[Before anyone e-mails or corrects me: there’s a display issue with the blog. The apostrophe for I’m in the title for some reason isn’t displaying.]

Can you believe it’s December already? Where has this year gone? I’ve certainly had the extremes – from the excitement and honor of pre-conference sessions at SQLBits 9 and PASS as well as taking on a business partner in Ben DeBow, to the lowest of lows with the death of my friend Mike Kenwood. Honestly, I don’t have much to kvetch about either in my personal or professional life. Heck, in 2011, I’ve also been able to cross a few major bucket list items off this year. I visited the Porsche Museum and got a factory tour (highly recommended), I auditioned for Roger Taylor of Queen, attended an Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field, and after next week, I can finally say I saw a concert at Budokan in Tokyo. Not too shabby.

Anyway, while I took a vacation to California back in late August for a week or so, it really didn’t feel like I took one at all. Everything changed after I found out my friend Mike had passed away. It’s amazing how one event can totally change everything. I know I said my batteries were recharged after that CA vacation, but I’m going to take my own advice in that blog post and manage myself by taking a vacation to one of my favorite places on the planet, Tokyo. I know going there is on Mr. Ozar’s “to do” list for 2012. 🙂 (Oh, and thanks for the shout out here, Brent – not so sure I’m cool, though.)

Don’t get me wrong – I know that going on vacation is a “first world” problem to have, but as thankful as I am that I’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone busy (a heartfelt thank you to all of my customers and anyone else I’ve worked with or trained), a major life event such as what I’ve been through via Mike has to affect you in some way. I also turned 40 this week (new decade – yikes!), and I’m definitely not getting any younger. With all the heaviness and heads down after August, it’s time to pop up and smell the roses and appreciate life and not worry about SQL Server for a brief moment. I also want to celebrate the spirit and zest Mike had for living. He always loved hearing about my adventures and I’ll miss sharing them with him, so in a way, this jaunt will also a bit of a tribute to him. I haven’t been back to Tokyo since this time in 2009 when I stopped there on my way to do some training in Singapore.

Don’t worry, I’ve got some exciting SQL Server stuff planned for 2012 – some of which will be announced soon, others which you already know about (like my new mission critical book). I’ve even got one more trick up my sleeve in a few weeks, so I’m not done with 2011 yet. I’ll post a link to that once I have it.

[EDIT: So it looks like Quest put a link up to my 12/15 webcast and didn’t tell me it went live – that’s the 2011 thing I’m referring to. I saw Jen McCown post it on Twitter right after I published this blog post, and it’s now up on the Events so go and register!]

If you contact me while I’m away, I’ll get back to you mid-December when I return Stateside. Cheers!