Archive for July, 2004

The Rule of Four

Posted on July 31, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Just borrowed The Rule of Four from the library. I’m hooked.
I’m told it is similar, but better, to The Da Vinci code which I loved.
Michele started reading it aswell, and because we are both hooked we had to go and buy a copy. We spent the afternoon together reading it in a cafe.

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STREXTRACT()

Posted on July 31, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m almost too embarassed to mention this…
I found a VFP function STREXTRACT() for extracting text from a string.
Yep, I have the following code all over the place:

nStart = AT(‘Starting text’, cString)
nEnd = AT(‘End text’, cString)
cSubString = SUBSTR(cString, nStart, nEnd – nStart)

which can now be replaced with:
cSubString = STREXTRACT(cString, ‘Starting text’, ‘End text’)

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109125131614055321

Posted on July 31, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |


350Z

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The Rule of Four

Posted on July 31, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Just borrowed The Rule of Four from the library. I’m hooked.

I’m told it is similar, but better, to The Da Vinci code which I loved.

Michele started reading it aswell, and because we are both hooked we had to go and buy a copy. We spent the afternoon together reading it in a cafe.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

STREXTRACT()

Posted on July 31, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m almost too embarassed to mention this…

I found a VFP function STREXTRACT() for extracting text from a string.

Yep, I have the following code all over the place:



nStart = AT(‘Starting text’, cString)

nEnd = AT(‘End text’, cString)

cSubString = SUBSTR(cString, nStart, nEnd – nStart)



which can now be replaced with:

cSubString = STREXTRACT(cString, ‘Starting text’, ‘End text’)

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Posted on July 31, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |


350Z

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Bill Gates breakfast transcript

Posted on July 30, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Here’s a transcript of the Bill Gates breakfast mentioned in my post back in June
http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/speeches/2004/06-28Australia.asp

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Bill Gates breakfast transcript

Posted on July 29, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Here’s a transcript of the Bill Gates breakfast mentioned in my post back in June

http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/speeches/2004/06-28Australia.asp

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Moving back end rules to the middle tier

Posted on July 29, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Traditionally I have been putting a lot of the admin business logic (eg auditing, recent changes logs) in the back end, but I’m wondering if I should be moving it to the middle tier.
 
Let me give you a simple example. In SQL I log the last change to a record in a field using an update trigger that checks SUSER_SNAME(). Previously (read client-server projects) this was fine. But since most projects these days use a COM+ service running the middle tier we are running into problems. Basically the COM+ service on the server has its own domain account, and when SQL checks SUSER_SNAME() it gets the COM+ account instead of the account of the app calling the COM+ service. Initially I thought this was a COM+ setting (I’m using Impersonation) but I haven’t found a solution so far.
 
I raised this at the VFP User Group last night and whilst we coudn’t find a solution, it was commented that many vendors are moving these kinds of busines rules to the middle tier. There seems to be a tendency to leave the back end simple and clean. It also has the advantage of easily moving between back end servers (which I don’t care about because I am targeting SQL Server anyway).
 
But it has got me thinking. Maybe I should be putting the effort into the middle tier more so than the back end.
 
 

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Moving back end rules to the middle tier

Posted on July 29, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Traditionally I have been putting a lot of the admin business logic (eg auditing, recent changes logs) in the back end, but I’m wondering if I should be moving it to the middle tier.

 

Let me give you a simple example. In SQL I log the last change to a record in a field using an update trigger that checks SUSER_SNAME(). Previously (read client-server projects) this was fine. But since most projects these days use a COM+ service running the middle tier we are running into problems. Basically the COM+ service on the server has its own domain account, and when SQL checks SUSER_SNAME() it gets the COM+ account instead of the account of the app calling the COM+ service. Initially I thought this was a COM+ setting (I’m using Impersonation) but I haven’t found a solution so far.

 

I raised this at the VFP User Group last night and whilst we coudn’t find a solution, it was commented that many vendors are moving these kinds of busines rules to the middle tier. There seems to be a tendency to leave the back end simple and clean. It also has the advantage of easily moving between back end servers (which I don’t care about because I am targeting SQL Server anyway).

 

But it has got me thinking. Maybe I should be putting the effort into the middle tier more so than the back end.

 

 

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Too much doing not enough finishing

Posted on July 27, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

The usual problem – why can’t people finish projects?
 
