Autumn

Autumn

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Waitress

She was tall, this waitress. We'd walked into the cafe and took a small table near the back. She walked over said, "Hello." Nice enough. I guessed her age at 30, kinda cute.

It took Sweet Wife all of ten minutes to decide on her selection. Me, six seconds. I wanted the seafood platter, a lot for one. The cafe was cool, felt good.

The tall waitress returned. Asked, "Where's Little Bit."

Here's the thing. We didn't know the tall waitress, never seen her before in our lives. We've patronized the cafe on many occasions, and yes, with Little Bit a few times, but we'd never revealed our names.

I was shocked. Sweet Wife gave me the look. I knew I was in trouble.

I glanced up and asked, "Do you know us?"

"No."

Then, "You asked about Little Bit."

"Yes," she said, "Just wanted to say hello to her. She's such a beautiful little girl. Seems sweet."  Sweet Wife had a very tight smile on her face. I felt like I'd been punched with a rock.

The waitress walked away with our orders. I looked at Sweet Wife, asked, "What the heck just happened?" She said, "I don't know but I bet she reads your blog."

Me, all defensive, "I've never met this woman in my life, I swear."


Her, "Sure, I bet you haven't. Then how did she'd know we're Little Bit's grandparents?"

Good question. The tall waitress returned. Smiled and said, "Stephen, Sweet Wife, what would you both like a drink?"

Okay, now I'd had enough. I said, "Excuse me, but have we been introduced in the past?"

"Oh, no, but I know you. I've read your blog for about six months now and I just love the way you write and I just love Little Bit, and I just love how you write with passion, and I'm learning so much from you. You read a lot of books don't 'ya."

All red faced, I am....from under the table Sweet Wife has kicked me at least three times. I sputtered, "Thank you. That's very kind of you. But please, how did you recognize us?"

I'm willing to bet not two people outside my family and friends are aware I write a blog. She continued, "From Susan, the weekend waitress, you know, the blonde with the curly hair. She reads your blog too and she recognized Little Bit from the picture on your blog. She pointed you out to me. She's the one that told me about your blog and said she just loves Little Bit too."

Sweet Wife is pissed....trust me, I can tell when she's mad. She puts on one of her looks and I know my goose is cooked.


I drop the subject and the tall waitress walks away. When our food arrives we eat in silence. I leave a generous tip and afterwards we walk, in silence, back to our car. We drive home, in silence. We park in our garage and inside our home Sweet Wife turns to me and said, "Take her picture off the blog," she punches me in the chest with her finger, "do it now."

I said, "I'll think about it."

Stephen

75 comments:

  1. That's always been a fear in the back of my mind.

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    1. perhaps start a private blog for some of this ???

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    2. That is a good idea, Matt. At this time with all the confusion in my life I have a heck of a time with one blog, much less two. Thanks, Matt. You're a fine friend.

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  2. i honestly don't know what to say, dear sweet one??? i need to discuss this with jambaloney and he is in town. i honestly don't know what to say. i need to think about this some. and then come back.

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. It's not a big problem, dear, don't worry.

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  3. Yeah... there is a reason I keep That Kid's face off of my blog. Mine as well.

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    1. I've taken your sound advice, my friend...thank you.

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  4. I try to keep identifiable stuff off of my blogs. I have communicated personal things to some people via email, but now regret that. I'm still blogging, but I'm being more cautious about 'sharing' on the internet.

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    1. I too try...things slip through the cracks. Thanks, my friend.

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  5. I have a friend who is a very public blogger, and even tangles with local officials. Like you, he is self employed, so nobody is going to pressure his employer (and his clients could care less).

    Obviously people are going to recognize Little Bit from time to time. Since you run a relatively friendly blog that is not likely to be a huge problem, but it obviously brings normally private matters into public.

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    1. Russell, this is a first for me. I've got a couple of local blogger friends that have 'tracked' me down and have turned out to be nice friends, but for a total stranger to recognize my Little Bit, well, that's a different story and disturbs me. Her frontal picture is gone. Thanks, my good friend.

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  6. It is disconcerting, don't know what to tell ya.

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  7. It's a small world, sooner or later someone is bound to but the pieces together. Of course maybe it doesn't help that I give out you name and address and family picture to everyone that emails me about you.....sorry my bad.

