As 2010 draws to a close, I am enjoying a rare few minutes of tranquility. Amazing, considering that we have a house-full right now.
At work, we got the all-clear to finish early this afternoon. These three days between Christmas and New Year are always a blessed opportunity to take time out from the usual pressing demands.
This is now the third year in a row that I've used the time to focus my thoughts on the essentials of my role as a manager, with a view to regaining control of my own time. In past years, all the good intentions evaporated early January in a flurry of new issues, new projects, and the clinging baggage of last year's loose ends.
This year will be different! Now I've roped in other managers and my boss to help me keep focused, and to help work out whether I am going mad trying to do other people's jobs for them, or whether maybe there really should be two of me.
But that was earlier.
Now I'm home. The family are home. Ali's parents are still with us until next week, and we have to make room for our friend Bob, visiting from up-island for New Year. So my desk and laptop have temporarily migrated from the end room (my "office" and general store and rubbish dump) downstairs into our bedroom, so we can set up the foldaway bed.
I am sitting here in the warmth of the wood stove, listening to conversations upstairs. The kids are outside playing while the sunshine lasts. No arguments! Bliss! Bob, who is a keen musician, is giving Matthew's keyboard a try out. It is lovely to hear music permeating the house.
Soon we will be on our way to a party at the nearby Recreation Centre. Swimming and skating, water slide and hot tub await, followed by music and fireworks.
But the best bit is, when I post this, I know I will be sharing my experience with some new friends scattered across the globe. This blogging experiment is probably the biggest surprise of the year for me, and I am amazed at the people I've made contact with in just a few short months.
So, to all those of you who have added a new dimension to my life, I wish you all best wishes for 2011.