At work we do so much great stuff: clever design, efficient development, reasonable testing, but then we drop the ball when it comes to managing the client.
A client rang me to say they were disappointed with one of the projects we did recently – it was all going fantastically until the final release. It wasn’t tested enough, and the client wasn’t kept informed. The initial 95% was some of the best work we’ve done. The final 5% killed us! I’ve got to work out how to finish these projects properly. This has happened twice this year already!
 

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Steve Vai concert

Posted on July 27, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Steve Vai played Sydney last night. Awesome show. This is the third time I’ve seen him in Sydney. Billy was on bass, Tony MacAlpine on guitars/keyboards, Dave on guitars and Jeremy on drums. Tight band. Nice show. Come back anytime Steve.

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Too much doing not enough finishing

Posted on July 27, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

The usual problem – why can’t people finish projects?

 

At work we do so much great stuff: clever design, efficient development, reasonable testing, but then we drop the ball when it comes to managing the client.

A client rang me to say they were disappointed with one of the projects we did recently – it was all going fantastically until the final release. It wasn’t tested enough, and the client wasn’t kept informed. The initial 95% was some of the best work we’ve done. The final 5% killed us! I’ve got to work out how to finish these projects properly. This has happened twice this year already!

 

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Steve Vai concert

Posted on July 27, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Steve Vai played Sydney last night. Awesome show. This is the third time I’ve seen him in Sydney. Billy was on bass, Tony MacAlpine on guitars/keyboards, Dave on guitars and Jeremy on drums. Tight band. Nice show. Come back anytime Steve.

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The Power of Balance

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

During my holidays I had a chance to read a few books. Some were on time management (eg Brian Tracy books) and others were on Alexander Technique (I’ve been taking lessons to help with my back problems – yep those long hours in front of a monitor take their toll if you don’t look after your posture).
 
Anyway, the interesting thing is that time management books focus on using your time as efficiently as possible. Write your goals, work out your todo lists, prioritise etc. all good stuff. The Alexander Techniques books will recommend taking a step back, slowing down, being aware of how you use your body, reducing stress etc.
After a while you realise these two are at odds. You can’t slow down AND maximise your output. You can’t be always on the go at work AND taking a step back.
 
One comment I thought was interesting was that if archeologists in 1000 years were to analyse our culture (Western culture that is) they would speculate we worshipped clocks and time.

So, I’m hearing the need for a new book that explains balance in our lives. Everything from work, to finance, to family, to religion, to leisure, to study needs to be balanced. We (or is it just me) seem to always go to extremes, whether it is working 12 hours a day, obsessing about money, whatever.
 
I’m going to call the book ‘The Power of Balance’ and make a motza by getting it on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s top of my To-do list and I’m going to work my guts out to get it finished. If I don’t make a lot of money I’ll feel like a failure. Now, why is my back hurting?
 
 

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OzFox 2004

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

OzFox 2004 preparation
 
I’ve been doing some more organising for OzFox this last week after returning from holidays.
Things are coming along nicely. Now that the admin stuff is mostly sorted I am starting to organise the fun stuff eg the Sydney tourist attractions for our overseas visitors, conference dinners, bonus talks etc.
I am really looking forward to this conference. It is also going to be a chance to meet my VFP hero – Rick Strahl – in person.

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Jemma has gone back home

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

You’ll remember my newest niece post back in June. Well she has gone back home to Minnesota now. Here’s a piccy:

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VFP COM object recompile can’t find include file

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I made some simple changes to a VFP COM project prg file the other day, but when I recompiled I kept getting errors that it couldn’t find certain variables (eg COMATTRIB_READONLY which is defined in an include file).
This occurred in VFP8 and VFP9.
To cut a long story short – manually deleted all the fxp files. Opened each prg file and compiled. Then recompiled the entire project to the DLL which worked fine.
 
 

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VFP9 Refresh problem

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve been having a few page refresh problems with VFP9.
I’m updating one of my programs to run in VFP9. In VFP8 page displays have been fine, but under 9 they don’t always refresh. If I manually add a .Refresh() to objects after doing something (eg adding records to a grid) it is fine, but this is something I never had to do in 8.
A bit strange. At first I was looking for a dodgy .LockScreen = .T. but it is not that. Debugging ofcourse won’t help because swapping back to the screen does an implicit refresh anyway. I’ll keep investigating. Other apps that I am running under 9 are working fine, so it must be someting in my base class code. And I’ll bet it is going to really obvious when I find it.

