Close-out for 2011

It’s just after 11pm on New Year’s Eve – so no better time to ‘reminisce’ – and to think about what will come in 2012.

Every year, I like to look back on the year that was, and see what happened – some good, some bad – some GREAT, and some ‘run-of-the-mill’.

Here’s a few from previous years – 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 & 2006

This year has flown by – if only due to our three little time accelerators – Cameron, Liam & Charlie (some ppl call kids “time burglars” – ain’t THAT the truth !)

We have been super busy as a family – our lads are growing up quickly :

  • Cameron turned 6 in February – and started school (Knox Gardens).  He’s made a bunch of friends, wow’ed his teachers, sprinted his heart out at athletics – and loved every minute of it.   And – enjoyed his AusKick, and of course, Ben-10 and Nintendo Wii.
  • Liam turned 4 in October – and has been in kindergarten, starting most mornings in bed asking “is it a kinder day ?!”   He’s grown in ‘himself’ – and not just in the shadow of his big brother – and again, made lots of friends.  He does his swimming once a week, and loves Dora, and Ben-10 (!)
  • Charlie turned 2 in June – no kinder or school yet, but he thinks he’s ready !   He’s a happy-go-lucky kid, with a great laugh and enthusiasm, and even been singing his own versions of Christmas Carols – and loves playing Fruit Ninja Kinect – LOL !   And happily, his allergies are much more manageable, and he’s happy & healthy.

And we’ve done some cool stuff together (as a family) :

  • Lego Convention with Cameron & Liam
  • Richmond v Geelong with Cameron – poor Tigers got smashed
  • Family holiday to Adelaide – driving holiday – zoo, beach, Hanhdorf
  • Bob The Builder movie – first time to the cinema for all FIVE of us
  • Involved in the school/kinder community – working bees + sausage sizzles at Bunnings – and Donna is co-president for 2012 (!)
  • Changes at home (renov’s) – new wall unit, painted the room, had ducted heating installed and split system air conditioning – and a new fridge.
  • Also – a 50 inch plasma TV, XBox 360, Apple TV (x2) – and a new PC recently too – far out !

We have had a great Christmas together also – with some fun at home (playing Wii !), and hosting Donna’s family Christmas at our house – with a bunch of kids and some great food (and ME with seven kids in the spa together).  And then to Castlemaine for my sisters on Christmas Day + Boxing Day.  

And then home again – more family fun with an outing to the zoo, a movie, yum cha, and BBQ at Jells park (not ALL in the same day !)

Other great times :

Lots of great times for other people this year too – too many to mention !

Some good friends from work got married – Donna and I went along to Andrew Browne’s wedding in Bendigo – and also to Josh Tan’s wedding – such laughter & happiness – and lots of red wine.  

And Katie from OBS was on cloud-ten (!) when she got married recently – has been great to see them so happy – and they honeymooned in Vanuatu – to the same resort that Donna and I stayed at, back in early 2001.

Some tough times :

We had some scary days with kids this year, including a hospital trip for both Charlie and Liam – both with asthma, but on separate occasions.   Ventolin and some oxygen, and check-overs – and all OK – thankfully.

But – some much harder times for a few people this year, including the sudden passing of my sister-in-law’s mother – she is still grieving, and finding it very difficult to have lost her Mum.   Hopefully 2012 will allow her to let go, and see some joy in her own life.  

Also, three friends have each had a marriage break-down – one Mum with two sons, one Dad with a daughter, and one buddy in a far away city who had only recently been married.  I hope I’ve been able to be supportive for these friends – if only in sending “good vibes” in their general direction, where-ever they are in the world.  I hope you ALL have a better 2012 – I’m sure we’ll raise a glass once, twice, or many times during the coming year.

Some “woe is me” times :

Comparatively, I’ve been pretty OK – with some down & gloomy times for a month or so – mainly due to working “solo” on a project site.  The company I work for (OBS) is based in the city, and I had been working a suburban office – over 30km away – was a little isolating, and sad & lonely.  But – in the general scheme of things (see above) – this were no biggie…

Oh – and I crashed my Mountain Bike – and gashed my leg.   :-(  

And – put a ding in the frame of my bike – nooooo….!

Work-related :

Has truly been amazing what has happening this year for me, on a ‘work’ front. 

Back in March, I attended a conference in Seattle – visiting the head office for Microsoft – as part of the “MVP” summit.  I did some sight-seeing, and went MTB’ing in the snow – and met a whole bunch of great people – and attended a presentation by Steve Ballmer.

I returned home to Australia – and went straight to the Australian SharePoint Conference in Sydney.  Was great to see a BIG conference within Australia – with many great sessions & meet-ups.  I’ll be speaking at the same conference next year (March 2012) – in Melbourne !

TechEd was huge this year, and I presented two sessions – one was a co-presentation with two Microsoft presenters, and another in the AvePoint theatre.  Also, lots of discussions, and catch-ups – and a few beers for good measure.

