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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

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 safe gun legislation and other things.

I hate it when people say that guns should be outlawed. Guns don't kill people - people kill people. A person has to pull the trigger - a gun will not go off by itself and purposely kill someone. I have a gun for protection (more now than ever since I am living alone). I know how to use it - safely. I know when I should use it - only as a last resort. I am not an idiot and I am not a gun-waving zealot. I am a responsible adult. It's the gun-waving idiots who give conscientious gun owners like me a bad name.

Oh. Pfft.


Yesterday, I went to Great Bay Motorcycles to speak to the owner about what to do with Chris' Triumph Bonneville. The bike isn't even six months old yet and has less than 500 miles on it and a lot of upgrades. I had Chris' best friend, Dick, meet me there for moral support. It was hard and I did cry a bit, but the owner was so nice and promised to take care of the bike and put it on consignment and only take a 15% commission on it. Bless him.


Dick and I went out for coffee afterwards and talked about Chris and other things. Poor Dick is going through a nasty divorce. I feel so bad for him. His marriage is over and he lost his best friend. Come to think of it, I'm almost in the same boat. Chris was definitely my best friend. He made me laugh, especially when he would imitate characters from "Madagascar" (the movie).

I miss his "Mr. Bunny," making fun of me doing my yoga in the morning, teasing me constantly. It's quiet here sometimes. Thank god for Bandit and Guin. They keep me smiling and are good company.


I am really looking forward to my trip to Minneapolis this weekend. I need to get back to work and to get away for a bit. It will be good for me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

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 we could do it."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(DISCLAIMER: The following news items were found
on the web and were not written or endorsed by
WHO@; they are for informational purposes only)

More employers track use of e-mail, Internet - 11/17/06
The salacious instant messages to congressional
pages that led to Rep. Mark Foley's downfall in
September should have caught the attention of
millions of workers and employers.

Walk away from workplace bullies - 11/27/06
She's late for work every morning, spends hours
on the internet and sticks the knife into
workmates when they aren't around to defend themselves.

Fan hacks Linkin singer cell data, threatens wife - 11/27/06
A woman is accused of using a computer at a
national laboratory to hack into a cell phone
company's Web site to get a number for Chester
Bennington, lead singer of the Grammy-winning rock group Linkin Park.

Someone out there doesn’t like me - 11/26/06,,20409-2469693,00.html
The freedom of the web makes it a perfect place
for the malicious to launch anonymous personal
attacks. Matthew Wall explains how to fight back

Estate agents desperately turn to illegally
hijacking properties for sale off the web - 11/24/06\
Estate agents are becoming so desperate for
commissions that they are illegally "hijacking"
properties from private sales websites and advertising them as their own.

Gay couple in building row hit by email abuse - 11/24/06\
A GAY couple who complained about a £33,000 loft
conversion at their home were told: "I hope
you're unhappy, I can't stand you."

Iranian actor in sex video scandal says ex-fiance faked footage - 11/23/06,,1954720,00.html
An Iranian actor at the centre of a video sex
scandal has spoken for the first time publicly to
deny being a collaborator in the now notorious home-made film.

Forged Iraq art used to fund terrorism - 11/22/06
Militants in Iraq and the Middle East are selling
forged art works on auction Web site eBay and in
antique markets in the UK to help fund terrorism, police said on Wednesday.

Spyware Operators Settles With FTC - 11/22/06
Two notorious spyware operators settled charges
Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Both John Robert Martinson, the principal owner
of Mailwiper, and Odysseus Marketing and its
principal, Walter Rines, drew the FTC's attention
for their secret downloads lurking behind free
downloads of screensavers, anti-spyware and peer-to-peer (P2P) software.

Web sites add fuel to fights - 11/22/06,0,1\
Did a popular social networking Web site help
fuel the neighborhood rivalry that has led to
numerous fights at Annapolis High School and
eventually to a mall shootout last weekend?

No Charges In Email Threats Against Flutie - 11/21/06
A California man who admits he sent threatening
emails to local football legend Doug Flutie will
not face any criminal charges.

EBAY CROOKS STUNG ME IN £37,000 SCAM - 11/21/06\
FRAUDSTERS racked up almost £40,000 of online
bids after hacking into a young woman's eBay account.
Leanne Mitchell, 22, logged on to her computer to
find her eBay account details had been changed.

