Internet Security – Security Questions-HaliPawz

If you are anything like me, you HATE the dreaded security questions when you go to register on a new site. They can be confusing sometimes, they are like those word problems we had in school. Sometimes worded just right that they trip you up!

I noticed that financial institutions have gotten even more complicated with their questions. “who was the best man at your patents wedding?”, “What was the house number of the house you lived in 3rd grade?” I read some of them and thought, wow, I don’t know an answer to over half of these….imagine someone who came from a broken home or moved around a lot. What about someone in and out of foster homes? The questions could get a little ridiculous. They could even sink a depressed person into deeper depression!

I know the questions are there to protect us. To make sure that only we are accessing that site, no one else. For that, I am appreciative. Not all of them are that complicated.

Today’s post is about helping you protect yourself, even with these security questions. With the social media ever-present in all our lives, a lot of the basic security question’s answers could be found using your photo album and your friends list. You want to be able to answer the questions but not let anyone else be able to answer them.

1. Use formal answers instead of shortened. For example, if the question is, “What is the name of the High School you attended?” Don’t put “GVHS” if it’s all over pictures, you might want to put Green Valley or even Green Valley High (leaving out the word High or High School).

2. Use Various punctuation. Most security questions are case-sensitive; meaning upper case and lower case must be how you typed your answer. Remember that most people are lazy with their security question answers and leave them all lower case or only capitalize the first letter of the first word. Do not do this! Mix it up a little as long as YOU remember what you did. You could even reverse it. For example: gREEN vALLEY hIGH sCHOOL

3. Try not to use just numbers. Even when the security question is your date of birth, try spelling it out instead of just numbers or using the punctuation associated with your number on a keyboard. For example, instead of putting 28, put ]*

4. Do not answer things that put all of your most basic questions in one spot! I have seen this going around Facebook a couple of times and cringe when I see it.


It is giving a potential hacker so much key information. All they have to do is sit and wait for your friends to comment on them. Over a few days they will have almost all if the answers at their fingertips. Maybe not to your most secured sites, like those crazy financial institutions, but it might give them enough to hack into your computer and then access all that information.

5. Use past pet’s named instead of current or use the name you call them instead of what you type. For example, I might put “ZipZip” instead if “Zipper”. A name only I use. That way, when someone is going through my photos and see “Zipper” or even “Zip” on all my photos, they still don’t have the answer to: “What is your pet’s name?”

So remember, the next time you are signing onto a new site, don’t blow through the security questions. Take a minute to really answer them. Use some creativity but not so much that you won’t remember what you put! You may even want to go in and update some of your old ones.

Have fun on the internet but also stay safe!

The Question is Why…..Government Funding

I recently read an article about a couple that went zip lining outside of the US and the husband suffered a horrible accident after the wind shifted. He is now in Mexico with a brain injury. I don’t know why, but I started reading the comments. Sometimes the comments are more informative that the actual news article. They provoke thought. In some stories, they are humorous. Not in this one though. This is a sad story so the comments were filled with prayers, concerns, the atheist saying prayers aren’t going to help unless you back it with cash, and of course….the comments I refer to as the “blame game” comments. None of those were a surprise of course, but the one that stood out to me was “why isn’t the government helping to pay?” For accuracy sake, I will say I am paraphrasing, but the bottom line is….it’s the governments responsibility.

That leads me to my: “The Question is Why” segment.

Why are so many Americans so quick to jump to, “Let the government pay for it”. The last I checked, the government doesn’t have a bottomless bank account. For those that struggle with this concept, let me put it in a simpler fashion…..

Someone has to fill the gas tank before you can run the car!

Now, if you are the one receiving the money from the government, you are not the one filling the gas tank. If you are the hard working, tax paying citizen, you ARE filling the gas tank.

The money isn’t falling from the sky people. It has to come from somewhere. We are going to be in trouble one day because, at the rate we are going, we are going to have more people taking money from government sources than we have paying in. What do we do then???

Now, the people I feel bad for are those that legitimately need the help. They are unable to fiscally contribute to society, either due to physical or mental limitations. It is our responsibly to help those that need that help. I won’t go into all of the ones that I feel we should NOT be helping because that would be another post. I want to talk about this one situation.

Here are some facts that I have learned, based on the story and the comments:

They “the couple” have been together for 20 years. This means they are capable of communicating with each other, making plans with each other, etc. It wasn’t a emotionally charged, spur of the moment, trip planned by 20 something year olds.

