Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tracking our Every Move and Mini Rant



A few days after my niece and I spent the afternoon in a tourist town along Lake Michigan, I got a questionnaire on my smart phone from Google Maps asking me about the restaurant where we ate lunch that afternoon. It creeped me out! I hadn’t googled a map to the area or looked for information about restaurant nor did I use a credit card or my phone inside the place. It took me a few minutes to figure out that GPS must have tracked us as we walked around town and it knew we stayed inside the restaurant long enough to eat. Creepy, but on the good side of Big Brotherism if I ever end up in a swallow, unmarked grave hopefully my killer will be the forgetful type who fails to take my cell phone and I’ll be found (assuming someone misses me before the battery ruins down). And even if he does disable my phone, I have an ace in the hole. My 5-Star Emergency Responder has the same GPS tracking ability and I’m never without that tucked in my cleavage. (Should it be ‘in’ my cleavage or ‘between’ my cleavage? I hate word dilemmas like that.)

There is precious little expectation for privacy these days and that’s sad for our youngest generation who will never know what it’s like to grow up in a world without security cameras, satellite spies and trackers recording their every move. They’ll never know the silly thrill of driving to a lookout point high above where two state lines meet and standing on a picnic table mooning the people going over the bridge below. Don and I did that once on vacation in the late ‘70s but if we did it today we’d probably get arrested for indecent exposure when we drove back down the hill. To the best of my memory that’s the one and only mooning episode in my life but if my brother or best friend through grade school and high school comes along to say differently I’ll bow to their superior memories. 

Did you know you can even get GPS pet trackers with location-on-demand? If Levi was an escape artist I’d get one for him in a heartbeat---might anyway because sometimes he's hard to find in the house. I’ve heard they can even embed similar devices under the skin of children of high profile people who might be targets for kidnappers. How soon before they become acceptable to use on all kids? Tracking devices for Alzheimer’s patients are not uncommon for those being cared for at home, and the 5-Star Emergency Responder I wear was originally designed for children by John Walsh, the father of the little boy who was kidnapped and beheaded in 1974. As most people know, John went on to establish a powerful advocacy group for victims of violent crime and is the host of the popular TV show, America’s Most Wanted. I admire how he was able to channel his deep grief into something for the greater good of society. 

Speaking of courageous fathers in the aftermath of profound loss did you see Khizr Khan’s speech at the DNC National Convention? He and his wife are Gold Star parents of a Muslim-American Caption in the U.S Army who was killed in Iraq and who posthumously received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his heroism. And if you want to skip the rant portion of this blog post, scroll down to the next paragraph. Here it goes: I cannot believe that Donald Trump tried to devalue that father’s impassioned speech about his son and anti-Muslim bigotry by claiming that Hillary’s people wrote it for him. It wasn’t enough for him to go after the father, he also suggested Mrs. Khan wasn’t allowed to speak as she stood on stage because of her religion. But Mrs. Khan the next day said in an interview that she gets emotional when she sees photos of her son and when she walked out on stage there was a huge image of him on the jumbo-trons and that threw her off balance so she asked her husband to speak for both of them. Instead of ignoring the whole speech as Trump should have done, he couldn’t resist hitting back on one line in particular: “Mr. Trump, you have sacrificed nothing and no one” for our country to which Trump shot back that he made a lot of sacrifices when he was building his business empire---as if that compares to having a child come back from war in a flag draped coffin. The man only takes his foot out of him mouth long enough to insert his other foot and he’s been doing this foot exchange over the Khan’s for nearly a week now. Rant off.

There is a TV commercial I see often for a smart phone app that is connected to a motion detector and speaker for your front door. It allows you to be able to see who is at your door and talk to them from any place in the world, whether they ring the bell or not. That app fascinates me which is plain crazy, given the fact that the only people who stop by are the UPS guy, USPS woman and the Jehovah Witnesses. Growing up, though, I would have set up that motion detector near my diary. Back in my teens I used sewing thread and baby power to alert me if any prying eyes had breached my hiding places. I was never sure if it was my mother or my brother who found my diary---more than once---because they were both too cagey to crack under my cross-examinations. In this day and age it would be so easy to catch someone who invades your privacy or to tell a Jehovah Witness at the door, “Move along little lady, move along.” ©

NOTE: If anyone missed Khizr Khan’s speech, check out this story about the son’s heroism which includes a link to video of his speech with its introduction by Hillary: Click Here.

35 comments:

  1. I really need a new phone, mine is still working, but it's ancient and tiny - a flip phone. I never could get the hang of texting with it. When I get a new one, it won't leave the store with the GPS thing working. Just saying.

