The words “silent” and “victim” don’t go together!

March 6, 2014

I have enjoyed being a member of Facebook for quite a while now.  I compare it to reading a daily newspaper  that is all news about people I know!  But up until yesterday, I had just heard about people whose  accounts had been “hacked”, but now I’ve experienced it personally.   Yesterday morning when I signed into FB, someone had used the info on my FB page to create a duplicate of my  page and then “replace” me a Sandra Reed Herman!  They have then contacted people on my friends list pretending to be me.  I’m guessing at least one reason to do this is to progress to asking for money.

Anyway, I have spent the last 24 hours notifying my Facebook friends and, in turn, hearing about contacts they’ve received from the hacker posing as me.  I’ve also received alot of information from helpful friends and relatives about what to do about it.

The bottom line of all this is that I have decided that the best defense against being victimized, in this or any other way, is communication!

Soooo, I’m writing about this here today as one of the many ways I am getting the word out about guarding against this (for example, by making your privacy settings on any web-based site as exclusive as possible, while still reaching those you want to reach — as well as not allowing someone you don’t know or seems suspicious to be in contact with you).  Yes, young people, that includes those “cool” guys on the other side of the country who want to strike up a web-only-based friendship/relationship with you!

As I write this, it seems clear that this applies to many facets of or lives — don’t be a silent victim.  If you are being taken advantaged of or victimized in any way, fight back by telling someone or many people who can help you.  Not only will you received help and/or guidance in how to not be a victim, but you speaking up may encourage someone else to do the same.

“Silent” and “victim” should never go together!

ps  BTW, I especially liked what one of my FB friends (who ISN’T a police officer) messaged me about what she told “the other Sandra” when he/she contacted her on instant message:  Her message to me:

“someone messaged me telling me they got 200,000 cash from the government  did I get mine I said I was a police officer and that we will catch them  then they blocked me”

You go, girl!  With answers like that, it won’t take long for the person to realize they have hacked into a list of very smart, verbal people and will move on.

A Very Surprising Visit!

August 27, 2012

Much of the time when I use my laptop, I sit in my comfy chair in the corner of our bedroom.  And much of the time, I’m already dressed and “made up” for the day — so, ready to meet anyone who might pop up unexpectedly. But, I have to confess, sometimes I look pretty darn ratty, especially without make-up, when I’m sitting at my computer.

Soooo, let me tell you what happened on Saturday that will make me much more careful in the future about how I look during those times.

I was sitting here (where I’m sitting right now and, I might add, fully clothed and made up) playing my favorite on-line game, Words with Friends.  When suddenly a blue box appeared in the middle of the screen that said, “Terry D____ is calling you”.  And there were two boxes to check — “Accept the Call” or “Decline”.  My thought was, “How in the heck is Terry “calling” me on my computer?”  (We went to grade school and high school together and see each other at class reunions.  He lives in Arizona now.)  So out of curiosity I clicked the “Accept” button to see what happened.

Wow!  Immediately my whole screen was filled with a video screen showing Terry sitting in a somewhat cluttered home office,  smiling at me and looking a little incredulous himself (he had just found the app himself).  And when I turned on the sound I could clearly hear him telling me “Hi!”.

I’m still not clear on how to do that computer-phoning thing, but it was fun to have about a 20 minute “call” with Terry.  And I’ve never met his wife, so when she came into the room, he introduced me to her.  How fun is that?

BUT, now that I know what it means when that little blue box appears in the middle of my screen, I will first give a thought to how I look, before I click “Accept”.

So, a word to the wise — beware the blue box.  Or you may get a surprise visit you aren’t prepared for!

Of course, now that I’m aware of this option, it may be ME calling.  In which case, go ahead and answer it.  I promise not to act shocked however disheveled you are.

A Facebook “gotcha”

June 11, 2012

You know the advertisements you sometimes see along the right side of your Facebook page?  I’ve never paid too much attention to them, but have noticed one that says “Rachel Ray lost 47 lbs!”

Today, for I have no idea what reason, I clicked on that ad.  Hmmmm.  I immediately had that feeling you sometimes get right after you’ve done something, “I think that may have been a mistake.”

I was sooooo right.  Once I got into it, it would NOT let me get out.  And when I would try to reboot my computer to get rid of it, I couldn’t even get that done!

