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Rest and recreation...and a Caribbean cruise!! 2/8/2016
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I flew home on New Year’s Day from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where we celebrated the 30th and final date on The Jim Brickman Comfort and Joy Tour, the previous night. My husband picked me up at the airport around 11:00 am.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by my youngest son, who gave me a huge hug and lovingly asked me to cook him bacon and eggs!? My eldest son, his gal,Cait, and her darling mom, Seton, were also on the welcome committee that morning. They had driven in from New Jersey (where our LA kids had attended Seton’s mom’s funeral three days after Christmas). It was great seeing them all and I ended up making eggs and bacon for everybody! Later, the gals and I decided to go shopping while the boys watched football on TV. For dinner, we all dined out at our favorite Indian restaurant, “Cafe Tandoor”, then took in a few crime shows on television.

The following day, we all went out for breakfast at another favorite, “Tommy’s” on Coventry. And, yes, I do cook too, ha, ha—what about those bacon and eggs ?

After dropping Seton off at the airport for her return flight home and taking the boys back home, Cait and I ventured to Chagrin Falls, to visit out favorite shop there, Winds of Change. Once home, I quickly prepared and dropped off dinner at my mom’s house, and then Ed, Sean, Cait and I drove down to see a Cleveland Cavaliers game. Sean is a huge Cavs fan, and we were all thrilled to cheer them on to a win!

The following day was Sunday, and we all took it easy. We dined on my homemade chili, corn bread and cole slaw (see?) and stopped for a quick goodbye at my mom’s, on our way to the airport. We dropped the kids there at around 7:30 for their return flight to LA. It’s always sad to see them go…

Monday, I was back in the swing of things. Abe and I monitored our song (from my latest CD, "Deeper"), "Who’s Gonna Baby You”, which was doing well on Smooth Jazz/Smooth AC Radio while I was on tour. The Wave, the hometown station that has always been so supportive to our music, added this song back in October and continues to play it, joined since by other cities across the country. We’re so grateful!

I was also in charge of preparing for our annual couples' vacation in San Juan, PR. But halfway into the week, I caught my son’s cold, and then Ed caught mine. We reassured ourselves that going to a warm, humid climate would be the best cure…

Before we knew it, our youngest was dropping us off at the airport, for our getaway. It was to be the third year in a row, in the company of our dear friends, Susan and Frank, and Mike and Margie.

After a four and one-half hour flight, we landed in beautiful, sunny San Juan, rented our van and were on our way to The Hyatt Resort in Dorado. The resort is situated on a beautiful private beach, where it’s always 82 degrees and sunny. If it rains, it’s usually while we are asleep, and if ever it rains during the day, it’s over in 15 minutes!

By day, we read and swam, by the pool or on the beach, and at night, we dined out at various restaurants, our favorite being “Grappa.” It was an amazing week of rest and relaxation! On the seventh day, we checked out and were on our way for an extension of our holiday this year: Ed’s idea, a Caribbean cruise!!

Traffic was heavy that morning in Old San Juan due to the celebration of St Sebastian Day. And we began to wonder if we were ever going to arrive at the port where our ship was docked. Frank and Mike finally dropped us off, returned the rental car and Ed, Susan, Margie and I were almost checked in on the ship, when Frank and Mike rejoined us.

"Adventure of the Seas" is quite a ship, equipped with a skating rink, climbing wall, soccer field, a 2,000 seat theatre and three pools, to name just a few amenities. We gathered for dinner that night in the Mozart dining room and were joined by Cleveland friends, Craig and Barb, who had flown in earlier that day. Now we were eight!

After dinner, we attended the show in the Imperial Theatre and we were blown away by comedian, Chris Bliss, also a master juggler. Check him out on YouTube! After that, we listened to a trio on the top level of the ship and headed to bed at around 1am.

Our first stop, the following day, was St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. After meeting for breakfast, we disembarked and were enchanted by a stunning beach with crystal clear water to the left and vendors and shops to the right. It was a beautiful day for snorkeling, sunning, swimming and shopping, all within walking distance of the ship.