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    1. Ah, now I understand...thanks, Bubba.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Sandy, I took your advice...email goes to my Blackberry too. Thank you, sweet lady.

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    2. Stephen,

      When I typed the first reply, my head and fingers were not functioning together (plenty of miss spellings therefore, I deleted it). Sorry!!!

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  9. I am gonna think a little more on this....
    On one hand, Lil Bit may be proud....She is world famous now! She garners a huge following and fan club....a great group of people cheering her on, wishing and hoping and praytng for the best outcome in her life. Yeah, she is a beauty queen and Grandpa is mighty proud. No harm in that.

    On the other hand, the virtues of many a man can be dark, malcontent and evil.

    I am gonna sit this one out and let the wiser take the lead....Though I know if ever there was a child, with a Calvary waiting to charge on her behalf, it is Lil Bit.

    uhhhhh....remember....the wife is always right.

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    1. Yes, she is indeed. I might call on the Calvary very soon. Thanks, my friend.

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  10. Stephen, Maybe take Lil Bit's picture off for a while (since you're going through legal stuff with her parents) and place a picture of something Lil Bit admires like a flower, doll or something. This will also help for OPSEC reasons. Lil Bit knows you love her, so changing the picture shouldn't be a problem. By doing this it will also satisfy Sweet Wife

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    1. Thanks, Sandy, I've taken your advice....

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  11. I don't mind if people connect me to my blog or even my kids. I told the woman at Lowes, who I don't know at all my full name and address, so she could set up delivery for my new washer. Her husband or brother or teenage kid could be a thug or she could for all I know. One of the 2 guys that actually hooked up my washer made me uncomfortable. He was looking around my house to much for my taste. He knows my name, address, phone number, how much I paid for my washer, has my signature and what items are kept in my house. Lots of people I do not know or trust have access to my name and address, so I try to be careful on my blog, but really I don't find it anymore dangerous than the other folks that have my personal info. However, I agree with Sandy, due to the legal stuff you have gong on, it might serve you better to remove her pic.

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    1. Pretty Girl, done. Thank you very much...and, be careful.

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  12. It is your blog, your choice. But I would say for OPSEC. I would pull her photo down. We all love you, S.W. and L.B. but with all the nut cases today. I would worry about OPSEC of L.B. Just my two cents.

    You can always share photos with any important folks through email.

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  13. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)June 19, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Dear Stephen,
    Hard decisions to make now. We all love the pics and stories about Little Bit but sadly, times are a-changing. Take your pictures, (they ARE important) file them, and add them to a shadow copy of your blog for her to see. I understand Sweet Wife's concern, being a mamma hen and all.
    Agirlandhergun is right about her comment on the legal stuff. Don't worry, all of us understand and agree!

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    1. Thanks, Phyllis....not sure how I feel at this point. I do know I shall continue to write for Little Bit, when I think it appropriate.

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  14. Honestly with todays technology..it was only a matter of time. And, it was something that I worried about happening. If i put pics of our boys on my blog its usually from the neck down or their backs are to me.

    Also once you put pics on your blog, they become fair game...All someone has to do is search for images in google, then click and save an image to their computer. I found this out when I did a search for "clothesline pics" and one of my own pictures showed up that I had once posted on my blog. And my brother once had a psyco ex girlfriend track him down via an IP address he used when sending an email..scary stuff

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    1. I find it hard to believe anyone has the ability to 'track' down or find my heart from nothing but a picture. I give little to no personal details as to her home, family member names or any address where she could be found. Remember, she lives with her father and step-mother. I agree it's best to be cautious. I understand about the pictures, but it's hard to avoid posting photos if you want a post to show interest. I'll try and be careful on future postings. Thanks, sweetheart. Kiss the boys for me.

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  15. I've been blogging for years. I've had my share of bad shit happen from bloggers I trusted. I don't post pics of people I know or use my real name. There's too many assholes out there.

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    1. I do use my real name, my first. My friends and family use my 'middle' name. I could care less if someone wants to find me, they won't like the outcome. Assholes, die easily too. Thanks, my friend.

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  16. My wife has given me the death stare. Impressive.

    I've been recognized quite a few times. Maybe I'm hard to miss. Also, locally, a lot of people know me as "Sixbears." It's not a pen name if eveyone knows you by it.

