Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween memories

So I'm shamelessly entering to win a Canon Rebel camera from SITS. For those of you that haven't heard of SITS, it's a blogging community and great way to find other blogs.  Just to get that out of the way. :) This post is an entry. To win, I have to write about my best Halloween memory.

Cora is all that's on my mind these days, as you might imagine, so it's hard to reach back to past memories. I had one Halloween with Cora. I was pregnant with her last year. And, really pregnant! Entering my final month. I remembered dreaming of this year and the pumpkin patch.  

But, a particular memory stands out. For some reason, we decided to go somewhere in the middle of Trick or Treat. Ben said to sit the bowl of candy out on the porch. We gave away whole Hershey's bars that year because we knew we wouldn't have that many trick or treaters, and we'd bought a whole box from Sam's Club for my baby shower.

I was so shocked to come back and see some were gone, but not all of them. Ah. Life in a small town. Looks pretty nice especially compared to living here, where UPS packages are stolen off your front porch moments after their delivered. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Advocate

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
Winston Churchill

Someone, actually quite rudely, told me that they were annoyed by what I wrote, they rolled their eyes, that I didn't have to "advocate" for everything.

I can see how I might become "that girl." The fanatic always in arms about something.

In this case, I really don't care if I'm generalized.

I give voice to those without one.

I work to help the babies in Haiti, babies born with congenital heart defects, woman in Iran, or to support other mother's whose children died because I feel for them with my whole heart. I'm compassionate.

I'm even compassionate to the bratty person that said that. If they must sit back and judge someone else for speaking up, perhaps they feel voiceless? I get angered for a minute, but then feel nothing but compassion.

Let me be painted the wild fanatical blogger always taking up a new cause.

It's much better than the alternative, never sticking up for anything I believe in.

I've read the emails of the CHDs detected, the crutches delivered to a needy person in Haiti, and the eyes opened to the plight of the Iranian women because of what I do.

I embrace the criticism that I advocate too much.

It's what I do now. After what I went through, I can't close my eyes to the pain in the world anymore.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Makes Me Happy

I've mentioned before, it was about six months after Cora died before I could watch television, a few months after that until I could focus on a book again, and I'm just know starting to find happiness and joy in well, stuff, again.

I found this post on Epherriel Designs about what makes her happy, and after my late night Wizard of Oz scavengering  post the other day, decided for another search, of what makes me happy. 


I just recently discovered Mod Podge, this button from this blog says it


When we move, I'm making these invisible floating book shelves. They're so geeky, and they make me happy.




My husband surprising me with a massage? Makes me extremely happy. 


I've had a hidden obsession with nurseries for awhile now, just keeping it from everyone so I don't get the "so sad" looks and comments. They make me happy. 


Most of all, Cora's nursery, even though it's boxed up, given away, and torn down makes me happy. So many happy memories there. 

Easy, Cheap Picture Frame Craft Project-- A Going Away Present {Tutorial}

My  baby sister is moving away in just over a week.

So she's not a baby, she's 26, but she'll forever be my baby sister, as much as she hates it when I call her that. I always looked after her and did all the big sister stuff. This past year, the rules reversed. She looked after me, and I wasn't there to help her through everything like I used to be. I just couldn't handle anything else. She did an amazing job and is leaving on a great note.

She's my BFF as well, and I'm going to miss her so much, but am excited she's getting the opportunity to go after her dream. 

I decided to show her that even though I'm going through a rough time, I'm still in here somewhere, the big sister that always listened to her carefully, thought of how I could help her, and just thought she was the most adorable person ever.

I made her a picture frame. A total midnight run to Wal-Mart thing one night after I found an easy tutorial about how to make a picture frame online.

It was way easy to make. Here's what I used:
Large craft beads (found in the crafting aisle-- the type I found where more bubbly than those in the tutorial, but they worked). 
  • Mod Podge 
  • Glue (The kind I used was similar to this)
  • Picture frame (Picked to fit the craft beads)
  • Magazine scraps

I leafed through the magazine and found bright colors. She's moving to New York City and will probably be tucked in some pre-war hole in the wall apartment, so I wanted something colorful for her walls.

I then used the mod podge to put the scraps on the back of the craft beads, left it dry a bit and then glued them to the frame.

Totally easy, right? And, cheap. I whipped up a collage on one of the photo sites and voila, instant meaningful wall art as a going away present. 

She loved it and looked at me in awe when I said I made it myself. I didn't explain how easy it was. After all, big sisters have to keep up their reputations of pulling of the impossible.

 Told ya she loved it! Look at that happy grin.

Disclosure: When I linked to Amazon, I used my affiliate link 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Opening My Reader Closed My Book

Wow. Just had one of those moments of muttering "yes, yes" with a nod of the head at a blog post written by an insanely popular blogger but yet, I felt like he wrote it just for me.

Seth Godin is a marketing guy, or something, honestly, have much respect for the him and his work, but don't understand it all.

As I've written about over and over and over and over and over and over and so many times you're all just rolling your eyes sick of hearing about it, I'm frustrated with were I am career wise. For the past few years, I've struggled to know what to do. My chose profession, newspaper is dying. I don't think newspaper will ever die totally, but the papers aren't hiring reporters like they used to, and from what I've heard, the job of a reporter has changed in the past ten years or so.

So, anyhow, yes, yes, I'm 28 and don't know what I want to do when I grow up. But, this Seth fellow is mega popular and read by thousands, if not millions, he wrote this: 
"You might be impatient or unable to stick to your decision to take this particular road, and thus you're always starting on a new road. Since the new road is always strange to you, you rarely get any better at getting where you're going.
 And, if you're lucky, you might be on the right road, and getting better as you go."

Go read the rest of his post.

A total "uh, huh" moment. In middle school, I decided to be a writer, and specifically, a news reporter. Perhaps my dreams of again having my words published in news print daily are not going to come true, but a writer, and in media, I shall be.

I need a career tweak, not a career change. My search is for what I want to be over.

Thanks Seth! Now, I know why you're insanely popular and well known, you're pure genius!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inspired. Somewhere Over the Rainbow Edition


If you read my post on Cora's Story, you'll notice a theme. The past few weeks I've been inspired by "The Wizard of Oz." Maybe because I read the book, "Wicked," all about the Wicked Witch of the West last week.

The Wizard of Oz brings out something ingenuous.

Stuff I found and loved all Wizard of Oz inspired. 

Ruby red shoes for a little Dorothy... cute! From Snuggle-Bugs and Bows on Etsy. 



Perfect for a home office? From Signs of a Daydreamer's Etsy shop.


Want. Cute little wallet. From CranberryLover's Etsy shop.