So I went to the tried and true, old-fashioned way … I turned it off manually!

Just a warning.  Click on the ads on Facebook at your own risk.

Apparently the U.S. Post Office has a plan to bring themselves back to prosperity one non-returnable roll of 17-cent stamps at a time!

May 3, 2011

Okay, here’s the deal.  Weekly I mail a large envelope.  It always requires over $1.00 in postage.  So a couple weeks ago I was almost out of the 17-cent stamps that could be combined with 44-cent stamps to make the different combinations of postage, so in a moment of “plan ahead” verve, I used the orange envelope the mail carriers supply to order stamps and ordered a roll of one hundred 17-cent stamps.

A few days later, I heard on the news that the first class postage was staying the same, but the price of any larger amount of postage needed was going to be increased.  So the 17-cent stamps would be replaced now by a 20-cent stamp.

Rats.  I now had one hundred stamps that didn’t work without a 3-cent stamp being added.

So I put the roll back in the mail box with three dollars and asked the mail carrier to exchange them for 20-cent’ers.  Today I got her answer — the best she could do was that she enclosed 100 3-cent stamps for my three dollars to go with the 17-cent stamps.

It was hard for me to believe that I was going to have to use allllll those 17-cent stamps, so I went to the post office to see if they could help.  The man at the desk couldn’t help.  I would have to talk to the supervisor.  I just called the supervisor.  No, they never exchange stamps.  “The board of health won’t let them.”

So now on the large envelopes I mail with lots of stamps on them, there will be even more stamps.

Maybe it’s just me, but I  feel like this just isn’t very good customer service.

Oh well.  I know the U.S. Post Office is in the red so I guess if making me keep a large number of odd postage stamps helps them, then so be it.

But I’ve learned my lesson.  “Buyer beware.”  From now on, I will limit myself to just one book of any denomination at a time.

Keeping the Boogey Man Away!

August 23, 2010

When I was a little kid if I was afraid after I had been put to bed of what might be lurking in my dark bedroom, under the bed or in the closet … the unknown bad thing that we generically called “the boogey man” … Mama would come back in and reassure me and then sometimes leave the light on “to keep the boogey man away”.  I don’t know if it was Mama’s calm, loving reassurances or the light that was left on, but I was usually able to go to sleep after that.

Fast forward lo these many years and I’ve just noticed another possible instance of the light keeping the boogey man away.

There was a during-the-night break-in at our neighbor’s two doors down last week.  The thief/thieves didn’t get alot … they mainly ransacked the cars in the garage and went into the kitchen and took the wife’s purse.  We are so thankful that our neighbors were asleep and didn’t know anything was wrong until they got up the next morning … a face-to-face confrontation with intruders is always dangerous.

Needless to say, this incident is a real wake-up call for all of us in our up-until-now very safe-feeling neighborhood.  Especially since it’s believed that entrance was gained by using an electronic device that opens garage doors.

But when I went out to get the paper this morning, I happened to glance toward the neighbor’s house that was broken into and what I noticed was the difference in illumination between them and that of the house between us and our house.  Both our next door neighbor and we have lots of lights on the outside of our houses, but this neighbor’s house is relatively dark in comparison.  Is that the reason they were targeted?  Obviously, that isn’t the total reason because there are many houses in our neighborhood which don’t have alot of outdoor lighting , but it may have been a contributing factor.

I have heard it said that burglars are usually pretty lazy people, and tend to “pick the low fruit”, i.e., look for the easiest place to break into.  So, any deterrent we create at our home just might be the reason that a burglar doesn’t see us as “easy” and moves on … besides outdoor lighting, a yappy dog, no big evergreens right against the house that provide hiding places, dead bolts on exterior doors, motion sensors on some outdoor lights so that the thief can’t tell if they have awakened someone who has just turned on a light, signs that show you have a security system, and even if they do get into the garage, a locked door into the house may keep them from going further.

This has made me re-think where I regularly drop my purse when I enter the house — in plain view on the desk in the kitchen — an easy thing to snatch when it’s in plain sight like that.  And it’s made me think we probably should start leaving lights on in our back yard also.  One of Hubby’s brothers just installed a light sensor on his yard light so that it is always on when it is dark.  A great idea, especially for when you are away from home.  Our outdoor lights are controlled by a timer that has to be set for when you want them to go on and off — a constant aggravation for Hubby because as the season’s change, he has to constantly be changing the “on” and “off” times.

