I used the leaked celebrity nudes of Jennifer Lawrence and others to teach my kids about internet security.

A few days ago nude pictures of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Victoria Justice, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Kate Upton, Lea Michele, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and others showed up online.  I happened to see them on a friends’ Twitter account.  When I saw them, I was like, “no way those are real.” But apparently they were.

As the facts of the story emerged it appears a hacker with the name of “OriginalGuy” hacked his way into cloud storage and stole these pictures and then proceeded to put them out for mass viewing.  In fact, it seems as though he alleges he has hundreds, if not thousands more pictures and he will be leaking them out over time.

photo credit: www.gawker.com

photo credit: www.gawker.com

While some celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton admitted the pictures were authentic they were obviously and rightly outraged that their private information was splattered all over the internet, others denied the authenticity of the photos and told their fans the photos were faked. These photos were private and personal. They belonged to the owners of the photos and no one else. Except of course anyone they chose to share them with, if they did.  Someone breaking into your storage and stealing your private property is no different if it is photos or computers, or jewelry, or anything else you own and maintain in a private place.

I remember when my oldest child (who is now 22) got her first phone with a camera.  Her mother and I repeatedly cautioned her about taking inappropriate pictures of herself (revealing or nudes) and keeping them on her phone.  We explained that people could get your images off of your phone.  We warned her against sending nudes to anyone because once out there, they may end up in places you don’t want them.  Even if deleted, they are still accessible.  In fact actress Mary Winstead commented, “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves.”  She went on to say that the photos had been deleted years ago.  Yet somehow they were still available to be hacked??

Thank you Ms. Winstead.  You just made my point!

Once these photos have been taken and stored anywhere they are potentially available ANY time someone wants to use their skills to hack and steal them.  Now while I will admit that the likelihood that someone will want to hack and steal nudes of my kids is low, it is still possible.  Nudes are nudes.  They fetch high prices.  Someone out there might want nudes of people, famous or not.

My first reaction to this was: “So don’t take nude pictures on your phone.”  And for goodness sakes, if you do, don’t share them or store them anywhere.  In fact some people have argued that people have the right to take nude photos of themselves and expect privacy just as women have the right to wear short skirts in public and not expect to be harassed or ogled or touched.  While I agree that they should have complete agency over their own bodies, once that agency is shared with others you are at their mercy as to how those photos can be used in a negative way.

So don’t give your agency away.

If you must take nude photos of yourself because after all it is your body and you have that right, then go for it! But please keep them just for your own enjoyment.  If you want to share them with someone, the do so by showing them the pictures on your phone while holding it in your hand.  Don’t send them to someone via the internet.  Don’t send them to someone via your phone service provider .

The internet is not as secure as some would think.  Cloud storage is not as secure (apparently) as we would like it to be.  My home is not as secure as I would like it to be.  Thieves are out there.  Given an opportunity and a motive some people will steal and do nefarious things with the stolen property.  This is the way of the world.

Should that stop you from living your life?  Absolutely not! But it should make you aware to take precautions with the things you value, or that could potentially cause you embarrassment or anger if shared.  Be smart about your security and your private information.  Hopefully this horrible situation will give people cause to think about their actions and their internet security and how they choose to share and store private information and pictures.

Maybe my kids will take some of the lessons I tried to teach them about internet security and sharing private things with people to heart.  If anything good can come from this unfortunate situation I hope it is that people (including my kids) will be more aware of how little security the internet has, and be mire cautious of the information and photos they choose to share.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes

 Do you all ever get in a dinner rut?  I do!  It seems like we eat the same thing over and over.  I try to look for new things to make, and when I do sometimes the family loves it:  Potato soup, and sometimes they don’t: yellow tomato pasta. To be honest I ended up tossing part of the pasta after everyone refused to eat it for leftovers.
So I was really excited when I saw this recipe on my friend Pam’s Facebook wall.  I saw it during one of those times I was browsing Facebook, aka “the time sucking website”, and this popped up!  It looked intriguing, and I decided to give it a try.  I wasn’t sure when I would make them, but the other day when Karol suggested she make her famous ribs for dinner, I thought, this would be a perfect side dish!
To be honest I adore potatoes.  Nothing soothes my soul quite like mashed potatoes, with or without gravy.  However, potatoes really aren’t very good for me, so I limit my intake of them.  So when I find a recipe that uses just three ingredients and I can soothe my soul without the added calories of butter and milk, I am in!  Now just to be perfectly honest, I did make some of these “loaded” and added shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, crumbled bacon and scallions, but they are just as good plain!

ROASTED SMASHED POTATOES

8-10 small red bliss potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Adjust the oven racks to the top position.

Boil the potatoes in water for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Some recipes tell you to smash them with a potato peeler, or between two kitchen towels.  I used the bottom of a drinking glass.  Worked great!!

Place the smashed potatoes on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes on the top rack for about 20-30 minutes, turning them over gently with a spatula 1/2 way through the cooking time, so about 10-15 minutes.

Top with cheese, or any baked potato item you love.  Or just eat them plain.  My favorite part were the crunchy bits, and my kids devoured them!  They are even good reheated, although not so crunchy.

smashed and ready to go in the oven

smashed and ready to go in the oven

 

Out of the oven.  Cheese on some, sour cream on two.