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The Power of Balance

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

During my holidays I had a chance to read a few books. Some were on time management (eg Brian Tracy books) and others were on Alexander Technique (I’ve been taking lessons to help with my back problems – yep those long hours in front of a monitor take their toll if you don’t look after your posture).

 

Anyway, the interesting thing is that time management books focus on using your time as efficiently as possible. Write your goals, work out your todo lists, prioritise etc. all good stuff. The Alexander Techniques books will recommend taking a step back, slowing down, being aware of how you use your body, reducing stress etc.

After a while you realise these two are at odds. You can’t slow down AND maximise your output. You can’t be always on the go at work AND taking a step back.

 

One comment I thought was interesting was that if archeologists in 1000 years were to analyse our culture (Western culture that is) they would speculate we worshipped clocks and time.

So, I’m hearing the need for a new book that explains balance in our lives. Everything from work, to finance, to family, to religion, to leisure, to study needs to be balanced. We (or is it just me) seem to always go to extremes, whether it is working 12 hours a day, obsessing about money, whatever.

 

I’m going to call the book ‘The Power of Balance’ and make a motza by getting it on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s top of my To-do list and I’m going to work my guts out to get it finished. If I don’t make a lot of money I’ll feel like a failure. Now, why is my back hurting?

 

 

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OzFox 2004

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

OzFox 2004 preparation

 

I’ve been doing some more organising for OzFox this last week after returning from holidays.

Things are coming along nicely. Now that the admin stuff is mostly sorted I am starting to organise the fun stuff eg the Sydney tourist attractions for our overseas visitors, conference dinners, bonus talks etc.

I am really looking forward to this conference. It is also going to be a chance to meet my VFP hero – Rick Strahl – in person.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Jemma has gone back home

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

You’ll remember my newest niece post back in June. Well she has gone back home to Minnesota now. Here’s a piccy:

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

VFP COM object recompile can’t find include file

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I made some simple changes to a VFP COM project prg file the other day, but when I recompiled I kept getting errors that it couldn’t find certain variables (eg COMATTRIB_READONLY which is defined in an include file).

This occurred in VFP8 and VFP9.

To cut a long story short – manually deleted all the fxp files. Opened each prg file and compiled. Then recompiled the entire project to the DLL which worked fine.

 

 

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

VFP9 Refresh problem

Posted on July 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve been having a few page refresh problems with VFP9.

I’m updating one of my programs to run in VFP9. In VFP8 page displays have been fine, but under 9 they don’t always refresh. If I manually add a .Refresh() to objects after doing something (eg adding records to a grid) it is fine, but this is something I never had to do in 8.

A bit strange. At first I was looking for a dodgy .LockScreen = .T. but it is not that. Debugging ofcourse won’t help because swapping back to the screen does an implicit refresh anyway. I’ll keep investigating. Other apps that I am running under 9 are working fine, so it must be someting in my base class code. And I’ll bet it is going to really obvious when I find it.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

On swearing

Posted on July 7, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m going to try to cut down on my swearing.
My close friends will know I have a bit of problem with how much swearing and carrying on I do. Others will be surprised I guess, because I manage to put on an exterior of self control in this regard. But the ‘real’ me struggles with it.

I’m not sure why I swear so much, but I guess it has to do with a few things:
1. Wanting to call attention to myself
2. Lack of self-control
3. Lack of skills in being able to express myself well
4. Lack of personal respect for myself
Typical examples occur when I’m driving and I abuse the driver who is going slowly in front of me. The other main source is when I criticise myself for making a mistake – I am very self-critical. While it is probably good to have a healthy self analysis and critique I tend to overdue and go very hard on myself for minor things. This in turn manifests itself in the way I ‘judge’ others for their own minor mistakes.

Perhaps I think by criticising myself so strongly I am getting in first – I greatly fear people criticising me, so I try to get in first and thus negate the need for anyone else to say something bad about me.

So, I’m going to concentrate on being more aware and realistic.

