We all have a bucket list – that list of things that we want to accomplish before one, well, kicks the bucket. Perhaps you want to ski the Swiss Alps. Learn a foreign language. Learn to play a musical instrument. Surf the Hawaiian swells. Visit far-away places. Get romanced by a Frenchman in Paris (which can be on your list… this isn’t for me!). You get the point… things that you want to do while you still can.

Do you remember that old Navy recruiting line “Join the Navy; See the world”. In what feels like a lifetime ago, when I was in the Navy, I did get to see many places over in the Mediterranean Sea region – places that are now on my bucket list to return to with my wife so that I can share that experience with her. I’ve climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (something that can’t be done anymore), walked around the Roman Coliseum, visited the Parthenon in Athens, and toured Israel. And there are other places that I’ve never been to, but want to go visit, such as St. Petersburg in Russia.

Last year, while on the Alaska SQL Cruise (it just so happens that going to Alaska was also on my bucket list), during one of the “office hours” sessions I shared with the other cruisers my Bucket List Item #1. So I am pleased (proud? gratified?) to let the world know that on Friday, I learned that after a lot of work, study, practice and, yes, head-banging, that I have passed the Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008 lab exam. Yes, this exclusive club has opened their doors to me, and I am indeed humbled to be a part of it. Which means that I am now a:

So what does being a MCM mean? Well, I think that Tom LaRock said it best here when he said: “I like to tell people that my MCM means I know a fair amount of detail for about 20% of the entire product line.” This is true to me – I know that there are areas of SQL where I’m not satisfied with the level of what I know. But this means that you shouldn’t be surprised to see me getting my learn on at events like SQL Saturdays, the PASS Summit, and other places. I still have more to learn, and with new versions of SQL Server still being developed, to keep abreast on. (Note that this is a 2008 certification, so next up will be the 2012 certification when that is available.)

There are many people that have influenced me in my decision to pursue this certification, and who have sustained me on this journey. Some are MCMs, some should be, and others don’t even touch a computer. Many of these on this list will be surprised to find themselves there, but fear not… I picked up something from you that motivated me. So I will start off with first thanking my wife and mother for their strong support and encouragement, as well as my sons, daughter-in-laws (it’s close enough Beth!) and grandchildren (yeah… I’m that old). And next, in only the order that they popped into my mind, I thank: Brent, Jeff, Steve, Tim, Mala, Robert, Illona, Grant, Gail, Andy and Allen. I also give heartfelt thanks to my company, Ntirety, who not only strongly encouraged this certification for me, but also paid for the exams. But I especially want to thank one individual who not only pushed and challenged me, but helped to make this a fun journey. So, to my co-worker Jason Brimhall: saying “Thanks for everything” is not enough – yet it says so much. (Incidentally, Jason has a pretty big announcement of his own.)

After all of this effort, there is one thing that I need to to before anything else… party!