When I was a kid, I used to look forward to the month of August. Not sure why.
Maybe it was because we had a lot of family birthdays and events that month.
A handful of birthdays; dad's company picnic; and the family holiday. Dad's
two-week, annual vacation when we'd pile the kids, dogs, parents and way
too much of the house into that giant Buick and hit the highway (with no
air conditioning) for a 12-hour trip from hell to get to our personal vacationland.
Our place was Hayward,
Wisconsin. The great grandparents settled in this little farming/fishing town
when they arrived from Europe around the turn of the last century. Although
gramma managed to wiggle her way out, landing in Chicago, mom inherited some
of the family's original land. So up we'd venture for hours and hours of curving,
two-lane highwaysdog hair flying around the hot, sticky car, as the kids
in the back seat dodged cigarette ashes from the front and dad's occasional
75 mph spit out the window.
Most of the cars are now air conditioned and today's kids travel in mini-van
comfort. Stretched out in the back, watching their favorite DVDs and hardly
noticing as the hours go by. Do kids still care enough these days to ask "are
we there yet?" I seriously doubt it. Who cares when you're riding in the
lap of luxury? Try 12-hours with a cooler, a dozen pillows and blankets, your
sister and a big hairy dog taking up all the available space. And when school
started, we had to walk 20 miles in the snow, uphill, with no shoes!
As summer comes to an end, here, in this hemisphere, I guess I should feel
good as I watch the kiddies being dragged back to school, kicking and screaming.
But then there's that sad feeling that the summer is nearly over. Add those
feelings to the continual hot days and I know why August is said to contain
the "the dog daze" of summer. It seems most folks have been in a laid-back
daze this month. But never fear, we still managed to put together a wonderfully
informative issue of TechTrax for you. And for those of you who enjoy school's
start, the new semester of Eclectic Academy has also just started. If you'd
like to get in on these high-quality, low-cost technical classes, taught by
some of your favorite TechTrax instructors, you can still get in on the actionif
you hurry! See the Training
Courses link above. Or, if you don't have time for online classes, my AutoForm
& Beginning VBA course is now available in eBook format for your learning pleasure. Download a copy and read the first lesson, free!
this year, there's obviously another looming issue hanging over so many of us.
September now also holds the extra, terrible sense of sadness, that many are
feeling, as the first anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack draws
near. Our family saw the loss of the young daughter of a family friend and legal
advisor. Twenty-one year old, Vanessa Kolpak, grew up in the northwest suburbs
of Chicago. Her family owns the White Eagle wedding banquet hall in Niles, Illinois,
and the adjacent legal offices across the parking lot. I had the pleasure of
using both their services during my first marriage and subsequent divorce.
Tragically, Vanessa was in her third week at her first real job for
a brokerage firm in the World Trade when the first plane hit. She called her
mom to assure the family that she was ok and that she was being evacuated for
safety from the 89th floor of tower two. That was just before the second plane
hit. I received an email that afternoon from my sister, informing us that Vanessa's
brother and dad were racing from Illinois to NYC to try to find her. Everyone
was holding out hope that Vanessa would be ok. But that was the last anyone
heard from her and Vanessa Kolpak's name will be read this September 11th among
the unbelieveably long list of confirmed
So for Vanessa's family, and all the many thousands of loved ones who will
be grieving as they endure the added painful memory of this first anniversary,
as well as to all who feel the pain of this outrageously senseless actI
wish you PEACE!
Dian D. Chapman
Editor, TechTrax Ezine