"PoppiesPoppiesPoppies will put them to sleep." I'm starting to get a little obsessed with poppies now too. A print from Orange Willow's Etsy shop.

*I wasn't paid, and haven't even contact any of the shop owners. Just thought I'd start sharing some of my Etsy/homemade/awesome stuff finds!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why I quit Facebook.

I did it. What many have threatened. Many have thought about.

I quit Facebook.

For a while now, something about Facebook, or “Dramabook” as a friend called it, wasn't sitting right with me. I’d said a few times I felt like a stranger in my own profile. When it comes down to it, there were a lot of reasons I quit Facebook. Well, and to be fair, I still run Cora’s page and a page for this blog and have a tiny profile I don’t plan on updating to run them from. So, I didn’t totally leave Facebook.

But, I quit my personal page.

1. Everything was a debate. I’m known for a love of debating/arguing and really thinking about things with my friends. But, there’s a time and a place. Sometimes, I just wanted to post how I felt and get support or to vent. But, it seems like my status updates were starting to be place for everyone to argue and debate over whatever it was. I just didn’t have the energy to moderate and calm egos to make sure no one was attacked/offended.

2. OMG the drama!! Every few weeks, or couple of days, “fights” would erupt. And, yes, I deleted those people that caused the most of it, but still heard about it, and was just annoyed.

3. It was too hard. In a week, 13 children died whose parents were on Facebook and connected to me there. I cried so much. At one point, I called the pharmacy to see if I had a refill for an old anti-anxiety medication, something I’d taken for just a few months immediately after Cora’s death. While I want to be there for people, it was ripping me to little shreds. I still seek out families to offer words of comfort on their blog, and through Cora’s Facebook page, but having it forced down my throat was so much.

4. Facebook was messing with my head. Really. It was. I might jump on to share a link and a baby coffin would pop up in my feed or something else that I was unprepared for. The shock of these images was only making my PTSD worse. I’m sure of it.

5. I can’t intimately keep up with 1400 people. That’s about how many were on my friend’s list. And, I’m a caring person. I cared for (almost) all of them. If I read that someone was having a bad day, I took to learn why and help them fix it. I got upset at their problems. I worried about their financial situations, their health, their grandparent’s health. You name it. But, to get that emotionally involved with 1400 people? Exhausting. I feel bad saying it. I feel bad for abandoning these people, most strangers. Facebook has become a place where people share intimately designed for people to either abandon it or become close with all. It’s impossible to share that sort of intimacy with 1400 people.

6. I was getting rather irritated at Facebook’s lack of regard for my privacy and data. I was a fan of the new group’s feature, thought it might help me control my use, but that backfired when I found strangers being added to my groups because of a Facebook design flaw.

7. I was spending too much time on Facebook. Facebook became integrated in what I did to spread Cora’s Story, but I spent waayyyy too much time there. I’m going to write a post about how I’m using that time now.
 
8. Facebook constantly made me feel bad. It’s true. I was constantly getting messages about what people were saying. People questioning what I was doing. I share Cora’s Story. I share her love and beauty period. At the end of this, I’ll share a story about the worse of this.

9. While many people on my friend’s list loved, or at least appreciated me, some flat out hated me. I found out after that people told other people we didn’t “get along” or other things. And you know what? To be honest? There were one or two I didn’t like much either.

10. I met some really black hearted, morally corrupt people there. First, for every one of them, let me say, I met 500 good people, literally. But, just like in the real world there are some really bad people, there are also on Facebook and in online communities. I didn’t want to see it. I deleted them after I found out. But, getting messages from a wife that her husband was cheating on her? Flipped me out. It was gross. I didn’t want to know. And, I didn’t want to be in any way related to those people. And, drug use. And, accepting drug money, because someone was broke. And, then with others kids being taken away for abuse allegations. I’m all for accepting and forgiving people, but if they were in the middle of this stuff? I didn’t need them near me. I deleted anyone with anything like that over their head, but it came to my attention that there could be more evilness.

11. I was getting news of harassment. I read nasty profile updates. And, then started getting notes from my friends that they were being tracked down to get a note about how awful I was. Too much. Too silly. Too much drama. That folks? Is harassment. I considered contacting the proper authorities. And, that’s when I decided the time had come. For me to quit Facebook.

12. My family and friends seemed afraid of my Facebook. They read all this crazy stuff I think and didn’t comment on my stuff anymore. And, isn’t that Facebook is about? Connecting with family and friends? At least personal accounts.

13. Facebook seems to breed bullies and hate. I think Facebook is where people first started gathering and hating on my friend Jill because of a choice she made. You probably know her story. She was harassed on the very day her son died. Just like it brings people together for good, it helps people build on the bad. It's where the inactivists first gathered against her. I'm not sure Facebook is to blame itself, I think this happens on any large social networking site, but I'm done with hate. I'm done with negativity. Just done with it.

So I quit. I worried that people would take it personally and think I’d blocked or deleted them, part of why I write this. I deleted almost everyone off my list individually if I had a big problem with them. It wasn’t you.
Interestingly enough, my decision was reaffirmed just an hour or so after I left. I thought a group I’d made for just the heart families on my list would delete when I left. I heard it did not and that there was drama there, so I reactivated and rejoined just to delete that group.

And in the chat of my own little <3 family? The little group I’d made for love and support? I saw people bashing me. It hurt. But, I also realized how little some of these people knew about me or cared to know. One said mean things but acknowledged I’d taken time to “find links to share” like all this time, all these relationships I created, all those links I WROTE myself didn’t matter. The crazy thing? I didn’t even recognize that girl’s name. Have no clue who she is. Another wrote about how dramatic I was. For months, I hid what I knew about others and just deleted them. I rarely ever commented publicly about anything to do with the infighting. I did choose to write a status update with my contact info when I left, but dramatic, they had no clue.

If you’re on Facebook and have people you’ve added that you don’t personally know, think about it. Really think about that choice and apply a filter to what they say. And, use the delete option to weed your friend's list. It's YOUR Facebook. Don't let it get out of control. Learn from me and my mistakes.

If we used to be Facebook friends, please stay in touch, on my Facebook page for this blog or through email. I’m at kbrite at gmail dot com.

Do you have reasons why you'd like to quit Facebook some times?

And, oh yeah, I also moderate these comments now! So be nice.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010. Take steps to make sure everyone has clean, safe water.

Today is Blog Action Day 2010. I know it's late, but wanted to join in because I believe that blogs can bring changes. 

As of this posting over 5000 blogs participated today. The topic is water.

Something, I think almost all of us take for granted. Something in this country that is a given, just like the air we believe.

In other places? Not so much. 


Each year over 38,000 children under the age of 5 die because of lack of clean water.

