While writing Christmas cards recently, adding the family “what we’ve done this year” letter took a bit of effort to write – and on reflection – this has been one of the toughest AND greatest years I can remember.
I guess it would be called a set of “highs and lows” – with higher highs, and lower lows.
Having a family of FIVE is (now) getting easier, but the first half of the year wasn’t so great. Charlie (nearly 18 months now) was diagnosed with some bad allergies, following a scare and rush to hospital in November 2009.
My wife Donna bore the brunt of much of it, with worries and concerns about what he was eating, and coming into contact with, as well as sleepless nights – and the other two lads – and ME – to manage in the household. And, in March this year, she had some personal issues which she called “the bottle burst”.
Put simply, and without delving into too much personal detail, it was some bad post-natal-depression and anxiety – I ended up taking a week off work to just help at home – she wasn’t coping very well. She had some counselling, and a support group – and worked out techniques to identify and ‘push-back’ when she was starting to feel anxious.
Re-reading the blog post from 2009 predicts a little of what was to come – “Donna was a wreck after Christmas 2009, and running on empty for a long time – I am in AWE of how she does it sometimes”….
That was definitely the biggest “low” for 2010 – for her, and tough for me also. And, so great that she’s turned the corner – a few months ago now – and I have my darling Donna back !
Post Natal Depression (PND) is bad indeed – make sure you keep aware of the signs / symptoms – and keep a close eye on any new Mum’s – your wife, sister or close friends – don’t wait to seek help or contact someone like BeyondBlue.
We had a family holiday to Noosa not long after all of that happened – which did everyone the world of good.
With a day trip to Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, and a boat cruise, beach walks, forest trails and *I* managed to get out to do some Mountain Biking – w00t !
And – we went to a market, we were in town for the river festival – and Donna met up with an old friend & kids – it really was a great holiday – one on the list of “highs”.
While I was away, the “SharePoint, Office and Project 2010 launch party” was happening in Melbourne – via the MOSSIG user group. I’d been one of the main organisers, and it wasn’t until a few weeks prior that I realised the DATE was while I’d be in Noosa ! (dammit !)
I had thought I could drive down to Brisbane – as we were doing a simultaneous city-by-city launch party – with close to 500 people around Australia. Was over 120 in Melbourne – standing room only !
It would’ve been great to be there – sounds like it was a great event – I’d even arranged for stickers to be created ! Oh well, can’t do everything. But, great reviews and feedback – great to hear.
Just saw this post from mid-June :
“…been a tough start to 2010 – roll on 2011”
Must have been having a “LOW” day.
Around the same time, I received some emails mentioning that I’d been nominated for a Microsoft Valued Professional Award (MVP). I’d never really imagined or expected anything like that – and my initial reaction was “nah, not me – really ??!”
When I was actually awarded as an MVP – I was a little stunned – and almost didn’t want to tell people at first. After I’d announced it, I received lots (LOTS) of emails, messages and comments on Twitter/FaceBook – which was awesome – thanks everyone ! (A+ day, that day)
Being a recognition award for community involvement, most of my activity was working with the MOSSIG user group – and blog posts over the years – with the new SharePointRoot site – as well as some via GrumpyWookie.
And – the 2010 launch party perhaps – lots of people involved with that !
Metallica – Ticket Mix-Up
Skipping forward a few months, one of my favourite bands was due to tour in 2010. When they announced tickets would be on sale ‘soon’, I (re)-joined the Metallica fan club, so that I could get early purchase options – and guarantee good seats/floor standing.
Another mate from work did the same – and we jumped online and scored EIGHT tickets (4 each) for the first concert – on the floor… Yay !! (this was back in May – 6 months before the concert)
But – this excitement turned sour in September when the tickets were finally posted.
We’d been sent 4 tickets only – as I’d used my friend’s account & Metallica Club membership to buy the full set of 8 tickets – he was at a funeral on the day.
Club members are only allowed FOUR tickets – and so they (Ticketek) saw that *I* was buying EIGHT – and cancelled the other lot – and… NEVER TOLD ME !!
We faced the fact that we had HALF the tickets we needed/wanted – and someone was going to miss out. I felt ill – literally – thinking that some folk would miss out, and that it had been MY fault. I started looking at eBay tickets – planning to buy more so that people didn’t miss out – and willing to pay the difference – as it was *MY* stuff-up. It wasn’t nice, was even keep awake a few nights stressing & worrying – one of the “LOW” marks for the year.
