It's been a rough year here, which I say while feeling guilty because I know so many people and soldiers are struggling. But in this little part of my world, we've had a hard time dealing with life this last year. As many of you know, mom is nearly 89, I'm her primary caretaker and she had a stroke about two years ago that left her mentally incapacitated for the most part. She suffers from Aphasia now...the inability to recognize language properly. And yes, my brother is still with us and just had his 60th birthday. I don't say celebrated, because it wasn't much of one. His Haemochromatosis (hereditary blood disease, which killed my dad at age 57) is still taking it's toll on his body...causing brittle bones, diabetes and he now has not one, but three forms of cancer. If you haven't heard about my brother, you can read a fun story here: http://mouse-droppings.blogspot.com/2007/11/gotcha-last.html
And if that wasn't enough fun around here...I hit menopause the beginning of this year! Okay guys...no need to run screaming, I'm not gonna talk about all that woman stuff. Well, except to say that anyone who has dealt with this may have an idea of what I went through this last year. "They" say that people with added stress, such as caretakers, go through more intense symptoms. I've never been one to even consider the word depression in my world. But bam! It hit me pretty hard! Gotta love hormones!<sigh> Concentrating? What's that? You don't think...you just survive...after days and days of not sleeping. You begin thinking that keeping your cell phone in the fridge is logical!
But fear not...I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and my brain seems to be returning from its long vacation! In fact, as I was beginning to feel myself emerge from this menopausal fog, I decided it was time to kick-start the process. I felt the need to do something more Dian Like...so I jumped out of a plane for the first time! And it surely won't be the last because it was way too cool to never do again. You can jump along with me in this photo diary of that day: http://mouse-droppings.blogspot.com/2008/08/throw-dian-from-plane.html
I haven't been totally brain dead. After I started to feel the beginnings of lunacy...my daughter told me I needed a hobby to help keep me sane. So I started sewing again. Something I hadn't done in 30 years! I also taught myself to crochet. After making everyone in the family afghans and scarves...and quilts...I moved on to participate in Soldiers' Angels, as well as the Patriot Guard Riders. You know...those bikers that stand with flags at military welcomings and funerals.
I've made lots of patriotic quilts that I've shipped off to deployed soldiers. I also crocheted flag lap blankets for the VA to help cover soldiers who need to get around in wheel chairs and I've made scarves for vets who need to go to the VA hospitals often, but could use some extra warm gear for the winter. I also adopt soldiers and K9 teams. If you'd like to get involved with Soldiers' Angels...a GREAT organization...check out my Angel page to see what I do and many ways you can help, too.
As you can see, I may have been losing my mind this last year thanks to that Mother Nature...but I haven't been doing nothing. I've been working as hard as my brain allowed me trying to help keep our soldiers and their canine units in the forefront. That fact won't change now. But I'm also getting my head back together and it appears Mother Nature is getting just as sick of me as I am of her.
So on with the geek stuff.
The wonderful folks over at Ojolie.com have given us three free memberships to their beautiful ecards. It's good for one year of free ecard. I'll give one away in an open drawing to all...and two subscriptions will go to members only. So be sure to check out the article link for the drawing in this issue. Members, see the member's site for a button to enter. We'll pick the winners and announce them on the www.techtrax.us page on Feb 2.
So I'll let you have at it. Know that this issue isn't one of my most stellar...but I was determined to get one out so TechTrax would be rolling, and I didn't bother to hit Susan Daffron up for a cover yet, but may add that later.
And with that...I'll leave you to your learning. Thanks to all who offered good wishes for those in my family who are sick. And if you are a caretaker of a sick family member...do take care of yourself. I've heard that a lot over the last year, but blew that off as not a problem. It can easily become a big one before you know it. So take it easy and remember to leave time for yourself so you don't burn out...as I did!