Credit: Rolling Stone Magazine

Neil Peart was…

The hardest words I read on Friday, January 10, 2020 when I double checked Neil Peart’s page on Wikipedia:  “Neil Peart was…”

Clearly it had to be a hoax.  Neil, in my mind, was immortal.  Such news would never come to pass.

I was wrong.

Over the past week, I’ve been going over in my head; OK, what WAS Neil Peart?  He was a hero to so many; something he was never to afraid to tell the world made him uncomfortable.  He was greatness.  He was someone’s family.  He was a gentle soul.

Neil was a drummer.

For decades upon decades, he mastered his art – drumming.  He’d playfully describe himself as just a guy who “hit things with sticks,” but he never found a comfortable place in his career and phoned it in.  He took pride in his efforts.  Always giving the best he could give at a show; playing with ear infections, tendinitis, and a bout of a nasty foot infection.

He continued to learn and evolve his craft despite the fact that for so many years he was deemed the BEST EVER.  He was.  I’m not sure we’ll ever see anyone else like him; certainly not in my lifetime.

Neil was a writer.

Not only did he pen almost all of the Rush catalog of lyrics (which made us THINK!), but he had quite a talent for logging his hundreds of thousands of miles traveling through roads rarely traveled all over the world on two wheels.

He painted pictures of his travels with words, which I can imagine have inspired many an-adventurer.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading his books and blog posts.  On his terms, he was opening up his very private life and letting us in.  He took great care in his writing, and it showed.

Neil was a husband and father.

Twice over, Neil was a family man.  Brought up in a typical middle-class family, he maintained those values through his lifetime.

He was a fiercely private man and kept his family affairs close to home.  After the tragic loss of his first wife and daughter, he went on his way to find himself again; and once found, he married once again and had another little girl.

I found it fitting that, being in a rock band with two other guys, his nuclear families were all women.  Just as he was the protector of his own privacy, it conjured up an image of the Papa bear with his girls.  Always the protector, but a very gentle husband and father.

A quote that touched me was when referring what was a deciding factor in his stepping back from touring.  Referring to his 6-year-old, at the time: “I can stand missing her.  I can’t stand her missing me.”

Neil was a son and a brother.

I don’t think Neil could have had a more normal and average upbringing.  His parents supported him when he showed interest in drumming and, as any middle-class family would in the 60s, had to help make those dreams come true in drips and drabs as could be afforded.

They saved up for lessons, for the pieces to that very first drum kit, they grinned and bared all the noise that first kit made; I could only imagine!  We tend to forget our heroes lives before they became our heroes.

Just as Neil had to bear the weight of losing a child, so now does his own parents; losing their first born.  His siblings losing their brother.  We grieve for our loss, but we mustn’t forget to grieve for their loss, as well.

Neil was Neil.

Neil Peart, I could safely say, is a drumming hero first and foremost for the general base of his following.  He has inspired generations of drummers, writers, travelers, and will inspire generations to come.

But, for me, he’s always been more of a kindred spirit.  I came to my obsession with RUSH in my mid-30s.  My youth was not shaped by their music, my young adult choices were not inspired by any of their choices in their careers.  I was an ordinary wife and mom when the bug bit me.

Of course, the music is what grabbed me right away, but as I learned more and more about WHO the trio was, the more I was enthralled.  I gravitated to Neil, naturally because I love drummers.  I think I have more favorite drummers than I do singers, bassists, or guitarists.  I poked around gathering what little information was available about his private life.

I decided to read Ghost Rider which was basically his travel journal after the loss of Jackie and Selena, after he had considered himself retired from RUSH, after he didn’t know what else to do but ride away.  It was in those pages, on his terms, he let us in.  He told his story, shared his pain, explained who he was.

It was the ordinary that interested me more than the extraordinary.  He was inherently shy and uncomfortable with being singled out.  He kept his own heroes at arms length because he didn’t understand the need to be a PART of their world.  He appreciated them from afar.

He reveled in his time alone and didn’t compromise his privacy under the weight of pressure from fans, management, or record labels.  If one were to have been so fortunate to have met him in person, it was either by his choice or because they didn’t know who he was!

