Thanksgiving mishaps creating thanks


No fingertips in the pie

The day before Thanksgiving was a busy one–three pies, the stuffing, four types of dishes…there I am, talking along with my father-in-law, slicing an onion when the bottom slips out from and bam, off goes the tip of my left pinky.

I never realized how important the tip of my left pinky is. Tying my shoe (it always presses against my foot), typing (I can barely type at all now) washing my hair…in fact, I now have an appreciation for the littlest piece of skin on my entire body that, quite frankly, I’ve always taken for granted.

You can imagine how this is yet one more metaphor for life, and I am tempted to dive down a philosophical rabbit hole that would make Alice in Wonderland proud, but I don’t have that kind of typing capability (for I am using my fourth finger as a substitute and it’s painfully slow & error-filled). Suffice it to say that I’ve given more thanks for the littlest of things during the last 72 hours that have always escaped me. Furthermore, this unfortunate mishap has further instilled in me a desire to cut everything out that’s non essential–thankfully, bathing made the list, but I’m telling you it was easier to get in and out of the tub while I had my foot and leg all broken up than to keep my bandaged up hand dry while doing my hair and toweling off. Pinkies are essential digits.

As an aside, I cut this same pinky two months ago, also while cutting an onion, but that time, I had glanced up and out the window to admire the lake beyond. A noble act, I think. My family called it stupidity, but whatever. That one went to the bone, but being the pioneer woman I’m quickly becoming, I cleaned it out, Rog lined it with superglue and I put on a bandage. The end. This time around, no such luck- its bloody, oozy and requiring jedi-like skills to clean the end before I put on more salve and bandages.

But the good news is the stuffing turned out perfectly–which was helpful, since it was the reason for the onions in the first place. The bad news was that my father-in-law asked me where the tip of the finger went (for it was on the cutting board–somewhere). I blinked, blinked again, and had to admit I had no idea. It either remained on the knife (which had been removed from my hand and cleaned), into the trash along with that batch of onions, or…gulp, made it into the stuffing.

“Oh well,” said my father-in-law in response to the thought a bit of my flesh was a part of the meal. “Tasted great to me.”

And for that, I was thankful.

Enlightenment & fasting

S teve Jobs has been on my mind; not for his fame, fortune or black mock turtlenecks, but for his use of fasting for the goal of enlightenment.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Fasting has been used for thousands of years for a whole multitude of reasons. Inspiration (think the original Buddha), mental and physical strength (athletes) enlightenment (yogi’s, Jesus) rendering the mind & heart humble and pure (Saint Augustine)  cleansing of the body and soul (millions of unnamed people). The length inspirational quoteand means are as varied as the people and the times. Jobs tended to use the fasting that skipped everything but juices (not to be confused with a cleanse, which is about losing weight but not enlightenment). A fast is generally considered eliminating all food and living on water, although I know people modify this to address dietary and health requirements and/or restrictions.

Whatever the form and function, a “fast” has a purpose, and end-goal if you will, that is ever-present and top-of-mind throughout. Then, when the goal is achieved—vis a vis the sought after enlightenment has occurred, then the fast ends.

Let’s go back to Jobs. Carrot juice being his fasting method of choice, if he had a problem to solve, he’d go on a juice fast until he received the answer (or enlightenment) he sought. (As a side-note, I’ve read and experienced that those who don’t believe in a God tend to use the word enlightenment versus received an answer- which denotes an answer from ‘someone.’ Perhaps this is why fasting itself is so universal—because a universal response is being given at the individual level, and thereby the promise of the fast is achieved).

I love the yoga teachers that throughout my twenty-year study have often gone full-on fasting—not even water—which of course means it has very physical limitations. So too have the martial arts instructors I’ve worked with over the years. The parallel experiences and stories have mirrored those who have removed certain foods from their diets-the difference, I might emphasize, was speed and clarity.

The voice of clarity

Now, I made this promise not to get too personal with this blog, but I have no issue telling the world what I have personally fasted about, because it’s pretty much anything important. For inspiration before a business meeting, college exam, plot ideas, who to date and/or marry, whether or not I should move, accept a client or job, to have or not have a baby. Those are personal. I’ve fasted for others, parents, siblings, even strangers, like those suffering from miscarriages of justice, the survivors or victims of attacks or accidents.