Violent games blamed for German school attack - 11/21/06\
Leading German lawmakers demanded a crackdown on
violent computer and simulated war games on
Tuesday over concerns that they may have helped
inspire a young man to attack his former school with guns and explosives.

FTC offers guidelines to reduce online shopping risks - 11/21/06\
Online merchants may be ready for holiday season
Web orders this year, but Grinches will also be on the Internet.
Holiday shopping online is expected to reach new
peaks this year, and with the surge comes concern
over the safety of transactions, according to
technology services company EDS Corp. and the
U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), both of
which have issued guidelines for Web shoppers.

Frontier Crime Fighting - 11/20/06\
The Internet is, in its way, a new frontier.
The West had its pioneers, who used the new world
to better themselves, and also its outlaws, who
got the better of others. The Internet is no
different. With all of its practical
applications, there are those who use it for criminal activities.

Calif. court ruling seeks to protect bloggers, Web publishers - 11/20/06\
In a victory for bloggers, newsgroup participants
and other Web publishers, the California Supreme
Court ruled Monday that individual Internet users
cannot be held liable for republishing defamatory statements written by others.

IBM Worker Says He Was Fired For Chat Room Addiction - 11/20/06;jsessionid=TZH2XMIKZQ1AEQS\
In the lawsuit, the former employee admits that
he spent time in chat rooms during work hours,
but claims his behavior is the result of an
addiction and that IBM should have offered him
counseling instead of firing him.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

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 frelling hours calling various numbers to get someone to help. I could not believe it. At one point, she was told I would have to pay a $100 cancellation fee. Hello? My husband has died. It was not my fault I had to cancel. Show some compassion, people.

She finally got a fax number to fax the death certificate to and I did that. I checked my credit card this past Monday and no refund yet. So I called to ask when it was supposed to go through and was told it would take two billing cycles. What the hell?

All I can say is United Airlines sucks and I refuse to fly them again unless it's a last resort. And I used to fly them as often as I could. What shitty customer service. Yes, the president of UAL is going to definitely get a nasty letter from me.


One person who is involved with the ship model business was all hot to trot to "liquidate" what was in the workshop at Chris' dad's house. I kindly emailed this guy and asked him to wait until our lawyers worked out the details of dad's will. His reply to me? Instead of a "Just let me know what happens," he sends this long email basically laying claim to just about everything in the workshop and claiming that he "jointly" owned many items with Chris' dad. Then he had the gall to say that I shouldn't expect to make "heaps of money" on selling the "well-used" machinery. Hello? My husband hadn't been dead a week. Don't play on my grief and try to get a "steal" on what's in there.

I was pissed and replied to him that I didn't expect to make heaps of money, but that the lawyers had to work things out and if he could send me a list of items he felt he owned, that would be helpful.

I think someone said something to him about being such an ass and he sent me an email asking to get in touch when I hear from the lawyers. Like hell I will. I refuse to sell this man anything from that workshop. Which, BTW, does come to me. I just need to wait for my lawyer to get the paperwork before I can do an inventory of what's down there (I have friends who have volunteered to help me do that). If anyone is interested in woodworking machinery, tools, ship model parts, etc, drop me a line.


I went to see my doctor last week and told him the Ativan helps me sleep but is too strong for the daytime. He gave me Xanax and I wish I'd had this the past two weeks. It keeps me calm without knocking me out. I don't cry as often, but I have those moments when I burst into tears. I know it's normal. The anger is still there, but not as much. I miss Chris and his goofiness. Thank God I have the dogs or I'd go crazy in this house alone.

My sister and her husband took the bedroom set off my hands. I don't want to see it ever again. The house insurance is going to pay for the mattresses, bedding and anything else that had to be removed. I found a new bed and put a deposit on it. My friend Joanne repainted the bedroom a soft rose color and it looks good. Everyone asks me if I'm afraid to sleep in there. Nope. The dogs go in there all the time and aren't afraid, so I'm not. I also sold the leather couch and chair from the living room. The couch was something Chris had wanted and I really didn't like it. It was uncomfortable to sit on and is better suited for a formal living room. I want a comfy couch, so that will be next on my list. Joanne will also be repainting the bathroom and kitchen (light blue and light green respectively). Change is good and is keeping me busy.


