Well, it’s New Years Eve, and a fairly quiet night at home – each year seems to get less and less “party” – and more family fun time.
I like to think back on the year-that-was – and to put a few loose goals in play for the New Year – not a New Years Resolution – but some thoughts/ideas to guide me.
The weeks & months have flown by – quicker than ever – testament to a busy household – with three amazing young lads growing up fast.
Our family life relies on routine, and ‘action’ – in order to get through the day – school, kinder and such – and then evening times with dinner, baths, stories, bed, and then household chores – phew !
Cameron leapt into Grade One, and made a swag of amazing friends – he’s been invited to countless playdates and birthday parties – and had a great party of his own when he turned 7. He’s a super energetic little dude – and we have a great friendship. Next year, he’ll be turning 8 (!) – and into Grade Two – wow.
Liam has also changed a LOT – and is starting school soon. Looking back a while ago, I remember thinking that he’s still such a little boy – but about 2-3 months ago, he seemed to suddenly become a ‘big boy’. And – he turned 5 in October – he’s sooo ready for school. He is still in his brother’s shadow a bit – which will change soon enough – for now, he’s in MY shadow – following me everywhere.
Charlie will enter 3-year-old kinder in 2013, although he would say he’s ready for school ! He turned 3 in June – so he’s 3.5 now – and has become a stubborn little monkey – more so than his brothers were – I admire his determination, but damn frustrating sometimes. Then again, he has the most amazing laugh – infectious – and he’s forever traipsing around with his big brothers.
Donna has been busy – with three kids (see above !) – and a crazy husband (me) – and takes it all in her stride. I’m forever amazed at how she does it – and she even found time to create a masterpiece wedding cake – and work on the kindergarten committee group. She’s enjoyed the cake decorating, it’s her main outlet for something of her own – as well as her reading, and TV shows – I’ve found her dozing in bed a number of times – with MERLIN still playing on the bedroom TV. Thanks to my darling Donna for all that you do ! I love you more than you know.
2012 marked a big year for Donna and I – we both celebrated our 40th birthday ! We didn’t have a big party – but instead opted for a weekend in the city – without kids… Nice to have some slow walks, and go see a movie, and late dinner (9pm !). A few weeks later, we had organised a dinner party with some close long-term friends that kinda “turned into a party” – kids were dancing to LMFAO until 11pm – and “Daddy had a sore head” the next day.
A big highlight for the year (for us) was a fully renovated new kitchen. This has been a few years in the thinking, and then a few months in the planning. We had the old kitchen gutted, and ripped up the flooring. A new kitchen – and then had to move out while the floors were polished. It was a fairly chaotic 5-6 weeks – but is just part of normal life now. I’m actually sitting at the new brekky bar right now.
With the kitchen taking up a lot of ca$h, we couldn’t afford to go for a big family holiday for 2012. Instead, we had a camping holiday to Lake Eildon. It was the first family camping trip – and was hard work actually ! We were confined to the tent for one day (rain) – and was very cold overnight – but nice to get away – and have fun with family, and two other families as well – friends from work.
For me personally – work+career followed a path that was good, bad & ugly. Some great work projects – and some up’s and down’s with my company (OBS). We won the “Best Place To Work” award – paradoxically, at a time when I was on assignment out in the suburbs – and feeling a looong way from it all. I guess the winter-time blues didn’t help – I just kept plugging away at work – and had a few “tantrums” to let people know that I was only ‘just’ happy. On the flip-side, I made some great friends at two client locations – over the course of 5-6 months. And I had a few run-ins with people via email – over-reacting to something on FaceBook – hurt feelings & ruffled feathers, but I think it’s all done-and-dusted now.
At a time when I was tasked with some tedious technical work, there was an announcement at OBS about a Windows 8 competition. The first prize was a stack of cash, so I cracked my knuckles, and set about learning how to develop a “Metro” app. This was via the Windows 8 beta, and Visual Studio 2012 beta – and I relished in the challenges. I actually had to drag myself to bed at 1.30am – as I just wanted to keep going. The personal thinking challenges were greatly needed at the time.
And – I ended up creating TWO app’s for the competition – and scored a 2nd place and 3rd place – and won $4,000 ! After-tax, I had about $2,500 – and it mostly got swallowed up on credit card, and school fees – but I did manage to buy myself a GoPro Hero3 helmet cam for Christmas – will be lots of fun with that.
My ‘out-of-work’ work was busy too – with a presenting slot at the Australian SharePoint Conference (AUSPC) – with a session that I was fairly proud of – in a room of over 100 people – and some great feedback and comments.
Later in the year, I decided to skip the local “SharePoint Saturday” session, but was a late entry to fill a slot when another presenter was unwell. I literally compiled a session during the keynote opening, and then spoke for an hour. Big adrenaline rush – I didn’t have time to get nervous !
Also, managing the Melbourne SharePoint User Group (MSPUG) has been an up-and-down affair – with declining numbers, and feeling like a chore some months – we keep at it – and hope for some bigger & better things in 2013.
Of course, 2012 was a big year for sport for me – mainly cycling.
