Monday, October 24, 2005


I have been blessed over the years with some very good friends. I won't mention the false friends I have run across because the good ones completely over shadow the false ones.

The past two weeks has been very difficult for me in many ways. Someone hacked my credit card information and luckily I found out before they could do too much damage. I am hot on the trail of a couple of them. It was a friend who told me there are many people who probably have the old information and I have become very security conscious. Strange for someone who wrote for the security industry for so many years, especially when I know that security cannot be bought. It is a state of mind, a feeling, and not a reality. Buy all the high tech equipment you want, surround yourself with bars and bells, whistles and alarms and all you end up with is putting yourself in a cage that anyone determined enough can break through. There is no such thing as security.

And yet I am determined to keep my information to myself so that I don't spent another umpteen weeks waiting for a new credit card so I can access my account. I am open to suggestions, but right now I am doing less buying online and clearing my cache, cookies, history, and form information after every transaction or site I visit. It's nice not to have to input passwords and user names, addresses and credit card information, but being online all the time with DSL makes my computer vulnerable even when I'm not online. Instead, I now disable the network when I'm not actually using it. It makes me feel safer, but I know I'm not any safer. The ones who hacked my information in the first place and sent the virus into my computer can just as easily catch me when I'm online. It's a fact of life that I will now have to live with. I am vulnerable and I know that now.

However, this little journey into the dark side of cyberspace has taught me something very valuable: I have wonderful friends.

I am still without access to the money transferred into my account until my new credit card arrives, but one friend generously made sure I could pay my bills, buy food, and still have a little financial cushion until I am back in business. Two more friends came over and took me out and brought food, movies, and themselves over to cheer me up and get me out of here. Another very good friend has been there for moral support and as a shoulder to lean on. The landlady understands I may be late with the rent due to this situation and she is being very understanding. My next door neighbor and her friend Michael hijacked me a few nights ago and we walked out under the full blood moon and over to his house to share the blessed and peaceful space he has created on the second floor of his house. I am one of three people he has honored by sharing his ritual space and altar.

As I said, I am truly blessed. It is at times like this when I realize that I have never really been alone even when I was sure I was. Friends like these and friends I've known who are no longer on this earth continue to bless me with their generosity, gifts, and wisdom.

To be sure there are times when, out of long decades of habit, I keep to myself, not wishing to burden people with my troubles, and friends like these have stormed through the battlements and dragged me back from the edge of the dark abyss to remind me that I don't have to do it alone. I know I have failed them sometimes by not letting friends get close enough, but I am learning -- I am being taught -- every single day.

I do my best to give as much as I have to give and share myself, my abilities, and my gifts with people, and yet still I don't always realize that there are people out there who wish to do the same for me. Keeps me humble, but mostly it proves that no matter how tough things get friends can be tougher and help soften the blows of outrageous fortune.

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