Frequent Flier Madness – I WIN!!!!

The postings on this site are my own and do not represent My employer’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

As many of you know, I travel a lot for work.  In 2014 I was on approximately 60 flights.  During those flights I followed the rules – I put my liquids in a baggie, I took my tissues out of my pockets before being screened, I followed directions provided by security, and the lot.  I didn’t overtly buck the system or act like my personal rights were being trampled.  I was, in a word, compliant.

But, really, as the year began I started a secret challenge.  It actually started by accident.  You see, my best friend Tiffany always had lotion with her and I often asked to borrow it.  At the beginning of the year she gave me this bottle so that I would stop asking (ha):

Lotion

I accidentally left this in my backpack for several flights, forgetting it was there.  Yes, it was NOT in my baggie as required.  And yet, when I found it a few flights later, I realized that not ONE of the screeners had flagged it.  Not once.  So, then I thought, “Wow, I wonder how far I could go before someone flagged my bag?”  And then, as the story goes, is when the challenge officially commenced.

So, month after month, flight after flight, I left the lotion in my backpack and it was not flagged.  I still had my baggie, I still removed my tissues, and yet with each flight I asked myself why I even bothered.  And by about June it became this huge competition.  I started keeping score and internally high fiving myself as if I was actually winning something!

Flash forward to December – I was in Thomasville sharing with my co-workers my 2014 travel challenge, as I had not been flagged once and I knew I was just one flight away from a perfect season.  Yes, I said season.  And then, superstitious as I am in such situations, I thought for sure I had just jinxed myself by my cocky talk.  I knocked on wood, said I should stop talking until my year’s travel was over, and hoped for the best.

So it was with great trepidation that I ventured into the security line at Greensboro Airport.  I was relieved to see a real line of people for the first time ever – about 30 people – and that gave me a sense of power.  I went into the slow moving line with confidence.  Almost arrogance.  And then, it happened.  My bag sat under that the camera longer than normal.  I stood barefoot, waiting, feeling my confidence slowly melt away.  And sure enough, the agent grabbed my bag, asked me to follow her, and I knew…..my perfect record was over.  I almost slouched, but silently I thought, “Dude, they only caught it once.  FOR THE WHOLE YEAR!”.  As I stood compliantly, I suddenly saw something that made me extremely relieved – a water bottle, on the side of the bag.  DOH!  I had put it there that morning and had totally forgotten about it.  The agent pulled it out, trashed it, but I was not out of the woods yet.  She began opening each section and began inspecting everything inside.  This was definitely not good.  When she got to pocket with the lotion, which was not very full, I knew I would probably lose that, too.  At that moment, she looked at me as if chastising me for breaking the rules………

Sigh.  So close Gina, so close…….

And then she handed me my bag.

My bag, in my hand, lotion bottle intact.  Water tossed.  Followed by a smile and “have a nice day”.

I.  Had.  Won!

60 flights, and not once did that lotion get screened and pulled.  100% finished rate.  It’s like I am famous.  Yep, 2014 was a good year!  🙂

Oh, and Tiffany, thanks for the lotion!

Explaining my Hair Psychosis

aka “The Drama of the Hair”

So, I recently got my hair cut, and several of my friends via FB messaged me and inquired why this short cut didn’t freak me out like my other recent cuts.  And that made me realize something key in my life – I still have friends that aren’t aware of my “Hair Psychosis”.  So, today I’d like to explain this amazing phenomenon.

So, first let’s cover my normal seasonal, general psychosis:

  • At the beginning of each summer, I usually decide that I will grow my hair out.  Oh, I know it’s 5,000 degrees where I live during the summer with 1,000% humidity, but logic is not part of this decision process.
  • About half way through the summer, my curls begin to appear and I remember the work that is involved in straightening, controlling the frizz, etc.
  • I usually see a picture of said frizz-explosion, and think I look fat.  Because, we all know it’s the hair that causes that, right?
  • Usually around late September or early October I get to the point where I am tired of it all.  And, despite the fact that the weather is cooling and my ears are just beginning to have the ability to have protection from the elements, I come to the decision that the damn hair must go.  At that point, it usually gets cut short as a result of said temper tantrum.
  • This can be documented in pictures over the last 3-4 years consistently; check out summer fun vs. Christmas family photos.  It’s very predictable.

