- I took the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, passed all the tests (4), background checks and received my Restricted Possession and Acquisition License.
- I served on a jury for a murder trial that lasted over two months. Sent one young man to jail for life, acquited the other. Gained a few new friends and a healthy respect for the Canadian justice system.
- Got laid off soon after coming back to work. I was seriously relieved, plus got a whole summer to enjoy and figure out what to do next. I made the most of it.
- A couple of weeks in Venice with my sister-in-law and her family with a hop to Belgrade for my mother's 80th birthday. Always fun.
- A week-long solo motorcycle trip to Gaspe and the northern shore of St. Lawrence River. 6,000km of great riding, beautiful scenery, good people and excellent food. There is a lot more left to explore in Quebec - I'll be back.
- Purchased my first firearm, a Henry US Survival Rifle. Fun to shoot, light and easy to transport, cheap on ammo. Shot over 10,000 rounds through it so far.
- A few motorcycle day rides to my favorite destinations in Pennsylvania. Explored public shooting ranges while enjoying great roads and scenery. 900-1,000km a day.
- At least a dozen day trips to Crown land locations in Ontario in search of good spots for informal target practice. Found a few very nice areas to ride to, enjoy nature and plink - a win-win-win :).
- Joined the Burlington Rifle and Revolver Club after taking the course, passing the test and fulfilling other membership requirements in record time. 24/7 access to the heated indoor shooting range will make long winter nights a little more bearable :).
- Started working on contract for the Ontario Ministry of Attorney General. Jury experience will come in handy, but there is a lot more left to learn. Different from almost anything I did before and much less stressful than my last job.
- Bought my first handgun, a SIG Sauer 1911 22. Somewhat more interesting and definitely more challenging than the rifle at the indoor shooting range :). Also, fun to tinker with and practice DIY gunsmithing. Colt 1911 platform is like Honda Civic of handguns - it's as ubiquitous and infinitely customizable. It's also an amazing piece of firearms history - it was designed by John Moses Browning in 1906 and was the official US Army sidearm for 75 years (1911-1986).
What's next? I planted a few seeds for 2018, stay tuned to see what will grow out of them.
Happy holidays and all the best in 2018 to my faithful readers (all three of you :) ).