Took Chris' mom to the local animal shelter yesterday to find a companion for her. She wanted a small dog to keep her busy. We found Brigitte. She's six years old, fixed, all her shots, housetrained and came from Alabama. She'd just arrived at the shelter on Thanksgiving day. She is so cute and loving and wants to be held - just what Mom needs.

Here they are:

I took the photos with my new Motorola Razr V3i cell phone. When I'd canceled Chris' account, the salesguy talked me into this. I'm glad I did it. It's giving me something new to learn, takes better photos and video and has a bigger screen, plus it came with a bunch of free extras.

I'm getting back to work next week. I pick up my Mom on Friday to stay here with the dogs while I fly to freezing cold Minneapolis to speak at the TIES Conference at the Hyatt Hotel. I did this conference last year, so I know the people who run it, which is good for me. And it will be good to get away, even if it's just a few days. I'm speaking three days this year and they're having dinners, receptions, and more. I'll be busy and it should be fun.


Can't think of anything else. Lazy Sunday today. Maybe I'll take the dogs for a ride to Barnes & Noble to pick up a book or two and a Starbucks coffee.

Monday, November 20, 2006

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 cholesterol payload that has raised the ire of the Baltimore-based Center for Nursing Advocacy. Rather, it's how the burger is served -- by waitresses in revealing naughty-nurse uniforms.

The waitresses wear stethoscopes around their necks and crosses on their nurse hats. They also wear fishnet stockings and tight, cleavage-baring tops. On occasion, they jump into their customers' arms.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(DISCLAIMER: The following news items were found on the web and were not written or endorsed by WHO@; they are for informational purposes only)

Why Buying Gift Cards on Auction Sites isn’t a Good Idea
I recently did a post wondering if sites reselling gift cards would create an additional avenue for dishonest people to commit fraud. After all - gift card fraud - isn’t new and eBay limits the sales of them on their sites because of the criminal activity associated with them.

Nigerian scams cost Britons millions, says study - 11/20/06
Internet scams, credit card fraud and money laundering operations originating in Nigeria cost Britons millions of pounds a year, a report on Monday said.

Inappropriate e-mail use is growing problem - 11/20/06
The salacious instant messages to congressional pages that led to Rep. Mark Foley's downfall in September should have caught the attention of millions of workers and employers.

Are you addicted to the Internet? - 11/19/06
Millions of American adults may have at least one sign of "problematic" Internet use, meaning their lives are at least somewhat disrupted by going online.

Roanoke TV station fires meteorologist over MySpace photo - 11/18/06
A WSLS-TV meteorologist was fired because his nude photo was posted on the Internet.

Man gets prison for Web rage attack - 11/18/06
A British man was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison Friday for physically assaulting another man after an online quarrel.

Internet auction fraud tops list of cybercrimes - 11/17/06
Although identity theft and credit card fraud are common online, you're more likely to fall victim to internet auction fraud. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, internet auction fraud is becoming a problem in Southwest Florida and across the nation.

Ex-SEAL faces charge in Internet threat case - 11/17/06
A former Navy SEAL who has been in and out of jail was back in Cumberland County Prison yesterday, accused of using the Internet to harass and threaten an ex-girlfriend.

Man accused of threats - 11/17/06
An Orinda man was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges that he threatened to subject a man having an affair with his wife to electric shocks until his "eyes burst right out of their sockets," court records show.

Lawyers to question employees in e-mail scandal at courthouse - 11/16/06
A Huntsville law firm will take the next step in the Morgan County Courthouse e-mail scandal by developing a computer forensics team to examine data of county employees and officials.

Students advised to avoid cyber stalkers from social networks - 11/15/06
Last month, a University of Hawai‘i at M noa student was allegedly raped in her dorm room after meeting a man on the popular networking Web site In response, school officials are educating people about the dangers of using social networks.

Florida AG Investigates - 11/15/06
The Florida state attorney general's office has opened an investigation into potentially misleading advertising by

Student arrested after allegedly e-mailing a hoax bomb threat on Chicago's Sears Tower - 11/15/06
A college student was charged with making a false threat claiming that a Muslim man would conduct a suicide-bomb attack on the Sears Tower in Chicago.

GPS Surveillance Creeps into Daily Life - 11/14/06
Public-interest advocates say cell phone surveillance is becoming cheaper and more pervasive, but companies and governments are lagging behind in establishing policies to protect the right to privacy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

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, going to the eye doctor, etc. I have to be able to function so that I can get back to work. I don't have a full time job where I can take paid time off. So the longer I don't work, the less I'll be able to pay bills. With a mortgage and other bills to pay, I *have* to get back to work soon. And I will.

