Okay, so this issue didn't show up as fast as I'd hoped. I was on a roll...but then the phone started to ring. First it was a family friend letting us know that mom's best friend was in the hospital after a heart attack...and that the docs now say there's not much that they can do for her friend. Mom was obviously quite upset. Living a long life can be cool...but having all your friends disappear can be hard to handle.
Just as she was settling down from that shock, she got some good news. Her grandaughter, who was married last year, is expecting a baby. So mom was thrilled to learn that we're adding yet another branch to our family tree.
But then, in this crazy rollercoaster life we've been experiencing around here, we got another call...my brother had another major set back. You may have read that his bones are quite brittle now from his blood disease (even though he's only 58). He fell twice over the last few months (weak/dizzy from chemo for the cancer that's developed from the disease). The first time he broke his nose and some ribs, the second collapse caused his hip to shatter. He went through a rough surgery having his hip reconstructed. We had been thrilled to see him getting out of the wheel chair several weeks ago. But this call was to tell us that he had bumped into his sweet, old dog...and he hit the floor again. Sadly, the fall caused him to shatter the same hip! So it was back to the hospital for another total reconstruction, more pain, complications, wheel chairs and rehab. At least his 1 year old (first) grand daughter is enjoying the fact that the wheelchair is back...as she loves to go on rides with Grampa. Voom! Voom! (Babyspeak for "let's go again, grampa!) One bright spot in all his ordeals!
Speaking of my brother, last issue I said I'd tell you about Gotcha Last. You'll find that ridiculous story in my Mouse Droppings blog, which you can always access from the link on the above menu here in TechTrax.
More recently, the rollercoaster started going up again. Something quite wonderful happened. I found a family pot o' gold. No, nothing of any real value that I can sell on eBay. But the finding is quite priceless to my family. My dad died when I was just 17. He had the same blood disease that is now killing my brother, although we didn't know about it back then. Dad died when he was just 57. Besides me being young then, he also worked the night shift most of the time, so I didn't get to see him all that much. Sure, I was his baby girl and he was a terrific dad to me, but we were just starting to get to the point where I was old enough to appreciate him and get to really know him...when I lost him. Over the years he'd told me some things...like how his Bull Terrier, Buddy, who looked like the one from Little Rascals, was the best short stop their ball team ever had.<smile> And I knew he, his brother, sister and mom had some hard times because their dad had left the family. But I'd never met his mom...who died shortly after I was born. I only had one picture of her holding me as a baby. Plus, by the time I even thought about asking mom for more information, she was getting older and didn't remember all that much. Now since her stroke, very few memories remain. So there was a fairly big gap in my family history.
But a couple weeks ago, Greg and I were sorting through some old things in a deep, dark shed that is tucked inside another shed in mom's house (which she's owned for over 50 yrs)...someplace we really hadn't ventured before.
Back in the deepest corner of the spiderweb dusted second shed, there was a rusty, old, dark green, large metal container. We dragged it out. It had my dad's name stenciled on the top of it. We pried open the rusted latches. Inside appeared to be a pile of rotting papers. Looked like trash. Fifty plus years of sitting in a dark, damp shed, under the front stairs meant that time and weather had taken its toll on most everything inside. Or so I thought. I started to flip through some papers, many of which disintegrated in my hands. But! Under the layers of crumbling papers...I found a bunch of dust-covered envelopes.
Suddenly I realized what we'd found! This was my dad's old locker from his days with the CCC (Civil Conservation Corps) from 1935 and these envelopes were letters that he'd saved...letters from his mom, his brother, his sister, his girlfriend (who'd been struck down by cancer that year and who soon died...a year before he met my mom), as well as lots of letters from his many friends, including a couple that were actually from him to his mom. We'd struck family history gold!
For the last several weeks, when I can find a spare minute or two, I pull out the plastic container that now house these precious letters and gently open them, dust away the webs, dirt and mold, and transcribe their content into typed letters that I'm storing/organizing in a family history notebook that I've now created within Microsoft OneNote (a terrific place to put stuff like this, by the way).
I'm hoping to put all this information together, as well as other family documents, pictures and stories I'm now collecting...put them all in binders and give them to my family members next Christmas. Wouldn't that be great! I'll try to share some of this very cool history with you in the near future.
Many of you are probably wondering who won the Expression Web software that I was trying to give away last issue. Well, after literally six attempts to give it away, without luck, I gave up and decided I'd try it again this month. But before you sign up for that member's drawing, I have a little verbal spanking to toss out. Why couldn't I give the software away? Because 5 out of 6 people who I contacted realized that they really couldn't use the software!<sigh> The only thought I could come up with was...so why the hell did you enter the drawing!
Granted, the first person simply missed the chance to reply in time. His reply did crack me up "Wow, I've never won anything before...and now I know why...I don't check my email!" I had to move on to draw another name. And another. And another. And another. And another. Annoying, isn't it!
One realized he didn't really want it and said to find someone more worthy. Glad he didn't just take it and not use it...but how 'bout considering if you can use it before you enter the contest! Another said her computer couldn't handle it. Another said they just never throught they'd actually win.<grrr> I don't even remember what the others said because I got tired of listening. I really don't mean to sound rude, but realize how unfair you are being by entering a drawing for a prize that you actually don't want or can't use. You not only ruin the chances for those who really want the prize...but you waste a lot of my time, too! Time I can't afford to waste.
So I'm adding a big reminder to NOT enter a drawing if you have not checked to ensure that you CAN use the software and that you'd thought about it and know you really want it!
In each of the next several issues, I'll be giving away the software I still have sitting around here, including more copies of Expression Web, WinXP, Office 2003, One Note 2003, Student research software, some photo software and games, and I also just purchased copies of Office 2007 Home Edition and Vista Home Edition to give away. Most drawings will be for members only. So if you've been thinking of becoming a member, don't miss your chance to enter these drawings...become a member!
This issue, I'll give that same copy of Expression Web another shot. PHULEEZE only sign up if you really want this web designer/developer software by Microsoft (which is a very cool program). Also this month, I'm giving away a copy of Microsoft Office 2007 Home Edition! So if you're a member, you'll find two buttons to click this month on the member's page...one for Expression Web, one for Office 2007 Home Edition. Join either or both drawings...assuming you want and can use either or both programs. And yes, that means you could, theoretically, win both drawings this month, as they are entirely separate.
Enjoy this issue. I'll be back very soon with another issue and more software to give away.