Anyway, this recent incident in our neighborhood has reminded Hubby and me to not be complacent about our home’s security, and I would like it if hearing this story might make you take a second look at your security too.

And, one more thing.  Maybe we should all take a minute to say a quick prayer for the “boogey men” in this world.  What’s it like to support yourself by stealing from others?  I don’t think any little child ever says, “I want to be the boogey man when I grow up.”

A voice of experience

July 17, 2010

First, let me just say this.  If you are one of my wonderful male readers, I want you to know that I know this isn’t about you.  I just don’t think men who are “middle age crazy” would be comfortable enough with who they are to spend any of their time reading a blog with a title about humor and faith.  My thought is that if you turn into a sleaze bag, you probably then have to work at being that 24/7!

My friend, C, at Stickhorse Cowgirls is a long-time divorce attorney.  She also happens to be a recent divorcee because her husband of over 30 years suddenly experienced this middle-age craziness and left her for a young woman who already had two children by men she was never married to, and they have since had a baby between them (how mind-boggling is that — he’s now 60 years old with a new baby!).

So, when I read C’s post here about Mel Gibson and the fact that his girlfriend recorded some of his rants, and is now being criticized for it, I knew for a fact that she definitely knows what she is talking about.

I wanted to share this excellent post because if there is anyone (woman OR man) reading this who is in an abusive relationship (and as C says, it isn’t just about hitting) or knows someone who is, I hope that C’s post will give you some insights and practical advice.

To me, this is what is the best about the blogging world — sharing of valuable insights and advice like this.  Thank you, C.

The Neighbor Guy Knock

April 21, 2010

We have a door bell, but for whatever reason, there are still times when someone just knocks on our front door.  But until yesterday, it had never occurred to me that when there is a knock at the door, even before I open the door, I get a “feeling” for who is standing on the other side by the way they knock.

There is a little girl in the neighborhood who sells us school fundraising candles, plants, candy, etc.  When she comes to the door I instantly recognize her knock — because she just keeps knocking.  Not a hard knock, but an ongoing, same tempo and loudness, knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock.  Before I ever open the door, I recognize the knock of a small child — a light touch but demonstrating no idea of the concept of pausing to give the person inside a chance to get to the door!

For most of the other people who might knock at our door, such as invited guests or trademen coming to fix something, there is usually what I would describe as the generic adult knock — firm and loud enough to assure that it is heard, but with a pause after a few raps to see if we come to the door.

And then there is what I would describe as the “neighbor guy knock” — the two or three loud slaps or thuds on the door that just shout, “Hi!  It’s me from down the street, and I’ve got something to tell you, or show you, or invite you to, or here’s your mail that was accidentally put in our box!”  This is a knock that I would say makes me very interested in who is there and makes me ready to smile at someone interesting and friendly when I open the door.

We have a “no solicitation” policy in our neighborhood, but we still occasionally get a door-to-door person selling something.  And those people usually have what I would describe as a professional knock.  A firm knock that announces the person is at the door — just loud enough to be heard and brief enough to give me a chance to get to the door, but a practiced, polite knock that says “I don’t want to offend you with my knock, because I want to sell you something!”  (Depending on what I’m doing, I sometimes down answer these knocks, after peeking out to make sure it isn’t someone I know.)

Well yesterday Slick Sally Saleswoman showed up at our door and she was one smart cookie, from beginning to end of her visit.

First of all, SSS gave the neighbor guy knock — two or three pounds on the door that made me think, “This is obviously someone we know.”  So, of course I immediately went to the door and opened it.

Actually when I opened the door, two women were standing there but the older one did all the talking, so I’m guessing the younger woman was a trainee.  They were very plain looking, dressed in worn t-shirts and pants that someone might wear around the house.  Certainly not in the “slick salesperson” persona you might expect.

But SSS who had a very pleasant, sincere smile immediately greeted me and rattled off the name of the company they represented (which was very generic and didn’t in any way describe what product they were representing).  Then she showed me a stack of coupons in her hand about the size of playing cards and said that there was going to be a drawing for $1,000 worth of groceries and (as she poised her pen about the top coupon) if I would just give her my name, address and phone number (so that they could reach me in case I won), she was ready to write them down.  Whoa!  Wait a minute.  I felt like I was jumping on a moving train!  I politely told her, no.  She never even blinked.  My immediate impression what that this woman had been doing this a long time and that nothing rattled her.

