My August Christmas Card

Do you ever get the Christmas card that features a beautiful picture of a family on the front, and a letter catching you up on their year on the back?  I love reading those cards.  I like hearing from friends and finding out what they’ve been up to.  I haven’t been writing here for a while, so I wanted to do my little catch-up post here to tell you where I have been and where I will be.

This year has been completely outside any experience I have had in my life.  I began a months-long project writing a process to automate push and pull replication.  I am hoping to publish that process early next year in the hopes that it will help people who like the idea of replication, but might find it a little scary.  I actually love replication, both as an availability tool and for its flexibility, and I am excited to share this process in the hopes that you can help me to make it even better. 

While I was working on replication, I started ramping up my public speaking.  I have been teaching at my company for a while.  This year, I teamed up with a colleague to develop an entire SQL curriculum for our developers and business users.  It has been well-received and so much fun to do.  It has taught me a great deal as well.  I have learned better to understand the perspective and needs of the end user and how I can help to meet that need, which I hope has made me a better resource for them.

That experience encouraged me to branch out into the SQL community.   I spoke at my local SQL Saturday earlier this year – my first!  I enjoyed it even as I learned a great deal.  The other speakers were supportive, and the audience was fantastic.  Soon after that, I received an invitation to speak to my local user group.   I was thrilled to be wanted and the user group was welcoming, making it a great afternoon.  Little did I know that it would be my last in-person event for a long time.  I returned from that meeting to be told that I would be working remotely for the foreseeable future because of COVID. 

Adjusting to the rapid and sometimes volatile changes in our world since March has been challenging for me and my family at times, especially so for my teenage daughter who is getting ready to start her freshman year of high school  in the fall.  Watching the world so quickly turn on its ear has been frightening (to say the least) for many of our young people, and I have been grateful to have the chance to be on hand when she needed someone to hear her, to understand, and to assure her that she isn’t alone in anything that happens. 

At times, I have had to fight to keep perspective myself.   I had my best success when I focused on things to be grateful for.  Surprisingly, sometimes the smallest things I found became the most helpful.  For instance, my little garden had a banner year, producing enormous fruits and flowers.  There is something about a garden that only wants to be peaceful and beautiful that never fails to provide comfort and contentment, whatever else is happening.  I took comfort in that evidence that life goes on in the middle of the chaos. 

And there was chaos and hurt.   There was a lady down the street who lost her husband during quarantine – not to COVID, but she was isolated and alone.  She had never seen anyone die before maintaining that vigil with her husband.  My whole neighborhood rallied to her.  I was able to be a part of that process and to see the good that can happen when people of all walks of life come together for something bigger and better than any of our individual circumstances.  It was a much needed lift – for all of us involved, I think.

I had enjoyed my speaking engagements so much that I submitted for more.  I was able to teach a short indexing class for LaunchCode, which was great fun.  Then it was time for the chaos to hit me.  I lost one of my brothers, who died half a country away from me.  It was a gut punch and it kept me from doing SQL Saturday for Los Angeles in June.  It has taken time to get my feet back under me, but remembering to find those moments to be grateful for, remembering faith and perspective has given me a strength and a purpose that keeps me going.  And I learned as never before that laughter is healing.  In my house, there is a lot of it.  Whether we are laughing at my giant Newfie, who seems to think he is a practitioner of yoga as he sleeps, or at me tripping over the evil invisible crack in the floor, or over funny family stories and memories, we laugh.  And we are better than we were a few minutes before, every time.

So, that’s where I’ve been.  Now, for where I am going!  I am going to be speaking for SQL Saturday Salt Lake City on August 29th, and I am so excited for that.  It will be my first virtual SQL Saturday, and I love the talk I am doing, so it should be fun.  If you tune in, please say hello!  I am also speaking to the Women in Technology virtual group on September 1, and the DBA virtual group in October. 

In the meantime, I have been writing for Simple Talk.  I did one article on setting up replication manually and have begun a series on how to become a DBA – what you need to know to get the job and to do the job.  That is a topic near and dear to my heart, and it is one that I hope you will enjoy reading.  If you stumble across it because you’re trying to break into the field, I hope it helps!

That brings you up to date on my life.  I would love to hear from you….whether you are at home or on-site, tell me what gets you through the day, what you love to work on, and where you see yourself going.  Give me some inspiration while I wonder why in the world replication does some of the weird stuff it does!  Consider this a place to get together and talk, laugh, and if not solve the world’s problems, to help each other solve SQL Server issues.  And take good care of you.

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