Random musings and activities of a 30 something mom, potential sprint triathlete, vegetarian, dog and cat owner, and a evolving urban homesteader just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us. If the blog seems random, it's because life is and hits us all at 100mph.
Monday, February 15, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Attn Gmail users. Can you answer these questions?

Dear Gmail Users,

Below is a link to a form to regain access to your gmail account if it is ever hacked.  I suggest looking at the form closely and writing down the answers PRIOR to your account getting hacked.  Or loose your gmail account forever.  Really.

I blogged earlier in the month about getting hacked ( I was hacked ).  I got everything covered and back except one thing.  My valued gmail account.

My gmail account was obviously somehow linked with the yahoo account that got hacked.  It's not just ANY gmail account (like this blogger account), it was MINE:


I'm sure you're wondering right now why can't I email someone.  I did.  I have.  MANY, MANY times.  They refer me to this link:

I'm not sure what the d-bag hacker changed, but obviously my answers to these questions (like 5 of my contacts) is wrong.  I've attempted this form 14 times.  14 times I get the following auto-response:

Thank you for your report. We've completed our investigation and cannot return your account at this time. We were unable to verify that you own this account based on the information you provided.

If you can provide additional information to verify that you own this
account, please visit:


and submit another report. Whether we can return access to this account depends on the strength and accuracy of your responses, so be sure to provide as much information as possible. If you're unsure about specific dates or information, provide your best guess.

To create a new account, please visit

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

The Google Team
 Inconvenience?  It's more than that.  My daughter's school communicates to me through that, my registration for anything important (sorry gap.com, you get my throwaway yahoo), and my friends and family are linked through there.
I can't remember when I opened that account.  I could probably look at my emails and see when I received the first one.  Oh wait.  I can't.

I can't tell you when I first starting using google docs.  All I know is that I have tons of info in there, and even my houshold budget, and can't access it.

I could go on and on about how I try that form with each month of 2007, but it's pointless.  If the dbag erased all my contacts like he did while in my yahoo account..... I'll never answer that bot-form correctly.

So, dear Gmail users.  Take a lesson from me, and if you don't use outlook or other programs that downloads your emails (ie you do it all online) you risk losing it all and despite having 12.675 forms of ID to show it's yours, Google and Gmail don't care.

Good luck.

Monday, February 08, 2010

PostHeaderIcon You Can Make a Difference (QOTD)

 Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
        ~Margaret Mead
        ~US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 - 1978)

What do you see in your world that needs to change?

What are you doing about it?
Friday, February 05, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Simple Ways to Make Someone's Day

Oscar Wilde once said, "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."

I've taken to a new habit at work, writing a thank you note a day. Sometimes it's to a vendor, or customer, or trucker, or even a customs broker. I'm always careful to say thanks on the phone, but how often do you get a thank you note. I do it not only to stand out, but also because I'm sincere. Without the help of dozens of people a day, I could not succeed at my job.

Today, I noticed Real Simple (a guilty pleasure of mine!) posted an article on Simple Ways to Make Someone's Day. It gave some great ideas, but don't underestimate the power of the Thank You Note!

link to article:
Simple Ways to Make Someone's by Real Simple

So many times, we are so wrapped up in getting to the next place, we are not present in our current location. Our mind is elsewhere. When that happens, we fail to see all that is happening around us, including people.

My hope for today is that I do not fail to recognize those who help and support me.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

PostHeaderIcon The Swim. Let's Do It.

The Swim on my last tri kicked my butt.

I'm laughing today because my brother took his first adult swim class and is talking about how much he hates swimming. I feel your pain brother. Really.

So, I'm about to get into the pool for the first time since my triathlon.

What do you suggest?
Private lessons?
Total Immersion classes?
A simple class at the Y? (not ready for Masters classes yet)

I have access to an indoor pool across the street from my work. Luckily they also have a zero-entry pool for the little one that is life guarded.

This is what I'm working with.

I know all of you have suggestions.... let's go!!!!! This year, the swim will NOT kick my butt. I promise you.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010

PostHeaderIcon The Passing of Howard Zinn

I think Larry and Carol Barkan say it best in this NYTimes letter.

To the Editor:

Bob Herbert’s Jan. 30 column about Howard Zinn, “A Radical Treasure,” is a wonderful tribute to a great man. We never met Mr. Zinn except through his books and films. Yet his death left us with a profound sadness.

There aren’t many people who speak truth to power and do so with as much grace, intelligence and compassion as Mr. Zinn. His “People’s History of the United States” should be read by all Americans. It’s our failure to understand and take responsibility for our arrogance that has led us into so many military mistakes and economic calamities.

