Where has this pandemic year gone? My last entry dates back to January! The world didn’t really start opening up until May, yet life has been full...
Eight months ago, I wrote of my son, his wife and our beautiful grandson's visit, initially for a month over Christmas break. They ended up staying two and one-half months! My husband and I were thrilled!
It worked out well. Our screenwriter son was able to work remotely from my office here in Cleveland and I was able to take care of the baby when our daughter-in-law was engaged in remote meetings and projects. She and I cooked dinner most nights, but we also supported restaurants with some take-out meals.
When both parents were busy, I’d take our little guy up to visit his granddad in his office, play with him in his “Johnny Jump Up” or join him on his play mat, help with baths, diapers and feeding. He started eating solid food while they were here, his reactions were such fun to see!
In the first days of February, we had a Covid scare. Our youngest son came over for an outdoor visit on the eve of his 30th birthday. It was not much of a birthday celebration, but Mom, Dad and our two boys were all double-masked, maintained six feet between us and refrained from hugging and all physical contact on our long, chatty walk. To play safe, the baby and his mama stayed inside and never came near us. But our birthday boy and his wife tested positive two days later!
The baby's pediatrician in LA was consulted immediately. We were so worried! He advised five days of isolation for mother and baby. The pair bivouacked up in their room and none of us approached them. We all tested negative at the end of the five days but, under CDC guidelines, the doctor advised another five days of isolation, followed by another group testing. After the full 10 days, we all tested negative and we were able to be together again! It was a tough situation for all of us, but especially hard on the young parents. And fortunately, the "positive couple" had mild symptoms and were okayed to carry on with their lives 14 days later.
In early March, we were sorry to see the dear little family take off for their home to Los Angeles, they had brought us so much joy at just the right time. But we were thankful for their long stay. Fully-vaccinated by the end of March, Ed and I started catching up on our doctors' appointments and business activities.
All this time, Jim Brickman never skipped a beat: posting daily songs, recording new material and airing live streaming shows. I participated in recorded video appearances and also joined him for two Fridays in April, live, for what he dubbed his “piano lounge” shows. He had guests who streamed in from all around the country and I sang with him while the Zoom audience watched on their screens. It felt good to sing again, but made me miss the incredible charge of a live audience all the more. We hoped for that day to come soon….
The world opened slowly, in May, and it was soon safe to dine out again! We enjoyed many dinners and lunches with friends and even attended a 50th Wedding Anniversary party. It was so exhilarating to be out and see the people who matter to us, wasn't it? Everyone coming out from beneath the Covid cloud shared the feeling.
June arrived and Ed and I boldly boarded a plane for Las Vegas. We hadn't flown since February 2019, when I had three shows with Jim Brickman over Valentine's Day weekend in...Las Vegas!
While Ed tended to business there, I relaxed in the 90-degree sun, and read. The hotel was surprisingly crowded, clearly everyone was driven by the desire to get away. We attended "Extravaganza", a spectacular show that included dancers, skaters, comedians, ventriloquists and many more. My old friend and publicist, Michael, treated us to fantastic seats, which made the experience even more enjoyable.
After four days in "The Entertainment Capital of the World", we flew to Los Angeles to see our baby boy and family, my favorite entertainment! It took him a couple of hours to warm up to us , but we were soon old pals all over again.
During our first week, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the home of our daughter-in-law's childhood friends, who had a darling 6-month old baby girl; wonderful hosts, they prepared a marvelous meal and we loved getting to know them. We also had fun at the beach, meeting more of the kids' friends, and on another day we helped host a brunch at their home for some of their college friends.
For Father's Day weekend we all drove to Palm Springs and stayed at La Quinta Resorts. It was a record-breaking 121 degrees when we arrived! Our concern was for the baby, so that first night we all stayed inside to take advantage of the air conditioning. The following morning, before the temperatures began to scorch, we walked the grounds and cooled off in the pool. Later that day, I stayed back with baby while the rest of the group, including Ed's sister who drove from Oxnard, and friends from Palm Springs, dined at a Mexican restaurant on the premises. They had a great time and I was happy to watch my little love!
