So, it’s the last day of the year.  I woke up with a bit of a cold this morning.  And there were no eggs in the fridge.  But other than that, it was as fine a day as any other in 2011.

There were some very fine days in the past year.  Being the last day of the year, and all, I thought I’d put together a blog entry remembering those occasions that were truly gifts from the Creator.

GETTING ENGAGED – By far, the most significant moment for us.  With my beautiful partner Deborah and her girls, we boarded a horse-drawn carriage for an evening ride through Central Park in New York.  In view of the crisp moonlight and sparkling lights of Park Avenue, I get down on one knee.  Still shocked, and über emotional, Deb said yes.  It was a beautiful night and a beautiful trip.  Man, I Love NY!  It also takes a lot of clandestine planning and investment management to get engaged.  From the large piece of carbon crystal gemstone on her finger, to the interim family vacation to NYC, I wanted to make sure it was unforgettable to my betrothed.  Wedding date:  Cinco be Mayo.  Location:  Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

THE TRUE MEANING OF WINTER – I have finally found the true meaning of winter.  For years, I would huddle up in my warm little house and wait the wicked season out.  Forget ice fishing, snowmobiling – too cold for me.  But this March, on another memorable family getaway to Mont Tremblant, I discovered skiing.  OMG!!!  Overwhelming fun, exhilaration, breathtaking landscapes, and closeness with Gzhemnidoo.  Skiing is the Creator’s sport.  Physical, spiritual, mental and emotional exercise.  And yes, they have size 15 ski boots.

NEW YEARS IN SOUTH AMERICA — Last year at this time we were in Iquitos, Peru. The heart of the Peruvian Amazon, we ushered in the New Year with my father-in-law James, Rossana, family and friends. We got to see other indigenous cultures and experience the great Amazon River. Amazing experience. Particularly our time in Iquitos, handling the monkey and fishing for piranha.

CAREER DIRECTIONS – On May 30, I began my career as a Director in the Ontario Public Service.  Following an intensive recruitment process, I was appointed the first Director of Aboriginal Relations for the Ministry of Transportation.  The highlight so far was establishing the new Branch from scratch.  Developing the mandate, a strategic framework on , hiring staff and delving into the policy work.  It’s nice to be able to mold without mold removal and create a legacy piece.  It’s also great to be working with First Nation and Métis communities again.

VISITING DEB’S FAMILY – In my blog, I described our summer family vacation as nearly two weeks of visits.  But perhaps the most memorable visit, was being introduced to Deborah’s Grandma.  Her bingo-loving matriarch was spry, kindly and opinionated, especially when it comes to her family.  We paid a visit to Deb’s reserve, Pabineau First Nation.  We spent some time at Uncle Fisher’s, as well as Chief David’s place.  Deb and I took a romantic four-wheeler ride to Pabineau Falls where she shared some of her childhood memories.

WEIGHT WATCHERS – Lost twenty pounds in 2011.  Stepped back on the scale this morning and found out I gained it all back.  I did enjoy working out at the gym.  I need to find some time to do that again.  We’ll see what 2012 brings.

KATHERINE FAITH – got her driver’s (learners) permit in Nova Scotia, celebrated her sweet sixteen and moved into a new home with her newly married mom and her partner Ricky.  She looked so beautiful in the bridesmaid’s dress.  So proud she worked in Toronto this summer and saved her money.

JASMINE – applied to Bill Crother’s Secondary School and is looking forward to superstardom in the sports high school.  She been playing on a competitive volleyball team, the Stingers.

GRIFFIN – has discovered reading in a big way.  Like his big sister, he started with manga but really transformed by enjoying the Hunger Games.  Griffin played offensive lineman during the Bulldogs summer football program.

MIIGWANS – is looking forward to playing summer football again next year.  He wishes football was all year long.  It’s so great to see him pick up a sport and try really hard with it.

FIONA – has become a social animal in the past year, able to be friends with everybody.  The holiday season has been a boon for her, hanging with Rowena, Michelle, Jaicee, Griffin, Miigwans, Alie, Ty, Cayden and Aria.

THE TABLET  – I’ve used every piece of mobile technology:  iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm.  In my opinion, nothing beats the Galaxy Tab 10.1.  Apple technology is way to proprietary and static while the interface is stiff.  Android provides us power users the flexibility to get the device to do what we want it to.  I use it for telephony, music, photos, reading books, magazines, news, television, movies, social networking, web browsing, and some web development.  Recently, I’ve been bringing it into the office and using it for work and at meetings.  Damn fine piece of technology.  My honey got it for me for my Birthday.  Miigwetch, my Love.

TV SHOW – I have discovered Fringe, by new favorite TV show.  Great series created by J.J. Abrams.  Wicked storylines and great characters.  Kind of like having the X Files back again.  I’ve watched all episodes so far, but ironically, none of them on television.  I’ve watched them exclusively on the internet.  Looking forward to my first-ever, new episode of Fringe in 2012.

BEST MOVIE – Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  The movie explains a lot from the cult classic film franchise.  I seen it three times at the theatre, a few times on my tablet, and my Boyz gave it to me for Christmas.

Yeah…  [reclines back in his chair.]  Good times.  Good times.