Wow – it’s December, in fact Christmas is only a week away!  Where did the year go?

Well – Tripit tells me that I’ve travelled 312762km, been to 12 countries and 28 cities this year, which means way too much time sitting in aluminium tubes breathing recycled air!  Only four flights to go (I’m in Riyadh and start the 40 hour trip home in about 8 hours) then I will have finished travelling for the year.  I finished the last course for the year a couple of hours ago and I’m one working day away from a few weeks off, staying home!

It’s been a pretty full year for the whole family – some pretty significant events and some great times.

We started the year taking the three younger grandkids away for a whirlwind trip around the North Island – Taupo, Rotorua, Hobbiton and river rafting on the Tongariro River.  It was great to spend time with them, and we’re looking forward to another adventure together in a couple of weeks when Connor & Kyla come to visit again.

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At Hobbiton

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Them’s Hobbits them is

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Looking out over Taupo

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Mt Rhuapehu in the background

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We started out dry

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But didn’t stay that way for long

A big change for 2015 is Kyla staying behind with us when Connor goes home – she’s decided she wants to experience being a Kiwi and will be living with us for the next few years to finish her schooling in New Zealand.

At the same time Arnold and Joshua have moved in with us as well, so the house is full again. It’s great having family around.

After the grandkids went home in January it was back to work, my travel started with a trip to Jeddah, Orlando and Vancouver – the first of three circumnavigations of the globe this year.

Jeddah is an interesting and very different city.  I was teaching at the Islamic Development Bank, an organisation with a truly humanistic vision dedicated to improving the quality of life of people in the Islamic world.

Orlando was work on the BABOK and an Agile Alliance board meeting, then on to Vancouver to work with Steve, Susan, Chris and Dave on an eLearning course for Agile Business Analysis.

February was the second circumnavigation – Riyadh, then London for the QCon conference then on to Austin, TX and home.

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Big Ben in March

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View over the Thames

In March we were privileged to be present at Lee and Mike’s wedding in Auckland- they are wonderfully happy couple and it’s great having Lee in NZ, even if they did desert us to live in Auckland.

The happy couple

The happy couple

It was great to be there with Lee & Mike

It was great to be there with Lee & Mike

The wedding party, including folks from SA on Skype

The wedding party, including folks from SA on Skype

April was Brisbane & Saudia Arabia for two weeks, Nancy came with me and spent the week I was in Riyadh with Melody.

For me the travel highlight of the year was the trip Nancy & I did together in May where we went to Tokyo, Prague and Vancouver – it was wonderful to be able to take time to see the places together and enjoy some us time.

The beginning of June had us hosting Mom’s 80th birthday bash – a jolly good time was had by all and she was thrilled with the party.  Family and friends came from far and wide and it was wonderful to be able to share this significant milestone with everyone. Having Elthea visiting at the same time was extra special.

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The Streets from Tawa

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The Erasmi

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Barry & Nola

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Steven & Nicole supervising the cooking

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Serena & Janice – Mother in law bonding


Arthur, Joshua, Serena, Roxanne, Alex

Cousins & their little auntie: Arthur, Joshua, Serena, Roxanne, Alex

Scott, Tracey & Nola

Scott, Tracey & Nola

Arthur & Nicole

Arthur & Nicole

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A special cake

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Zandra & Basil

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Pete, Mom & Elthea

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A disreputable bunch if ever there was one

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Sonia & Hunter came down from Auckland

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Dad & Daughter

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The Hastie Men

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Another dangerous grouping

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With Jade

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Left & Right Sock

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Jackie came from Brisbane, Jade & Cam from Auckland, Caren causing mischief

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With my wonderful wife

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With the worlds best neighbours (Dana & PJ) and long time friends (Antony & Jacinta)

Later in June I went back to Riyadh for a week.

In July the years biggest blessing happened – Serena gave birth to a beautiful, bouncy baby daughter.  Abigail.

In August it was back to Orlando for the Agile 2014 conference.

In January I’d done some shopping in anticipation of our newest princess arriving.

September had me in Chicago for an Agile Alliance board meeting.  I ate genuine Deep Dish pizza for the first time.

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View from the meeting room

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Chicago architecture sure is interesting

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Deep Dish Pizza – oh, so rich!

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More interesting architecture

One benefit of all the flying is you occasionally see an amazing sunset or a great view of the mountains.

