How did I end up with so much stress in my life?  How do I reduce it?  It is affecting my health.  I lost a lot of weight under severe stress when my ex walked out.  I gained back a fair amount of it going into the holidays last year under a bunch of stress.  I now have several lesions in my brain that is affecting my ability to see and think straight.

Over 2 years of dealing with ‘our’ bills all by myself.  I have lost so much and I am only starting to rebuild my life.

I have come to the conclusion that I will move back to the DC area as soon as my house sells, but how long will that take?  It has been on the market since January of last year.  I have 4 written offers and the bank is ‘thinking’ about them.  If they take much longer I am afraid that another contract will fall apart, and then they will go back to thinking about the next best offer… and so on.

I also still have so many bills to pay off.

There is also the issue of my Ex not taking any responsibility and not giving me any money, and I mean none, to help pay off ‘our’ bills.

To stop stressing about all of this would help me.   To le go of the worry would help me.   It is so very hard for me to do that though.  Exercise helps so much, but I am not supposed to ‘overheat’ myself.  I am not even sure yet what all that means for me.

Oh my…

P90X Day 33

Getting back to the good hard workouts by moving into Phase II has helped my hope.  I love the good sore muscles I am left with after working out with Tony Horton.  Phase II is full of all kinds of new and different workouts and I love it.

I honestly have not stepped back on the scale since my last post, but I have realized that there are a couple of really good changes happening that I did not really see on Day 30.  Us women have a couple of common problems, one is cellulite.  That obnoxious cottage cheese looking fat deposits and my legs had been showing a lot and it was very frustrating.  I can say… that is gone.  I have also lost an inch or so on my chest measurement which also is great news.  What is not moving much yet is the worst of the normal female weight which around hips and butt.  That will go!

I also had a happy moment when I visited my doctor and I was weighed.  Not normally a happy moment but the woman who weighed me looked at me and said you don’t look that weight!  You look like you are solid muscle 😉

So changes are happening for the better.  I will keep pushing play and today I will do it twice.  I am doubling for Phase II which means an extra cardio workout 3 days a week.

I will be ready for my Red Ribbon Ride in July!  I have started my fund raising and would love to have you support me, even small contributions can make a big difference. My New Bike

P90X Day 30

Uggghhh My weight is not dropping.  My strength is dramatically improving.  I can do more push-ups or more ab work or simply just more every day, but the weight is not coming off.  I can feel my muscles growing.  I can feel my strength increasing.

My diet is great.  I eat well.  I eat good proportions.

The only thing left to change is my stress level.  That is still too high.  It has been 2 years of paying of my ex’s bills and still the creditors are calling.  I have now sent the lawyer after him.  I still don’t understand how a man walks away from the woman he says he loves and leaves her with all of the bills still baffles me.  So I think that might explain a few things.  A body’s response to stress is my real issue I think.

So I will keep showing up, I will keep pushing play on the DVDs, I will do my best and forget the rest and the weight just simply has to come off at some point.

I think now that I am in phase II I will do doubles.  Bring on the Cardio X!!!

CISSP Preparation – Practice Questions

To practice or not to practice… that is the question.

My basic answer is YES.  Do practice questions.

The complicated answer:

You must understand the reason you are doing the practice questions in order to get the most out of them.  So what is the reason you ask? It is to get yourself used to answering questions of this nature.  Most adults do not take exams on a regular basis.  As a result most of us are not used to these convoluted questions.

Before I go further with that I have to add what you are NOT trying to get out of these practice questions.  You are not doing these questions with the hope of memorizing them word for word so that by the time you get to the exam you have seen all of the questions and all of the answers.  Expect that you will not see anything on the exam that you have seen in practice.

One of the most important things that you can get out of your practice questions is to identify why you got the questions wrong.  It is better to identify this now, rather than after the exam.  It is fun and makes you feel good when you get the questions right, but what you really want to be looking for is the questions that you get wrong and then understanding why you got it wrong.

Some of the reasons that you might get the question wrong is to look at it from a technical perspecitve rather than a managerial one.  You might have missed a work (i.e. NOT).  You might have added a word that was not there (i.e. NOT).  You might have missed the actual question embedded within all of the words that they gave you.

One thing that I can promise you is that you will find bad questions.  Questions that make you upset, mad or even angry.  Practice questions are almost always written by people that had the thought AFTER writing a book or a course that they should probably write some practice questions as well, myself included.  As a result they do not get all of the attention that they deserve and they are not evaluated and revised as necessary.

If you are dealing with a bad question what is most useful to you is to identify why it is a bad question.  Was it poorly worded?  Were the answers to close to each other?  Were the answers synonymous? Was a word missing from the question or the answer?  And so on.  If you can explain why it is a bad question than you are showing that you do have a grasp of the topic which is what you need to be ready to take the exam.