I wrote that in red type for a reason. This is a red alert. People need our help.

What can we do?

Honestly, I'm just learning myself about what steps we can take, but my fellow bloggers at Hobo Mama and PhDinParenting wrote awesome posts with detailed explanations. So, go there to learn more, but to help quickly and effectively today:

Stop the water bottle habit. We have this habit. We are stopping it. By commercializing water, we're limiting it's access. Plus, all those plastic bottles aren't good for the environment.

Donate to organizations working to provide wells and clean water.





Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Healer

This is one of those stories that if someone was telling me, I’d raise eyebrows in suspicion, or lower my head and listen carefully, but thinking that they were mistaken, or being dramatic.

But, have to share this moment. Have to write about it.

For weeks, and well, really, most of the past few years, I’ve lamented over what to do now. What next?

I majored in journalism, worked in newspaper, which I liked, but had a bad experience with a witch of an editor, and after that worked from home as a freelancer/contractor.

Just a few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I found myself on unemployment, laid off.

I knew that I’d be a mommy. I might freelance or work a bit, but mainly, I was looking forward to being at home and a mommy.

Cora died.

I was a stay-at-home-mom without a living child.

It’s been odd. Newspaper is a dying field. So, going back to that isn’t a huge option. And, I love the stay at home flexibility. I think I’d be great working, doing something on my own as my own boss.

But, it bothers me a lot. I feel like I’ve failed at making a living for myself because well, I have.

We’re building to something, I promise.

I was driving the other day, don’t even remember for sure where I was going, but distinctly remember the spot on the road that it came to me. Almost as someone else. A word popped up in my mind and was so clear. So different. It just came to me, like from somewhere else.

“Healer.”

What does that mean?

I had no clue. I instantly connected it to what I was thinking about on the fringes, what I’m meant to do. All my life, I’ve searched not just for a career or a job but a role.

That’s what this was. My role.

Who?

Why?

When?

Where?

How?

I don’t know yet. But, somehow, it came to me, my role.

I don’t know what a healer does. This isn't Harry Potter or some novel. We don't have "healers" in or society, or do we?  I’ve never been one to think I could go into medicine, so I don’t know about that type of healing. I really honestly, don’t know. What other types of healers are there? Are there other types of healers?

But, thought I’d share the moment.

Something I struggle capturing on paper.

Something that’s never happened to me before.

My scientific mind wants to find an explanation, or explains it away by saying this was just my brains way of answering.

I can’t make you believe because you aren’t me and weren’t inside of my head in that moment.

A healer.

Huh.




(Keeping comments open, but I can see where they might go, please respect that I've got a different set of religious beliefs than many of you)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Comparing pet loss to child loss.

Because, for this, I have no words.

This was a post on a Facebook event about lighting a candle on October 15. 




I thought the world ended when my dog died. She was by childhood pet. Always by my side. She had cancer and was having these seizures. One afternoon, came home to find her in pain. Scooped her up and rushed her to the vet. Heard her make a death rattle. She died in my arms.


It sucked.


Like really sucked. Like my friends and I drove two hours to bury her and had a service and even they cried.


But, ummm, please, really, THINK. Having a dog's loss compared to my child's loss? It hurts.

And, yes, I'm the sensitive sort.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

At My High School, We Were All Bullies. #GayIsOk

High school seniors with legs flopped over the seats in front of us in the auditorium, waiting for one senior activity or meeting or another, friends I didn’t get talk to often and I caught up, sharing our after high school plans.

The next year, I was headed to Indiana University’s main campus in Bloomington. A hippy dippy school where farm girls like me went in conservative, Catholic, and scared to question anything mainstream, and came out liberal, Buddhist, and knowing everything should be questioned.

“You’re going there?!?!” My ‘friend’ asked. “Didn’t know you that place is full of gay people! It’s the gay capitol of the state,” she exclaimed.

I sat back in absolute horror.

Oh, you guessed it, not horror at what she said, but horror that it might be true.

I’d never met an openly gay person. Oh, I spotted one once at a school play, a former student and actor game back for the play and from a few rows over, my friends whispered about how he’d “come out” in college and we all threw him side way glances to get a good look at what exactly a gay person looked like.
But, was I headed off to a gay school? Was everyone thinking I was? Even thought it’s a large state school, less than ten people from my graduating class were going there. It wasn’t what people did. I was doing something different.

Because I’m not giving myself enough credit, I always knew I didn’t quite agree with the high school foolishness and urged to get out, but didn’t know how to or what that meant.

But, was my sometimes friend right? Was IU only full of gay students? And what would that mean exactly? Would I find any straight people there?

And, wait, I distinctly remember this thought, why was it so bad if gay people were there?

Sure, I’d heard over and over that this or that was “gay.” The phrase “that’s so gay” escaped my own mouth up until I went off to college. There was nothing wrong with saying that. I was never told it was bad by a classmate, teacher, or any community member. It was fine.

In short, I was a bully.

We all were.

Any time the phrase “that’s so gay” escaped my lips, it was potentially bullying an in the closet (no one at my school was out) classmate.

All the gossip about the gay student at the school play? Bullying. He saw those looks. And, I’m sure he overheard many of the whispers. It wasn’t right.

I wasn't ever the ring leader, but it doesn't matter. I didn't taunt, haunt, or speak badly to any gay student in my school. To my knowledge, there no openly gay students. But, I didn't stop it. I didn't stand up when I heard people talk and gossip. Since I went along with it, that makes me an active participant.

Fast forward to August 2000, I somehow survived freshman move-in day. I’d completely forgotten that I was headed off to a “gay school” and just started interacting with fellow students.

Turns out, IU isn’t just for homesexuals, but a beacon of diversity in the middle of a vanilla state.

I loooooooooved it!!! I loved going to parties and meeting people from all over the world. I loved meeting other Hoosiers and learning not even all of them were what I thought. And met many friends from the East coast and was in total awe of how cool they were. Classes were okay, but really, the dorms are where I learned the most that year.

And these people I met? Some of them were gay. But, I barely noticed. They were just my new classmates.
That’s when I stopped thinking of anyone gay as “the other.” I just met some gay friends.

Now, I always pause when I hear about people being unaccepting toward GLBTQ people. I don’t even understand. Don’t get why people would even make a big deal of it. They're people. Who the hell cares about their sexual preference? Why does that even matter.

I haven’t drug up those ugly memories from my own teenage and childhood years in a small town where to this day being gay is a “problem" in a long time.


And, I’m glad I did. Glad I wrote this post and had to go back there.

