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Friday, January 25, 2019 10 comments

Journey to see the Boys - Part 1


I'm posting Day 1 of my journey from Malaga to Virginia to see the boys because well, it's me and no trip of mine ever goes to plan, plus it's the middle of the night and I have to stay awake!

My precious, handsome lads
Because of my move/finding a job/etc., I haven't seen the boys for three months, which is horrible and it was doing my head in.

Working on a tight budget, I found a cheappppp ticket a few weeks ago (skipping over the 30-hour, 4-flights-hitting-5-countries stuff.) When everything was confirmed, I was so excited. Yes! I'm off to see the boys for 2 consecutive weekends.

Yesterday, (Thursday) was the day, but distracted and overthinking things, I drove off wearing my slippers. (Only discovered it because my left foot kept slipping off the clutch. Duh.)

I cursed a wee little bit, turned around and drove back. (And, hey, that was ok, because I wanted to leave my sunglasses at the apartment anyway.)

Off I drove for the second time, stopping at a store to buy a scarf, which made me remember I'd left my new jacket on the back of a chair.

I cursed a little bit more, turned around and drove home.


Driving off for the third time, I was thankful my OCD likes a 3-4 hour buffer zone to get to the/any airport, so I was calm, but a little nervous as I'd burned an hour and hadn't hit the highway yet.

Without further memory loss issues, I made the airport with some extra time. Great. I've got one of those cards that let you in the swanky lounges for 14.32 minutes, so I grabbed a much-needed drink, a couple of pre-wrapped mini-sandwiches and apparently 3 bottles of very heavy soda (It makes sense later.)

Boarded the first plane to Stockholm but when two technicians opened one of the emergency windows due to a "tripped sensor," I wondered if faith was telling me something earlier!

First time I've ever seen this!

Hopefully, the last time, too!

But, no! I'm on my way to see the boys. I'm a klutz, is all (and more than happy not to be sitting in that emergency row seat...)

The delay cost an hour of my 2-hour transfer window, so I boogied off the plane and checked the screens.

Gate 65.

I can find that. Thinking I was probably in a different terminal I took off at a brisk walk, looking at signs and headed directly for Gate F65.

I see you there, F65...

Passport control ahead. Crap. That's going to take 5-10 mins., I thought, staring at the long lines.

Once I got to the top of the line, the customs agent explained I was in the wrong terminal, didn't need my passport and should recheck the departure screen.

"But I need Gate 65."

"This gets you to Gate F65."

Gate F65. I've got a good word that starts with F65, I muttered to myself, getting out of line and finding the nearest screen.

Boarding was in like 10 minutes and now I saw that I needed to get from Terminal 5 to Terminal 2. Bloody hell, Koopmans!

The brisk walk became a lumbering jog as my carry-on suitcase, heavy backpack and trusty jacket made life so much easier. (No, it didn't.)

Ten minutes later, I'm standing at the check-in desk, sweating my balls off and slobbering "da plane, da plane" incoherently like a crazed, bald Tattoo from Fantasy Island. The desk clerk was probably thinking, oh oh, we have a live one, here! His worried look didn't deter me. I was going to make it!

"There's your boarding card, this is T-2 and Gate 65 is just down the hall, past security."

"No F? No letters. Just 65?"

"Yes sir."
No-letter Gate 65.

I get to security, right at boarding time, and caught a break. The area was empty, but I couldn't take the drinks with me, and tossed them in the trash. Crap.

Through security, toss my backpack back on and hmmm. The damn thing is light as a feather. Wow, those drinks were heavy.

Gate 65 was next to security. I stop and stand there, hands on sweaty-shirted hips in triumphant glory. I am in Sweden and can enjoy the view for a few minutes!

The view from Sweden.

...And, then I saw the screen.

"Flight to Helsinki - DELAYED."

By 30 minutes. Thank God. I can regroup and grab another few cans to bring to Helsinki, where I've got an 7-hour wait. Up to the lounge I go, and open my backpack I do...

...And realize I've left my laptop, iPad and Tablet at security. In my haste to leave, I smash a glass on the counter and give my apologies as I bolt out.

Luckily, the security folks had all my stuff (I've got Netflix downloaded on each, in case I can't charge anything.) Thanking them profusely I stand back at the gate, but the plane hasn't even arrived and now we're up to a 60-minute delay.

No worries, back to the lounge I go.

"Sorry, we're closed."

Ok. A quick beer at the pub seemed like a good idea.


A coffee at Starbucks?


Like a drink-seeking version of Forest Gump, I find a seat that wasn't taken at the gate and wait patiently like a good man. Without breaking or losing anything else.

The flight was only 40 minutes, but bless her, the flight attendant offered a soft drink and my OJ was like the nectar of the gods.

So, here I am writing this from a dark, empty airport pub in Helsinki. As you do.

(It's closed here, too.)