Why, you might ask. It’s because as a person who believes in the power of fasting for others and self, I also believe in the power of positive energy. At the subatomic level, our bodies are composed of energy (as identified in 1951). We can send out this to others regardless of distance. At the simple level, our heart pushes out an energy field 12 feet from our bodies.

It goes like this

  1. Start with the intention. Every self-help guru, yoga instructor, pastor, sales executive and even Oprah, will tell you it starts with the verbalization and visualization of the intent or goal. What is it? What do you desire? What do you need? This is what you are putting out there to the universe if you will, and if you believe in Deity, it’s that entity. Visualize and verbalize. State it and be clear.
  2. Prepare to fast and make the commitment to a timeframe. This is the optimal way to do it…as in, three meals, a dinner, overnight and then breakfast and lunch the following day. Twenty-four hours is a good starting point and there is a methodology. As said by one of my martial arts instructors (an 8th degree who was as agile as a mountain lion but as peaceful as a cool breeze), the goal is to bring the body to submission of the mind, and the mind itself to a place where it stops making noise. Depriving the body of food physically weakens it. Only when this occurs does the mind become quiet. Once the mind is quiet, then inspiration can occur.Now, that said, sometimes it takes some of us (ahem) more time to physically and mentally settle down than others. Honestly, I’ve witnessed that vegans who refrain from caffeine are simply a lot more chill than the average adrenaline junkie (self include). So, when I say that one sometimes needs to prepare for a fast, I’m being serious. If I’ve had a lot of chocolate lately (which has caffeine) I have to ease off so I won’t go through withdrawals. Then I have to clean out my body (by further eliminating bad stuff like sugar) and then I’m ready to be clean physically.For those that live a cleaner diet than I do, fasting is probably easier and produces quicker or stronger efforts.
  3. Constantly reiterate and repeat the intention throughout the fast. Think about it. Consider it. Roll it over and over in your mind. The more you think about the problem you are wanting to solve or outcome you desire, the greater the expansion of your thoughts. This is where the ideas suddenly come from—or the enlightenment. Many have referred to this as a sudden burst of light. For writers, many times this comes in dreams. Others have the ‘a-ha’ moment that seemingly comes from nowhere.


Does it last forever?

What if you fast for a day, even two, are weak and weary, and have received nothing. Nada. No answer. No inspiration. You are frustrated and think the whole notion is bunk.

Actually, a phrase exists for this condition, and it’s called a stupor of thought. That, in fact, is the answer. The answer “no” comes in many forms, and this “blackness” as it’s sometimes called, is the clearest form of answer possible. Should I go out with this person—stupor of thought—is a no. If it were a yes, then it would be a warm, peaceful feeling.

A yoga instructor told me about sending her child to a school that had been recommended, but she wasn’t feeling good about it. She fasted for a day or so and spent concentrated time in meditation (for additional clarity). While she didn’t receive an answer of what school to go to (she hadn’t asked that), she received a strong feeling—described as a sickness in her stomach—every time she thought about sending her child to that school. The longer she fasted and meditated, and thought about this option, the more acute her feelings became. Once she visualized not sending her child to this school, she felt peace she described as a complete calm. That was a validation of her prior answer.

As with anything—exercise or a new job, fasting becomes easier with practice, to the point of becoming second nature. Many people I know fast on a regular basis, either once a month, once a week (usually on a particular day where they can plan a day free from a business meeting luncheon or skipping a workout).

I’d like to end this with a flippant line, such as–the worst case is you have freed your body of toxins, but the reality is that flippancy reduces the power of the fast and the answers that come along with it. We have been put here to learn and grow, and that requires us to push, achieve and fully live to our potential. Fasting is one tool for us to reach the heights awaiting us. All we have to do is take the initiative and jump.

Fall fundraising ideas- it’s not too late for 2015

salt city candle company

Salt city candle company- I love candles, but I’m really particular- but I know women who have literally spent hundreds of dollars on candles in a single event

Last weekend I attended a social function that, as social functions occurring just before Thanksgiving almost always do, end with a call for donations.

