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.

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

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

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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?

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Three Thoughts Thursday | Doing. Organizing. Watching.

This is when I tell you stuff and don’t make a story of it.  

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ONE

I think that this month I’ll try Susannah Conway’s The August Break [#augustbreak2019] photo prompts on Instagram [also on Facebook if that’s your jam].

Janet at Janet’s Smiles made me aware of this challenge. No pressure, no hype– just a chance to do something creative and different than my usual lackadaisical approach to sharing pics over on my IG account [@thespectacledbean].

I’ve never tried anything like this before, so I anticipate some anxiety at first, but I imagine I can follow through and do this more or less daily.

TWO

I think that the idea of learning to batch your time is intriguing.

A friend mentioned this concept to me so I did some research.  According to a productivity hack from Brazen, batching: “allows you to take advantage of your full concentration by grouping a bunch of similar activities together and doing them all at the same time.” [More here and here.]

I’m sure I do this naturally in some areas of my life already, but I could apply this concept to how I blog.

THREE

I think that Dead to Me is a wonderful TV show that just goes to prove great TV is possible.

I watched the 10 episodes in a 2-day binge.  This show, starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, is funny + sad + clever + outrageous.  I won’t go into the deets about the plot, the characters, the settings but I will say that I didn’t see the ending coming.  And I loved it.

There’s nothing better than being pleasantly surprised by something unexpectedly smart.

• • •

Questions of the Day

Have you ever tried a monthly photo challenge on your blog &/or on IG &/or in FB?  And if so, how’d it go?

What do you know about batching your time?  Do you do this?

Got a suggestion for another wonderful TV show that you’ve found to be amazeballs?

• • •

In Which I Listen Attentively Then Say “I Believe You” Because I Do

A pretty rose seen in a city park. Is it orangish yellow OR yellowish orange? You decide. I’ll believe you.

Who am I to stop a friend or acquaintance when they’re on a good rant?  

I MEAN, I may or may not agree with them but there are times when letting people vent is the best conversational gambit I know of.

And let me assure you that people in my life are getting quite rant-y.  Blame it on the hot weather or the current deluge of Trumpian noise or the alignment of the planets, but the peoples have things they want to say.

• 🔶 •

FOR EXAMPLE, one woman, a Boomer, spent a good 5 minutes monologuing about how all Millennials are lazy and useless and entitled and __________ [fill-in the blank]. I think she stopped because she’d run out of breath, not complaints.

Considering she has a child who is a Millennial I thought her rant was a bit odd, but maybe it was her passive-aggressive way of dealing with her frustration about her progeny’s choices.  

Beats me.

All I could think to say was “I believe you” because I do believe that from her point of view what she said is truthful to her.

I’m perceptive and empathetic, don’t you know?

• 🔶 •

SOON THEREAFTER, one man, a Millennial, started into his monologue about how much debt he and his friends have and how Boomers never had any debt and that his suffering is the worst darned financial suffering that ever has been. Without any doubt.

Considering he lived at home rent-free [with a Boomer parent] while he was in college I thought his rant was a bit odd, but maybe it was his passive-aggressive way of dealing with his frustration about his job now that he wants to leave the nest.  

Beats me.

Again all I could think to say was “I believe you” because I do believe that based on his life experiences what he said is truthful to him.

I’m tuned-in to the people around me, don’t you know?

• 🔶 •

SO WITH the foregoing experiences fresh in my mind, and with the summer temps predicted to be in the 90s with humidity to match, I’ll end this post by suggesting that if you have a rant you’d like to express, I’m here to hear it.

I suspect I’ll be inside most of the weekend and from what I can tell my ability to listen is what the world needs right now.

Lay it on me. What’s been grinding your gears lately? What’s your sorry not sorry? I’m listening.

The HOA Is Asking Us To Decide Something Morally Murky

Seeing clearly? Antique lenses used by eye doctor to determine the prescription for your spectacles.

• • •

When I saw the lawyer’s return address on the letter in our mailbox I knew something was up with the Home Owners Association [HOA].

I opened the envelope and began to read the letter + the attachments, written in legalese, describing what the HOA wants us, the homeowners, to decide about changing our by-laws.

I like our HOA.  The people on it do a good job of informing us in a timely manner about break-ins and coyotes and streets under repair and pool closures. Things like that, plus they do a great job of keeping the entrances looking spiffy.

They earn their keep;  however I find this proposed addition to the by-laws to be a dicey issue.

We are being asked as a group to decide if a registered sex offender [in any state] can buy or rent a house in this large subdivision.

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer to this proposed addition to the by-laws because while it may be legal, this is a morally murky area.

I mean, if someone has done their time for their crime do we have the right to not let him or her live here? Or is this a high-handed way to snoop inside the lives of other people?

And further, what about domestic violence perpetrators with a police record? Or drunk drivers with multiple arrests?  Do we refuse to allow them to live here?  They worry me as much as, if not more than, registered sex offenders.

Like I said, no clear answer here– but a great topic of conversation. What say you to this? Comments are open below.

Bibbidi, Bobbidi, Boo: Home Maintenance Happens, For A Price

I’m back, waving hello. 