Not because I understand it any more. It’s absolutely ludicrous, faulty thinking to condone treating gay folks as anything other than people, individuals. Harassment, bullying, and any sort of unequal treatment need to stop, and that means that gay people should be able to get married, share insurance, and be able to hold hands in total comfort even down the streets of my tiny hometown.

Now that’s off my chest.

I’m sorry.

If I was your bully.

Even on accident.

Closing comments. #GayIsOk. Period. This is a non-negotiable.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How I'm Using the Facebook Groups Feature. (Or Reclaiming My Facebook Profile)

Sometimes, I feel like a stranger in my own Facebook profile. I don't always feel comfortable there. I've been attacked for saying how I feel, on my own profile.

And, it was bound to happen.

It's what happens when so many different groups interact. Before Cora died, I had a few hundred Facebook friends, all family and friends, and would get on every few days.

After she died, I found comfort in Facebook finding others that fit my new self identity. See within a week, I joined these groups by default: new mom, nursing mom, strong breastfeeding advocate, heart mom, grieving mom, and activist. My Facebook profile exploded with new friends from my new life.

And, sometimes, my identities didn't mesh.

Also, I lost my family and friends somewhere in the Facebook world. I know my grieving mom late night posts made their hearts cringe, but they couldn't really relate.

I contemplated deleting everyone off that wasn't a close friend or family member.

I finally just opened a second profile for close family and friends. But, they were confused. I was confused, and forgot to post there.

When I saw the new groups feature on Facebook last night. I knew it was the answer to my Facebook issues.

I plan on deleting that second profile soon.

I set up two groups so far, one with other congenital heart defect affected families, and one for other grieving moms. It's nice to have a place to go that's safe and cozy.

I made the groups "secret" because I think others thought I was making a huge CHD group, not the case, just bringing my CHD friends together. If I forgot to add you to my CHD group, or my grieving moms group, please send me a note and I will. 

I tried to be clear that these were groups of friends from my own profile, but welcomed additions if someone thought of someone that needed the group.

Like any change, I think it's still confusing to some, but hope that after time people will see what I intend for the new groups to be, a way to reclaim my profile, and interact with people that have been a lifeline of support since Cora's death.

One thing that was a bit uncomfortable to me was that when I added people, their inboxes were flooded with notices. I wish Facebook wouldn't have done that. This article talks about that, being careful about adding people, and also about how now Facebook is more like how we interact in real life friendship circles. Often, our friend circles are fragmented around our interests.

I'm not sure how Facebook intended these new groups to be used, but I'm finding them perfect for this. And, after a bit of research, I'm finding that this is how they were intended to be used, to divide up our profile. I can see how this new feature isn't really applicable to some, and others might be down right annoyed by it, but for me, being able to segment my profile is so freeing!

Cheers to being comfortable in my own Facebook profile again!

So you know what I'm talking about, this is the interface of my <3 family list, where I added congenital heart defect families.

And for those of you overwhelmed with all the messages from people adding you to groups, here's a screen shot of where you can turn off notifications from the group. You come to this under "edit settings" in the group interface.



Have you discovered the new groups feature on Facebook? How are you using it?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The bad choice.

I've debated writing this for awhile, because, well it's embarrassing.

When we moved in May, we put ourselves in a horrible situation.

Our neighborhood is scary.

Our house is gross.

Because of some weird situation with the previous tenant and an old bill, our gas was disconnected. Um, cold showers much?

And, our stove is gas run. Meaning, we can't really cook.

We're trying.

We're going to get out of this.

But, it's scary and overwhelming to pick a new place to move. To start over, yet again.

We're not living on this side of town, for sure.

And, I think we're both split about where to go next. We could go home, as I wrote about earlier, back to the country. 

I realized what I most love about the country though, the opportunity to be surrounded by nature, and right now, I'm thinking there are other towns that aren't quite so tiny as where we came from that give us that opportunity.

Going back means going back to a nice support system, but also means going back to a lot of bad memories.

I once read to never make big decisions when you're battling depression. I think the same is true for grief.

This choice is so hard to make.

I don't know what to do.

I do know with no gas (for heat, cooking, and warm baths) and a crime-filled neighborhood, we have to get out.

This wasn't a good choice.

Moving here.

It's not easy to face a bad decision.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When friends don't like your blog.

I'm writing a blog post about how I'm not supposed to write blog posts. It's hard to even know where to begin.

I've shared my feelings this entire journey because it helped me. It helped others. I talked a few times about feeling abandoned, alone. Never mentioning names. Never mentioning individual circumstances. Being respectful of my friends and family's privacy and taking individual problems privately.

But, I tossed and turned and woke up like ever ten minutes last night so upset.

It became obvious one friend wasn't even going to attempt to try to see where I was coming from. Had decided to view my journey through a selfish lense.

I've talked to the friend maybe a handful of times since Cora died. Partly because the phone is hard since she died.

Of all conversations to share, sharing that one is perhaps that most uncomfortable. But, I feel drawn to talk about it. He told me that he didn't think my blogging was appropriate. Didn't agree with how I'd shared things online.

I'm writing to make something super clear. Unless I'm seriously hurting myself? Don't tell me how I chose to grieve, my doing so very publicly, is wrong.

And, to make something very clear. No one except Ben and I has any say about how I chose to remember Cora.

No one will tell me something I'm doing for her is inappropriate. Or not right, or even that they don't agree with it. I can't tell people not to form opinions, but wish I could, because I'd tell them they couldn't even form an opinion about rather I'm remembering her the right way.

I also share this to share something another blogger told me about the loss of friendships that happens so often after loss:

"Grieving exposes other fault lines." 

It's quite true. Probably why the divorce rate is high for baby loss parents. If there's a problem in your relationship? It's going to become a giant hole after going through this. 


I take solace in that, knowing that the sudden falling out, isn't so sudden. It's like an earthquake rattled my life. The relationships that were strong as cement survived, the ones built less strongly crumbled. 


And, yes, I know, this is the blog post I'm not even supposed to be writing.


But, I blog when I need to. And, today I needed to. Another loss. I can't understand why people refuse to sit back, listen, and even do some research to understand what I'm going through. Had my friend, he'd seen that blogging after loss is ridiculously normal, that I'm being normal, and that telling someone how to remember their dead child is well, just unreasonable, rude, and something I can't tolerate.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are you afraid of me? How to approach a grieving mom.

I get a lot of notes from people wondering if they should do or say x or y for their grieving friend. They tell me they're so afraid of hurting their friend's feelings. That they just don't know what is right.

Especially in communities like the congenital heart defect community where sadly so many of us lost a child, others feel so scared to say something.

And for good reason, they see my rants about so and so saying such and such. Or they read other rants, which are different than mine. Or they read that something they thought could never offend someone offended a mother.