So, that is the general psychosis, now let’s add the flavor that was 2014:

Part One – the meltdown

I DID decide to grow my hair out at the beginning of the summer, right on track.  And, as luck would have it, I also changed “hair people”.  I therefore explained to the new hair person, Hannah, that I was trying to grow my hair out and would only like a slight trim to keep the process going, clean it up, and also to help control the “I have curly hair which really turns to frizz with the slightest humidity” situation.  She nodded, I tuned out, and before I knew it my hair was SHORT, I had no bangs, and I was sucked into the hell that is “were we in two different dimensions when I explained I wanted a slight trim?”  THAT was this summer when I had the meltdown to my hair situation – you may remember said FB posts on that.  So, the NEXT haircut I went to a NEW NEW hair person, Britney, who happens to also be a friend, and said, “whoa, just clean it up yo.  I am not having short hair”.  And she did fine.  And my hair slowly recovered from the fiasco.

Part Two – where is the pomade?

And then, mid September arrived, and the cycle started……I was tired of my hair.  The curls.  The appearance of “being overweight”.  The frizz.  I knew how to fix it and I suddenly started gazing at my son’s hair like he was so lucky……it was so easy to fix!  I talked to one of my best friends over lunch – who has short, trendy, and sexy hair – about the virtues and what would be cool to do with mine.  So when I walked into my appointment last week I confidently sat down and said, “cut it off!”.  Britney was so excited and accommodated my request.  And I love it.

So then the cut showed up on FB and there were not the “omg I am sad about my hair” posts and the messages started coming in.  “Hey, what’s the deal?  A few months ago you basically got the same cut and it freaked you out, and now you’re happy?”

What could I say to that?  How about, “Oh, you haven’t been paying attention to the fact I am crazy”?  Yeah, to summarize this long post, I am just crazy, okay?  And I love my short hair…….for now!  🙂

2013 – A Year in Review

The postings on this site are my own and do not represent My employer’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

Ah, I remember when I was 8.  Back then my biggest goal was to be 12, because for some reason that was the number I was aiming for.  I clearly recall thinking it would be FOREVER until I was 12 and I was overwhelmed by impatience.  Then, when I turned 12, 16 was the big number to hit, and THAT was so far, far away.  I think on that, realizing how very far away it remains today, but will leave that one alone!  🙂

But this post is not about yesteryear, but about 2013 and all it encompassed.  Of course, I cannot talk about EVERYTHING, but there have been many “big rocks” that certainly were highlights in the year.  Enjoy my walk down memory lane for 2013 and feel free to point out anything you felt I missed in the comments!

January

January, and 2013, started out with a bang.  I came into work on 1/2 and found out the contract my employer held with The company I have been working for had ended.  No worries, they hired us!  It has been a wonderful change and I appreciate the job I have.  I do miss the few that did not make the transition and send the best thoughts to them.

February

I was honored and blessed to have Pastor Robert Barker ask me to fill in for him and provide the main sermon for his congregation (and my former church home) at Crossroads Community Church while he was out of town.  If you want to use up 35 minutes of your time, check the message out here.

April

Deana and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary!  Even writing that it feels…..interesting.  On one hand, it seems she and I have been together forever and 10 seems so small in comparison to the fullness I’ve felt with her.  At the same time, there are days when our love is so overwhelming it feels like we are still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship and I question how it has been so long.  Good thing we met each other so young.  ;P

We also purchased our Hyundai Elantra in April and got a smoking hot deal with the help of their employee and our brother, Michael!  Thanks bro!

Zack turned 11 this month despite my demands for him to remain little.

I believe this is the month that my mom, after being hospitalized A LOT for over 2 years, received surgery that changed so many things in her life!  She is much more aware (her dementia is not as bad), her overall health has been stabilized, and I am very happy.

May

Deana and I were blessed to be able to attend a conference in Las Vegas for my work, allowing us to drive to California for a few days to see friends and family.  I was able to see my parents, my besties Sonya Bishop and Julie Kang, and family such as Julia and Drew.  We even got to spend a few hours at Disneyland thanks to the free entry provided by our friend Cassie!  It was a short trip but a huge blessing.

