Jesus: Influence in Art and Life

Jesus and Wedding at Cana – Largest Painting in the Louvre Museum in Paris

On our recent amazing trip through Europe, we had the opportunity to visit several churches and museums. We saw some amazing works of art. Speaking as a believer in Jesus Christ (please don’t cringe when I say that) I noticed that a lot of art was either inspired by Jesus or about the life of Jesus. The thought that always came to my mind was that there must have truly been something to all of this. I know there will be some who would argue that this doesn’t prove anything or that Jesus didn’t exist or, at least, he wasn’t more than just a man. After seeing these masterpieces of art, I have to disagree. There was something definitely about Jesus. I can’t believe that artists would have gone to these lengths create such influential pieces of art.

I have heard some say before that Jesus was either an imposter or the real thing.

Yes, there’s something to this Jesus. It’s really difficult today to even talk about Jesus. When you even say something about Jesus people want to cringe or back away. It seems that it’s okay to say God but when you narrow it down to Jesus, people tend to get a bit uncomfortable. They think you’re one of “those” people. Yes, there are some of “those” people who are a bit over the edge of anyone’s comfort zones but being a believer isn’t about being a “Jesus freak” about things or walking around preaching to people using “Thou Shalt Not” or informing people that they are going to hell. I’m sure if Jesus were walking around with us today He would be embarrassed by these people who make Him and His message look bad. He was never in the first picket line and He never pointed a condemning finger at people. He never asked people to join his church or any ridiculous ritual to join his club. In fact, the religious rulers were the ones Jesus was the harshest with.

Jesus influenced the lives of people which inspired them to create incredible works of art. I’m afraid that Jesus isn’t doing so well in influencing people today because we are making it a political statement rather than just loving people. Yes, there are people in their sins but can’t we still love instead of acting like a Jesus tactical unit ready to take down anyone that isn’t abiding by the rules we think they should follow? I think it is much more effective to love people and set the example. If you are ever around me, I never try to “witness” to anyone and although I have a family history of preachers in my family, I am not going to preach to you. Now, if you ask, I will tell you more but I’m not going to force feed you Jesus or participate in a pointless debate.

You don’t have to holler and scream to convince someone to become a believer. Some think they can preach someone into believing or win some sort of debate. Let me assure you that you won’t debate someone into believing. I have never seen it where the other side relents and believes. I guess it works sometimes but I haven’t experienced it – ever.

Jesus influenced early artists and people with his life. When you go to the Vatican, whether you are Catholic or not – you can sense a presence of God there. Yes, the Catholic Church has its problems as with every other church organization but Jesus definitely had a hand in it. We are all quick to criticize what we don’t know. Sure, there are some wrong teachings in every church and that’s why it is important to dedicate ourselves to apply ourselves to maintaining our own relationship with Jesus Christ. Trust me, you can’t always get your truth from a preacher. Now, there are some good ones out there who do their best to teach their people the right way to live as a believer but even these would caution you to follow Jesus and not their ministry.

Make no mistake about it, there is definitely something about Jesus.

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Traveling With Sleep Disorders

 

travelwithcpapWhen my wife and I were planning to take a trip to Europe, the first thing that occurred to me was my sleep disorders.  How was I going to sleep on the plane?  My CPAP machine wouldn’t have a place to plug into on the flight and if I didn’t use it then my snoring would definitely cause the plane to be grounded.  As you would imagine, I had some anxiety about this issue.  I consulted my doctor and medical supply company about my concern.

First, I asked my sleep doctor about the problem.  She suggested that I look into getting a battery powered travel CPAP machine.  I checked into it and there is such a device; however, insurance doesn’t cover it and the medical supply company does not allow payments on it.  The DreamStation Go Auto CPAP costs $999 so that was clearly not an option.

Next, I considered sleeping without the CPAP and finding something that would silence my snoring.  It was highly recommended that I should try a new product call Provent Therapy which are adhesive strips attached to each nostril designed to maintain airflow.  I bought these and tried them at home and they were not effective for me.  I’m even doubting some of these “success” stories about this therapy.

