Monday, November 22, 2010

Follow the Rules!!!!!

If you don't fly often, you may not be familiar with the latest rules for getting through airport security. Here's a rundown in plain English.

Before You Go
Ship or mail any questionable items to your final destination if you don't want to check your bags. I'm a jewelry maker and have done this several times. I'd rather go through this hassle than have my tools confiscated!

Check-in online and use the electronic boarding pass option if you can. You can check-in with your airline up to 24 hours before your flight. If you are not checking a bag, there is absolutely NO reason to check in at the airline counter at the airport.

Have the following four items easily accessible and removable:
  • Photo ID
  • Boarding pass or electronic device with boarding pass
  • Laptop
  • Quart size liquids bag (more on this later)
Once you Arrive
Before heading to security, confirm your departure gate on the airline screens. I find that about half the time I fly, my departure gate changes between the time I checked in online to the time I arrive at the airport!

The Three Basics
1. One carry-on and one personal item per person.
You are allowed one small "suitcase" or bag (which must fit in the overhead bin of the airplane) and one personal item on every flight. The personal item may be a purse, laptop bag, briefcase, or shopping bag. As long as the personal item fits under the seat in front of you, it's fine.
I can't tell you how many women I see trying to get a suitcase, purse, and shopping bag/laptop bag/briefcase aboard a plane. Ladies, your purse IS the "personal item." My suggestion: Carry a small wristlet with your essentials in it and tuck it inside your shopping bag/laptop bag/whatever.

2. Liquids must be inside one quart-size plastic zip-lock style bag.
That means one of these little bags per person, not all of your liquid items stowed in 10 separate bags. (Yes, I've seen someone try.) And be aware of what a liquid is. When in doubt, here's my rule: If it's gushy, it's a liquid. Lipstick, lip balm, shampoo, hair gel, even soft-solid deodorants all qualify as liquids. Bar soaps and solid deodorants are OK. (By the way, snow globes are not allowed, period. That's a new rule I learned last week!)

3. You are required to show your photo ID along with your boarding pass.
Period, no exceptions, unless you're not old enough to have a driver's license. So go ahead and get both in your hand before you get in line.

And here are some suggestions to make things easier:

Dress appropriately.

Wear easy on/off shoes with socks. (Especially if you're a germophobe - you DON'T want to be walking barefoot through the security line! Ewwwwwwwww!)

Leave the huge belt buckle, metal earrings, or clunky bangle bracelet behind. If you insist on wearing these, take them off and put them in a bin before you go through the metal detector.

Liquids & Laptops Out
Pack your liquids bag and laptop where you can get them out quickly and easily. Once you reach the screening area, take your laptop out of its bag and put it in a bin all by itself. Take out your liquids bag and put it in a second bin along with your shoes and jacket if you have one. Empty your pockets into one of the little change bins. Don't put your carry-on and personal item in bins; they'll go through the scanner just fine by themselves. There's always a shortage of bins so don't be a bin-waster!

No Boarding Pass Required
You do NOT need to show your boarding pass before going through the metal detector. Once these have been checked, tuck them away.

Get Out Of The Way (My personal pet peeve!)
Once you and your stuff have made it through the scanner, gather everything as best you can and then move on. Most airports have an area right outside the screening area where you can sit down and re-pack. Use this area instead of clogging up the security lanes so that your fellow passengers can move through.

I hope this has been helpful to someone; please feel free to ask any questions and I'll answer as best I can!

Tips from a Frequent Flier

The TSA's new screening procedures have been all over the news this week. From what I've seen, a lot of people have some critical misconceptions about airport security.

*****First and foremost, even if an airport has the full body scanners (AIT, as they are sometimes called), 95% of passengers will NOT be asked to go through the scanners. If you are asked to go through the scanner, you have the option to request a pat-down instead.*****

So how can you avoid being one of the 5% that is asked to go through the extra security measures? Here are three tips, all based on my personal experience and observations as a frequent traveler.

1. Follow the rules. This is a big one. Every person I've seen pulled out for extra screening had done something wrong. For example, that tube of ChapStick in your pocket (instead of your "liquids" bag) may seem innocent to you, but to an agent that little infraction makes you a rule-breaker. And it could lead to extra security measures for you. I'll do a separate post on following the rules shortly.

2. Do not display a defiant, "They're not gonna touch me" attitude. You may not be aware of it, but you are being watched constantly while waiting in airport lines. Don't go attracting extra attention to yourself with cocky declarations.

3. Be kind and polite to every airport worker that you come in contact with. ESPECIALLY the very first person in the security protocol - the agent who checks your boarding pass and ID. That person can actually single you out for extra screening down the line. Also, these folks really appreciate it when you use the electronic boarding pass option. So use it every time you can.

More to come!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Loving Memory

Lora Bell McClure Dodd, born January 17, 1912, died April 12, 2010.

She was the youngest of 13 children. She leaves behind one sister, three children, four grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and countless nieces and nephews.

My grandmother is in a much better place now, reunited with her family and in the presence of God.

