This year is drawing to an end.  I know it is a tad lame to have a “look at the year that was” or any of the other cliche laden phrases that tend to be used to introduce these things.

The thing is, it has been an interesting year for me personally and professionally.

Let’s see.  General stuff.  I retired the blog attached to my defunct drumming with bagpipe bands website.  I replaced it with, this one.  It had been in the “thinking about” phase for a long-time, and finally I decided to do it.  Ya know what’s interesting?  As I think about other stuff – often Non-Testing stuff – something pops into my head about software development or testing or SOMETHING.  Sometimes, that results in a blog post.  Other times it leads to sitting in my big green comfy chair sipping a brandy and thinking.

Interesting work stuff at the day-job with interesting challenges early in the year.  With a flurry of emails I found myself and the boss registered to attend QUEST in Dallas, Texas.  This was a huge surprise to me as I was not expecting it at all, given limited budgets and going to TesTrek in Toronto the previous October.  QUEST was interesting in that I met a number of people whose writings I had read, and had not met in real-life.  I also got to connect with people I had met before and get back in touch in real-life. 

May I received confirmation that I COULD attend CAST, which was being held around 15 minutes from my house – then in June it became clear that the scheduled release would conflict with attending CAST, so the company would neither pay the conference fee (something I was not too worried about) nor would they grant time-off.  That one was a problem.  July rolled around, schedules shifted again.  I could be granted the time to go to CAST IF I was available during the conference.  COMPROMISE!  COOL! 

Sunday evening of CAST had a great dinner and conversation with Fiona Charles and Griffin Jones and the lady-wife at a neighborhood Italian place.  Recipes from Sicily and friendly folks and good wine and great conversation, little of it around testing, but all of it applicable to testing.  What a great night. 

Another night had a fantastic dinner out with a bunch of folks – Yeah, I know I blogged about that shortly after the event – it is still a great memory.

Dragged the boss in one evening to meet some of the great ones of the craft who would be there.  Had a fantastic evening out with Nancy Kelln and Lynn McKee and the boss – more good wine (notice a trend?) and a great conversation. 

Then, a bombshell was dropped that left me gob-smacked.  It seems one of our dinner companions had a conflict and could not fulfill a speaking commitment in Toronto, would I be interested in being suggested as a an alternative speaker?  Holy Cow.  I thought about it briefly… and said Yes.  One thing led to another and I did indeed speak at TesTrek in Toronto that October.  Yeah, I blogged about that, too.

Stuff at the day-job continued to be interesting – meaning, really, really, busy. 

So, things progressed.  Talked with the boss about some interesting emails. The result of those chats was submitting proposals to a couple of conferences.  I submitted proposals for a session similar to the session at TesTrek, but with a more advanced perspective than the general view there.  The exciting thing was that the boss and I submitted a proposal for a joint presentation based on our experiences starting a QA/Testing team from scratch. 

One conference said “no thanks” (although the boss was asked to consider a presentation in a different area) the other accepted both proposals!  Yeah, that rocks.  I get to hang with the cool kids at STPCon in Nashville this coming March.   

More projects were successfully rolled out at the day job.  There are some interesting things that seem to be happening there, they may lead to more ideas on blog posts. 

The local testing group and its attempts spread its wings and fly has been great fun to watch and be a part of.  Through it, I’ve met some terrific people, like Matt Heusser and Melissa Bugai , and have had fun sharing the adventure with them. 

At home it was a good year in the garden.  We had a good crop of strawberries and peppers and tomatoes, although some of the others were a little surprising in what were less prolific than expected.  Several big projects got done – and inspired thoughts about, then blog posts about, software and testing. 

We had some sadness in our lives this year.  Stuff that led to serious rounds of soul-searching for “what is this all about.”  We also have had some great joys in our lives this year.  For that, I am grateful.  I don’t know what 2011 will bring, but I am looking forward to the next year.