Thursday, July 4, 2013

Safety Bet

I've been lazy for the last few years. My passwords are different on every account, most are long, and yes they include at least a cap(ital) letter and a number, and sometimes even a symbol. But that's still lazy for a geek. I need a p/w vault.

I counted up my passwords the other day. Pretty sure there are about 15. None of them are written down around my desk. All live in my head. (I printed a good many of them out once (in case of emergency) then killed the file. Well, I think I did. If I didn't, it doesn't matter because I'm getting ready to change all p/w in my life anyway.)

The Point is, with a new job (in safety/security) I'm all out of brain room for more passwords! I already created a few new ones at work, in my first week, and yea, today I'm researching password vaults and getting "up to speed". In other words, install, figure it out, use it, try to break it. Usually in that order :)

Here is my advice, in the form of an email to my kids, husband, friends, family:
Greetings - It shouldn't be a surprise that with the new job I'm investigating, learning and setting up better protection for my accounts.

Below is some of my research. I like this first article because it pretty much tells you how to use the best tools plus a "hack" to make a thumb drive a physical "key" to keep all your passwords safe. Good idea *and* you can share a p/w file, (holding one or a few passwords) without showing what the p/w actually is.

Two nice overview articles about password vault applications:

Just what it says, but also explains how professional hackers get away with your data : how to make strong p/w

If you haven't already, please download (pay for it!) Avast and keep your system clean and safe :) btw, Lastpass  is also for phones if you pay the $12 per year price. Sweet :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013


So much has been going on it's tough to slow down and capture it all. Still, I'm journaling most days. Feels good to work those writing muscles.

In addition to a membership at Curves I've added walking most of the other days, once it warmed up. The rest of the Spring was taken up recuperating from a grueling 9 months at a non-profit.

Actually, I have also made some progress on my desk. Very. very. slowly.

It's made me notice motivation and how low it is sometimes. To the point of resistance. A seemingly immovable force. Eventually, when the mood doesn't strike me, after weeks of waiting, I just go ahead and get it done, whatever it is. That's the thing about inspiration. Sometimes it just needs to be lassoed.

While the days have been full, somehow April, May and now a chunk of June have slipped by without a lot of visible or earth shattering progress. "Stuff" gets done, but where does the time go?

I started thinking about two big new things this Spring, well, three, and two are coming to pass. The third is germinating :)

First, I began craving a new dog. Not just for me, but for the family. No really. It took a while to be able to articulate the reasons, but 1. Sparky is getting older (he's 9 now) and 2. it's not fair to add a dog in a year or two when he will be older and less likely to want to add a new family member, 3. he seemed to miss Maggie. Today on our walk we saw a neighbor we've met twice, with her dog. Sparky kept trying to get over to visit, even tho we were really too far away to get to them. It was sweet, and also confirmation that he is happier with another dog here. 4. I was longing for the affection of another dog. So yeah, we are doing it. Bringing Sadie home tomorrow - a rescue. Chill, peaceful gal, a rott mix they tell me. Smallish - 45 lbs. Will be nice to have her, especially with G around to bond with her, etc. Pictures coming soon.

Second, been looking around for the next job. Sent a resume in in March, got a call in May and interviewed around May 21. Got a call a couple weeks later that they wanted to make me an offer, and last week finally got the offer. Or maybe it was the week before. Anyway, it's all but signed. I go in tomorrow to fill out paperwork. Cool spot - IT geek interface to the emergency management dept. for a large organization. Beautiful time off and great benefits. Lovin it. Always nice to see debt go away too!

Third, we are seriously researching farming. The good news is there are lots of materials, groups, sites, etc. Bad news is it will be a year of research, in addition to our full time jobs. It's hard to wait. Stan and I had never really examined the idea very closely... then it seemed to click. We had both wanted to have our own farms for so long... well, it was decades for me, and he just said he'd always wanted to have a big farm.