Then I asked what company were they working for again?  She skimmed over the name again quickly and said they were a cleaning business.  Well, the crew of Amish girls who clean our house had just left a few minutes before, so I told her that our house had just been cleaned and, in fact, if she took a sniff she could probably even catch a whiff of a clean house after a scrubbing (they both dutifully sniffed and said, yes, they could smell “clean”).  So, we already had a company cleaning for us with whom we were very satisfied.  (Honestly, at this point the way they were dressed made more sense.  I thought maybe they had a car down the street full of mops, brushes and Lysol and if I was willing they would come in and clean our house right now!)

She laughed and said, no, no, they didn’t clean houses — they sold house cleaning equipment!  Then I thought about the company name again and remembered the name “Kirby” in it — so I said, “Oh, do you sell Kirby sweepers?”  Yes, that was one of the things their company did.  A light suddenly came on and a memory flashed through my mind of when I was a little girl and the door-to-door salesman (always in a suit and tie) would come to the door selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.  Here was the 2010 version!

I told her I wasn’t interested, but she never blinked an eye.  Nothing showed that she was disappointed or flustered.  She thanked me for my time and as she walked away she asked what the name was of the bush in the yard that smelled so good.  Making friends ’til the end.

After I closed the door, five minutes later the same knock came.  It was so similar, I was sure it was her/them back again.  When I opened the door (and this time Hubby had been close-by so he stood right behind me as I opened the door), she said, oh sorry they had already been here hadn’t they.  Maybe it’s my imagination, but I wonder if Hubby standing there this time had made her feel a little like I had called in reinforcements to get rid of her.  If it had just been me again, I wonder if I might have gotten another sales pitch.  I’ll never know.  But she definitely didn’t seem like the disorganized type who would have “accidentally” knocked on the same door twice in a row.

Later in the day I was talking to my friend Barb and mentioned the experience I had had with SSS.  Barb said she had actually had the same experience, but she had foolishly given the person her information.  She had then received a call a week later saying that she hadn’t won the prize, but would she be interested in having an in-home demonstration of a Kirby vacuum cleaner.  She said no.  A few days later she received a call from someone else saying that they understood she wanted an in-home demonstration of a Kirby vacuum cleaner and they were ready to set up the appointment.  She said no again.  Boy, was Barb sorry she had given them her information!

I wonder if they teach that “neighbor guy knock” in their training classes.  After all, getting the person to open the door is the first step!

Every computer user’s nightmare!

March 12, 2010


Yesterday morning I decided to put this picture on the computer as the wallpaper. But after I got it on, the words under the icons weren’t easily read (and we’re all about “easily read” any more!), so I went into “my computer” to see if I could just change the font of the words under the icons to black.  Ah, but as I was looking around, I found something about fonts being larger.  Ohh, all the better!  So, I clicked on it.

I could still see the computer “wallpaper” in the background but it was suddenly in blacks and grays, and then at some point it just disappeared.  But that was the least of my worries — I had hit a reallllly bad key or combination of keys somehow, because words were suddenly in big fat white letters on black background!  The letters were big enough that they didn’t all fit in a box, so (still in the “my computer” maze of long lists with drop-down boxes and click heres) it was very hard to even tell where I was, or read an instruction to see if it was the one I needed to click on to get the heck out of there!

Long (verrry long) story short, I found a choice where I could, and I don’t remember the exact words, “go back to original set-up” or something like that.  I clicked on it.  That click apparently put me back to the original settings (from 6 years ago!) for my computer, but with some big gaps!

When I look at my blog now, it is just words and pictures with just a few lines separating things.  I can’t see the header at all.  I called DD and she said  my blog looked fine, so I guess you are seeing this normally, but it’s very frustrating for me that I don’t see it normally!

This page where I “write a post”, as I look at it, is pretty much typing on a white page, with just a few black or light blue lines dividing the sections of the page.  It’s hard to explain but it looks verrrry different.  And the worst part is that at the top of this box I’m typing in are all the icons you can normally click on to do things, but most of those are now blank boxes!  For instance, to make something “bold” or “italics”, I luckily remember which of those blank boxes represent those functions, so I can use them, even though blank.

