Showing posts from 2006

I get some weird spam. . .

but this one took the cake:

From: "Karina Sierra"
Subject: Re: REPLY
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 23:04:28 +0500

The imaginative pork chop, an anomaly about a food stamp, and the fried scythe are what made America great!
You didnt know exactly where to find the gotta, but you always knew when you did.
A submarine about some chess board is statesmanlike. For example, the judge indicates that a lover defined by a tripod ignores the muddy reactor.
Yeah, he supposed he would get through it, if the goddam typewriter held together.


It snowed this morning and most of the day. I got to try out a Toro Power Shovel I'd bought last spring at Home Depot for $50. It works very well. I felt like SNOW WOMAN!

After the first shoveling, I tackled Chris' office, rearranging things, trying to put manuals together for the computer and music items, going through the bookshelf, drawers and closets. I found a stack of commendations and certificates of promoti…

Christmas is over - now for New Year's

Before I begin with Christmas stories, some things I forgot to mention in previous posts:

1) When I was up in Houlton, Maine with the dogs, the morning I had to be at the school early was a cold, cold morning. As I let the car warm up, with Bandit on his blanket in the back seat and Guin in the front passenger seat, shivering, I remembered something. Jurgen has heated seats! So I turned on Guin's seat to the lowest setting and turned on the heated steering wheel for me. Ahhhhh.

I looked at Guin and saw her sit straight up with a weird look on her face, then she turned to look at me. I almost thought she'd peed on the seat. Then she looked like she had a smile on her face and snuggled to lie down on the seat, all curled up in a warm little ball.

Ever since then, if it's cold when we go out, she whimpers and gives me "the look." This means turn on the seat, dammit!


Chris' barber, who I mentioned had an uncomfortable run-in with me, had karma bit…

What I'm going to miss. . .

On Christmas Eve, Chris and I always had his mom and dad over for dinner, then to open presents and sometimes play cards. I'll miss that. After they left, we'd always watch "It's A Wonderful Life." I'll miss that. I don't think I'll ever be able to watch that movie again, though.

On Christmas morning, I'd usually get up first to hang up Chris' stocking. Mine was always up because Chris would usually stay up a bit after watching the movie. I'd wake up the dogs, then Chris. We would make mimosas, toast Christmas Day, then would open presents. Bandit and Guin love Christmas, especially Bandit. As I've said before, he's very intelligent and I would tell him Santa had brought him presents. Even blind, he'd go to the tree and start rooting around for his presents. They each got their own stocking as well and we'd take turns giving the dogs their presents. I'll miss that.

We'd then watch some TV, play with any new "toys…

So many things to do. . .

Shipped the ghost books out on Monday, did some more Christmas shopping, picked out a mattress to go with my new bed (which should be in soon, I hope).

On Saturday night, went to Vivi's house for dinner and met Debbie, her son Jordy, and Vivi's niece and her boyfriend. Vivi's brother, Ron, was there, too. We had delish roast beef, veggies and potatoes, had a couple of glasses of red wine, then switched to diet coke (for the caffeine) and just enjoyed myself. Debbie had brought their new puppy, Chloe - a Sheltie/black cocker mix. So adorable and very smart!

Hmm. Just been busy doing odds and ends - putting together the official Bandit and Guinevere 2007 calendar (if you want one, it's $10, free shipping). I always make them for my parents, Chris' mom, the girls at the bank and one for our house. We dropped off the calendar at the bank today and the girls there were going through it, laughing their butts off. I do a pretty good job on that calendar, if I do say so mys…

WHOA Newsletter - December 18, 2006

WHOA Newsletter

December 18, 2006

I couldn't make this up if I tried. . .Only could happen this time of year

Ho! Ho! Ho! The bizarre abounds at Christmas
Chubby British children are reaching for fruit and vegetables this Christmas while Japanese shoppers are being tempted by the ultimate treat -- a Christmas cake decorated with diamonds.

As for Father Christmas, he is gallivanting happily in cyberspace but faces a tough time down on earth as children tug his beard, sneeze all over him and wet his lap.

Cash tills may be ringing on the Internet but in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, festive cheer is in short supply.

With a week to go, Christmas offers its usual diet of weird and wonderful tales around the world and 2006 is no exception.