With nothing to help me with flying an international flight with my sleep disorders, I decided I would just try to stay awake and use my CPAP machine once I got to my destination.  Fortunately, I managed to stay awake with a few short naps on the trip.  IF you are concerned about snoring, let me assure you that the jet noise will usually drown out moderate snoring.  Of course, if you are like me and you are off-the-charts on the snoring scale, you either take shorter naps or stay awake.

Once we arrived in Europe, I used my CPAP machine as I would back at home as I used an adapter to adjust to the different power connections in each country.  This worked out pretty well and I had no problems with the machine.  The only issue was the changes in the air in each room which caused my throat and nose to be dried out the next morning.

The other issue with the CPAP machine was packing it and making room in my carryon luggage.  In spite of my best attempts of keeping the bag with me, I was forced by the airlines to check it on a flight.  I was obviously concerned about that but it turned out okay as my bag made it to my destination without being damaged.  I also had no problems with the machine going through security.  I’m guessing TSA is pretty familiar with these devices by now.  I did keep my machine in a large Ziploc back to protect it in case it was removed for inspection.

In the end, traveling with my sleep disorders worked out okay.  I never slept much on the flights and if I did they were short “cat naps” and my CPAP machine survived the trip.

Personally, since sleep disorders are a medical condition, airlines should make allowances for this and provide seats where you can plug in your CPAP machine for long flights without additional cost of sitting in upgraded seats.

While traveling with sleep disorders are a cause of concern, you can survive it and relieve your anxieties by preparing in advance of your trip.  If you can’t afford the ridiculously expensive travel CPAP, find something that works and test it out.

Waterfly Bag Review

61HlJ5k4MVL__SY355_On our recent trip to Europe I decided to use the Waterfly Underarm bag as my day bag for our trips as we toured each city, museums and other tourist locations.  I opted not to carry a traditional  small backpack or sling bag for security and to keep from having to check the bag at certain museums.  So, after spending three weeks, every day with the Waterfly bag, I will say that is was functional but I hated it.  Sorry, but I’m being honest about this product.  It was a burden having to be strapped to this bag everyday.  I even started referring to it as my “purse” at the end of the trip.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a man carrying a purse but it was just not the ideal choice for me.

The Good

Okay, let me start with the positive things about this bag.  As I said, the bag was “functional” for the trip as it allowed me to carry the following:

  • Wallet
  • Portable charger w/cable
  • Coin change
  • Passports
  • Maps

Although there is a dedicated cell phone pocket, it was better for me to keep my wallet in that pocket instead of my phone.  They also advertise that you can keep a small tablet in the main pocket.  Sorry, but I didn’t have any room (or need) for that.

The bag was very lightweight and adjustable.  It also felt very secure with items being closer than a backpack.

bagThe Bad

It is a purse.  Sorry but that’s how it felt and it isn’t as cool looking as the photos or videos which promote the bag.

Coin change was very difficult to dig out of the zippered compartment.  This is not easy when you aren’t familiar with the local currency.

When it was hot wearing this bag made it even hotter because you can’t really take it off and carry it by a handle like you could a backpack.

The Ugly

Sweat.  Yes, with an “underarm” bag, you don’t have to use your imagination to know what happens when you wear this bag all day after sweating and your deodorant wears out.  I was constantly self-conscious of this.  While the bag is supposedly waterproof, it isn’t “stink” proof.

Conclusion

If I ever do this again, I will choose to use either a small sling bag or backpack.  The museums and tourist attractions weren’t as strict on small bags.  It would also be useful to have a bag with water bottle pockets.  We spent a lot of time carrying water bottles.  Yes, it got the job done but it was pretty restricting and uncomfortable at times.

