Year in review: 2016

This year I think I finally achieved a level of balance in my life that I've been working towards for years. Life was busy, but so much less intense than the past few years. Here's how it went down.

January: We start the year in Kaikoura with Megan and Blair, where it rains without stopping for three days – we play a lot of cards. We journey to Temuka to collect Bronwen. We visit Okains Bay for some family fun. We go to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, epic! I go to the gym a lot and walk up the bridle path with Stephen and Bronwen. I tick off a bucket-list item by going to Waitangi – a tropical paradise. We get a coffee machine for home, love it.

February: I do a lot of running in preparation for the City to Surf. The Valentine's Day earthquake happened – scary but fine. We commemorate five years of shake, rattle and roll. It finally feels like things have moved forward. Leap Year, so we get an extra day, and Steve gets a birthday!

March: Stephen and I celebrate five years of wedded bliss – a delicious dinner at Spice Paragon. I have a fun roadie to Dunedin with my girlfriends. Christchurch Armageddon – bigger and better than ever, with Richard Dean Anderson! Running, running, running. I finished the City to Surf (half) with my best time ever, boom! The whole hoard goes camping at Kaikoura – me, Stephen, Antony, Jade, Wyatt, Arlia, Megan and Blair. This is followed by a quick trip to Hanmer on the way home with Nick and Rach, where we take the time to deface Kylie and Todd's newly framed house-in-progress.

April: Happy birthday Rachel! I go on a lovely retreat with my girlies at Lake Brunner – it rains a lot. I try burlesque dancing, roller skate on the pier, do a lot more running. Larry the Learning Lemur visits and I knit him a jumper. Poor Wyatt ends up in hospital for a week with appendicitis. I get a shiny new toy – my iPad Baby Pro, it's omg awesome. Dead End Derby puts on an epic show with Batman v Superman, then the fam travels to Dunedin so LDR can beat the Bonnie Brawlers – Bronwen and I ref. Stephen and I (and about a million Thompsons) descend on Foxton Beach for my sister's wedding – I discover that my new brother-in-law is the brother-in-law of my brother-in-law (he was married to my sister's ex-husband's sister). We get a cleaning service, it is life-altering! I am awarded "Volunteer of the Year" for services to senior league ice hockey.

May: At work I am promoted and start a new role – Learning Management Systems Lead, Dale joins the team. The Frompsons take up knitting – we all knit a scarf. I retire as DED Secretary, an important letting go. We have an epic fun time in Nelson with ORDL, I'm honoured to bench them.

June: Armageddon Wellington, yeah! So good. Stephen and I play a bit of (actual) squash, I'm better than I thought. I travel to Nelson for a getaway with the girlies. The iPhone turns 9 (aw…seems like only yesterday…).

July: Megan and I go to Knitting Club, there are pyjamas and cups of tea. We teach Wyatt and Arlia to play Catan. Pokemon Go happens. We have a lovely mini-break in Hanmer. I get awesome new roller skates. Star Trek Beyond is release, I love it! The fam attends the Mainland Mayhem roller derby tourney in Dunedin, it snows!

August: I change my name legally from Brigid Susan to Bebe Brigid. I knit my first hat, just in time for the awesome Rangers Tekapo hockey weekend. So much fun! The Canterbury Red Devils make it to the finals of the NZIHL by the skin of our teeth, but lose to the Southern Stampede – they dominated the season. I knit my second hat, for Arlia. Running, running, gym, gym, gym.

September: I get a delightful new iPhone 7, and Stephen gets his Apple Watch Series 2. There is a lot of running and gym-ing. Bronwen goes to Japan! DED puts on Pokemon Woah! roller derby edition.

October: The month starts with a trip to Kaikoura, bliss. I get my Apple Watch Series 2 – it's omg awesome. Apple Pay comes to NZ, yuss! It's like magic! The Arts Centre reopens. Megan and I get tickets for Green Day, Megan and Bronwen get tickets for Panic At The Disco, and Stephen and I get tickets for Dixie Chicks – 2017 will be the year of the concert. We attend Auckland Armageddon, so so good! We house swap with the Mount Albert Thompsons, as they happen to be in Christchurch for Labour Weekend. Bronwen gets her learner licence.

November: We get PlayStation VR! I thought it would be a gimmick but it's amazing. Bronwen wins a math prize at school. The Kaikoura earthquake extravaganza happens. We are all literally and figuratively shaken up. Stephen gets a brand-new Mazda 3 with all the bells and whistles for his birthday. Zoom zoom. We have a very nana-ish Gilmore Girls viewing party – everyone is home in bed by 10.30pm.

December: Megan leaves home, sadface. The Synapsys team celebrate Xmas with painting and sipping. I celebrate Xmas day at the gym, yeah! Followed by waffles and ham of course. Stephen and I get new AirPods! Stephen, me, Antony, Wyatt, Arlia and Bronwen go camping at Temuka – it rains. Stephen and I conclude from this that we need bigger, better tents for bigger, better camping. Stephen and I finish the year the same way we started – kicking back in Kaikoura. There is a big mess to clean up at the caravan, but it survived the earthquake well.