This was a worthy cause-a non-profit school with a broad curriculum and outstanding programs but had budgeted for a number of students that didn’t show up. These things happen-more so when the economy is on the verge of hitting the skids. Upon learning that the deficit was in the tens of thousands of dollars (and not wanting to tap into long term savings ear-marked for infrastructure) I went into board member/fundraising mode.

As I sat, happily munching away on Swedish meatballs and lemon squares (not in the order I might note), I tapped into the recesses of my former life, the one wherein I was invariably on some committee to raise money.

The easiest low/no cost means to raise a few thousand dollars is to host events where a product provider brings in a “line” of items and the upside (after cost) is donated to the school. The provider extends his/her potential customer base and uses it as a tax write-off (if your entity is a non-profit). At my children’s previous school, we had three per year and each event brought between $500-$2000 to the school, the highest usually being either jewelry or clothing. It’s most helpful to have things aligned with the season.

  • December: jewelry. It’s not too late to start (it being 11/9). A holiday jewelry showing in early December might be feasible.
  • February: valentines/clothing for spring- Like the Cabi line tends to do very well (it also fits the party/hostess model)
  • April: really anything wellness oriented- diet/weight loss/essential oils

Ground rules: talk around-network-learn which individuals (usually women) are ‘at-home-sales people.’ This can be everything from make-up to tupperware, candles to lingerie. In the vein of being the most inclusive/least offensive, go with what will work in your area.

What to ask for: “will you have an evening just for our organization? You will be introduced to my/the entirely new network of potential customers and be able to write off the evening as a business expense (e.g. donating proceeds to the entity). In other words, the costs of the product will be covered as profits are donated to the entity.

What you need:

  • a venue. Find a gracious hostess or host yourself.
  • marketing. Distribute through as many means as possible (evite, email, facebook etc).
  • food. Offer modest food- apps or desserts, beverages.

Post event, follow up with a word of thanks to the attendees for supporting the cause, and my personal favorite is always knowing how much was raised.

Rapid Hair Loss

It started when our daughter Porsche was six. Her golden locks started falling out in quarter size clumps, what the doctors called alopecia, or hair loss. “Normal,” we were told, for girls starting around six years old. When the quarters turned to dollar-size swaths by the time she was seven, the doctors said it was “severe,” but still “normal.” Let me tell you this: nothing is normal about four inch strips of hair falling out. As Porsche reached her eighth birthday she was mostly bald, and with only some strands of hair left. Just before Christmas, we had the task of taking her to a wig store specializing in children, mostly those suffering from rare forms of cancer.

Porsche at 3

Porsche at 3

To shorten the reading time, suffice it to say that the dermatologists all said hair loss. The actual “hair doctors”- or those that typically do graphs, transplants and the like, said this was not normal. In fact, we became indebt to Dr. Robert Nebalski, one of the most successful hair specialists in the Northwest, for his work in tracking down and identifying the underlying cause of the loss was first connected to girls between 7-13. For years he’d been studying this in concert with another doctor in Italy. At the same time, a friend from church happened to stop by and mentioned that her neighbor’s daughter suffered from a similar condition and it had been linked to her well.

The well. This wasn’t the problem, for wells have been around for a millennium. It was the toxins–and specifically–the metals in the water. Those metals- and think of everything that’s in the ground. When I mentioned this to Dr. Nebalski, we had her metals checked and found her levels were off the charts. So high in fact, that she should have suffered brain damage. (At the time we were on a different well system).

Now, if you, or your daughter (or son, or wife) have had rapid hair loss that can’t be explained, look to the water. That’s the first take-away. Second, forget what the department of health says is actually ‘healthy.’ That’s general. Every person has a different chemical make-up, and some are more sensitive (e.g. susceptible) to metals than others.Progression over 3 years

The second take-away is that testing the water itself (for metals) is very expensive- as in, $35 per item, and for our full testing it was sub $400. It was a good thing to do, but as were preparing to drill our own well it was sort of after the fact.