A Rookie’s Guide To Traveling Europe

My wife and I have just returned from a trip to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Germany.  Sandwiched in between the weeks we were with them, we visited several countries and cities in Europe on our own.  I have to be honest with you and tell you that this isn’t something I thought I would ever get to do.  Aside from the finances, taking the time off from work and making the plans just seemed impossible. Somehow it all came together and thanks to my wife’s awesome planning, we were able to enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

Not being the “world traveler” and basically a rookie at doing this, I want to give you my amateur insight to traveling and the places we visited.  I’m not Rick Steves or anyone that knows much about travel but I want to share my experience with you.  None of the YouTube videos could have prepared us for what we experienced on our amazing trip to Europe.

First, let me give you a brief personal ranking of the places we visited:

Paris_Family on Seine River

#1 – Paris, France

After our trip, we both emphatically rank Paris as our top experience.  It was everything we had hoped it would be and more.  Nothing really compares to seeing the Eiffel Tower first the first time with you own eyes.  It was amazing.  Notre Dame was an amazing sight too.  Yes, I know it is known more for that hunchback character,  but it is also said to be the home of the crown of thorns.  Yes, I’m talking about THAT crown of thorns.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t on display when we visited.  We also learned that there aren’t many thorns left because some of the them were given to other kings and dignitaries over the centuries.  Saint Chapelle had some of the most amazing stained glass windows I have ever seen.  Of course the romantic folks have heard about the Love Locks bridge.  This is where lovers attach a lock to the bridge as a pledge of love to each other.  The bridge is still there but the locks have been removed due to safety concerns.  My wife and I still managed to find a bridge in Paris to place ours and within view of the Eiffel Tower.  The Louvre was a seemingly endless museum of art and sculptures.  We only scratched the surface as we hit the highlights like the Mona Lisa, Venus and several others.  One of the best decisions we made was to take a river cruise on the Seine River to see a lot more of Paris than we would see otherwise.  If you want to see a major palace of former French kings, the nearby Palace of Versailles was definitely a huge residence for them.  Again, like the Louvre, we were only able to get a small experience of it.   Finally, any Disney fan would be lost without a chance to visit Disneyland Paris.  Some said it would be a waste of time to do but it was a good experience.  No, it isn’t like Disneyland or Walt Disney World but it was a nice combination of both.  I rode the Ratatouille ride which was pretty appropriate with it being in Paris.

#2 – Lucerne, SwitzerlandLucerne_Chapel Bridge

Beautiful just can’t adequately describe this place.  This city which is situated near Lake Lucerne and surrounded by mountains is just an amazing real-life portrait for the eyes.  We never got tired of the view.  We took a boat ride to Wegiss which is a small city near Lucerne.  This was an unplanned visit and we were glad we went.  Wegiss is absolutely the most amazing place with spectacular views.  It is easily my newest favorite place in the world.  I will have to admit that Rick Steves convinced us to add Lucerne to our trip and we are glad we did.  I will also tell you that Switzerland was the most expensive country we visited.  The currency is francs and things were very expensive there so be prepared for that if you decide to go.  Other than that small negative, I would highly recommend Lucerne to anyone.

Como Italy#3 – Como, Italy

This was an unplanned visit at the beginning of our trip.  We had a floating day and we decided to stop in Como overnight on our way to Lucerne.  Again, the word beautiful doesn’t adequately describe it.  After leaving Venice, Como was a welcome change.  Como was not over populated with tourists and sitting on a bench looking out over Lake Como was very peaceful.  We only stayed overnight but we wished we could have stayed longer.  If you are debating on whether to go to Venice or Como, I would choose Como every time.

London_Buckingham Costume#4 – London, England

Before our trip if you were to ask me where I would like the least it would have been London but after visiting there I have changed my mind.  London was a unexpected surprise.  We really needed more time here too.  Once you master the Tube (London’s subway system), you can get around to the various places you want to see.  It was awesome to see Westminster Abbey and the centuries of history in this place.  We also visited Buckingham Palace which was every bit of royal as you could imagine.  My wife and I listed as Windsor Castle as one of our “must see” places when we got to London.  It wasn’t an easy venture but we navigated the three trains to get there and glad we did.  To stand in the very spot where Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle were recently married was just mind blowing.  At the end of our trip, we took a boat cruise and saw the Tower Bridge.