Thank you, Bob Herbert, for reminding us of what this world lost when this great man died.

Larry Barkan

Carol Barkan

Tempe, Ariz., Jan. 30, 2010

It saddens me that Zinn was considered a radical, for being what I considered a true patriot.  It is our duties as citizens to question everything, and to trust but verify, and to help those struggling below us.

Howard Zinn was truly a great American.

PostHeaderIcon I'm so thankful I have the friends I do.

I was directed to the following link by an attorney friend.


Luckily I was able to print off what I needed before it was removed.

A few more phone calls, and I think I can start the process in motion.

Whew.  I don't wish her ill, but the harassment needs to stop.

PostHeaderIcon Monday was hell and everyone wants to know why I "defriended" them on facebook.

Monday was hell. Let me try and make this short.

Monday my yahoo was hacked and sent an email to over 500 contacts, including vendors and customers, friends, and family stating I was in Wales and send me money.

I could deal with that.

Then he/they got into my FB account and locked me out of there.  Despite several emails exchanges, I still don't have access.  In fact, I didn't hear back from the FB rep yesterday.

Then he/they went on to other sites associated with this email address (like facebook) and click "forgot password" and went on to reset my passwords.  About 5 hours after the first email was sent from this d-bag, I get a noticed from ebay that my account was suspended due to suspicious activity.  He/they bid on close to 15 laptops.  Luckily, ebay caught it and shut my account down (but I now have it back).

Then he went into my XX@gmail account.  I tried answering the questions to regain that account, but obviously I didn't answer something right.  Because after 4 attemps, I have 4 emails from google stating I did not provide enough information, and I'm locked out of that account.

I was on the phone with yahoo for over 2 hours trying to regain control of THIS account, but while on the phone, I was getting notifications from facebook, gmail, ebay, etc that my passwords were being changed.  I couldn't keep up with him/them.  I then realized since I had this yahoo account for like 4 years, that many of my financial institutions were associated with this account, so I immediately starting changing the passwords on those accounts, then called the banks and put fraud alerts.  then I called my cc companies.  They ALL decided to cancel my CCs and send me new ones.  I had to take a business trip yesterday with the $23 I had and a company card.  I felt naked.

So, Monday all in all it took about 7 hours to clean up the chaos he/they created.  This doesn't include getting calls from vendors, co-workers, and customers telling me they think I've been hacked, others who hadn't talked to me in awhile concerned I really was stuck in Wales, and the embarassment of it all.

It was truly hell.

Monday, February 01, 2010

PostHeaderIcon I was hacked.

So today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  One of my emails accounts were hacked.  Yes, all 500-and-some contacts in my address book got an URGENT email stating I was in Wales, had been mugged, and needed $2000.  An oldie but a goodie.  Just to think, last week I won the UK lottery.  Maybe I was mugged because someone thought I had all that cash on me?  Ok, my seriously bad attempt at finding humor in this situation.

It went from bad to worse, and I could go on to explain how I'm locked out of ebay (temporarily suspended), Facebook (hopefully temporary), gmail (hopefully fixed tomorrow), and a couple of other sites.  But I won't.  What I will explain is some common sense rules I ignored.

My IT guy in corp HQ suggested changing all my passwords every 60-90 days.  I need to come up with an organizational system to do this.  I realized I hadn't changed my email password in over 3 years.  I'm not sure it would have prevented today's attack, but it would have been a line of defense.

I'm locked out of facebook, why?  It was the same PW as my email account.  How to solve that in the future seems pretty self explanatory.  Again, a new organizational system needed to keep track of a unique password for every site I visit.

Bank accounts.  Thank G-d I used a different PW for all my financial institutions.  I went ahead and changed those passwords too, called CS and asked for a fraud alert.  I'm already thinking not all my financial institutions need the same password.  I'm starting to see a trend here.  Following me?

Overall, I could go into it, but you've heard the warnings.  No longer is it a friend of a friend that it once happened to.  It happened to me.

I don't open emails from unknown senders.

I don't click on links that I'm not sure about.

Attachments to emails get run through a virus scan.

So, how did this happen?  No clue.

Ebay was nice enough to provide me with the IP addy of the person who changed my ebay password.  It belongs to an anonymous proxy server/service (?).  I was told that means this person can't be found.

So, dear hacker who ruined by day, made me cry, has locked me out of facebook, and overall my week a hell (and it's only Monday).... I have a message for you.  I even put it in a heart to show you how much I care:

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Quotes as I come across them......

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it last forever.” ~~~Lance Armstrong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." ~~~Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.~~~Denis Watley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. ~~~Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)


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