italian sister says, they will forget. Italian people don’t plan too far in advance. The fact that I’m even thinking about the Fall when the summer hasn’t technically started would be considered too soon by Italian standards.

I’ll get back to Filicudi one of these days…it would be too sad to think otherwise.

Good Book…

Posted in books, travels, vacation in Italy on April 12, 2008 by Robin Eller

I’m getting such a kick out of the book my girlfriend gave me. Whenever one of the ladies came back from Italy, they would bring back an Italian novel for me to read to challenge myself. I would be so excited!! The ladies considered me the more experienced “Italian speaker” in our group of four women. Our group is empty now with the move of one of our members to the beloved country that brought us together as friends.

The friend that gave me this book just moved to Rome. Beata lei!! (lucky her!) She always inspired me with her writing skills and continues to inspire me just by who she is. In fact, she’s the reason I “blog on and off. ” She’s the reason I “blogged” on again because this is another way of getting an update on her adventures in Roma. Regarding writing a blog: I’m an intelligent person. People writing a blog is a great idea for people to catch up on other’s news and a way to discover other people’s interests. I get the “idea” of writing a blog however, I’m not sure if there are any rules. I ask myself? What do I have to write about?? Of course I’m probably investing too much in the thinking part and not enough in just writing. I still haven’t made it a “way of life” for me yet since I’m don’t consider myself a writer. Again, I am inspired by my friend to at least give it a go once more.

This book “No Sex In The City” will be the first I I have completed in Italian and with total comprehension. I definitely need to enjoy the writing style of the author even more in another language to keep my interest. I made an attempt at reading an Italian best seller called “Va’ Dove Ti Porta Il Tuo Cuore” by Susanna Tamaro. My Italian sister told me I could handle it. Clearly I overestimated myself. At the time I had yet to learn the subjunctive verb tense in Italian. Otherwise known as “il congiuntivo.” It was tough without the comprehension and I lost interest. As time went on I learned the verb tense and once I finish this book, I’ll go back and revisit that book. I do remember the story being sad, so one has to be in a good place to indulge the time into a sad story. I know I do because I like to get lost in the book. I remember my friend’s comment after her watching the film “La Vie En Rose..” She said, “I watched that movie and it could make someone want to jump out of a window…” I thought this comment was so funny!! Okay, maybe I have a sick sense of humor. The film wasn’t funny but I remember laughing really hard before I inserted the DVD into the player.

I don’t have to be good mood when I pick it up up this book. It’s quite entertaining especially because my knowledge of the Italian culture. I just wish I wasn’t so busy these days because I want to finish it. After all, I started it back in November on my trip to Italy. Funny, I am revisiting the book and writing again a blog. Thanks caribbean/ragazza!! I am enjoying reading ” No Sex In The City” the story of an Italian man experiencing romance in the Big Apple. The book is not the male version of the HBO TV series “Sex In The City.” In fact, I never read the book by Candace Bushnell. However, I do have a group of friends who are planning our outing for the movie coming out in May. This book is about an Italian man’s perspective on relationships with American women as well as his daily life experiences while living in NY.

I remember reading this book on the train going from Milano to Roma. I was sitting across from this handsome Italian man and we were the only two people in our “posto” He wore his sunglasses for the entire trip so I never got to really see his eyes. I can tell a lot about a person by their eyes. However the features that were exposed I have to admit…. were gorgeous. On the train, there seemed to be a period where I kept laughing out loud at some provocative moments in the book. I could feel the man looking at me each time I laughed and I just couldn’t help laughing out loud….not too loud… but these excerpts where hysterical. In my mind I had this wonderful inside joke and he wanted to know. Well if he really wanted to know, then he would have to ask me. He had his secret behind the glasses and I had mine with my book. Of course he might’ve thought other things about a woman on the train reading a book in Italy of all places and it’s entitled “No Sex In The City.” There were moments when I felt compelled to ask him, “do you use these lines on Italian women? Or have you ever tried this..??” Naturally I would be quoting something from the book. Probably not the best talk to have in Italian with a complete stranger. But then again it could’ve made an interesting train ride.

