2011 – The year that FLEW!

How about that, eh?  It’s the end of 2011 already.  Just when I started to feel ready to tackle the year, it goes and ends.  Typical!  It was a year filled with very busy days, feeling like I couldn’t quite get on top of everything.  Despite feeling rushed and flustered, I think I’ve achieved a fair bit this year.  Achieved enough to feel happy, as I sit down to Christmas Dinner.

The year started fairly well. New Years Eve 2010 was a fairly quiet affair – a few really close friends, sitting around on the back deck, drinking champagne on a balmy Brisbane evening.  Not a bad way to bring in a new year!  It’s a hard life!

2011 certainly started off in a frenzy, and finished breathless and dazed.  I’ve renovated the house, kicked some goals at work, refit the home office, hacked at rotten banana plants and raised a lot of money for charity.

My first big hurdle was to finish renovating the bottom floor of the house. The concrete slab had been sitting there for the last 2 years, gathering dust and reminding me of unfinished symphonies.   It was by sheer chance that I found out one of my tradie friends was at a loose end.  Within a week, Kiz and Blair were hard at work putting the pieces together.  I was coming home from work, and admiring each step.  Even the “coffin” came up looking amazing with a bit of skill and magic from the boys!

I cannot thank them enough for all their hard work.  By April, the renovation was complete and better than I had ever anticipated.  Angie moved in soon after, and has set about making her new space feel more like home.

Of course, when you’re renovating, as soon as you finish one job you start to look for another.  Rick and I have been busy with building retaining walls, hacking out bananas, installing granite benchtops, building gates and fences and finally painting the front of the house.

Sadly, with all the painting and sprucing, we found a few rotten boards in the house.  Undeterred, and in my own indomitable fashion, I trundle down to the local timber yard and aquire a few lengths of hardwood.  Now… how does one transport 3.5m of hardwood railing using a Toyota Corolla?  Easy!   Apparently, I’m a walking, talking case study for Workplace Health and Safety.   I got it all home in one piece, nobody died, what’s the problem!?

While I’m cavalier with renovations, I’m not so easy-going when it comes to health.  This year I’ve had 4 more little cancers burnt off me.  I’ve resolved to be as vigilant as possible, and if a freckle so much as looks at me sideways I’m going to get it cut off.  I joke about it, and say that it’s the worlds slowest weight-loss campaign – but the sentiment is very serious.

My family and friends have had their own share of bad news this year.  My step-brother has had a very serious diagnosis, leaving him with a hard road to recovery.   Cancer is such a scary disease – so while I can, I’ll try and raise as much hope and awareness as I can.

As part of the 501st Legion, I’m more than prepared to act like a clown to draw attention to charity.  We’ve done very well this year as a group – our numbers swelling from 50 to 76.  There’s a lot of big-hearted Geeks out there, and the 501st Legion is such as huge part of my life now.  I consider them to be my family – I spend a lot of weekends with them, donating our time and efforts to make others laugh and smile.  Some times, the kids we see haven’t had a very nice ride.  I made a few little friends this year – the little girls love the Girl Trooper – and I’m just happy to give them a simple moment of fun.

I debuted my Asajj Ventress costume at Dreamworld in February this year after almost 18mths of planning.  It possibly comes as no surprise to anybody, that I’m rather good at being bad.  I rather enjoy playing the part of a psycho but sassy, Sith Asassin!  (Try saying that 5 times fast after a glass or two!)

I learned to wield two curved-hilt lightsabers, and make it look realistic.  That’s no mean feat for a clumsy mug like myself.  I participated in a stunt choreography team in mock lightsaber battles – flashmobbing, or should we say, flashbashing…  I also put together a photo booth – connecting an SLR with a laptop and a high-quality Kodak lab printer.  It’s great for big events, and raising money for charity.  In fact, at Supanova this year, the photobooth helped raise $7000 for the Cancer Council.  Not bad for a bit of geek hackery!

The Richmond football team still didn’t make the finals, but we’ll give it another tilt in 2012.

This year, I managed to try a lot of things for the very first time. I wore fancy-dress eye contacts. I was injured by a Lightsaber.  I learned to climb all over scaffolding like a monkey.  I learned how to build Balance Sheets and Profit and Loss reports.  I even bought a membership to the new Brisbane Heat cricket team.  I bought a brand new bicycle and rode to work through Brisbane city traffic.  I got hit by a car for the very first time, too.

Work has also been quite demanding this year, however working for such a great company means that any sacrifices of my time are gladly given.  I feel valued, and I feel part of the team.  I really feel that I can make a difference to my clients, and they appreciate what I can do for them.  I love my job.

Even though I enjoy what I do, I’m still buying lottery tickets in the hopes that I can retire and travel the world.  2011 has been a very lean year for travel.  Aside from work, the furthest I’ve been is down to Melbourne for a long weekend.  No rest for the wicked, I guess.  Perhaps in 2012 I can break away and have a holiday!  Fingers crossed.

It’s been a busy and exhausting year, so I’m looking forward to putting my feet up for a few days.  Perhaps I might get a chance to play that new Star Wars computer game, too!  I hope I can share a drink or two with all of you this festive season…

Looking forward to a wicked and wonderful 2012,

Jac xx

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