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Birthdays, Parlor Games x Formula One 5/8/2018
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Our revolving game of Bunko falls on the first Wednesday of every month, and April was no exception. Vivacious Renee welcomed our group of friends to her beautiful home and, as always, it was great seeing everyone and chatting as we played this amusing dice game, four to a table. I was at the top of my form with seven games won, but lost out at tie-break—the dice just refused to cooperate from that moment on! But I walked away with a full tummy of yummies and chalked up another fun evening with the gals.

Two days later, my Ed turned another year older. We celebrated with the parents of my youngest son’s gal, who treated us all to a tasty dinner out, topped off with a homemade chocolate mousse cake and lovely gifts for the birthday boy. They are a lovely couple and we enjoy them very much. It was a delightful party!

Near the middle of the month, we lunched with our friend, Greg, at Crop Bistro. Greg was in town from Phoenix for the Cavalier’s play-off games. A producer and talent coordinator in the sports world,he’s the one who signs me to sing the anthem for various pro sports teams around the country.

Later that day, we indulged in a wonderful (but light, I promise!)Thai dinner with our friends, Hal and Susan. It was the perfect occasion to bring each other up to date on all that’s transpiring in our busy lives.

Friday the 13th was a very special day! My Parisian niece gave birth to a beautiful baby girl: a little sister for their thrilled four-year-old daughter—“Sorry, Papa, you are really outnumbered now!” Mother and baby are doing well and the little angel looks perfect in every photo. We cannot wait to meet her. Her arrival shone like a ray of sunshine through the clouds of sadness hovering since losing our dear Florida cousin, Mary, a couple of days earlier.

The following weekend, Ed and I flew to Birmingham, AL. to see 20-year-old Indy Light’s driver, Ryan Norman, race again, this time at The Barber Motorsports Park. For us, that meant planes, trains, automobiles...and even golf carts to cover the two action-packed days!

Ed and I were up at 4:00 am on Saturday morning to fly non-stop to Atlanta. Upon arrival, we took two trains to get to the rental car facility, and then drove the two and one-half hours to destination.
We rapidly checked into our Birmingham hotel, and jumped back in the car to get to the track. Once parked, we were picked up by a golf cart, driven by Ryan’s dad, John, and his friend Jeff, to shuttle us to the Andretti hospitality tent, where we met Ryan and his mom, Cheryl,for lunch. Since Ryan is a member of the Andretti Team, we were his guests and, as always, were treated royally.

Then it was time for the race! Our promising Formula 1 pilot didn’t win, but moved up two slots and finished the race.

That evening, Ed and I joined Ed’s legal colleague, Hilton, and his wife, Trisha, for dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Dyron’s. The food was spectacular and the company even better! We hadn’t seen our old friends since I sang “After All These Years” at their daughter Lindsay’s wedding in Birmingham, 15 years ago! It was great seeing them (after all these years). Photos of their beautiful grandchildren attested to just how long it had been! We hated to say goodbye.

The following morning, we awoke to dreary, rainy weather. Ryan’s race was advanced accordingly, so we lost no time checking out of our hotel to get to the track where he was rescheduled to start two hours earlier than planned. The tracks were slick and the drivers a bit more cautious. Brrr, you will never find me tucked into the open, track-hugging cockpit of a racing car, blitzing by at up to 200 miles per hour!

Again, Ryan didn’t win, but moved up a notch in his ranking and completed the race, tucking another positive experience under his belt! We always enjoy seeing him race, and spending time with his wonderful family. We look forward to seeing him/them again soon!

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Atlanta for our flight that evening. The drive went smoothly; the trains and the plane were all in sync. We touched ground again at around 10:15 pm and walked through our door at 11:00 pm. How was that for a whirlwind weekend?

Only to be followed by another busy week! On Tuesday, my sister, Wendy, and I met our good friends (and Jim’s general manager), Wendy Leonard, and her sister, Debbie, at a hot new restaurant called Boss Dog Brewing Co, owned by two brothers who are the sons of a another good friend. Yes, Cleveland is a village! The four of us get together for dinner every few months and always have a good time catching up.

The next day was my mom’s 93rd birthday! She received birthday calls from all around the world, throughout the day. That evening, my sister, Wendy, and I brought her dinner, a chocolate bomb truffle birthday cake, and, of course, gifts!

I posted a photo of my mom and me on Facebook that day and shared with her, as they came in, the wonderful birthday greetings addressed to her by well-wishers and messages commenting on how beautiful she looked. She was very touched! Last count, there were more than 580 acknowledgments (likes and loves) and 250 comments for in her honor. And they continue to roll in. Mom definitely enjoyed her record-breaking birthday!

Two days later, I went to see the inimitable Jimmy Webb, in concert at Nighttown, where I’ll be playing with my friend, Abe LaMarca, on June 1. For those of you who aren’t familiar with songwriter-composer-singer Jimmy, you are bound to know his work. He is the man behind such hits as “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston”, both made famous by Glenn Campbell. He also wrote “Up, Up and Away” for The 5th Dimension, “MacArthur Park” and so many more. I am enamored of his writing, his storytelling and his piano playing. And had the pleasure of meeting him after the show--all in all, it was a very special night!

The following evening Ed, my sister, Wendy, and I were invited to our friends, Hari and Jinous’s lovely home. Guests included Jinous’s charming parents, their close friends, and their two darling daughters. Hari, Jinous and her mom prepared a feast of Indian and Persian specialties: meat kabob, chicken curry, baked egg plant and tomatoes, fish cutlets, rice, a tomato, cucumber, onion salad, accompanied by naan. Everything was superb!

After dinner and dessert, we played an Iranian card game called hokm. My group had never played the game before, but we caught on quickly. I was teamed with Hari and we won (so there, bunko!)! It was such fun evening with such great people!

The last day of the month was spent rehearsing new songs with Abe. We’re gearing up for our Nighttown show and are very excited!

And that’s it for April! I’m ready for May’s flowers and balmy days pointing to summer, how about you?