Yes, TechTrax is back and so am I.
As many of you know, I've been away caring for my elderly mother who suffered a stroke some years ago. At first I thought I could care for mom and still keep up with my technical studies and tech writing...but I was naive! I don't know how some people do it, but I couldn't. I didn't realize just how much brain drainage goes into caring for an elderly parent who suffers from brain damage after a stroke. But soon I realized I just couldn't concentrate on learning or writing much while worrying and caring for mom. So, as much as I wanted to keep TechTrax Ezine going, it fell by the wayside.
Mom passed away in October, 2011. The holidays were sad without her, but now it's a new year and, although she'll always live in my heart, it's time to move on and get back to work. And for those of you wondering, my brother, who was battling a blood disease and resulting cancers, also passed away this year...in June, 2011. He was only 64. But he beat the odds because he had been given just a year to live and managed to squeeze out a few more than that. Yes, it was a hard year losing both my brother and mom within a few months of each other.
And if that wasn't painful enough, we also lost three Microsoft MVPs at the end of 2011. Many of you Word users are familiar with Shauna Kelly's wonderfully helpful web site (http://www.shaunakelly.com/). Shauna recently learned that she was in for a battle with cancer. Very sadly, she soon lost that battle near the end of 2011. As a Microsoft Word MVP, this was particularly hard because Shauna was not only my MVP colleague, but a good friend and wonderful person. Then, just as we, MVPs and Microsoft Leads, were learning to cope with Shauna's loss...we were shocked to hear that two other MVPs had passed at the end of 2011. Mary Sauer, Microsoft Publisher MVP passed at the end of November 2011. Then, just a few days later, we learned that Excel MVP, Nate Oliver passed suddenly due to an unrealized heart ailment at the beginning of December. Yes, 2011 held a lot of sadness and loss...it was good to see that year move into the past!
No, this issue of TechTrax isn't my most stellar achievement, but that is mostly due to the fact that I have to relearn a lot and also remember a lot of my publishing techniques. I hope you'll hang in there with me while I get things back under control and move forward. Some of the articles in this issue have been sitting around awaiting their turn to be published, so I wanted to get this issue out and get them online. But know that future issues will have more relevant articles. Plus, I'll also be digging back into the TechTrax archives and updating many of the articles that we've already published, but are related to older versions of software. I'll be adding updates so those of you using more current versions of various software programs can still take advantage of the skills and features in those articles. I also have to get my video recorder rolling again so I can regularly publish training videos, which are missing from this issue. And our subscriber and membership lists need to be reviewed and updated.
As you can see...I'm not quite up to speed yet, but I'll be regularly working on getting things under control now, as well as enhancing TechTrax articles, videos and features. And, as part of that enhancement, know that TechTrax is now listed on Facebook, as is MouseTrax...TechTrax's mothership. Through Facebook, I'm posting daily notices pointing out popular articles that you may have missed. I'll also be posting when new issues are online. And, through the MouseTrax Facebook page, I'll be posting notable technology information as items come along. And if you're not a Facebook user, but do track people via Twitter, you'll also find me there where I post technical info and advise my followers whenever I post new items to Facebook or directly online within TechTrax. So there are lots of ways to find me and keep up with all of TechTrax's popular and latest, free computer training.
MouseTrax on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MouseTraxComputingSolutions
TechTrax on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TechTraxEzine
Dian Chapman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/@DianChapman
While I was caring for mom and my brain was on vacation from technology, I wasn't just sitting around. I got involved with several soldier and MWD (Military Working Dog) advocate groups. I became a Patriot Guard Rider and also a member of Warrior Watch...those are the motorcycle groups who protect fallen soldier's families from protesters during funerals, as well as help welcome soldiers home. Yes, I've been riding motorcycles since I was 17 years old...a long time ago. I also joined Soldiers' Angels and was even presented with a beautiful award for my services to the group. I've been sewing blankets for deployed soldiers and crocheting American Flag lapghans for wounded soldiers and vets. I also adopted several soldiers and K9 teams...sending them care packages. And as a member of the Soldiers' Angels writing team, I wrote letters to over 200 soldiers. If you'd like to read more about my soldier/K9 activities and view lots of pictures, as well as learn how you can get involved, check out my Angel web site here: http://www.mousetrax.com/Angels
A few other notable events...I jumped out of a plane. Yup...and it was fantastic! You can take a virtual jump with me at my photostory page here: http://www.mousetrax.com/Dian/dive.html
Also, mom's house was sold. Mom and dad purchased the house in 1956 and mom had hoped that the house would stay in the family. But one of my sister's broke mom's Last Will and sold it. It was sad to see it go, but it allowed Greg and I to move on and head off to a country life...one that I love, living in a dream home! We'd been living in mom's house caring for her, as she never wanted to leave it. But my sister finally stepped up and took over mom's care in the last few months of mom's life...moving her out of her home. Greg knew I was sad seeing it sold, so he hunted down the perfect, new home for us in the country...soon we headed off to our new life. Greg was formerly a 'country mouse' growing up in Ohio. I'd always been a 'city mouse,' born and raised within Chicago. But I'm now enjoying learning to become a country mouse. We moved farther than the suburbs...just this side of farmland. I'm not sure if I could have moved this far from Chicago when I was younger. But now that I'm on the other side of 50...it's a wonderful life! And our dogs, The Barker Gang, just love their daily romps into our woods to see what interesting new sniffies are out there...like the beautiful, little, red fox that has taken up residence on our land. Thankfully, he knows enough to head for the hills when The Barkers head his way. But it's cool having coffee out on our upper deck, enjoying beautiful sunrises and watching all the creatures start their days down below in the forest.
Well, as I said, this issue isn't the most impressive or exciting issue, but I had to get motivated by getting an issue online again. And I can assure you that the future will be more interesting with lots of valuable training articles. And if you're a techie and would be interested in becoming a writer for TechTrax, drop me a line at email@example.com and we can discuss that opportunity. There's no pay for writing, but many of our previous writers have become quite famous in both their writings and their businesses through the exposure they get being a part of this popular Ezine.
And don't forget to find us on Facebook. Click the LIKE button to keep up with my daily tech posts. And, in the future, I'll have some special offers for those of you who become our Facebook fans, as well as for free subscribers and paid members to TechTrax.
Until the next issue...I wish you Peace, Health and Happiness!