Because of his unwillingness to become part of the fandom machine, some had described him as arrogant, rude, or pretentious.  From all of the outpouring of love and loss this past week, we know he was quite the contrary.

A common thread of those closest to him who have spoken publicly has been stories of special visits with long conversations.  Hugs and “I love yous” before parting ways.  Long, detailed, thoughtful correspondence via traditional letters or email.

He was a man that seemed to truly make the extra effort for those he cared for and who he knew were his true friends.  It is THAT part of him that interests me, inspires me, and challenges me to make time for those who care.

My heart is certainly heavy and very broken with his loss.  A loss that has cemented all loss of hope for the RUSH family to one day be reunited in the midst of our beloved trio, but we continue on with a long legacy The Professor has left us and the generations we will pass it on to.

“Through the void
To be destroyed
Or is there something more?
Atomized, at the core
Or through the astral door
To soar”
~ Cygnus X-1


WIKI: Tech support scam

Welcome back!  Here is some useful information on what scammers will typically do to gain access to your computer and your sensitive information; including account usernames and passwords, financial information, and making sure they can access your computer whenever they wish.  Yep, if it’s on, they have the opportunity to access your information without your knowledge!

Technical Support Scams – WIKIPEDIA

In a nutshell:

  1. You are cold-called by a scammer and they convince you that you have purchased something in the past or receive a warning on your computer with a number to call.
  2.  They either tell you that they received virus warnings or you are owed a refund because they are going out of business.
  3. They tell you they need to gain access to your computer so they can fix the problem and/or give you your refund.
  4. You’re instructed to install remote access software (the software is legit, their intentions are not!).  Some examples are TeamViewer, GoToMyPC, HelpMe.Net, etc.
  5. Once connected to your computer, they will set up unattended access (which means they can connect at anytime as long as your computer is on, and they will install a driver that can black out your screen while they root through your files and accounts.
  6. They will run bogus “scans” by going into your DOS prompt and running the TREE or NETSTAT commands.  It’s not looking for viruses, it’s just showing the directories on your machine and showing you the NORMAL connections to your computer when using an internet connection.
  7. They will show you Event Viewer on Windows, which, again, shows no virus activity.  Only errors that have popped up on your computer in the past.
  8. They will claim to fix the issues for hundreds of dollars and require payment via gift cards (which are a bogus way to pay for tech services)
  9. If you’re caught up in a refund scam, they will have you access your bank account, make bogus changes to the HTML code, claim to give you too much money and require you to send gift cards in the amount they over-refunded you (again, it’s all fake and you’ll be out money!)

BE SMART!  Don’t accept calls from numbers you don’t know.  Don’t take the party on the other line word for legit – get a case number, hang up, and call the actual toll-free number of the company they claim to be to know for sure.

More to come!

Scammy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2020, I’ve decided, will be the year I participate in spreading the word about scams. This popped up on my feed and was the perfect way to begin!

More info to come, but I encourage you to SHARE posts, WATCH the entertaining and informative videos I’ll be posting from legitimate scambaiters, and INFORM your family and friends of the many ways they can be taken advantage of – especially those not tech savvy.

I encourage you to invite people to follow me to spread the word and help the cause to keep those we love from being scammed! #2020scamfree #kitboga #jimbrowning #scambaiters


Midlife crisis or just tired of settling?

So, waaay back at the end of August, I posted about how BIG things were going to happen for me.  Pathetically, that was a mere THREE posts ago.  Yeah, I forget I have this stupid blog thing.

Things have changed in the last 6 or 8 months.  Got a nose stud, cut my hair shorter, colored it some funky plum and lavender color, and I went back to school.

I’m 40, which makes me (if I live to 80) – DUN, DUN, DUUUUUNNN!  “Middle-aged.”

Ah, to be middle aged.  Turning 30 was no big deal.  Turning 40, oy.  It seems as though everything decided to break down.  I hurt more.  Sciatica hit me for the first time ever.  I snap, I crackle, I pop.  My blood pressure is all over the place, even on medication.  If it continues this way, 80 is going to SUCK!  LOL

So, I went back to school.  A mere two days worth, actually – well, 50 hours spread out over 3 months or so.  And what a wonderful 50 hours it was!