    My lovely wife doesn't mind her picture being on the blog. As for the grandkids . . . yeah, I've posted photos where they've been in group shots, but not all that often.

    I know I'm not all that hard to find. As for criminals finding me and wishin ill intent . . . that would be a mistake on their part.

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    1. Same way I feel. If they want to find me, bring it on...I'm far from easy prey. I bite back...thanks, my friend.

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  17. Stephen,

    Just a note, you've taken the front picture off, but many of your posts still have it, like "moves" on the right sidebar. If you're truly going to improve your opsec, you might want to purge them all.

    But at the same time, there are many of us who enjoy watching her grow. I have no doubt you'll do what is best for all involved.

    Stay safe, God Bless

    Keangnt

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    1. Thanks, Kean, but I'll leave this rest of the pictures and take my chances...this blog is for my Little Bit, not me. I keep backups of this blog. Besides, it's far too much work to delete history....

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  18. Concern about a small child's photo being traced back to where she might be accessible comes to mind.

    But I have to admit I was laughing at your discomfiture.

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    1. It just surprised me. She caught me with my proverbial pants down. Thanks, my friend.

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  19. Stephen,
    I agree with proudhillbilly...what if someone tracks her down, you're not around, and she responds to her name being called out. My children never wore clothing with their name plastered across the back, regardless of how cute, for that very reason. I overcame 52 years of gun fear, to take a 15 week female shooters course from a professional after a random trip to the park with my granddaughter. It was close to five, the park cleared out of parents and children. We were not ready to leave, but a rough looking guy showed up and just watched my girl. Suddenly I realized I was not as young, agile, and strong as years ago. It was a wake up moment. We left quickly,me realizing I needed to be able to protect my loved ones as well as myself. The course and my instructor gave me courage, OBSEC, and observational skills in addition to a great new skill and hobby. No, the world is not a nice place now and unfortunately, too often, its the little ones who bear the brunt. Take ALL the pictures off. This is a wake up moment.

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    1. you certainly made one great point that I myself almost overlooked. The fact that someone could recognize and call a child out by name,,,,and then say (for example) "Papa sent me....".......i am totally convinced now.

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    2. But, they don't know her real name and will never know her true name. Little Bit is a pin name I created for this blog. Even the waitress used 'Little Bit.' She indeed calls me Papa. She far more intelligent to fall for that trick. We've talked. Thanks, my good friends.

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  20. I think it's up to every adult to decide whether to post pictures of themselves on their blogs. The Grey Knight doesn't mind posting pictures, I however will never post a picture of myself, I even blog under a nickname from my childhood. I have my safety reasons for doing so. I will not allow Grey Knight to give my blog address to his friends even. OPSEC.

    However, with a child it's different. I have been lurking here a while (don't worry I'm not local to you) and while Lil Bit is indeed a sweetheart of a child, she also is your most precious one. Protect her. While the waitresses might not mean her any harm, we all know what else is lurking out there.

    I've had pictures of mine from my blog linked by google to places all over the world. Just saying...

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    1. Very good points all, my new friend. I've taken steps to protect her...and trust me, I'm very protective of her. She has fan clubs, one in Russia of all the darn places, and it indeed worries me. Such is life. Any person with ill intentions towards my little heart had better have a good relationship with their God. Thank you very much for joining my blog and the link. I have linked you here and shall thank you properly tomorrow morning. Welcome, nice to have you. Thank you.

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  21. Well, here is my opinion. I think it is ridiculous to not post pictures and to use odd names for people. I never could see the point. I would never be able to recognize anyone I have ever seen on the blogs from just a picture. It all seems really just a little over paranoid to me.
    Just my opinion--doesn't have to be anyone elses :)

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    1. We do agree, Becky. Fear is for he weak. Why post about someone you love and not post a picture of them...having said that, I will take steps to protect her. Seems a shame to not have her picture here...but, I shall bend to the wishes of my lovely wife. After all, she loves me and I her, but we both love Little Bit more than life itself...and miss her awfully. Thanks, Becky, you sweet lady you....

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  22. You blog about topics where I wouldn't, and so my opinion isn't much use. I'd hate it if you stopped posting about her, and I think your idea that this will be a journal she'll appreciate sometime seems spot on.

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    1. Borepatch, my friend...don't worry, I will continue to write of her. After all, it's really her blog. Thanks, Bubba.