#5 – Germany (Weisbaden/Frankfurt/Kassel/Rhein)

If you love German villages and castles, Germany is a good place to get a dose of it.  We visitedGermany_Rhein several castles along the Rhein.  Except for the hike to get up to the castles, it was worth it to see the beauty and architecture of these ancient buildings.  We were also able to find a spot to view a spectacular fireworks display on the Rhein.  Our son and daughter-in-law took us to see some towns that were almost too much to believe.  They were straight out of a movie set.  We also didn’t spend enough time in Germany.

#6 – Rome, Italy

Rome_ColosseumRome was exactly what you would think it would be and certainly met and maybe exceeded our expectations a bit.  My wife and I were awed by the Trevi Fountain. In fact, we went to it three times during our visit.  Our last visit was early in the morning on our last day in Rome.  As for me, the Colosseum wasn’t as much for me.  Actually it looked quite smaller than I had always imagined it to be.  We also visited the Vatican and saw the amazing Sistine ChapelSt. Peter’s Cathedral was pretty impressive too.  I am not Catholic but it was very spiritual to be there and be in the place where St. Peter is buried.  Now that’s something.  We didn’t catch the Pope but it was something to see the place where he speaks to thousands.  The food in Rome was probably the best on the trip.  I have had the best lasagna and eggplant parmesan I have ever had.

When we left Rome for Venice, we made a stop in Florence to see the David statute which was made by Michelangelo.  We couldn’t help but to be amazed by the detail of another masterpiece from one of history’s most famous artists.

#7 – Venice, Italy

Venice_Gondola RideI have to tell you that I am surprised to see Venice at the bottom of this list.  Before the trip, Venice was the place we wanted to visit the most.  It did not meet expectations.  I know that we all fall for that romantic image of Venice and gondola rides but the heat along with excessive crowds pushed Venice to the bottom of our list.  My wife and I did have our romantic gondola ride (except for when the gondola operator answered his cell phone) and we enjoyed some of the romantic locations there but I wouldn’t want to go back.  Locals are very rude to tourists and they really have no reason to be nice because of the mass volume of tourists.  Venice was a disappointment.

Best/Worst of Trip:

  • Best OMG Moment: Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time.  Nothing can prepare you for this.
  • Best Tech purchase:  Ainope 10000mAh Portable Charger with LCD Display external charger.  This helped us many times when we needed to charge our smartphones.
  • Best Clothing Purchase: Shoes.  I found Saucony Kineta Series on the clearance rack. You have to have good shoes.
  • Biggest Surprise: London
  • Best Un-Planned Stop: Como, Italy and Wegiss, Switzerland
  • Most Expensive: Switzerland
  • Worst attitude toward tourists: Venice
  • Most friendly locals: Paris
  • Best Hotel: Art Deco Montana, Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Most awkward moment: Train trip from Rome to Venice where passenger seated next to me took his seat and mine.
  • Best food: Rome
  • Best scenery: Switzerland
  • Best train ride: Como, Italy – Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Most challenging language barrier: Italian
  • Most annoying part of travel: Getting correct directions and information
  • Best money spent: Upgrade flight back home
  • Number of miles walked on trip: 144 miles (7.5 miles per day). Highest day was in Rome.
  • Best Smart Phone App: Moovit.  My wife found this app while we were in London.  This app will tell you what forms of transportation you need to get to where you are going.

So as an average person going on a trip to Europe, here are some of the things I found that “they” tell you in travel videos that are not true:

  • “There is free Wifi everywhere” – There IS Wifi in many places but it isn’t always free and it isn’t always dependable. Don’t plan on having a lot of access to your cloud on a trip.
  • “Train travel is easy” – While it is much better than in the U.S., it can be quite a challenge. It was very helpful to have RailEurope or GoEuro apps on our smartphones.
  • “Venice is the most romantic place in the world” – Not with oppressive heat and masses of tourists.
  • “Romance is in the air in Paris” – Yes, Paris is romantic but don’t foolishly think they are actually playing an Italian music soundtrack everywhere you go. You would be surprised how much American music you will hear.
  • “Air travel is cheap” – This is true BUT only on no-frills/budget airlines and with several connections.  Cheap doesn’t always mean easy.
  • “Nobody every said they wished they had packed more” – Totally not true. I wished we could have brought more but when you limit it to carry on luggage you really have to be creative.

