Reflections on 2015

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Wow – it’s December already, and Christmas is only a few days away.  Yikes – where did the year go?

2015 started with some lovely family time – Connor and Kyla came across from Brisbane and we had all the grandkids together. All the Grandkids Jan 2015

On the home front things have been good.  Kyla has settled in and has added spice to our lives.  She and Joshua are wonderfully close and the two cousins keep us on our toes.

My travel has been pretty hectic – as evidenced by the TripIt stats:

2015 Total
Trips 24 166
Days 171 1139
Distance 336,448 km 1,621,588 km
Cities 34 70
Countries 11 22

Highlights for me were visiting the Taj Mahal, QCon  London in March and getting to Thailand and Malaysia for the first time.

On my way to London I stopped in Grenoble and had a night in Paris before taking the Eurostar – my first trip through the Chunnel.  Definitely more relaxed than flying between cities.

Fondue in Grenoble

Paris by Night

For my birthday Spence and his lovely family took me to Bletchley Park.  It’s sad when you see computers you actually worked on in a museum.

I wrote my first programs on punchcards

 

In March the Agile Alliance board meeting was in Wellington – the only face to face meeting we’ve had that I didn’t need to travel to.  It was great being able to host the event, we had an open space event before and Arthur cooked us an amazing meal on the Monday afterwards.

Agile Board in Wellington

In April we took a trip to Taupo and Tauranga.  Serena and Abigail came with us and we had a great time catching up with family in the Bay of Plenty.

 

Kyla, Joshua and I went river rafting on the Rangiteki River, level 4 rapids.

We survived the rapids

Grandad's girls

Big news on the family front was Melody getting together with Hayden, and the two of them promptly deciding to have a child.  The baby is due in early January, so we’re heading across to Brisbane to greet the newest granddaughter.

Melody & Hayden

Jade and Cam came down to Wellington in May to meet Abigail.

JAde, Cam & Abigail

Cyberview Resort in Malaysia

Abigail turned one in July and Scott’s family came across from Melbourne for the event, as did Melody and Hayden.

Abigail's First Birthday

In June I was in Thailand and had a chance to do a very brief tour.  I definitely want to go back.

Agile 2015 was in Washington DC, and I did some sightseeing there one evening.  Thanks Sharon for being such good company.

The Lincoln Memorial

Thailand

In September I spent an amazing week at Menlo Innovations learning about the Menlo Way and how they really have created an environment of joy in work.  It was truly inspirational and I’m trying to bring the ideas and philosophy into my own work and the workplaces I come in contact with.  Richard, James and the Menlo team truly live the values and are wonderfully generous in sharing their ideas.

In the same trip I visited Minneapolis and Des Moines – thanks Angela, David, Kent, Lisanne and Juao.   Then on to Portland for an Agile Alliance board meeting and open space event.   We were defeated by the overwhelming sweetness of Voodoo Doughnuts!

Voodoo Doughnuts

In November I went along as a (grand)-parent helper when Kyla’s class had a trip to Kapiti Island.  It was a great day out, even if my legs swore at me for the next week!  I flew the next day to Thailand for the Agile Tour and was definitely hobbling around the conference.

Looking back at Paraparaumu from Kapiti Island

SoftEd has opened an office in Singapore, which means I’ll be spending more time in that part of the world.

This year I’ve done quite a bit of conference speaking, including being invited as a keynote at Agile Tour Singapore – I do enjoy the great variety of people I get to meet at conferences and have made many new friends in different places this year.

Next year I will be speaking at Agile India in March and have submitted proposals for Agile 2016 and Agile Australia – I’m sure more will emerge 🙂

My last trip for the year was to Brisbane and Saudi Arabia.  It was great to meet with a small agile community in Riyadh.

 

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

On the family front, Steven, Serena and Abigail are flourishing and it’s wonderful to see Abigail growing so happily.

Mom has moved to a rest home close to us and whenever Serena comes to visit Abigail and her NanNan get into all sorts of mischief together.

At the rest-home Christmas party they had a group of bikers taking people for rides – needless to say both Mom and Kyla took full advantage of the opportunity.

