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!

Year in review: 2015

Well, it’s been quite the year. I love doing this review each year – I get to look back and reflect on all the awesomeness of the year behind me. And, other than that one year, the last few have been pretty blimmin’ amazing.
Here was 2015:

January: We started the year in Kaikoura – one of our fave R&R spots. I finally managed to pinpoint the exact location of my great-grandfather’s grave in Kaikoura after much traipsing through fields with cows. We installed our TV on the wall then proceeded to sit in front of it for the first part of the month. I sewed a dress. We started up dancing again – foxtrot, tango, etc. We are stunned at how little we remember from previous years of lessons. There is skate-parking, skating, ice skating. All the skating!

February: We went to Timaru for some skating with the whole fam. Derby started for the year with me in stripes. My life as a roller derby refs began here. I went on an epic weekend away to Hanmer with some roller derby gals. There was Cards Against Humanity.

March: We started with a mini-break in Methven for our wedding anniversary (what was I thinking?!). We attended Christchurch Armageddon – the biggest in ages. Katee Sackhoff was there! The fam traveled to Queenstown for roller derby, much fun and skating. We won our B-Grade hockey final, YEAH!

April: There was a lot of skating – derby, skateparks and ice. We travelled to Greymouth for a game of derby, so much fun! My little girl left Synapsys and went off to better brighter things at CBRE. I start playing women’s hockey for the winter. The long year of visiting Auckland every week began. The Apple Watch is unleashed on the world – but not New Zealand…yet.

May: We remodelled the conservatory into a home office, I did a lot of skating, working, gyming, etc. I celebrated Mothers Day with my delightful clan at Under the Red Veranda.

June: Well, what can I say. I worked, travelled for work, played derby, played hockey, watched hockey and complained about the weather. A lull month.

July: This one was busier! We went to Staveley for a skate, tobogganing with visiting Thompsons, went to Wellington Armageddon (OMG, Amy Pond!) and attended Kylie’s Masquerade Ball at the Tannery. We ordered our Apple Watches, much excitement. Synapsys packed up and moved from Heathcote to Madras St. Finally we are back in the city!

August: We started the month with our annual hockey trip to Tekapo, our Apple watches arrived (so awesome, squeee), we lost the NZIHL grand final to The Southern Stampede, I went to the world premier of The Art of Recovery, starring me and some others. I went to Adelaide for work. The Dallington bridge finally reopened! Life in the badlands just got a little bit easier.

September: The big trip! We travelled to Singapore-England-France-Italy-Switzerland-Germany-Singapore-home! We saw some awesome things and had a wonderful time.

October: TEDx Christchurch, new running shoes, we achieve the Armageddon trifecta in Auckland, and I score my first hockey goal in forever, boom!

November: another slow news month…work, work travel, hockey, RPM, running, yoga…I wrap derby for another year.

December: Lovely sleepovers with the grandchildren, no travel away (bliss!), skating, hockey, running, lots of RPM and a wonderful quiet end to the year with family.

2015 was definitely not what I expected. I wanted to slow down, spend more time at home, do less. Instead I spent most of the year away from home 1-3 nights a week. I liked being out of Christchurch – it was good to meet new people and be involved in an interesting project.

Year in review: 2014

This year in a single word…busy. And if I had two words…roller derby. It’s been an amazing ride – I’ve done heaps, learned heaps, and even relaxed heaps this year. Here is my year in review.

January: We saw the new year in at Kaikoura, a lovely oasis. We got barriers for the roller rink and I went skating outdoors a LOT. We watched the better part of 20 seasons of Time Team. Wyatt started school and Bronwen started high school.

February: We did the Colour Run in the pouring rain (but still lots of fun!). We all went for a skatepark roadie to Timaru. I found out that I was going to be a Great-Aunt again (welcome aboard Poppy). I crashed my car, and finally got a towbar so we could go mountain biking.

March: Hockey season finished, the Rangers came third. Derby derby derby derby, intense. We had a lovely get away in Hanmer, celebrating three years of wedded bliss. At home, it rained. And rained and rained and rained…our place became Strathfield Island. Kim and Shelley got married! On a boat!