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  23. I agree with several here. Take it down. But I get nervous posting pics of the pets so take it with a grain of salt I guess.

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    1. It's down and replaced...thanks, my friend.

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  24. Sorry to see her leave but love the back shot.

    Maybe you could post earlier pictures of her, when she's a bit older so she wouldn't be so easily recognizable.

    If someone is going to approach, they should take a moment to ask if it's OK to do so before they barge in and make comments (or show up at your shop - lol).

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    1. DFW, some just have no class...just walk up and act like they've known you all their lives...then again this is, as you know, the South. Friendly folks, but at times, tacky. I just take it with a grain of salt and move on. BTW, tell you nice husband he has an order from me and I want my gas cap asap....thanks, my dear.

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  25. My doghouse is big enough for both of us, and it's wireless.

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    1. Stand by. I'll be there in a minute. Thanks, Mudbug, nice to again hear from you...been a while.

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  26. Stephen, I have read your blog off and on for several months and have to say I agreed at once with your wife. Photos of children posted online make me very nervous. My husband and I have two boys and NEVER post photos of them on the Web, EVER. We can't stop a group photo with the Scouts or church getting onto the Scout website or Facebook, but prefer to keep as low a profile as possible. Call us paranoid, but we don't see "fame" as anything to desire. I'm glad this waitress said something so you were able to act on it. I'm also sorry that the current state of the world made it necessary for you to do so. Blessings to you - and my prayers as you go through this you-know-what with her family.

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    1. Anon, thank you. Guess at times I'm not as paranoid as I should be and will act accordingly from here on out. Nice to have you comment and please, don't be a stranger...make up a name and join the group. Thanks, again...and God bless you too. All prayers are welcome.

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  27. I have often worried about this type of situation for you. I know with my own blog, someone very determined could probably find me even though I try to maintain a certain level of OPSEC. The casual crackpot might not be able to put the pieces together, but a smart nutcase could. So although I think Little Bit is the sweetest thing in the world, for safety sake I say no full face pictures for a public blog. The world is a strange place and getting stranger all the time.

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    1. Seems to be the consensus here. Guess I've goofed enough. But, isn't she a doll.....thanks, my friend.

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  28. I'm sorry for this...truly it's confusing to try and make sense of what's safe or not these days. I hate that there are so many creepers out there that make honest, good people such as a proud grandpa, like yourself, paranoid to brag on his grandchild. It's a sad world we live in.

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    1. Thanks, sweet one. Sad indeed, isn't it.

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  29. Funy you should mention this. I usually only post pics that are generally unrecognizable. I posted one recently that wasn't. I'd been thinking about that and just took it down. Just not worth it, I guess.

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    1. 45er, it's a fine line of what to post and what not to post....I'm torn. Thanks, my good friend.

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  30. This is an argument that Oleg Volk and I have had running for years: he believes in owning his words vs the cowardice of anonymity, while I believe in avoiding unpleasant side effects through remaining private as possible in a public setting.

    In the end, he makes a good living as self-employed photographer by being a known person in the gun community. I, meanwhile, make a decent paycheck by making a part of a corporation happy, and avoid retaliation by a humorless and thin-skinned agency that parades about with no clothes on and thinks it can control the skies with the power of red tape.

    As kids are hostages to fate and fortune, much as I love reading your vignettes, I cannot disagree with Sweet Wife. The only way to remain private is to remain offline and off grid, but the first shocks of the illusion of privacy being ripped away are hard on the system.

    Take it easy, take the pictures for yourself and her even if you don't post them, and forgive me if you never find my tail number online.

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    1. Well said....my lovely friend. I truly wasn't as upset over the exposure as Sweet Wife, guess its the 'man' thing in me, but I must also bow to her fear. The shock effect gave me pause, this I must admit. I cannot blame you for holding your tail numbers close...that is too much exposure. Thank you very much for your warm comment....be careful up there.

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  31. I was always afraid some creep might find her at school. I do hope the waitress was harmless. You do have a friendly blog, Sir. I can understand some people thinking it extended to "meat space" as well. Some folks can't separate the internet from real life. See: Facebook.

    I'm sure it was disconcerting, however.

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    1. Remember how careful I was to have her hide her school logo....it worried me too, even with the schools security. It was indeed disconcerting. I cancelled my useless facebook page long ago.