So now that I am back from Europe, what are the top ten tips I can give you about traveling:

#1 – Wear comfortable shoes

I am very lucky to have picked the perfect shoes for our trip.  They were very comfortable and lightweight.  They lasted the trip and my feet are in great condition.  Don’t think you have to buy the most expensive walking shoes like Ecco or some other brand.  Also don’t buy hiking shoes unless you’re really going hiking.

#2 – ASK questions

I am hesitant sometimes about asking questions but when you go on a trip like this, you really can’t survive without asking.  There is always someone to ask and you will have to do it while you are traveling.

#3 – Stay hydrated

We were always buying water everywhere we went and all through the day.  You have to keep hydrated our your body will wear out.  There is a LOT of walking involved so you need to take care of your body.

#4 – Learn some phrases in other languages

While it is possible to survive by not speaking the language of the country you are visiting, it is still very helpful and courteous to the locals.  They will appreciate it.

#5 – Pack smart

Pack only what you will NEED, not what you want to take “just in case”.  Forget the “just in case” items.  You can buy what you want when you get to where you are going.  Also, if you are intimidated by the TSA rules for liquids, don’t take any.  Just buy them after you get through security.  Yes, it will be more expensive but it will save you the stress.  You also don’t have to pack clothes for every day.

#6 – Be patient

Oh man, this is a big one.  You will need to pack some patience because you’re going to get frustrated, confused and stressed many times along the trip.  Just remind yourself to keep calm and navigate your way through the unexpected situations.  The travel part can wear you down with the customs, security and getting from one place to another.

#7 – Foot massages

This is something my wife and I agreed to do each night when we got back to our hotel room and it is amazing how this helps to keep your feet rested and rejuvenated for the next day.

#8 – Spend more on your trip to/from Europe

If you are on a tight budget like us, you will be tempted to purchase the cheapest tickets for your flight to/from Europe.  While you don’t have to go first class, try something more than coach such as Delta’s Comfort+ option.  Believe me, you will be glad you did.

#9 – Don’t plan every minute of every day

My wife planned our trip and she did a wonderful job in NOT planning every minute of every day at various stages of our trip.  Rushing to one thing to another will wear you out and you won’t be able to appreciate it.

#10 – Be alert

Travel videos warn you about pickpockets as well as security.  I honestly felt safer in Europe than in any place in the U.S.  You still have to be alert and mindful of your surroundings.

Tech for the trip:

Okay, I am a geek and I need my tech with me.  I agonized way too much about this before the trip.  I ended up taking my iPAD with keyboard along with my smartphone.  This worked out good.  With the inconsistent access to wifi and my documents in the cloud, I purchased a USB flash drive which connects to the lightning port for all of the documents I would be working on.  This worked out really well.  Next time I think I will just take a travel keyboard and use it with my smartphone instead of taking my iPAD.

If you are taking your phone with you…..

This is something else you have to think about.  You have to check with your provider on the International plans they offer or else you will get stuck with a huge bill when you return.  It’s still going to be expensive and you need to plan on it.  Since we are with Verizon, we opted for the “travel pass” where we can still use our phones as we would here for $10 per day for the days you use it.  The only hitch we had was that we both took our phones; however, we had one using the travel pass while the other phone was in airplane mode and not using cellular data.  For us, this worked out okay and we managed our use.

What would we do differently next time?