It won't likely be huge, with the price of land these days. But organic, sustainable, and enough to support us, yes. We can do that. Good that he used to care for cattle with a neighbor, when he was a teenager, and worked the family gardens/farm. And I kept bees, chickens and goats. I've shelled beans on a porch with old women. That must count for something!

I'll keep the day job while we get started and very possibly until the end of time. (Right now I like this idea best.) He will run the farm and drive when it's off season. There is a great farmers market here, and many others in the area. Also have found there is strong demand for specialty crops and products going to chefs and restaurants in Chicago (and Indianapolis I bet) as well as a huge interest now in local foods, slow foods and sustainable agriculture. Nice to be here where one of the best ag schools in the country is located. Even local school systems are looking for fresh, local food.

This week I visited 7 Sisters Farm in Sidney, IL and Morganics in Michigan. These were the 3rd and 4th farmers I'd contacted, mind you. That they were generous enough to let me come visit, show me around, explain a bit about their approach, and give some advice was just heart warming. It was the hand up I needed.

[The first two farms I asked for a visit/tour were either just "No" or "Can't, good luck". Note to self: always try to help out the new kids on the block.]

We've applied for a local year long class for beginning farmers at our local (ag) extension office.  If we get accepted it's free and supposed to be a good start. We might be able to get a VA loan, or a grant; or both, to get started.

Once we figure out what we are doing, we'd like to find more ways to bring gardens into low income communities, and see what can be done for veterans and ex-offenders who are getting re-integrated into society. That may be the far-fetched part of all this, but I'm not above learning from scratch.

Love the idea of teaching micro-housing and training men and women to build small, solid homes. So we will see. All kinds of possibilities... all kinds of good talent around here to ask for guidance. "Green" technology, including solar and geothermal need to be taught and tested somewhere...

7 Sisters was, by the way, just beautiful. The garden, the sheep, chickens, guard dogs, goats. Just loved it. Bought some amazing yarn (leicester and corriedale), and some lovely grey roving and want to go back for more! Cathe showed me the house they restored, and we had great conversation about land, local resources and how damned hard it is to keep horses in this part of the country! (Stan agreed later when I told him.)

 Genevieve, at Morganics was also gracious and showed me and Gwyneth around when we dropped in on her this week. We saw her road sign as we were heading to Leelanu way up in Michigan. There were 11 adorable English Shepherd puppies running around (I immediately wanted to bring one home) and beautiful bunnies (one spotted one like a dalmatian!). We came home with fresh eggs and a new idea - permaculture. Also learned that mushrooms put all kinds of good stuff back into the soil. Since they are first generation farmers Genevieve gave us a different kind of encouragement, especially since they are reclaiming some land that was tree farm (red pines) before and all of it is sandy soil. Nice big garden tho, moveable pens for the smaller livestock.

She also had a couple of sheep and some hogs. Sells the English Shepherds too. All good investments I think. 

On both of these operations one spouse works "off farm". Both are in it tho to make more that a subsistence living (which I'm gathering means, more than support the family with food on the table). I see where diversifying is a good idea, where the cost of land and equipment is crucial, and where help, either in kids, interns, or paid help are critical.

That's all I'm good for tonight. Off to read a little and consider. There's a full moon rising ;)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dancing by the light of the Moon

tamed, even curled up with. Ridden, slain (a trick they pull, letting you think that you won).

  But first they will terrify you.

 Sometimes they seem harmless.
 It's not the battle that is key, it's the willingness, the wiley-ness. In my experience they appreciate the entertainment.
 Sometimes they are young. Still ferocious.
 And there is always treasure they hide, protect. You have to show you want it.

Raise your flagon. Cheers to dancing with dragons, your gorgeous, glittering shadow self.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Started this post last week. I guess it's a reminder that parental units stay busy. All the time.