So practice away.  Just look for what has you getting the wrong answers in order to get you ready for the exam.

Now the next question I am often asked is which questions should you use?

If you have any of the study guide books there are questions that go along with them.  They are ok.  All of them.. they are ok.  One note is the questions in the All-in-One used to be too long in comparison to the exam, but now they are not long enough.

There are a lot of questions on  I would recommend practicing at the two hardest levels.  I like these questions because they are free.  I am all about free.  Buyer beware – you get what you pay for.  There are a lot of bad questions in there.  Just use them for practice.  Identify why they are bad questions and let it go.  If there is information in a question that goes against all you have read or learned or all of you own background tells you then let it go as a bad question, or go research somewhere else for more accurate info.

What if you want to spend money on questions.  I would NOT recommend buying the Transender or any other similar questions.  You are just as well off with CCCure.  If you really want some good questions and are willing to pay for them get them from the source, (ISC)2.  They have 300 questions available for purchase.  The difference with these questions is that they went through the same process as the real test questions (minus going in to real exams) and are decent, solid questions. Click here to get to them.

Practice away !!!

CISSP Preparation – Books

Are you getting ready to take the CISSP exam?  Are you wondering where to start?  Are you wondering how you will know when you are really ready to take the exam?  I have some tips that I have found are very useful through my six years of teaching CISSP for (ISC)2.

Lets start with books.

I classify books available for preparing for this exam  into three categories.

Category 1 = Cliff Notes

Category 2 = Full prep guides

Category 3 = Expert books

Category 1 includes CISSP for Dummies and the Passport by Mike Myers.   The passport is currently out of print as I write but perhaps you can borrow one.  I recommend either of these books.  The basic difference between them is a style of writing.  The CISSP for Dummies book is entertaining to boot, but if you are going to be aggravated by funny quips such as the different hash algorithms being compared to the Jackson family then go with the Passport book.

I would recommend using these books as you start your studying, through to the last week before you take the exam.  When you first pick up this book I would take a walk through to start to identify the topics you are familiar with and those that you are not familiar with.  As you identify areas that you need to work on you can then migrate to a book out of Category 2.

Category 2 books include the Official guide from (ISC)2, the All-in-One Exam Guide by Shon Harris, as well as many others.  I recommend that you pick a book here that matches your reading style.  For example the Official guide is a bit long winded on topics and that works great for some people, but not for others.  Most people seem to work well with the All-in-One exam guide.

As you go through the list of topics in your Category 1 book and find things that you are less familiar with or not familiar with at all I would then recommend that you move to your Category 2 book to read more on that topic.  Some people do read their Category 2 book from cover to cover, a couple of times even, although most do not.  I find it to be most useful as a research aide.

Category 3 books include all of the real books out there on security.  These are the books that are written by a subject matter expert on their topic of knowledge.  If you are still left confused by Category 1 or 2 books, this is the place to turn for more detailed, or possibly, more accurate information.  ISC2 has a list of books that falls into this category.  My favorite cryptography books can be found here.

In general these books are too detailed for getting ready for the exam, although they could be very useful when you are looking for that additional information or clarification information for a specific project.

One other note regarding buying books, is that you don’t necessarily have to.  There is free information available on the web.  Just buyer beware you usually get what you pay for.  One place that many turn to is CCCure.  There are several study guides that people have put together and posted on this site. For the most part these are nice study guides and can save you some money.

Good luck 😉 and study hard.

More coming on CISSP practice questions.


Whether you agree that this should be legally punished or not is not the issue for this moment.  The issue right now is that your teen could end up in trouble with the law.

Talk to your teens now.  Know what your teen is using their cell phone for now.

There is a growing trend with teens taking partially nude or nude photos of themselves with their cell phone and then sending them to others (boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.)  This is Child Pornography.  Child Pornography laws were probably not conceived with the idea of prosecuting the children, but their pictures are covered by the Child Pornography laws.

As a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent you have the additional concern of your children sending partially nude or nude pics of themselves.  My guess is you don’t want them engaging in that activity.  Do you know what they are sending?  This is not likely to be something that the average teen would admit to the adults in their life.  If you dont know find out.  If they wont tell you be the parent and find out.

There is a reasonably priced device, and I am sure others exist out there other than this one, for viewing what is on the SIM card of their phone, which includes the deleted pictures and text messages which are not visible from the phone itself.    The Cell Phone Spy.

Whether you choose to spy on your childrens phones or not is your choice.  I simply recommend that you FIND OUT what they are doing with their phones before they get into more trouble than they can imagine.

P90X Week 3 and into Week 4

Wow.  I am still continuing to see a steady increase in my strength.  I am doing more of the pushups on my toes rather than knees and I am doing more reps.

