Monday, January 24, 2011

A belated Happy New Year to you all. 2010 was a very interesting year for me.

I rung it in at the local pub with Shannon and friends, and it was fun, festive and as always filled with bent-over laughter. We toasted to a New Year and the energy there was warm and inclusive, even when the drunk emergency room trauma nurse approached me and offered to punch out the waitress whom she thought had shoved me aside. I assured her that I knew the waitress and that the shove was totally playful. However, I thanked her for the kind offer of defending my dignity. What made it even more fun, was that I wore a mini-skirt that I'd bought at Miss Selfridge in London when I was 20 years old. When I was in college, my dad and my stepmom lived in the Belgravia area of London, and the store was one of the hundreds of cool shops close by. Little did I know then that that little purchase would play such a vital part in affirming an accomplishment so much later in my life. The skirt not only fit again, but looked awesome. Can't say that was harmful to my ego. I'm starting the New Year off 24 pounds lighter, and even lost a little weight over Christmas, despite indulging. I always loved the skirt, and it was a classic snug fit, so I tried it on. Well I'll be damned. I'd kept it because I just couldn't let go of it, and boy was I glad. And no, no pictures because my camera was dead and there was nowhere to recharge. But, there will be other times, now that the skirt is back in my wardrobe.

2010 began with being newly unemployed on January 1, after I was laid off from Avid in November of 2009. I got the phone call end of November, exactly the day after telling a neighbor that I live my life always expecting that call. I worked until literally, New Year's Eve. It was weird, working toward an oblivion of uncertainty. However, I do any job that I have, even if I know it's ending, the best that I can. I know in the beginning of 2011, my efforts and name at Avid are probably forgotten, save for a few coworkers that I've kept on Facebook, but I closed that chapter knowing that I gave my best.

For a few months, I lived off the severance, unemployment, my huge tax refunds and navigated through rocky terrain with various freelance jobs, wondering if I really gave a shit anymore. My days and nights flipped and I saw more than my share of sunrises, not because I was an early riser, but because I had yet to sleep. Then, my old job at Disney came calling. Even then, I was reluctant to commit to anything. Did I have it in me anymore to be a copywriter? To give of myself creatively in a professional sense? Apparently, Disney thought so and hired me back on the spot. I've been there ever since and it's been great, save for a really scary episode that the company took care of promptly. That ordeal resulted in my first panic attack in years, one so bad that I had to leave the office. It was triggered after I overheard some people talking about it. I guess the stress just had to have a place to go.

Last month, they hired a senior copywriter who I now report to. It's great, because now I have someone to learn from. He's great, funny, smart, inclusive and just has hilarious stories that belong in a book. He reminds me a lot of myself, and has even worked at Disney before. He's got an extensive resume, written movie trailers for major pictures and has already made me a better copywriter. And, he grew up in the Midwest. We hit the jackpot with him.

Like I said in the last post, I've also picked up a great freelance job with my former boss at Avid. It's an exciting company in the Bay Area and I can do the work from home. Maybe I'll be involved in some cool events out here in Los Angeles like when we worked at Avid. It's great to be working with him again. So, with Disney and a half-time freelance job, I'm beginning 2011 quite differently than 2010. However, I remain ready for anything and with my feet planted firmly on the ground of reality.

I ended 2010 by donating a ton of Disney toys and clothes to kids for Christmas. I sent them to a private school in Baltimore that does community outreach. The school is for underprivileged girls who live in the blighted neighborhoods in the city and gives them a chance at a great education. They in turn give back to their community. I didn't want to give the items to a huge organization, but to one that would put the toys, clothes, school supplies and well, magic directly into the kids' hands. I contacted David Simon and he gave me the name of the school. David works with many outreach programs in Baltimore City, for which we held events during my time on "The Wire." You can't know how dire it is there until you experience it firsthand. Through David's and Ed Burns's storytelling, and the souls that I met on the show and in the neighborhoods, I got only a peek. And, it was a peek that I had the luxury of knowing that if I didn't like what I saw, I could look away and leave. Imagine not having that option as a child. So, when we had two sample sales, I loaded up with those kids in mind and sent five big boxes of Disney magic to Baltimore. I thought of the little hands clutched around toys or warmed by mittens and hats, snuggled next to plush or sleeping in fancy night gowns. All with Disney characters, giving them something else to look at, or think of besides the drugs, violence and hopelessness that surrounds them. Here are pictures of some of the things that I sent. Click on the image for a larger pic, and there are more photos on my Flickr site.

Donations I made this Christmas

Donations I made this Christmas

More 2010 review to come...