I've never in my life been so sensitive to words. Not nearly this sensitive.

I can understand the fear in approaching someone that lost a child, the fear of saying the wrong thing.

I think it's important to remember this, there is no right thing to say, so stop searching for it.

You will never find the words to take away the pain. I'm comforted and honored that you reached out, but there is no right or wrong thing to say. Because, nothing is right. Nothing someone can say to me can make this better. So, remember that and don't try to say those magical words to make it all better.

It's also hard because we're all different. Everyone that lost a child feels differently. And how I feel changes.

I know it's not easy to deal with grieving mothers. I can understand why you might just think it's better to avoid them altogether, but I will tell you this, if you approach me with love and compassion and an open heart? I'm never really offended.

Going through this, I can tell the compassionate people. The people that truly care in an instant. And, I can tell people that are more self centered as well. The second bunch usually isn't that big of a deal for me, but it's from those people the real hurt is caused.

So, if you're afraid of approaching a grieving mom?

Just approach her with an open heart and caring soul and lots of love.

And, please do reach out to her even if you fear hurting her. As long as you're thinking about her compassionately, you'll help so much.

Don't be afraid. I'm stronger than I was before this, you can't break me.

We don't have to live in fear of each other.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The internet can be a sad place.

I've decided that whenever the internet makes me cry, I'm going to take some time away. And, from a combination of situations, all unrelated, I feel pretty beat up this week.

That's my new strategy. I've gone over in my head just shutting up shop, but I'm afraid then it will undo all the work I've done. I've tried to grow thicker skin, and that isn't happening.

I think people forget I work with mothers and pregnant ladies at a time very sensitive to me. I often work with them one on one. Also, I do it all for free. I don't come from a rich family. We're actually quite poor. But, without children, I figure we don't need much. We're okay.

I've given a lot of time into this. Cried for a lot of dead babies. Cried for a lot of live babies. Saved babies in Haiti. Saved babies in hospitals.

I took a break just a few weeks ago because I felt overwhelmed by the negative. I've had my account hacked, been called names, and been told I'm doing an awful job. Well, I'm doing a free job, so if I save one baby, my job is done.

I refuse to wallow in the negativity. Let it really impact my life, so I'll take these breaks whenever I need. 

I'm stepping out into the light.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The work of a sick woman.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you've put up with my whining for three days, and I thank you. I'm suffering through some nasty UTI/kidney infection thing and feel just awful.

But, this has meant you've seen a lot of me. In fact, I'm sure some of you are quite sick of me. Highlights from this week, I wrote a guest post about congenital heart defects on pregnancy.org, on the new group blog Band Back Together, I wrote about what Twitter, blogging and Facebook meant to me after Cora died,  and Growing Your Baby wrote a post asking why pulse oximetry screening isn't routinely done.

I've been writing nonstop about pulse oximetry screening this week trying to make sure accurate information is getting out there.

I started a 365 Project I'm excited to see how it turns out.

So, I've been a productive sick. Even though I've been sleeping most of the day and most of the rest of the time is spent doubled over in pain.

Since I've been feeling yucky, I've barely left the house. Yesterday morning, I decided a trip out was so needed. The sunken gardens at Garfield Park are less than a half mile from me and oh so pretty. So after a few minutes I felt like walking death, it was still nice to go and get out of the house.

I took pictures as you can see, this garden is just gorgeous. And, remembered the theme for You Capture on I Should Be Folding Laundry, signs. Decided to link up after looking through my pictures.

Of course this is a sign...


 But, so is this... a sign of fall...



But, this is another sign, that summer is still here...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My favorite. Do you have one?

I usually don't like to pick favorites, but I have a favorite month.

September in Indiana is beautiful.

When I think of September I think of someone coming along and casting a beautiful gold hue to everything. A touch of gold. The September sun is so beautiful.



Even my backyard seems like a new and magical place in September.


In September I appreciate the rose blooms even more, knowing they're almost gone for the year. I stop to photograph them.


Just as summer ends, I'm always surprised as brand new plants and flowers pop up for the first time right before all dies and hibernates for the winter.
All summer, I've hurried through the yard to and from the car to escape the heat. But, September brings relief, and I linger, enjoying wildflowers planted months ago.


September in Indiana is my favorite place to be.


Do you have a favorite month where you live?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Turns out, I'm a country girl....

I grew up in a small town. Okay, super tiny town. And, not even really in that town, about two miles outside of it right in the middle of fields.

I scoffed at the small town. The way people were scared to try new things. Be different.

When I was 18, I went off to college, in a not huge town, but in a bona fide town non the less. After a few years there, I moved to a city. A real city.

I even stayed a summer in New York City and found my way around and did just fine before moving back to the city.

Two years ago, I was living in this city and financially hit rock bottom. I had to eat my words about never going back and move back to the tiny town. I said only for a year. Then I got pregnant. So, I stayed another year.

We moved in May. Back to the city.

The domestic disputes at all hours of the night, loud music, dirty neighborhoods, and sad news stories just aren't for me.

Turns out, I've been fighting what I am all along. I'm a country girl.

I want a house in the middle of fields and a big garden and a nice yard to let the dog run free in.

Who would have thought?

I know I'll need to visit the city often. I love seeing new things. And, love city people. I need them.

But, country people? Aren't as bad as I thought. Quite the opposite. Some of them are wonderful. I often think about how things would have been if Cora died in the city. I know people wouldn't have been the same.

So, if you'll have my tiny city, I'd like to move back.

This is a picture of a painting. The painting is of the house I lived in until five. My great grandma painted this. She lived there. As did my grandpa, and then my dad with me. I have roots in the tiny city.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tired.

A few days ago, I wrote that I hit rock bottom, and you know, not in such a bad way. More than anything, I just feel worn out.

I'm just floating along with it for now. I do still plan on calling around for therapy and professional help to treat depression.

But, part of me wonders if I'm not just exhausted. I was pregnant for nine months, gave birth, Cora died, and then I launched a nonprofit. And, in between, advocated my husband during a serious injury and dealt with a move across state.

Maybe my mind and body are just giving up for a little bit.

It was about a week ago I decided to take a few days off from the part time jobs I'm working and from really going at the nonprofit work, and it's just kind of drifted into over a week. I've done the minimum to make sure everything with the nonprofit is taken care of, and of course, am always thinking of ideas.

But, I still crave rest.

For now, I'm floating along with everything. Taking the pressure off.

Totally worn out through and through. 

I don't like putting things to the side and falling behind. But, it's just necessary right now.