Out of the oven. Cheese on some, sour cream on two.

 

ready to go in my mouth!!!

ready to go in my mouth!!!

smashedpotato3

Just cheese.

Just cheese.

 

Super easy and delicious side dish that can be made in about 45 minutes, but require very little time in the way of “making” them.  Most of the time is spent boiling and baking, so you can get other things done at the same time!

ENJOY!!

Perimenopause and it’s symptoms can suck it!!

I have written about Perimenopause before.  Looking back over my posts I have written about it twice.  Once in October 2012, and again n October 2013.  Not sure whey October seems to be the month to write about it, other than all this crap started the week of my birthday the year I turned 46, so maybe my birthday month (October) triggers something.  Not sure.  But I suppose if that is true than writing about it today makes me a month early.  And for those of you who may be squeamish I will warn you in advance that this article is filled with details about mine and other women’s bodily functions, so if it is TMI, I apologize in advance.

Perimenopause is a bitch.  Truly.  For any woman dealing with it, and that can be ANY woman in the mid to late 30′s until actual Menopause sets in, the time (which is often years) is full of unpleasant, and even painful or embarrassing situations.

I told someone recently that every month that I get my cycle I rejoice because that means I still have enough female hormones to induce a menstrual cycle.  However, while doing research about perimenopause what I have found is that I was dead wrong.  In fact some scientists believe that  perimenopausal women have an increase in Estrogen and a decrease in Progesterone, which is what causes us to have increased symptoms of bloating, cramping and breast tenderness. These scientists also believe that FSH is a major culprit in causing a change to our cycles from a regular 15 days to 10 days plus or minus 4 days.

GREAT!  So instead of being able to plan (somewhat) and count the days between cycles now we have a shortened cycle and can be on either side of our “due date” by 4 days.  Are you kidding me?

These symptoms are also noted to happen to perimenopausal women:

New heavy and/or longer menstrual flow (yep)

• Shorter menstrual cycle lengths (≤ 25 days) ( so now we have to carry feminine hygiene products ALL the time because we NEVER know when we might start bleeding)

• New sore, swollen, and/or lumpy breasts (This has definitely happened to me to the point where it hurts to even work out)

• New or increased menstrual cramps (I know this is TMI, but now I start cramping days before I start my cycle…..YAY)

• New mid-sleep wakening (this has not happened to me, but I do wake up in the middle of the night sweating….)

• Onset of night sweats, especially around flow (see above comment.  This can even happen in wintertime)

• New or markedly increased migraine headaches ( This has not happened to me, but I do have friends who have noted an increase in their migraines as they have entered their 40′s)

• New or increased premenstrual mood swings (Ummm, I have always been a bit moody. However, since I turned 46 I definitely cry more often and want to cut people more frequently…. not sure if that is perimenopause or just lack of tolerance for stupid people. )

• Notable weight gain without changes in exercise or food intake (That has been my ENTIRE life, so nothing new there)

Image from : www.rottenecards.com

Image from : www.rottenecards.com

I mean honestly, is this fair in any sense of the word?  We have to deal with these symptoms, and more I wager. For my own experience I have the lovely experience of having cramps for days before I even have a cycle and wish I would just start already so I can stop having the cramps and bloating.  Also, I never know exactly when I am going to have a cycle.  I will be “regular” (meaning a cycle every 28 days) for three or four months, then I will have two cycles in one month, then I will go back to “regular”.

I never know how long my bleeding will last.  Some months it is 4 days, some months it is 7 days, some months it is 10 days. And according to these scientists and doctors this shift from pre-menstrual (meaning normal 28 day cycle every month). And my gosh, (super TMI) the bleeding can be so heavy at times!  Seriously, the flow can be so heavy you think you are bleeding out.  And then, you realize nope, it is just my stupid perimenopause.  (well that is what I think anyway, not sure what other women my age call it)

I know my peers are experiencing these symptoms and others.  I know because we sometimes talk about it.  I don’t know why it is not a more open discussion.  Why don’t we talk about these things more?  I mean seriously come on, these symptoms affect EVERY woman at some point in her life. Even if you have a surgical removal of organs you will have a “surgical” menopause.  Karol had a hysterectomy due to cervical cancer and removal of one ovary and she still has symptoms.  One of my BFF’s only has one ovary and she has symptoms.  Since millions of women deal with this why don’t we talk about it more?  Why isn’t there more research to find treatments or ways to make these symptoms less intrusive for women?

I know part of the answer is because women’s medical issues are not as important to the medical community and researchers as medical issues affecting men. Part of the answer is because it is “impolite” to discuss these things.  It is not “nice”.  Really, that pisses me off because I can see commercials on tv for medications to help men with their erections (or lack of erection to be more correct), and that is mainstream conversation about men’s health issues as they age.  Why can’t women’s health issues about aging be a mainstream conversation?

I for one will do what I can to enlighten women and talk about these issues.  Hopefully in my very small part and my very small sphere of influence I can open a conversation that women will participate in with each other, with their health care providers, and with society as a whole so this topic becomes less taboo and more “normal”.

Women who are dealing with this I would love to hear what you are going through and whether this list is all you are dealing with or if we need to add to it.