Friday, May 18, 2018

Are You Immune to Credit Card Fraud?

Every morning, the first thing I do on the computer is to check my bank accounts.  In the business account for our store, I was horrified to see a reversal of $2,300 by a credit card company.  It took some time to figure out that three weeks earlier the two young men who made purchases in our store had used a fraudulent card.  They spent a long time making a decision on what they purchased and chatted at length about their families.

We checked their driver licenses to be sure the name matched with the cards and the purchases went through without a hitch.  Even harder to believe is one of the men stayed in contact with us via email for two weeks organizing his next purchase for a custom-made ring.  Why would he give me his IP address and his name if he was scamming us?  They must have known that it would take three weeks before the credit card payment would be reversed.  

No time is a good time to lose $2,300, but it really couldn't have happened at a worse time.  I was devastated and it was a struggle to find something positive to say about the situation.  It took a day to bounce back emotionally.  It made me wonder why these young men would risk jail time to make a buck when they were able-bodied and could easily find legitimate work.

I have sent copies of all the emails to the police, but I am not holding my breath.  Do you know why credit card companies get rich?  One reason is that they rarely, if ever, stand behind the merchant in these situations.  In our case, they are saying that neither the men nor their cards were present at the time of purchase.  They said the transactions came through as 'manual' which means we would have had to punch the numbers into the machine.  Is this a new kind of scam?  Are there credit cards out there that won't show up as being present at the point of sale?  How do you fight the credit card companies when they say that?  We are trying to find the footage on our in-store camera but so far.......nothing.

One positive take from this is that, in the future, for any purchases over $100 I will get a picture of ID and a picture of the credit card.  This was definitely a setback but I choose to believe a bigger, legitimate sale will happen soon to make up for the loss.

Organize.....and then organize some more

As always, it has been a busy month.  Keeping on top of all the obligations in running three brick and mortar businesses, bookkeeping, speaking engagements, maintaining an online business, health coaching (my favorite job), I also wrote three stories for anthologies (love those!) this month. 

Each week I interview at least two guests on my show Never Ever Give Up Hope which puts any problems I think I have in perspective.  I interview people who have been in a hopeless situation and came out not only a survivor but a winner.  I am in awe of the strength of the human spirit when the chips are down.

And I LOVE to cook.  I try to do a new recipe each week.  Some work....some yuck!  We had a couple dinner parties this month and I made this Strawberry Devonshire Tart I had not made in twenty years.  I forgot how good it was (and easy).  It has a shortbread crust which makes it even yummier!

Strawberry tart

I marinated the ribs all day, then baked them at a low temperature until they were perfect.  Hubby put them on the grill and got busy chatting with the boys.......guess what?  He forgot about the ribs.  We all had a good laugh, scraped as much of the char off as we could and remarkably enough -- they were really good!
Burnt ribs

And no month is complete without pictures of the grands.  My two-year-old looks like a teenager in this picture.  She will be a beautiful one and I bet her big brother puts her on a leash!

grand baby


Exchanging stories with other bloggers in this once a month Fly on the Wall post is so much fun.  I hope you enjoy each story:

Baking In A Tornado
Menopausal Mother
Spatulas on Parade


Friday, May 4, 2018

Do You Care if Pot is Legalized?

Do you think marijuana should be legalized - why or why not?

This is a tough question with many variables.  I was asked that question for this month's Secret Subject Swap and I have mixed feelings.  From a purely personal standpoint I vacillate between "no" and "I don't care."  Many of my friends have used or are using marijuana for medicinal purposes, and I applaud the health professionals who have helped them realize improvements especially in the area of pain control.

However, when someone pushing for legalization uses words like "cure" and "harmless" my antenna goes up.  Drugs rarely, if ever, are a cure.  And in all my years as a health coach, I have never heard of a harmless drug.  They all have side effects. Even coffee! I find a lot of discrepancies in their arguments.