I’m jumping ahead here and doing so on purpose, because if you are reading this page, you are probably desperately seeking a solution just like we were. What we learned was this:

  1. you can decrease the metals in your body (which actually reside mostly in your head, thus causing hair thinning and loss)
  2. the solution is Zeolite capsules by Omica. This brand in particular-no other. its basically ash that attracts and absorbs the metals. the body excretes it through bowel movements (pooping). Note: you must drink a lot of water
  3. keep the follicles open through topical steroids (and injections as necessary…more on the next topic

The last element of this is that we’d already been planning on drilling our own well, which we had started, and it was completed in several months. We immediately switched over (me as the guinea pig) and lo, my hair started to come in even thicker than it already is (and those who know me can attest to the thickness of my hair). I was on our own well for a solid month before Porsche started using it, and it’s now been two years+ of normalcy.

Chocolate addicts, UTIs and a fix

Not a sexy topic to be sure, but lets face it. When one consumes massive amounts of sugar, but it by mainlining (alcohol) or the slower but no less effective chewing kind (candy or the less adulterated kind, like processed bread that eventually turns into sugar), one needs a fast, effective solution for the sugar-induced UTI (urinary tract infection) that is the consequence of short-term joy.

I have found that I can cope with nearly anything my UT (urinary tract) throws at me to stop my evil ways. I first went to sugar rehab while in college, when I was in the dorm room shower and saw blood coming from (down there). I was nearly in tears I was in so much pain, the ejection of pure acid out my peep-hole enough to make me beg for three more calculus classes. Worse, my mother comes out to take me to the doctor, and he asks if I got it by having sex. (I was an undefiled virgin if you must know), which he soon attested to in front of my mother (whew!).

He then probed the causes. I wasn’t overweight (under actually) and had kept off the “freshman 15” by drinking 3 64 oz diet cokes a day. Hmm. Yes. I bought into the zero calorie marketing hype. LIttle did I know that the man-made acids were not conducive to a function UT. BTW, if you are thinking that women alone are afflicted by this–no. Men have all the joys of UTIs along with the she-counterparts.

“No more sodas,” intoned the doctor. He didn’t need to tell me. I’d so destroyed my insides that 10 years later I learned the lining of my walls had been permanently damaged. And by permanently, what that means is that if I have 3 gulps of soda–any kind–I will get a UTI (more commonly identified as a bladder infection) within 15 minutes. UGH.

To keep this short and to get you to a solution, keep two things in mind: reactive and preventative. The former is: I’m in pain, or I’ve just had a few too many choc bars, desserts or whatever and by the time I get home I’m going to be screaming. For these instances, you need to keep several tabs of Probiotics in your wallet, purse or pocket. These little gems are the equivalent of a urinary tract napalm explosion. (I’ve found this brand in particular works best). I’m talking scorched earth in 15 minutes. Unless you have gone to CA (Chocoholics Anonymous) you must use these white magic pills as your sponsor.

Now, if you are a thinking person (which all my readers are) you are going to take the smart, proactive, never get caught with my privates-on-fire situation, right? Right. Those people will do the following:

every day, once a day, take 2 cranberry gelcaps, (for UT health) 3 alka greens (for PH balance and alkalinity, which do a whole lot more for you than can possibly be explained in this blog) and finally, you will take an alkidophilus. I did this all best preventative solutionthrough Europe this last summer and not once in weeks did I have issue. And trust me, I should have been wailing through 15 different countries I was easting so much sugar and chocolate.

Now, the above two situations are normal–but sometimes, I’m in critical, life or death pain–and by this I mean I wake up in the middle of the night. Here’s what I do. I load up on all of the above and power all four items down with as much water as I can possibly keep inside me. Sometimes I have to take a hot bath- but that’s probably more for mental help that I’m so stupid as to get myself in a college-age predicament yet again.

Tip: buy the cranberry, probiotic at Costco– great brands and inexpensive. the others I get on line through amazon.

Deleting comments on WordPress

This is for all the people like me who don’t blog for a living (as in, we don’t make money off it). I have yet to receive a comment indicating that a person has purchased a book or made a decision to hire me for a board position (or other) based upon a blog. As such, I rarely expect comments on my blogs…and in return, I rarely get them.

Good comments that is. What I DO get are thousands…and i’m talking thousands of “comments” an hour, but aren’t comments at all. They are robo-generated fishing, marketing or sales bots, comprised mostly of bad English, lots of key words and a few crude and/or otherwise unsuitable word choices.