My mind and body are just quitting on me. Refusing to let me work anymore, sleeping so much. And, rather than fighting any of that, I'm going along with it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rock Bottom

I feel like I've hit rock bottom of the hole I fell in sometime earlier this month. I wrote about it, feeling like I was a tunnel. Today has been the worst. Everything is such an effort. Honestly, don't even know how I'm even writing this blog post, except it's all I can do.

Poor Ben, I just took two hours to give him an answer about what to eat. I can't leave the house, it's too much.

I feel so behind in all my responsibilities, but oh so tired. My muscles ache.

I'm okay though. Stable. I know all of you worry.

Something tells me today is the worst of it. The darkest. I can't even think straight. The fog is heavy.

I'm giving in to today. I'm not pushing myself.

Tomorrow, I have plans. Waking up at a decent time, getting out of the house. But, I'm giving myself today. Sometimes you just have to.

I know it's depression. Rather it's postpartum from birthing a child, or depression because of her death, or a mixture of all.

I feel almost lucky that I've had depressive episodes before. It's a bit less scary at least knowing what I'm going through. I feel really, really, really lucky to feel hope despite of all this. I know beautiful things will come. I held and cuddled and kissed true beauty. It gets me through this.

Monday, I'll make phone calls and drag myself to doctor's offices. Today, I give in.

Friday, August 13, 2010

We are sisters: Not an easy topic. What is fistula?

I know, I know, half way through the month and I haven't introduced the topic.

As you might have gathered from my recent blog posts, I've been dealing with grief a lot, well, always am, and it's always hard, it's just sometimes somehow more time consuming.


This month's topic isn't easy to talk about. It's one of those subject so horrific, I think we'd all rather block it off. But, that's what this is about, helping our sister's without voices.

Fistula.

When someone suggested the idea on the Facebook page, I'd never heard of it, so went to do a bit of research.

This is the link left for me:
http://www.fistulafoundation.org/aboutfistula/

I was so beyond horrified with what I read. Wanted to click away and never talk, think, or read about it again. But, I knew I couldn't I knew I owed it to these woman to talk about.

Since, it's a hard topic, we'll go slow. This will be something the rest of you will probably have to digest in pieces. So, I'm starting with just a definition.

From the Fistula Foundation:

"A fistula is simply a hole between an internal organ and the outside world that should not exist.  There are two primary causes of fistula in women in developing countries:  childbirth, causing obstetric fistula and sexual violence, causing traumatic fistula."

 As  you might imagine the health issues, physical and mental, that go with this are huge. These are not treated in developing countries often. These woman need us.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I hoped this wouldn't happen... I'm a kid hater.

Hi, I'm Kristine, and apparently, I'm a child hater.

Don't know when it happened, but I can't look at them right now. It's so painful.

I fought this. I didn't want this to happen.

In the months after Cora died, being around kids didn't bother me so much. I even held a newborn a few weeks after she died.

But, now I hold back tears. Being around children, especially little girls is pure torture. I think it's why I fled New York. All those kids. I can't do it.

And, when a baby cries in public, my heart gets smashed. 

Only, I love kids. I always have. I don't want to feel like this anymore.

I don't want to feel tears run to my eyes every time I see or hear a child.

I hope this too, shall pass.

And, the worst part? I don't know how to fix it.

Don't know how to get over it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

08.02.09 The day I married my best friend

Tomorrow is my anniversary, so you're getting bombarded in sappy-ness today since I rarely schedule posts and don't plan on being online tomorrow.

Once I remember talking to another newlywed friend, telling her how great it was to marry your best friend. I expected her to nod in agreement, instead she looked at me oddly and then said "that's great."

It's then I realized not everyone marries their best friend.

I did.

On 08.02.09.

A year ago tomorrow.

In our first year of marriage...

Ben put up with my crazy couponing nesting and comforted me after I started crying at cashiers that wouldn't take my coupons.

He went along with the idea when I insisted we buy 25 cans of green beans because they were on mega sale when nesting. We still have some of them nine months later.

Ben tied my shoes in the last few months of my pregnancy.

He hid my flip flops from me because he didn't want me to trip while pregnant. Sweet now, but I was not happy.

He bought me a record player for a birthday surprise just a few weeks before Cora was born because I'd talked about one since he knew me and said repeatedly how I wanted music in her life.

Ben picked me up off the floor once when I was very pregnant and very upset and after falling to the floor in a hissy fit found I couldn't get back up.

He listened to me read Cora books when I was pregnant with her.

Ben gave out pink bubble gum cigars to everyone he saw after Cora was born.

He stayed up with her while I slept so little Cora in her five days wasn't ever alone.

Ben drove to the hospital to try to save her with his head out the window because the windshield was frosted over.

He was the reason I came back after giving up and collapsing on the hospital floor. I saw his face.

I checked on him constantly the days after Cora was gone and made him eat and made sure he was safe.

We delivered her eulogy together.

I made a video of her pictures he sometimes watched late at night.

He took me away after we got her autopsy report.

I listened to him and made sure he knew it was okay to cry.

He went everywhere I wanted to go and stopped so I could take pretty pictures during the trip.

I fought for him when he got stuck in an awful hospital after falling from a treehouse and shattering his ankle.

I pulled him out of the hospital MIA when they didn't give him proper treatment and drove from Atlanta to Indiana straight through.

He still did the dishes for me a few times when he was in a wheelchair.

Ben supported all my ideas and gave me space and time to build Cora's non-profit.

...

Everyone says going through a tragedy, such as losing a child, either rips a couple apart or brings them closer together.

Ben and I are closer than ever.

Yes, Cora was at my wedding. That's my baby bump. If you're curious about why I'm not in white, go over to Cora's Story to read about our wedding day.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mamavation Monday. Week 4. Hanging in there.

Since Monday is my very first wedding anniversary, I'm getting my Mamavation Monday post up on, well technically Sunday.

Those of you following my Mamavation posts know that I'd been changing one small habit each week. Well, on last week's post Leah, the inspiring woman behind all this Mamavation stuff, said she usually suggested changing two small things every two weeks, but liked the small steps approach. I so see what she means.

I didn't do so well at least week's goal, getting active every day.  A few days, the day got away from my and then I didn't feel comfortable walking after dark.

I'm also so insanely busy next week. Monday is my very first wedding anniversary like I mentioned. Then, late that evening we're heading north for a doctor's appointment for Ben's ankle. For those new to my blogs, this spring he shattered his ankle very badly. We moved away from where his doctor was. We're hanging out in our old town to visit family for a day or two and then we head to New York.

Just not the week to add anything new. Keeping up with previous changes is going to be a struggle. So, I'm using this as a "break" week, just working on the past changes.

Week 1- Drink more water
Week 2- Take a prenatal
Week 3- Getting moving everyday
Week 4- Maintain!