G asked me what is the hardest thing about motherhood. "All of it." She asked again and I said "Slaying the dragons." She said, "What's the hardest non metaphorical thing about motherhood?" I replied, "Yeah, slaying the dragons." Led to a nice discussion of how mothering is being hyper vigilant and also relaxed. At the same time. It's also being patient when you've gone without sleep or rest for too long. It's keeping too many details in your head at once, and then learning not to do that. It's studying to learn to do things differently than your instincts, and other times it's following your instincts. It's hell. It's heaven. I'm super blessed to have 6 kids now and 4 grandchildren. And if I had world and time, I'd adopt older kids who need a home. Thanks Mom, for teaching me there is always enough love to go around.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Clearly I have not the stamina nor discipline to post every day.

The Good News is I do write. Every day. Religiously.

Lately I've been capturing the scraps of writing in various forms. Using the Journal, which I mentioned last week, I write and capture posts from FB nicely (I put them in the "notebook" section, not the daily journal section). I write in a physical journal (or two or three) and I compose emails, which at least I send to a special account that is just for the purpose of capturing my writing. Goal there is to capture more emails in the Journal, so there is a somewhat central suppository. No wait REpository <g>.

My website is set up for the family business, but I'm going to add another website just for my random meanderings. And likely another for a new business. And a non-profit.

All this in the works, along with getting my house in order (physically and digitally), the business in order (accounting and fiscally) and the relationships in order (reconnecting with people I haven't had time to enjoy for 9 months).

It was a cool thing, to birth myself out of the last job. Well worth the carrying and pushing. Now there is a weird bit of transition, getting re-grounded, and cultivating new stuff.

Putting legs under some of these new ideas is an altogether different matter. I do think I can grow my sideline business to support us, take care of essentials, keep income flow UP. And on the side* another business germinates. Like good writing ideas, it's important to protect it from frosts of people who would judge not nurture, yet it also needs the sunshine and warmth, so I share it with a few trusted friends.

We shall see. It could be mental masturbation, but I don't think so. Even if it fails, at least I will have pursued it. That is what matters really. I've done this before and didn't get to see the idea/organization fully birthed. It was not meant to be, and I was ok. Good experience planning it all and then laying it to rest, as gracefully as possible. I've had many other successful enterprises. They have a creation curve, a lifespan, a return to dust. Legacy stuff and sustainability are topics for another day.

For the sane, it's not just the chase (of ideas and new forms) that matters, but balancing stability with exploration. I live in a smaller town now, and that by definition can hinder risk taking. After all, in a community where there are less options, fewer ideas can be chased, with back up opportunities if your brilliant idea fails. In other words, everyone knows if you are a windmill chaser, and what that means is less certain ... outcomes** can be, well, overlooked in a large metropolis. Not so in more intimate settings.

Just realized this is the first time since '85 I've lived in a smallish community. Hmmm... food for thought. I did find the small towns from '76 to '81 nice but constraining. Too small in some ways. Athens was just right, but then I yearned for Atlanta, the siren hussy Belle, and wonderful dance partner. She will always be my first big love, put stars in my eyes.

One goal for this week is to to check out John Green's*** and other vloggers' posts about online community and struggling with how to best connect. I'm considering blogs, vlogs, social media and other forms of building digital community.

Also have more plans to sketch out. There is a garden to dig. No thought required at first, just pulling old stuff out, getting beds ready. That's what I love about housework I think. It's fairly simple work. No thinking required. Let's me rest.

*that's only two sides, so far.. I think home and hearth are truly my main vocations. This other stuff, businesses and community are avocations :)

**by outcomes I mean failures of course but also successes. And therein lies another two-edged sword. Towns both discourage by their very nature people getting outside the box too much - it's what we do as tribe, only allow so much unknown/unfamiliar behavior. Yet small towns will love to support your success and care much more than cities. Cities encourage exploration and freedom, but care not a rat's ass if you fail. Harsher in their own way, cities sort of offer support, but not like towns.

