Travel Perks Industry Going Bonkers

I’m seeing American airlines and credit card companies react to COVID by making it ever-more lucrative to be their customer/loyal fan.   In my opinion, the best deals right now are with Chase — two cards, specifically:

For earning cashback OR travel points:

Chase just made their Freedom Unlimited even more worthwhile.   You still pay no annual fee, earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $500 in 3 months, earn 1.5 points per dollar (one of the best offers available, translates to 1.5% cash back).   But now, they’ve increased point-earning opportunities to double points on drugstores, dining and delivery and more than triple points-earning on travel AND GROCERIES!

If nothing else, this is basically a 5% discount on groceries and 3% discount on all takeout food you order!

To stockpile maximum travel benefits:

Chase Sapphire Preferred is still the best thing to have.   Currently a wild 80,000 point initial bonus (the highest I’ve ever seen it) and still double points on travel and dining.  If you can meet the minimum spend ($4,000 in 3 months), it gives you the most point-use flexibility. You can redeem your 80,000 points for travel spending on the card, but you can also transfer the points and use them in a frequent flyer or hotel program.

Is Your Thalamus (Also) On Fire?

I’m one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans being impacted by the wildfires raging across thousands of miles in the U.S.

I’m currently coming to you from my friend’s garage in Boise, Idaho, where I’ve set up a tent bedroom and toolbench office (because COVID) after fleeing hazardous air quality and fires moving ever-closer to my usual stomping grounds in Oregon.

That the fire part.

fire flames

Here’s the thalamus part:

I’m finally reading The Body Keeps The Score, after a half-decade of having it vehemently recommended from many corners of my world.   It’s an excellent treatise on what is happening to the structures inside our brains when life is less than optimal.   My ah-ha moments to pages-read ratio is basically 1:1.   (Seriously.   Read it!)

I learned the thalamus in the brain combines incoming information into a coherent experience.   Hold on to that factoid for a minute.

diagram of brain with some parts labelled

The thalamus is the red bit. (Perfect color – going to fit in soooo well with the metaphor I’ll eventually make. Read on!)

Thanks to my relatively new skill of noticing what is (instead of my life-long skill of noticing what should/could be), I observed many things about my mental and emotional state as I:

Earth Lessons

It feels strange to offer such a niche post when I’ve gone so long without saying anything (publicly) at all.   And yet.   I was so captivated by some lessons at a talk I went to recently, it seems a real shame not to find a way to share them.

With an eye toward helping us feel gratitude for our past to then yield a sense of responsibility for our future, a scientist covered some of the highlights of history on earth.

beige desk globe on white desk

Did you know:

  • The earth’s iron core gives us our atmosphere!   It creates a magnetic field that deflects particles from the sun that go zooming by that would otherwise sweeping away atmosphere.  
  • Earth time is divided into eons.   Each eon is divided into eras.   The three most recent eras are:
    • Paleozoic – meaning old life
    • Mesozoic – meaning middle life
    • Cenozoic – meaning new life
  • We’re in the Cenozoic right now.
  • Five times in earth’s history have we seen more than 50% of life die out
    • at end of Paleozoic, 95% of ocean and 75% of land life was lost in great dying

What Happened to 2018

If you’re not into gleaning insight from others’ personal experiences, this set of words probably isn’t for you.   🙂

I haven’t written anything containing chronological information about my life since I temporarily quit the internet in May.    Seven months.   Whoa.

A month before that, I published a disjointed collection of words containing an update of sorts.   I didn’t know I was in the midst of losing 6% of my year to strep throat. 1Which I contracted from a lovely group of humans with whom I was work exchanging.

The only other 2018 public snapshot of my life was published on day 2 of the year.   I shared my annual intentions.

Three public missives.

That’s it for this year!

photo: andre guerra

In 2017, I wrote ten times as many.   Why?   I have two guesses.   One now, one farther down the page.


1 Which I contracted from a lovely group of humans with whom I was work exchanging.

Blessing in the Chaos

It’s National Poetry month. If this is the only section of Half the Clothes you visit, you probably think I dropped off the face of the earth.

Au contraire.

2017: Some Things I Never Told You

I’ve spent more of these December days thinking about 2018 and looking forward than thinking about and looking back on 2017.   However, a reflection seems appropriate before excitedly charging into a fresh batch of days.

Unexpected Lesson from a Border Canyon

My former college roommate is about the most motivated, driven, action-taking person I know.   He sets a goal, puts his mind to it, and gets it done with an indestructible good attitude.