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Off To A Sunny Start... 2/2/2017
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New Year’s Day 2017 brought together our out-of-town guests--our LA son, his gal and her mom, our youngest son, my sister, Wendy, her son and his wife and two little ones, and my 91-year- old mother, at our house. We sat down to my turkey chili, corn bread and cole slaw and, hey, it was a hit! It was fun celebrating the first day of the New Year, like Mom and Dad used to do. It was the last time we would all be together before our out-of-towners returned to LA and New Jersey the following day. We cherish our together time so much. The absence of Wendy’s darling, dearly-missed Mike--still so hard to grasp--makes every gathering bittersweet. I’m sure everyone can relate, but losing a brother and a brother-in-law in less than two years has made us acutely aware of the blessing of having each other.

The next morning Ed and I drove our travelers to the airport. It would be a few months before we would see our eldest son again. It’s always sad to say goodbye, but five days later my spirits lifted.

Every January, for the past several years, we have vacationed in Dorado Beach, PR for two weeks. I have my dear husband to thank for the idea. It has consistently proved the perfect pick-up, after all the road and flight hours put in from Thanksgiving through Christmas—and, until this tour, all the way to NYE! This year was to be just as restorative.

As always, our good friends, Barb and Craig, Margie and Mike, and Frank and Susan joined us. The thermometer registered 80 degrees, and the weather was sunny and gorgeous. There were a few rain storms here and there the first week, but they never lasted too long. In fact, they made a nice break from all the intensive sunshine. This was the tropics, after all!

I would start each day with a cappuccino, followed by an hour on the elliptical or 3 miles on the treadmill, at the fitness center. Then I was off to the beach or pool, where I would alternate Linda Ronstadt and Bruce Springsteen biographies on my kindle Xmas gift from Sean, reasonably bask in the sun, and swim. Other activities included tennis, an occasional round of miniature golf, (behind the tennis courts) and nightly dinners of fresh seafood, with a fun card game called “31” for dessert.

The second week, Barb and Craig headed back to Cleveland. We missed them, and I was sorry to lose my tennis partner, Craig! But we were happy to renew ties with a lovely Cleveland couple who also vacation here each year, and whom we met last January. We all went out to dinner one stormy evening and look forward to getting together with them, back in Cleveland.

I’m so grateful for our wonderful friends and this beautiful, relaxing getaway, especially after the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the action-packed holiday tour with Jim. The perfect winter break, it was sooooo nice.

My dreamy vacation was cut short by one day. The day before our scheduled checkout, Ed drove me to the airport to catch my flight to Philadelphia, where I had a show with Jim and The Allentown Symphony! Upon landing in rainy Philadelphia, I checked into The Marriott across from the airport, and tucked my lonesome little self into bed. The next morning Tracy Silverman’s flight was delayed, which unexpectedly made for a relaxing morning at the hotel, before the car service first picked me up and then Tracy…minus one of his bags. We were reassured that it arrive on the next flight and be delivered in time for the show. And it was!

Our driver drove us to Miller Symphony Hall, an hour away. We had performed here before, but this was our first time with the actual symphony. Performing Jim’s music with a full orchestra is always exciting, especially with one of this caliber. They were excellent. So was our audience, contagiously responsive during the concert. It was a great night‚ followed by wonderful comments at our post-show meet & greet session! We also enjoyed a short chat with the very charming and funny Celebrity Apprentice contestant and Allentown native, Carson Kressley. From there, Tracy and I packed up and returned to our hotel in Philadelphia, where we would be catching our flights back home the next morning …but I’m afraid that’s not all I caught.

Because, five hours into the night, I awoke with a sore throat. Grrr. I flew home to Cleveland, where my husband picked me up. I was glad to see him and to reunite with our youngest son for the first time in over two weeks. Home sweet home, but with my third cold since early December. Or the same bug that keeps re-inventing itself?

Anyway, I nursed it all week to no avai, and it turned into a sinus infection. My doctor prescribed an antibiotic and a few days later, with the added help of a sinus rinse and hot steam inhalations, I started to feel better. I sure hope this is it for a while! My flu shot saved me from the flu (knock on wood), but what I’ve had instead has been no picnic!

We have mostly had a very mild, atypical Cleveland winter this year, but were hit with over a foot of snow at the end of the month, which triggered school closings for two days. Fortunately, it didn’t keep us from celebrating our youngest’s birthday on the 31st. Ed treated us, our son’s darling gal, her parents and aunt to a scrumptious dinner at a favorite restaurant, where we had our own alcove and a darling server. I brought his favorite homemade chocolate birthday cake and his gal’s family presented him with beautiful, thoughtful gifts. It was a fun celebration and our man of the evening loved everything about it!

Talk to you next month?