Friday, April 20, 2018

If You Accomplish Nothing, Have You Really Worked?

The definition of work is to put in the effort to achieve a certain goal.  Does this mean that if I bang my head against a wall all day and not leave a dent in the wall, I have accomplished nothing?  We all have those kinds of days and this month I was devastated by working so hard on a time-sensitive goal and producing zip. 

About a month before we moved I realized that we would not have the same email server at the new house.  This didn't seem to be a concern until the internet provider enlightened me that when we closed our account with them, there was no way to access any of my folders or files.  

I had hundreds of files saved from 20 years in business.  It was crucial that these were saved.  I also had photos and warm fuzzy files in my personal folders.  Hence, I began the task of going over each and EVERY email, determining if I wanted to save it and then transferring it to a new Gmail account.  Not only a huge task but I did not like the folder option layout available on Gmail.

I dedicated three hours a day, every single day for almost a full month, to complete this task.  Then two days before moving I called the cable company to see if there was any other way to keep my old account open.  "Yes, of course.  You could put your account on vacation hold indefinitely."  WHY didn't they tell me that a month earlier?  I had already deleted everything from my old account but decided it couldn't hurt to keep it open to save all my contacts -- for at least another month.

After finally getting settled and ready to get back to work, I opened my new Gmail account to gain access to a few files and almost suffered heart failure.  All of my folders were there BUT most of them were empty.  I checked trash and spam.  NADA.  Empty.

Talked to computer guys but noone seemed to be able to help me.  I finally had to succumb to the fact that everything was gone.  All those years of files for our businesses and the businesses I managed for others were gone!

After much stress and investigation, I discovered that in Gmail, if you have several files in a folder and delete one of the files - it deletes them all.  I never heard of anything so ridiculous.  It didn't compute.  But it was true.

After allerting some of my business connections, my accountant and other associates that I no longer had access to old files, I resolved to find anything I could from other sources.  The move had set me back and my desk was covered with unfinished tasks.  Now, this!

The last time we moved was 12 years earlier and I didn't realize that those years had taken a toll on my stamina when it came to packing, unpacking, and carrying over 100 boxes up and down the stairs.  But mission accomplished, I was now ready to get back to work.

Five weeks later, I had one of those thoughts that gave me a head rush.  I knew all my files in my old account had been deleted but I never emptied my 'sent' file.  I was shaking when I opened that file and THERE THEY WERE.  Each and every single one of them was nicely compacted into folders I had sent to Gmail.  I shouted and got far too excited about this but it meant years of work had been found.  For the $15 it cost per month to keep my old account on vacation hold, it was worth every penny.

Moral of the story -- I'll leave that to you in the comment section.  Would love to hear your take away on this scenario. 

It feels wonderful to be settled and enjoying our new home. It's been fun entertaining and having access to so many things that had been in storage for years.


The highlight of the month was having my daughter and kiddos visit for a few days.  This kitchen has a huge pantry and the kids loved 'going shopping' several times a day.  It was a delight to watch them.

Gunner and Star seem to be happier here -- not sure why.  Maybe it is because they can run up and down the stairs all day.  Gunner is such a gentleman.  If Star wants the whole bed to herself, he allows it but stays close in his protective mode.

This has been a Fly on the Wall post where bloggers share what went on in their lives during the past month.  Stop by and read these stories by other bloggers you know and love:

Baking In A Tornado
Menopausal Mother
Spatulas on Parade

Friday, April 6, 2018

Have You Got Away With Doing Something Illegal?

I had a lot of fun interacting with the people who responded to my recent post on Facebook.  "I don't know if any of you have been bold enough to do what I just did. Just in case there would be knock on the door from the police, I told my husband what I was about to do. I thought about doing this for a long time and today I took the plunge. Today (please don't think less of me for doing this) I cut off all the manufacturer's tags on my throw pillows and rugs. I ignored the label warnings that it was against the law. There! That feels so much better to have that off my chest!"