It's 03:06 local, and I know this post is way too long, but it was fun to share. I board my flight to LHR in about 5 hours and finally arrive at IAD Friday afternoon EST. What could go wrong?

Oh, and the lounge opens at 05:00. Wonder if I can find a light drink to bring with me.

Helsinki is Hopping!
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 8 comments

Midweek Moments - Misc. pics


Having two weeks of pictures to choose from (I skipped last week, but had a great excuse, honest!) made for double the fun, so here's my midweek moments:

Caught the Super Blood Wolf Moon this past Monday!

20 mins. later as the Lunar Eclipse began to end...

El Baratillo, Sevilla 

Delicious tapas at a reasonable price. Definite recipe for success!

Looks like I'm about to land in a parachute, but only taking a break.

Constructing some sunlight during a cloudy day

A never-ending project. One question... why??

I so didn't run like a possessed man into a crowd of relaxing seagulls :)

Two sides of an ongoing argument...

On the right, the police station. On the left, 2 of the safest bars in the world!!

When three friends discover video-call sharing on WhatsApp!

When three boys discover the split-screen button on Skype :)

Monday, January 21, 2019 5 comments

Monday's Musings - New Team/Picture


If I wasn't so follicle-y deranged, the last few months would've had me pulling my hair out. F'real. Y'all.


Happily, most of the unexpected, take-a-deep-breath moments are behind me, and I'll handle the rest, no bother. There's always a few, normal problems/projects/issues in life, isn't there?

Onward brave soldier, say I :)

"What's the worst that can happen" is also my new philosophy. Taught to me by a very wise, beautiful lady, I'm better prepared for the next, hidden life problem that jumps up like Cato scaring the crap out of Inspector Clouseau!

On the other hand, one hugely positive thing happened when I recently signed on with a small, but wonderful team of real estate agents who have both the passion and experience to succeed.

Team La Luna Properties

I love the flexibility and camaraderie of our small, growing brand run by a young, professional husband & wife partnership that's 100% invested in the success of their casera team. 

Working hard to find a cozy home for a first-time buyer and building relationships with clients looking to sell a house that's grown too small isn't a job - it's a huge challenge that I love. It's all about being honest and taking care of people - and I'm an expert in doing just that for 30+ years.

Should you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Costa del Sol, Spain, please check out our website. I know a guy who knows a couple that can make it happen :)

Friday, January 11, 2019 9 comments

"Travelling for a few months..." 30 years on


30 years ago, yesterday, I left Ireland to live in Amsterdam "for a few months," so to mark the occasion, here's 30 pictures, some memories and a few thoughts.

[Wonders why everyone suddenly runs, screaming for the hills!]

If you know me, or read my blog posts over the last seven years, I've led... eh yeah, an interesting life, to put it mildly. The friends I made and saved, and those few friendships I ruined. The true love I have, and the ones I lost, and walked away from, too. The jobs earned and career opportunities missed.

Moving, moving and moving again. Not even in a Witness Protection program! Nearly sixty moves in thirty years, but I have peace now and understand why I ran so much. Three boys, and one true love later, I'm truly blessed to be here -- and have them in my life.

I'm moving to Holland soon... in 1989

After Holland, it's Spain for me...

...To work as a hotel entertainer in 1991 :)

Years spent in England, contemplating the meaning of life.

Then, the U.S. and my first car in 1997.

Chicago. Y2K. A good place with great people...

...And I even met the Greatest of them all!

Fantastic times when an old friend from EuroDisney came to visit in 2003.

My byline in a newspaper for the first time in 2005.

Time with Oma in 2006, telling her I would soon be a Papa.

Discovering baseball and one day meeting my favorite player

Blessed with this miracle baby in 2007

...Wondering how I'd ever cope!

Still smiling after a ride in Fat Albert with the Blue Angels.

Driving across the U.S. again. Amazing road trips.

The other Angels won a play-off game in 2009 (very rare these days!)

A second, seriously squishable boy in 2010.

Who took after his brother :)

Somebody's happy to see Papa finish another marathon...

Time to move again in 2010

But brought me Ma to see the back of the Statue of Liberty first.

Started 2011 off like this...

And nearly finished the year with this view...

But the last day of 2011 gave us this present :)

No. I don't scream like my brothers!

While they played in the waters of Hawaii in 2014...
...I managed to publish a book in 2015. Bucket list item: Done!

Chilling at the Florida pool in 2016

My 3 big lads in Virginia in 2017

And, I got engaged to my One in 2018. 

With only a handful of deep regrets, (I can't wish different the past no matter the depth of the stare at the now-empty glass,) I let it go. Mostly. If my boys read this one day, I hope the photos offer a small, added insight into my good, bad (and several) ugly adventures on the road from Rialto to Reality.

Even better if we're lucky to all sit down one day when they're older. I'll share the dodgy stories not pictured here, answer the real questions and enjoy another day surrounded by the ones I love most - and who love me.
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