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Christmas in August and Other Tales 9/13/2018
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As children got started on their back-to-school lists, I spent the first day of August recording my new Christmas song, co-written with my friend, duet partner and producer, Abe LaMarca. This would be the first day of many, until we finished laying down the vocals and instruments…and finally mixing the tune.

That evening I had a date with my Bunko buddies. This time our monthly game night took place at Joanne’s home. As always, it was fun seeing everyone and catching up with the latest news.

The following day, I sang our National Anthem at The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. This was the opening night of the annual induction ceremony weekend at this shrine to American football legends, established in 1963. The Baltimore Ravens were playing their pre-season game against the Chicago Bears. It’s always a thrill!

My proximity to the players made this anthem a bit different: I was positioned at about five feet from the Ravens, directly facing the line-up! Some rooted me on with their thumbs up, others beamed big smiles and there were a couple of silly facial expressions in the mix. But I was able to rise above the friendly distractions. It is always an honor and a privilege to sing our country’s hymn. I love doing it. It will never get old.

That weekend, my brother flew in from Charlotte for his 40th high school reunion. He and his old buddy, Chip, were staying with us for the weekend!

While my brother was enjoying the first event of his reunion, my husband, sister and I attended The Cleveland Zoological Society’s major fundraiser, “Twilight at the Zoo”, as the guests of our friends, Barb and Joe. The Society donates a portion of the event’s ticket sales to the support of the wonderful Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. There were 15 bands of every musical genre dotting the 165-acre grounds, and food and drink to satisfy every palate. Afterwards, we met back at Barb and Joe’s house for more partying! It was a very fun night, from beginning to end.

The following evening we celebrated my youngest son’s engagement to his fiancée. Her lovely parents hosted this very special event for family and friends. It took place outside their beautiful home, beneath a tent where we savored wonderful food and a beautiful cake. Everyone had a great time. After the party, we arrived home to find my brother and his pal unwinding on our patio. We joined them and got to hear all about the finale of their class party.

The next morning, my brother and I prepared a pancake breakfast (you may recall that his blueberry variety is practically world-famous!), before Chip headed back to New Jersey. My brother took off later in the day for Charlotte. I look forward to seeing him again, with his whole family, at Thanksgiving.

I was back in the studio for three days the week that followed, getting closer to signing off on my song. On Thursday, my sister’s son, daughter-in-law and their two small children arrived from Denver, for a nine-day visit. I can’t get enough of that beautiful family. Oh, and those kids!!

While they were here, there were lots of gatherings over dinner and a fun trip to the Botanical Gardens, followed by an outdoor Wade Oval music concert across from The Cleveland Museum of Art—a tradition begun when they stayed a whole school year with my sister two years ago. So sad to see them leave, but they, too, will be back at Thanksgiving.

Ed and I also enjoyed an engagement party at around the same time, given by our Greek friends for their daughter. A bit different from my son’s party earlier in the month, I soon learned that the Greeks pull out all the stops with an array of amazing dishes, live music, dancing, gift-giving and dollar bill tosses, while guests celebrate on the dance floor. Can’t wait to experience the wedding!

We’re only able to see my friend Roz and her husband Bob once or twice a year and late August was one of those times. The four of us enjoyed a Saturday night dinner at Moxie, one of our favorite restaurants. I wish Roz were here more often, but when we do meet up it’s always such a pleasure. And we know that next time will put us in the same high spirits.

The night before departure for our trans-Atlantic vacation (our bags almost packed), we attended a beautiful wedding. The daughter of our good friends, the bride was breathtakingly lovely. The outdoor ceremony was beautiful and the reception offered delicious food and fun people. It didn’t hurt that our tablemates consisted of three couples who are also dear friends. It was a delightful evening.

The next night, Ed and I, accompanied by friends, Craig and Barb, flew to Copenhagen, broken up, at our demand, by a 20-hour layover in Iceland.

After a very long nap, once we checked into our Reykjavik hotel, we walked to a nearby restaurant for a quick dinner before taking a soak in the Blue Lagoon, the most popular mineral-rich hot springs in this land of fire and ice. It was a chilly 50 degrees outside, but very warm and soothing in the water, wreathed in steam. We enjoyed a drink and applied a pasty facial mask of minerals. Volcanic Iceland makes up for its lack of trees with mountains, lava fields, lakes and rivers, waterfalls, fjords, hot springs and, of course, the sea all around. The people are friendly and the landscape is stunning.

The following morning we were up at 3:30 am, for our 6:30 flight to Copenhagen. Goodbye Reykjavik! It would be nice to explore more of the wonders of the land next time, allowing ourselves more than 20 hours…

We landed in Copenhagen at 11:30 am and taxied to our darling hotel. We checked in, unpacked and met up with our other traveling companions, Harold and Vanessa. We walked around a bit and stopped in a charming restaurant for lunch. I fell in love with the city from the start.

The people are warm and welcoming; and the city promotes a healthy lifestyle with more bike riding--in their own lanes--than cars on the streets.

During our four-day stay, we walked through the gorgeous Tivoli Gardens, took the train to see a Renaissance jewel, the Kronborg Castle in Elsinore, (the model for Elsinore Castle in Shakespeare’s "Hamlet"), and visited 400-year-old Rosenborg Castle in the heart of Copenhagen. On our way there, we spotted French President Macron and his wife exiting a government building!

When not indulging in cultural visits, we shopped a little, walked a lot, rode a few buses, took a canal boat ride--with lunch along the canal, and enjoyed many delicious meals in various restaurants. It was a lovely first look and we all hope return to Denmark in the not-too-distant future.

And that’s the end of my August entry. You’ll hear all about “Paris in September” next month!

Au revoir, mes amis!