Kenny turned 18 in May – GASP!  I am very proud of all that he’s accomplishing too.

Also in May, we lost a good friend and a mentor of mine; Sandy Schuster.  It was hard as we were in California when she passed and then I was traveling for work during her memorial.  Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of something she said or did, and I am thankful that Maddy remains a big part of our life.

June

I was beyond blessed to fulfill (with the support of Deana) a huge dream; I purchased my 2013 Spyder ST-S!  I have wanted one since they first came out and I have not regretted it for a minute.  I LOVE THIS ROADSTER!!!!  And yes, I named it JT after Justin Timberlake and I will often be accused of saying things such as “I rode JT GOOD!”

I also got a tattoo this month, the addition to my existing hearts with the names and birthdays of Kirstie, Kenny, and Josh.  The addition was Zack and Sophia and it rocks.

Kenny also got his first Texas job, working as a certified lifeguard at Hawaiian Falls.  It also allowed him to upgrade his Geo Metro to a Dodge truck – I am proud of the hard work and savings he accomplished to meet this goal.

This month also offered historical decisions in that DOMA and California’s Prop 8 were overturned.  These decisions have huge impact on a large section of our society, including myself and Deana.  To think that our legal marriage is now recognized at the Federal level is humbling.  And to see our California brethren being able to join us in marriage is wonderful!  Since then I am so happy that several other states have expanded equality!  I must once again thank my family and friends who reached out the day DOMA was overturned and shared their congratulations – it still blesses me to think of that!

July

First off, July was huge in that I paid off ALL of my medical bills!  These included my hospitalizations from my ulcer as well as my surgery in May 2012.  I am VERY excited about this, even now!

Also in July our family got to vacation in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho!  This is a beautiful resort town and is GORGEOUS!  We got to hang with good friends and also see the sites in Montana and Washington as well.  Best memory for me is being hurled out of the raft during white water rafting and Kenny yelling “ROCKS!”  ha.

July also began my CRAZY traveling schedule for work as we kicked off the new software training phase at all of the US plants we serve, which lasted through September.  It was great to meet many of my co-workers for the first time, some more than others!  If only they didn’t complain so much about the software…..right Taryn?  🙂  I am also glad that I was able to see my brother, David, on two of those trips to Bakersfield.  It is great that he lives right next to LAX!

August

My baby, Deana, had her birthday of course.  I am sad to say I was traveling for work.  Thank you D for working within those crazy parameters and always being so understanding.

This was also the month that Josh, not yet 13, grew taller than me.  For pete sake, really?  Tis true.

September

TONS of birthdays this month!  Kirstie turned 23, Josh turned 13, and Sophia hit double digits at 10!  Whoa there mister!

I got my first “super short” haircut that I actually LIKED.  Oh, I have had others in the past, there are plenty of pics to prove that, but this time IT WORKED.  I just got it again and even though I had thought about growing my hair out, I am glad I don’t have to deal with curly craziness as of right now!

Deana, Zack, Sophia and I also were able to go to Paris, Arkansas with Jerry, Julie, Kaylie, and Mom for her ancestry “homecoming”.  This is when people gather at the private cemetery where her mother, grandmother, and other relatives are buried and basically have a BBQ.  Seriously.  It is a little weird, I am not going to lie, but it is also awesome.  We have done this before and usually clean the headstones, area, and love hearing stories from Mom.  We also ordered mom’s headstone – yeah, a bit weird – and stayed at the Lodge in Mount Magazine which is BEAUTIFUL.  I wouldn’t trade it or the memories.  Next time I am bringing JT and riding there; this year there was too much rain.

October

Well, first this was the “Go Live” for my software rollout at work for the 9 US locations.  This project, of which I am its manager, was HUGE and had been going on for over a year.  I was a bit anxious and nervous, but it went overall very well and I am very blessed.  This was a BIG DEAL of my life and much of the year, and I am thankful for the support I received from so many people.  Deana, many of my friends especially at Ennis (you know who you are), and my kids who managed when I was traveling so much.  Thank you all!  The support has been ongoing and I give a special shout out to Cary at work who has really stepped up on that front so I can focus on the Canadian rollout.