With bad diet and sloth pushing up obesity rates in England, a self-help group of chubby little Londoners is getting together for weekly classes on nutrition to help them resist the culinary …

Thai Dish, Arlo, Some Comments on People's Reactions

Met up with Arlo and his lady friend Yvonne. Got hugs from both. Ordered duck curry (which was delish and brought some home for dinner another night). Chris used to play online submarine sim games with Arlo and his son. While Arlo and Yvonne and I talked (which was awkward at times - some people are just uncomfortable with me right now and I understand), they kept touching each other, kissing on the cheek and being very affectionate. I was a bit put off by it and honestly, it made me feel uncomfortable, but I have a feeling it was their reaction to Chris being gone and reassuring each other.

I gave Arlo a bunch of sub hats that Chris would wear when he played the sim games with him and he was touched.

He looked at a guitar he was interested in, a Fender telecaster James Burton Signature Model. It needs a new neck (Chris dropped his brand new Glock one day and the safety didn't work and shot a hole through the guitar case and the neck). I need to get some idea of a price for him. He …

Ho ho houlton!

Left Monday morning in Jurgen (if you don't know, that's the name of my Beemer) with Bandit in the back seat and Guin in the front passenger seat. The ride up to Houlton, Maine was pretty uneventful. Had to stop a few times to let them pee, got them burgers at Burger King (shhh, don't tell anyone) and got to the Shiretown Motor Inn by 5 pm. Caught up with email, then ran out to Shop N Save to get a cobb salad for dinner. Went to bed and Bandit had me up in the middle of the night (even though I'd let them both out to pee and poop before going to bed). Oy.

Got up early, as my first talk to the high school students was at 8:15 am. Drove to the school, got the dogs settled in a rarely used hallway in the school, set up my laptop. I have to say that Bandit and Guin were so good, it wasn't funny. They let kids that walked by pet them and didn't bark or fuss. Although Guin did pee and poop when we first went in. I cleaned it up.

The high school student talk went well u…

Catching up on the last few days

Let's see. . .Thursday I had to do a radio interview at 2 pm (I must have sounded lovely with my cold), then went to the doctor at 3:30 to get some cold meds and more cough syrup. Picked up my meds, came home, ate and went to bed.

Friday morning I had to do a phone interview with the Social Security Administration. The woman was nice, asked a lot of questions and because of my age, I am only eligible for a $255 one-time death benefit. I can start collecting on Chris' SS when I turn 60. That's a way aways. Okay.

At 3:30 I went to my lawyer's office and got the official word that the workshop at Chris' parents house does come to me. I made arrangements with his mom and some friends to get the book collection out of the basement on Saturday. I also had to sign a bunch of paperwork - for the life insurance, the title of the Jeep so that it's now mine, etc. My eyes began to cross at the end. Took a hot bubble bath and went to bed early.

Bandit has been getting me up at…

Day three/four in Minneapolis, then the flight home

I set up the books on a small table near the registration booths and did end up selling some, then headed to set up for my afternoon talk.

Had a good crowd show up - almost 100 and got good questions and sold more books - yay!

Did I mention the conference already paid my lecture fee? WOW! All I have to submit are my travel expenses. Talk about efficient!

As I mentioned before, Mark Elder from had a booth at the conference. He graciously allowed me to set my books up on the end of one table to try to sell them after my talk. I also helped him out a bit and we talked a lot. I think he liked the company, LOL.

I took my things back up to my room, changed, went to the gift shop to get some OJ and hit a store that is only open at night (lord knows why). I bought some bath foam there (basically fancy bubble bath). Went back to my room and ordered some quesadillas from room service and watched my favorite show, "Heroes." It was the season finale and WOW - a good one!

Took my c…

Day two/three in Minneapolis

Yesterday's workshop had a whopping six people in it. I really wish they had the workshops during the conference and not as a pre-conference so that more people would attend. But it was a good group of folks, got some great questions and went online to take them to some of the web sites I'd talked about, especially Sold one book.

I'd told my mom that Chris' mom sounded really depressed yesterday, so my mom had my friend Vivi drive her over to spend the afternoon with her. Dick and Bill (Chris' friends) fought over who would drive my mom home. That was pretty funny. My mom is as worried about Chris' mom as I am. She shouldn't be in that big house alone, even with Brigitte. I wish someone would get her out of there for a week - I'll dogsit. Any takers?

Afterwards, I went upstairs, changed into some comfortable clothes, then headed back downstairs to the sports bar with a magazine to unwind and had one glass of wine. Headed back to my room, orde…

Minneapolis is cccccccold

Picked up my mom Friday (had lunch with my sister, mom and sister's friend) and stopped by Chris' mom's house on the way home.Brigitte just loves Mom2 (Mom is my mom and Mom2 is Chris' mom, just so you won't get confused) so much. She growled at my mom and followed Mom2 all over the house.

We had tea, Mom2 teared up a couple of times, so did I, but it was a nice visit.