She (the wife) is a doctor. I don’t know what kind, but many posted that she was their doctor, so I’m going to guess at least family practice or specialty. She’s not a medical examiner for a county, she interacts with real people on a regular basis and seems to be well liked. This tells me she is educated, had decent social skills, etc.

They went with another couple. This means FOUR adults made the decisions for this trip, or at least 2 and the other two just went along with their decisions. Either way, one person, in all likelihood, did not plan and pay for this entire trip.

Four adults went on a trip outside the country, which means they knew to get a passport and they had the fiscal means to do so as well as the fiscal means to actually go on a trip.

I am not trying to pick on this couple during their tragedy, this really could be for anyone that fits these demographics…..but not once did they make a decision to purchase international trip insurance. That was THEIR choice. They didn’t look to see if their insurance would cover them outside of the country, but now that something tragic has happened, some “do gooder” instantly says….why isn’t the government helping to pay?

Are you kidding me???? That is the PROBLEM with so many. Now, in fairness….The wife is NOT the one asking the government to help. Someone set up a “GoFundMe” account for them. I truly do hope those they work with and those that respect this doctor step in and help them. I won’t be. Not because I don’t care, but because my money goes to organizations and causes I believe in. That’s how most people decide who and when to support.

For those that are reading this and want to see the original story, here it is: Accident leaves husband with brain injury

If you want to help them, here is the GoFundMe link. GoFundMe

It looks like almost half of the $100,000 has already been raised, which is great.

As I have said, this is NOT about them, I wish them well. This is about someone automatically saying anything that costs money should be the governments responsibility. Even I have gambled on the outside the US travel insurance. Sometimes I buy it, sometimes I don’t. Educational side note, ALWAYS know what your insurance does and does not cover, especially when going out of the country.

We have to stop automatically assuming the government’s money will bail us out when we make choices that end up fiscally impacting us.

That is my soapbox for the day.

With Apology comes Responsibility & Accountability

I watch or read the news and see a lot of insincere apologies. When did we stop caring about people and more about press and image? In my opinion, lack of respect for every individual is the cornerstone of so many tragedies.

Blood, pain, realistic scenes are not going away from our media sources. They are integrated in the television shows , movies, and music that we see everyday. Shock value had a place in our society so we have to learn to accept it. What we don’t have to accept is the lack of teaching in spite of the shock value system. We just have to learn to teach WITH it.

Change happens, teaching values & morals seems to have stopped.

We can still teach alongside change. It has happened for years. Think for a minute about electricity. Prior to electricity, parents taught their children to respect flames / fire. Children were taught, at the appropriate age, how to light a candle, an oil lamp wick, or even a fire in the fireplace, when light in a room was needed. Once electricity came along, the everyday need for teaching and using fire went away. FIRE didn’t go away, just the need for it everyday. Now our ancestors could have said….I don’t know about this electricity thing; It’s EVERYWHERE….let’s stop teaching our children respect of fire. It’s not needed anymore. Thankfully, they did not do that! They continued to teach children respect for fire and how to use it properly so when fire was needed (electricity goes out) they latched on to their knowledge of fire and used it without burning the house down.

I believe we need to see more examples of accountability to stop this dangerous slide of tragic endings.

I believe there are ways to help stop this downward spiral by holding people truly accountable, not just fiscally. For example: When an automaker knowingly allows the continued manufacturing of a faulty piece and it results in long term damage or fatality….they no longer get to stand up on a podium, say they are sorry, pay a fine to the government and the victim(s), and move on. Fiscal punishment does nothing to them. They still collect their salaries. They still collect their bonuses.

Here is my proposal. The minute a company is found guilty of negligence and it is determined that they had knowledge of it’s defect and kept manufacturing, then all parties involved are given a mandatory two year salary increase freeze and they are not allowed to collect any bonus. Those bonus dollars are garnished and given to the victims or their families. A “sorry” on the podium isn’t enough. They have to go and meet with each victim (or their surviving immediate family members) one on one, face to face and apologize. Each party found guilty of the knowledge has to do it individually, not as a group. If they are a manufacturing plant, they have to stop production for two weeks, yet every employee gets paid their average weekly rate during the shutdown AND they are not allowed to raise their wholesale rates for one year. Those guilty need to feel the loss, not the associates who did anything wrong.