Also in this month Deana started her 4th Open Enrollment for the City of Dallas.  The amazement I feel is tremendous as she absorbed so much on the home front due to my rollout, yet she is only one of 4 benefits employees handling over 13,000 employees and she rocked it.  Her professionalism and ability to multitask in every aspect of her life is amazing.

Zack and Sophia also rocked the world of soccer as they both won first place in their divisions and I believe are continuing on the state level.  Sophia’s team, in fact, is 100% undefeated!

November

This month celebrated the marriage of Stephanie and Chris!  Wow, what a momentous occasion and one of the most fun receptions I’ve been to in a LONG time!  To see some footage of said wedding, check it out here and here.  The month also included, prior to the wedding, a great bachelorette party and a very fun drag show!  No, I didn’t dress as a woman though was called out as Rachel Maddow.

Another important event was Kirstie being baptized!  She made this decision and I was very blessed to be able to attend this heartwarming event!  To see a quick clip, click here.  So proud of you Teet!

December

Ah, December!  My birthday month!  Christmas and family!  But I have to say that I enjoyed attending Josh’s recital in this year’s Regional Honors Band!  He is very musically inclined and I am glad he is able to play the trombone and be recognized for his hard work and effort.  To hear one of the songs he and his fellow honor students played, click here.

Deana and I also got to hang out with some cool friends at yet another drag show and it was FUN!  Thanks Tracy for the invite and looking forward to more in 2014!

I was also blessed to be able to meet my second cousin (I think) when I traveled to Atlanta for work!  Nancy’s paternal grandmother was the sister of my maternal grandmother!  We found out about each other through Nancy’s sister Ellie; I had “grabbed” something off of Ellie’s ancestry.com family tree and we realized we were relatives.  How cool is it to find family members that way???  Cool!  And sitting with Nancy, who really was a “stranger” in many ways, just felt……right!  She enthralled me and made me laugh and well……I loved it!  I am looking forward to what 2014 hold on this front!  Especially you, Ellie!

Misc

I actually started saying “twenty-thirteen” this year, instead of “two thousand thirteen”.  I feel almost cool.

We (the kids and I) have recorded several “cover” songs for our annual CD again.  It is a bit behind schedule and so it will be release hopefully in Q1 of 2014.

Again, if there are items you think of, post them in the comments!  I hope that 2014 offers many blessings to you and yours and I look forward to being part of them!

2014 is another year that will be full of work and travel for me!  Canada (Toronto and Quebec), Australia, and the United Kingdom are filling up my card!  🙂  What is in store for YOU in 2014?

Travel Etiquette 101

I have been blessed to have not had to travel for business as much with my present job, – much less than my last job.  However, it still does occur and it brings me back to the fact that many travelers – especially business travelers – have lost touch with travel etiquette!  So this post hopes to evangelize this area for 2013!  No pressure, my 2.78 readers, but you need to help get the word out!

Here are some of the basic tenets of traveling with proper etiquette, as noted by Gina:

  • We’re all in this together.  That means you might be an executive making the big bucks or a lower middle class worker wondering how you’re  going to pay the rent on the first…..it doesn’t matter.  We have met at this juncture because we both (all) need to get from one place to another, for whatever reason, and our humanness should not be wiped out by the seat we were assigned or the order in which we were allowed to board the plane.  Planes are small enough without taking up space with massive egos.
  • Help One Another.  This is especially important for older passengers; I mean seriously, who can really stand by and watch an older passenger struggle to get their baggage in the overhead or have difficulty finding the numbers for the seat assignments?  Does is help ANYONE by getting frustrated because they’re slowing others down or don’t have a super-traveler’s speed?  Come to think of it, as HUMANS we should care for each other a bit more often instead of assuming everyone should move the hell out of our way.  Maybe if we HELP, like lift that bag for that lady or assist in helping that older gentlemen find his seat (or assist that young mother struggling with a toddler….the list goes on) EVERYTHING will work out better!  They are blessed by a kind co-traveler, the boarding process moves more quickly, and we ALL can get to where we are going that much faster.
  • There’s a person in that seat.  I know it’s easy to forget about that when you need to push up your tray or get up to go to the bathroom, but your actions directly affect the person sitting in front of you.  If you slam the tray up or push hard to latch it, the person in front of you will be slammed or pushed, perhaps harshly out of a dead sleep.    If you grab the seat to haul yourself up, said person will probably be catapulted to some degree, which is never pleasant.  So please be conscientious and slow down, don’t use the seat as your tool for movement, and everyone wins.  Remember, someone is behind you, too!
  • Headphones are a beautiful thing.  While I know it’s easy to assume the songs you love are everyone’s favorite, that is often not the case.  Nor do many enjoy listening to your FIFA soccer game, cheers and jeers included, as we try to read our books.  Nor is that R rated movie (even if it is academy award material) really enjoyable with its sex scene sound effects…..can you say “awkward”?  So please, travelers, remember to always use your headphones regardless of the type of device you are using (smartphone, iPad, or laptop).
  • Don’t be an Overhead Hog.  Lord knows everyone carries on their bags now that most airlines charge to check them.  I get that, and I have NO problem with those bags being brought on.  But there is still a tacit cost to it and EVERYONE should have a fair share at the storage!  So excuse me, but if you brought luggage and a backpack or laptop bag, put the latter under the seat in front of you.  Or if you brought a jacket or cowboy hat, don’t take limited overhead space for such trifles!  What happens is the poor guy in Group 4 gets on and his luggage, which won’t fit under his seat, has no place to go as your laptop takes up the space his bag would easily fit!  And you might say, “hey, you snooze, you lose!  I want to be comfortable!” but I argue, what happens if YOU end up in that place?  We, as travelers, are better than survival of the fittest!  And further, remember we are all in this together, and if bags have no place to go,the Flight Attendants need to coordinate their handling and this delays our flight.  So your greediness for overhead space for objects that can easily fit under the seat in front of you while also providing ample legroom messes us ALL up.  Just don’t do it!
  • There’s a Method to the Madness.  When the plane lands, especially if it was delayed at all, everyone is in a rush to exit.  Oh, who am I kidding?  No matter what, we all want to get off the plane and get to where we are going.  But even with that rush to be off the tiny area we’ve sat in for hours, there are seldom justifications that allow a person to push ahead of the exit etiquette rules (though they are broken every.  single.  time.  I.  fly.)  The ONLY exception to this rule is if the flight was so delayed that passengers that have connecting flights must to exit first to catch the connections…..and please, if that’s the case, LET THEM GET OFF FIRST!  Otherwise, etiquette demands that each row be allowed to exit, grab their overhead bag(s), and proceed off the plane.  DO NOT try to jump pass the row ahead of you because you’re already in the aisle……if there are three seats to the left and to the right in the row ahead of you, let them ALL out and proceed unless they specifically wave you on.  Demanding precedence for ANY reason causes delays to the people behind you and delays to the people who are technically in front of you.  And that is not cool.  I know it sucks when you’re in the back of the plane – I am often there – but the fact that it sucks does not mean other people should be forced to wait for you to push through.
  • Smile.  When I was traveling almost 75% of the time, it was easy for me to get bored or even frustrated that I had to listen to the FAA safety speech, wait for my drink, and otherwise go through the boring in flight ritual.  Well, imagine how the Flight Attendants feel having to DO all that, day in and day out, while most of the people they are serving care less about most of the process?  And, while I know they have chosen this job as a career, can you imagine being stuck in a plane day after day, usually filled with cranky travelers?  Make a huge difference, one airline employee  at a time, and smile and even go out of your way to say thank you!  And while you’re at it, smile to the co-travelers around you – even the ones that push their way forward or slammed their tray into your head – its amazing how it spreads like a yawn.
  • More to come soon!  Let me know what you think so far!

Dealing With Hysteria

Okay, I almost WISH I could be treated for Hysteria, but then what would you think of me?