** I know little to nothing about John Green, but am curious and would like to find info on online communities / forums. Could help the next business grow support. One of my daughters loves Green - I've watch some of his vlogs. Glad he is out there being awesome.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Online Conversations, IP and the Holocaust (or Winning over Evil)

So tired of short posts on FB - it is where I live much of the time, keeps me connected to friends etc. Gives a forum for conversation. I think I'll take myself over here (blog) for a while and see if I have the stamina to post regularly.

I write most days, and capture a lot of it in various electronic forms. Really don't like that the scant "intellectual property" I own is trapped in fb posts and on servers elsewhere. Call me old fashioned, I like my stuff to stay on my hard drive. This week I'll install a journal app to keep my info secured on my own system. (love this app btw, The Journal rocks. I have it on one system and am going to purchase a small bundle of licenses for a select group of my beloveds who write. This guy David is amazing.)

In the meantime, here is a great post about the Holocaust, and our victory over evil!!! It's amazing:

My morning consisted of coffee and crafting a comment (below), on this article, "Humanity Is Transforming And Changing: The Great Awakening" about human evolution and well, "awakening". The writer observes we are moving forward, and made reference to global warming, corporations, etc. The article wasn't half bad. I've read much much worse - sometimes drivel is so ridiculously inane you wonder that people read it. In fact it worries me that people read crap and then just buy in.

But like I said, this article wasn't all bad, if a bit jargon heavy. Here is an excerpt:
It’s almost April 2013 and the planet is going through a mass transformation. There are many aspects to this transformation, and in the end one must come to realize the basic building block for global change starts with us, humanity on a collective level, together. We are being called to evolve past our current way of living, tap into our infinite potentiality, let go of our training wheels and fly. We continue to search for external factors like technology and alternative ways to function, which is great. But humanity cannot evolve past its current paradigm unless the souls on Earth themselves change first. From that place of change we can begin to implement new ways of operating on this planet which can propel us past our current limitations and into an existence of abundance, peace , prosperity, and discovery. Humanity must operate from a place of love, peace, cooperation, acceptance and understanding if it is to move on and expand past the current limitations and definitions it has placed upon itself. A portion of the paradigm change we are witnessing on planet Earth today is people waking up to what has really been taking place. This can be a tough process because many humans have been made to believe certain realities are true when they are not. Through the use of mainstream media, education and more, we have been programmed with false ideas and belief systems of how the world and the industries that govern it work. We’ve also been programmed with the idea of how to be, how to act, and what to do in certain situations. This type of programming has taken us away from our soul’s voice, our heart, and our ability to be our true self. We are a young race, and we are only just discovering our hearts now.

Not bad actually. It gets a bit "airy" but he/she makes a few good points: People are paying attention. Programming happens. The soul is different from the heart and the self. I like "We are a young race."

Unfortunately, she/he doesn't back up the good points and then goes a bit off the rails to blaming.

To my mind blaming corporations, the government, and even human nature is besides the point and it really is a huge part of the problem. (By the problem, I mean challenges to evolution.) We need to understand all of these components to be sure. But making arguments that can't be backed up, along with lazy consumption of info and general lack of intellectual rigor keep us from moving forward. Flabby thinking and inferior leaders will lead us into the pits of hell.

I just went back and read the ending to the article, something about "all we have to do is follow our hearts" and I'm feeling nauseous now. Ug. Ok, ok, the ending was bad.

Here's why: "Follow your heart" is good advice for many situations. It doesn't exactly fend off global warming. It also doesn't make other things "better", like parenting. Bad parenting comes from a lack of good tools, effective methods and strong role models. There are times you have to follow your heart as a parent, but it's crap for advice, because when the toddler is having a melt down in the grocery store, you really can't always hear your heart. Especially if you are a bit off your game.

  • New thought: human evolution depends on good tools, effective methods and strong role models. 

