The Facebook Scandal – Breathe and fix

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Josh EdelsonAFPGetty Images

If you hold shares in Facebook, you may need to worry a bit considering the recent scandal but the rest of you don’t really need to panic unless your national leader is named Trump.  I’m no computer nerd so I could be wrong, but from what I’ve heard most of us are fine.

Wew!  So glad I don’t have to change everything.  They only let you change the name on your account five times and darn it all I like Facebook, so I don’t want to stop using it.  I likely spend about 60 minutes a day looking at it and when I’m promoting my businesses even a little more.

When the news emerged, that Facebook had really done a bang up screw up by allowing personal information about several million members to leak out of the data base panic struck on the platform.  A report I listened to suggests you really don’t have anything to worry about because the targets were US citizens voting in the last presidential election.  (The information may have been helpful to some Russians but no one else much cares.)  The story explained that changing your name, deleting data and altering your privacy settings really isn’t necessary.  All you really need to do is check to see which “Apps” you have used and delete them because that is where the sensitive data came from.

Governments are now scrambling, especially in Ontario, to make sure the same sort of thing doesn’t happen here and you can take your own precautions too.  Some good old fashioned common sense is in order.

I didn’t have any of the suspect apps which caused the issue but if you do here is a little primer in how to get rid of them.  Go to your profile page.  That is not the Newsfeed you see all the time but rather the page where you add information.  It should be the one about the middle of the page at the top with your name on it.  Then go to the line that says more and click on the drop-down menu (aka little arrow thingy).  Look for “Apps and Games” and click on it.   It will open a page where apps you have used will show up.  Just delete them.  Then go back to the page and check other things like the info you share and your privacy settings.  If you need help ask your grandchildren or a teenage neighbour.

How can a little quiz app gain information?  Because you tell it all the little details about you.  Your favourite colour, your Mother’s maiden name, where you lived as a child, what sort of ice cream you like and so on.  That makes it easy for marketers to target you according to your personality and preferences.  For the very devious, it even makes it possible to guess at your passwords and secret answers.

As for changing your name on the account.  Not necessary.  You should likely change your passwords on everything often, maybe once a month, but if you don’t have a lot of private info on the site a little less will likely be fine.

If you hold shares in the company, you might want to consult your stock broker because advertisers are very wary of the platform at the moment but for the rest of us that might be a good thing.  Not so many adds we really don’t want to see at all.

The real thing you have to worry about on FB is fake news and political manipulation but that is for another day.

CBC article

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The Lord’s Prayer – A Unifying Power

Lord's Prayer

As I sat in church on Sunday morning I became aware that the children in the sanctuary likely didn’t know the prayer which all the adults were reciting without effort or need for the written word and I was sad.  The great prayer of the church, The Lord’s Prayer, is no longer on the lips of children.

I don’t want to spark a debate about prayer in school so don’t even go there.  I am also the first to admit that many atrocities have been committed in the name of “God” be it the God of Christians or Jews or Muslims.  This is not the issue for me.  The sadness for me comes from the realization that children and adults no longer have a unifying mantra which is respectful and pure.  Now our morning devotions and mantras are more likely pop songs or railing against a political figure.  The younger generations do not know about sacred words and unifying prayer.  They do not understand solemnity.

Mine is the last generation to recite this prayer every morning in school opening exercises.  For two of the remaining generations of us who grew up in Christian Churches, no matter what denomination, this was the prayer we said together.  It was something we could agree on even though there might have been slight changes to the wording.  There is some discussion that this is the most powerful prayer ever written or spoken.  (Articles in Google search).

Those of us who grew up reciting this prayer are far from perfect.  We have made our share of mistakes and we have turned our backs on the faith of our fathers.  But, when the chips are down and there is nothing else to say in our moments of grief or crisis this prayer has given us support and strength.

This prayer was delivered to the crowd following Jesus and was offered not as a prayer but rather as an outline for prayer.  It covers a great deal of ground in a few short words and provides a framework for every supplication we make to the Creator.  (If you would like to discover more about the elements of the prayer and more about it’s history this Wiki link is a good start)

I can only pray that the generations of the future will be able to find some rock and some words that will hold them secure in the love of the Divine.  No matter our faith, no matter our views, we are called to the love and forgiveness which is central to this prayer.