Also – SharePoint Saturday – I presented at SPS-Brisbane AND SPS-Melbourne.

Oh yes – and I lost my MVP. That actually took the wind outta my sails for a few months – which surprised me a little. I’d expected to lose it – but still came as a bit of a surprise/shock. And – then I was a little like “fine, I didn’t want it anyways” – etc.

But – I’m still doing the user group thing – and presentations – and we even created a NEW user group in 2011 – evolving from the old MOSSIG brand – to a new Melbourne SharePoint User Group (MSPUG) – on to bigger & better things in 2012.

Work (OBS) – coming up to three years :

A big highlight for 2012 was the whole company being whisked away to the Gold Coast for the OB1 conference – to talk about “stuff that I can’t really talk about” – essentially some great team-building, and strategy discussions – and a few drink’s along the way.

Project-work ?   Was mainly in the sphere of SharePoint 2010 – derrr…!

Customisations for webparts, XSLT, jQuery, ribbon additions, and a truckload of Nintex Workflow and InfoPath.   Recently, I completed some work with Silverlight and Pivot – which was some hard-core asynch C# code – very challenging – and very rewarding (enjoyable).

Will be great to see the new/next stuff for SharePoint – roll on 2012 – and ‘vNext’.

Personal – what about the Wookie ?

Well for *ME*, this year has been a lot (more) about “BIKES”. 

And yep, sorry to some friends who are getting a little sick of it – but HEY – this is *MY* blog – and yep, I know that 90% of recent posts are ‘bike-related’ (!)  

With a busy family – and busy work-life/career – and not much time for other friends/activities – I’ve found myself consumed with biking – both MTB and ROAD.  

In fact, I kinda “need” this outlet – and now-a-days – go a little stir-crazy if I haven’t been riding for over two weeks.  

Without going into too much detail – here’s some highlights :

  • Bought a new road bike – for riding to/from work
  • Competed in my first MTB race (Avoca) – on my first bike (black Giant)
  • Second race shortly after – MCES in Wombat state forest
  • Went MTB’ing in the SNOW – while in Seattle
  • Bought a new MTB – dual suspension – Specialized Camber
  • Entered another race event – Castlemaine 6 hour – but had to bail on that – injured back, very disappointing
  • Sat up till 2.30am for three nights in a row – and watched the Tour de France to it’s final conclusion
  • Road bike adventures – with “Around The Bay 100km” – and conquered Mt.Donna Buang (!)  
  • Some recent Mt.Dandenong rides, including Sky High
  • Discovered Strava for recording routes/times using my iPhone (free app) – has been a great motivator – thanks Strava !!
  • Christmas present – new Garmin GPS, Heart Rate Monitor and Cadence Monitor – with uploads to Strava – more ‘times to beat’
  • Went for MTB to outings at Lake Mountain, Buxton – and Mt.Buller – for the opening of Copperhead
  • Made some new friends via Twitter – went riding with Matt (@mattunderground), Jen (@jentopia), and Steve (@sfortuyn) – and regular chats & finally met-up with Scott (@scootabug_au)
  • Joined up the FaceBook ‘social ride’ group at Lysterfield – making some friends and out for MTB rides
  • Cycled over 1100 km in 2011 – with 729km being in the last quarter (Oct-Nov-Dec)


Another thing to note was some bits & pieces that I finally sorted out back in May.  No need for details, but suffice to say, it’s changed me/us, and our family future.

And – there’s always time for ROCK :

  • SoundWave – missed out this year – with o/s trip – doh !
  • Biffy Clyro – tiny pub in Seattle – amazing….
  • Kyuss – reformed & greater than ever – awesome show
  • A Day To Remember – free ticket, so good to check out – great to see a “young kid’s” show – they go OFF !   Good ‘fun’ gig – punk-pop…
  • Opeth – amazing to see how they put on a show, brilliant musicians, and great FUN on stage
  • SoundWave 2012 will be MEGA – and of course, SoundGarden – w00t !

Wow – it’s 12.30am – and it’s now 2012 !  

I’ve been writing this blog post since LAST YEAR !   

Aren’t you done yet !!?!?

Always great to look back on the year – and it HAS been a great one for me, and for our family – with only a few bumps along the way.

Someone commented to me at a BBQ the other day “you know, you seem in a really happy place – well, if FaceBook is anything to go by !”    (LOL !)

And yes, I guess I am – 2011 was great.

So – here’s to “more of the same” – rock on 2012…!

Hope YOU have a great 2012 – hopefully we get to meet-up for lunch, coffee, beer, rock-n-roll – or to get out for a ride…     [or – all of the the above !]




5 thoughts on “Close-out for 2011

  1. iphonedevv January 5, 2012 / 8:48 pm

    Nice work Chris!

    well done

    hope you have a great year ahead


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