Monday, April 12, 2010

These Hands

They worked hard on the farm.

They picked cotton.

They sewed in a garment factory.

They embraced a husband on his way to war and embraced him again when he returned.

They held three children, four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

They churned butter.

They made biscuits without measuring any ingredients.

They canned tomatoes, corn, and homemade chow-chow.

They made muscadine jelly and fig preserves.

They made breakfast for her husband every morning.

They sewed beautiful quilts one stitch at a time.

They held bibles and hymnals in countless church services.

They folded in prayer.

They loved.

They belong to my grandmother, Lora Dodd, age 98.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Prayer Requests

I learned of several urgent needs last night and thought I would share them with you. Please pray for these people:

Jen, a 21 year old friend of mine who has learned she has a tumor on her pituitary gland. This appears to be a recurrence of one she had as a child.

Lance, a friend's father who has learned he has lymphoma and begins chemo today.

Trey, an 18 year old diagnosed with melanoma that has now moved into his brain. He faces surgery today.

The Bennett family, who are grieving the loss of their father and daughter in what appears to be a freak electrocution accident.

A friend of a friend in Colorado who has learned that her father has an inoperable benign brain tumor which is causing horrendous ringing in his ears.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. " James 5:16

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Massachusetts - the setting of yet another revolution?

Whodathunkit? Massachusetts, home of the Kennedys and John Kerry, is home once again to an American Revolution of sorts.

The election of Republican Scott Brown to fill deceased Ted Kennedy's senate seat has turned the tables on the Democrats. No longer do they have a filibuster-proof majority enabling them to push through any legislation they want.

Now the democrats will have to actually DEBATE health care reform and listen to viewpoints besides their own.

I love America!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I love Etsy, I really do. But . . .

I have a shop on Etsy. For those of you who are not familiar with Etsy, let me give some background.

As its slogan states, Etsy is a place to buy & sell all things handmade. Etsy is a venue that lets sellers open a shop and list their wares for a listing fee of $0.20. Then, if the item sells, Etsy collects 3.5% of the sales price. Prior to selling on Etsy, I had my own website. I gave that up because it is incredibly time consuming to maintain! Etsy makes it easy.

Etsy makes it easy. And that's part of the problem. It is all too easy for people to start up a shop on Etsy and start selling whatever they want. Etsy does not monitor new listings; they trust that you will be listing genuinely handmade items, vintage items that are 20 or more years old, or crafting supplies. But many, many, many shops are nothing but "resellers" who view Etsy as a cheaper alternative to ebay.

To combat this problem, Etsy has a "flagging" system. If you spot an item that is not supposed to be sold on Etsy, you are asked to flag it and bring it to the content team's attention. They are supposed to review each and every flagged item and take down items that are not within Etsy's Terms of Use (TOU).

That doesn't seem to be doing much good. I've flagged lots of stuff that is obviously breaking the TOU, but the items are still there. And from the comments I'm seeing on Etsy's community forums, I am not alone in this.

Etsy recently re-hired Rob Kalin as its new CEO (or whatever muckety-muck title). At first sellers were quite hopeful that he would begin implementing some changes. But so far, the only changes we've seen have been cosmetic and have not addressed the most serious issue - resellers.

So to Etsy, I say this: I can live without coupon codes, the ability to open multiple shops, and changes to Etsy's community forums. First things first. The reseller issue MUST be addressed. It is taking business away from legitimate sellers, and it is bringing seller morale to an unbelievable low - which cannot be good for business.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Before You Give to Relief Efforts in Haiti . . .

No, this isn't a "beware of scammers" warning - although those warnings are warranted.

Before you contribute to relief efforts in Haiti, do some research. If you work for a large company, check to see if they have any type of charitable contribution matching program. The company I work for is matching donations made to the Red Cross up to $250,000. That doubles my donation and makes me feel a little bit better about my contribution!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Orange Rolls

We had "breakfast for dinner" tonight at my house, and I pulled out a recipe that I haven't made in a long time. I had forgotten how delicious these are! So easy, too!

Orange Rolls

1 can refrigerated biscuits (not the flaky-layers style!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
One large orange

Remove the zest from the orange and chop into very fine pieces. Combine orange zest with the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Cut orange in half and squeeze the juice into a shallow bowl.

Dip the biscuits in the orange juice, then dredge in the sugar mixture. Put biscuits into a 9-inch round pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over biscuits, and drizzle any remaining orange juice on top. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 25 minutes. Serve warm.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Icy in Georgia

We got a little snow yesterday afternoon and last night. Not a lot, but enough to cause complete havoc! It's only 22 degrees and the snow that fell has turned into nasty ice on our roads.

I tried to go in to work this morning but had to turn around due to all the ice. Yuk, yuk, yuk!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Sky This Morning

Here's the lovely view I was greeted with on my way to work this morning. WOW.

I won't attempt to wax eloquent. A picture is worth a thousand words!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I thought I lived in Georgia.

Apparently I was wrong. I must be in Minnesota or something. 'Cause it's 19 degrees outside! No snow, but 19 degrees!!!!