Notes On Getting My TSA Known Traveler Number + Chitchat About Where I’ve Been

Let’s heAR it for Ms. Bean

This summer, after yabbling about doing this for years, I finally enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program.

The online application was easy.  The total cost was $85.00 for five years.  But it did require an interview with a real person at a TSA-approved IdentoGO office that happened to be nowhere close to where I live.

My interview appointment time, the soonest I could get, was 4 weeks from when I sent in my enrollment– and then it was 10 days after that before I got my official TSA Known Traveler Number [KTN].

For me this was not a fast process

Do I need this TSA PreCheck status?  I dunno.  But after some of my air travel experiences, most notably standing in the Las Vegas TSA line for 1 hour 45 minutes, I’ll do anything that *might* make the process less painful.

[Click HERE to read an article that helped me to better understand the program.]

And on that note, having talked about the practical side of travel, I’ll share the following fun and pretty stuff.

I created these images using the Visited Countries Project on Douwe Osinga’s website. You may already know about this because it’s been around for a long time.

Nonetheless here is where I’ve been
I’ve been to 9 countries which amounts to 4% of the world.

• • •

I’ve been to 34 US states which amounts to 68% of the country.

• • •

I’ve been to 3 Canadian provinces which amounts to 23% of the country.

• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? If so, how has that worked out for you?

Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? Where did you go for your worst vacation ever?  

Got any travel plans for the rest of this year?

• • •

Don’t Let The Smile Fool You, It’s A Sad Ad

WHO YOU CALLING OLD?

The above advertisement has been following me around the internet like a bored toddler.  It showed up on my email sidebar a few days ago and has stayed with me as I research and read all over the intertubes.

I can’t decide if I’m insulted by the advert’s implication that I’m mature [old?] OR if I’m charmed by its desire to help me look better. Presumably.

Of course if you look closely you’ll notice that there’s no indication of the name of the company that makes this allegedly fabulous lipstick nor where I might buy said lippy.

IT’S A SAD AD IF YOU ASK ME.

But here’s the thing, no one has asked me.  It’s as if no one cares about my need for or opinion about the product featured in this unsolicited advertisement that will not go away.

And no matter how much I keep smiling about this advert, and all the other unsolicited ones that clutter my computer screen, I cannot help but feel irritated by the impudence of these wet-behind-the-ears companies assuming I’d want to buy anything from them because they’ve decided I’m mature.

PIFFLE, I SAY.

photo by Alexas_Fotos via pixabay

Morphing Into A Southern Lady, Finding My True Self

Have you ever thought [or said] something that made you say to yourself: now where the heck did that come from?

BE MINDFUL AND PAY ATTENTION to your thoughts, they say. Tune into yourself, they advise. Be cognizant of what you’re thinking about, they encourage.

Then you’ll know your true self, they claim.

Well apparently, if we agree with the basic premise of the foregoing, I’m morphing into a southern lady.  Here are three real life examples from last week in which I paid attention to what I was thinking while the person in front of me babbled on.

 🔷  ~

#1 – The cashier at the drug store went on a small rant when I gave her cash for payment for my purchase.  She immediately started talking about pennies, specifically her dislike of them, and how recently our county tax rate had changed, making her job more difficult because [somehow] the new tax rate made more work for her when she had to make change… so she was going to get a petition going to change the tax rate back to what it’d been before.

My thought: THAT DOG WON’T HUNT

~  🔷  ~

#2 – The receptionist at the doctor’s office told me in a wordy girlfriend-to-girlfriend way that she was not happy about the newly remodeled waiting room because she could no longer see the TV on the wall in the waiting room without getting up from her seat and walking into the room itself, instead of sitting behind the reception counter… doing her work… presumably.

My thought: SHE’S YOUNG

~  🔷  ~

#3 – An acquaintance, known for being a drama llama, told me with tears in her eyes about her latest troubles that stemmed from being asked to do too much in too short of time for her to feel in control of her project.  Yes, she was sure the system was actively working against her… until she double-checked her text message and realized that she was getting twice the amount of time she needed to do her thing.

My thought: WELL BLESS YOUR HEART

~  🔷  ~

UNTIL LAST WEEK I DIDN’T realize that underneath this midwestern nice exterior lurked a southern lady waiting to summarize the scene in front her with pointed polite colloquialisms that ooze passive-aggressive charm.

Well tie me up and call me Loretta*, it’s like I’ve found my true self, y’all.

I suppose it’s a matter of time before I start saying these things out loud, but with a midwestern accent that may negate their impact.  This will in no way make me less happy, because I can’t stop the people from babbling but I can have fun with it in my way.

What do you say to yourself when people drone on and on about topics you don’t care about? Are you a southern lady, too? Spill the beans in the comments below.   

* Gold star to anyone who knows where that Southern saying came from!

One Martini & I’m Rebelling Against My Own Arbitrary Rule

Busy week, fast story…

You know how you say you’ll never do something for one reason or another, then one day you do that which you said you’d never do and nothing bad happens to you.

And you begin to wonder why you had the self-imposed rule to begin with and you become somewhat distraught mildly perturbed because you cannot remember why it seemed important to you to not do that which you just did.

That’s what I’m talking about here. All of that.

So what did I do that I said I’d never do?

Ah yes, good question. Thank you for asking.

