Sunday, October 14, 2012

What a Journey

Well friends,

This summer isn't quite the one that we had planned. Marty was up to his neck planning for the movie "Zombie Clowns" and I was working hard on completing season one of Santa Cruz Live with season two well under way.

On the last Monday in July we went to Stanford Hospital for Marty to get a feeding tube. He had lost a dangerous amount of weight after his surgery for esophageal cancer last summer. The procedure was supposed to have us in on Monday and home by Wednesday. But something went terribly wrong and now we are way down the rabbit hole. The t-clamp used in the procedure perforated his bowel. Stanford had never in it's history (for adults) had this happen to somebody for this particular procedure. They didn't catch it for nearly 24 hours. When they finally knew what happened they rushed him into the OR. The fear was overwhelming at times. There were discussions with doctors that terrified and froze me. He was in the ICU for over 40 days. The only place that Stanford could have a patient like Marty (one on a vent) was in the ICU. They had no step down unit for patients on Ventilators. Stanford suggested that he should be transferred to a facility that specializes in weaning people from ventilators. Since Marty's lungs are in bad shape from previous radiation and the sepsis did huge damage, now he is breathing on a ventilator. He can not breathe on his own, talk or eat right now.
The first facility was in San Leandro, and in short was a nightmare. The only good thing was  they gave him an electronic larynx machine, and the wonderful specch therapist, Patty, helped teach him to speak his first words in over 40 days. Here is a photo of the device. he puts the tube on his tongue and presses a button and he can makes whole sentences.

While in San Leandro I reached out to friends and a sweet gal who I knew in grade school offered to let me stay in her home in Orinda. Kudos to Holly Newman and her husband Rich. My other gal friends from Orinda left gifts and a card and their kindness made my life at that time bearable

 We are now at a facility in Kentfield, Ca. Called Kentfield rehabilitation hospital. We had diagnostic tests that tell us Marty is a fine candidate for weaning from the vent. It will be slow, and his physical rehabilitation won't be easy either. But as you can see from this photo of Marty he is determined to heal and get home.Our friend Judith has offered to let me stay at her place in San Anselmo so I am only a few miles from Marty and can spend my days with him.

Marty's kids have been with us every step of the journey and we are blessed by caring family and devoted friends. The folks at the Digital Media Factory have stepped up to keep things going as we deal with the medical and healing issues.

A few weeks ago there was a wonderful benefit concert, with incredible music and items including a Santa Cruz Guitar to be auctioned to help with the mounting medical expenses.Here is a poster from that amazing night:

We have been given the gift of love , support and friendship by so many. We thank you and hope that you are enjoying your Fall with health and are surrounded by all good things.

Blessings to you and yours

Ginny Mitchell Collins and Marty Collins

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stephen Stills at the Catalyst

Saturday night was a spectacular evening of music here in Santa Cruz. A double bill of epic proportions...Pegi Young with husband Neil on guitar and Stephen Stills at the Catalyst.

As the buses pulled in, and old friends began gathering in line and at bars and restaurants downtown, I felt that unique energy that builds when our musical icons come to town.

For Stephen Stills this would be a reunion with family and old friends. His sister gathered friends and family members to take over one of the balconies. Marty and I were handed the ultimate gift of trust when we were handed all access passes before the show. That meant if we chose, we could wander just about anywhere, but mis-use something like this only once and you'll not get another ever again. So while we were introduced to Stephen, we chose not to try to engage him, when the man has been undergoing a grueling tour schedule and this is no Carnegie Hall.

We slid quietly up the stairs and listened as Pegi and her band rehearsed, watching Neil and Pegi as they took the sound man through his paces. We chatted with sound man JD, (Jerry Daniels) who has been running sound in town for over 30 years. Nice to see a friendly face while so much at the old Catalyst has changed and not for the better.

Our friend Fred Arellano had been trusted with gathering folks together to bring them in early, so we had a wonderful dinner together at Tampico kitchen and wandered in through the backstage brushing by Stephen's band mates and crew. We took our places and watched the club fill with friends, family and fans.

Unceremoniously Pegi and her band took to the stage and the place went wild when they realized that Neil Young was part of the band. I must say at this point that word had spread and most folks were pretty certain he'd put in an appearance, but this was no cameo spot, Neil is an integral part of the rhythm and tone of Pegi Young and the survivors. Pegi was clearly in her element and had complete support of her band mates and the audience. The pace and feeling of her set was perfect to set the stage for the headliner.

The turnover was quick and then Stephen and his band walked out on the stage, and we were off and rockin'. Tree top flyer, for what it's worth, woodstock and many more songs that everybody could sing along to. Stephen Stills gave two full sets and never showed signs of fatigue ....only that he's still the writer and musician who lives up to every bit of fame he's garnered. I saw him a year ago and was blown away, this time I swear he was better than ever. yes, his voice has shaved off a few high notes and his hands don't always do exactly as he would have them do but we were given a great show worth every penny of our hard earned pay. And would recommend to anybody if you want a night of music to remember and treasure, the the next time Stephen Stills is going to roll into your town...get your tickets early. the folks who couldn't make it to this sold out show were very sorry.

This from Fred Arellano:

"Stephen was in rare form on a rainy Saturday night in Santa Cruz. The capacity SRO crowd was very enthusiastic, the band was smoking, and Stephen was on fire. I talked to a few Catalyst staff members and they all agreed on one thing: this was on the best shows they can remember in a long time. Stephen had his veteran touring band with him which consists of Joe Vitale on drums Todd Caldwell on keyboards, and the great Kenny Passarelli on bass. Stephen loves Santa Cruz, he has family here (sister Tai) and his former tour manager, Mac Holbert lived here for many years. He always feels very comfortable when he comes to our town."