    That excuse for a man has no business running for president. Shameful. I guess the party didn't really want 'in' this time.

    Sounds like you get two times more people at your door than I do. LOL! I think I might like that app though - to see when the dogs want to come in when I have the door shut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the idea of spying on my dog, too. LOL I spend a lot of time looking for him in the house and in his yard. He has eight places in the house where he likes to sleep and none of them are his official bed.

      I think the Republican party brought this on themselves by being such obstructionists the entire time Obama's been in office. For example, refusing to vote on his nominee for the Supreme Court and saying on day one that their job was to make sure Obama was a one term president. I'm hoping if they loss big this time they'll reorganize and come back with a party that wants work and play nice together.

      It's easy to turn the GPS feature on and off, I've just never bothered. I actually use google maps on my phone. It's nice to have it show you where you're at if you're in a traffic tie up and you want to find an alternate route or if you're lost.

      Delete
  2. I have wondered about the adds and Google search coming up with stuff you only thought about. My SIL bought some mangos and wondered out loud to me how do you tell when they are ripe. She typed in on Google "how do you tell" and Google finished the sentence "when mangos are ripe". WEIRD.
    I wonder how the brain operates...seriously...in people who still like Trump after all this. I would love to know scientifically what is different in the two types of brains. Did you see where an older vet gave Trump his Purple Heart! WTF!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every time we do a search whether on Google or someplace else those searches are tracked and companies who buy ads can target us with stuff they think we'll be interested in. I just typed in "How do to tell..." and it came up with 6-7 choices of fruit ripeness. They must be very popular searches. LOL

      Ohmygod! Trump said when the guy gave him the metal, "I've always wanted a Purple Heart! WTF is right! I'm seriously worried about this election. He probably could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and still not loss his fan base.

      Delete
  3. The scary thing is that some would join him and shoot people too...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jean :

    I feel trup being entertainer believes being in news is good thing whether it is for good comments or stupid comments. he keeps on tweeting about khan family so that it still stays in news & idiot gets free publicity. I just pray people don't elect him for change in power. Hillary is better choice this election year.
    Asha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are right. He doesn't know the difference between being an entertainer looking for ratings and person seeking the responsibility of running a country.

      Delete
  5. I guess I haven't given much thought to being tracked. As I don't have anything to worry about anybody knowing I guess I've chosen not to take that issue on to worry about. It could though be a matter of great concern for a lot of people. I don't think it will be a big issue for children and young people as they've never known any other way of life. Dare we hope the electoral college will do right by our country and keep Trump out of office?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't really care if I'm tracked either. I don't do anything worth watching. But already I see young people who don't believe certain things actually happened if it's not of a video some place or in a text. LOL

      Somebody or something better do what's right by our country. What he says about using nuclear weapons is so scary!

      Delete
  6. Being tracked and monitored IS very interesting, pros and cons on both sides of course. I lead such a boring life I'm surprised "they" haven't turned off my GPS! When I shop online, FB shows me ads for similar items. I'm not sure why that annoys me!

    Our election is an international joke, only not very funny. UGH! And now all the leaders of the DNC have resigned? This just gets curiouser and curiouser.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It annoys me too to be shown things I've bought or researched or is 'age appropriate!

      We are an international joke.

      Delete
    2. Yes! "Age" appropriate. I especially don't like those!!!!

      Delete
  7. I hadn't heard of the John Walsh story and just looked it up. My blood ran cold. I've left my kids in the toys area zillions of times, just like John's wife.

    Just typed "how do you tell" and google didn't complete my sentence (but gave me a choice , including other things that I'd googled previously - and this when I'd deleted my browsing history?!).

    Re Mr Kahn and Mr T, each tribe - D or R - sticks to its own, regardless. Win or lose, T's inciting of baser emotions has now been set alight. (Not a good sentence but it aptly expresses my feeling of a conflagration.)

    Jean R. - I learn from your blog, and look forward to it each week. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Walsh story is so heart breaking. I don't know how a parent deals with that kind of grief and what if's. But they found a way to go on.

      I'm guessing the "how do you..." thing is based more on common searches by everyone, not just our own searches. Like intuitive typing just guesses based on the odds. Fun to ponder but for the paranoid types I'll bet computers to add to the illness. :)

      Mr. Kahn is such an impressive speaker. He's been in the media quite a lot the last few days and seems to be the right person, at the right time to talk about anti-Muslim bigotry.

      Thanks. writing blogs is a learning experiences too.

