Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SwedeHart Productions

Well, I finally got around to making a blogsite for our business.

If you'd like to take a peaky, here's the linky:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Grandpa Al Mollsen

Well, before the most recent tragedy described, there was another in the family. My Grandpa Al's girlfriend, Ida, became so sick that she had to move out and into a care facility. Grandpa couldn't afford to live on his own in their Detroit home, so he moved to Phoenix, Arizona to live with his other son, Al Jr., probably hoping to enjoy the sunshine.

Just a day or so after arriving here in excellent shape, Al fell ill and became bedridden. A week or so later, Al received news that Ida had died.

Grandpa Al did not recover and soon moved to a care facility in Scottsdale. With Dad's condition, the two are sure to never see each other again.

Wyatt, Zabrina, Swede and I went to visit Grandpa the other day and took some pictures and videos, so I can make a movie short to send to Dad in Michigan.

BTW, these postings are not meant to make you feel sad- I just want to pay tribute to the people I love and care about.

These are the strongest people in the world who experience life's unexpected challenges with the perseverance to follow their bliss until the end.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sometimes BeingThankful is Not Enough

Last year on Thanksgiving morning, my dad, Doug Mollsen, went to the emergency room because he thought he had a cold and needed some antibiotics. When he never came home, my mother found out that he had been admitted to ICU, his lungs had collapsed, and only a 1/4 of one lung was working.

To ensure that he would not move and cause the rest of his lung to collapse, they induced a coma. As you can imagine, when I called my mother to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving last year, this was not what I was expecting to hear. I knew that my mother was not ready to lose her husband; I feared for her, knowing that his death could crush her sanity coming so unexpectedly, and on a holiday.

We gathered our courage and focused on his strength of character, and we said to each other, "He will pull through," giving death no power.

Because it was a holiday, they would not be able to get tests results for days. They assumed he had pneumonia, but after a few days, when he did not respond to the antibiotics, they put him on steroids. Finally, a week later, he was diagnosed with Wegeners. An extremely rare autoimmune disease that attacks the blood vessels. The inflammation in the b.v.s prevents adequate oxygen supply to the major organs, particularly the sinuses, lungs and kidneys. The tissues die of hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Dad had been wheezing for months previously, and had no idea that what was going on inside of him was extremely serious. His lungs had been dying.

My mother sat at his side from morning until night, making sure that no doctor or nurse spoke of any negativity in his presence. She held his hand and talked with him. He was in an induced coma with intubation for two months. During this time, she prevented doctors, who didn't read his charts properly, from giving him the wrong medicine! Imagine what a tiny mistake like that would have done to him in this fragile state.

Well, after two months, they stopped giving him coma meds. I can only imagine what an incredibly joyful moment that was for my mother to see his eyes. However, he still had the painful tube in his throat, and his eyes would tear up from the pain, as my mother tried to sooth him. To live for him was still a day-to-day struggle. There were still no guarantees. His recovery was extremely slow.

Finally, they took the tube out, and he breathed on his own- YEA!!! He started to talk to the doctors and nurses, and they were finally able to meet this incredible man that had caused this woman to sit by his side day in, day out. They loved him instantly, such a kind man. He would say how badly he wanted to live because he loved this woman so much.

One of the kindest things a doctor said, is that his recovery was a miracle only possible because of my mother's love for him.

Because of muscle atrophy, he was not strong enough to lift his arms up. He had to relearn how to use his muscles from scratch. He had to learn how to feed himself again and walk. Finally, at the end of January, he came home.

But, it has still been a battle. The only treatment for Wegener's is steroidal, and the side-effects are challenging for my Mother to live with. Many times she has wanted to wring his neck!!! Kind of ironic isn't it? He constantly worries about everything, following her around asking her why? why? why? about every little thing she does. Worries so much about money, that he refuses to see the psychologist to get medicine to offset the effects of the steroids.

When I called my mother this year for Thanksgiving, sadly, she was reliving last year. She said she was just breaking up. She was done cutting the onions and couldn't keep using them as an excuse for why her eyes were watery. She said, "I know I should be thankful that he is here with me, but I just can't shake this."

That's what daughters are for, and their boyfriends. I assured her, "I know just what you need! You need to hear one of Swede's jokes."

On speaker phone, Swede began to tell my mother about these rabbits that he has, they never go outside, they always stay inside, no, no, no, they've never been out... they're ingrown hares.

I once had these two rabbits, and they ran into a haystack, trying to escape from a pack of wolves. Well, one of the rabbits said to the other, huffing and puffin, out of breath, "Well, are we going to stay here and outnumber 'em, or are we going to make a run for it?" The other rabbit said, "We're gonna make a run for it, you idiot, we're brothers!"

When being thankful isn't enough, try rabbit jokes- it works.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Taco Town

Making a movie, I spend hours everyday at the ASU computer lab. I have come to love the people who work there and those who come to edit their own work on a regular basis. I remember when Uncle Don started teaching and he described the experience by saying: "I am in my element." Well, that's how I feel when I am with other artists. I felt that way when I was involved in the Theory of the Red Nebula play. I love to be surrounded by people who are constantly "on." "On" in the way that the horoscope above describes.

