Hello and Best Wishes for Closure on 2017 and for Good things to come in 2018...
I like to annually share a Year's End Wrap-Up, and also let you know I'm holding a good thought for 2018 to be good for all of us.
|Rae Johnson (Mother)|
|Jill Johnson (Sister)|
Firstly, and Sadly, in 2017 I lost my Mother and Sister in March. In both cases, it was a surprise and shock. I've spent time with family grieving in CT and through both of the memorials there, and have spent time with a solid network of friends that I'm fortunate and thankful for, for when the times were tough.
|My Nephew, Niece, Father, and Aunt|
I'm choosing to celebrate and ponder on the positive aspects of my Mother and Sister's time here in our world. And to also not take things for granted myself. We're each given this gift of life, and I try to make the best of my own opportunity. I miss them terribly... and like to think that through what I'm doing, accomplishing, and how I'm approaching life they'd be proud of me. So many memories in all of my near 45 years of life with my Mother and Sister. I may share some stories separately, someday.
I'm not the type of person that looks back on an entire year (at the end of it) and gives the full year the overall thumbs up or thumbs down. All experiences are unique unto themselves. With that, here's some good things that I like to focus on as well, that also happened in 2017 for me personally:
- A trip in February had me attending the American Camp Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was the annual national conference and I was able to go to represent Camp Ronald McDonald and meet others in the Camp industry, and check out the sites and foods of Albuquerque.
|On the Town in NYC|
- I spent time in NYC in May, caught up with a few friends I hadn't seen in a while, was able to see 'Sunset Blvd' on Broadway (with Glenn Close) and 'The Play That Goes Wrong', and was able to have some rare opportunity to go inside of apartments that James Dean had lived in. (2 quick videos that were taken are at my YouTube channel).
|Across the street from 19 W. 68th St|
- In June, I had gone Whitewater Rafting at the Kern River. This was with about 30 folks with connections to Camp Ronald McDonald...spending time at a cabin at the R Ranch in the Sequoias, and getting to do one of my fave things (ww rafting) with Whitewater Voyages.
- June - August, I was at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times in Mountain Center, CA for my job... 9 days on, 2 days off (for 6 sessions). A good balance to have had for the past 4 summers between mountain and city life.
|Seasonal & Year Round Staff 2017 (Camp Ronald McDonald)|
- A September trip to St. George Utah for my film 'Deaners' at DocUtah film festival took place, (with a day/night spent in Vegas on the way). I went representing the film, and was great seeing the St. George community come out in support of their local film festival... I got to meet other filmmakers, hang, see other films, participate on a filmmaker panel, and experience St. George and see some beauty nearby at their State parks.
- I had driven my father's car from Florida to CT to help him out (in September)...and was able to visit a few friends along the way along the eastern seaboard.
- With a good size group (40-50) There was a camping trip in Wrightwood, CA at Table Mountain campground... getting to do day hikes, do a camping potluck, and hang / chat by campfires.
- In November, a weekend was spent in Montecito, CA with a small group of folks celebrating a friend's b-day... with buggies rented that we drove out and about Santa Barbara, and jacuzzi hanging, video game playing, and restaurant trying.
- Later in November, I spent a couple of days in Las Vegas. It's a go-to destination every now and then, and typically staying at Excalibur. Hanging out with a friend, and their coworker and her husband. Buffet'ing it up is a standard, and checking out the sites.
|Las Vegas (MGM)|
- I had just spent a weekend camping in Agua Caliente, CA to ring in the New year... being unplugged with hikes, soaking in warm mineral baths, dinner at campfire side with 'silly formal' outfits outdoors, and there was a day drive to nearby Julian for famous apple pie.
|Celebrating 'Deaners' Screening at Valley Film Festival|
- This past year, my short documentary film 'Deaners' (on the fans of James Dean) had screened at 11 film festivals that it was officially selected by, making the total number 12. It had won 2 audience awards, and I had shared it online for all to see on YouTube (take a look see if you haven't seen it yet... it's just 20 minutes, and I'm proud of it). I thank all of the folks that had helped to make the film happen HERE. The official website for the film will go away in March... but if you wanna see the website before it's gone, check it out now. Otherwise, feel free to 'like' the film's Facebook Page and follow it on Instagram. I also was able to spend time at The Valley Film Festival (in the Noho Arts District), where it was an official selection, and a good number of folks came out for it.
|Watch 'Deaners' online HERE|
- I went to the premiere of a short film that I was 'location manager' and 'production coordinator' for... Athena by Rogue Division. If you're into sci fi, check it out... it was also shot in the snow...at Lions Camp at Teresita Pines (where I'll be working very soon...more on that in a moment).
- On a quick break during the summer, I acted in a short film offering for the Los Angeles 48-hour film project, where a short film is written, shot, and edited, all within 48 hours. In 'Wine Guys', (somewhat of a lite spoof on Goodfellas and Godfather types of films), I played a mob boss. It was a treat to play something
Watch 'Wine Guys' HERE
- Over the summer (at Camp) during down time here and there, there was a fun creative side project I put together (that's now being edited), called 'David Stuff'. It was shot on a Samsung Tablet (super low-to-no budget..heh), and is a parody behind-the-scenes featurette of a sitcom called 'David Stuff'. There's snippets of scenes of the sitcom, interviews with the cast and with the crew. Just something fun and random to pour some creative energy into.
It had been 10 years (as of this past April) that I had worked year round for Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. The past 4 summers of that, I had spent up at Camp itself near Idyllwild, CA. It's a great organization, and I've been consistently inspired/impressed by the volunteers I've gotten to coordinate through my job, and the staff I've gotten to work with. I've seen firsthand what the Camp does for kids with cancer (and their families), and have also made some friends for life from my experiences and adventures with CRMFGT.
It was time for a change for me, however...and starting in (2) weeks, I will be in a supervisory role of Camp Manager at Lions Camp at Teresita Pines in Wrightwood, CA. It's a Camp that has a mission statement in line with serving children with disabilities, and is owned by the Lions Club (international organization with different chapters). I'll be hosting groups that want to run their programs at the Camp. Open to ideas/suggestions of all types of groups that might be interested in being unplugged and spending time in Wrightwood, CA.
So, I'll be living in Wrightwood, which is just on the Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County lines, in the mountains at 6,000 feet elevation. Mountain High Ski Resort is there, and a cute village town. I'll be going from city life to small town life.... 5,000 population (approximately).
Of course, there's other odds and ends here and there... adventures and experiences... Hikes, Dinners, Shows, Karaoke, Parties, Holiday Traditions.
I look forward with optimism at 2018 (major changes coming soon), and look forward to more time spent with you in it.
Best wishes for the New Year for you... My wish for you and for me.