I toyed with the idea of no column this week—just a blank page to honor those we lost in the flurry of shopping during the last two months. But the truth is, I couldn't give up shopping if I tried. Which led me to this theme: New Year's resolutions.
Near the tops of many lists, behind quitting smoking and ahead of drinking less, is the quest to learn something new. Here are some suggestions for where to find such instruction in San Diego.
To kill a couple of classic resolution birds with one hefty stone—to get in shape and be healthier— take a dance class at Culture Shock Dance Studio. They offer classes in breaking, contemporary jazz, hip-hop, burlesque and even a Michael Jackson workshop taught by a Michael Jackson impersonator. (Too soon?)
There are a number of places to learn how to surf. Surf Diva has been around for a long time and, since I've taken their class, I can attest to their patience. They offer private and group lessons and even have packages where you learn to surf and, in between, practice some serious beach yoga.
Perhaps the bicyclists taking over the city have inspired you, but you don't know the first thing about fixies or fartleks. The San Diego County Bike Coalition has basic classes on urban cycling and keeping your bike running smoothly. REI's Outdoor School offers a load of classes. Upcoming topics include kayaking, using a compass, photography and rock climbing.
Ever seen those folks dressed in white on the lawn-bowling green in Balboa Park? They teach classes out of the Lawn Bowling Clubhouse. Now that I might do.
Besides learning something new, perhaps your goal is to meet new people. May I suggest a sewing class at South Park's Home Ec? learn how to use a sewing machine and make a new skirt and a new friend in one afternoon.
San Diego Ceramic Connection is a great place to learn a new skill, get a bit dirty and meet people. Down the street from SDCC is Home Brew and Gardens, which offers classes on brewing beer. How about learning how to spin? San Diego turntable Institution gives lessons on the art of the mix.
There are several local places that teach fencing—and I can tell you from experience, it's empowering. Team Touche offers classes in Sorrento Valley, while Cabrillo Academy of the Sword on Adams Avenue is in a cool old building, so you can get the whole Three Musketeers vibe.
I've mentioned my desire to learn the banjo in a past column. When I'm ready, I'm gonna hit up New Expression Music.
If you're a budding writer, check out San Diego Writers, Ink. You can join a writing group or take a class on novel writing.
Maybe a foreign language is what you're looking for? Pura Buena Onda has gotten rave reviews from a few friends for being engaging and informal. And Balboa Park's Spanish Village is teeming with creative folks dying to impart their knowledge. learn Chinese brush painting with Lucy Wang or glass blowing in Studio 19 or silk painting in Studio 32. Drop in to the studios to inquire about times.
Maybe you don't need new friends and want to do something with an existing friend. Wine Smarties offers a class called “Blind Tasting 101,” which will give you and your pals the knowledge to talk wine with a waiter or your snobby other friends.
I have a pal who loves fancy cake decorating, and the folks at Do It With Icing go beyond the basics with their classes on marzipan, gelatin jewels and marshmallow pops.
Knitting classes abound at Needleworks in Mission Valley and The Grove in South Park, but maybe you want to try quilting? Rosie's Calico Cupboard is old-school grandma-love. For more modern quilting, check in with Visions Art Museum in Liberty Station.
If you're looking for something more esoteric, how about Afro Cuban Drumming? The World Beat Cultural Center offers these and other classes such as belly dancing, African dance and Capoeira.
And me? My New Year's resolution isn't to learn anything new (except maybe picking up the banjo or fiddle, if I can find the time). Mine doesn't involve any class or workshop—it's simply to stay calm and be good. But who knows what new knowledge 2012 will bring. I mean, that Michael Jackson impersonator is calling my name.