Many responded that they would be visiting me in prison and others said they would bring me a 'special' cake.  Many said that they had also done the same but were never caught. 

Couldn't resist sharing this one:

Friday, March 23, 2018

Moving Day is Fun - Said No One Ever

I GET IT!  I really do.  "Why don't you hire someone to pack for your move?" they said.  "I can do it myself like I always have!" said I.  What I did not take into account was in the 12 years since our last move, we have collected more and as hard as it is to believe, we are now 12 years older.  So......although I understand why people hire help I don't know if I could.  Too many decisions to make along the way.

I really don't feel my 'age', whatever that means.  And in the normal course of events, I don't feel any older.  But carrying over 100 boxes up a long flight of stairs has a way of making you feel those aging joints.  After a couple weeks of packing and purging, I realized I had built muscles.  That felt great.  Considering I will now be walking up and down stairs several times a day and also carrying the dogs (their legs are too short and they are too old to make it up by themselves) I will hopefully maintain some of those newly built muscles. 

It took two weeks to pack and three to unpack.  There were six or seven trips to the dump and a few to the thrift store.  Saying goodbye to things I had not used for many years was a good feeling - even though there was a twinge of sadness once in a while.  It was difficult putting things in storage that my son had given me.  But I no longer needed the daily reminder that he is no longer in my life.  Not having things in my vision on a regular basis will help ease the pain in the long run.

My business was put on hold.  Actually, my life was!  I certainly tried to stay on top of the daily routine of emails, phone calls and my zillion jobs - basically, it was still put on hold.

I am extremely glad that I stayed in the 'old' house to clean while the movers unloaded at the new one.  Although the moving company had terrific reviews, I later found out that the owners had recently gone through some heavy personal and emotional issues and turned to alcohol.  They arrived hung over and too tired to move.  We have heavy furniture.  A piano.  Oak bedroom furniture.  A cedar cabinet that is six feet high.  I held my breath and didn't watch.

Later, I wondered how my large plants got crushed as they were standing up in the van.  Apparently, the movers thought the plants were a good place to put sofa cushions on top!


When they arrived at the new residence, my husband was sergeant major.  He kept yelling for them to wipe their feet because the driveway is not complete yet.  It was raining.  The mud, gravel, and sand were everywhere. 

The house was not quite ready for residency which meant that on MOVING DAY there were 13 construction workers doing finishing touches, three guys from the moving company, hubby, and friends.  It was like a moving party except it was not fun.

Our first guests were daughter Rochelle and kiddos.  What a delight to have them come for a visit.  Rochelle asked me several times if she could help with the move for a few days.  But I kept insisting that when she came for a visit I wanted her to be able to relax, not work.  It was nice to have everything done when they were here and what fun we had - especially with all the new places to play hide and seek!


Two-year-old Brie is a force to be reckoned with.  Like most toddlers, she has boundless energy.  As in the past, my greatest delight is to watch her six-year-old brother interact with her.  He is so responsible and caring.  Brie will tease him, even throw the occasional toy at him to see what he will do.  He 'corrects' her gently and explains that this is not acceptable behavior.  What six-year-old does that!  

Brie is fearless.  She got up on the quad and started it.  Fortunately, her legs were not long enough to reach the pedals but she figured out how to start it just by observation.   


They loved the new bathtub and with it being deep the splashing stayed IN the tub.

Even though most of the work is done, I wonder how long it takes to actually feeling settled.  I wander around my kitchen aimlessly looking for stuff.  As organized as I think I am, when friends helped me organize the kitchen, it may take months before I find what I am looking for.  Wouldn't have it any other way.  What an adventure!  

This is a Fly on the Wall post where bloggers share their adventures monthly.  Have a buzz around and be a fly on the wall at these awesome blogger's homes:

Baking In A Tornado
Menopausal Mother
Bookworm in the Kitchen
Spatulas on Parade
The Bergham Chronicles