It’s now the morning of Jan 1st, 2014 – Happy New Year !
As I’ve done in the past (as many other bloggers do), here is my annual year-in-review blogpost – to look back on the highs, lows and whatever else.
Compared to last year’s blog (written during the evening of NYE – spent home alone), we had a great party with four other families (last night), and a total of 15 kids – including our three.
Suffice to say, the morning of 01/01/2014 has been very slow & lazy.
This time around, I thought I’d break up my look-back into three categories of life : Work, Family & Personal.
Another great year at OBS, with some changes coming during the year – firstly the greater Nintex Group being acquired by a venture capital group in America, and then, OBS were sold to a company based in Perth (Empired). It’s still early days, but changes are inevitable, we’ll have to wait and see how it transpires.
I worked on a bunch of projects with clients such as Transurban, Cricket Australia, Toyota, Port of Melbourne Corp and Yarra Trams – as well as developing learnings & planning for Forms & Workflow team within the OBS.
I’ve also been putting the “L” plates on for the next step in my career, to become an “architect” – I have the basis in place, time to put flesh on the bones in the first few months of 2014.
Other work-related stuff, lots of great activities with the Melbourne SharePoint User Group (MSPUG) – some weakening of enthusiasm, but still some great meetings.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to present at the Australian SharePoint Conference (AUSPC) in Sydney back in April – speaking about HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery+JSON+REST. (This was my only work trip for the year btw – phew !)
The OBS team is ever changing and growing – I have some great work colleagues, and new people to learn from, as well as socialise (cycling) – at the same time, I’ve seen less of some people – but mainly through busy workloads, and proximity (work locations).
Plans for 2014 – more of the same, lots more Office 365, develop leadership style further, move into architect role, present session/s at AUSPC and (hopefully) NZSPC.
I’m constantly amazed with how lucky I am, with three amazing young lads, and a darling wife – I have such a great family – and really love the ‘home’ we’ve built together.
This year has been more growth in each of the kids – with Cameron into grade 2 and turning 8, Liam starting school, and turning 6, and Charlie developing in leaps & bounds, and turning 4. Cameron & Liam have been loving Karate – and both did great at AusKick this year – with Cameron playing in a game *ON* the MCG !
The boys are so great together, playing Minecraft or Lego – or writing each other notes & stories – or wrestling on the trampoline. They’re very close as “brothers” – and friends, to boot.
We enjoy some fun ‘Dad’ time – with kicking a footy, or riding bikes, and always reading stories in bed at night – great memories every day.
Donna has been the glue of the household, with amazing energy & dedication to getting the kids sorted out for school/kinder – as well as a busy schedule of her own with kinder committee, and reading 10,000 books through the year (or so it seems !)
She charged through the Divergent series – as well as her ‘escape’ to watch TV shows in bed – tired at the end of the day – I would often find her ‘nodded off’ and have to turn out her light. Burning the candle at both ends….
We have a wonderful time as the “FIVE of us” – especially when we had an overseas holiday to FIJI ! For 8 days, we lived in each others pockets, and went swimming and kayaking – and great meals together – it did us the world of good – we’d love to go back there some day. (And Donna + I celebrated TEN years of marriage while there)
Our extended family is changing too – my sister in Castlemaine is the happiest I’ve ever known her – with two dogs, a cat, and chickens in the ‘run’. She’s enjoying handy-man jobs, and built a shed with Dad, and loves the country life.
My Mum is getting older every week, with a recent hospital stay that made me realise how old & fragile she’s getting. She gets worn out easily, and sore back & some depression – life is getting harder for her – I have to make sure to keep close & make sure she’s OK. She also lost her sister in Denmark to cancer in late 2012, and then her cousin in New York in November – she’s admitted she’s “tired from a tough year”.
My Dad had been a great support for her, and he is the ‘model’ of a father & husband – and I’m becoming more like him all the time (when I stop to think). He’s great with our kids – as “GrandDad” – he did a great treasure hunt for Christmas – and I took him to the Boxing Day Test for a special treat – surprise tickets on XMas Day.
Our dog Chloe is getting on in years – she’s 11.5 now – I’m not thinking of what may come in the next year or two – that’s gonna ruin me for a month or more. For now, I make sure to give her lots of cuddles & pats – I need to take her for more walks – she’s a great part of our family – and she’s had many photos on Instagram !
Plans for 2014 – keep being the “best dad ever” (so they tell me !), make them laugh & groan, support Cameron as he grows through middle primary school, help Liam with more reading & writing, delight in Charlie’s wonder as he prepares for school (in 2015), support Donna and have time for “us”, play more with Chloe, and keep an eye on Mum+Dad.