Milano memories

Posted in travels, vacation in Italy on April 12, 2008 by Robin Eller

Last year has come and gone and where was I??? What does one do when they haven’t written a blog in 6 months. Can anyone really remember every detail in the past six months of their life?? There are parts of last year that I would just assume forget. But I’ll stick with the positive.
I had that trip to Italy and a beautiful memory since my last posting. Che fantastico fosse il mio viaggio!! A week in Milano….a little business and then fun. Hung out with some fellow ASW members. What a nice group of people. I didn’t know what to expect after posting a thread for information; however everyone was incredibly helpful. But then again, they’re Italian so I shouldn’t be too surprised. Considering it was November in Milano, the weather stayed fairly nice. It was cold but not unbearable and I was prepared for unbearable. There were quite a few warm days and I just told everyone that I brought the sun with me from California. One day, I took the train to Torino. It was the first time for me to be in Torino. I promised my friends that when I was in Rome, we would see each other. I like to keep my promises. I couldn’t have been happier to see my dear friends Dario and his fiance Tatiana. For the past 4 years we have grown accustomed to seeing each other in Filicudi …this place is one of the most beautiful islands just two hours away from Palermo in Sicilia. We all tried to incorporate so much in one night. Funny!! Some other friends passed by: Roberto (Tatiana’s brother) and his girlfriend Cristina who made her way to living in Torino from Spain. She speaks Italian with a Spanish accent and she told me I speak Italian with a Florence accent. Well that ought to make my Italian teacher happy since he’s from the Florence area. LOL!!Guess I adapt the accent that the Italian person that I happen to be around. God, I don’t think I can adapt a Sicilian accent. Besides my friend wouldn’t forgive me.
I digress….Torino is a quaint town. I haven’t seen such colorful leaves on the trees since I was a child growing up in Newport, Rhode Island. I could see every color on each leaf of the tree. (See photo) Che bello!! In some respects Torino appears large but on the other hand it appears everyone knows everyone else. For example. After my friend Dario came to pick me up from the train station, we passed by the building where he works and he waved to a man walking down the street. It turns out to be his boss. He joked about not wanting to go to work the next day because I was visiting but now he would have to since his boss saw him. His plot of calling sick was temporarily ruined. Tatiana (D’s fiance) arrived shortly at their home. We had probably been at the house 15 minutes. She came in and said, “Dario your boss called me and told me you were in the car with a woman with curly hair! And she looks at me and says “Ciao Bella Amica!!!” Well clearly news travels fast in this town. D & T took me on a tour of the city and then we picked up their beautiful daughter Greta from school. I have never met a little girl who looked like a star before. This little girl looks like a star from the 40’s. Her features are absolutely beautiful. At Greta’s school, I felt like the jolly green giant because the nuns were barely as tall as the 5 year olds. This was the first year Greta wasn’t shy to talk to me. I was so happy. I’m sure she was more comfortable in “her territory” and she was very happy to let me have her bed to sleep in for the night. We ordered Chinese food in Torino for dinner. I have to say it is still strange for me to be in Italy and see Chinese people speaking Italian. The food was good!! Different from the Chinese food I know but still very good. After dropping Greta off at school the next morning, we went to the Film & Television museum. It’s a fairly new museum and D & T were very interested in seeing the museum. We regressed to children in the museum and has the best time together. I’m happy for the fact that our friendship maintains a closeness no matter how much time has passed by and the distance that separates us.
It’s always hard to say goodbye to my dear friends but I promised to go back and visit again as long as Greta was a willing participant in allowing me to be a guest in her room. I still had a few people left to spend time with Milano. I won’t get to everyone this trip; unfortunately.
My last night in Milano, I went to an opening of an art gallery with my friend Paolo. The gallery owner is an ex-soccer player from France. It was a very “red carpet” event. There were a lot of important people, all of the art gallery owners support each other. In fact I bumped into a gallery owner that I had met in Rome two years ago. We discovered at that time that he knew my friend Paolo. It’s a small world. After the gallery gala there was a reception held at the Four Season Hotel and Mamma Mia…. what a spread of food they had. I ate slowly and had just a teaspoon of as much as I could. Along with good food, the conversation at my table was great. I am proud that I impressed everyone with my Italian; especially the very upscale Milan women. When I shared that my next destination was Rome; some of the women at the table did confess to me that they really liked Rome. AH!!! It’s public knowledge now that Milan people secretly wish they could be in Rome where it’s much easier to get around; however the names of those who spoke are withheld to protect the innocent. I have some very fond memories of this trip to Milano. It appears that my circle of friends in Milano has now grown so perhaps I will frequent there a bit more in the future. Next stop Roma!!