Summarising this year is easy – lots of family time, lots of new gadgets and a lot of New Zealand-based travel. Various configurations of the Frompsons travelled to: Kaikoura (4 times), Okains Bay, Waitangi, Hanmer (2 times), Nelson (2 times), Lake Brunner, Foxton Beach, Dunedin (2 times), Wellington, Auckland, Tekapo (2 times), Temuka (2 times). Stephen and I also both travelled to Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin several times this year. That made it a busy year because we had a lot of weekends away, but it was all fun stuff and there was a lot of relaxation in there. I think this has been my best year yet for doing less and saying no more – ironic considering I decided not to make it one of my goals for the year. Maybe that helped!

30. My current goals

Gah, this one again. I find goals so hard to write about, not because I don’t have any, just because they are so mundane. Throughout my 20s and 30s I worked hard to lift myself out of some fairly difficult circumstances – two kids at 19, no high school eduration, divorce, addiction. My goals were lofty and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to achieve them. I sobered up, went back to school and got a Masters degree, the kids grew into sensible, well-adjusted adults. I got a great job, and then another great job. I married a wonderful man, purchased a home, went on several overseas trips. Became a grandmother. I have a great life.

I feel like I’m on the right trajectory now, the ship is self-piloting. All I need to do is make small course adjustments here and there.

So how do I set goals when life is just as I want it? Last year I said this:

If my goals were to be things that I knew I could achieve in the coming year (i.e. things I know that I will actually do), they would go something like this:

1. Buy all the Apple-y things

2. Go to the gym a lot

3. Spend a lot of time at the ice rink – playing hockey and supporting others

4. Spend lots of quality time with my beautiful children and grandchildren

5. Travel within New Zealand – Wellington, Auckland, Waitangi, Dunedin are sure bets

6. Try and carve out space for relaxation but not really succeed, realise that relaxation is not really my thing

My goals for 2017 are not dissimilar. I suspect 2017 will involve less ice hockey than previous years, since we have a good crew sharing the league admin workload, and Wyatt and Arlia aren’t playing. On the travel agenda are Kaikoura, Auckland, Napier, Bluff, Brunner, and probably Wellington and Dunedin at some point.

My biggest goal is to work on some home improvement. We’ve spent the past few years using our extra money for overseas trips, and have made a decision to stay home this year and do some renovating instead – our bathroom and laundry need an upgrade.

27. A photo of myself today, and a description of how my day was

Here are two photos – pre and post gym workout. That’s the RPM instructor in the background.

And here is how my day unfolded…

I woke up at 7.30am, got up at 8.30am, had a delicious pancake breakfast then settled in for some hockey admin and TV watching – Netflix FTW!

At about 12pm, I had a shower and then did some organising for camping tomorrow and some other tidying things. The cleaner was due at 2pm, so we wandered off down to Re:Start Mall for some lunch – dumplings for me and pizza for Stephen.

We came back to a delightfully clean house, watched some more TV, and then I went to the gym, to the supermarket and home for dinner.

And now I am sitting with my feet up watching more TV.

It’s been a perfect combo day.


26. Something I don’t leave the house without

When I pack a bag to leave the house I make sure I have my phone, watch, wallet, headphones, sunglasses and battery pack. These are my essentials. Number 1 is probably my phone.
Note, no keys. Our front door and car locks are digital so I often have no keys with me. For the most part I can also manage without bank cards now that I have Apple Pay.

25. My hidden talent

I’m not really one to hide my talents…

I can think of a couple of things that maybe people don’t know about me:

  1. I am a chubby-bunny champ – I have a talent for shoving marshmallows in my face. I have quite a large mouth. I can get more than 20 marshmallows in my mouth at once.
  2. I can fit a lot of activity into a small amount of time. I am a well-organised person (most people know this) and this gives me the ability to jigsaw activities together in a way that maximises output/time.


24. My biggest regret

I don’t have any. I truly believe that my life is as it should be  – I can’t regret the past, it’s what got me here. And since I love my life, it’s hard to think about anything that has happened as regretful.

On a small scale, I sometimes regret a misspoken word or an action, but those things are easily remedied with a quick apology – no need to regret something if you clear it up as quickly as you can and are able to move on.

22. My worst habit

It’s hard to know what my worse habit is, so I phoned a friend for this one…

Stephen says “always needing to be right” is my worst habit – but that’s not really a habit, it’s more of a character flaw. Luckily, he’s not able to pin-point any particularly bad habits. The worst Stephen can come up with is that I move his stuff around so he can’t find it later, something that I call “tidying up”.

I have a lot of habits, but I’m not sure I can say that any of them are bad, so it’s hard to find the worst one. I’d probably say it’s interrupting and not letting other people finish speaking. Sometimes I physically put my hand over my mouth to stop myself from doing this.