I flinched when I saw the number on caller ID. I knew the caller’s message would rival the pestilence, war, famine and death predicted in the Book of Revelation. It might as well have said, ‘Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse.

Source: Saddle up

A link to my latest column for The St. Augustine Record:


Below is the text:

I have a recurring bad dream in which I am standing in front of my high school locker panicked because I have forgotten the combination.

I sometimes still have that dream, although it has changed. Now I am sitting in front of my computer trying to grade student essays, but I cannot log in because I do not know my password.

That nightmare became real this past week when I clicked on an email link I shouldn’t have, compromising my Apple account. I quickly tried to head off trouble by changing my password.

Not so fast, little missy, Apple said. First you have to answer some security questions.

The problem I have with security questions is remembering exactly how I entered the answers. If, for instance, the question is the name of the street where I grew up, did I spell out the word “street” or use the abbreviation?

When Apple asked the name of my favorite teacher, I couldn’t remember if I had used Mr. or the man’s full name.

Trouble ensued. I was locked out of my Apple account for three days while friends and friends of friends received malevolent emails from me.

Imagine my horror later in the week when I received an email saying that I should change every password I have in honor of “World Password Day.”

The last time I changed all of my passwords was when I divorced. At the time, my sole password was “Hutch,” my husband’s nickname. Hutch knew the password, so it had to go.

I had trouble settling upon a new one because I believe passwords should be significant and therefore easy to remember. Of course, I couldn’t use a child’s name because that meant I loved one child more than the others.

Ultimately, I went with the dog’s name.

Apple has deemed the dog’s name insecure, however, and my computer has taken to suggesting passwords for me. These suggested passwords are impossible to remember because they are not even words. They are gibberish.

Of course, the computer offers to store these secure but nonsensical codes in something called its key chain. But I cannot see this key chain. For me, that is the stuff of more nightmares.

The word itself takes me back to junior high school, when my P.E. teacher, Mr. Gumbinger, doubled as the school’s maintenance director. On his belt, he wore a Stanley key chain with a retractable cord.

The key chain held probably 50 keys, in all different shapes and sizes. Some keys opened locker rooms, while some were for filing cabinets and even the Coke machines. The thing was so heavy it’s a wonder the man didn’t develop scoliosis.

The keys to the campus were constantly at his fingertips. That is my idea of a key chain.

Mr. Gumbinger always knew his keys and rarely fumbled for the correct one. It gave us students a sense of security to see him walking the halls with the cord pulled out about a foot, swinging those keys, and whistling.

I’ll take a pass on the Apple key chain because I can’t imagine it ever locating a password as efficiently Mr. Gumbinger did a key.

But all this does give me an idea for a new password, one easy to remember yet odd enough to be secure.

I’m going with Gumbinger.

The appliance repairman’s words reminded me of a country song.

Source: There’s a country song in there somewhere

The world would be more peaceful if people made more ice cream. I cannot prove this theory, but I can tell you why I believe it is true. My sister’s four children – twins Faith and Grace, 14, Joe, 12 and Kate, 11 – spent their spring break in St.

Source: Sandi Hutcheson: We all scream (or maybe we don’t)

I’ll tell you the truth: I’m sick to death of all the maintenance. I love where I live, but I find it requires a lot these days to keep things looking like I even care.

Source: The joys of home ownership

Lettuce, tomatoes and carrots are growing in my garden plot, but I cannot bring myself to plant the watermelons. A Ziploc bag of watermelon seeds sits safely in my freezer, reminding me of a kindness that once split my heart open.

Source: Sandi Hutcheson: Going to seed

He may be the world’s most annoying 12-year-old. He cannot speak without yelling, and his favorite word is ‘ain’t,’ as in, ‘You ain’t the boss of me.

Source: Sandi Hutcheson: Listen up

ABC has a new reality show called ‘My Diet is Better Than Yours,’ in which contestants choose different diets and compete to see who loses the most weight.

Source: Sandi Hutcheson: Are you going to eat that?

Even though my children are grown, there are moments when I feel I failed as a mother. My son, who’s 20 and a junior at Flagler College, came for dinner last Sunday night.

Source: Sandi Hutcheson: They are always on my mind

I’d been there once before, in 2010. In her international bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert raved about a pizzeria in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza, and I decided that when in Naples, I would eat their pizza.

Source: Happily ever after (once in a while) | StAugustine.com

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