      Delete
    2. Hi Jean R. - I was very pleased with myself that I didn't rant (not right, since I'm not American) so please do continue to comment on politics - it would be ironical if Mr Kahn is the flashpoint. I read comments online that reassure me that *I'm* not alone in my thoughts. As I've always said, don't like either main candidate, BUT between the two I'd NEVER choose T, so its the female candidate for me. (It makes me cross to read of people saying they won't vote at all - thats plain stupid.) Just read a comment that made me laugh out loud: T so terrified of being elected and shoved in the Oval Office as Prez that he's running out of ideas what crazy things to do to stop that!!!

      The old axiom of follow-the-money is gold. So methinks 1) he's hiding his tax returns because he's not rich as he says 2) (not connected, true) he's lining up to establish his cable news network (i.e. if he loses!). ~ Libby

      Delete
    3. He's hiding something in his tax returns that's for sure and I don't understand why his fans are so willing to give him a pass on that. That's a funny joke about Trump and he's probably more truth than fiction.

      I'm going to come out of the closet here and say I like Hillary. I think she'll make a great president. I think 90% of the criticism of her is unfair partisan hit tricks and made up fairy tales. She's tough, smart and understands the world in ways Trump never will.

      Delete
    4. I've just been watching clips of Obama responding to questions from Fox and other similar news channels - measured, logical, considered responses. I could just see and hear my husband expressing his admiration and respect and just wished he were here with me (I'm getting teary-eyed).

      I watched/read some T's interview clips too. I'd always thought him OBNOXIOUS. But in some he showed his charm and persuasiveness. He's very smart, and I was impressed by how he manipulated seasoned TV anchors. However, I cannot forgive his deliberate torching of race politics, etc as I've ranted before.

      I don't think much of HRC. But she puts herself through this process when she doesn't really need to - that I respect. For me the bottom line is that T is unfit, period. Ergo, HRC. ~ Libby

      Delete
    5. My husband hated Trump for decades (based on his lack of business ethics and personal morals) and I'm kind of glad he doesn't have to watch this election cycle because he'd have another stroke, not being able to express his low opinion of the guy. Like you with your husband, we knew these guys well enough to know how they'd feel.

      Delete
  8. Recently, I was reading a novel (a British mystery that's several years old, so not a comment on current American politics). At one point in the novel, the detectives are discussing how to interrogate a suspect and one of them, who has training in psychology and is the unofficial profiler for the murder squad, says that the suspect is a psychopath. When their superintendent scoffs at this idea, she says: “She fits the clinical definition. No conscience, no empathy, pathological liar, manipulative, charming, intuitive, attention-seeking, easily bored, narcissistic, turns very nasty when she’s thwarted in any way…” Sound like anyone we know?? It worries me that a significant number of Americans think that such a person would be an appropriate choice for President. -Jean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the scary part, isn't it. That a significant portion of the population can't see that in Trump or if they do, they don't care how seriously he can damage our country. Madeleine Allbright says he's already damaged out country overseas just by running.

      Delete
  9. I am not reading or watching anything political for the next 3 months, so I skipped over your rant. George Orwell wasn't too far off in his imagination was he? Next will come the predicted 666 tattoo or the chip under our skin, so the government can keep track of us at all times. I guess I'm real glad I don't have a cell phone or a GPS, unless they implanted a tracking device in my hip replacement, I'm okay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why I put the warning in there...for people who are opting out. LOL

      Did you know that your hip replacement part does have a unique number that can be traced? I have three traceable parts in me. Fake boobs do, too. George Orwell, here we come.

      Delete
  10. I don't think I am a Luddite but there are a lot of modern lifestyles that I don't care to have. I don't have a tv...I don't particularly like how it can effect people although I am well aware that it can be useful and entertaining. I'm not interested in facebook or Twitter because I don't necessarily feel that I need to embrace all aspects of conventional culture. I actually really like my iPad and use it as my main source of news and information which is why I don't think I am a Luddite. I am at an age where I know what I want and don't need random invitations to try products or restaurants. And what is part of the culture of the 18-32 year old set is not necessarily anything that I want. So a lot of technology and entertainment passes me by!

    I used to really like to try the New York Times Crossword puzzles but there are so many popular culture references these days that I end up with a lot of blank boxes! And interestingly I listen to a lot of podcasts about popular culture, including film and tv reviews and technology and I find them interesting but don't care to watch the programs!
    And as for Agent Orange (that was Trevor Noah's term), which I think works quite well as they are both poison gases...well...need I say more!
    Regards,
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not on twitter or instagram although I do have accounts. Facebook I didn't take an interest in it until all the new babies started getting born in the family. It is a good way to keep up with photos. I could not live without TV for more than a day but I rarely watch it, it just plays in the background to help me feel connected to the world. I admire (and am slightly mystified) that you don't even have one in the house!