Spoken or sung this prayer, when held to it’s intent, moves the unmoveable.

Take a minute and listen to it.

Andréa Bocelli sings Our Father for Pope Francis


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Spring and French Fries

Chris Ivey's Crocus

Living in a resort town in Canada is a bit different from the usual small-town experience.  In Port Dover we are used to an influx of tourists and to some degree enjoy the festive air that comes with celebrating other people’s summer holiday.  Sadly, most of the residents have to work through it all but there is a moment in the spring when the town is still ours.  A moment when we can take in it’s beauty and joy before the crowds roll in.  Sunday March 18 was that day for me.  A stroll around town awakened all my senses and my heart leapt into spring.

The sun was shining and there was a bit of a south wind off the lake, but it wasn’t too cold, so I donned my walking layers, grabbed my trusty walking sticks and headed to the pier.  There began the adventure.  A local photographer of some international fame, Robert Irvine,  was doing a “shoot” so the road was blocked but I found a parking spot close by and headed out.

As soon as I got out of my car I could smell the French fries and hot dogs at the Arbour.  This 85-year-old walk-up restaurant holds the key to summer and when it opens locals can often be found enjoying their first, and maybe last, foot long hot dog and Golden Glow of the season.  Up Main Street I went.  People were smiling and saying hello.  Even though I didn’t see many people I knew the mood was fun and light.

Looking in the shops is always fun.  There are some great little stores in the town with lovely displays.  No one was sitting out on patios yet at 211 Main.  The “Dairy Bar” isn’t too busy at 4:30 p.m. but it is a favourite meeting spot in the mornings.  The theatre entrance is under construction.  It will open soon too, and the crowds will swarm in to see great live shows.  The storekeepers at the “Coffee Shop” and “Lakeside Savings” were both locking up as I walked by.  Nothing was open.

I rounded the corner and headed down to Elm Park where I lived as a child.  How many times have I walked that stretch of sidewalk?  I could not begin to count.  I made the trip around the circle of the park.  Christine had little yellow flowers that resemble crocus coming up in her garden.  Then I headed down toward the beach, but the beach wasn’t there.  The water is very high so my plan to descend the stairs and walk along the beach to the pier was foiled.  I had to take the long way.  Back up to the street, past the old Catholic church and down the big hill on St. George Street.

The closer I got the beach area the more people I saw.  I think every other one had a dog and I stopped to pet a couple of them.  There was one familiar face in a car lining the shore.  You can almost always find Helen there on a lovely day.

I made the short treck to the end of the pier where our lovely lighthouse stands. It must be one the most photographed lighthouse in the Province (check out the link).  It always makes me gasp a little as I round the lake side of the structure.  It holds many sweet memories.  I say a little prayer and whisper love to my son whose ashes were sent to the sea from there.  Bry on the pier

Back to the car.  A short conversation with a long-time friend and 8,500 steps on the Fitbit.  Then back to the comfort of home.  I feel the hope of spring returning.

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Spilt Milk is On Vacation


On Vacation

I’ve decided to take a week off from the blog so I can have a small vacation.  Spilt Milk will be back next week.  Thanks for following me.

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The Perfect Pen is Gone … Little Things that Drive Me Crazy

The perfect pen

Last year I bought some pens and it turned out this particular brand of pen was the perfect pen for me.  The nib was the right kind with no scratchy so-called roller ball.  It didn’t have that annoying gel ink that penetrated both sides of my journal.  It had black ink and the shape was perfect for my hand.  It had a rubber grip in just the right spot.  The problem is that now I can’t find them again.  To make matters worse it doesn’t have a brand name on it that I can find.  Now I must go searching in stores, buying a series of wrong pens to hit on it again.  It drives me batty.

My solutions to the problem are likely not what the marketing folks would like to see.  I want them to have a sample with paper beside it for each of their pens.  They could also have a reference number on them somewhere on the pen, so I know what to look for the next time.  They might also consider not wrapping them in those impossible packages of five.  Why do I have to buy five of the wrong pen over and over in my search for the right one?

