Well, you sweaties, it’s Christmas Eve Eve. The year has, as it does every year at this time, come to a conclusion. Though there are ways in which this year has not lived up to its full potential, in many ways – dare I say most ways – it is a very satisfying conclusion to a good year. If you’ll be so kind as to indulge me, I’d like to point out some of the memorable points that made this year special to me.
First and foremost, Andy Romine and the MUG writing group. Andy inspired me to start writing again, and the MUGsters – all of them, though the composition of the group has changed, but especially Taylor and Andrea (how do you like *this* sentence, ladies?!) – have been motivating and inspirational as well, pushing me to improve my skills and expand my horizons in written creativity in ways I had, quite frankly, not suspected I could.
Then there’s my biking group. Now, those of you who know me well know that I’ve been riding my bike around in this city and across the world since I was 13 or 14 years old, first in the Boy Scouts, then just for fun. I also grew up, first with my family and then with the Scouts, spending a lot of time in the great outdoors. Camping and hiking were always part of my life, and I love getting out in nature. Now, with a set of people from my work, I’ve started combining those two loves by mountain biking in the Santa Monica mountains a couple of times a month, and it’s rapidly become one of my favorite things to do. One of these days I’m hoping I’ll actually get good at it, too.
This list couldn’t be made without a nod to all the people I game with. I’ve managed to set aside an hour a week and a couple of weekend afternoons a month to indulge my inner child (and my inner actor, and the writer in me, etc.) with a series of RPG-style games. With perhaps a touch of incredulity I have to say that they are all really cool, interesting people – chefs, djs, aerospace engineers, artists, comp sci, writers – you name it, there’s someone who dabbles in it.
Two more words for you: Uisge Beatha. Wow, that doesn’t even look like English, does it? It’s not, of course: it’s Scottish Gaelic, and it translates literally to “Water of Life”. Say the first word out loud a couple of times. “Oohs-ge.” Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? Say it again, out loud. This time, just for fun, give it a bit of a roller coaster ‘Wheee!” at the front. “Whees-ge!” Yeah, you know what I mean. The ‘Water of Life” is that old favourite, whisky. (Or whiskey, if you’re talking about the American varieties.) I’m part of a group at work called the “Uisge Beatha Whisky Society”, and we buy and sample a wide variety of whiskys from all over the world. Along with getting happily sloshed with a bang-up bunch of gents, I’ve managed to develop my ability to recognize smells and tastes and label them – something I couldn’t do a few years ago.
Man, I’m just scratching the surface here. I went camping for the first time in a long while with some of my oldest friends, out on the Colorado river. We had brutal sun and heat, storms, rough water, perfect glass, beautiful clear nights, amazing food – just a good time all around. I gotta do that more often.
My youngest brother has an addiction for junked up cars, and when he got sick of his old Bronco (a malady he has since recovered from since) he suggested we get an old Mustang and work on it. I’ve been wanting to do this ever since I got rid of my first one, and so we are now the proud owners of a – well, a semi-junked up car. Actually the body/paint and interior are in really good shape. The rest of it – well, it’s in the shop right now. I think that says it all.
My team at work won our quarterly competition three times running. I’ve developed a couple of new really close friendships this year. I’ve started playing guitar again. There’s just so much to talk about…
But I digress. 2012 is a whole new year, with both new and old things to celebrate. I hope your last year was as good as possible, and that your next year will be even better. Happy New Year, everyone!