NanNan on a Harley

Kyla Close BehindI got to catch up with Matthew, Colette & Conner and Melody & Hayden in Brisbane – they’re all well and thriving.

Jade and Cam are doing great in Auckland, as is Robert.

Arthur and Nicole are also thriving – Arthur is still at Ortega Fish Shack and spoils us with his culinary prowess whenever the come and visit.

Joshua did very well at school this year and is headed for great things.

Kyla also brought home a great report, and she’s decided to stay with us next year too – doing her high schooling in New Zealand.

Cressida is well, still struggling with the loss of Chris but coming through it.

Arnold is engaged to Sam(antha) – the two of them make a lovely couple.  Sam is looking for work in Wellington and will move over here when she finds a suitable role.

To end, Nancy and I wish all who celebrate the holiday a blessed and merry Christmas and everyone a wonderful 2016.

 

 

I took this photo from the beach close to us – it symbolizes why we love living where we do.

Sunset over Kapiti Island

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So, what happened to 2014?

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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:

Cruising off Queensland

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In June nine of us took a seven day cruise from Brisbane up to Cairns and back. Mom & Pete with all her remaining kids and our spouses and our friend Jackie. The trip was definite success as we managed to be together for a whole week and enjoyed the time together! No fights, and a jolly good time had by all.

We all met on Sunday morning for breakfast at the Brisbane passenger terminal before boarding the Pacific Sun for the cruise.

By 13:00 everyone was on board and we had settled into our cabins and started exploring the ship. 11 decks, five bars, four restaurants, a casino, a theater  shops, swimming pools, a day spa, and something like 1600 cabins. Cruising is a different style of holiday, where you take the hotel with you. The crew put on lots of different entertainment and activities and you get to be as active or relaxed as you want.

We cast off at about 13:30, sailing down the Brisbane river to the ocean.

Most (if not all) cruise ships have onboard photographers who wander around immortalizing your experiences, the photos are printed each day and put on display for passengers to buy if they want. We purchased a few, and had some portraits taken on the Thursday evening.

The family ate together for some breakfasts, most lunches and every dinner. Scott & Tracey were in a top-deck cabin with a balcony, and their package included catered afternoon tea every day, which we all indulged in most days.

Monday and Tuesday were spend at sea, heading north towards Airlie Beach. We spent most of the time lazing around, getting some rest.

On Wednesday the ship stopped off Arlie Beach for the day. Nancy & I took an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef, the others either stayed about or went on shore to do a bit of shopping and sight seeing.

To get to the Reef we took a catamaran directly from the ship, it took about 90 mins to reach the pontoon moored over the reef, departing at 06:00 in the morning!

Once there we took a ride in a semi-submersible to view the reef which was quite disappointing as the windows were right on the waterline and you could actually see very little. The disappointment was more than made up for by the other activities we partook in.

We took a helicopter ride over the Reef – a wonderful experience.  We saw the Heart Reef, which really is heart shaped, and were low enough to see turtles in the water. After the helicopter Nancy went in the glass bottomed boat and I took a guided scuba diver – really makes me want to get my PADI license.

The day was over too soon as we had to get back to the ship so it could catch the tide going into Cairns the next morning.

On Thursday Nancy & I took the Rain-forest Canopy cablecar tour – a great experience that gives a real feel for the dense tropical forest.  Scott, Tracey & Jackie went river rafting and had exciting stories to tell over dinner that night.

Late Thursday night Nancy got ill, and we had to call the ship’s doctor.  Very efficient and good care.  She was diagnosed with a tummy bug and was quarantined for 24 hours.  They came and checked  up every six hours and each time the cabin was fully sanitized, they are very careful about illness onboard as it could spread very quickly in such a closed environment.  This meant we didn’t go ashore on the last stop (Port Douglas) and we spent the day resting.

Nancy was allowed out of the cabin on Saturday morning and we spent the last day of the cruise lazing around together.  The final dinner was a fun experience, we were all ready to depart but had a great week together.

Sunday morning we breakfasted at 08:00 and then were shepherded ashore – the embarking/disembarking process is very efficient.

The end of a fun week…

Hastie Family Crest

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Following on from a discussion thread on the ancestry.com website here is the photo of the Hastie family crest I promised to publish.

Hastie Family Crest