January, 2009 Archives


Happy Birthday Pamela Jo

by Pj in Mormon Colonies

BY CYNDI GREENING, ARIZONA — Another year has come and gone; it is so much easier to mark the passing time with annual events. I have a particular cluster of marking events … it begins with the holidays, continues through the Sundance Film Festival and peaks with Pamela Jo’s birthday on the last day of January. It signifies the passage of another year on our creative efforts. With the screening and distribution of THE LAND OF REFUGE, it’s been a very exciting year.

pj_africa.jpgI was chiding PJ about being slow about blogging … heck, the last one was way back during Sundance. She said, “It’s my birthday, you blog something.”

If I were Pamela Jo, I’d have taken the request and made some sort of commemorative video to celebrate her life. It would be a retrospective of her upbringing in the Bay Area, her college years as a Journalism student, her 17 years in Colonia Dublán, Mexico, having and raising her four children and, most recently, as a documentary filmmaker in Arizona. But, alas, I do not have access to those sorts of videos, so I am unable to create that sort of thing for this blog entry.

Besides, my experience of Pam is of her more recent past; in addition to her life as a wife and mother, she has added a few new roles to her repertoire. In the past three years, I have come to know her in her creative roles as a filmmaker, a screenwriter, a world traveler and a teacher. I have the unique opportunity of celebrating her life each and every day as we work on our films because, with her contribution, things get done. More than anything, I notice that she is a FORCE FOR COMPLETION. So, I guess it’s appropriate that her birthday marks each new cycle.

pjsundance09.jpgWe’ve got two new film projects we’re working on. And let me tell you, we’re both excited to be starting something new. As filmmakers, you might be surprised to know that as much as one may love a project when it begins, after spending a year with it, there comes a point when you just want it to be DONE! Toward the end of the making of THE LAND OF REFUGE, we were both so stressed out and tired, we were both almost ready to be done working … on the project AND with each other. Ironically, we were achieving our greatest success this year and we were both exhausted. Fortunately (I think), we remembered what it was that we each brought to our work and decided to create more together.

So, happy birthday, Pamela Jo!! Hope everyone remembers and celebrates you and expresses their appreciation for all that you bring to their lives … I hope this year is a tad easier for you, a bit more joyful for you, even more satisfying and rewarding!! You deserve it!!

I hope those of you who know Pamela Jo will jot a birthday message here!


Day At Sundance

by Pj in Random

It is fun to share parts of my life with those who are interested. Fortunately Wistie is. So I took her to Park City for a day. I think she likes hanging with me… but you never know. She is honest and funny and easy going. I know I like hanging with her. She is also observant and likes to speak her mind. I like that. wisbear1.jpg She didn’t whine about the cold, once she became a two fisted hot chocolate drinker.
She didn’t whine about the food, probably because she was grateful not to have to pay for it.!
I did whine about her constantly taking pictures…..of ME! What is up with that? Thanks for sharing your day with me. I meant more then you will ever know.


Got To Have Friends

by Pj in Random

This last week I experienced something I had never experienced before. I found out what it felt like to be left out, on purpose, because “some” of the people didn’t and don’t like me. I always believed if you spend the time getting to know someone you would discover redeeming qualities. I still believe that, but that doesn’t mean others do. I don’t think I have ever felt so alone or lonely.

As humans we do have the ability to empathize, we could imagine what others feel based on our own experiences or imagination, but to personally experience rejection and judgment, well lets just say the tears fell.

It wasn’t that I particularly enjoy their company either, but I keep trying to find those redeeming qualities. I don’t think I will try any more. It was difficult to experience the willful and deliberate act to isolate me. I can’t imagine living in a space where intentionally hurting someone took precedence over the humane treatment of someone, of anyone. I don’t want to try that on for size. How hard is their heart? How insecure are they that they could justify such atrocities. What do they benefit from such behavior? Did they bond in sincere and authentic friendship while they rejected someone, in this incident, me? How many people can they count on as being a friend? How many people have they used or abused because they got in the way of “what they want.”

