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Recharge and unwind... 2/6/2018
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The first day of 2018 was a day of farewells. Ed and I drove my son, Sean, his Caitlin, and her mother to the airport, for their flights back to their respective homes, in California and New Jersey. We had a wonderful time, as usual. Our annual holiday tradition of receiving Cait and her mom just after Christmas is something I look forward to every year. But it’s always hard saying goodbye, after having them near…

Four days later though, things were looking up. We had a date with our annual battery recharge under the sun! We were on our way to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic accompanied by the three couples we’ve travelled with every January for the past several years.

Our usual destination is San Juan, but due to the devastation wreaked upon Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria, we had made alternate plans. The beautiful island is still reeling from the storm--to this day, it is still without power. We hope very much to return there next January, with sincere wishes for regained normalcy for the people there, much sooner than that!

But back to Punta Cana. The eight of us felt very lucky to fly out on Friday morning, the 5th of January. We were experiencing frigid, below-zero temperatures that morning, which resulted in frozen fuel tank hoses. Fortunately, our airline located a fuel truck able to fill us up. With just an hour’s delay, we were off, up and away from the frozen tundra and on to the tropics, yay!

Four hours later, we were greeeted by 80 degrees and blissful sunshine as we disembarked from our plane! After collecting our bags we were transported to The Riu Republic Hotel and resort, equipped with seven pools, eight restaurants and a gorgeous beach. Not your intimate B&B, that’s for sure.

But we were game! We checked into our respective rooms and with no proddding at all, got used to relaxing by the pool, catching up on our reading, swimming in the ocean, outdoor aerobics, massages... We dined at a different restaurant every night and took turns eating breakfast and lunch at two amazing buffets that were open all day.

Our evenings were spent enjoying music and dance shows on two different stages, or at a casino where I qualified for a Black Jack Tournament (one of our friends won), and we played a nightly card game of “31” (just the eight of us), which I won FIVE nights in a row! Hey, perhaps we should try Las Vegas next year since I seem to be on a run?

I love our friends, we get along very well and all had a fantastic time! After our seven days of fun in the sun, we headed back to Cleveland, and landed in a snow storm, much worse than the previous week. Schools and businesses had closed since earlier in the day! We were already missing balmy Punta Cana…

But I was glad to be back too. The very next day we attended Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Love Never Dies” at The State Theatre, where I had performed a month earlier, with Jim Brickman. Our friends, Joe and Barb, invited us to see the show with them, Joe’s cousin and her husband. The six of us met for a fun, but quick, dinner at Crop Bistro before curtain call. We all thoroughly enjoyed this sequel to “The Phantom of The Opera.” The acting, singing, dancing, costumes and scenery were spectacular. But the night didn’t end there! Barb and Joe had us back to their place for a nightcap. Many laughs later, it was 2:00 am! We hadn’t stayed out that late in years! And it felt great!

A week later, my husband and I received wonderful news from LA. Our son and his gal of eleven years phoned us with the news of their engagement. It was to be expected after all these happy years, but their announcement made it official! There’s going to be a wedding and we are over the moon! I’ve thought of sweet, beautiful Cait as a daughter for some time now. She has a wonderful family and I wish so much that her dear father were alive to share in their union. He was very fond of Sean and lives on in all our hearts through his beloved daughter, son, and lovely wife…soon to be part of our family, too.

For the remainder of the month, I pursued my usual schedule, including my yoga fusion classes, regular visits to my mother and several dinners out with friends. It was nice just to be home, with February and Jim’s Valentine tour fast approaching!

On the 31st, we celebrated our youngest son’s 27th birthday. Ed, Zach and I were joined by Zach’s gal, Julie, her parents, Joe and Joann, and her aunt, Janice, for a yummy meal at one of Zach’s favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. The dinner was delicious and the birthday boy was spoiled with gifts from everyone, followed by birthday cupcakes. It was a fun night and the perfect ending to the month!

Here’s to a happy Valentine’s Day to all! Will we see you on the road?