24 July, 2019
Rat Fink

Talk about “Lucky Jackson.” ;-)

Today’s the day! Mavis is taking me to the airport at 6 p.m., and I’ll try to snooze on the 4-hour direct flight as much as possible, because I’m scheduled to arrive at 10:00 local time. And I’m probably not going jump right into bed, so…


Vegas in the summertime — ha. Even though Europe is having a horrific heat wave right now, I think LV might still have them beat. Safe to say that I’m grateful for air-conditioned transportation to get me from indoor-place to indoor-place. That, and I probably shouldn’t be schlepping around the city late at night by myself. Who knows what might befall an innocent little old lady crossing the street, ya know?

Maybe I need a Gladys costume. *snicker*

Talk to you soon! Hugs

A different kind of Vegas trip

18 July, 2019
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OK fiends, I am stoked for my final adventure of the summer: Las Vegas. Wooop!

But this trip will be quite different from the three times I’ve been before. When the Thriller and I went, we spent 10 percent of our time enjoying restaurants, 20 percent sleeping, and the other 70 in the casinos. It was fun (and sometimes profitable :-) ), but exhausting, and I knew I was missing parts of the city that I wanted to see. So, I’m fixing that this time.

In addition to hitting a couple of the Station casinos, I have tickets to see the Organized Crime Museum, and the Neon Boneyard, where all the old Vegas signage is kept (and some of it still lights up!). I also plan to hit Fremont Street while I’m downtown. Should be fun.

The highlight of the trip, of course, will be the Beatles Love show by Cirque du Soleil. By the time I bought my ticket, seating was pretty limited, so I’m waaaaay up in the stratosphere. S’ok though; the theater is not that big, and I’ll still enjoy it.

I bought a 3-day pass for the Vegas Monorail, which has a boarding station right outside the door of my hotel (the SLS). While the Strip is only four miles long, it takes forever to travel it in a taxi because of the Manhattan-like traffic jams, so I’m saving some bigtime cash by doing the monorail, which travels behind all the hotels from the SLS to the MGM.

Still mulling over whether or not to pull the trigger on the Janet Jackson concert Friday night. Hmmm.

Pretty full three days, don’t you think? Psyched for next Wednesday night, when my super-cheap Spirit Airlines flight leaves Cleveland. I’ll post some photos.


Of enormous pills and learning grace

12 July, 2019
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The Fink waxes philosophic.

Thassa big pill.

Consider my daily dose of Carafate. Those nasty things are tall as a quarter, and if you break them in half, they become still-enormous pills, but they now have sharp edges (and I’ve tried the crushing them up in applesauce/juice/yogurt blah, blah, no). What to do?

Just woman up and choke it down whole. And what a lovely idiom/metaphor for what I’ve experienced over the past couple of weeks, heh. Great big old difficult pill to swallow. I’m sure you’ve been there.

Do you find it’s harder to forgive than to ask for forgiveness? I’ll bet you do, at least on some level. Why is that, I wonder. We humans do love our emotional control and deep-seated self-preservation mechanisms, and I suppose that’s part of it. Maybe another part of us — the down-deep part that rarely sees the light of day — derives some weird satisfaction from being the wounded party so we can plot our revenge.

That’s where the wheels fall off for many, I think. And they almost did for me. I got slapped by someone, and I wanted to slap back, twice as hard.

This morning, I was perusing Facebook and saw this meme. It stopped me in my tracks. Once again, I am dragged, kicking and screaming, into learning to be a better person.

Do you hate lessons like this? I do. More “fun” to be an angry victim, when what the other person needs is not your anger (they’re not ashamed of what they’ve done, so your indignation is misplaced), but instead, your grace and forgiveness — even if they neither want nor accept it. Does that mean I “lost?” Probably. But I need to be OK with that. And I will be. Tomorrow.

Have you experienced anything similar? Tell me about it. I will counsel you. That’s why you pay me.



9 July, 2019
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Has this ever been a summer (heck, a year) of learning.

This summer, I learned the value of having lifelong friends, through good times and bad and everything in between. I loved hanging out with RD and his wife Bonnie before I left for Europe, and then enjoyed one of the best Odysseys ever with Suzanne and Kay. In addition to my family, they are treasures! Add to that my friends on social media, and old classmates and extended family that I’ve reconnected with there, and it really is an embarrassment of riches. I’m grateful for it.

I learned so much about the world this summer; about its beautiful spaces and our effects on them. I met wonderful people and established new friendships. What a blast!

But I’d be lying if I said all the learning was pleasant. It hasn’t been.

Without going into too much detail…I found myself regressing to a place I promised myself I’d never go again: the state of being in constant deference to someone else. Waiting to make decisions, waiting around for a return text or phone call, feeling like I was getting the runaround, repeatedly rearranging my life and schedule for the constantly changing plans…ya no bueno. What was I thinking?

Well, I slapped myself back into reality last night, and yanked back control. No one puts Finky in a corner. So, what did I do about it?

Et voilà — an “Odyssette!” I’ve wanted to see this show for over a decade, and last night, I pulled the trigger. Can’t wait. It’ll be a fun opportunity to not only get some Fabs, but also to visit a place the Thriller dearly loved to go. We visited three times, and each trip was a blast, with lots of memories.

As always, thanks to my sister Mavis for caring for Remy while I goof off by myself out West. I love you, sissy!

Hope you’re all doing well. Take care of you.


Day 12 – Slovenia

25 June, 2019
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As I sit here at 6:30 a.m. with my door open, smelling the morning air and enjoying the cool breeze, it’s hard to believe it’s all over. What an unforgettable 13 days of discovery, learning, laughter, friendship, and beauty.

Yesterday morning, Kay and I went out walking around the village of Nova vas. This area was completely destroyed during WWI, and many battles were fought here. We went in search of any sign of the war that still stands. In addition to several monuments erected by grateful citizens, there are remnants everywhere of when soldiers used rocks to build walls and trenches.

Hand grenades from WWI, recovered from the fields of Nova vas

The owner of the property where we’re staying (awesome guy named Robert) has collected many artifacts over the years, and even had several of the hand grenades incorporated into the fencework at the house. Fascinating.

We hung around and relaxed during the stiflingly hot day, and opted not to go “touristing,” but rather stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet, and each other’s company. At dinnertime, we drove to Italy and had a delicious meal. After a glass of prosecco and more conversation, it was time for bed.

Now I’m all packed and ready to head to the airport in a couple of hours. I’ll take the rest of my time to hang out with B&K and stop by a friend’s house for coffee on the way to Venice. Then it’s on to Chicago (11 hours later, oy) and Cleveland, where Mavis will be waiting for me at 1:00 in the morning. She’s the best!

Now I say a huge thanks to all of you for coming along on this little Odyssey with me. It’s been wonderful reading your comments; they always make me smile!

Talk to you stateside. Much love…