I'll admit it, that this year I didn't feel the Christmas spirit, at all. It had nothing to do with me being laid off from my job, oddly enough. It just sneaked up on me too fast and I wasn't into it. I thankfully decided not to fly anywhere, which due to my lay off, turned out to be a good decision. It was money saved. Also, the weather wasn't cooperating with air travel, and I can't say that I'm sorry I missed that debacle. I didn't take out my Christmas decorations, nor play Christmas music. I did bake cookies for an office Holiday party, my first and last with the company, which were a big hit. I do make great cookies. I just have a knack with baking. Cooking however, I can't stand. I made chocolate chip meringue cookies, which I knew would be pretty unique. Every time I make them, people say they've never tried them before. And, I make good ones. Just enough chewy and crunchy, plenty of chocolate chips and barely bronzed. However, unlike my cookies, the office party was pretty dull. Lots of people whom I didn't know too well because everyone works from home a lot there. It was actually a little weird, walking in and having people wonder who you are, and doing the same to them.
I got great gifts this year, thank you family and friends! And, took the downtime that only this time of year presents and worked on some home projects. And, on my writing projects. The downtime I mean is the knowledge that everyone else is taking a break too, so there's no pressure in my case to worry about following up on job leads or being asked to complete any work. I'm still technically employed until the 31st.
I saw Avatar with a friend last week, and was surprised to see someone that I knew as the Head of Visual Effects on the movie, among other things. I'd been introduced to him through the Italian mother network. My stepmother Marie's mother knew his mother, and they conspired to get me a meeting with him over ten years ago. I was working at CareerPath, (now Careerbuilder) and we were doing profiles of people who had careers in the entertainment industry to parallel the release of the first Star Wars prequel. At that time, he had won an Oscar for Titanic for Visual Effects, and it was very interesting to interview him at his office at Digital Domain. A few years later, I met him at Sony, just after he'd completed the first Harry Potter, to talk to him about career opportunities, and he was gracious both times. I lost the interview that I did with him, but it was mostly question an answer format. He's now on his own, as the corporate side of the effects industry has become a who can bid the lowest game, and is still going gangbusters. Good for him. His name is Rob Legato. Google him. After seeing his name on the Avatar credits I sent him a congrats email. That movie was just stunning. I can't imagine the sleep he's having to make up now.
I hope all of you had wonderful holidays. Just because I wasn't into them this year doesn't mean that I don't hope everyone did have a magical moment. When you get them, it's awesome. Treasure them, as they are the best gifts. Sometimes they're fleeting, like smells of firewood or cinnamon mixed with pine, or the way the light reflects off the snow or windows. The quiet of Christmas Eve when even big cities experience a hushed moment. The unwrapping of gifts, lighting of candles, the thrill of finding the perfect gift for someone on your list. Nights so crisp and clear that the stars brightly twinkle as if winking at you from their celestial home, to name just a few. And, baking the perfect chocolate chip meringue cookies.