I do own a lovely Cross pen with my name engraved on it and I use it on occasion but even it isn’t quite right.  It doesn’t have a grip on it, so it slips through my fingers very easily.  I bought a package of pens yesterday and of course they bear a name, but they are also the wrong pen.  The grip looked OK from the outside of the package but it’s not quite right because you have to hold the pen upright to use it.  It is one of those scratchy roller balls mentioned above.

There are so many things in life far more important than the pen I use.  Today it is just the symbol of all things that bug me.  What are the little things that drive you crazy.

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A Woman I Can Identify With


A few summers ago, I was visiting Bala, Ontario where I had spent some time as a child.  I was looking for the home that had been my great aunts and found it by asking at a quaint little museum next door.  I asked if their neighbour used to be the United Church Manse and sure enough it was.  My question was answered but in the museum was a whole other adventure I had known nothing about.  It seems I had run across one of the Ontario homes of Lucy Maude Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables and some 20 other great Canadian books.  This lovely spot along the river held treasures of Lucy Montgomery’s life and it was I first learned that she had lived with depression.

Today, to honour International Women’s Day, and a woman who fought the male establishment to give life to her books,  an heritage minute was released about Lucy.  The clip not only celebrates her love of writing and her great works but also mentions the deep depressions which plagued her life.

I had read Anne of Green Gables as a child and loved her.  In Ottawa I had seen my friend Rory Dodd in the play and loved Anne even more.  I think she is the spirit of all women who want to be more and who dare to dream beyond the boundaries and bonds which tie them.  Anne made us believe we could contribute to life and her author blazed the path for women who wanted to write. Knowing this great author had also dealt with severe depression gave an extra dimension of courage to this figure.

Depression is a thing which holds many women down and keeps us from doing the things we love and dream to do.  I understand, all too well, the dark times Lucy writes about in her journals.  I think far too many women understand those places where we feel trapped by circumstances and by the simple fact that we are women.

Perhaps as we move forward in this next wave of feminism we will find a place where we don’t have to live with so much depression because we will be able to follow our hearts without fear or condemnation.


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Reinstituting the Order of Good Cheer

the-order-of-good-cheer-painting-by-charles-william-jefferysWinter can seem bleak, even now but back in the early 1600’s for the French fur traders under the care of Samuel de Champlain in Port Royal it was positively dismal.  Almost half their number died during their first winter there and so Champlain established the order to raise spirits.

Champlain’s account of the Order:

We spent this winter very joyously and of good times, due to the L’Odre de l Bon Temps that I established here, which each person finds useful for their health and more beneficial than any sort of medicine that we could have used. The Order was presented as a Chain of office that we placed with some small ceremony, at the neck of one of our people, charging him that day with going hunting; the next day we gave it to another and thus consequently: all who wished to try would do their best and bring the most beautiful hunt: We don’t find it half bad , as well as the Indians who were with us. (Voyages of Champlain: 1613) Wikipedia

In a documentary by CBC’s Paul Kennedy with help from Chef Michael Smith the idea is was revisited and they both support the notion that in February “The Order of Canada Day” should be a national holiday to carry on the great tradition of food and gathering to boost the spirits.

In the documentary they discuss the importance of people getting together over food.  It is a tradition of mankind for millennia and one which we still carry on but perhaps not with as much simplicity and ease as we once did.

One of the things Smith and Kennedy support is the cooking of large amounts of mussels over pine needles.  The whole idea sounds wonderful and terribly reminiscent of French Canadian meals I shared when I lived in Ottawa, but it is not what you eat together that really matters.  What is important is that you do eat together.

I’m with Kennedy and Smith on the reinstitution of the order though we could change the work of the chain of office.  Rather than have one person do the hunting and preparation of the meal for the day why not just have a big old pot luck (another great tradition) and share it at one person’s home.  Maybe even better than that it could happen often through the winter.  Too often we get cooped up and lose heart a bit at winters bite.  What better way to boost our spirits than to spend time with friends.

Any takers?  My house Saturday night if you are interested let me know.  ( I tried this earlier last month but didn’t call it the Order of Good Cheer – trying again).