I wholeheartedly concur

Monday, February 28, 2011

Some of the very best music...right here on the west end of Santa Cruz.

On Monday evening, March 14th, we will be having a ware HOUSE concert. An evening with Nina Gerber, Chris Webster and Sarah Elizabeth Campbell.

Monday, March 14th
Reservations Here:

We will be filming this wonderful show for Santa Cruz Live TV.
Here is a page with some great information on the show:


Friday, November 12, 2010

Santa Cruz Live TV Launch

The world wide launch of Santa Cruz Live TV.

At long last...after 5 years of editing and revisions, we have our first episode and the creation of the 2nd and 3rd episodes in the wings. I have not done this alone, it has been a team effort for many years mostly with no pay.

We all want to celebrate this on Friday, December 3rd.

Doors open at 7PM. we will have refreshments available, live music and the screening at 8 PM.

Click here to see what we mean! If you can not join us for the event, please tune in via the internet at 7:50 PM:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Snail....Good for the soul

How can it be August? I've not had a day at the beach or an afternoon beside the water, there's been no summer..and yet, I see red tomatoes coming in. So summer must have snuck in the back door without my knowing. Sneaky little.....why I oughta'

So Marty and I have decided, when the weather gets a tiny bit warmer we are sneaking off to Carmel Valley to sit pool side in the heat, rent a hotel room and act like tourists. Take the dogs to the beach, read and watch movies.

We got good news today. The catscan of his chest shows that the mass is reduced nearly 50%, I'll take that. The chemo is working and we are half way through. He'll be done with chemo by Thanksgiving.

This month I continue working on Santa Cruz Live. I'll also go back to work singing for Young at Heart. Bennet Jackson is back from New York and I join him and dear friend Carolyn on stage at the Kuumbwa the last Friday in August. So watch for Bennet Jackson and the RanchHands ( I guess I'm a ranch hand...)

Saturday night my friend Hayne and I went to the Catalyst to hear Snail. It was amazing, I felt moved to dance...to qoute Pat "

What a fun night! Old friends, timeless music. Had an "Old Time Revival" feel, people throwing aside their walkers, climbing up out of their wheelchairs, hitting the dance floor like it was 1970something...Gotta say: Bob, you still rock!"

Who'da thought that a night out could do so much for the soul??? I guess it has been a long time.

OKay so all is good and I'm getting my groove back...Marty's back at work so all I can say is ..best to keep her happy.

You don't have something helpful...git out' my way...

Keep smilin'... rockin' and
sing like there's nobody listening

with love and a renewed sense of wonder


Monday, May 31, 2010

Redd Volkaert and the Canadians

Redd Volkaert

What a month May has been. It's always been the month when Marty and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. It's also been the month when we look forward to festival season and making plans for travel.

This month we were preparing for another Santa Cruz Live show with Canadians Chris LeBlanc, and Redd Volkaert, the Telecaster guitar slinger sensation who now lives in Austin. We also thought the night would give the prefect mix if we added Tracy Parker to the mix, she gives kd lang a run for her money. Here is the website we created for the event:

In March Marty has developed a disturbing cough...long story short the diagnosis is a MALT lymphoma on his right lung and the Doctors have decided that treatment should begin with chemotherapy. It's a low grade lymphoma and treatable, curable...we'll take that. The past month has been a series of visits to the doctors, oncologists, hospitals, clinics and a smorgasboard of tests.

The partners at the Digital Media Factory cluster have stepped up in a big way. There is a new rhythm and willingness to participate that both Marty and I appreciate and are very grateful for.

My own brother and sister flew down from Canada to help in any way they could, and they did. Like living breathing angels. We are so very blessed.

The concert gave an evening of mind bending music, entertaining, uplifting and hilarious moments. We got great footage, great sound and saw the music community, family, neighbors and old friends we hadn't seen in years. What a night! Look for the DVD soon.

At the Digital Media Factory, our partners and interns help to keep us moving forward. We have friends and family filling in to help with all those things that used to be routine and are now, at times a bit more than we can handle by ourselves. I guess we never realized how much we relied on our good health to pull it all off. Marty has always amazed me with his hard work, vision and the ability to do the work of three men. I look forward to the day when he returns to his vibrant whole (albeit hard headed) self.

Yesterday we had a walk on west cliff and had the chance to breathe in all of our blessings, not the least of which is the place and community in which we live.

We have a brand new film coming out and a screening at the Factory on Sat June 26th. It is called "On the road with Big John". There will be a parking lot filled with restored vintage cars and the surf, art and car community will be out in a big way...


Our continued thanks to all of you...

Sing like there's nobody listening...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tea Bag this....

Living in Santa Cruz is a little like watching yourself play Alice in Wonderland, or Susan in Narnia. You know there's another world out there, but this one is so fascinating why not just stay awhile in your bubble, you deserve a treat. Then as you pass through the news channels you see her, the Red Queen Palin spouting "off with their heads" and you think, "Goddess, where was that pill bottle?". It's all I can stomach to even get that much while I pass by the channel, and I am horrified thinking some idiot out there might actually take her seriously. How would we all be with heads rolling down the lane or reproductive parts removed ? Thankfully we have Alice played by Princess Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher, the forever grinning cheshire cat. So at least for now there is a balance.

The rain is coming back, and I am relieved to say the reservoirs are full again. So there is water enough for the pots, now can we have a chicken in every one please?

Sing like there's nobody listening...