So this is probably my last post for a few days, unless there is some divine intervention and God suddenly makes me able to think more like a computer and figure out what the heck I did wrong.  Anyway, barring that, I probably won’t post again until after the Geek Squad comes sometime Monday.

    By the way, because it would bring back such bad memories I’ll probably never use the picture at the top for my wallpaper again!  Instead I’ve now put this one on.   It is one I took of our brick sidewalk in the rain a couple years ago for a photography class, and it’s always been a favorite of mine.  (And the words under the icons show up just fine on it!)

I told Hubby at some point during the very frustrating day that was yesterday, that no calamity hurts worse than one that you cause for yourself.  In this case, because I simply wanted to change  a font.  Rats.

(I know — the pictures aren’t at all necessary for this sorry little tale — but I thought without them this post would be just toooo depressing for you!)

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A bird in the hand . . .

February 8, 2010


. . . is worth two in the bush.

I was so sorry to see the Colts lose last night.  I know that Peyton’s interception will be the most talked-about mistake, but there were plenty of others too so, unfortunately, they just didn’t have one of their best games in the Super Bowl.

But I would guess this will bring back talk about the Colts management decision to not try to win their last two regular season games to “save” their players for their run to the Super Bowl.

I can’t help but think that it would make it a little easier to deal with the loss they suffered yesterday if they at least had the record for a perfect regular season to show for this season.

I knew a man once who was going back to school to get his degree after being in the workforce many years.  The first thing he did was aim for an associates degree.  His reasoning being that after two years he would have “locked in” that degree, no matter what happened while he was working at getting the four-year degree.  He executed his plan exactly like that — he earned his two-year degree (and it did take a few additional classes that wouldn’t have been necessary if he were just working toward the four-year one) and then went on to get his four-year degree.  Some might say that the two-year degree was made “useless” when he got the four-year one.  But I would say that he took the achieveable while working toward the desirable.

Be careful not to let the “bird in a hand” fly away while you’ve got your eye on catching the two birds you think are in a near-by bush!

Curiosity may have killed the cat . . .

December 22, 2009


but it only slightly wounded me . . . in the pocketbook.

   This is, for you less curious sorts, a horned melon.

“Why on earth would you buy something called a horned melon?”, you would ask.

And I would answer, “I was taken in and dazzled by the slick perveyors of exotic fruit at Christmas-time at the super store!”  I can picture that when the produce manager was making an end-of-day inventory and realized one of these had been sold, he chuckled to himself and thought, “I can’t believe some poor schmuck actually bought one of those!”.

But, in my mind, it must be good, or they wouldn’t sell it, right?  When you look at it, can’t you just picture natives on some tiny, isolated island where this is the main edible vegetation, enjoying roasting these over campfires or simmering them with some native grasses and a few grasshoppers for a hearty stew?  Me too.

So, I took my horned melon home thinking, while I wouldn’t do any roasting or stewing, I would eat some of it in all its freshness with a sandwich for lunch.

A little background:  When I was little and we ate watermelon, there were lots of seeds in it (back then they would have just laughed that someone would even try to grow a seedless watermelon!).  So you learned very young to do some sorting in your mouth — you sorted out the seeds, spit them on your plate and then savored and swallowed the delicious pulp.

So, while I could see the seeds were plentiful in this fruit, I was undeterred.  I would simply apply what I had learned in childhood and do some in-the-mouth sorting and spitting (in a very ladylike manner, of course) in order to enjoy this exotic new fruit.

Unfortunately, as I believe I have mentioned before, my mind tends more toward the creative side and not so much to the analytical/mathmatical side.  So, there is a ratio thing going on here that hadn’t occurred to me.  When I attempted to eat this fruit, it was practically all seeds, with just a bare minimum of melon holding them together.  I only ate one slice.  And ate probably isn’t the appropriate word.  Because by the time I spit the seeds out, there wasn’t anything left to eat!  The horned melon went in the trash.

And now, when I walk past the horned melon display in the produce aisle, I smile a knowing smile and keep on walking!  That slick produce manager has put one over on me for the last time!

“Oh, wait a minute, what’s that ugly brown thing with wrinklely skin over there on the next aisle?  I wonder how that tastes?”

Curiosity may not have killed this “cat” yet, but hopefully she’ll learn her lesson before she uses up all her lives!