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Give 16 Year Olds the Vote? Or Not!


Having just dropped off about 14 teenagers who I spend four hours a day with I shuddered as I heard the news that a private members bill has been introduced (though missed whether it is Federal or Provincial) to allow 16-year old’s to vote.

On my bus today one teenager had just informed me that her favourite song is “F*** Me in the Butt Because I Love Jesus”, another was so stoned that he could hardly walk, and yet another told me to F*** Off as he got off the bus.  Those teenagers range in age from 14 to 18 with different levels of intelligence and social competence but there isn’t one of them I would want to leave the fate of the country with.  On the other hand, I spoke with someone yesterday who is a senior and doesn’t believe anything but FOX news and Donald Trump.  Not a big confidence builder in my book either.

As I listened to the conversation on CBC one person suggested no one should be able to vote unless they have taken a Civics class.  That seemed to me to the better measure.  I don’t think the older person I spoke with yesterday has much of a handle on civics at all.

In a quick look through the internet I found that this issue rises  for debate every year in the British Parliament where it apparently hasn’t yet been resolved.

An article on the maturity of 16 year old’s states, they “…likely possess the necessary intellectual skills to make informed choices about terminating a pregnancy but may lack the social and emotional maturity to control impulses, resist peer pressure and fully appreciate the riskiness of dangerous decisions” thereby mitigating their criminal responsibility.  I recognize that opens another can of worms but if you can get past the abortion issue you will realize what they are saying is that we can’t treat 16 year old’s like we do 18 year old’s in a court when they have committed a crime because they lack impulse control and are far more susceptible to peer pressure.

That piece of news begs me to ask that if they want to vote at 16 then should we also hold them accountable as adults for crimes?

Every day I hear conversations amongst teenagers who think I don’t have ears and that leads me to the conclusion they should not have a vote until 18.  Those teens who have responsibilities of jobs under their belt, who have faced some life choice decisions like picking schools and who can hold a sensible debate seem to be the ones who are 18 or at least very close to it.  Last year I had a little gaggle of older teens on my bus and I loved listening to their debates about social issues.  The younger group debates are usually about who looked at whom and whether they should get stoned at lunch time on the way to Tim Horton’s.

All things considered I’m going for everyone having to pass a civics class before they get the vote, not matter what their age.

What do you think?

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Snow Day

snowdayI don’t write blogs on snow days but just in case you missed me this is what was happening today.

  • Up at 5:30
  • started bus at 6:00
  • Boss called a snow day
  • Back in the house to drink my tea
  • check Facebook
  • back to bed till the sun was shining in my face at 10 – delightful
  • read for two hours while I drank coffee- what a treat
  • did a couple of tasks that could not be put off
  • went outside to shovel snow and go for a walk in the glorieous day
  • off to help my friend who is moving
  • spent the evening with wonderful people drinking wine, eating great food and laughing lots.

Much better than writing a blog.  What a perfect, unexpected day off.  I think the world should just call random days off for everyone.



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Marching through March

Coming storm

Just when it appeared winter was on the way out with robins in the road and swans overhead March takes its legendary turn at coming in like a lion.

March is a difficult month for many.  Julius Caesar certainly found it to be his worst and family legend says my Great Grandfather, Thomas Guiler, used to say if he could make it through March he would last another year.  Sure enough, he died in March.

Having worked in mental health for many years I know it is a month that is very difficult for many people who live with depression.  Winter begins to feel like a weight on the shoulders and feet.  Dreary skies make spring feel like a distant hope.

I’m sure not liking the look of this radar today.  I must get children home safely while the weather will be delivering its fiercest blast.

So how can we turn an otherwise dreary and depressing month into a time of joy and health.  It’s not easy and might it might be much easier to just curl up with a book under a blanket and ignore it, but we have to keep marching on, trying not to lose heart.

Here’s my plan for staying above the clouds.

  • Write something every day
  • Pray every day
  • Get half an hour of exercise every day.  If it’s too nasty to be outside get back on the yoga mat.
  • Use the diffuser at least twice a day with oils that make me happy
  • Grab a nap if I need one
  • Eat well
  • Stay in touch with people who love me

What is your marching through March list?


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