Apologies have to mean something. This starts at a young age and goes through adult hood. Just the words, “I’m sorry” have lost their true meaning for so many. Much of this is due to lack of respect. If children don’t respect their parents, they will never respect others as they grow up. Without respect, there is no care if another person is injured or even killed. This has to stop.

Think about your life. Do YOU respect everyone around you? You don’t have to like them to respect them. Are you teaching any minors around you to respect others or do you laugh when they disrespect someone or even encourage it? Every time you do, you add to the future problems.

Accountability for ones actions, responsibility for self and others, and respect of all living things will help to change this society we live in. What can you do to help?

Gallbladder surgery….years later

I had my gallbladder removed quite a few years ago. I still remember the time leading up to it. I was diagnosed up in Michigan. The doctor said he could remove it and I would be back to normal. I remember thinking that it couldn’t be that easy. We must have it for a reason??? Taking something out of the body as if it was never there? Never had a purpose? Why do we even have it??

I put it off. Months passed and I found out I was being promoted and moving out of state. I moved and the surgery was pushed out of my mind. I didn’t have a doctor in the new state. I didn’t have the time. I was trying to prove myself.

I pushed the symptoms to the side. The doubling over in pain. The never knowing if it was safe to eat something for fear of getting sick. I always had to allow myself 30 min after eating to see if I was going to get sick or not. Most times, I did. After a year or three of hiding it, causing problems with my job because I was too afraid uncomfortable to tell them what was going on. I never really told anyone.

Then one day, the pain overwhelmed me enough that it had me doubled up in a fetal position. It even hurt to breathe. I went to the doctor and told them I was diagnosed up in Michigan as it being 80% damaged. This was over 3 1/2 years later! Needless to say, it was already done working. They couldn’t believe I had waited that long.

I went in and had it removed. I could not put it off any longer. I looked forward to having my life back pre-gallbladder failure. No pain. No waiting 30 minutes after eating to see if I was going to get sick.

I was WRONG!!! They don’t tell you how your body reacts after the surgery. The stomach pains that stab you as punishment for eating the wrong things. Yes, you have to be careful what you eat or you will regret it. Even that would be ok if you could figure out WHAT is the wrong thing! It never made sense. It was never the same thing. One day I could have a salad and be fine, another time and I would be sick for 2 hours. There were some things I learned to avoid. French fries at Cheddars. I would be fine anywhere else, so I’m guessing it had something to do with their oil but I cannot say for sure. After 5-7 trips there over a span of time, I decided it wasn’t worth it to eat there and I haven’t been back.

I’ve done more research and learned that “most” women are affected for a short time but only a small percentage are affected for longer periods. I think that is a lie. I don’t believe those numbers are accurate. I believe there are more like me. Overweight, mid 30s, that still suffers on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. I reference overweight because I think overweight women are less likely to share their embarrassing symptoms. All too often, the doctor’s response is, “Well if you’d lose weight, you wouldn’t have ______________________ (fill in whatever item to talked to them about). It gets tiring. Sometimes you want to say….NO, I know skinny women that have this problem as well! Instead, you just don’t mention it. It isn’t killing you, so you survive and deal with it.

As I’ve been losing weight, many things have changed. I am still overweight. It’s going to be a long process, but guess what HASN’T gotten better???? You guessed it, stomach pains, unexpected & unplanned trips to the bathroom, sometimes hitting you so fast that you get chills (similar to a fever) and goosebumps down your arms. Sometimes so sudden you don’t thing you are going to make it to a bathroom.

No, this topic IS NOT easy to write about but I’m writing it to be the voice of the women that aren’t willing to say it. If you are a woman suffering with this, tell your doctor. Swallow the embarrassment and talk to him or her and let them know how you’re feeling.

Still not ready to talk to them….here are some tips I have learned help me.

1. Breathe! Deep breaths. When you feel the stabbing pains, take nice deep slow breaths. It had helped to give me some more time.

2. Shut off the phone. I can’t explain it, but if I feel the pain and shut off all sounds and just concentrate on silence while I’m breathing, I can even get it to pass.

3. Pay attention to what you drank as much as you pay attention to what you ate. I have learned that some foods are fine as long as I drink water and not Coke. That’s not as hard now because I’m drinking more water. It sucked before I started my weight loss, but it was better than the pain.
(So the two things that ARE easier now that I’m losing weight really did not play a factor in it being better or worse).