You see the fastest way to explain what I did is to refer you to the photo at the top of this post. Saturday night I took that photo of a Pear Martini, my new favorite cocktail, while we were sitting at a table in an upscale restaurant.  The drink tasted & looked so good that I pushed aside all hesitation and pulled out my cell phone to take a picture of it.

And that is something I said I’d never do.

Early on when I got a smart phone I declared, oh yes I did, that I would never be one of those people who takes pictures of food and drink while in a public place.  Yet, as the above photo proves, I am now one of the collective.

Like a Borg, but only for Instagram. Resistance is futile.

Which brings me to an epiphany about who I am now.

While you may think that I’m going to wax on about my wonderful Pear Martini, I’m going to tell you that whilst sipping it and musing upon my arbitrary rule to never snap a food or drink picture in public, it dawned on me that I was caught up in some sort of generational way of thinking that no longer served me.

Who cares if I take a fast photo of a drink? Absolutely no one, myself included.

I caused no harm, I had some fun, and I realized that, with a hat tip to Bob Dylan: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

Bad Marketing Is Worse Than No Marketing, But Maybe Not Everyone Believes This?

“I’m going to let this go because I really don’t want to get into an argument with these people.”

I said that out loud to myself the other day after finding a webpage that had the most forked-up mismatched inconsistent product marketing I’ve seen in a long time.

It stunned me with its ugly.

To wit, there were words written arbitrarily starting with either upper or lower case letters, for no discernible reason.  There were at least 5 different uncoordinated fonts used in garish multi-colored logos that looked like a D+ 7th grade student had made them.  And the information I needed was buried in wordy, pointless copy.

As a woman with a background in communication + marketing who worked at one time as a paralegal who did oodles of proofreading, the mess this organization was trying to get away with appalled me.  As if clarity in written and graphic design communication meant nothing.

There was a time when I’d have taken this as a personal insult, feeling a need to correct the situation by calling/writing about this failed attempt to create a professional image in the world. And while I could have helped this organization up their game to the next level, you know what– I did nothing.

Because this is not my problem per se.

I only share this here today because it irritated me.  Something like this is disheartening for anyone like me who believes in the illuminating power of words and the clarifying potential of images.

And makes me wonder how it is that any organization in today’s connected world can exist with bad marketing.  ‘Cause I’m not the only one who is going to see this and think poorly of them.

Or am I?

Overheard: I Know How Old An Old Person Is, According To The Neighbor Girls

I believe the children are our future… let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

With a hat tip to Whitney Houston, here’s a short conversation I overheard when the neighbor girls next door were playing outside with their cousins and friends.

In total there were seven girls, ages 6 to 12.  They are creative girls, boisterous, and oh. so. funny. when they get together.

Girl #1: I know. Let’s play theater up on the deck.

Many voices, shouting at the same time: Yes! *yay*

[Sound of small feet running all over wooden deck as they drag metal furniture around on it.]

Girl #1: I’ll play the sister!

Many voices, talking over each other: I’ll be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah* No me… I wanna be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah*

Girl #1: OK. Now we need someone to play the old person.  

[Complete silence. Nary a peep. Total quiet.]

Girl #2: I’ll be the old person.

Many voices, filled with concern: Are you sure? Really? You want to do that! 

Girl #2: Yes, I’ll do it.

Girl #1: How old will you be?

Girl #2: I’ll be… (dramatic pause)… seventeen.

Many voices, in unison: *gasp* That old? {indistinct jibber-jabber} Oh my!

And that, my gentle readers, is all I heard because the girls started talking quietly among themselves, presumably to prepare for their big performance.  Of an unnamed show that I can confirm has at least one sister– and an old person in it.

Break a leg, girls. Happy Friday, everyone. 😊

Rambling Thoughts: Hand Me A Doughnut, It’s Time To Celebrate Valentine’s Day

I WASN’T GOING TO POST ANYTHING today because I know many of you dislike Valentine’s Day with a red-hot passion that burns deep within your very souls.

You, my gentle readers, mentioned this in the comment section of my post, Just Curious: Tell Me, What’s Your Least Favorite Holiday?

From your comments I discerned, because I am a woman who can discern, that many people have issues with Valentine’s Day.  Issues that remind me that I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes by being happy about this day.  Nope, crazy lurks everywhere, causing issues until there’s medical intervention.

Or doughnuts.

Which are just like time spent with a therapist but more accessible and less expensive.

Quote me, if you like.

~ ~ ❤️ ~ ~

WHICH, OF COURSE, BRINGS ME TO the quote I’ve shared at the top of this post.  It’s a quote from Tom Robbin’s novel, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.  I read this novel in college.  I majored in English Literature, and this novel is an example of a subculture hippy novel, well-written, descriptive, not based in reality.

Yada, yada, yada.

So here’s the thing, the above quote is what I remember the most from the novel.  As I recall the quote means that in life, love is what you use to fill the space so that there’s no emptiness.

~ ~ ❤️ ~ ~

OR AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT I think it means, and considering how long ago I studied that novel, I want some credit for even remembering the quote… about love… on Valentine’s Day.

And with that glimpse into my addled brain I’ll end this post.  You may choose to believe that I’ve wished you a Happy Valentine’s Day OR if you hate this holiday you may choose to believe I have not wished you a Happy Valentine’s Day.

As with most things, it’s all in how you look at it.