I just took my final exam today – I’m officially educated on veterinary assistance!

It was a serendipitous moment waaaaay back in August when a local newspaper link popped up on my Facebook feed about the community college in town offering a Veterinary Assistant class.

I immediately sent the link to my sweet hubby and he was all for it right away.

We live in a zoo.  Three dogs.  Two (soon-to-be three) cats.  Four guinea pigs.  Plus all the dogs, cats, hamsters, lizards, frogs, birds that came before.  I think we’re a lion and a giraffe shy of an ark here.  🙂

I had to wait a grueling three months before I could attend the informational meeting and then another month to register, but the day finally arrived when I was back in school.

The class of 10 – 9 females and 1 male – was presented with a binder of everything we’d go over during those 50 hours of class time.  Three hundred pages or so of hard core veterinary information.  Scary?  Nope.  I was in heaven!

Anatomy, injection sites, bandaging, parasites, diseases, conditions, emergency situations, surgery, dentistry, restraint, radiographs, intubation, I could go on.  We covered it all…and I if I want more, I’ll have to go to Vet Tech school. 😉

Exams were tough, but fair.  As my family can attest, I got rather critical of myself for missing a half a point on an exam when I should have gotten 100%.  Labs were so much fun; working with the professor’s dogs (Doberman and little Manchester Terriers and her big, fluffy Tabby).  We trimmed nails, injected saline, gave gelatin capsules to learn how to administer pills, we bandaged, and restrained.  I think all the kisses from her dogs were the best of all.

Here I am today, 50 hours later, breathing a sigh of relief that I did it.  I had perfect attendance, so far have a 97% average, and I know I did well on the final.

What’s the next step?  I know the direction I want to go, but it’s up to God to point me in the right direction.  The opportunities are there and He’s already bringing them my way, so I am extremely hopeful.

Why this “midlife crisis?”  I think we all go through it.  For me, I’m just tired of settling.  When things become too mundane, or stagnant, or even painful, I need to change it up.  I was sick of my ratty, brassy, graying hair – so I cut it and colored it (and LOVE it!).  I was feeling bold, so I got my nose pierced (tattoo #3 is coming next).

I’m now further educated on something I have a passion for – animals.  There are few things in this world I look forward to without fail – three of them are my husband and my two kids.  The rest of them is my zoo.  They relax me, they make me laugh, they are a joy in my life.

I hand it over to God now…hopefully I’ll have an update sooner than later! 😉

Cozy Made Cozier!

Onto the family room!  Another very outdated looking room – so much paneling!  We’re remodeling on a budget, so tearing things out and replacing them were not in the plans.  Paint to the rescue!

These photos are the “before,” taken when we got settled in three years ago.  Since these photos were taken, we changed the ceiling fan.  While moving in, we changed the pendant lights by the fireplace.


This was the first room we decided to add some color to.  My husband and I went searching for colors at Lowe’s.  We settled on Sherwin Williams Ovation in Eggshell – color RED BARN for the fireplace wall.  The other three walls we settled on SVELTE SAGE.

I started with the fireplace wall, and immediately I was in love!  There’s really nothing we can or want to do to the fireplace at this point, so I was just so happy with how this color made the fireplace pop right out.  To me, the fireplace just looks better now!


I continued on with the rest of the room.  It brightened up the room without being stark.  It’s warm and cozy – it’s perfect!  I couldn’t stop walking in and looking around for days after the job was done!


Paneling isn’t always a dead end.  There’s so much of it in our house, right now it’s the only way to give a new look without breaking the bank.

The Ovation paint at Lowe’s is paint and primer in one.  It’s imperative you prime any paneling you intend to paint – this product takes one step out of the process.  So far, I’ve been impressed with how well it’s held up.  It doesn’t hold up to a firm scrape, so if your paneling is in a high traffic area where it may be bumped, touched, or whatnot, you may want to go with a separate primer first.

More to come…entry way and basement!

Image Credit: All me!