This has been a growing wart that I’ve been able to ignore for months now, right up until this last week, when my former web site service company informed me that a photographer out of Las Vegas has been requesting I delete my backward links from my site to his. Huh?

Research was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to get in the tub and hand this over to my husband, the techie in the family.

“They are threatening to sue,” I said. Slight exaggeration. Clearly, someone in the marketing group at this photo studio got irritated (which I might say, must be very successful to have someone complaining about a backward link which ostensibly drives business). I then turn and leave and take my bath.

A half hour later, I get a tap on the door. Rog peers in. “It’s done.”

I was mystified, as I am with all things WordPress. I had looked for hours (ok, twenty minutes) to identify how to block and/or delete bulk comments. I have a short attention span. Apple has trained me well. If I can’t do it in 3 steps, I can’t be bothered. (It’s like what happens in the bedroom. Clothes off. In bed….you get the picture. 3 steps or i’m out).

In any case, I ask him what he did that I didn’t do. “I installed a plug-in.”

Ah. It goes under tools. it’s actually called “Easy removal of comments.” Then end.

Now I have 3 steps to removing all comments (once said plug-in was installed)

  1. go to Tools
  2. Click Remove
  3. Select all comments (and those pending)
  4. Click yes (ok. I was wrong. 4 steps).

Sadly, this means actual real, meaningful comments are also getting napalmed, and for that I’m sorry. If I had more time (or rather, more time from my IT support staff) I’d find a plug-in that allowed for a high-filter or qualified commentary (one that requires an actual account or something). Alas. I’m not there yet. I’ll get that when I actually do this for a living.

Tools graphic

Step 1: Select the Delete All Comments

Click both boxes- pending and posted

Step 2: (above) select posted and pending comments as a bulk action

final picture

The final result. It’s all gone! yeah to the spammers, tears to the legitimate commentators. I guess that’s what Instagram is for- immediate, unfiltered, actual responses (except for those randomly generated bots that is!).

Bat wings and chin hair – how to lose ’em

When I was eight, I had to spend the night in the same room as my great-grandmother. The attic bedroom was so small, the two twin beds nearly touched. As we prepared for bed, I turned in time to catch my g-grandmother in her slip, her arms above her head, and what looked like flaps of clothe hanging down past her chest. Years later, after she’d passed away, my mom disputed my recollection of g-grammy, until I told her what I’d seen.
“Those were batwings,” mom said, noting she wasn’t talking about the kind purchased at a wings joint. Thus begat a phrase that heretofore, had been blessedly absent from my life. It was then and there I determined never, ever, in this world or the next, to have the thin, translucent, sagging skin hanging dow

I only like the kind of wings attached to a plane

I only like the kind of wings attached to a plane

n from the twelve inches from elbow to shoulder. Note that most require some type of arm movement. Since I use weights throughout, the side benefit is nice, lean arms w/no sag. Thankfully, the fitness world offers a pluthera of solutions to bat wings, including videos showing the best exercises for bat wings.

Mom thinks the whole saggy-skin thing has more to do with our Swedish skin than a lack of collagen. So it is with another favorite subject: chin hair.
G-Grandma, bless her heart, could have been a Viking she had so much hair. In fact, I probably could have French-braided the grey strands.  That preceded yet another promise—I would never, ever let myself get so lax that I had chin hair.
So it was that Rog came up to me, his thumb and forefinger going for my chin, I lift up my chin, ready for a great, romantic plant on the lips. Instead, he closes his fingers around something I can’t see, gives a pull, I scream, and out comes a hair nearly an 1/2 inch long. (I hope you’re laughing. You should be laughing. I was mortified).
“Wait! There’s more!”
Before he can make a second pluck, I run to the bathroom, get the tweezers and go to town. I’d heard women grow hair underneath the chin with the onset of menopause, but I actually started getting it in my mid-thirties. Oh, so sexy.
“Stop eating the pasta!” he yells from downstairs. The old wives tale about pasta and hair growth. Ever wonder why Italians are so hairy? Pasta. Something about the process stimulates hair growth-or so it goes. Me? I’ve gave the stuff up.
Guess what else I learned? Some medications cause facial hair growth–things like estrogen and pain relief medication that have steroids do it as well. Then their is hirsuitism, that happens when a woman has high levels of testosterone, which also results in facial hair. Then hypertrichosis is when a woman doesn’t have anything to do with hormones but is caused by other conditions, like anorexia. Last but not least, birth control bills, Dilantin and Minoxidil, the latter used by women to prevent thinning of the hair, get the side benefit gaining hair in unwanted places.
The good news is that both batwings and chin hair can be managed; one through exercise, the other through plucking. Lots of options exist for chin-hair, from laser to ointments. I found this creepy before and after photo of laser hair removal. I’m cheap, and tweezing is easy. It’s just a little hard to see, when it’s under my chin, and I have to use a mirror. Honestly, Rog is a lot better at seeing that stuff, although it’s beyond mortifying to have him look. In fact, it’s as bad as having to look on his back for, you now, “owies.” Go with my motto: my arms must be smaller than my husband’s, and my chin needs to have less hair.