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    2. Oh, almost forgot, thank you very much for the comment, my friend.

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  32. wow thats one funny argument. I could see her concern somewhat, there are some nasty people out there, but really how many of them would be spending time reading blogs.

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    1. Tyler, very good point. We must admit if a person reads, even blogs, they're at least a wee bit intelligent and I'd hope not violent in nature. Thanks, my new friend.

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  33. Hmmm - I understand Sweet Wife's initial reaction too :)

    " Sweet Wife had a very tight smile on her face" and that you read her response

    "Me, all defensive, "I've never met this woman in my life, I swear." "

    But, I find it interesting that the waitress herself has not responded (commented) to this posting... Keen to "be part of your blogosphere" when it suits her, but not when she is called to task for being forward and infringing privacy.

    Yeah - reckon with the legal stuff that is going on, perhaps removing LB's pic is the wisest move - clever SW :)

    But, I too, don't place pics of family / friends faces on my blog - the stalkers of the world can go somewhere else.

    But, I do think that blogs "encourage" unknown friends - we all get caught up so much with the life of the blogger who's blog we're following, that it seems natural to think that the feeling is responded. I have a few bloggers with whom I have corresponded via e-mail, and count them as "friends", but I guess the Waitresses reaction can be summed up as the media infringing the privacy of too many well know people, to the extent that perhaps some "followers" think that strangers have a right to invade your personal space? Symptom of our lives and times.

    On a positive, thank God she was not a follower with a negative, nasty or hidden agenda...

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    1. Dani, I had expected a response from the nice waitress almost immediately...nada, zip, zero. I even mentioned she was cute. Didn't blame her...wrote, in a way, how flattered I was for her comments. Hope I didn't come across as mean.
      Blogs do encourage unknown friends by the very nature of the medium. We put ourselves, heart and soul, into our words and place them before the altar of the internet. It's a big, big, leap into the unknown. We seldom if ever ask, 'what are the repercussions?' It was answered for me. Still, I welcome new friends, but cannot allow harm to those I love. The waitress meant no harm. Just wanted to say hello. No big deal. Thanks, Dani.

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  34. Maybe knowing Sweet Wife's reaction she figured it would be better to not stir anything up. I dunno, it's kind of interesting, kinda scary. I sometimes wonder if any of my neighbor's know about my blog. Not that they're mentioned, but it would seem somewhat unnerving to know they knew.

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    1. Leigh, don't be surprised if they do know of your blog. I really don't care if locals read my blog, just wish they didn't sneak up on me when I least expect it. Warn me first. Thanks, my lovely friend.

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  35. I keep my blog anonymous mostly for privacy reasons, but I do have safety concerns too, mostly for my gorgeous little girl. Honestly, it would freak me out if someone I didn't know came up and started talking about things I've discussed on my blog. On the other hand I would have been that waitress, wanting to make a personal connection with someone whom I admire, forgetting that I know you a little but you have no idea who I am, not thinking or realizing just how disconcerting that can be. I think taking the picture down was a safe decision, but it saddens me that Society has devolved to that degree.

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  36. My kids are all over my facebook yes (family scattered all across the states, plus deployed friends) however I keep my profile locked down tighter than a frogs butthole under water. There's reasons for it yes, but even then their father and I have mutual friends so even tho I don't want him seeing them, he still winds up seeing pics when say, their aunt or uncle posts a picture of them. My blog however I try to keep as anon as possible. Yes there's people out there that know full well it's me without me telling them, Mama DragonWolf just happens to be my handle for quite a few things, including when I'm on a CB for one reason or another, but it doesn't mean I want complete strangers knowing personal details. (and if you read my blog you know it's personal, and why I have the disclaimer I do)
    I'm not sure what's going on with Little Bit, but from the sounds of it and what I've gathered, it's nothing good or fun. And for that I am truly sorry. I hope that everything works out for the better and soon. I can tell that little girl is your heart and soul.
    Good luck, and Blessed Be

    Mama DragonWolf

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  37. Mama, I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to answer your nice comment. Thank you for the kind words. Yes, our Little Bit has been taken from our lives by her father. We're not sure why, but it hurt. I've since quit writing about her. Too painful. Again, thanks, and God bless you.

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