My main motivations for reducing the swearing are:
1. It doesn’t help anyone (my close friends and family are not helped by my carrying on)
2. It makes me look like a fool – how much respect do you have for someone who starts swearing just because they dropped a pen on the ground?
3. I want to be better example for people – apart from my Christian beliefs which also impact this, is the general desire I have to be a leader/example to people such as my wife/brothers/nieces/nephews/godchildren
4. I want to respect myself more
5. I don’t like to be controlled by bad habits

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Design patterns

Posted on July 7, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m reading a book Andrew Coates lent me called C# Design Patterns (James W Cooper). This idea of design patterns is fascinating. It has been around for a while, but I’m sure is one of those topics that gets put in the ‘nice, but I don’t have time for it’ basket.

I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never used UML before and this book introduces the topic well – how easy and useful is UML!

I haven’t finished the book yet, but already I’m thinking of writing my own mini-VFP version. If for no other reason that to get the concepts down in one place.

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Back from the farm

Posted on July 7, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Back home from visiting my dad after his operation. He’s had a recent cancer scare (see my earlier post) and is now living with a new appreciation of things.
He’s looking really good. He’s lost a bit of weight and is looking pretty trim. He’s well rested, although a bit sore still, and is very positive. He told me he’d been pretty down recently and before the op was moping around feeling very sorry for himself. He did all the usual things such as renewing wills, organising finances etc in case the worst happened. Thankfully it didn’t.

It is almost 20 years since I was last at the farm. My parents bought it when I was in junior high school and I have never had a chance/reason to visit since then.

I guess I’m not really that close to my parents. No special reason, just worked out like that. But seeing them for the weekend was fantastic. My brother Scott picked me up from Brisbane Airport and we drove together the 2 hours chatting and laughing the whole time. I have two brothers and they are both really cool. Scott is a plumber in Brisbane and Andy is a bricklayer up around where my parents live in Toowoomba.

When we arrived at the farm, mum was waiting out the front and gave me a big hug. Dad staggered out and shook my hand. We went inside, sat down and talked. They have just moved into their new house on the farm. The house was completed a few days before dad went into hospital (I think he feared he wouldn’t see it again) and is big and warm.
The night was chilly and they had a big fire warming the place. Fantastic. I love a fireplace in winter (we don’t have one in our unit and even if we did we aren’t allowed to light them in Sydney as they cause too much pollution).

That night mum showed me to my room. It had the bed in it I had slept in as a teenager. I’m quite tall so my parent bought me a special extended length mattress when I was living at home. When I moved out in my mid twenties I took it with me. It wasn’t until I got married that I no longer needed it. My parents took it back to use as a spare.

And here it was again. They’d brought it up to farm when they moved from Sydney, stored it, and now it was in their new house. Here I was back under my parent’s roof, sleeping in my own bed. It was kinda weird but I also felt… safe, comfortable, young, I don’t know, it was just something I hadn’t expected.

Over the next few days I chatted extensively with mum and dad, even fixed a few computer problems they were having. I showed them stuff I was developing for work and listened as they told me all about the farm, locals, the house, avocados and ultimate fighting (this is a weird sport by brother follows where people get in a cage and beat themselves senseless. It actually has a few rules but is pretty much anything goes. Andy has all the videos of the world championships which I find a bit scary, and my parents just shake their heads in bemusement).

I visited a few places and caught up with my Uncle Bob (yep, Bob’s me uncle) although I had very little idea what he was saying as he mumbles in a kind of country farmer drawl the whole time.

My parents drove me back to the airport and I flew home, feeling much closer to my family, relieved for my dad, and really happy for them in general.

I have a tendency to exclude family and friends in favour of code and learning, but this visit taught me much about appreciating how lucky I am to have a family that cares for each other and me. Although dad had a close call and came through OK it made me aware of how fragile they (and we) are. I won’t always have them around, so I’m going to reprioritise my time to spend more with the people who matter most.

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On swearing

Posted on July 7, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m going to try to cut down on my swearing.

My close friends will know I have a bit of problem with how much swearing and carrying on I do. Others will be surprised I guess, because I manage to put on an exterior of self control in this regard. But the ‘real’ me struggles with it.

I’m not sure why I swear so much, but I guess it has to do with a few things:

1. Wanting to call attention to myself

2. Lack of self-control

3. Lack of skills in being able to express myself well

4. Lack of personal respect for myself

Typical examples occur when I’m driving and I abuse the driver who is going slowly in front of me. The other main source is when I criticise myself for making a mistake – I am very self-critical. While it is probably good to have a healthy self analysis and critique I tend to overdue and go very hard on myself for minor things. This in turn manifests itself in the way I ‘judge’ others for their own minor mistakes.