BUT – thanks to some amazing assistance from the fan club – lots of emails – and then Ticketek basically admitting they stuffed up – we were able to get our original set of tickets – I was literally jumping for joy – soooo happy ! All EIGHT of us were able to go – but that was not until November…
Metallica visited Australia 3 or maybe 4 times in a period of six months – with shows in a few cities on each trip. They sold out 3 shows in Melbourne in November – and then another 2 shows – but in September ! (confused ?)
As I’d snagged tickets for the floor for the November show, I organised a seated ticket for the September show – good to have a different vantage point – and support band was FEAR FACTORY.
Metallica always put on a great show – the November show was incredible – on the floor this time, with a big bunch of friends – and support bands BARONESS and LAMB OF GOD. We got sooo close to the front of the stage – check out Kirk Hammett’s solo – from Damage Inc.
Brilliant – even though it was my 7th and 8th time seeing them live !
During 2010, I saw a bunch of other bands – had previously blogged about some of them – and had intended to do so a few times – but…
- Fear Factory – at the Prince Of Wales – an amazingly small venue. This was a Big Day Out “side show” – Burton is showing his age, and his voice is going a little off, but they still rocked some of the classics – always entertaining.
- SoundWave – full day rock festival, with a great set of bands. Faith No More closed out the night – brilliant…
- MachineHead – one of the best shows I’ve seen at Festival Hall for a loong time – I knew every single song ! First time going on my own to a gig (for over 10 years) – good night out… And – I found an iPod !
- Karnivool – a jaw-dropping show at the HiFi – incredible band.
- Cog – at BillBoard – I hadn’t been there before – sound was amazing – and Cog are one of the best Aussie live bands of recent times – but they’re starting to look a little tired (only a little)
- Biffy Clyro – another staggering live show – again, at the HiFi. I’d been hyped up about this band from a workmate, and hadn’t known what to expect – but OMG (I don’t use that term lightly) – they were brilliant – great songs… And …. (speechless)
Lots of SharePoint in my life at the moment, with a bunch of different projects for me during the year – ranging from intranets, and publishing sites, to some Nintex Workflow, InfoPath, SharePoint 2010 upgrades – and even some Reporting Services.
I had a great time at the Tech Ed conference back in September – a real “HIGH” for the year. Many great presentations and discussions – and good to catch-up with many of the ‘community’ – over drinks & activities. Read more over at SharePointRoot – part I and part II.
Another great event was the SharePoint Saturday day in Melbourne – I’d missed the Sydney SharePoint Conference earlier in the year (had “conference envy” over Twitter) – and so was good to do a presentation on the day – and see the other sessions.
Work days have been good and bad too – with an over-blown “issue” with a soon-to-be ex-colleague, during a project that was already a little tricky. And I had a particularly stressful week or two over another project – that I kinda got myself caught up in a little too much – and was borderline having panic & anxiety attacks. (Now I know how poor ol’ Donna was feeling, about 6 months ago)…
For the most part, my work life is great – if anything, I enjoy it so much that I “miss” being back in the office with other co-workers & such. I enjoy being part of the company & culture – and talking with people (!!) I’d had one day at a client where my contact person was away – and I didn’t speak to a single person all day, aside from ordering a coffee, and talking to my wife at lunch. 😦
I’m looking forward to 2011 – hoping for a renewed focus, and some motivation for the ‘extra’ – work has been fine, but I haven’t had that “something extra” like I’ve had in previous years – hence the low blog count, etc.
And – looking forward to the MVP Summit – being held in Seattle in Feb-March 2011… As well as seeing Steve Ballmer, and a bunch of great in-depth sessions, I’m looking forward to catching up with some folk in town, and do some sight-seeing in Seattle (!) – as well as go Mountain Biking, with a guy I knew through a previous company – w00t !
This year is definitely the “year of the child” – well, three children to be more precise !
The life I have with my three lads is the most challenging and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
They do incredible things, and I melt at some of the things they say, and write – and yet, they can drive us insane some days ! Any parent will know – the good times are “GOOD” – and the bad behaviour can be “BAD” !
My wife and I often say “if these kids work out that they out number us, we’re in a lot of trouble !” LOL !