  • Spend more on airfare to/from Europe
  • I would change my day bag to a small backpack instead of the Waterfly bag.
  • Stay longer or at least more than one night (travel days are rough)
  • Do a better job with carrying water/snacks with us
  • Get a better translator app

After three weeks visiting five countries, sorting through four different currencies, four languages, seven airplane flights, seven trains, six boats, several taxis (some rides which would challenge any Disney thrill ride) and even a pedi-cab it was physically demanding but it was worth the experience.  The world seems a lot different to me now.

 

 

 

Surprised By London

When we first starting planning our trip, I thought London would be the place I liked the least.

I was wrong.

I loved London.

I wish we had stayed another day there.

Yes, the thing that appeals to people like me is that we can at least speak the language. Well, sort of. There are some differences in the American version of English and the REAL version of it spoken in London. The first experience I had with this difference was when standing in line to purchase something and being asked if I wanted a “carrier”. In my world back home it’s known as a “bag”. When someone asks if you got that shirt from the “rail” and took it to the “till” you find things a little different.

London was quite amazing. There is so much to do there and we didn’t nearly plan enough time to do it all. We only hit the highest of the highlights for us. The main thing for us was Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is the Queen’s home and also the place where Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle were married in a royal wedding in May. To be able to stand in the chapel in the same spot where they all were standing on that day was amazing. We loved it. We didn’t want to leave. I don’t think the Queen was home that day but it was still a special feeling to be there in person.

Our room was in the theatre district of London where many Broadway shows were playing. If we had stayed longer, we would have attended but when you are traveling to a city like this, you want to do things you don’t normally do back home. We would have loved to do it but so many other things were on our itinerary.

The Tube.

This is London’s subway system. It is intimidating at first but we managed to get the hang of it after traveling to Windsor Castle where we had to take three trains to get there and back. I have a decent sense of direction but this was a challenge until I got the grasp of it. It was a good way to get around the city. It’s a shame our own city – Nashville – has no clue about transportation like this.

The people we encountered were nice and accommodating. We loved to hear the children talk with their English accent. I’m sure my English accent had quite a Southern twang to it. There were a couple of times I confused people with it.

The other thing that took some practice was the feat of traveling on the left instead of the right. We say that they drive on the wrong side of the road here but I wasn’t going to tell them that. We learned which direction to look when crossing the street and if we didn’t remember, it was painted on the street below us. I guess they know the tourists would forget.

I did manage to eat some traditional English food when we ate at an English Pub where I had the Fish ‘n Chips. Now this isn’t the same as you would get at Captain D’s in the U.S. The English version was two pieces of Cod with fries and English Peas. I’m not so sure how the peas figured into this combination but that’s how it comes. It was a really good meal. If that scares you, you can still get your Starbucks, McDonald’s or even a Pizza Hut. Yes and the Pizza Hut had a bar too.

London was quite a surprise and one that I am glad we didn’t miss on this trip.

Parlez-vous anglais?

I have spent the past few days using that phrase. My wife and I just finished our first visit to Paris, France with our son and daughter-in-law. This was an amazing trip. Although I probably butchered the French pronunciation above, I’m sure I inflected a Southern accent to this phrase. The way I said it sounded much like “parley view ang-lay-ez” which means “Do you speak English?”

Paris was amazing and to see the magnificent Eiffel Tower in person was more than I could have ever imagined. You see it on TV and hear about it all of your life but when you see in person, it takes on a whole new meaning.

So what are some things I learned about Paris?

I know that driving in Nashville, Tennessee is NOTHING compared to the way they drive in Paris. Our son drove us around and I am very glad he did. I would have been in my room curled up in a fetal position. The odd thing about it was that there seemed to be a method to the madness. It’s like everyone knew what the other was doing. Yes, they blowed their horns but it was just that. No road rage and no anger. People just wanted to get to where they were going. That’s it.

The people like it when you try to speak French to them first as in the phrase I learned to use. They appreciate the respect.

For a short stay, you can survive without knowing the language. There are many things in both French and English. If you are at a restaurant, you can request an English menu if it is available.

Touring the Louvre or Palace of Versailles takes a long time. You really need to commit at least a full day to touring each of these. We only scratched the surface on our visits such as seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.