One thing I've noticed is that my sleep is irregular. I used to go to bed by 9 pm and get up at 7 am at the latest. I've been staying up until almost midnight, then waking at 4 or 5 am. It's not because I'm afraid to sleep in the house - I'm not. When I do sleep, I sleep well.

The mornings are the hardest. Chris' mom told me they are hard for her, too. That is when I am more likely to cry or be more emotional (so for those of you who don't think I'm sad enough, call me in the morning). It's weird.

I had to go to the eye doctor on Friday. It's hard to get an appointment with him and even though I didn't feel like going, I went. I had canceled Chris' appointment two days before. I got there, went in and gave my name. Everyone behind the counter stopped what they were doing and stared at me. I swear to God. I felt like I had a huge "W" written on the front of my shirt.

I knew they knew. Chris' obituary was in all the local papers last week. So I knew people in town would begin to know. It's a very small town. Most of the time it's a blessing, but now I feel like a freak.

The eye doctor sat me down and just stared at me. I said, "You know, don't you?" He said he'd read it in the paper the day before and I burst into tears. He was really nice and calm and actually got me to laugh later.

I have so many family and friends to thank for their patience with me these past two weeks. My dad and stepmother for letting me and the dogs stay with them that first week. All my sisters, brothers, aunt, nieces, nephews and especially my mom.

Chris' Marine friend, Jamie, for standing behind me at the funeral and holding tight onto my shoulders and just being there. Dick and Bill, Chris' best friends for calling me and visiting Chris' mom when they can.

Debbie and her daughter for taking the time to come to the funeral. Chris' other musician friends, the ship model guys and girls and I know I've forgotten someone, so forgive me.

I especially want to thank Vivi, who stayed with me at the house the first three nights I came home. We slept on air mattresses, had a fire in the fireplace, made dinner and talked and watched TV. She was there when I cried. Joanne, who is going to help me paint the bedroom and some other rooms, who has come by and called frequently. Debbie again for calling often to make sure I was okay. Dave and Bob who spent two entire days cleaning up the basement where Chris' workshop was set up (but very messy) and broke down the cardboard boxes stacked up for recycling. The other Bob for taking me out to dinner one night at my favorite sushi joint and calling to check in on me. Robin for helping me go through Chris' drawers and closet and sorting out his computer games and things in his home office.

Then there's Michael from Geneva & Dino from Australia, who called; Peter, his brother Alex and their mom who called (Peter's family "adopted" me when Chris and I lived in California); Carole, my brothers, sisters, mom again, and I know I'm forgetting someone - don't hate me for not remembering.

Then Cass, one of my WHOA volunteers from Canada, and her boyfriend, Stu came up from Boston. They were on a short vacation and took time to see me. I was so glad they took me out to dinner. It had been a rough day and I needed it. I took them for a little tour of the town where I live, then we ate at the York Harbor Inn, then went for a walk on the beach and by the lighthouse before heading back here to chat for a bit before they left. And I didn't cry once. They made me laugh a lot.

And then there are you, my online friends who have written such nice things in my blogs and sent me emails. I'm sorry for not replying to you individually, but do know that I cherish everything you've sent and am so happy I have so many friends online and offline.

Well, gotta go. The waterworks are starting up again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

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 as I can, since I am the sole breadwinner now.

I am just hoping I don't lose the house. I want to stay here.

I will write more when I can, but if anyone is interested in booking me for a speaking engagement next year, contact me at, or leave a voicemail at 815-550-5059. Or pass my info along to anyone you feel may be interested in booking me.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

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

Sunday, November 05, 2006

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 it will be private.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society.

If you want to send Mom a card, please send it to

June Hitchcock
8 Mulligan Drive
Dover, NH 03820

I have to fly to Brooklyn tomorrow to do a speaking engagement and will be home tomorrow night. Chris' sisters are headed back up here. I'm hoping the funeral will be Tuesday afternoon. I made an appointment at 11:30 am that day to have Mom's hair done. I leave Wednesday for my next speaking engagement and won't be home until Friday night. Thursday is my birthday.

It's going to be one helluva week.

Friday, November 03, 2006

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