There are too many examples to re-tell – but suffice to say “I love my kids” – and “I love being a Dad”.
I’ve done a few “firsts” with the kids this year – including taking Cameron to his first ever cinema movie – and also rock climbing – as well as a day out with the whole family to the Museum (and Yum Cha !)
And – we had some birthdays :
Earlier in the year, I created a new blog for SharePoint related posts, and to separate these from the personal (this) site. So, behold SharePointRoot !
Both blogs have grown a little cobweb’ish over the year – was only 23 posts on Grumpy Wookie – with ZERO in October (!)
I took a retrospective look at the “10” years – something I’ll hope to continue doing.
And – I did a quick “Yes, I’m still here” post back in September.
Mountain Biking + Road Biking
This would be another reason my blog has been suffering/neglected – I’ve been doing more off-screen outdoor-sy stuff – if/when I can (see the paragraph above – entitled Kids).
I’ve done the Lysterfield trail a number of times (5-6), with a few friends from work – and even going alone on my birthday – well, it WAS my birthday !
And – have converted my old bike to be a road-bike – and ridden to/from work on a dozen or so occasions – about 30 km ! I’ve followed the Glen Waverley train line route – but now favour the Highbury Rd route.
And I’ve ridden rode to Belgrave to my bro-in-law’s house.
When NOT riding, I have my Mountain Biking wallpaper pictures on my home computer and laptop – and follow a few dudes via Twitter – I even woke up 5am one morning to watch the MTB DownHill event live, streamed from Europe.
MTB’ing has become my “thing” in 2010.
Other 2010’ish stuff
So much else that has been “big” this year – certainly for me, and MY life :
- LOST – truly an amazing TV show, I’d been hooked from the very first episode, and could not get enough of it. People didn’t like the show, or said they hated it – that’s fine for them – but LOST was something special for me – and many others – a big highlight for 2010.
- Dexter + Breaking Bad – two other amazingly brilliant TV shows – I don’t get hooked on many shows – or watch much TV (really !). Both shows have a tragic beauty about them – the exploration of the human condition – deep characters, flawed in many ways, but endearing – all of them. Both shows – my fave’s for 2010.
- Merlin + Twilight – no, they’re my WIFE’s favourites. I’ve gotten a whole heap of nerd time thanks to the TV series MERLIN – and the Twilight books. Great to see her escape into a book/show – she loves it.
- I’ve read a few great books on the train to/from work – including a biography of Cliff Burton (bass player from Metallica) – and the Alaska book which I’d won from a blog post. And – I then gifted on to Jon Coleman – who I met up when he was in town – the same night as Metallica (September). Great to meet a total stranger, who I’d now call a friend. Cheers, mate !
- Lego Death Star – this was my Christmas present last year – and sorry to report that it’s STILL under construction – WTF !? I know ! I don’t get it out very often – low on the list of activities and priorities. Although – I did have a session with Cameron – and he’s always asking to do more !
- FaceBook / Twitter – lots of…!
All in all, it’s been a good year – what doesn’t kill ya, makes ya more strong ! (so sez Metallica)…
I’ve been enjoying being more active, with lots of biking, and walking during winter times along the Yarra river before work – I’ve lost weight as well – down to around 78 kg – would be over 12 kg in 18 months. A year or two ago, I’d been playing squash and trying to get ‘under 90 kg’ – and now I’m ‘under 80 kg’ – for the first time since University (!)
And work is great – family is great – all is well in Wookie-land.
Plans for 2011
I’ve had a hard enough time getting through the last part of 2010 – and haven’t really thought of anything that I’d like to accomplish (!)
MVP Summit is the most immediate activity – and hopefully some work-related news that will put me on cloud-9.
And – Cameron is off to school next year – that will change him, and our family forever – with Liam and Charlie to also head off to school in coming years. It’s the start of a new chapter – will be great to see…
Of course, I hope to get out to do more Mountain Biking – perhaps a competition event – there’s one being held in April – in Avoca, nearby to my parent’s holiday house.
Otherwise – I’m on holidays from work – and plan to enjoy some family time – and we’ll see what happens next. (More plans/ideas in due course)
One song lyric from Faith No More has stuck with me recently :
Life to you is a dashing bold adventure – so sing & rejoice