I was wondering what was in the air, astrologically speaking, on Thursday, because we were wild at the computer lab that night. It was like a party, and that doesn't usually happen. We wear headphones and keep it pretty quiet. But, John, the lab aid, decided to air Music Videos from the 80s, as we all sang New Edition and Peter Setara songs in unison. Then we had to watch a message from our sponsor, Taco Town:

I was in my element.
I love artists.
I love what I do.
And I love you, too:D

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Wonder of You

My incredible friend, Lora, who has opened my mind to so many doors, has shared yet another:

You can sign up to have them emailed to you:D

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rough Draft

Jeff's cup, enjoying the view of the Rim.

I have mentioned it here and there that I am making a film, so I am going to share in the celebration with you today as I burned my first copy of it.


Rachel, Swede & Jeff, our camera man, eating peanut butter.

We took our first footage in California, January 2006 and finally finished up filming two weeks ago at the Rim of the Grand Canyon.

It is a tribute to water, thus the name, and I am a water princess. I promised some pictures of my costume- although, that was a rough draft, too- I just finished the real thing Monday morning.

Now that Swede can watch the movie, he is already composing in his head! Today we went to Ace hardware as he wants to make some instruments this weekend. I'll be playing drums, flute, singing and dancing in this performance.

I'm growing, I'm growing!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

San Diego Fires

Swede and I are putting together a new program- this time we are making a film, with live music, and dance performance. I was inspired to get some footage of the fires in San Diego, as the smoke and fire would create a powerful impact in this environmental tribute. So, last Thursday, we just got in the car and drove into the sunset in search of the San Diego Fires.

We arrived in San Diego and didn't notice anything unusual. Michael Savage was on the AM radio crying about how tragic the fires were. I noticed that news reporters and radio DJs had been personally affected by the fires. This was not an attack upon the weak and poor. Mother nature walked right up to the celebrities who had paid good money to build their houses in the areas most abundant with nature. As if their encroachment on nature didn't have anything at all to do with the fact that their houses were threatened by fire, Michael tirelessly blamed environmentalists, claiming it's their fault there was a fire because they had preserved the natural habitat and no one was allowed to trim it down.

He whined about the fact that his property line was hedged in by kindling.

What a brat. There are consequences to be paid for building a permanent structure in the midst of nature. That's why Indians used tee pees. One of their proverbs is to move your tee pee often, to let the sun hit the earth.

I suppose that as a result of using such versatile housing, this would also enable them to move if there were any danger encroaching upon them. That seems smart. And here we are, technologically advanced, and people like Michael Savage think they are the most intelligent people on earth. Doesn't seem very smart to me to build a house on a pile of kindling.

We finally stopped for the night to sleep on the beach in Carlsbad. No sign of fire or people evacuating anywhere. In the morning, we stopped at a Starbucks and ran into a fireman there. He wasn't sure where the fire was, and didn't know what roads would be closed. Well, we just kind of drove around, chasing a ghost it seemed. Couldn't find any fire to save our lives. I thought San Diego was on fire. I mean, that's certainly what it sounded like on the news.

Well, finally, on the outskirts of town, heading into the mountains and wilderness, there were road closures. We couldn't go any farther. We happened upon a couple of spots where trees had been destroyed and a small piece of property that had been burned to the ground. We shot our video footage, we got what we came for, but it wasn't what we expected. In the light of what was happening, we exceeded our expectations. It was a beautiful morning and the police officers at the road block were brilliantly funny.

We needed to get back to Phoenix so that Swede wouldn't miss his performance that Friday evening. We didn't really know where we were going, were just sort of following the signs. Everything was so zen that morning, the video shooting was perfect, the locations that we wound up in- aaaahhhh, it never gets better than that, when it feels like you have a spiritual tour guide leading you to all the right places at all the right times.

And then, there it was, the sign above. There were tents and firetrucks everywhere. We found their base camp. Firemen from all over California were here. There was festive music playing over a PA system. Firemen were hosing down their trucks, making repairs, and just hanging out, having a good time.

No one ever complains about firemen; no one ever makes nasty accusations towards them the way they do cops. They love their jobs, the brotherhood, the camaraderie, and people love them.

And so, were it not for the mass communications efforts of the media to create this image of tragedy in San Diego, I don't know that as many people would truly have been affected by it. I heard a lot of callers on the radio saying huge "Thanks yous" for all of the support, and DJs saying things like, "We give, that's what we do in San Diego, we give." A lot of California vs. the rest of the world kind of propaganda. That Nationalistic divide and conquer propaganda the fires up every time there is a disaster.

What was happening in the real world, though, seemed so different from what was happening on the radio and newspapers. It was a beautiful day for a forest fire, and the firemen where joyously assembling.