image [Oct ’09 Update: web views have approximately doubled since May.]

I was looking through my blog history to see which posts were visited the most.  To give you a point of reference, the next closest post to has around 3000 visits.  I’ve had more comments on “Oracle Update with Join” than any other as well.

Ironically, I’ve been using NHibernate more heavily and these types of Oracle statements/queries hold less value in my daily activities.

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It’s a little hard to believe that I haven’t posted a blog in over a month.  Where have I been?  Frankly, doing my job and trying to keep up with my personal life at the same time.  I’ve been hesitant to include personal jabbering in my mostly technical blog.  But, I want to express what is most important to me.  I hope that most of you have similar priorities.

At the beginning of the year, the church I attend lost it’s music director.  While we were looking for a replacement, I filled in as temporary director.  Suddenly, I had added a part-time job to my already busy schedule.  For Lent, I chose to participate in a bible study each Monday evening.  Also, I am involved with the Pastoral Council and we have been recently working very hard to prepare for discernment of new members. 

Finally, I ran completely out of one of our most precious resources, time.  I had been singing with the Archdiocesan Choir for special liturgies throughout the year.  I also, volunteered to direct music for a men’s retreat at our church.  When, the music director left our church, I became so overwhelmed, that I could not fulfill my obligations to both the Archdiocesan Choir and the men’s retreat.

All the while, I was trying to ensure my face was familiar to my family.  A few years ago, I returned from a business trip, at which time my younger daughter looked at me very inquisitively.  The look on her face is something I will scarcely forget.  It was the look of “who are you?”  I knew then that I needed to find a different job.

I’ve held two jobs since then.  Both have been great (so far).  I have been able to spend more time with my family.  I’ve been able to meet my daughters’ teachers, and attend other school and church functions.  I even directed the children’s choir (at church) for a month or so. 

One of the most rewarding things I’ve been able to do is go on daddy-daughter walks weekly, with my girls (individually).  It’s special time for them and for me.  Unfortunately, the events over the last couple of months put a strain on that time together, and I missed a few weeks.

I couldn’t have a better wife.  She is the most patient person I know.  And she is always looking out for me and my health.  Without her support, I suspect the stress would have overwhelmed me.  It sounds cliché, but she truly does make me a better person, and makes me want to be a better person.

On top of all of this, at work, I completed one project in late February, and started another at the same time.  The last project was pretty much a solo endeavor.  I am pleased that I’ve got a teammate for the new one.  We’ve been able to accomplish things in the last couple of months that I had put off on the previous project.  In the next few weeks I hope to share some of the things we have been working on. 

We recently incorporated a more BDD style to our testing, using SpecUnit.  Also, we are now using StructureMap to help manage dependencies.  We are using Nhibernate (including the Fluent interface) for the first time on our new project.  We started building our own brand of UI automation/templates for CRUD (Dynamic Data just didn’t cut it for us).  Finally, we decided to incorporate the Enterprise Library Validation Block as well.  We brought all of this together and still hit our deadline for the first milestone of the project.

The order in which I covered things in this blog was very purposeful.  What should be clear is that this blog is not one of my top priorities.  In fact, my job and career are, at best, third on my list.  So the question is, how do you keep it all together?  Can you give each aspect of your life adequate attention?  I think the key is to give proper attention at the proper time.  My wife humors me when I talk shop at home, but I know she appreciates it much more when I leave work at the office.  Similarly, taking breaks at work to talk about your personal life is fine, just don’t overdo it.

Live Better, Code Better.