I am instead referring to two things; first, the “catch all” diagnosis of pretty much every female symptom that may arise and their related treatment for centuries, and secondly the movie Hysteria, which chronicles real events in the fictional realm.  This was a funny, frustrating, and eye opening movie that had a pretty good story line, though some aspects were a bit easy to predict.  However, it DOES bring to mind a big part of world history and also the creation and continued popularity of the “electric massager”.  Brand names have included the “Jolly Molly”, among others.

I will not talk much more about this movie or the related topic, but feel free to follow the link and subsequent links to find out more!  And women, unite!  Let’s stick together and fight that hysteria!  🙂

Observations of a (No Longer) Dormant Traveler

So I was fortunate to attend a conference this past week for the main software I support at work.  Said conference took place in beautiful Marietta, GA.  But this post is going to reflect on the travel-related portion of said trip!

Now, based on my older posts here, you know I used to have significant business travel in my career.  Not so with this new job, this was my first trip.  And overall it was not that bad and, let’s face it, conferences are pretty cool.  Free food, free alcohol, and you get to chat with mutual software users and they offer lots of dirt!  So, as far as business traveling goes, this is top of the list.

It started fairly early Wednesday at DFW Airport, Terminal E.  I have to say this leg was pretty uneventful until I went to security.  I am used to FLYING through security at DFW – 5 minutes tops – so I was surprised that the security for the Spirit Airlines area was LONG!  45 minutes long!  I almost got nervous, except for the fact I am pretty anal about getting to the airport early (can I say anal here?) so the safety buffer I usually build in saved me.  But while in line I saw some interesting things.

First, there was an older couple being dropped off by their middle aged son (and I can say that, because I will admit, he was around MY age.  And yes, I am slowly accepting I am middle aged).  They were Spanish nationals based on the passports I viewed as they said their goodbyes before the security line (which ran about 50 feet from the actual security area) lead into the roped off area.  But what REALLY caught my eye was the mother, who was fighting valiantly not to cry, but instead silently sobbed, her body racking with spasms, as her son and husband discussed the details of the upcoming roped off maze of the security line in Spanish.  My heart soared with compassion and pity for this woman as I imagined her thinking this may be the last time she will be able to see her son, as she and her husband were obviously in their late 70’s and may not be able to make the long flight again.  Her son and husband seemed oblivious to her pain, though it was not malicious, nor was her tears dramatic in nature.  I watched her anguish evolve with each bend of the security line, as we passed each other every few minutes, and wanted to reach out and whisper, “Entiendo (I understand).”  Over and over this overcame me, as I silently prayed for the peace of the Lord to touch her love and her heart, until at last I was distracted with the busy tasks of loading my items onto the actual conveyor of security.  My heart melted as I saw her son standing just on the other side of the rope, having waited for nearly an hour, saying one last goodbye to his parents, especially to his mother.

The emotions didn’t last long as I realized I was pretty darn close to calling time for my plane boarding, so warm feelings and all aside, Gina got her butt to my gate.  And I have to say, “Budget Spirit Airlines” do some things right, but I give a shout out to Johnny for whatever he did to get us in Zone 1 and in the emergency lane on the plane!  EASY, CHEESY!  But the airline otherwise, well, is “very different”.  EVERYTHING costs extra!  Want to check in at the airport and print your boarding pass there?  $5.  Want some water during the flight?  Pass the moolah!  Seriously!  But the plane itself was very nice and the flight was on time.

Johnny, who actually didn’t make this trip after all, warned me about the size and perceived chaos of Atlanta Airport and how to make my way to the rental car area.  It was very helpful, and I survived without a scratch!  Thanks Johnny!  I was able to drive to my company’s Atlanta plant and meet some of the people I support on a daily basis and also received an amazing tour of the manufacturing facility.  Then, to the beautiful Marietta Hilton for my stay and conference!  And it also included historical Brumby Hall & Gardens!

This hotel is quite beautiful actually!  And I have nothing but great things to say about almost EVERYTHING – the art lining the walls throughout, the decor, the meeting rooms, the hotel rooms themselves, the food, the staff, the city golf course that I was able to view from my room each day……the list goes on!  The only downside was that, at least on my floor, there was NO insolation between rooms!  Night one was tough as I had an all night TV watcher and 2am phone converser.  Night two was quiet and nice!  🙂

One snag – a flat tire on my rental car.  Did you know if you waive the rental car insurance, flat tires are not covered?  I didn’t know that, either.  And I still can’t lift due to my surgery, and who wants to change a freaking tire anyway?  So $49 bucks later, it was changed.  I am very blessed with this, however, because it could have come to my attention right when I NEEDED to leave for the airport!  However, by the Grace of God, I was compelled to take my luggage out to the car at 7:15am and saw the tire.  So it was easy to get someone out, attend the last day of the conference, and there was really not much stress added.