I am glad to say I have moved on, but I also discovered something about me. I believe there was a time I might have done what I could so others would get to know me and I believed the result would be friendship, I found out that I don’t care all that much. It’s just not worth the energy and time. Although this incident was painful, I think the space they live in everyday must be excruciating. I feel sorry for them. I don’t think they have had the kind of friendships I have enjoyed through the years. The kind that may not always love what you do, but will defend your right to be who you are and love you because you are you.


Thank You!

by Pj in Random

After our film shoot in Africa, Cyndi approached me about creating a production company that could be mutually beneficial to each other. I told her no. She said, “ok.” And then we started working on editing the African feature, “Bad Timing.” During that process, to break up the editing stress, we wrote a screenplay called Coyote. Then we taught some classes. I kept working on a documentary that I had begun years ago and in the process discovered Anne and Mary. I called her up and started telling her about these amazing women. She started doing research and brought in these books about the Puritans. We began writing another screenplay ANNE AND MARY, THEIR LASTING VOICES.

In discussion she told me she would be willing to help with THE LAND OF REFUGE. She told me she was sick and tired of hearing about “this Mormon doc. Let’s just get it done!” In truth I was hesitant. She is not LDS. Would she understand what I was trying to do? Could she be impartial? Could she embrace the story? More discussions. Slowly, each day we began to dedicate more time and energy into the Mormon doc. We traveled to Tucson and L.A. and Utah and Mexico. She was an amazing sport. She dedicated all of her energy to this project. It was her idea to use public domain footage. It was her perseverance that kept the project going when I became exhausted and overwhelmed. It was her understanding of the story that kept the thread line constantly laced throughout the movie. What is all the more amazing is that she dedicated 7 months of her time, energy and resources … for free.

It was one thing for me to work for free for 10 years on my passion project, but Cyndi had no emotional connection and yet she sunk her life into this project. I will be forever grateful for her generous, kind and gracious spirit. Those who have supported and value this project have expressed gratitude to us for documenting this story. We appreciate the positive reinforcement from the majority. There are not many who can really appreciate the time and effort that two 50-year-old women did to make this happen.

I have witnessed her generosity time and time again. Sometimes I become frustrated when others are so oblivious to what she does for them and others. She often told me, “all I want or hope for is for someone to say thank-you.” I now know what she means. Cyndi, in the most public way I can, I acknowledge you and thank you.

Now, stop acting like you’re sick or something and get to work!


Is It Over Yet?

by Pj in Random

Did we just have Christmas? Did I miss it? I think I missed it. Although my face is showing signs of too much chocolate. So there is some evidence that I ate Christmas… We won’t even go there. Ciera has put me on a New Year’s diet. Nothing white. Already 2009 doesn’t sound all that great!

Rumor has it that over the last two weeks we hosted several parties (still trying to get rid of some LOVELY white elephant gifts), attended several other parties, decorated the house, went shopping, opened gifts, returned gifts, entertained out of town guests, undecorated the house, kissed on New Year’s eve, woke up New Year’s morning with a special welch’s sparkling grape juice hangover. I kid you not! For punishment, drove to Utah, packed Wistie’s stuff, unpacked Wistie’s stuff 1/2 mile from previous packing, enjoyed Sundance, ate SOME MORE! Fantasized about skiing. Drove in a lovely midnight winter storm, went to the movies, visited then drove home. Whew!

You’d think I wouldn’t need a diet with this life of mine … but I do! Oh, what the heck!

The other day, while at Costco, there was a lady trying to lure a lost dog out of the parking lot. She made several mistakes, but the one I can still visualize is when she bent over and couldn’t stand back up. She fell to her knees, crawled over to the shopping carts, and shimmied up a pole. Across the street, 20 feet away was her HUSBAND … laughing! I told Chris, stop the car! I need to go help her! Then I realized we would both be on our knees trying to stand up! The dog remained untethered, the woman embarrassed and the husband… well since he has no heart or backbone he is probably living a sorry good for nothing life.

Did we just have Christmas? Is the season of cheerfulness and joy and peace over yet? Thought so.

Now go make a happy New Year!

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