April: We cruised in the Pacific for two weeks, there was dancing and quizzes and a lot of Downton Abbey. We said goodbye to the roller rink as it was packed away for the winter – it will become something else next summer. And derbyderbyderbyderby.

May: Derby and more derby. I was given the Volunteer of the Year award from my hockey league. We went to Armageddon in Wellington, it was an EPIC good time. The Dallington bridge was closed ‘temporarily’ for repairs – aka demolish and rebuild.

June: Guess what? MORE derby! Our teams travelled to Northland and Dunedin, and smashed it. Bronwen became a derby referee. I spent a lot of time in Wellington for work.

July: It went a bit like this – Fly to Wellington, come home, go to training, go to the gym, eat, sleep, repeat. Young Arlia started playing ice hockey – and loved it!

August: We had out annual family holiday in Tekapo, it was goregous…my heaven on earth. We skated through the Lyttleton Tunnel! And of course, derby – lots of it. The Red Devils won the NZIHL Grand Final, yeah!

September: I saw lots of Wellington, home saw less of me. I had my first ever dental work – a root canal. We skated on the pier. There was plenty of derby – the Pirates came to visit and we went on a roadie to watch derby AND hockey! Hockey season started up again, the Rangers are looking mighty this year.

October: Lots of Wellington. Armageddon Auckland was brilliant, epic, amazing – I saw McGyver for goodness sake! I got my iPhone 6, and how I do love it. The derby starts to feel like it will never end!

November: Nick and Rach got hitched! We have a fab family holiday in Kaikoura. Dunedin Derby come to visit. The Aaarangers have a fantastic time on the Arrrmazing Race Arrrwards Night (pirate themed) and I won the Hard Yards award. We booked our tickets for Europe for next year.

December: ALL the derby – the Roller Derby World Cup! There was a lot of derby watched! I work until I think my eyes might fall out, looking forward to a summer of nothing much happening.

This year I had a go at focussing my attention on a few important things rather than spreading myself too thin and doing too much. My goal was to say yes and no to things more carefully, so that life didn’t get to intense. To some extent, it was a success – work was more manageable and I said no to a few personal projects for my sanity’s sake. But let’s face it, I’m just not the kind of person that can be happy and content sitting at home in the evenings watching TV. There is so much fun to be had, so much to learn and do!

Year in review: 2013

As per established tradition (and mostly for my own benefit so I can remember what happened), here is a brief summary of 2013.

January: Megan turns 21! We move back into our freshly EQC-renovated house, there is a lot of family time, and skating.

February: A lovely getaway to Queenstown for Stephen and me, we get our gardens done, a fun trip to Tekapo to watch inline hockey, lots of work, family, skating. The 2nd anniversary of the Feb 2011 earthquakes – not much has changed in a year.

March: Our 2nd wedding anniversary – celebrated in style at Rotherhams. We come 2nd in our ice hockey grand final, I graduate roller derby freshmeat and into the league.

April: We go to Dunedin to celebrate Granddad’s 96th birthday. We put the finishing touches on the house. Roller derby.

May: Megan moves out, and in with Blair. Lots of working, family time, roller derby training.

June: Bronwen gets braces. The Mt Albert Thompsons come for a visit. I go to Blenheim for a derby bootcamp, Bronwen NSOs (officiates) her first derby bout. Derby, derby, derby.

July: New roller skates for me and for Stephen! A fun-filled hockey weekend in Tekapo with my Rangers. My first big roller derby bout (Superheroes v Supervillains).

August: Raro! A blissful week of sun, sand, scooters and family. Wyatt starts playing ice hockey and LOVES it. The league takes a much-needed mid-season break from roller derby.

September: After several months of planning, work begins on the roller rink. I have an enforced break from derby after rolling my ankle, then come back with a vengeance in the bout against Dunedin’s Bonnie Brawlers (beat them 238-108). Hockey kicks off for another year – the Rangers kick ass. Life and work is intense. Little Arlia turns 3.