4. Pay attention to what you ate AROUND your meals. For example, too much chocolate can trigger a reaction when you eat your next meal. Again, not a problem as I’m losing weight.

5. Give those around you a little heads up. Yes, it’s embarrassing but you don’t have to give them details. I used to explain to my co-workers that I don’t digest foods properly so sometimes I have to step away shortly after I come back from lunch. That way they knew I wasn’t just being a slacker and taking off for a few minutes so soon after lunch but they didn’t know the full extent.

6. Don’t let it stop you from living. Plan ahead and choose your meals wisely if you feel like it might be a bad day, but still enjoy life and have fun.

Recently I read that there is some medicine available for those that continue to suffer after their cholecystectomy. I have decided that I am going to mention it to my doctor the next time I go in.

If I do and I try it, I will update this post.

Most importantly, for the women that are like me and carry extra weight. I know it’s easy for your doctor to tell you it will be better if you lose weight. If that is their standard answer for EVERYTHING then it might be time to find a new doctor. Make sure that are really listening to you and your symptoms.

I will close with….had I known how bad it was going to be afterwards, I don’t know if I would have jumped at the surgery but then I remember the pain that had me doubled over at times. It’s a lose lose either way. Ugh!

One Person CAN make a Difference

All to often people gripe. Now don’t get me wrong, I can b*tch about things with the best of them but I try to keep that short lived. It doesn’t get you anywhere. Yes, it might help you feel better as you rant, unless it sends your blood pressure skyrocketing…then you really are not feeling better, but in the end, you are back where you started.

I’m a fixer by nature. In my head, I see a problem, I want to solve it. I see a need, I want to come up with a solution. In reality, these problems are not always huge, world dilemma, problems; they might be a problem that only affects one person, but to that one person, THEY have a problem.

It is easy to shrug off a problem. It is easy to say “I’m only one person, what can I do?” Sometimes it’s easier to think “let someone more qualified do it”. Of course, it is important to THINK before you act. There is something to be said about qualification. You can’t start cutting into someone because they need an operation, your solution would be to help arrange the transportation, after care, etc.

The solutions are not always that easy, the problems not always that obvious, but all it takes is to get started. Not put it off, not say, let someone else handle it….but to really try.

I have a gift (or a curse, depending on how you look at it) of being able to quickly analyze a situation or problem and play out various paths of possibilities. In a way, it’s like those books I read as a child, if you open door 1, go to page 32 / door 2, go to page 46. In a matter of seconds in my brain, I have potential problems that result from my hypothetical solution, I am able to see the various paths the solutions can go, AND sometimes I can go so far that I can see that the solution would only be short term and have to start thinking long term.

Do I have the answers to life’s problems? Absolutely not. No one does. That’s what this blog is about. It’s about ONE person making a difference. It is not about ME making a difference.

This blog has a couple of different steps. I want to start showcasing the people you see that are making a difference. Perhaps it is someone in your community making a difference. It doesn’t matter if they are making a difference for one person or for a multitude. We need to encourage, motivate, and uplift those that have the courage to step out of the box and decided to make a difference.

If you have a story to share, here are some ways:

Post the story in the comments.

Tweet the story with the hashtag:

Share the story on my Facebook page:
With the comment One Person Making a Difference

We need to encourage others to start making a difference for another person in a positive way. Too much negativity out there. Let’s be positive and make an impact!

My Water Carafe

I have been trying to lose weight. I didn’t want to diet or use the word diet, but develop a healthier lifestyle. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Losing weight should be simple. I know gaining it is. Common sense says, fewer calories in, more energy out. It’s not always that simple though. It’s so easy to lose track of your momentum.

I have been tracking this journey internally and with a small core of friends, but I am ready to make it more public because I know others must struggle as I do.

I’m an apple-shaped 39-year-old woman. It’s not easy being an apple. You ALWAYS look overweight because you carry a fat roll right in the middle of your body. If you took a picture of just my legs, you would never guess they belong to an “obese” woman. Yeah, I used the term. We have to accept it.

Apple women have boy hips. I know they aren’t REALLY boy hips, but that’s what it feels like. Our hips steal our ability to have an hourglass figure. Even the Cosmo articles tell you that men like hips. You can be overweight, as long as you have those sexy hips. So for us single Apples….there goes another reason men aren’t drawn to us. Cosmo says you need to have hips for men to look at you and Cosmo is always right, isn’t it? (Said tongue in cheek) Ahhh, to have hips.

