Guess how happy I am!? It’s spring, I got everything done, I had the best birthday, and we’re going to England!!! That is a sentence I wasn’t sure would ever come!!!🌷 It’s been rebirth around here, little buds and wild violets in the yard, still having fires in the fireplace now and then, but at night, our bedroom window is open to the chill and the stars and we are very cozy under our quilts . . . MUSICA!
I had SUCH a wonderful birthday! Maybe my best ever! Jack gave me some attention, and my sisters came from California so I had blood family with me for the first time in years… Dampanic kept us all away for far too long, but oh how sweet the reunion. Hugs from the bottom of our hearts. I’ll show you some pictures further down!!
Because right now, because time is getting short . . . and in only 12 days, Joe and I are joining ninety of our blog Girlfriends and their loved ones on the Queen Mary 2 sailing out of New York Harbor for a 6-day crossing to England!! It’s happening!
We’ll board the ship on Sunday, May first … and make our way down the long carpets, to the mirrored elevators, eyeballs agog, down the long halls to our staterooms, where inside we’ll find something like this ⬆️ . . . with a little something special from us if everything goes the way we planned!🤞
We’ll probably be so excited we don’t know what to do first . . . so we’ll pour ourselves a glass of bubbly and take it with us . . .
Thank goodness they give us a MAP of the ship when we board!! It’s so big and there’s so much to see!
Like the beautiful Britannia Dining Room! But there’s time for everything now, the hard part is over! And soon we’ll be compelled to wander outside on deck for a view of New York.
Because that’s where people go to take their Bon Voyage photos with the New York skyline for a background with a point of view relatively few are ever so blessed to see! (And just in cases, we have to be prepared, if it DOES rain, all the better . . . it means good luck … it will be a win-win no matter what!)
And here is where we will meet when the whistles blow, all 90 of us, on the back of the ship (“aft” in ship-talk), on Deck 8, to celebrate US, and our trip, and the miracle that something like this could actually happen. I have a little something to give all of us to wear that will identify us as US! So we can be in an elevator with a stranger, see this thing, and realize, we’re not strangers, we’re kindred spirits!
We’ll toast Lady Liberty as we sail off into the unknown where serendipity and new friends and new memories wait for us 💃🏼 . . .
We were told there will be a lifejacket drill on the ship at 4:30 pm just after boarding (they’ll explain all that in your room) … whether it happens at that time or not, we should all try to be on the back of the ship together when it begins to sail away! So just ask the crew, they will know! I know you are filled with questions right now (just as we were on our first sail), but just go with the flow, all will be revealed. You will be in good hands everywhere you go, they all know what to do and they will tell you! Your job is to meander.💞I’m waiting to hear back about a communication system for our group … I’m hoping the ship has something for this. There IS Internet connection available ~ you can read how to get it in your room. One suggestion: WhatsApp is a free app you can get for your phone. Through it we can form a group, send pictures and messages from anywhere at no charge ~ it’s just like texting only it’s free. If Cunard has a better idea, I’ll post it here before we go, so please check back. I’d just like to be able to say, “Hey! Anyone want to go for a walk?”Speaking of which. In case you DO want to go for a walk aboard ship (3 times around the deck is 1 mile), you will need a warm jacket with hat or hood. It’s almost always cold and windy out on the Atlantic … even when the sun is shining. A lightweight but warm jacket, something like THIS . . . that packs easily. You will probably like to have it when you get to England. Spring can have surprises and England did not turn into a green and pleasant land all by itself! Now that I’ve said this, global warming will kick in and the ship will be like a Hawaiian cruise!👏
We’ll give you a day to get organized in your staterooms and find your way around . . . and on Tuesday, May 3, Rachel and I are inviting everyone to a presentation and slide show in the Royal Court Theater from 1:30 to 3:30. We’ll be talking about how we met, like something out of time, and in particular, the Magic of a Handwritten Letter ~ with time for questions afterward. This talk will be recorded and posted to YouTube by Cunard for our arm-chair travelers. I’ll give you a link here on the blog when they give it to me!