P.S. I think I forgot to return some comments last week, it was another busy one preparing for Wear Pink for Cora. I do appreciate all the support and try my best to show support. So, forgive my scatter brained self if I skipped over anyone! I also can't wait until I have more time to hang out in the Mamavation community. I see so much helpful stuff on there. But, I was just over there and noticed Leah is giving away two tickets to BlogHer '11! Neat!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Help me stay focused, oh, and win!!! Another giveaway....

I touched upon this a bit on Cora's blog, but am coming here for a real discussion and advice. You all helped so much with my office organization. Well, you helped at least. The office still has packed boxes, but it's getting better! Promise.

I'm crazy busy, have barely left the house in a week trying to get ready for New York in a week, and Wear Pink for Cora tomorrow. And, trying to log in some hours at a new part-time job.

On Monday, I tweeted about how the entire day seemed a waste, I was distracted by this and that and worked most of the entire day on things I didn't plan.

I thought for sure the rest of the week would get better, I'd be able to dig in and get some work done, but each day brought a new distraction that drained not only my time but my energy.

My friend Karyn gave me some awesome advice about just focusing on what I needed to. I really do feel like I'm going to just be able to buckle down and get some work down.

But, wanted to come to you again to hear how you focus on what's important. Of course, I'm going to bribe you.

Leave a comment of support or advice, and get an "I Wear Pink for Cora" bracelet. And, yes, Bobbie-Jo I know I still owe you your prize. I promise it's coming. I've been unfocused here!!

Update: I'm so scatterbrained, I forgot to put in a closing date. The contest closes Sunday.

We have a winner...

Contest is closed!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We are sisters: Always in solidarity.

July and the first month of the "We are Sisters" series is flying to an end. I am so comforted and moved when I get messages that saying you signed a petition for Sakineh Ashtiani or wrote your representatives.

It does make a difference.

I always wondered how much the phone in's and letter writing campaigns to congress people mattered. When I went to Lobby Day for the Congenital Heart Futures Act in April, I learned truly it makes a difference.

Aides in those offices do listen to constituents and groups. I wish all of you could go to Capitol Hill for the day to see that those letters and phone calls do make an impact.

A tangent, but wanted to thank you, thank you for writing in to tell your representative to support HR 1371, condemning Iran's seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. And, it's not too late, if you haven't already, take a moment to speak up.

Part of me is sad to leave behind our sisters in Iran, but I realize we aren't leaving them behind. We'll work for them always.

After all, we stand in solidarity with our sisters in Iran.



Their pain is our pain.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Take a hike. Mamavation Monday. Week 3.


So, last week I introduced my wellness plan. As you might imagine, since Cora's death my own health habits have taken a slide. Just don't have the energy. And, don't have the energy to jump full force back on track. So, instead, I'm making one small change a week. And, since I love flair, I came up with this badge.

This week's goal didn't instantly come to me. I had to brainstorm. I knew it had to still be a pretty small change. I'm just not ready for big changes. Just waking up is still a struggle.

I went to Twitter because Twitter pretty is full of the smartest and bestest. I shared my idea, to walk around the block every day and a few people responded they thought it should just be to walk. No limitations and no length requirement. I agreed, so that's this week's plan, to walk every day, rather it be miles or just down the street and back. Little pressure, but to get moving.

The support in the Mamavation community, and from others, is so helpful. I've been trying to keep up and give it back. I think I missed a few comment returns on last week's post and apologize. But, I'm looking forward to reading about how everyone else is doing!

I did well on this week's goal, to take a prenatal vitamin every day (nope, not trying to get pregnant, but I think every woman of child bearing age should take). I took it every day but one, Monday, because I didn't have any on hand. Still doing okay with week one's goal, drink water. Still need to improve, but am better than when I started all this.

So to recap the changes so far:
Week 1: drink more water
Week 2: take a prenatal vitamin
Week 3: walk each day

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We are sisters: We can't forget her.


We are sisters is a new campaign to reach out and help women across the globe. Each month, we're talking about a new group of women and how to help. For the first month, we're talking about Iran. If any of you have suggestions for women that need to have their story told, send me an email to kbrite@gmail.com and we can work together on something.

Two weeks ago, Sakineh Ashtiani grabbed headlines across the globe because she sat on death row facing death by stoning.

Last week must have been so scary for the women of Iran. The regime announced that  they're tracking people that stand up for Sakineh. Her lawyer and son were both interrogated. At one point, a rumor flew around the web that Sakineh's stoning was imminent.

Saturday July 24, people around the globe are speaking out for Sakineh. In the Untied States, protests/rallies are planned in Dallas, New York, and Washington D.C.

Sakineh's story grabbed headlines because of the awful punishment she faces. Keeping the pressure on Iran is key. Please keep spreading the word, signing petitions, and writing government officials.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good news, bad news. BlogHer and my office organization project.

You guessed it, I have some good news and some bad news. But, I have good news about both my planned BlogHer trip and my office clean-up project as well as some bad news about both. Thought I'd give it to you all at once.

My pigpen is looking less like a mess. Last week, I asked for your organizational tips, and used many of them. My office went from this....


To this...

Don't judge the chair my dog half chewed up, it's super comfortable. I can't throw it out.

Such good news. I'm already feeling calmer and accomplished much more today. I used some of your tips, but also found one of my own....
Invite your little brother over for faitjas and then nicely ask for "help." Okay, so he moved all the stuff. I did sort through two boxes!

Oh, and the boxes, that's where the bad news of this office clean-up project comes in....

Yikes! The closet! It's trying to spill out and invade the rest of the clean office.

Now, on to BlogHer. It's a HUGE blogging conference. Last month, things fell in place so that I could go. I was excited, but also not excited. I looked forward to meeting good friends, but I stayed up late in the night, my palms sweaty and my muscles tired from tossing and turning think about all those people.

I haven't hid my anxiety issues since Cora died. When your healthy baby dies in your arms unexpectedly, some issues are a given. When I went to Washington D.C. in April, I had a huge panic attack. Was convinced I was going to die.

I've been so worried about those two days, I finally realized I just wasn't ready. So, that's the bad news, I'm not going to BlogHer. :(

But, there's good news. I WILL be in New York City at the same time as BlogHer due to other commitments and would love to meet so many of you!! I'm going to be in town most of the day Thursday, August 5, and most of Friday, August 6.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One a week. Making one healthy change each week. Mamavation Monday.


First week is almost behind me! So, these Mamavation ladies? Awesome. So much love and support in this community.