Tying up loose ends

A few of my blogs have open endings, the story itself not finished. It must be the upcoming holiday season, or karma. As you have been on this journey with me, I’ll share.

Remember the guy that failed to show up, call, or respond to my texts? Rog and I worried, wondered, got angry, apathetic then forgot about it, dismissing the man as flaky or dead. Well, I’m happy to report he’s not dead, nor is he flaky. He’s a liar. If you recall, we gave him money in advance of a completed job, his ’emergency’ his promise to take his daughter to modeling school. OK. Maybe that was the case, or he needed rent money. Didn’t matter. He’s a good worker, and has been for yrs, so Rog gives him more than he’d asked for. Doesn’t show for 2 wks.

The closure: three wks after the fact, he calls Rog, says his phone was lost. For 3 wks. He’s ready to go! he says. No apologies, no addressing what happened. Does he know he can call from a payphone? I inquire. What about the Internet? He and his wife have an on-line business. Did that stop as well?

No answers to the questions, because to my disbelief, Rog doesn’t ask. Before I mentally spin in to the oblivion, Rog coaches me back to reality. “You’re so good at forgiving, move on,” he says.

I was so furious, I think spots appeared in my eyes, the precursor to an aneurysm. I leave the room. The next day, the man shows up, avoids looking at me, goes to work (outside) and I don’t see him again. Two days ago, I receive a text. He’s asking me for a favor, the one I’d offer to do for him when he made “the case.” He wants me to introduce his two daughters to my agent.

I’ve not yet responded. I’m telling myself it’s because of the funeral I attended Saturday, Rog’s recent eye surgery, and packing. But we (you and me) know better. I’m being small. When Rog calls me out, and pulls the ‘forgiveness,’ thing again. Christ said forgive, but left outthe part about being a glutten for punishment, I can make different choices this time around.


Best of Seattle-Snoqualmie Falls walking tour

If you are taking a trip to Seattle, budget in 2 hours to drive east and see Snoqualmie Falls. It is heralded as the most majestic & largest drop in North America, second only to Niagara Falls. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s gorgeous. For travelers, the site has another feature–a 4-star rated hotel that sits on the edge of the cliff. The yoga room actually overhangs over the river leading up to the fall, and the spa is a Japanese/northwest theme. This small-ish resort is sought after for weddings and other special events.

So, since I’m a big believe pictures are better than words on this type of blog, I’ll give you the details.

Parking: Free. lot up top by the lodge (unless you valet) and a bridge connects to the falls. You can also park in a lower parking lot if you want to swim in the river. I highly recommend this if you have food or anything else you need to bring in.

Trail quality: superior. crushed gravel and wide. Some steep areas, but kids of most ages can make it up and down no problem.

Time: about 15 minutes down with children, about 20-25 minutes up depending on your level of fitness.

Travel time: about 30 minutes (no traffic) from Seattle -downtown about 40 min (no traffic).

Food: a small deli/ice cream and gift shop is also located on the site, so you have options if you don’t want to go into the lodge.