Perhaps I think by criticising myself so strongly I am getting in first – I greatly fear people criticising me, so I try to get in first and thus negate the need for anyone else to say something bad about me.

So, I’m going to concentrate on being more aware and realistic.

My main motivations for reducing the swearing are:

1. It doesn’t help anyone (my close friends and family are not helped by my carrying on)

2. It makes me look like a fool – how much respect do you have for someone who starts swearing just because they dropped a pen on the ground?

3. I want to be better example for people – apart from my Christian beliefs which also impact this, is the general desire I have to be a leader/example to people such as my wife/brothers/nieces/nephews/godchildren

4. I want to respect myself more

5. I don’t like to be controlled by bad habits

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Design patterns

Posted on July 7, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m reading a book Andrew Coates lent me called C# Design Patterns (James W Cooper). This idea of design patterns is fascinating. It has been around for a while, but I’m sure is one of those topics that gets put in the ‘nice, but I don’t have time for it’ basket.

I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never used UML before and this book introduces the topic well – how easy and useful is UML!

I haven’t finished the book yet, but already I’m thinking of writing my own mini-VFP version. If for no other reason that to get the concepts down in one place.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Back from the farm

Posted on July 7, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Back home from visiting my dad after his operation. He’s had a recent cancer scare (see my earlier post) and is now living with a new appreciation of things.

He’s looking really good. He’s lost a bit of weight and is looking pretty trim. He’s well rested, although a bit sore still, and is very positive. He told me he’d been pretty down recently and before the op was moping around feeling very sorry for himself. He did all the usual things such as renewing wills, organising finances etc in case the worst happened. Thankfully it didn’t.

It is almost 20 years since I was last at the farm. My parents bought it when I was in junior high school and I have never had a chance/reason to visit since then.

I guess I’m not really that close to my parents. No special reason, just worked out like that. But seeing them for the weekend was fantastic. My brother Scott picked me up from Brisbane Airport and we drove together the 2 hours chatting and laughing the whole time. I have two brothers and they are both really cool. Scott is a plumber in Brisbane and Andy is a bricklayer up around where my parents live in Toowoomba.

When we arrived at the farm, mum was waiting out the front and gave me a big hug. Dad staggered out and shook my hand. We went inside, sat down and talked. They have just moved into their new house on the farm. The house was completed a few days before dad went into hospital (I think he feared he wouldn’t see it again) and is big and warm.

The night was chilly and they had a big fire warming the place. Fantastic. I love a fireplace in winter (we don’t have one in our unit and even if we did we aren’t allowed to light them in Sydney as they cause too much pollution).

That night mum showed me to my room. It had the bed in it I had slept in as a teenager. I’m quite tall so my parent bought me a special extended length mattress when I was living at home. When I moved out in my mid twenties I took it with me. It wasn’t until I got married that I no longer needed it. My parents took it back to use as a spare.

And here it was again. They’d brought it up to farm when they moved from Sydney, stored it, and now it was in their new house. Here I was back under my parent’s roof, sleeping in my own bed. It was kinda weird but I also felt… safe, comfortable, young, I don’t know, it was just something I hadn’t expected.

Over the next few days I chatted extensively with mum and dad, even fixed a few computer problems they were having. I showed them stuff I was developing for work and listened as they told me all about the farm, locals, the house, avocados and ultimate fighting (this is a weird sport by brother follows where people get in a cage and beat themselves senseless. It actually has a few rules but is pretty much anything goes. Andy has all the videos of the world championships which I find a bit scary, and my parents just shake their heads in bemusement).

I visited a few places and caught up with my Uncle Bob (yep, Bob’s me uncle) although I had very little idea what he was saying as he mumbles in a kind of country farmer drawl the whole time.

My parents drove me back to the airport and I flew home, feeling much closer to my family, relieved for my dad, and really happy for them in general.

I have a tendency to exclude family and friends in favour of code and learning, but this visit taught me much about appreciating how lucky I am to have a family that cares for each other and me. Although dad had a close call and came through OK it made me aware of how fragile they (and we) are. I won’t always have them around, so I’m going to reprioritise my time to spend more with the people who matter most.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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