Monday Reading

It's monday! What are you reading? Weel, here's what I am reading now: Debbie Macomber's The Shop On Blossom Street. There's a little yarn shop on Blossom Street in Seattle. It's owned by Lydia Hoffman, and it represents her dream of a new life free from cancer. A life that offers a chance at love... Lydia teaches knitting to beginners, and the first class is "How To Make a Baby Blanket". Three women join. Jacqueline Donovan wants to knit something for her grandchild as a gesture of reconciliation with her daughter-in-law. Carol Girard feels that the baby blanket is a message of hope as she makes a final attempt to conceive. And Alix Townsend is knitting her blanket for a court-ordered community service project. These four very different women, brought together by an age-old craft, make unexpected discoveries, about themselves and each other. Discoveries that lead to friendship and more...

Remembering Dr. Maya Angelou

Her message, in short, was that no matter how difficult or dark our lives may become, we should take these experiences and share them with others so that we all may become a rainbow in someone else's cloud. During some of my own darkest moments, I often reflect on this and have always found it to be greatly comforting. If my own experiences can be shared with another and provide a sense of comfort to another experiencing a similar sense of darkness, then somehow my own tribulation is given a sense of purpose. Dr. Maya Angelou will be greatly missed but her words and inspiration will remain with us. Today, I take comfort in knowing that her spirit continues to rise up and will always shine through in every rainbow that comes my way.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Like so many, I awoke this morning to the news of Dr. Maya Angelou's passing and like many, I'm sure, I have shed my fair share of tears over the course of the morning hours. Those who know me personally, know that her words have served as one of my greatest sources of comfort and inspiration through the past several years. Several years ago during my graduate studies, I was blessed with an opportunity to attend a campus speech given by Dr. Angelou and her words remained with me long after the speech itself concluded. Her voice has always reminded me of a treasured family quilt; a bit frayed and rough around the edges but quick to envelope you in its soothing warmth and abundance of love, and this particular speech was no exception. She spoke of her life and how she endured those dark periods by turning to those writers that became her "rainbow in the clouds" and then made the decision to share her own story with hopes of helping others in similar situations...

Guilty people Get so Angry

In the last few days I have experienced some really fascinating circumstances with individuals. Case in point my salvage companion accepted a requisition and something simply didn't sit right with her. She sent it to me and said "what do you think in regards to this" I read over the requisition and you could practically advise the individual was attempting to "conceal" something. I had two more people get all nasty with me when one I called them out on needing to take responsibility for their actions and another person for asking them "are you sure that is what happened" The person screamed at me are you calling me a liar?! I said No, I am just making sure you told me everything, wow! Why get angry if you didn't do anything wrong? Act shocked it is less obvious don't just start yelling at me about how it isn't your fault or that you are telling the truth. In both cases not angry, not mad just asking a question or telling the person something so they understand the results of their actions... calm down guilty conscience. 

Just amazes me that people can't own up to their mistakes. We all make them and you are never going to grow as a person if you don't learn from them. If you are consistently blaming other people for the outcomes for your actions or jumping up and down saying it isn't your fault then no one wins and everyone looses. Now that is just stupid. I am not saying I am perfect, I have done many stupid things in my day and I think about them a lot. If I would have not stayed at work last year but gone to the vet and stayed with my dog would he be dead right now? If I would have realized that my Aussie didn't have kennel cough but something worse and I wasn't busy at work would he be dead right now? If I would have not adopted the dog to those people who I had a funny feeling about and then returned him would he be in a loving home right now? Should I have gone with my gut? I mean you can go on and on... What you need to do is learn from your mistakes and not make the same mistake next time.

Weiners and Other Dicks

When some of us got into the “us vs. them” political gamesmanship mentality a few years back, desperate to unseat a despotic anti-democratic regime, we might have been profoundly emotionally sandbagged by “one of ours” sabotaged by their own penises. Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Tony “it ain’t cheatin’ if she didn’t touch it” weiner, etc. - is it merely that the more “liberal” one is the more likely one is to get caught with one’s pants down? I’ll suggest something else. First of all, these cats aren’t “mine” - they aren’t on my team. They are wealthy white men of profound privilege, and as such, they believe that sex on demand is their birthright. They see it as a trapping and perk of simply being white men, much less being public figures. My “team”, if there is one, is of human beings who do not demand or expect the “right” to penetrate, subjugate, or “cream on” their fellow human beings, with or without weiners.

