Monday, February 22, 2010

A SSUG is Born

February 2nd unveiled a new SQL Server User Group in the Western suburbs of Chicago. The Chicago SQL Connection was a long time coming, and certainly a needed entity! No further proof than the 100 people in attendance was needed. Personally, I was hoping there would be a group to meet with outside of downtown Chicago, since in the last year I have relocated both my home and office to the area. The ChiSSUG which meets downtown is great, and Bill Lescher puts on a great program each month. For me, though, being a wife and mother and employed full time, the logistics of getting downtown on a weekday in time just don't work out. I had heard rumblings from others in the community that a group in the suburbs would be welcome. When I met Kim Young, the leader for our new group, we decided to work together to make it a reality. Kim has experience with user community groups and she led the way - two months later, the first meeting came to fruition!

We had an amazing kickoff, with Brent Ozar speaking on the topic of Performance Monitoring. People streamed in through the doors of the Microsoft offices in Downer's Grove starting at 5:30 and steadily until 6:30pm. It was nice to meet some people face to face whom I had only talked to via email or on Twitter. What was nice to see was that so many people seemed to know each other already. I hope they continue to spread the word and bring more SQL-minded people to the meetings in the months to come!
Support from the SQL community at large has also been wonderful - we have speakers lined up through May already! We also decided to become an official chapter with the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS). While we are still working on our website and currently do not have any contact information posted, we look forward to the backing of PASS to foster a successful run for the future.

This is my first experience with a User Group Community. There are certainly challenges - mailing lists, websites, disseminating information, finding speakers, sponsors and, let's not forget: incompetent pizza delivery. All of these things require mangement, time and negotiation ability. Thanks to Kim for having the expertise of being in this role with other User Groups previously! However, the prospect of bringing together a group of like-minded individuals and creating an opportunity for education and networking is so exciting, all the other work is worth it.

For more information on the next Chicago SQL Connection meeting coming up March 2nd, please check out the PASS Event Calendar, or leave a comment here and I will have Kim add you to our mailing list.
WHO           Christopher Barwick, Big Hammer Data
                    "Business Intelligence: From Database to Warehouse to OLAP to Excel with
                    SQL Server 2008 & Excel 2007"
WHEN        March 2, 2010
                    6:00 – 6:30 Meet and Greet with Pizza
                    6:30 – 8:00 Presentation
WHERE       Microsoft Offices
                    3025 Highland Parkway Suite 300
                    Downers Grove, IL 60515

RSVP must be recieved 48 hours prior to attending as we must provide a roster to building security.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Name that Caption Contest

Check out the blog for Thomas LaRock and you can see he is running a contest to caption the header for his site.

My one and only suggestion (until I change my mind):

"It's MINE! All MINE!"

See, changed my mind already and added an option:

"It's MINE! All MINE!  ............Now what.....?"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Three Things

Since I was tagged about, oh, two weeks ago by my buddy Ted (@onpnt) I figured I should really get around to writing another blog post. It's been too long. I really enjoyed the holidays with my little ones and many family members, but now it's time to focus again. What can I say? I hit a slump, but now I'm over it.

The question on the table currently is: What Three Things brought you to where you are today? While this can have many interpretations, I offer the following for myself.

One. Being a kid of a single parent. I grew up fast. Way too fast. My parents divorced by the time I reached 5 years old. My mom struggled. Hard. I took on a lot of responsibilty helping her out with my little sister almost immediately. Being a single mom in the '70's was not a supportive environment. Companies didn't want to hire her, landlords didn't want to rent to us. We moved. A LOT. I packed, unpacked, changed schools and made new friends - over and over again. But somehow we got by. We had fun without having any money. She gave her all to make sure her daughters grew into strong, capable women. I learned a lot from my mother's experiences: some things I vowed to never allow to happen to myself and other things to use as shining examples of how I wanted to shape my life.

Two. Failing my Freshman year of college. Yes, it's true. I was a straight-A student in High School. I knew I was going to college, I had a full ride scholarship to prove it, plus an appointment to the Air Force Academy. When the Air Force told me I was too short to pilot (or even to navigate), I said "Thanks, see ya". So, I went to college with my friends and probably dealt with some form of depression. I certainly wasn't aware of it at the time, I just didn't know what to do now that I wouldn't be a pilot or in the Air Force. Taking Engineering courses made me realize that even though I was a smart cookie, I certainly wasn't up to the level of these other kids who grew up with computers in their homes. So, I switched colleges (two more times, but hey, that was no big deal to me) and finally settled on a degree in Psychology. I found the field fascinating, and after my life experiences thus far, it sure seemed to fit well. Obviously, that path wasn't meant to be either, but that's another blog post. My achievement of being in the Honor Society for Psych was a nice reward, too.

Three. Dance. I started studying dance in 1989. Yes, that's more than 20 years ago now. I have had an incredible journey which provided a frame of self-discipline and artistry at the same time. I have made numerous friends. We all need a creative outlet and I was overjoyed to find mine. I never wanted to do anything but study and learn for many years. It wasn't until almost 10 years later that someone convinced me to step up onto the stage. Oh, don't get the wrong idea - I had done plays and things over the years, even some public speaking, but I had never shared something that I had created myself. The rest, as they say, is history. I have my own dance company and we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary next year!

Really the key to all the things listed above is Family and Friends. I was always fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family. While friends come and go, there are many who have touched my life and helped me get to where I am today. For those still with me - thank you! For those I'm yet to meet - Hope you're ready for a fun ride!