So I started losing weight. Started in January. I have lost 30 pounds and seem to be stuck. My friends tell me not to get frustrated because I’m still losing inches, which, in reality is more important….but it still sucks! Losing inches makes me proud, but guess where I am losing the most inches??? If you guessed the hated fat roll, you would be wrong. If you guessed the boy hips, you would be right. Are you kidding me? Not only do I have the dreaded boy hips but now I’m losing inches faster there??? Ugh!! Life isn’t fair. One day I took my measurements and my hips and waist were the exact same! Now that wouldn’t be so bad…I would just look like a plank, except the two are divided by that lovely roll that is the slowest to change.

I know my hips shrinking are due to my new favorite activity; swimming, but I don’t want to stop that because it motivates me to stay active. I’m not the most graceful person on land, but in water I feel like I can do anything. I don’t just swim, I do water fitness, I do crunches, sometimes I just have fun and play in the water. I was afraid of the water as a child so I explore the different things I can do. I spin, I float, as long as I stay moving, I don’t care what I’m doing in the water.

I tried a detox. 21 miserable days. I did great for about 14 of the 21. Maybe even 18 of the 21. I didn’t do great the whole 21 days though. I learned some things from it though. I learned that raw nuts with sea salt are a healthy alternative when I’m craving something sweet. I learned that I like mixing my fruit when I eat it. I now cut up my fruit and eat different types at the same time, especially melon. I also learned that I don’t need meat with EVERY meal. I’m still a red meat carnivore though! That will never change. I think that’s the thing I hated most about the detox. I knew it wasn’t reality for me. I knew I would never continue life without meat after I was done with it.

I slipped for a while. Mostly all of June I lost a lot of focus on my weight loss. I didn’t gain, thankfully, but I didn’t lose. I owe the not gaining to my new active personality. I swim, I cut the grass, I take the dogs for a walk ….I LIKE being active. I noticed the high humidity doesn’t affect me this summer like it did last summer. I FEEL healthier even though I am still way too overweight according to the scales.

One day, shopping at Wal-Mart, I saw a carafe. I have always wanted a carafe. I can’t explain my fascination with them, but I have always wanted on…especially one that sealed. Here was the perfect one. I was excited. Then I debated….would I USE it? Should I spend the money (less than $10). How many ounces is it? Will it serve the purpose? Did I really care? No! I wanted that carafe. The color choice was light blue or sea green. I went with the light blue. I put it in my cart. I know it’s strange, but I was excited.


At home, I filled it up then dumped it into my scale. It was 35 ounces. I filled it again but stopped at the neck. 32 ounces. Perfect! Two of those a day would be my 64 ounces.

I hate getting up to fill my water when I’m working and I like ice water, but when you fill a large glass with ice, you end up with less water, so you drink it quicker and have to get up to refill it. It’s a never-ending dilemma. This carafe was the answer I was looking for. I filled the carafe. I added two small slices of lemon. Grabbed a large glass. Filled it with ice. I poured the water into the glass and set off to go to my office. As I drank my first glass, I refilled it from the carafe and kept working. Ice was slowly melting but I managed to drink almost three glasses before it melted all the way.

The carafe was a WIN! The best thing is, I’m drinking my water!

Five days later, I am still drinking a lot more water. If I want a coke, I have to still drink my 64 ounces. Only one day did I fail but that was partially because I wasn’t home and didn’t take water with me. It is 11:39am and I already have almost one whole carafe gone. I am down three pounds since I started using the carafe.

I just have to continue to remember, it’s not all about the weight, it’s about the health!

Carafe and glass

Morning Snooze War

I thought this posted Saturday morning. It didn’t, so I’m posting now. Still makes me laugh when I remember it!

7:21am Saturday morning and my alarm is going off. As I hit snooze and think to myself….do I really want to go to water fitness? I do, but I’m tired and I am just not ready to get up yet. Maybe in 9 minutes my thoughts will be different. The snooze button, a wonderful and horrible invention.

7:30am, alarm goes off again and as I hit snooze, I rationalize. Yes, I need to lose weight. Yes, I want to sleep. Oh wait, I have to cut the grass! I’ll sleep another 30 minutes or so and then get up and do that. That will be the workout for the day.