I do think that a birthright of all human beings is to be fed, clothed, sheltered, educated, and cared for when sick. To be treated with respect and honor, to be protected from harm, and to be given the chance to chart their own destinies. This is in concert with the natural order, as human values are part of the natural order. I think that any sane and caring human being should be concerned lest any other human being go without any one of of these things. I am, therefore, a radical, not a liberal. And i’m incapable of being disappointed or embarrassed by political figures who never represented me or my values in the first place. I represent myself, and I am perfectly capable of social shame on my own behalf. I’m ashamed, for instance, that I live in a society that seems to strongly believe that the care and feeding of my weiner is more important than any of the other values listed above. Now that is shameful.

Mad about Mad Men - But Not in a Good Way

I’ve heard raves upon raves for this show. A year ago, curiosity got to me, so I borrowed Season One from the library (first I watched the pilot episode on Excellent acting, crisp dialog, poignant camera angles. I hated it. The whole thing left me with a queasy feeling, mostly because of the horrible attitudes toward women. And how perkily the women accepted their fate. Okay, I realize it was 1960. Attitudes were different. But why would I want to watch something that made me feel so demoralized? I returned the DVDs to the library. In the year since, one of my sisters, who shares my TV taste (oh, the hours we’ve spent rhapsodizing over Lost, Six Feet Under, Dexter and Glee) began renting the show. She insisted that I would love it. She did. Her friends did. Everyone did. I’m a second chances kind of person, so I borrowed it again. Having already seen the first episode, I watched it with the screenwriter’s commentary turned on. His comments masked most of the dialog and were interesting from an artistic viewpoint. Hmmm, now that I knew what his vision was, maybe I could watch this with the commentary turned off. Five minutes into episode two, my fists clenched, my jaw tightened. But I persevered. There must be a reason why this was the critics’ darling. It was jam-packed with irony - doctors smoking, ulcer sufferers drinking milk laced with vodka for their health. And who could resist all the “we’re so much smarter now” gags such as when a little girl runs around with a laundry bag over her head and her mother harshly warns her not to dirty the dry cleaning. But irony and gags only go so far...
Mad men subway ad

Risky Places to Swipe your Debit Card

Would you give a thief direct access to your checking account? No? You may be doing that, by regularly using your debit card. Debit cards may look identical to credit cards, but there's one key difference. With credit cards, users who spot fraudulent charges on their bill can simply decline the charges, and not pay the bill. On the other hand, debit cards draw money directly from your checking account, rather than from an intermediary, such as a credit card company. Because of that, even clear-cut cases of fraud, where victims are protected from liability by consumer protection laws, can cause significant hardship, says Frank Abagnale, a secure-document consultant in Washington, D.C. He cites the example of the The TJX Companies Inc.'s T.J. Maxx data breach, that exposed the payment information of thousands of customers, in 2007. The incident resulted in $150 million in fraud losses, much pulled directly from customers' bank accounts. While credit card users got their accounts straightened out, and new cards in the mail within a few days, the case created major problems for debit card holders, who waited an average of two to three months to get reimbursed, Abagnale says. While debit card fraud is always a possibility, being careful where you use it can help keep your checking account balance out of the hands of criminals.

Skimming ATMs. The idea outdoor ATMs are among the most dangerous places to use a debit card seems a little bit absurd. Some ATMs present a perfect opportunity for thieves to skim users' debit cards, says Chris McGoey, a security consultant based in Los Angeles. Skimming is the practice of capturing a bank customer's card information by running it through a machine that reads the card's magnetic strip. Those machines are often placed over the real card slots at ATMs and other card terminals. "Any transaction you do outdoors, at an open ATM, is going to be higher risk exposure," McGoey says. "If the public has access to it, someone has the ability to add skimming devices to it, position cameras on it, and position themselves in a way where they could surveil it." He says you're better off using an ATM inside a retail outlet, or other high-trafficked, well-lit place. Julie McNelley, senior analyst for Aite Group LLC, a Boston-based financial services research firm, says even the card terminals card users must swipe to get into ATM vestibules, are used as a skimming site by criminals. You can spot ATM skimmers by checking for ATM components that look beat-up or askew, she says. Stealing PINs at gas stations. Gas stations are another danger zone for debit card use. "You go to a gas station, stick your debit card in there, and you swipe it through a machine," Abagnale says. "I'm sitting across the street with a laptop and an antenna. "I put a skimmer in there, and I'm picking up all the information. "Before you even get home, I've debited your account."