I am not happy yet with my weight loss.  I have only lost 5 pounds in 3 weeks.  I know that is a reasonable rate of loss, in other words a healthy rate of loss.  I also know that I have gained muscle.  The definition is starting to show some where it did not before.  But I wish it was more.  I am watching what I eat and keeping a record of it.  I guess I just keep going and the weight will come off.

I am now a firm believer in the recovery drink.  It is amazing how much that does help, and I am only now into week 4.  I also gave up and got a pull up bar.  I have just been using the bands and I will continue with the bands while I am traveling, but I now have the ability to do a real pull up.  It will be interesting to find out how many I can really do… next week (week 5).

For the last 3 weeks my goal has just been to get through the 90 days.  I am now sure that I can and will do that.  So now I am starting to wonder what will happen on day 91.  I will be deeply into my training for the Red Ribbon Ride by then so I believe I will do a second round of P90x.  I have found I have a new goal past that though.  Beachbody now has P90X+ !!! Wow… that is a new goal.. be able to do the + version.  I am not physically ready for that yet, but there is my next goal for my physical strength and well being.

I have also found myself thinking of becoming a coach for Beachbody.  I am a firm believer in their products and I am telling more and more people about them….. hmmmm…. perhaps…

P90X Day 9-12

I know know I can do this.  I know that I can go 90 days.  I know that this will make an awesome difference.  I am starting to see a difference and I did not think that was remotely possible after 12 days.  It feels like I am finally winning the battle against my stress weight.  I know what I look like does not fully reflect my health.  As the holidays approached last fall my stress level went through the roof and my body responded.  It responded with that age old response of storing extra fat for the upcoming tough times.

For my stress I am making progress there as well.  The buyers for my home did their home inspections today.  My fingers are crossed that they did not find anything major to stop the imminent signing. I have also knocked out a couple more major bills that my ex left me with and that brings me to April where I will have a financial break, at least for a week or so.  That means that I can finally pay my lawyer to go after my ex within the legal system. I still don’t understand how he lives with himself, but that is a topic for another day.  Today my stress is slowing going down. Today is about me and my health.

I worked hard this week and my favorite workout is tomorrow, Kempo, it is almost like it is my reward for this week.  I am really looking forward to it.

At the same time I wonder if I worked as hard as I could have.  I am sore, but not near as sore as I was during/after my first week.  I added in my recovery drink after my workouts.  Seriously? Does it make such a big difference? I am suspicious that it does 😉  I will just take Tony’s advice: Do your best and forget the rest.  I will just keep brining myself back and pushing play into my next workout.




P90X Day 6-8

Whew.  The beginning of week two.  First I just want to say I LOVE Kempo.  That was an awesome workout.  I was also so incredibly thrilled to reach ‘rest day’.  It helped a lot to give the body a short break before working some more.

Today was day 8.  Back to chest and back workout and what I did last Monday.  It seemed easier.  I think a lot of it was mental.  Knowing that I had made it through the whole week and was still standing to talk about it made it so much easier to begin this week.  I know I worked hard.  I can already feel the effects of the workout on my upper body.

Plyometrics tomorrow.  That thing just scares me, but I will put the DVD in tomorrow after work and push play.  I will take it minute by minute if I have to.  But push play I shall!

Must hit the sack and get some sleep.  This is going to be an interesting week.  I am working about 12 hour days, then doing P90x in the evening.  Wow.  I will just keep bringing myself back and pushing play!

P90X Days 4-5

Day 4 – YogaX  This was tough.  The first 1/2 hour was really grueling.  The 2nd 1/2 hour was very tough.  But the last 1/2 hour was full of really good stretches.  I definitely have lots of room to grow in my yoga.  There were a couple of things that I could not do at all like crane and plow.  I tried, but got no where.  Lots of good challenges will continue into the future with this.  The strangest feelings later in the evening though.  It is completely bizarre.  After 4 tough workout days and after viewing so many before and after pictures, I am simply sure that this is not going to really work for me.  It works for others.  It will be good for my body, but it is not going to leave me looking any different than now.  I know this is nonsensical, but it is how I feel anyways.   I will push play on Day 5 anyways.  I will keep going anyways.  I am just hoping that I am wrong about the impact this workout will have on my body.

Day 5 – Legs and Back. I woke up today sore (no surprise).  What was interesting is I was feeling muscles in my back that I dont remember the last time I felt.  And then legs and back today with abs.  By the end I was so tired.   I got together with a bunch of friends tonight and many thought I had been drinking cause I was so tired.  It is time for some sleep now.  I am now looking forward to ‘rest day’.  I dont see how this wont have a good impact on my body.  I dont know what I will look like, I dont know what it will be like to finish this.    But I will keep going.  It is part of why I am blogging about it, updating my facebook, tweeting about it and telling my friends that I am doing P90x.  Makes it harder to quit.  Too many people know I have committed to 90 days.  I will keep going, but for now… I sleep.  Goodnight