Content with my decision, I start to drift off for another blissful 8 1/2 minutes because I still haven’t shut off my the alarm. I never do. I have hit snooze for over an hour. As I slowly start to drift, I change positions of my leg. I accidentally bump Zipper, my Jack Russell Terrier, and he growls and leaps off the bed to curl up in his dog bed.

Zipper, aka “Mr. Grumpy” does not like to be touched when he is sleeping. He doesn’t bite, he just growls loud and takes off like you beat him. He has a way of doing it with such a flair that he can make you feel guilty! It wouldn’t be so bad except that he is also a leg seeker in bed. He insists on touching your leg somewhere. Crazy isn’t it? You can’t accidentally bump him but he insists on touching you. If I move my leg slightly away from him, he will scoot over so he is touching me again. I don’t mind. He’s so cute that it’s difficult to stay mad at him for very long.

Now that he is pouting in his dog bed, I look at my iPhone. A little over 2 minutes left before the alarm is going off. Maybe I should go to water fitness class. Oh yeah, the grass! I’m good. I start to drift again.

7:39am. Stupid alarm. I should just shut it off, or at least change the time. Habit wins, I hit snooze even as I think about it. Start to drift off and I hear crunch crunch crunch. Now, when you have two VERY different dogs that seem to have one thing in common; doing stuff they shouldn’t be doing, you get very in tune with the noises they make. I listen again. Bella, my Neapolitan Mastiff is chewing her toenails. Ugh! The sound. It’s so annoying. I listen again to make sure it’s her toenails and not the bedding as she often does, decide to try to ignore her and go back to sleep.

With Bella, when you interact with her in the morning, she sometimes takes that as an invitation to start playing.

Crunch, crunch….I can’t take it. Eyes still closed, not wanting to face the morning light, I reach my hand around and find her head. I put my hand under her mouth and slowly pull it away from her paw. She stops.

I’m hot. I decide to turn on my little fan next to my bed. Blasts of cold air hit my face. I forgot, the last time I had it on I was laying diagonally across my bed. It’s annoying me hitting my face. I shut it back off. I’m not THAT hot. The blast helped a little anyway.

7:48am alarm goes off and snooze is, yet again, tapped and I start to drift off back to sleep. Then I hear it. The unmistakable sound of Zipper licking his butt. It it one of the most annoying sounds in the world at ANY time but especially when you are trying to sleep. Zipper’s butt licking is an obsession of his. He licks loud. He licks for a long time. It isn’t just licking…it’s like a disgusting slurping sound. I can’t take it. I know it won’t stop. All I want to do is sleep!!! Why won’t they cooperate? I clap my hands loudly. That gets his attention. He stops. Briefly. In the 10 seconds it takes me to rejoice that he stopped without me getting up, he starts up again. AARGH!!!! Not only is he starting up again just as loud, but Bella has started her toenail crunching again as well. I’m guessing my hand clap woke her. I clap my hand again in a last-ditch effort before I have to get up and go over to stop him. They both stop! What???? Blissful sleep for a few more minutes? Yes!!!

I sink deeper into my pillow, getting ready to enjoy the last few minutes of sleep before the snooze alarm disturbs me. Of course, my brain is starting to wonder into thought. I should get up and write this. No! Sleep first, write later. I won’t remember all the small details. Yes you will, go back to sleep. This war of thoughts in my head entertain me and scare me at the same time. Sleep wins….well….the under a minute sleep before the snooze.

7:57am alarm goes off. Snooze tapped automatically. Desire to sleep still winning. Zipper jumps back on the bed and curls up at my calf. It’s ok. I can still sleep. Bella stands up, oh no, what is she doing….she flops back down in a different position. Phew! Sleep crisis diverted. All is perfect. Sleep comes to me.

I know I fell back to sleep. Then it happens. Bella must have stretched her leg a little and tapped Zipper. Zipper growled and jumped up. (That’s what woke me back up). Bella reacted to the growl with a pounce like jump. For such a big dog, she acts like a 20lb dog sometimes. It’s GAME ON! Play time commence. 8:03am. I’ve lost. I pick up my iPhone to write. Not my favorite tool but I still don’t feel like getting up to go downstairs and get my tablet or laptop.

8:06am alarm goes off as I’m writing. I shut it off. I should have just gone to water fitness!