A natural swimming area on the river- 5 min from parking


the view to the west- downstream. perfect for swimming or fishing


the lodge entrance


the west face of the lodge–most of the rooms, restaurant and spa all look over the falls and the river


the path is lined with signs of plants


this area actual tubes used inside the concrete pipes that carry the water to the city


the top of the falls, shot from below


a view from the bottom of the falls


the area offers a lot of grassy spots to take a rest


the bridge connecting the upper parking lot- note- bikes aren’t allowed on the actual trail going down to the falls-


the road from the lower parking lot to the water is paved


Fraud, identity theft & what happens in between

One my clients, a large organization specializing in anti-fraud an identity theft, took what was left of my rose colored glasses and smashed them against the wall moments after I walked in the conference room.
identity theft
“Let’s see what we can find on you,” said the CEO, inserting my full name. Completely unprepared was I for the plethora of data available. Address, phone numbers, employment. Some free, some at a cost. A dating site had information on my school history, all my past addresses and suggested names, numbers and addresses of former neighbors, just in case a prospective beau wanted to conduct a search.”There’s more,” he said, his fingers gliding across the keypad. “Watch this.” Within seconds, he pulled every single social community site I’d ever joined, active user or not. Facebook was a given, but many others, invitation and party sites, activity-oriented sites (e.g. book clubs) and more. It took him less than five minutes to construct the outline of my life. No wonder people are freaked about stalking and identity theft.stolen info used“The good news,” he told me, is that simple techniques help avoid, or at least “delay” the prospect of identity theft. Readers already know how a credit card app was stolen from our mailbox, and we had no clue until the FBI showed up at Rog’s office, telling him a nice Honda had been purchased in our name, courtesy of a credit card ring they’d been tracking.

I was happy we could afford a Honda, but I would have been thrilled if we could have afforded a Ferrari. So much for the AMEX black card.

I’m then informed that 6 out of 10 people will be victims of fraud (e.g. theft) of credit cards, social security numbers or some other data that turns into taking money out of an account or spending money without your knowledge or approval. When funds zip out of your checking account, you are hosed. When it’s on a credit card, you’re covered (usually). In the case of our above credit card issue, the thieves had the audacity to come back twice- the first time they came, they stole credit card applications that were sent in the mail (the ironic problem of having good credit). They applied, using information stolen from our other mail, and the credit card company issued the card. The thieves then came back and snagged the physical card. Once in their possession, they went wild.

Now we were somewhat saved by the admission of Citibank. When the card was activated, they should have asked some security questions, like mothers maiden name etc. This was information the thieves didn’t have. However, Citi still activated the card. They actually admitted this (and I’m sure they have gotten better about protocols. No really, I’m sure. Really.) Anyhoo, the theiver (like my word invention) must have been an amazing sales person because Citi did it anyway.

Internal checklist

  • Get your free credit report once a year. I used to do this just for me. Now I do it for Roger, and my daughter’s, since they have social security numbers. “The fastest growing segment for ID theft is kids under 16,” the CEO old me. The parents don’t bother to check the credit records until it’s time to get the child a credit card, about college. By then, the damage is hard, and costly to undo. If you do #2 below, it can be included as a part of the package!
  • Sign up for Lifelock I can say this now that my project with them has concluded. It monitors any tap into a credit reporting agency. Once an agency has been pinged, I get a call, email and/or text that someone has requested my information. Since I am well, me, I know if I have applied for anything or not. Sub note- I have signed up my husband and two kids for this, because I learned that kids are the number one targets for identity theft! Kids receive social security numbers, but rarely need them before getting a drivers license or going to college (unless you give them a credit card).
  • Put a lock on your mailbox. We purchased an industrial size/strength box and this worked, right up until the time the lovely postman decided not to close the lid all the way. Bam. What good is a lock when its wide open? We ultimately opted for a PO Box.

Ultimately, the CEO of LifeLock told me over and over that “it’s not ‘if’, it’s ‘when,’ so just be prepared.” With those wonderful words of comfort, I urge you to be proactive on this one. It’s worth the 10 bucks to save thousands. Oh! I forgot to mention Lifelock covers outstanding fees/what’s been stolen if you are covered on their plan at time of theft. And no, I don’t get kickbacks, referrals fees or even a Christmas card in the mail. I’m just a serious believer in their product, and you know me, when I love something, I write about it.

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