1. Our trip to England/Paris in December. We're heading over to the Motherland for the entire month of December, and spending Christmas/New Years with my family. Sometime during that month, Cin and I are planning on taking the Chunnel train to Paris for three or four days. I haven't been there in 20 years; Cin's never been to Paris, so this will be a fantastic experience for both of us.
2. Going the entire year smoke-free. I actually quit smoking on December 23rd, 2004. Last year, I fell off the wagon twice - once at a bar gig (old habits die hard) and once during an insane amount of work-related stress. I'm looking forward to actually kicking the demon weed once and for all this year, and going 365 days without tobacco touching my lips once.
3. Finishing school (somewhat). I'm in the homestretch now; just one more course after this semester and then my final Directed Studies project. At this point I've mathematically beaten the system, and short of failing one of my final courses (knock on wood), I will grad with honours at the end of the summer. We haven't quite decided what's next - I'm tossing around the idea of continuing on to the second program and going for my NCIDQ designation, even though that means at least another three years of school part-time.
4. Getting snipped. Cin and I have been having "The Conversation" for going on seven years now. Back then we made the deal that if we didn't have kids by the time I turned 35, that was it, we were done. Once again, this issue raised it's head this past Christmas and this time, we decided to tackle it head on. It's probably the most substantial decision we've ever made as a couple, and something that we have researched, debated, meditated on, and spent an extremely long time considering. Last week, we made our determination, and so on June 3rd of this year, I will celebrate my 35th year on this planet by getting myself neutered. I'm really looking forward to this, believe it or not.
5. Getting back on the musical horse. Last year I had the good fortune of being included in a benefit show for the BC Cancer Society in memory of Surrey MP Chuck Cadman. I had such a blast that I've got the itch to perform again. I hadn't picked up a bass in about seven years, and hadn't been on a stage in ten, but it's like riding a bike - you never really forget how to play. So now I'm looking forward to picking up some gear this year, putting together a new band, and gigging again.
6. Competing in my first triathlon. I've loved watching triathlons on TV and always thought it would be neat to try it once. Then, a few years back, Mens Health magazine ran an article on the Montreal Sprint Triathlon, and I was hooked. I started reading everything I could on tri sport psychology, race preparation, techniques, gear. Two years ago, I first heard about My First Tri, a yearly beginner-only competition in beautiful Harrison Hot Springs, just outside of Vancouver. This year I'm entering, and while racing just for the experience is supposed to be reward enough, I'm extremely competitive - I'm in it to win it.
7. Expanding my mind. Last year, I set a goal to read a full book, fiction or non, every week for a year. It was kind of like going to from dead stop to full sprint for 52 weeks. By the end of the year, I had managed to consume 26 books, which isn't too bad, but I still felt like a bit of a cheap cheating schmuck since some of them were books that I finished in a hour and didn't provide much in the way of brain food. This year, I'm scaling it back somewhat and instead plan to get my hands on one book each month that really challenges me in some way. On the list so far: No Logo by Naomi Klein, In Praise Of Slow by Carl Honore, A Scanner Darkly by Phillip K Dick...and the list grows daily.
8. More yoga! I'm a huge fan of Eoin Finn - his Power Yoga for Happiness DVD is constantly in our DVD player (I have yet to overcome my issues with doing yoga in a huge room with other people until I'm confident in my own abilities - male ego being what it is, I hate sucking in front of anyone). I now have my very own Lulu Eco-Mat (thanks hon!) so there is no excuse not to Pigeon Pose myself away to the land of happy and healthy hips!
9. Eating the best meal of my life. A couple of years back, there was a special on the Outdoor Life Network called '101 Things To Do Before You Die'. Cin and I taped it, watched it over and over again, and started putting together our own lists of things we really wanted to do, or try, or experience in the short time we have here. One of those things was to have a truly world-class meal - being a bit of a foodie, there's nothing I love more than spending hours in a kitchen, whipping up an amazing spread and then basking in the warm glow of appreciation from our friends/families. Nothing I love more, unless someone else is doing the cooking. Enter Rob Feenie - first winner of the Iron Chef North America, culinary master, and from what I've heard, a really cool guy all around. He happens to own Lumiere, and I've wanted to eat there for a while. This year, it's going to happen, and I know it's going to be the greatest meal of my young life. Rob, the Lunchtruck cometh....have the 2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley ready and waiting...
10. Speaking of wine, I'm looking forward to drinking more of it. I'm a bit of a, as the French put it, amateur de vin. I love wine. Love everything about it. Love to read about it (thank you, Jancis Robinson), talk about it, smell it, taste it, drink it, use it in cooking. Once I'm finished school, I'm hoping to take the first part of the Sommelier Certificate with my sister in the Fall (she's also a bit of a wine nut), just for our own edification. In the meanwhile, I'm volunteering at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival at the end of February and couldn't be more excited if I was twins. Oh wait...I'm a Gemini....never mind.
11. More tattoos. I got my first tattoo at 34 years old. I waited 18 years to get it. It was worth the wait, and no, it didn't hurt that much even though it's directly on my spine. I went through a lot of crap when I was a kid though so I guess I have a really high pain threshold. Anyway, I'm looking forward to my next two tattoos, one of which I will be getting right after I graduate to commemorate the next stage in my life. The other one is still in my head, although Cin's going to help me get it out on paper since my artistic capabilities are limited to "Stick Figure Goes To The Mall", "Stick Figure Walks His Stick Figure Doggie", and my personal fave "Stick Figure Falls Down The Stairs and Impales Himself At The Bottom". I have issues.
12. Playing more hockey. I didn't get the Canadian hockey bug until I was almost 26. Yes, please insert your gasps of disbelief - I'm English, okay? In my family it was soccer, or preferably rugby. However, once I got introduced to this amazing sport, I became a massive fan. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me, and I wondered what it would be like to actually play the game. I took a skating course through a local community centre, and some hockey lessons through the big hockey practice facility nearby. I managed to play for one half-season before getting my first concussion thanks to a slew-footing cheap little bastard. Right after that, my best friend moved to Calgary, and suddenly I didn't have anyone to head out to the rink with on the weekends. This year, I've said 'screw this' and I'm going back to Saturday night drop-in shinney - as I've found out already, the worst thing that can happen is someone critiques my skating style, and most people will critique one second and try and help you out the next. It's a win-win situation, really.
13. Spending more time with my family. My nieces and nephews are growing up too fast, and I love spending time with them. They are all just the coolest kids - although they're a little ticked at us for going to England for Christmas this year. We're a family that bases everything on tradition, and when someone rocks the boat...so I promised myself that this year I'd make a concerted effort to spend more time with family. Not just my folks, but my sisters as well. We've never really been too close - both of them were ballet dancers through their teens and early 20s and spent my childhood living in England and Montreal. By the time they had returned I was already playing the clubs and didn't really spend a lot of time around the family, being the heavy metal hair band social pariah who had waist-length hair and earrings and wore makeup and all. Over the past few years we've really started enjoying each other's company, but those are relationships that still need some cultivating.
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