Monday, November 15, 2021

UNWELL

 Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) can be brutal. I'm not doing well right now. I'm going to take a holiday from blogging so that I can learn how to live with this condition and feel better. I hope to visit your posts while I'm vacationing. I'll be back in awhile. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Weekend on the Severn River


 P enjoying view of the Severn River 
from the deck of our rental house

This past weekend, five cousins and two spouses rented a house on the Severn River near Annapolis, MD.  It was the first meeting for some of us.  Although P and I drove just 20 miles, the others flew in to Baltimore from Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, and Wisconsin. 

The five cousins are all women. I am the oldest, at 81. My sister is almost 78. One cousin is 77. I lost contact with her in 1946 when both my parents and hers were divorced. The other two cousins are sisters. The older is 62; the younger, 58.  Three years ago, I had no idea the younger two cousins existed. My husband had been researching his family on Ancestry.com when the youngest contacted him, saying I had turned up as a first cousin on Ancestry and asking how we were related. 

My dad's brother, who died in 1965, turned out to be the father of both my 77-year-old cousin by his first wife and also the two new cousins.  We are all glad we found each other. 

-the 77-year-old, who thought she was an only child all these years, is delighted to have two half sisters. I am also glad to have re-established contact with her.

-the youngest cousin always felt as if she didn't quite belong in the family she grew up with. The man she thought was her father often said, "You don't look like one of us." She was relieved to learn the results of her Ancestry test. Now there was an explanation for all the hurtful comments of adults and the nasty teasing of schoolmates that she endured while growing up. 

--her older sister delayed getting tested because she was afraid the truth would disrupt her family, but she finally took the Ancestry test.  At first, the truth took some getting used to, but

--her two other siblings eventually accepted their new status as half-brother and half-sister and have even said they'd like to be part of the new family. 

P and I met the youngest cousin at my sister's house two years ago.  This past winter all of us began getting together regularly via Zoom sessions. We all wanted to finally meet in person. And that's what we did this weekend. 

The three older cousins are reticent introverts. The new cousins are Forces of Nature: assertive, exuberant, extremely energetic. 

We're going to set up our own blog. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

A Childhood "Haunted" House


 Some years ago, my husband was back in Cleveland, OH. He decided to visit his childhood home. He was born in that house in 1939 and it was home to him and his siblings until he left for college in 1957. After his father retired in the mid-60's, his parents sold the house and moved to the old farmhouse they owned in Knox County, OH.

The house was in Garfield Heights, a Cleveland suburb. While he was growing up, P's neighbors were all White people, largely of Irish and eastern European origin. His parents had a party line, so P often picked up the phone to hear his next-door neighbor talking in Czech. One day, thinking she might suspect he was eavesdropping, he quickly hung up when he heard her say the word, "telephone".

P knew that the neighborhood had changed and that the house now belonged to a Black family, so he wasn't sure how welcome he'd be if he approached the owner. Noticing that the yard looked better than it had back in his day, he knocked on the front door. A middle-aged woman answered the door. From upstairs, what sounded to P like "a crabby old lady"--her mother?--called down to her: "Who's at the door?"

"It's OK," the woman replied to the old lady. P explained that he had grown up in the house. The woman was very friendly. She asked him to step inside. They chatted a bit, and then she asked, "While you're here, there's something I've always wondered about. There's a bump on the floor in the basement that looks like it's been covered over with cement. Do you know anything about that?"

Always quick on the draw, P replied, in an ominous tone, "Don't dig there!"

"What???" The woman was clearly horrified.

"Just kidding," he said, reassuringly. "Actually, I have no idea. That must have happened after we moved out."

Monday, October 11, 2021

I Fell for a Scam

 

 
"Use the below" doesn't sound like normal English.
If I'd noticed that, I would have realized that something was phishy.

Instead, in my usual haste, I clicked on that link when I received an identical e-mail earlier last week. BIG MISTAKE! The first sign of trouble was the sudden disappearance of the contents of every one of our e-mail files (inbox, sent, drafts, spam, trash and contacts). P spent all afternoon recovering everything he could, but we will have to enter each of our e-mail contacts individually. 

Soon we began getting phone calls from friends and relatives saying our e-mail had been hacked. A few had received the following weird request that didn't sound like it came from me: 

Subject: Await your response

Great to hear from you, please I need you to get a Steam Wallet card for a friend who is down with cancer of the Liver. It's her birthday today and I promised to get it for her, but I can't do this now because I'm currently out of town going to sympathize with another friend of mine who his mom died of heart disease today. All my effort purchasing the card online proved abortive. Could you get it from any store around you today? I'll reimburse you once I return. Please let me know if you can handle this.  

I'll be happy to make this possible for my ill friend today. 

Other friends/relatives received only this e-mail from the scammer because of a mistake in the spelling of my name in my gmail account:

Did you receive my previous email?
Let me know if you did receive it.

One of our friends thought the e-mail was probably legit until this e-mail turned up in his spam folder the following day: 

How are you doing today? Thanks for your help yesterday. I really appreciate it. I know these would sound really stupid but I don't have a choice than to tell you these. I myself would need the Steam card. If you wouldn't be mad at me, would you mind helping me purchase another steam (sic) card for $...? I promise to refund all your $...  as soon as I am back but I wouldn't be back today again as my friend is ill due to the loss of his mom. He was being taken to the hospital and I'm here with him. The doctor said he will be fine tomorrow and I'll be back by Sunday. 

According to online information, this scam has been around since 2019. Apparently no company would ever ask you to renew your account password by sending you a link like this.  Companies either assume you will take the initiative to change your passwords or they provide a secure website for that purpose. We got busy changing all our passwords immediately. The whole episode was creepy.