6. Doing a home renovation
You hear so many horror stories about renovations and how it can cause rifts between spouses, but this one went pretty well. We got everything we asked for and Dave an I only argued about a couple things, which worked out well in the end when we compromised. We love the new bathrooms, but the kitchen is the best part. It is so nice to have lots of counter space and a more open space to entertain. Already we have had more people over for dinner or to hang out than we had the first 6 months of the year. We’re just looking for a couple stools now to complete it all. Thanks again to all our generous friends who let us sleep on their beds, their floors or had us for meals. It would have been a lot harder and more expensive without your help.
Next year the bedrooms…
The only disappointing/bad decision we made was the height of the toilet. We had been told to get comfort height, and we completely forgot when we found toilets in our price range. Turns out they were tall height and my feet can’t fully rest on the floor. Word to the wise: Get the comfort height!
7. Hosting a proper wine and cheese party
Our friends here do a fairly regular Friday night get together, which usually involved happy hour at some restaurant after work. We had just completed our renos in November and I wanted to have people over to our place for an alternative to happy hour, so we hosted our first wine and cheese night. I had been inspired by some amazing cheese I had at some friends business opening celebration a couple weeks before and picked up some delicious cheeses (St. Agur and Saint Andre). I also picked up some great rosemary marcona almonds at Trader Joe’s and Le Meadow’s Pantry Strawberry Balsamic Jam. All amazing things to go along with the cheese. I even bought cornichons to make this wine and cheese night the real deal. It turned out to be awesome and we had a great time sitting around and stuffing our faces with great food and wine. We definitely will be doing this again.
8. Reading through my library list
The Vancouver Public Library has an area within your account where you can save a book “For Later”. I had a lot of books on that list going back to 2012. I would always make an excuse as to why I wasn’t going to read those books that had been on my For Later shelf, but didn’t want to take them off my list for some reason. So early in the year I told myself I’m going to start at the bottom and read up the list. If I didn’t want to read the book and skip it, it meant I had to take it off the list. At the time I’m writing this I read about 23 books and have got up to May 2015. Some of the best reads this year included The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift, My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl and Rice, Noodle, Fish by Matt Goulding.
9. Baking bread on my own
Pretty surprising that I have never made bread on my own. True, I made pizza dough and baked a loaf with my program at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, but I hadn’t made bread on my own at home before (or at least that I could ever remember). I borrowed the book Hot Bread Kitchen from the library after seeing it at Powell’s in Portland and wanted to give focaccia a try. It is probably one of the best starter breads to make as it is hard to mess up. It turned out really well and it has gotten me over that hump of ‘bread is too complex to make very well’ idea I had in my head. I’m hoping to make naan bread soon and move on to some loafs.
10. Going to an Ordination Service
Our friend Allan Tan was ordained in the Anglican Church yesterday and we attended the ceremony. I don’t think I’ve been to an Anglican service before. It was a mix between the tradition and ceremony of a Catholic service with the more personal/relaxed side of a Protestant church. The Bishop was there to ordain Allan and was wearing a really pretty robe and head piece. There was a 20 page bulletin that we followed through reading scriptures and singing classic hymns. We’re really proud that after 18 years of our friend being guided to this role, that he is finally, officially a Reverend.
Next year has more new firsts (there are always more), as we are planning a big trip to Japan and Taiwan which will hold all kinds of fun new things. I’ll also be selling my car and transiting to work. Dave is definitely going to be helping with that piece. I’ve had my own car for 11 years, so it will be a big change, but we’re happy to finally go down to one vehicle. I’m also hoping to get involved with some new volunteering after my strata tenure is over in May. It’s exciting to think of what a new year will bring and I hope it is exciting for you as well!
Happy New Year