Mt Taranaki at sunset

Mt Taranaki at sunset

Sunset over Auckland

Sunset over Auckland

At the end of October I was back in the USA to talk at the PMI Global Congress in Phoenix, AZ.  A group of us ran an agile business analysis and product management open space telling the PM community about the benefits of both agile and good business analysis.  The PMI Business Analysis practice guide was announced at the conference and launched in December.

Convincing PMs of the value of business analysis and agile

Convincing PMs of the value of business analysis and agile

November was another big trip – Singapore for the Agile Singapore conference then on to Bangalore and finally to Pune to keynote at the Agile Pune conference.

In Singapore the conference speakers stayed at the Marina Bay Sands hotel – an amazing building which was evidently the most expensive building ever built when it was opened (cost over US$4BN, and paid for completely within 5 years from the profits at the casino).

I had a memorable evening with Richard Sheridan (author of Joy, Inc and founder of Menlo Innovations) and Linda Rising.  Watch out for an InfoQ article of our conversation.  They are two truly inspirational people and it was great to spend some time with them, as well as the speakers and attendees at the conference.

On the Saturday Richard, Linda and I walked around the Gardens by the Bay – another truly impressive venue.

SoftEd were sponsors of the conference, Dan, Kathy & I manned the stand

SoftEd were sponsors of the conference, Dan, Kathy & I manned the stand

The Marina Bay Sands comples

The Marina Bay Sands comples

The view from my room

The view from my room

The infinity pool on the 57th floor

The infinity pool on the 57th floor

View from the 57th floor

View from the 57th floor

Surreal artificial trees - they help keep the domes temperature and humidity regulated

Surreal artificial trees – they help keep the domes temperature and humidity regulated

View over the gardens

View over the gardens

Looking back at the Marina Bay Sands

Looking back at the Marina Bay Sands

You can take a lift to the lost world!

You can take a lift to the lost world!

Intrepid explorers

Intrepid explorers

Interesting sculpture

Interesting sculpture

Christmas in Singapore

Christmas in Singapore

In the garden

In the garden

From Singapore it was on to Bangalore for a week and then to Pune for the Agile Pune conference, where I met up with Linda again.

This trip to Riyadh has been the end of my travels for this year, heading home with a day stop in Brisbane to see Melody and have a BBQ with Matt & Colette before the night-time flight back to Wellington.

Nancy’s had a year of experimenting with new artforms and foodstuffs.  She’s been mixing spices and making delicious blends and then did a “weedwalk” class where they learned to forage for edible plants (some interesting salads and flavours in the cooking), learned Shibori fabric dying  and did a portraiture course.

Unfortunately Shadow passed away at the end of 2013 and the home was too empty without a feline presence so Rafiki (a seal coloured Burmese kitten) came to join us in the middle of the year.

Rafiki

Rafiki

The rest of the family are all well – Jade and Cam are thriving in Auckland.  They’re not coming down to Raumati over Christmas as they are heading to Melbourne for a holiday.

Serena, Steven and Abigail are happy in their home and family.

Cressida is doing well and got engaged to Chris early in this year.

Melody is making some major changes in her life – moving to a country town in Outback Victoria for a complete change of pace and environment.  She plans to be settled in her new lifestyle early in 2015.

A winery lunch with Melody

A winery lunch with Melody

Matthew and Colette are doing well in Brisbane, there was a rumour of a possible stint in the USA but nothing more has been said yet.

Matt & Col

Matt & Col

Arnold is “in a relationship” with a lady he’s been playing online games with for a few years.  Sam is visiting us this month and they’re wonderful together.

Joshua’s finished his first year of high school with high marks and a good report.

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Connor and Kyla are doing well at school and in their extra-mural activities.  Connor is in the air cadets and plans a career in the air-force, Kyla is doing gymnastics and loving it.

Connor & Kyla

Connor & Kyla

Robert is doing well at his job, there was some concern about the business being shut down but new owners are taking over and all is safe.

Arthur is doing a wonderful job as a chef at Ortega Fish Shack – we’ve eaten there a couple of times now and every time been amazed at the quality and flavour of the food.  We all get the benefit of his training and experience when he and Nicki come to visit on a weekend and he takes over the kitchen.

Arthur at Work

Arthur at Work

So – that’s the story of our year.  It’s been a busy and joyous one with the addition of Abigail to the family.

All that’s left is to wish you one and all a blessed and happy Christmas and all the very best for 2015 from Nancy, Shane and the whole mob in Raumati.

Here’s a very different Christmas carol for you to enjoy:

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