The story should end there, but it doesn’t. In the time it took me to write this, play time stopped and started again. Both times very short-lived. I had a mastiff paw digging into my back. I had Zipper get mad at me again because he tried to lay too close to my arm and it was moving too much for him. I had to stop Bella from licking her butt. Luckily she is not obsessed like Zipper so it’s easy to stop her. Now, as I’m about to conclude this story, I look over. They are both sound asleep, blissfully unaware, dreaming their doggie dreams, while I am wide awake! 8:55am. Water fitness would be just ending. I laugh at the irony. Time to get up.

Sound Asleep

Sound Asleep

Internet Safety Tutorial #2 – Opening Email-HaliPawz

So it is time for another Internet Safety Tutorial. I know that our email in boxes can get inundated with email and we don’t always have the time to go through them, especially for those that just have one email address (or addy for short). I will address that in another tip. Today is just about keeping yourself safe when you are opening email.

The first thing I want to say is that if you EVER receive an email from a “family member” saying that they were traveling overseas and their wallet was stolen, please send money….DO NOT SEND MONEY!!!!! EVER!!!!! What happened is somehow, their Social Media site (generally Facebook) was hacked and they are email everyone in their friends list. I know for those of you that are reading this that are not internet savvy, it is difficult to understand how this all happens, but trust me, it does. A family member would NEVER contact you this way. I know that it seems like it is coming from their email and you want to help a loved one, but it would never happen that way. Do not do it. PLEASE!!!! Side note, even though this is about Internet Safety, the same would go for a phone call from a third-party. Never send money because you think a family member is stranded somewhere unless you talk to THAT family member directly! Even overseas, if something like that should happen to a family member, there are places they could go, their hotel would let them contact you, the police, US Embassy, etc. It would not be through a third-party that you do not know!

Now, that leads me to opening email in general. For the most part, the email you receive is safe and you do not have to worry about it. The ones I am focusing on in this blog are the ones that seem to trip some people up.

The first one I am going to focus on is when it looks legitimate at first glance but it shows up in your junk email. Use the filters in your junk email for a reason! They catch things internally that you might not always see at first glance.

I recently received an email Titled “expedited Shipping” Now, I have been ordering a few things lately, so I thought, maybe it isn’t really junk mail, it’s a notice of something arriving. Then I opened it and I realized right away that it was junk. Not everyone would though.

This is what it looked like:

Screen shot of potential dangerous junk mail

Screen shot of potential dangerous junk mail

If you notice, it has USPS on it, so you would think that it was sent from them. But it wasn’t the typical logo and style of USPS so that had me on alert. If you weren’t familiar with their style of email or if you didn’t catch subtle things like that, it might have you fooled.

With my notes

With my notes

Now, here are some basic steps to help keep you safe. The first thing you want to do is look for the email address of the sender….not just what they listed as the title. For example, “Expedited Shipping” isn’t their email address, all email addresses end in always look at the name AFTER the @ sign. That is the key to who it is from. If you are looking at the email from a tablet or smart phone, you may have to click more or click on the name to see the email address. It is IMPORTANT that you do that! In this case, this was the email address:

The Email Address

The Email Address

It was clear that it was not from anyone at the USPS. If it was, the email would have been something like At this point, you would be best to just delete it and move on.

For those that like to go the extra step to prove that it isn’t the right thing to do….If you notice in the pic up above, I said that you could right-click on the “Print Address Label” and copy the path. If you are looking at the email on your computer, you can also often click properties after you right-click and it will show you the path. For this blog, I am showing you a sample of what it would look like on an iPhone. I held down over the “Print Address Label” and then clicked “copy”. From there, I opened up a blank text message screen, held down over the area you text in, and clicked “paste”. This is what it showed me….

The path

The path

The sender’s whole goal is to get you to click on “Print Address Label” In doing this, it may have allowed them to put a virus on your computer, it may have allowed them access to your computer to get into your files. There is no telling WHY and WHAT they had in mind. By doing these few extra steps, you can save yourself a lot of headache.

Another popular trick that is happening is that the sender’s name may be a name you recognize, maybe even someone you have emailed in the past, and the spelling is the exact same….do not be fooled! If it ended up in your JUNK or SPAM folder, there is probably a reason. Or if it just says “Web Page for __________ (your name)” BE SUSPICIOUS!!!! Chances are, it’s SPAM.

Junk or spam from a name I know

Junk or spam from a name I know

Now, because it was in my junk email AND it was just a generic title, I took the one extra step and click to see the email address. This is what I saw:

Email Addy not right

Email Addy not right

These are just a few of the examples of how to protect yourself from opening bad emails or causing damage to your computer or your personal information.