      I love Trevor Noah. I love his world view and humor, of course.

      Delete
  11. Who ever thought we would have these kinds of problems with our elections? Can you believe the Russian connection? Donald has gone 'round the bend this week. Did you watch Morning Joe yesterday? Joe said that a security advisor who spoke with Trump told him that Trump asked him three times in one hour, "If we have nuclear weapons, why can't we use them?" The Trump campaign is now denying it.

    I find the tracking thing creepy. Young people don't seem to value their privacy as much as out generation. My son wonders why it bothers me. I guess they don't miss what they've never known.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump got caught lying about his Russian connection. His words are all on video yet he keeps right on claiming falsehoods. Part of the problem is his fan base won't listen to creditable media sources to hear those tapes. I've never seen so many people on Facebook post stuff from Alex Jones and Allen West as I have this political cycle. Alex Jones still thinks the moon landing was faked and peddles every conspiracy that comes around and some of FB connections thinks he's a good source? Drives me nuts. LOL

      Delete
  12. I've decided some people are just plain stupid, but more lazy. They just want to follow someone or believe something doing absolutely no research or critical thinking about it. Many just follow what or who their friends do....lazy and fear of admitting they were wrong. It's just too much work for many

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lack critical thinking! Isn't that the truth. And lazy. I think some people also like to believe that they are somehow better.smarter than others (when they buy into the conspiracies) because they "see" things others don't. Outlandish stuff but they don't care.

      Delete
  13. Yeah, that tracking thing creeps me out, but more that it could be used for nefarious ends -- which leads me to the political part of your post!

    Who knows how tracking devices can be put to use should our system totally collapse at some point. I don't think it will be any time soon, this presidential season notwithstanding with the R candidate seemingly certifiable. But who knows? If they can track us for marketing reasons they can track us for other reasons too. Totalitarian regimes are notoriously no fun. :)

    I also worry about kids -- I once read a good hacker can trace a posted photo to where it was taken -- including your home and the very room inside your home! YOWZA! I think I take some precautions, but I'm no tech-y, so I'm sure I'm wide open to hackers. (A true tech-y guy I know says Google and Android systems are the absolute worst for tracking and sharing information about us.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I understand it, if you leave you GPS on when you take photos with your phone any picture you post online CAN be tracked to the exact location, and it's not even a hard hack to find those markers. The moral of that story is never leave your GPS on when you take pictures of your grandkids, if you post those pictures which I know you don't do but I'm saying it for others who might not know that.

      I don't think privacy laws can keep up with the technology out there. That video you posted on FaceBook is amazing but also scary, the quality of spying people can do from space. Hopefully people will wake up to what can happen if we elect Trump's for his Totalitarian regime.

      Delete
  14. Wow...I didn't know about GPS & photos. Poor parents.

    Back in the 80's I traveled a lot for work. I'm so glad GPS and access to email & the net weren't options back then. When I got on a plane I could sit back and relax.

    I was so moved by Mr Khan and his point about immigrants. And, Michelle Obama's comments about waking up ea morning in the White House built by slaves brought tears to my eyes. Boy, I'm going to miss the Obama's.

    Peggy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Khan was so powerful in that speech and I think he finally humanized the Muslim-American community to a lot of people and how it feels to be broad-brushed painted as terrorists because their religion. And Michelle...always so elegant yet down to earth. I'm going to miss the Obama's too.

      Delete
  15. I'm thrilled Donald behaved callously! He is unravelling in full view. How long before the majority of people feel sorry for him?

    Often it's the cartoonists or comedians who have to exaggerate and disfigure someone's flaws, to shock us sweet folk from giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Hah! Here Donald's doing it all himself.

    This leaves one adult in the room - a flawed woman I lost respect for when she blamed the right wing conspiracy for airing her husband's infidelities. That was back before I got a whiff of my husband's infidelity. Memo to All Perfect People: Come stand on the lily pads on my pond. Camera's ready!

    Given her public service record, I now believe Hilary will work her heart out for all, even the Donald. She's regained my respect and more. Though... I shudder to think of the Clinton drama repeating itself. Please...NO! Ahh, I will miss the Obama's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will miss the Obama's too and believe history will treat him well.

      I just hope Trump doesn't unravel so much that the RNC comes after him with a butterfly net and they put someone else on the ticked a week or so before the election. For the RNC to clean house they need to lose big from the top of the ticket on down.

      Delete