October: Bronwen turns 13, a teenager at last. We move the roller rink from Tuam St to Peterborough St and building progresses in earnest. TEDx is inspiring. Roller derby nationals are EPIC! Work is scary-intense.

November: Antony turns 25 (OMG!) and gets roller skates of course. Wyatt turns 5. I learn the basics of skate jamming with Danger Danger. We finish the roller rink (AWESOME!!). We have the last bout of the season – Rocky Horroween. Junior derby kicks off, Bronwen is fast and furious. Derby awards night, and I take away the Hard Yards award – super proud.

December: A visit from Gillian, lots of motorway skating, the derby girls play some ice hockey (LOL), Bronwen graduates from Chisnallwood Intermediate and we mentally prepare for high school. I get an iPad mini and a Pebble watch (lucky girl, me!). Christmas comes and goes and the whole family takes a much-needed break from the fast lane.

I’m not gonna lie, in many ways it’s been a tough year. We had some fun and joy in there, but overall it’s been hard work. There have been several projects going on at once that have made life pretty intense at times. I took on the job of league secretary for roller derby, and returned as secretary of the Senior League for ice hockey. Stephen took on the chair of the Senior League and the secretary of Canterbury Ice Hockey Assoc. There was a lot of unpaid administration work going on in our house this year. Building the roller rink was a HUGE undertaking – it occupied most of our spare time for the latter part of the year. Roller derby was very intense – three 2-hour training sessions a week, plus going to the gym, plus ice hockey. It was a bit relentless.  And then once I added in three of the busiest months I think I’ve ever had at work (in Sept, Oct, Nov) and it just about broke me.

What kept me going this year is the intense joy I get from all the things I did. I love skating (can you tell??), I love my job, I love spending time with my family, I am hugely proud of our roller rink, I love ice hockey. I’ve indulged my passions this year, just binging a little too much at times.

2014 will be about finding the balance. It will be about saying yes and no more carefully – so I get to do the things I love, but not so they become work.

Year in review: 2012

Well, I have to say, 2012 turned out to be a lot better than 2011.

As is my tradition, I will review my year by providing a pithy sentence or two that covers each month.

January: My beautiful girl turns 20, Stephen and I have a lovely holiday in Queenstown (power-relaxing at its finest), lots and lots of working.

February: The one-year anniversary of the big quake. We commemorate the day by putting flowers in road cones – we have plenty to choose from. Lots more hard work, we prepare to go on holiday in March.

March: Glorious March, our honeymoon month. The best three weeks ever – castles, cathedrals and cars. It was perfection. And upon our return, we win our hockey final, two years in a row, HUZZAH!

April: Rachel’s lovely dress-up birthday party, we make plans for a new kitchen, lots of time spent with family and friends.

May: We become proud (temporary) owners of a ‘water feature’ out the front of our house, while our street is closed for repairs. I get a new tattoo. I AM.

June: We get our gorgeous new kitchen installed. It snows. I travel a lot, including to Auckland for Esther’s 3rd birthday. Children of Rogernomics, the book I helped work on in 2007-8, is launched. Bronwen starts playing ice hockey!

July: It’s a cold one! We go skating in Staveley. It snows again and I get caught out in Wellington. We have a fun weekend away with Rachel and Nick in Hanmer.

August: I go to Melbourne to collect an award for work, buy rollerskates for me and the girls, do some volunteering for The Concert. Work on the street continues. It feels everlasting.

September: Ah, spring at last! School camp with Bronwen in Takamatua and poor Mazzy breaks down half way up the hill. We travel to Queenstown (via Tekapo of course) to watch the Red Devils win the NZIHL final.

October: Bronwen turns 12, and is surprised with a new laptop and iPhone. Megan and I begin roller derby training. We are dazzled by Luxcity, the beautiful display of lights in the city. Axel arrives in the family and we say bye-bye to Mr 2.