This year has been a truckload of fun for me, with some personal goals & achievements, and a lot of self-development.
Earlier in the year, I had an awesome day at SoundWave, with a bunch of fantastic bands, with the favourites being Orange Goblin, Cancer Bats, Slayer – and METALLICA !
I also saw a few other bands during the year – Tool, Black Sabbath – and Helmet. Not as many as previous years – but no-one I’ve been keen to see, or haven’t seen before.
I decided to up-the-ante with my mountain biking for the year, and set myself a BHAG for the year, with the Victorian Enduro Series (VES) :
To finish in the “Top 20” for the 40+ age group.
There were seven rounds in the VES, of which I rode SIX of them.
This meant a lot of driving – to Albury, Mt.Beauty, Traralgon, Buxton – and also had a race event at Bright, and some fun riding at Mt.Buller – and “Rad Crew” weekend in Albury. I even camped overnight for a few of the weekends away – great outdoors fun.
(Thanks Donna for indulging me in my crazy dreams – especially with so many weekends away through the year).
And I succeeded in my goal – in 16th place – out of almost 90 riders.
It was fun to go driving on long trips in my NEW CAR ! Well, a 2009 model car (Ford Focus) – after seven years with a crappy old Ford Festiva, it was time for an upgrade. I had some roof racks fitted, which makes it so much easier when taking my bike.
I’m unsure if I’ll do the Vic Enduro Series again in 2014 – I was a bit sore & sorry after the final race. I’m yet to decide – but there are a few other MTB races that look/sound interesting !
When looking at bike stats, I actually rode LESS this year – mainly due to less road biking – I didn’t riding the 230km Around The Bay – and less ‘training’ rides. MTB kilometres are often less than road riding – but usually tougher.
It worked out to be 1,000 less km’s – but the same metres (hill climbing) – which tells the tale that I’ve done “MORE” in some respects.
During the winter months, I tried to make time to play some XBox – with the highlight being the new TOMB RAIDER game. This was a fantastic adventure game, and I often lost track of time (!)
One Friday night I played from ~9pm, and stopped at 11.30pm for a drink/toilet-break – and sat down to play another 1/2 hour. When I finally finished up, it was 1.45am – two hours had gone in a flash ! (The sign of a great game, eh ?)
During 2013, my all-time favourite TV series BREAKING BAD finished up (season 5b), which was an amazing 8 weeks, awaiting each episode. The show screened on a Monday night, and re-watched the previous week’s episode on Sunday nights.
I’d also re-watched series 1-5a before it commenced (July). I was very pleased with the ending, but felt a little flat afterwards – and the next shows I watched had a back-of-mind thought of “it’s not as good as Breaking Bad” (LOL !)
The other great show that I watched was HOMELAND – gritty & raw espionage and character driven drama – very good show. And of course, the very disappointing and utterly forgettable final series of DEXTER. ‘Nuff said there. *hhrrrmmmm*
My other great fun/joy this year was Instagram – I often wandered the streets of Melbourne, taking artsy photos & using filters, and hashtags.
Or, bike+trail photos – or short videos of the kids. Some people don’t quite ‘get it’, but I really enjoy finding fun or quirky camera angles – and using the filters, etc.
For me, it’s a moment to stop and enjoy some peace & solitude – I look around and have a think, or mediate – something like that.
The other excitement for 2014 was the return of NINE INCH NAILS. They started with some festival shows, debuting new songs – and then a new album release – which I had on rotation for a few weeks – the kids even love it !
And there’s a concert in Melbourne in March – my darling Donna is coming along !
And lastly, has been some to/fro with friends through the year – seeing less of older friends, and enjoying the company of some new friends. I still get a little head-muddled and over-analyse – that’s just me – I try every year to be the duck, and let the water wash off my back. Here’s to more self-strength in that department.
Oh yes – and I cycled to work (on the last day) DRESSED AS SANTA – ha ha !
Plans for 2014 – more MTB’ing, do a weekend overnight’er ride (bike-packing), more road riding, lose some weight (if only to increase power/weight), work on ‘core strength’ to avoid back pain+problems, enjoy new friends, re-connect with old friends, let some friends ‘go’ and not worry about it, play some more XBox, perhaps an XBoxOne for Christmas 2014.
So – that’s a quick brain-dump for 2013 – nice to look back and think about what happened during the year – I’m sure I’ve forgotten LOTS of stuff !
Happy 2014 ! Hope you have a great year – MAKE it great…!
Let’s meet up for lunch, coffee, beer, bike ride – or ALL of the above.