For the romantic side, although there is no longer the “Love Locks” bridge, (the bridge is there but you can’t attach a lock there) there are several places where you and your significant other can attached a lock to Paris to pledge your love. We found a place for our lock and it had a view of the Eiffel Tower.

While many people like to try new foods specific to that country, I am not one of those. I ate so I could sustain the days of walking 8-10 miles each day. You aren’t forced to eat French food. There are options just as they are in the US. You can still get your McDonalds or Starbucks fix if you get desperate.

It seems to me that Parisians just enjoy life. It’s more about living than working 9-5 or working for the weekends. They seem to know something that Americans can’t seem to grasp.

Okay, one thing I have to tell you about Paris that will blow up what you think you knew already. They don’t constantly pipe French music throughout the city. In fact, I heard more American music than anything else. It was a bit odd to eat at a French cafe while listening to Coolio’s “Gangsters Paradise”.

Paris was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget.

Flying Rookie, TSA Garth Brooks Quiz and the Atlanta Airport

It has been a long time since I have flown on a plane. The best I can recall, I haven’t flown since 9/11. As I am writing this blog, I am sitting in a terminal in the Atlanta Airport awaiting a flight. I would have to say that the most stressful part so far has been getting through TSA security. I know they have reasons for why we have to take off our belts and shoes. In fact, I would like that shoe bomber who caused this to be beat with shoes every time someone has to deal with going through airport security. Going through security is a lot like going through the line at the Varsity. A person is herded through the line. I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I took off as much as I could hoping to avoid being yelled at by the officer or enticing the ire of the passenger behind me. It was quite a disruptive experience.

When I finally got the necessary things in the buckets to run through the machines, I stepped into the chamber. I didn’t know where to face or where to put my hands and feet. Of course, there is a sign on the machine but I’m turning every which we like I am doing the Macarena. When I finally passed that obstacle, I then anxiously awaited my belongings. My shirt I was wearing came out in someone else’s bucket and then came my belt. I hastily tried to get my belt on while watching for my other things. My shoes and other items rolled out. I tried to slip my shoes on but had one on and one off. I limped over to the side so I could re-dress again.

Whew!

I checked everything to make sure I was put back together. It’s almost like packing again.

I’m sure these TSA folks have seen it all. I would imagine watching video footage of people going through the security lines are quite entertaining. They have an important job in keeping us safe but the belt and shoes? Can’t they make technology where we don’t have to hold onto our pants and hop around with our shoes half-on and half-off?

My TSA person asked me a rather random question about Garth Brooks. Sudden panic! I didn’t know this was going to be on the test. I hadn’t studied anything about Garth Brooks. What does this have to do with security? Panic ensued.

“You listen to country music don’t you?” He asked.

“What?”

Oh great, I wasn’t read for this question. If this was part of it then I knew I wasn’t going to get to the other side.

“Sorry, I know some songs but I really don’t know a lot about Garth Brooks,” I answered in shame.

He laughed and let me through.

Whew!

I need to study that for next time.

The flight to Atlanta was short. Maybe 30 minutes total. We were preparing to land about the time we got up in the air. I was still playing with the neat screen in front of me. I didn’t want to get off.

The seat in front of me had a 9″ flat screen with choices of movies, games and music. The last time I flew, there was one TV tube overhead that you had to strain to watch through the openings in the seats ahead of you. It’s a lot different now.

Then there’s the Atlanta airport.

I have been to the Atlanta airport more in my lifetime than any other airport. It was big before but now it’s HUGE. I commented that it was like a mall but it’s more like it’s own city. In some ways it is a city but the residents aren’t permanent ones. The population changes every day. Of course, the word still hasn’t reached the vendors that prices aren’t as high for the items they are selling. I paid $7.00 for a bag of combos and a PowerAde. Okay, I guess that’s my lunch.

Yeah, I haven’t flown in a while. It’s a lot different now. I’m still not sure I want to do it much but so far I’m okay with it.