|And so, on to February||3/21/2020
The stars shone bright on my birthday week this year, which started off on the day (the 5th) with a call from my faraway sister, followed by texts and calls from my sister-in-law, Barb; dear friends, Bud and Jim Brickman; and almost 500 Facebook birthday wishes! The day ended with a fun Bunko evening, hosted by my good friend, Kristy. She crowned me with a “Happy Birthday” candle tiara, and made sure little party horns were tooted by all the gals, punctuating their rousing “Happy Birthday To You”. Last but not least, I took home a beautiful German chocolate cake from our hostess to share with the boys.
The next evening, my Ed took me to Lockkeepers for a dinner for two that was yummy and sweet. Exactly what I needed.
The following day, my dear friend, Cooper, flew in from Atlanta with her son, Brendan. They stopped by to deliver two masses to be said at St. Dominic’s in honor of my Mom and a birthday gift for me. But the occasion was her mom’s 90th birthday party, planned by all the kids, which was to take place the following day.
Even though we had celebrated my day at Bunko, my sister, Wendy, and friend, Kristy set up a gals’ dinner for good measure. In attendance were other dear friends, Joni, Wendy and Debby, along with the two party planners. We gathered at wonderful Peppermint Thai Cuisine, where dinner was topped off by my sister bringing out cupcakes and leading another Happy Birthday to me. It was a very fun three-hour meal. Did I mention that my husband and his four buddies were just finishing up their Friday night dinner as we arrived, and that they all sang to me before leaving? I felt totally spoiled…and so warmed by all these tokens of affection.
On Saturday, I attended Cooper’s mom’s 90th birthday party held a hotel in town. Lunch was delicious and it was great to be with her family, reunited for the occasion.
That evening Ed and I met Cooper, her family and friends at Geraci’s, a fun Italian restaurant. From there, we stopped in at another restaurant/bar, The Winking Lizard, to meet friends Sue and Mark, in from Chicago. We didn’t get home until 1:00 am!
The Academy Awards came early this year and my good friend, Barb, hosted her annual Oscar Party. We enjoyed a beautiful dinner, along with popcorn, candy, Oscar statue cookies and plenty of snacks in her theatre room on the top floor of her lovely home, with theatre seating--and comfy seats too--to watch the Awards. There were also movie gift card prizes, a gold statue and a tiara. It’s always so much fun!
Mid-February my husband and I flew to Las Vegas, which was the destination for The Brickman Bash, where fans from all over the country gather to celebrate Jim and romance. I was to perform in three shows with Jim, at The Smith Center.
We took a late flight and arrived in the wee hours of the 13th. After getting to bed at 2 am Vegas time or (5 am Cleveland time !), I awoke to hammering and sawing, just outside our hotel room door, grrr. Once moved to a quieter room, we were ready to meet our friend, Linda, for lunch, and new friends for dinner.
Valentine’s Day was Friday the 14th. Since I had to leave for the theatre at around 3:00 and he had meetings that day, my hubby took me for a romantic lunch…at In & Out Burger! We only had an hour ahead if us, but hey, it was fresh, delicious…and I was with my Valentine. What more could I wish?
Soon I was on my way downtown, to the venue. Myron’s Jazz Club at The Smith Center is a very cool place. The space is intimate, the sound was amazing, the lighting, perfect and the audience, just great! The show was comprised of Jim, John Trones and me. After the show, there was a Valentine’s “renew your vows ceremony” for all the Brickman Bash attendees. It was fun seeing friends and fans from all over the country gathered in one place.
On Saturday, I woke up congested with a terrible headache. I walked down Las Vegas Blvd. to the drugstore for a sinus rinse and a decongestant, which helped me through the matinee and evening shows. My husband came to the late show and sat with our Cleveland friend, Allison, who has transplanted to St. George, Utah. Her Valentine lives in Vegas, so they attended the concert with Ed.
I loved singing at The Smith Center. The audiences were fantastic at all three shows. I look forward to performing there again.
After the show, we all went out for a late dinner at a very lively 24- hour restaurant called The Peppermill. Once we got back to the hotel and bid farewell to our friends, at around 11:00, we packed, went to bed for a brief sleep. We were up at 5:15 am the next morning to catch our 8:30 flight home to Cleveland. I slept a bit on the plane, but I was wiped out four days after that trip!
Two days later, I received a tragic phone call from Cooper, who had just flown back to Atlanta, from her mom’s 90th birthday party. She announced the sudden death of her brother and asked me to sing at his funeral, in Cleveland. The day after returning home to Charleston, SC, from his mom’s 90th birthday weekend, 65-year-old Buzz was struck down by a heart attack. He is Cooper’s third sibling to pass away in the past three years. Ed and I had really enjoyed catching up with him at the party… it’s hard to believe he’s gone. So, so sad.
At the end of the month, there was yet another funeral. The mother of an elementary school friend died at the age of 90. She was the mother of six. My classmate and her second youngest son, Neal, flew in for the funeral with his wife and son from Taiwan, where he has lived for the last 25 years. It was good to reconnect— Neal had introduced his darling wife, Gladys, to me in Taipei, 20-odd years ago, when Jim and I played there; it had been more than 10 years since I had last seen him. But the occasion was such a sad one all over again. We must cherish every moment...
On the last day of the month, Ed and I went to a Cavs game and were sorry to see them lose, but we enjoyed our outing. So grateful to have each other.