It’s Saturday morning on our last day in Melbourne. Both Dee and Jules are asleep, after our little boy’s 6am start, and I’ve just figured out that my newly-updated ICS (Android 4.0) can Bluetooth-tether — much more efficient/low-power than running a wifi hotspot, and since I’ve been having some battery “issues”, anything I can do there can only be a good thing.

It feels like a long week, and a short one simultaneously. We’re planning to have a proper holiday in 2013, perhaps over to Perth to explore Margaret River, but in the meantime I feel like 2012 has just been go, Diego, go!

Even this “break”: we left Canberra last Saturday (was it really only a week ago?), after dropping off Lucy to the kennels, driving down to Beechworth for a couple of nights in the Indigo Cottage there. It was nice: a beautiful old house, with air-conditioning to hold back the heatwave and broadband so we could do a bunch of system updates. Jules crawled around exploring, we went for walks, Dee put together a great little grazing platter … just relaxing, unwinding as best we could in a short time.

We had things to unwind from, too — I’ve been working hard (but more to do next year), travelling to Sydney most weeks and leaving Dee to play sole-parent; in fact, in December we had Palantir’s Hobbitcon and Winter Party, so I’d even left the country for a week. Furthermore, in the same week both Dee and Jules got sick — cold/’flu — and then to add one more element into the mix Dee had a car accident.

First the accident: it was a wet-ish day, and Dee, Jules and Dee’s mum Tricia were driving to Hall for some sightseeing. Coming around one of Canberra’s many roundabouts, the car lost traction and slid sideways, across the next lane, over a small median and onto the embankment. Dee says it felt like they were going to flip, which is a very scary prospect, but luckily didn’t happen. Somewhere there another car clipped them, so they wound up with two cars on the side of the road, exchanging insurance details.

Dee (et al.) drove home slooooooowly, worried that a wheel was going to fall off and with the steering wheel at a constant 45 degree angle. She sorted out the insurance, got it towed, and they gave us a beaten up Holden Commodore as a courtesy-car until the Jeep is fixed — estimated early February.

Meanwhile, I was in Palo Alto, living it up and geeking out. The second annual Hobbitcon is Palantir’s company-wide tech convention, and saw us returning to our Californian home-base from all around the world. I’ve probably talked about how Palantir is a company made by engineers, and so we had technical lectures, guest speakers, break-out sessions … and plenty of social events too. It culminated in the Winter Party, which saw us mingling, eating and drinking on the USS Hornet, an aircraft-carrier turned museum (so very cool!). I got to see so many of the people I started with, catch up, remember names. I also drank whiskey from the (open) bar and pretended I was Scottish for a goodly while.

But I was happy to get back to Australia, despite the interminable flight (it’s a lot of waiting), and happy to give my family big hugs to let them know how much they were missed and how happy I was nobody got hurt. I finished the rest of the work week from home, as Dee and Jules were both still sick. Then it was onto Victoria for Christmas!

After Beechworth, we drove into Bendigo to stay with Mum. There was already a crowd when we arrived, and at first Jules was a little overwhelmed by cousins and Aunties and Uncles and Nannies and Nannas — but he soon adapted and was playing in the toy-box with Lily happily. He went off to bed eventually, and I went to church (!!). Best of all, I didn’t even stand up and argue with the minister, although I couldn’t help but correct him when he suggested that the Christmas star was a more important star than Mars. “It’s a planet not a star,” I blurted.

No harm done.

Christmas day at Nanna’s, and we ate (and ate, and ate), drank, played, unwrapped presents. Adam even came, which was a pleasant surprise — I hope he comes to more stuff, really gets out there and starts looking after himself. Josie even got everyone together long enough for a few photos, for probably the first time in 10 years (if ever!) that everybody has been in the same town, let alone all at Nanna’s place. Hopefully we’ll get copies of the pics.

Boxing day we headed into town to find a birthday present for Lisa, since we left her original present back in Canberra. (“Next year,” I said. “No, I’ll keep it,” replied Dee.) We were early enough to avoid the crowds — amazingly easy when you have a boy that insists on getting up at 6 — and headed back to Mum’s for the customary Boxing Day BBQ. Drinks with Bruce, some Mario Kart on the Wii … but still too many people to really relax much. More photos, including some where we’re carrying Mum around the backyard.

We drove to Melbourne the following morning, checked into a hotel near Suz’s new place and headed to Ken and Mary’s for lunch.