My late spring blogging hiatus is over.  Because of the almost constant rain I [we?] didn’t accomplish everything I [we?] wanted to do, but I’ve researched that which has not been done and made plans about how to do it.

For me, a solutions girl, that’s a big deal.

So here’s what did happen: we got a new roof put on the house. And kids, that’s a noisy and messy thing to have happen.  This is the third time in my life that I’ve had the pleasure of living in a house as a new roof is installed.

*bang, bang, bang*

Next time, should there be one, I’m going to a hotel for the duration.  The 30 hours of noise involved in tearing off an old roof and then putting on a new roof made me anxious.

[Consider that the understatement of all time.]

• • •

But wait, there’s more.

Try to contain your excitement has I tell you about a few other homeowner things we did whilst I was not here.

  • Z-D and I rebuilt a stone wall around the base of a huge tree that is terrace-adjacent;
  • he painted the inside of the screened-in porch and got the screens replaced;  and
  • we chatted with various sales wonks, then ordered new windows for the front of the house because the current wooden ones are rotting.

In other words, not to put too fine a point on it, we spent a boatload of money on necessary home maintenance projects that will improve our lives, but said projects do not immediately bring joy to my heart.  

Like a long vacay in Hawaii would. Or a first class excursion to London. Or a train trip across Canada.

[All expensive, potentially joyful, adventures that I long to do.]

But that’s what happens when you have a house you consider your home– and you are responsible adults who lack a fairy godmother to magically, in an instant, transform and repair your house with the flick of her wand.

• • •

Question of the Day

So what’s new in your life? Anything magical? Tell me about it in the comments below. I feel so out of touch with everyone.

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The Big Bang Theory: In Which I Share 2 Pieces Of Advice From Penny + Ask A Few Questions

I got 94/100 on The Big Bang Theory Quiz. Click HERE to take it.

I’M LOOKING FORWARD to watching the series finale of The Big Bang Theory.  It airs tonight and I want to know how the show ends.

I’ve enjoyed the show, having seen it in reruns and in prime time.  I’ve not watched every episode nor have I seen it in a linear way so some of the story lines are a jumble in my mind, but that doesn’t matter.

The Big Bang Theory is all about the characters and their relationships with each other.  I especially like Penny.  She’s my favorite.

• • •

THE FIRST PIECE of Penny advice is from an episode in which she’s sitting in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment with them– and of course Sheldon and Leonard start bickering about something academic. As they do.

Penny stops them from talking, then looks at Sheldon reminding him: what did we say about being nicer to your friends?  Then she looks at Leonard reminding him: what did we say about not being a gullible weenie? 

This scene could be from my real life.  I occasionally find myself in the middle of conversations wherein one person needs to remember how to be kind while the other person needs to engage in some critical thinking.

I have yet to say the above out loud directly to anyone, but I’m thinking it. Dagnabbit.

• • •

THE SECOND PIECE of Penny advice is from the end of an episode in which Penny has sat through a tedious Physics Bowl competition at the university.  In this competition Sheldon and Leonard try to prove who is smarter.

Later as a way of showing the guys how little they actually know she creates her own pop culture quiz.  They, of course, are clueless about what she is asking them.  Baffled, Leonard asks her how she knows this stuff.

She answers with a classic line that I find myself saying from time-to-time, a line perfectly suited for ending this post, in fact. She says: I go outside and I talk to people.

• • •

• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Will you be watching [or did you watch] the series finale of The Big Bang Theory? And if so, which character is your favorite?

Do you like or dislike or are indifferent to The Big Bang Theory? It’s been on the air for 12 years so you’ve had ample time to form an opinion of it. ‘Fess up. 

If you took the quiz I linked to under the image of my score, what score did you get?

• • •

Thoughts About How I Comment On Personal Blogs Today

GOING THROUGH OLD FILES I found the following that I wrote as my response to something that must have happened, but I don’t know exactly what the catalyst was for this. Nor do I know why I didn’t publish this at the time.

Perhaps I thought sharing the following was too personal? Or too snarky? Or too dull?

I suspect that the issue that prompted this thinking was the infernal eternal blogging conundrum best summarized in a question: what do you do about people who are happy to take your comments, but will not give any, or very few, back to you?

What I wrote back then holds true for me today, so I’ll toss it out here and let you, my gentle readers, make of it what you will.

+ • +

Here’s my take on the issue: while in the early days of blogging quid pro quo reciprocity was the way everyone did things, I no longer abide by that standard.

I do, however, hang onto the idea that I have bloggy friends, not merely followers or fans.

Today I follow a variety of bloggy friends who interest me, and short of them turning out to be blatant narcissists or psychopaths, I leave comments willy-nilly around the blogosphere.

I like when I receive attention back but it’s not a make or break thing with me.  I figure how I treat other people is my good karma, and how they treat me back is their good, or bad, karma. ❤️🌻☮️

+ • +

AND ON THAT NOTE I’LL end this post by sharing with you one of the underlying premises of this blog.  It’s a premise based on the idea that everyone likes to be noticed, understood, and appreciated.

This is something I believe and you might believe it, too. It is a premise that I keep in mind every time I write a post or comment anywhere.

Maya Angelou said it best when she said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Is this not true?  Please comment below.