Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Making Big Life Changes in Santa Cruz

It's been a difficult year. First Patti's father's health failed and everyone went away to take care of him, then he died several months later. Then Fran's husband Arthur's health failed and I helped Fran with him for four months until he died. My friend Carol in Loveland, Ohio passed over on March 18th from Cancer and two other women I know discovered they had breast cancer. I've been mostly alone up here in the Santa Cruz Mountains caretaking Patti's house - at first I was horribly lonely, but now I've come to like being on my own and have started volunteering at a local museum. Every day I hike to the bottom of the mountain and back up again, which has helped me get into shape. Above is a book I made, my OM book, from a redwood plank, filled with some recent photos and my favorite Abraham sayings. To sum up the last 8 months: depression, recession, loneliness and death. But, I've come out the other side better than before, I think.

Above is the table top I painted for Fran for her birthday. I always wanted to try painting a still life and because of Arthur I knew she needed a lift. But,instead of being used as a table, she's hung it on her kitchen wall.

Last summer I spent two months in Happy Camp, California shooting my first documentary. I pretty much didn't have a clue how to edit it together, well maybe a clue, but after months of nothing happening except for me making a few small pieces from the footage which I put up on Youtube, I finally decided to manifest for someone to help me. A week later I saw an ad on Craigslist and sent a response. A young man answered. We were both looking for the same thing - someone to bounce ideas off of and I needed someone I could ask questions of. It wasn't a totally fair trade as Philips is a 32 year old Stanford film school graduate, but I've been able to teach him how to make my wooden books and how to carve, so we found a way to trade after all. He showed me so many things - told me what kind of microphone to buy for my voice-overs, how to download and use Audacity (free sound recording software), helped me create the beginning titles and ending rolling credits (or rather I told him what I wanted and watched him do them), and showed me a site on the internet with directions on how to make a poor man's steadycam, which I did. I really couldn't have done it without his brilliant advice. Philips travels around the world and goes on long hikes (a hike for him is 150 miles or more), such as the Apalachian Trail and the Pilgrimage in Spain and documents them. His web site is Above is Philips working on his first wood carving.

When I was manifesting for friends I met Laurie the same week while out hiking on the mountain. It turned out that Laurie works on a local radio show called First Person Singular at KUSP, a local PBS station. She invited me to read some of my short (90 second) stories about my experiences and I ended up doing six segments for her. It was actually meeting Laurie that made me realize why I'd been afraid to start editing my documentary - I didn't know how I was going to do the voice-overs, ones that didn't sound like I did them inside a tin can. Plus I had to get over not liking my voice. So I had a very successful manifestation week. Above is Laurie when she took me to a local Buddhist Monastery for a hike.

The documentary is now done, it will be showing on the local public access television station - today they sent me a schedule of six showings through the end of June. I'm also sending it to several film festivals, and so far I've had lots of great feedback. It's upbeat and, in spite of my ignorance, I was very lucky to get lots of great interviews with an eclectic bunch of people - artists, gold miners, jade hunters, interesting characters, ecologists, etc. I've uploaded a few segments to my Youtube site - most are partials because of time, but somebody is giving me 5 stars for them, which is a good thing. Below are a few of the segments. To see more go to:

Below are a few shots from around my cabin: a moth, morel mushrooms - two of a dozen I found growing near my front door, and Rocky the Raccoon, who was visiting last night while I was working on my computer. Okay, now that I've had to remember everything I've been working on I feel much better. I guess these last 8 months haven't been that bad after all.

Lastly, I got an e-mail from a man wanting to know how I made my books. It was too hard to describe it to him, but I offered to show him how to do it if he was ever anywhere near Santa Cruz. Jim Downer teaches agriculture at UCLA in Ojai and had to go to a conference in Sacramento but he made a detour and we met in a coffee shop where I showed him how to bind his book together. He gave me a nice plank of carob wood (and a loaf of his homemade bread) to thank me before taking off to meet his daughter in Davis. Below is a picture of his finished book cover - a sycamore tree carved into sycamore wood, which he sold at a charity auction a week later for $600!!!

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At 9:14 PM , Blogger Fran Wincek said...

wow...what a winter, Barbara...but sooo cool!! You have really made some wonderful art and connections...thanks for putting everything up here!!


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