After last week's post, I came up with an idea of how to tackle this. After Cora's death, I couldn't drive for a month, couldn't mentally handle it. I still feel like that a lot, overwhelmed. Decisions, routines, and responsibilities can be so tough sometimes. I've let me health go as well. But, I want to live a healthy lifestyle. I've decided to add one health change each week, and keep the change from the previous change.This change can be super tiny, or a big step. You know how I love buttons and badges and flair, introducing my Mamavation plan, "One a Week." One healthy change each week.


Last week, I started with a simple goal, to drink more water. I did drink more, not my goal, but more, so this week was a success! Got a great tip/reminder from Kia, drink a glass of water as soon as I wake up. Just started that today.

Feeling pretty overwhelmed with still working on my messy office, starting work, and prepareing for BlogHer, so my healthy change this week is small, take a multi-vitamin each day. For me, this is going to be a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid. No, not trying to get pregnant. I think every women of child bearing age should take prenatal vitamins (unless their doc says no).

So here's where we're at.
Week 1- drink more water (did okay)
Week 2- drink more water and take a prenatal vitamin every day.

Now off to read the other Mamavation posts!

Friday, July 16, 2010

We are sisters. Iran, that country stoning people, on UN women's committee.

So, "We are Sisters" is a new series started this month. Based on the premise that as women we should protect each other and show support. Each month, I'm going to write a series of blog posts about an area in our world needing our love and attention with ways to jump in and help. This month, we're focusing on our sisters in Iran.
 Brace yourselves. Sit down for this one. Iran, the country stoning women for trumped up adultery charges? The country that kills women simply for not wearing "proper" attire? Sits on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Don't know about you, but I really don't want Iran having any sort of voice in my status, or of that of my international sisters.

Thankfully, we're not the only ones to see the problem with that appointment. House Resolution condemns Iran's seat. My friend Joanne Michelle sent me this website she's worked on with more information about the resolution.

It's important this passes and that the United States stand up firmly against Iran's seat

So, sharpen your pencils, we're going on a letter writing campaign.

Find  and write to your representative using this online form.

Here's a sample letter, again from Joanne's website, irshn.org.

Dear Representative [Name],

I am appealing to you to support HR 1371: Condemning the selection of the Government of Iran to serve on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Iran’s selection to the UN Commission on the Status of Women disregards its continued systematic oppression of women and violations of international law, including UN declarations to which it is a signatory. I urge you to join Rep. McCotter and the sponsors of HR 1371 in reaffirming the United States’ solidarity with the Iranian people and denouncing the selection of Iran to the Commission. The women of Iran have demonstrated tremendous strength in opposition to their government's atrocities, and it is our duty to stand with them by supporting this bill.

Sincerely,

Your Name

 



Takes all of two minutes to copy paste, change a thing or two and send off.



Be heard. For our sisters in Iran that have been silenced.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Well, I'll be spammed. (And what you can learn from my mistakes)

Apparently I've been spammed or hacked or whatever you want to call it. To me spammers are hackers and hackers are usually spammers. Both go hand in hand.

For the past week, I've encountered a series of unfortunate online events.

First, I got a message from Google that there was strange activity with my login attempts, and I needed to change my password. Next, Facebook told me they also needed me to change my password. I've written both Facebook and Google, but they seem to be a little too busy to tell me why.

Then, some of my messages containing sensitive material (what an awesome phrase) get deleted. 

And, so on and so on and so forth.

I think someone got my password from when I entered it on another site. This is when a hacker gets a password. So, I went fishing for some resources about phishing to protect myself in the future. I'm sharing with you all, because I always ignored the basic Internet safety suggestions thinking I had anti-virus, didn't visit weird sites, and was above getting spammed/hacked/phished.

Here's what I think happened. I've used the same two or three password variations since I've been online (note this is really, really not smart). I think I entered that password at a site I joined that wasn't secured and run obviously with someone with questionable morals. Many people are like me and use the same password for everything, so that person then could have just used my password to login to my email/Facebook. Google and Facebook probably noticed I logged in from two places around the world at once, and sent the messages.

My second theory is that one of the Facebook third-party applications was my down fall. These applications are pretty notorious for causing problems. Basically, many of us trust them because they're through a site we trust, Facebook. I've always been leery of apps, rarely do I go there unless it's a site I trust. I had some weak moments and gave some apps some permissions I should have.

Lessons I learned:
I posted about this on Facebook and got some good feedback. I loved this tip, if you type your password on notepad or Microsoft Word and use the CTRL-V shortcut to paste into the password field, a hacker can't get your password.

We also talked about changing passwords often. Set aside a day each month or week to change them to something random. I know, I know. Old habits and old passwords die hard. Write them in a super safe place. I might make the 6th my day to do this because it's the day Cora died, I always remember that day.

Use a password hierarchy, have a password only used for silly, unsecured sites. Sites that aren't operated by a reputable organization, but you really want to join and maybe win that iPod or be able to post to.

Skip the apps and also think twice about signing up for site. Do you know the people running the site? From your sign up, the site administrator can potentially access your IP address and the password you created? Who do you feel comfortable with having that information?

Add your spammy/hackey/phishy advice below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mamavation here I come. Give me a glass of water.

Yesterday I posted about my wreck of an office. Well, as you might imagine, my life has become a bit of a wreck since Cora died, and that includes my physical health, too.

Right after she died, I didn't eat much at all. But, then I began comfort food eating. I was, and still am, much too tired to cook. I ate what was shoved in front of me, which was often fast food. In the past month or so, I've made an effort to cook more and make healthier choices, but I needs some help. I'm needy this week, first my office, now I my health. Only, I don't think it's being needy. I hope through sharing some of my problems, I help you.

Thankfully, most of you aren't dealing with baby loss. I know some of you are, and special hugs, but that doesn't mean you can't relate to my individual problems.

I've been hearing about Mamavation for months. It's a group of women that support each other through health and fitness goals. The community includes active participants really willing to support each other. That's what I need right now.

Watch Lives Change

I have to take this slow. I honestly, don't have the energy for big changes. But, that's what's so appealing about the Mamavation sistahood, everyone works at their own pace.

Besides wanting to lose a big "chunk" of weight, I truly want to be healthier. My daughter died of a heart problem. I owe it to her to make sure my heart is healthy. I know improving my physical health will help me sleep and also give me the energy I need so badly.

For this week, I want to drink more water. That's it. I want to start with one small change. I want to take this slowly and master that step. I go days without drinking water. I like water, I do, I just sort of forget about it. Plus, I've got a serious diet coke habit and reach for one of those before water. So, I need you all to check in and see how I'm doing. Ask how much water I'm drinking. I'm going to track each day to make sure I've had at least 8 glasses.

I look forward to reading the posts from all the women in the Mamavation community to support what they're doing and learn about future changes.
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