So "follow your heart" is exactly what I hated in the Human Awakening article. But still, the author made other good points. Paul posted a practical comment, something like "only a small number of people are paying attention". Here were my thoughts:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Paul – I agree completely. It’s nice words. But I’m a pragmatist. We are barely waking up, and there has always *always* been a contingent of humans who are “waking up” aka, discovering stuff before the rest. Love does indeed rule the spiritual “universe” but Action, which come from ideas and their dissemination, rule the physical world. I’m all about the overlap, and I know that Peace begins at home, but really, “one world” if it ever happens is WAY off (like in the distance/future).

I think recent research into the way people behave as individuals and in groups when faced with an actual disaster (ship literally going down) gives us the most insight into what to expect from people generally when faced with facts of a building global environmental crisis. Most people, in a disaster, freeze. It’s hard wired. Some – a few – in contrast, react with “I’m going to survive” and they often make it. Or they die trying. People who are trained for survival develop a mind set. It’s like really good defensive drivers taking it to the next level. (Read The Survivor’s Club if you want details:

What else do we know? Humans don’t believe “it” can happen to them (hence the deer in headlights first reaction) and therefore don’t plan ahead. This is true if we are talking about rape, poverty, and complete demise of an economic system or global environmental disaster. (For more proof, See: completely inadequate lack of retirement planning for our collective futures)

Finally, there is research lately that shows when confronted with info that contradicts our beliefs, we tend to become more entrenched in our (often erroneous) beliefs. ( (The remedy to this, I believe, is rigorous dedication to truly examining new information when it comes in, even if it blows all your pet theories out of the water. This is why scientists are f-cking cool. And could save our frail human asses. But then, as the author points out, they tried to burn Galileo at the stake. Copernicus was the one who first said the earth wasn’t flat, if I remember correctly, and he came well before.)

I do question some assumptions and assertions in this article, such as :
“They are owned by a handful of multinational corporations who we all know are in control of government and governmental policy, such as Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, News Corporation, CBS Corporation, and NBC Universal. What is even more strange is that all of these corporations have connections to each other. Multiple CEO’s and employees are members of the Council On Foreign Relations and all of these organizations always lead up to the same group of families, like the Rockefellers.”
 I’m pretty sure that 1. the government isn’t capable of grand conspiracies – they are too large and generally inefficient to pull it off. 2. Corporations don’t run our government. Hello? Can anyone believe that [corporations run our government] statement after the last US presidential election? I don’t disagree that corporations have too much power, that capitalism has huge flaws and that we have allowed people to hide behind the Corporate Curtain (ala Wizard of Oz) but that is not the same thing. 3. Corporations all have connections to each other because that is what groups do. It’s sensible and effective and self-preserving. Whatever – it’s what we are (ad hoc) doing right this minute. Connecting. So what. 4. CEOs are always members of various councils. Yes, some are from old money. Again, big deal. Doesn’t prove a damn thing. In fact, let’s consider “new money” and if there is more influence, across the planet, from those in the Middle East with more money than they can spend. Rest assured they love to invest in the American greenback. So I said all that to say this: It. is. time. for us to get off our armchair quarterbacking butts with all the intellectual flabbiness of a nearly uneducated generation, attack our sense of entitlement* and consider how we can make real change happen. It STARTS with actually making sound arguments and cases for our beliefs. It ENDS with _doing_ something different. Like what? Like making a point to really, truly respectfully listen to the “other side” aka all those who don’t get what the hell is going on. If you treat them like morons, they will act like morons. If you treat them like people, even including the CEOs! then they may have an interest in what you are saying.

I really hope this comment section let’s me go on this long. Paul, thank you for getting me started. I needed to coagulate these thoughts.
Namaste. Be a warrior.

*the idea that we are either doomed and so will sit asana or that someone else will fix the problem
Bottom line is I wouldn't have commented if I hadn't thought there was enough intellectual prowess (in the author and the readers) to work with in the first place.

Reading all this and commenting also makes me bow at the feet of composition teachers everywhere.

[Please forgive the crappy formatting in my post. I have too much to do to dig into the html to fix it. Yes, I'm being technilogically lazy ass.]