Got home and gave mom her list of instructions on taking care of the dogs and how to use things in the house (like the TV/stereo, heating, microwave, coffeepot, etc). We went grocery shopping and came back. I finished up some things on my computer for my trip while Mom enjoyed flipping through all the cable channels. She stopped at an old Bill Cosby special and was laughing her butt off.

I've got a cold. Coughing my lungs out. Great. Took some Nyquil before going to bed.

Saturday morning packed, went over final instructions with Mom, then the car service came to get me. Quick ride to Logan airport, q…

You'd think. . .

that some organizations would want to keep me as a member.

I called two organizations, one a political one and the other the NRA to let them know Chris had died and to see if they could put my name on the membership. Both said they couldn't do it. The political one said it was for "legal" reasons, even though Chris was a sustaining member and I argued that we filed joint tax returns, so what did it matter? I was disgusted and told them I would be switching political parties. I haven't decided if I'm a Libertarian or an Independent now. I'm thinking of starting a new party called the NoParty party. Wanna join?

The NRA really surprised me. Chris was a Life Member and had only $125 left to pay it in full. They said the membership was non-refundable and not transferable. I said they should make an exception in the case of an unexpected death (especially since Chris shot himself). Chris and I both took the NRA gun safety course together, were actively involved in sa…

WHOA Newsletter - 11/27/06

WHOA Newsletter

November 27, 2006

I couldn't make this up if I tried. . .At least I
know who to call if I need one

World's biggest rubber band ball
A US man has made the world's biggest rubber band ball.

Steve Milton, of Eugene, Oregon, created the ball
out of more than 175,000 rubber bands.

Guinness accepted it as a record breaker after it
tipped the scales at 4,594lbs at a Chicago weigh-in.

The mammoth ball, which has a circumference of
19ft, broke the former record set by John Bain,
whose ball weighed in at 3,120lbs.

The 26-year-old started his ball in November 2005
with just a few small rubberbands.

"It was just a great project with me and my
kids," said Mr Milton, who worked on the ball
with his six-year-old son, Bryce Milton, and his
fiancee's son, Austin Johnson, 7.

"We did a little bit of research on how big
rubber band balls are, and realised there was one
out there that was 3,120 pounds and we knew…

Catching up, Minneapolis, Brigitte and more

I've spent the past couple of weeks making phone calls to cancel Chris' credit cards, car and motorcycle insurance, health insurance, AAA, memberships. . .the list goes on and on.

I am really mad at United Airlines. My stepmother had called them the day after Chris died to cancel my trip to Kansas on November 8th, which I could not do for very obvious reasons. She asked them if they needed a copy of the death certificate to refund my money and they said no.

So I checked my United Mileage Plus account online and found that the ticket had indeed been canceled, but the ticket cost had NOT been refunded. So I called United. The guy I got was in India at one of the call centers and although very nice, basically told me I would have to drive to Boston (the airport I was supposed to fly out of), go to the United ticket counter, show them the death certificate and then get my refund. I was in tears and thank God my friend Vivi was here. She took over and was on the phone for three frell…

WHOA Newsletter - 11/20/06

WHOA Newsletter

November 20, 2006

In memory of William E. Hitchcock 1928-2006 (
and Christopher Hitchcock 1966-2006 (

I believe the world has lost two true artists
A Da Vinci, a Michelangelo, a Mozart
And I fear that the world will never know it
I’ll bet more people could tell you the last five finalists of American Idol
Than could tell you who painted the Sistine Chapel
And that is so sad


I couldn't make this up if I tried. . .I saw this on the news. Really.

Eatery's uniforms anger nurses groups

The specialty at the Heart Attack Grill in Tempe, Ariz., is a quadruple bypass burger stacked high with four half-pound beef patties, cheddar cheese, red onions, bacon, lettuce, tomato and a special sauce.

But it's not the fat content or choleste…

What is grieving?

Can anyone tell me the "correct" way to grieve? I have had a few friends say to me that they are surprised I am not upset and can actually laugh and joke. Huh? Am I supposed to curl up in a ball and cry 24-7? Believe me, I have my moments when I burst into tears. Family and friends who have been with me since Chris died can attest to this. It doesn't take a memory or anything associated with Chris to trigger this. Sometimes I just cry. And sometimes I don't.

When the friends who are shocked when they call me that I am not blubbering, I tell them they caught me at a good time. And I mean that.