Now, heading home was a bit stressful, at least a little bit.  The address of the rental car facility was NOT the “real” location of the return area.  Caused a bit of a stressful moment, but fortunately I found a security guard at the “mailing address” to give me some directions.  I gave myself a HUGE buffer going home as Johnny laid out the security structure of Atlanta and what not.  So it wasn’t too scary once I got in the airport.  What WAS scary were the men travelers!  I mean SERIOUSLY, they were, how shall I say this?  RUDE!  I have never been man handled, pushed, bumped, or otherwise trampled upon more in my life!  And I’ve been to Europe and Russia!  I was SHOCKED!  In fact, a man actually pushed me aside so that he could get on the airport tram ahead of me!  And all the limited seats on the tram were filled with YOUNG men as woman stood around.  Maybe I am just old fashioned, but even I won’t sit down if there is an older couple standing.  Now, let me say that I do NOT think these were “Atlanta Men”, but travelers in this airport.  Maybe they didn’t know about the security or were stressed about missing their planes, but I was very discouraged about the lack of chivalry across the board during my route to Terminal D.

One amazing realization really happened twice on this trip – the TSA is not as concerned about some things as I expected.  First flight, I realized I had packed a small Purell container that I did NOT put in the “liquid bag” for screening, but it did not raise any problem.  Going home, I didn’t realize a gift that was handed out at the conference contained liquid, which also was packed and didn’t raise a flag.  Fortunately, it didn’t hold things up and no harm, no foul.  But I would still recommend you follow the rules!  🙂  Said from the person years ago who had carried a fork in her purse through 3 airports with no problem, even unaware it was there, and almost got arrested in Mexico when they found it.  🙂

So Gina is safe and sound and hanging with her family!  And she can now share all sort of great ideas for the software, don’t forget about that!  🙂

Sophia Stories

So, let me start by saying – Sophia cracks me up!  She gets me rolling!  Some of these stories may seem “off color”, but I HAVE to post them in raw form so that you can see how often I laugh!  And most of the time it’s my own darn fault for her comments as I egg her on.

Conversation this week with Zack, Deana, and Soph.  Zack was scratching Deana’s back:

Deana:  Wow Zack, that is very good!  You’re going to be an awesome husband to your wife.

Zack:  Thanks.  I like to be nice.

Deana:  I wish Maddy (that’s what they call me) would do this for me!

Sophia:  (in disgust, either because of the dig at me, or the fact that Zack was getting the attention, or whatever) Mom, you KNOW those hands touch his penis!  And now you have penis on your back!

Gina/Deana:  [cracking up and trying to hide it]

Zack:  Sophia, I WASH MY HANDS!

Sophia:  Whatever Zack, you still touch it.

On the cruise I put my bathing suit on, which shows my entire back.  I was brushing my teeth as Sophia came into the bathroom.

Sophia (pointing to my tat of Jesus and the thieves on the cross):  What is that, the 10 Commandments?  Or that woman in the Bible?

(Note to self – need to do better at sharing the Bible Stories with Soph)

I was teasing Sophia about something like me taking her new jacket because it was cool or something.  Or maybe that I would go on a ride instead of her.  I can’t remember.  But this was Soph’s response:

Sophia:  Hello!  You and Mom are way too big to do that!

Gina:  Excuse me?!?!

Sophia:  Not saying you’re chunky or anything…….

When we were waiting in line to get through customs after the cruise, Zack and Soph started bickering.  Deana broke it up and started lecturing them, especially Sophia as she had gotten very aggressive.  Note that I often point out when Deana interrupts me…..

Deana:  Do you two understand?

Sophia:  Well, before you interrupted me, I was going to apologize to Zack…….

More later!