I hope this helps.

Driver License Proposal

With all this media attention about animals and children being left in hot cars, I have a proposal.

Every potential driver in the United States has to sit in a car. The windows have to be cracked about a half-inch each. The car in a room that has UV and “sun rays” equivalent to an 85 degree day. I say 85 because I think that a lot of people don’t realize how hot 85 degrees is. When we go from an air-conditioned building or home to a car that cools down pretty quickly on an 85 degree day, we don’t always get that “man it’s hot out” feeling like we do at 95 degree weather.

As they are sitting in this vehicle, they can not turn it on. The timer starts as soon as the door shuts. They have to just sit in that car until they cannot stand it anymore and have to get out. Once the door is opened again, the timer stops. I think everyone would think twice about leaving their child or animal in the car with the windows “cracked” after they did this test. Once the test is complete and they have passed everything else, THEN they can get their license.

I wonder how many lives we would save if this was a requirement?

Internet Safety Tutorial #1 – Facebook Giveaways – HaliPawz

It happens to the best of us. We get overwhelmed with everything on social media and we miss those dreaded problem sites. Those moments a friend or family member shares or likes a posting on Facebook from companies that are just using it to spam their friends! I recently was talking to a couple of family members about when to click and when not to and they had no clue about some of the basic tell-tale signs so I thought I would take the time to help educate everyone. Will this stop all of the SPAM? No, not at all. Will it help? YES!!!! Please do some due diligence before you start clicking and liking pages on Facebook. This first tutorial is focused on those amazing giveaways that everyone wants to win.

Here are a couple of steps to keep you and your friends from getting hacked or SPAM.

Step 1. LOOK at the offer. I mean, REALLY look at the offer. If it seems like it is an amazing offer that a company has NEVER given away before…..chances are, it’s going to be easy to spot the tell-tale signs of a fake. You should already be on alert that there may be a problem with it.

Facebook giveaway

Facebook giveaway

Step 2. Click on the business name that is attached to the item being shared. It should take you to their business page or group page. This is where a lot of information is found. Do not go by the number of “likes” a business has because many people are duped. They believe that if their friend shared it, it must be reputable. NOT TRUE!!!! Once you are on that page, take a look at it. Is it a company you are familiar with? For the sake of this blog, I am using a giveaway that was posted for Southwest Airline. They are a large company that many people are familiar with. The first thing to look for is the spelling of the business. The actual spelling is Southwest Airlines (notice the s is missing from Airlines). Large corporations aren’t going to spell their business name wrong. The next thing to look for with a large corporation is a blue and white check mark after their name. That check mark means Facebook (and twitter) have done the work for you and verified that it is the legitimate company. I have included some samples for you to see the difference. Those two things right there will have you stopping the “share” before more people are affected.

Let’s talk about the smaller companies….the ones that Facebook hasn’t deemed big enough to verify. The first thing you want to look at is when was their Facebook page started? How many other posts are on the page? If that particular give-away is their ONLY post (even if it’s multiple times) then it probably isn’t a valid company. For example, I saw a couple of friends share a Camaro give-away from a smaller company. When I went to that site, the only posts were about that give-away and nothing else. The page had just been started in 2014. Chances are, a company that just entered into the world of social media doesn’t have the capital to give-away a $20,000+ prize. You can find all of their posts if you scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “More posts”. Most companies doing a large give-away have been on Facebook for a few years.

Step 3. If you have done the following steps and you still aren’t sure if it the real thing…..go into the search box of Facebook and type in the company that you believe is doing the give-away. Find the one that has the verification mark next to it and go to their page. If there is no mention of the give-away, then it isn’t happening!

Verified and non Verified Southwest Airlines Companies

Verified and non Verified Southwest Airlines Companies

Another one that is shared a lot is Walt Disney Corporation. Here is an example of all of their verified entities and the fake ones

Verified Walt Disney Corp

Verified Walt Disney Corp

Step 4. IGNORE THE TEMPTATION TO SHARE BAD GIVEAWAYS!!!!! It’s that simple. You will help cut down on the dangerous SPAM emails that you and your friends receive that could potentially give your computer a virus or allow someone to hack into your Facebook to get detailed information on you.

The BAD company

The BAD company

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

Just taking a few extra seconds and paying attention to some small details will help keep your Facebook perusal safe and fun!

Thanks everyone!