Is there an etiquette book on the right way to deal with two deaths in one week? I don't think so. Everyone grieves in their own way. Some people *do* curl up in balls. I just can't do that. Now that I am on my own, I have to deal with everyday mundane things like paying the bill, letting the dogs out, getting the mail, calling the chimney guy to come clean the chimney, go…

I'm back (sort of)

I wanted to let everyone know I am back in the house, as of this past Monday. I was staying at my dad's all last week and glad I did. The support of family and friends during that time kept me from going crazy.

The funeral was hard. The ceremony was well done and touching, but I couldn't stop shaking throughout it. One of Chris' Marine friends, Jamie, flew up from Virginia. Many of his musician friends were there as well, especially Dick and Bill, who have know Chris for well over 30 years. Plus other friends and family, too numerous to mention.

The funeral home staff was impeccable, compassionate and patient. I do not know how they do their work every day without breaking down.

I am taking the rest of the month off to deal with legal issues and begin cleaning out drawers and closets. Friends have been staying overnight with me and helping me during the day.

I am going back to work in December, for two speaking engagements. I need to get back to as normal as possible as soon a…

Posted for Jayne

I am posting this for Jayne - she is staying at her parent's house.

Her husband, Christopher, died on Monday, November 6th, the day after his father died.

A link to the obituary is at

If you live in the Dover, NH, the funeral is tomorrow and information is in the obituary description above or call the funeral home at 603-742-4961

Cards can be sent to Jayne at

PO Box 782
York, Maine 03909

Dad's gone

Saw him last night, kissed him on the forehead and told him I loved him. Saw Chris' sisters, too. They were to fly home early this morning.

Last night, as I lay in bed, I thought in my head:

"Dad, you don't have to stay. Let go. Go to the light. Go to your mother, your father, your sister. Your family. We'll see you again. Just go."

Bandit woke us up at around 6 am howling. I thought he had to go out. Talked with Mom an hour or so later. She'd given Dad his meds a little before 6 am.

At 11 am, Mom called. She thought Dad was gone. We rushed over and she was right. Sometime between when she gave him his meds and 11 am he died.

When we got there, I burst into tears and held her tight. Then I went in to see Dad. He was so still. I kissed him again on the forehead and let him go.

Chris talked with the hospice lady, then Mike, one of the visiting nurses, stopped by. Mom and I cried and cried. I called my Mom and cried with her.

Don't know when the funeral is, but i…

Two Media Opportunities

I have two media opportunities:

1) David Goldstein from KCBS/KCAL TV in Los Angeles is looking for a cyberstalking victim, male or female, from southern California (LA to San Diego). You can remain anonymous if you wish. If you are interested, email me ASAP or reply to this message and I will email you.

2) ABC News in Miami/Ft.Lauderdale area and NBC News in Jacksonville, FL are interested in doing a story on Safe Chat, and they need to do a “video shoot” of actual family who is using Safe Chat for their kids. The folks at Safe Chat are willing to give away a free copy of their software (see for more info). If you livein the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale or Jacksonville, Florida area, are a family and would be willing to try out Safe Chat and be filmed by a TV crew using it, please either email me ASAP or reply to this message and I will email you.

Jayne A. Hitchcock
President, WHOA-KTD

WHOA Newsletter - October 30, 2006

For those of you who celebrate Halloween:


I couldn't make this up if I tried - Study finds 'surprising' level of paranormal belief
With Halloween fast approaching, adults across the nation are loading up on candy and decorations, planning to hunker down for a night of trick-or-treaters, parties and hi-jinx. But how many of them actually believe in the ghosts and aliens they so often display on their houses?

More than some might think.

A new study found 37 percent of Americans believe in haunted houses. More than half believe dreams can foretell the future. Twenty percent believe it’s possible to communicate with the dead. And about a quarter of the people surveyed believe some UFOs are spaceships from other worlds.

The Baylor University researchers who conducted the 2006 Baylor Study of Religion, released last month, found a “surprising” level of belief in paranormal things among…

An update on Chris' Dad

For those of you who did not know, Chris' dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer just about two months ago. In late September, when doctors operated on him, the cancer was so aggressive they just sewed him back up and told him he had less than six months to live.

After some discussion, it was decided to do hospice and we were all optimistic, Dad especially, that he would be able to get up and around enough to leave the house, even drive and maybe work with Chris in their workshop. Unfortunately, in the past week, his health has gone quickly downhill and now hospice gives him less than a month to live.

Since Chris is not working, because he's been dealing with doctor's appointments, hospice, visiting nurses, etc, I began taking as many speaking engagements as possible to make up for the loss of income. Luckily, what with the media hype about Myspace and online predators, I have been gone every week, sometimes twice a week. That's the downside of being self-employed, we don…