That evening, we gathered for a wonderful dinner, followed by a show with four singers, eight dancers and a nine-piece band. There was no shortage of talent, incredible costumes or magnificent sets!

The following morning we docked in St. Kitts, and toured the island by private taxi. Our driver stopped at a spot with a beautiful view, where I was befriended by a little monkey in a diaper. His owner placed him on top of my head, and fed him a banana. He also should have been wearing a bib! Barb snapped the photo (where you may notice banana bits in my hair!) now posted on Facebook. After a little shopping in town, we headed back to the ship, enjoyed a late lunch at Windjammer’s and before we knew it, were meeting for dinner and another show!

That night, we girls went to the disco for a mojito while the boys played a little poker in the casino. The ship had a casino, too, and Ed was on a winning streak!

The next morning, we docked in St. Maarten, where half the island is French and the other half, Dutch. What a gorgeous place! Our driver took us on a three-hour tour, including a stop at a fabulous French bakery where we waited in line 20 minutes for croissants, a baguette and other scrumptious goodies.

Our driver also took us to an exquisite nude beach, with powder-soft white sands. As awkward as I felt wearing a swimsuit, I could have stayed there all afternoon. It was simply magnificent!

Somewhat regretfully, it was back to the ship for our now “routine” dinner and show combo. That evening, we enjoyed the comic duo, “Two Funny Guys”, who consisted of brothers, Mario and Daniel.

Our next stop was Martinique, where the boat docked within in walking distance of downtown Fort de France. It was cloudy and a little rainy, but that didn’t stop the gals from venturing into town to do a little wandering. We visited several beautiful historic buildings, including a gorgeous bibliothèque (library), before we spotted a Galeries Lafayette. The last time I stepped into this department store was in Paris, some years ago. Although a smaller version, the store had lovely handbags and clothing that just had to go home with Susan and Barb. French is the native language on Martinique, and with my high school and college French classes under my belt, I was able to handle the communication with the store employees. On our way back to the ship, Susan treated us all to chocolate eclairs, from a small pastry shop. YUM!

The next day was our fifth and final stop, in Barbados, birthplace of pop star, Rihanna. Our driver drove us to a magnificent beach, where we swam in the clear waters and walked along the shore. We also observed a sinking speed boat, which Mike jumped in to help save, along with five other men ! To no avail, unfortunately. It had to be tied to a jeep to be pulled out, after it was almost totally submerged! We spent about three hours soaking up that gorgeous sun, while snow storms were wreaking havoc back in the States. Hmm, not-so-guilty pleasure!

That evening, after our nightly dinner, we all attended a professional ice skating show on the ship. It, too, was excellent, with costumes and sets that were over the top and fabulous skaters to match.

The following day was spent at sea, as we set sail for our return to San Juan. It was a perfect day and we enjoyed our last day on the cruise, walking the track around the perimeter of the ship, relaxing in the pool, reading, taking in the live music of the reggae band and sampling our last of the endless amounts of food offered.

It’s true, you can easily gain a few pounds after spending a week on a cruise. I wasn’t a total glutton, but definitely consumed more food than I usually eat in a day…and those coconut and oatmeal raisin cookies were hard to refuse.

The next morning we were off the ship by 10:00 am, on our plane to Cleveland by 3 pm and walked into our house at 7:30. We all had the most wonderful time and I felt totally rejuvenated!

The last week in January was spent working on my new radio single, “The Moment You Were Mine”, to be released in February. Stay tuned to your AC radio stations !

We also celebrated my son’s 25th birthday--my baby is growing up way too fast!

It was an incredible month of discovery and I thank my dear Ed for the wonderful treat! It was the perfect antidote to my usual post-tour blues and fatigue.

I look forward to seeing familiar faces on the road in February, when I go on tour with my dear friend, Jim Brickman, once more. This time to honor the romantics among us--and Valentine’s Day!