November: The birthday extravaganza BBQ, we travel to Perth for Rebecca and Andrew’s wedding, come home to find out that our house repairs will begin in December, YAY! Work finally finished on the roads in our neighbourhood.

December: We move out so repairs can commence, Verity and Josh get married, we have a fab weekend away in Tekapo, we welcome the arrival of Rose and farewell Mazzy (I hardly miss you at all, you little minx). We move back in to our mostly finished and awesomely redecorated house. Christmas Day is all about family and relaxation. It sets the tone for the year ahead I think.

Last year at this time I said that 2011 would be a defining year. It was. This year, by contrast, has been about living in our new normal. It feels like moving on – we’ve been able to carve out bits of real joy in the year, making the circumstances of our living in this place more bearable. I have achieved most of the goals I set for myself for the year, and surpassed my expectations in some things. I’ve indulged my passions for Appley things, for hockey, for skating, for travel, and for my family. I can’t ask better than that.

Year in review: 2011

Our wedding day

What a year 2011 has been. One of the biggest years of my life, I’d say. Here how it shook down (earthquake humour):

January: Wedding planning in earnest. We conceive a idea to buy our own house.

February: The month that changed everything. How can I describe it? It was the most exciting and the scariest time of my life. On the morning of February 22 I warned my workmates that I might be a little more stressed than usual that week. It seems funny now, the things I was worried about.

March: My wedding day was one of the best days of my life (besides seeing my beautiful children for the first time, and graduating from university). The rest of March was all about trying to buy our house and making new plans. We won our B Grade ice hockey final. Go Rangers!

April: We move into our house. Our little nana house that we love so much. Never mind that it didn’t have flush toilets. It’s ours.

May: Regrouping. Trying to find normal, and succeeding to an extent. We get new carpet, our house begins to feel like a home.

June: The month starts off well enough. Normality has descended. We get a flush toilet! And then June 13th happens. It feels like square one again. Luckily it isn’t, but it’s hard for a while.

July: We buy tickets for our honeymoon! We get a dishwasher installed and find out we can use our en-suite bathroom – the pipes have been cleared. Luxury.

August: Running. Lots of it. Trying to cast off the difficulties (and flab) of the past few months. It feels good to hit the pavement.

September: We commemorate and celebrate. The first anniversary of the earthquake that started it all, and Arlia’s first birthday the next day. A steady month of running, hockey, family and spring.

October: Bronwen turns 11. Opononi! A fabulous family holiday in the north, not a lot of sleep was had. Rounded out at the end with the opening of the Cashel Container Mall. It feels like a tentative new beginning for our broken city.

November: Birthdays, too numerous to count. I travelled, a lot. Work work work and more work, and I love it! I celebrate my birthday by passing my driver’s test. Legit at last. The top comes off the Hotel Grand Chancellor as the slow deconstruction begins. Our local mall The Palms reopens, much to our relief and indescribable  joy.

December: Lots of work. Some days it feels like I’m too busy to breathe. Running, skating, hockey and family keep me centred. We get the last of our contents claim payments from the EQC, HURRAH! The deconstruction of our suburb begins, little bit by little bit. And sadly, another earthquake, followed by still more juddering aftershocks. I’ve come to the realisation that it might not end for years. Can I bear it? Yes, because I have to.

So, what sums up this year? It was a year of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’m glad to see it end and I’m ready to move on. This year has been a defining year. The events of 2011 have set a cycle that we’ll be playing out for years to come. I think (I hope beyond hope!) that the hard bits are behind us. What lies ahead are building, rebuilding, consolidation. Both personally for my family and our home, and for our city too.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2010. That’s about 14 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 67 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 72 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 13mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 7th with 97 views. The most popular post that day was Am I missing something?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, Google Reader, bestwwwoffers.com, and noarmsjames.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for mac classic, ibook clamshell, ibook g3, ibook g3 clamshell, and powermac 6100.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1. Am I missing something? December 2010

2. The Cult of Mac June 2010

3. About January 2010

4. The 30-day challenge April 2010

5. Mother May I? November 2010