Last updateTue, 27 Sep 2016 5pm

TSA Precheck: A Piece of My Mind

My husband and I applied for TSA Precheck privileges two weeks ago. We had to do it in person at an H&R Block office in Santa Clara, with fingerprinting, passports and $85 each. My “Known Traveler” ID number showed up the next day on the TSA website, so my husband entered it for all the flights I am taking this summer, including ours to Washington, D.C., in the next two weeks. I’ll have TSA Precheck at all airport check-ins.

My husband’s “KT” number, however, was still “processing.” He called TSA and was told that this is typical, implying that most terrorists are men and thus they take longer to check out. The agent did say that there were no red flags on my husband’s profile.

Game-changers: No Shoes, Please

I like to call them “game-changers” – those small but not insignificant instruments of grace and mercy that make life more manageable and comfortable. The obvious ones are things like reading glasses, a DVR and no-boil lasagna noodles. Others have proven to be of equal benefit, but at the time of purchase, I didn’t know they’d be such standouts.

Take, for example, my new microwave oven cleaning product, Angry Mama. She’s a plastic doll with fierce orange hair, a disapproving mouth and both fists sitting on her hips, which transforms her arms into angular, censorious handles. After you pour water and vinegar into her head, she takes a wrathful spin around your oven for seven minutes on high, softening and loosening any crud glued onto the interior surfaces of the microwave.

A step back in time: A Piece of My Mind

The Anderson Valley, centered in Boonville in Mendocino County, is so remote that linguists used to visit to study “Boontling,” the dialect spoken by the inhabitants when keeping secrets from outsiders. The valley is accessible only via twisty and nausea-inducing Highway 128 at one end and the narrow “Tunnel to the Sea” through a second-growth redwood forest along the Navarro River on the other end. But if you make it over the pass, you will feel as if you have gone back in time and space to the Napa Valley as it was a half-century ago.

Here in late May, the rolling hills are just finishing with spring, looking like sun-faded green velvet curtains dropped in heaps.

Silly me: Haugh About That?

When I was young, if someone labeled me stupid, my self-confidence would be ripped to shreds, leaving me feeling worthless and undesirable. But this time, I deserved to be called out.

On June 28, I went in for what was deemed a mere procedure on my knee: nothing major, nothing life-threatening, just a little tear in the meniscus. Having already undergone two hip replacements, I was sure my recovery would be easy-peasy.

Orlando: No Shoes, Please

Last week I watched an interview with six surgeons who had cared for the wounded and dying in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, during which gunman Omar Mateen shot approximately 100 people.

One doctor noted that assault weapons such as the one used by Mateen fire bigger bullets faster than handguns or civilian-type firearms. The resulting wounds inflicted are worse, the tissue damage more extensive.

Duplicitous brand-building: The Villaj Idiut

For anybody who thinks that Donald Trump actually wants to win this election and become the nation’s next president, you are fooling yourself.

Have you ever seen a presidential candidate less interested in moving to the White House than Trump, less engaged than he is in actually running this campaign?

Little white lies: Haugh About That?

As the tall silver fox from Sausalito chatted on, I found my breath taken away. It isn’t often I meet a handsome stranger at a Sharks game, but as the fans began to scream, we knew it was time to go inside. Saying goodbye, we exchanged business cards with the promise to meet again.

For the next several days, we flirted via text and email.

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