Back in March, I competed in a triathlon – I’d found the training hard for running & swimming, and was a little thankful for the cancelled swim leg. I can’t really say “I’ve done a triathalon” – but I can’t see I’ll be back for another go. (was a few days before AUSPC as well – so Feb. was training + presentation preparing)
I participated in a few cycling events – firstly with the Wombat 100 Mountain Bike event in April – with a lot of training & km’s on the bike. That was the focus after the triathlon – all through March, and early April. I actually spent the first Saturday after I turned 40 on a lilo in a hotel room – and got up at 6am to ride 100 km’s. Yep – crazy ! It was a full 8 hours of riding – and a crash + buckled wheel – such a great feeling of achievement at the finish line.
After the race event, I spent lots more time with family (in May) – and then we had the kitchen renov’s. So – that took me+us through winter.
The next big event I competed in was the Around The Bay race – I did a LOT of training for this too – with 100, 120, and 160 km day rides in the months leading up. It was a very tough ride – just a loooong day – but I was so proud of my achievement. 225km !
Not long after, I entered a local Mountain Bike race – the Lysterfield Chase The Sun. This was a lap-style race at my local trail location – and I did a 5-hour race with 54km completed – and 9 laps of the tough Commonwealth Games circuit (from 2006). Again, I was stoked with my achievement – a good result for all the hard work.
In 2012, I’ve also managed to do some Mountain Biking at Mt. Buller – and an afternoon with buddies in Albury (Nail Can Hill) – and even Malaysia !
And – just after Christmas, have ticked off a ride up the Arthur’s Seat hill climb (on my road bike).
For 2012, I’ve clocked over 4,600km (according to Strava) – I’d hoped for 5,000 – but fell a bit short. Also – my goal of riding to work once a week was a FAIL – with about 43 out of 52 weeks. Not “too” bad !
My riding stats show 200 hours of riding for 2012 – over 8 days worth !
Musically speaking, 2012 has taken a back seat – doesn’t seem to have been as many concerts or bands – but there actually WAS quite a few :
- MachineHead – sideshow from SoundWave – with Chimara and (?)
- SoundWave – BIG day of bands
- SoundGarden – great to see them, and had a great vantage point
- Karnivool – drove to Geelong for that show !
- Fear Factory – brilliant concert – really enjoyed this one
- Shihad – another amazing gig from them
- Spotify !! Awesome music delivery software – streaming audio – no need for MP3’s or CD’s anymore – it’s just fvcken brilliant.
Just for future-proofing, I thought I’d note the TV shows that I’ve been enjoying also – this year has been Breaking Bad, Homeland & Dexter – and just getting into The Walking Dead. Donna has been watching Merlin, Haven, Grimm and Once Upon A Time. We don’t have many in common – LOL !
With the chaos & mayhem of our growing family, I’m thankful that my work role does not involve much travel – it would just be too hard on Donna & the kids. I almost made it through 2012 without a plane flight at all !
However, I pestered management with requests to be considered for a training course to be held in Malaysia. This was a five-day SharePoint 2013 developer course – only 2 weeks before Christmas.
Was some great material, and I was re-enthused about SharePoint – at a time which I needed a shot-in-the-arm – and also did some sight-seeing and looking about in Kuala Lumpur.
While I was in Malaysia, I heard sad news from Denmark that my dear Auntie Maureen had passed away. She was my Mum’s only sister, and had been battling cancer for many years, with some remission & reprieve, only to have it come back even more aggressively. My Mum had been to see Maureen in August, knowing it was a goodbye mission – sad news, but glad that Maureen is at peace now.
Closer to home, there was a lot of joy in 2012, with many babies being born to friends via work (new babies to Matt T, Janelle & Bing), and from Mountain Biking friends (new baby to Scott, and also to Anthony) – and news of pregnancies all around – there really *IS* something in the water !
Donna and I went to awesome wedding too – my close friend Chris H, who was my best man at our wedding – long overdue for a happy couple. The event was a ‘cocktail wedding’ – we had some great food, lots of beers (for me) – and some dancing & great fun.
So – that just about does it for 2012 – and yes, it’s now 2013 ! Happy New Year !
As far as some plans for the year ahead – well, off the top of my head :
- Continue being “the best dad in the whole entire world” – so say my kids
- Spend some quality time with Donna – more ‘date nights’ – not just every 5-6 months (!)
- 40×40 blog – I started this when I turned 40 – and would like to continue with it
- Devote more time & attention to our darling dog Chloe – she’s 10 now
- Work-related (1); spruik the new bits about SharePoint 2013 – internal training to other OBS’ers – and AUSPC, and NZSPC (?)
- Work-related (2); HTFU… need to build on self-composure a little – nuff said.
- More bike events – book for Gravity 12 hour – and maybe re-do Wombat 100
- Book for the “Great Victorian Bike Ride” – in October
- Blog more – for SharePointRoot – and GrumpyWookie
And – that about wraps it up…
Hope you & your family have a wonderful 2013 – hopefully *I* am part of it in some way – via work, friends, cycling – or whichever way the universe provides.