The following day was Father's Day and we made the three-hour drive back to LA. The dads in the group wanted IN-N-OUT burgers, so that's was our late lunch menu before dropping Ed at the airport. He was going home, but I was to stay on for another week. Yay!
My daughter-in-law, the baby and I attended the birthday party her friend's two-year-old son. At the other end of the spectrum, we hosted a fun pizza party for two of my favorite high school classmates, forever young Bud and Claudia! The following day, Bud invited us all to his gorgeous home for a swim.
From there, my son and I met up with his good ex-Cleveland buddy and his (expecting) wife for an evening of basketball at The Staple Center. The event was a playoff game between the LA Clippers and the Phoenix Suns. Now settled in Arizona, the friend works for the Suns, and he was in town for all the games. We cheered for them and they won! Unfortunately, the Suns lost in the finals to the Milwaukee Bucks.
And that was the end of my wonderful visit. I was so sad to leave, how I wish they lived closer! But knowing that Ed and I would be back in early August made me feel better.
Once home, I had no time to pine away: the first half of July began with social events back-to-back! There was a surprise 50th birthday party at lovely Portage Lakes, a day at the home of good friends in Madison on Lake Erie, a Shaker High mini-reunion of my class, and a fun dinner at Saucy Brew Works with Ed's high school buddies from out of town! Our friend Dawn hosted the first Bunko in months, and we also dined out with our Cleveland son, his wife and her parents in that brief time span!
Mid-month, my sister and I set off for Charlotte, NC to visit our brother and his wife. We had a blast at their beautiful, woodsy home on scenic (yes, another lake!) Lake Norman. Over four days, we awoke to a daily breakfast of our brother's marvelous french toast, grilled bacon and fresh fruit. We relished picnic lunches on their beautiful pontoon boat, as we cruised the 33 1/2 by 9 mile lake. We swam, sunned and took in gorgeous sunsets every night. I even learned to stand-up paddle! We played cards after our wonderful dinners back at the "cabin", reminisced about our younger days, shared family memories and laughed a lot!! We had such a great time!
At the end of July, Ed and I headed for Los Angeles to honor our grandbaby's first birthday and his dad's 35th. They share the same birth date! His maternal grandmother also flew in for the event and for a more lengthy stay: she hadn't seen Bill since January!
We all rented a cabin for our long week-end in Big Bear Lake, a four-season, mountain lake escape (I think we're averaging a different lake each month here!), just a two-hour drive from LA. Our cabin was cozy and the outdoor deck and dining area was fantastic, surrounded by boulders and perched above Boulder Bay Park. It was beautiful, relaxing and fun! We cooked every night, and celebrated the father/son birthday duo on our first night there. There were whimsical party hats for all of us and a scrumptious cake from Milk, the purveyor of their wedding cake, all brought by our daughter-in-law. Baby loved the cake and not only ate it but wore pieces of it on the top of his head, cheeks and body: edible art!
To burn off the sugar, we hiked three miles in Angelus Oaks and visited their sweet zoo, a hit with our little one. Ed's sister joined us on the day we rented a pontoon boat with my son at the helm. He made tasty homemade baguette sandwiches that we savored while anchored in sparkling Big Bear Lake. It was a lot of fun. On our last day we walked around Boulder Bay Park and took in the beauty before driving back to LA. It was the perfect getaway!
Ed and I spent two more days in LA, during which we saw my good friend, Bud, and visited the lush Descanso Gardens in La Canada. The day of departure arrived all too soon and I was sad once again at leaving my little buddy, and his dear mama and daddy.
But we weren't flying home just yet. We had one more stop to make. Ed and I flew to Las Vegas where he had more meetings. But I was happy to be included in a dinner meeting of sorts with one of his colleagues and his wife. I really enjoyed spending the evening with this dynamic couple. I look forward to seeing them on my next trip back!
At home, life was full with streaming yoga classes, daily walks, taking care of my hubby and a full social calendar, but I've very much missed performing. Which is why I'm extremely happy to announce that I will be joining Jim on his Christmas Tour this year, beginning Thanksgiving Weekend in Cleveland! I will soon be posting the dates on my website! Check them out! I can't wait to see you all again!
Happy end of summer to all!