On Friday, May 6, they’ve given us the Atlantic Room to come together on board from 3 to 5 pm. Saturday will be our last full day at sea, so Friday we’ll get together to talk and hang out . . . I can sign any books you bring along if you like. Some have asked, but don’t forget how heavy they are!💖We’ll get off the ship on Sunday, go on our merry way, and meet back here in Stourhead on Sunday, May 15 at noon ~ this is our group photo from the very first BYO Picnic Basket Party in this beautiful old place in 2016. You’re going to love it! Coming back together after your tours! I’m hoping our English/European Girlfriends who are coming will bring an extra blanket or tablecloth since our group won’t be able to bring their own … something to sit on, a beach towel … anything. I believe your tour bus drivers will stop somewhere so people can pick up lunch. If yours doesn’t seem to know about this, be sure to tell them and have them do that! Can you believe it? We’ll be picnicking together in a month, and taking lots of photos for our kindred spirits who couldn’t make it.💝
What else? Oh yes . . .
A name tag! For Stourhead! You can print this out on card stock and write your first name real big in that space at the bottom. For our European Girlfriends too! You may even want one for your tour bus just to make everything easier for everyone.💖
And this, for everyone, including our arm-chair travelers … a bookmark to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth. Print it out, fold it in half, glue it together, and cut around the Corgi. Pop him into a book, let him peek out over the top (another way we can recognize each other on the ship!). Both of these can be laminated at Staples if you like. Click here to print out!
So here they are, my sisters, Shelly and Mary coming to see me, to make up for lost time, and to celebrate my 75th birthday!!! Exactly what I hoped for! What fun we had . . . and how we needed it.💞 MAS MUSICA!
Of course, we cooked up a storm! Mostly THEY cooked, but I was there when they did it! Does that count? Shelly made her favorite fresh cod in Panko crumbs ~ and homemade tartar sauce.
Joe made us a Lobster dinner . . . a New England tradition!
Mary made her version of Oysters Rockefeller … lighter, without all the cream, and just delicious! I love Mary’s lipstick!
In case you do too, I asked her for the brand … Revlon 525! And she had one for me!!🥳
So good! Some of the bacon is turkey bacon… we talked diet and health, makeup and clothes, mom and dad, growing up at their end of the family, growing up at my end (They’re the youngest of 8, and I’m the oldest … there are 14 ½ years between me and Shelly.)
We went to restaurants too … this was the first day of the spring reopening for The Atlantic (in Edgartown) and everything was delicious! 😋
At home . . . Petey joined us… East West, Home is best.💖
We woke up on cozy mornings and ate breakfast together and mooshed on the sofa…
We walked through the leafless woods everyday…
Cold down by the water, but fresh and beautiful and we had each other!
My mom would LOVE this!! We missed our other sister Paula ~ she couldn’t make it this time.💞
My girls singing!🎶
It started warming up for us . . .🌞
Which Jack liked too! Back on his ironing board perch at the screen door guarding the backyard!
We did this obnoxious puzzle … which obviously came from a person who has NO IDEA how to design a puzzle! The border was a nightmare!🤦♀️
Slowly but surely we soldiered through by doing little clumps ~ it was actually a laugh-fest . . .
But we did it! Such a sense of satisfaction! We are not as stupid as we look!
Early morning April 12, Mary came downstairs wearing this T-shirt Joe made for my 50th birthday!!! I forgot all about it!💓 Perfect! See my birthday cards on the window sills?🎉
It was just the beginning of a Red Letter Day!
You can see the weather was beautiful! We went back to Edgartown for lunch, then we walked down to Claudia’s jewelry store and everyone bought earrings!
When we got home there were beautiful birthday flowers waiting for me!💞
And presents too! Jack’s favorite is the wrapping paper!Kellee got all my favorite people out of my books and gave them birthday hats and sent them to wish me a wonderful birthday!🥳
And cards, so many cards, many from you!!! I was so touched. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My birthday was a dream come true!💖
But you’ve always been that way! Remember my dad’s birthday in 2015? 😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘
Then just when we thought we’d all just nosh from the fridge and go to bed early, Martha’s husband came over and dropped off a CAKE she made for us!!! I couldn’t wait to taste it! Life is short, eat dessert first … plus,
So Joe whipped up some fresh scallops and put them on top of watercress . . .
And we had a delicious dinner . . . and lit the candles and they sang . . . it was almost serendipity… unplanned … then Mary took a sneak-video of me blowing out the candles!🎉
Birthday wishes always require strong consideration!
I didn’t realize quite HOW strong until I saw that video!😂
Look at this gorgeous thing Martha made . . . it’s sweetened egg whites baked at low temperature ~ a crisp meringue cake covered in whipped cream, shaved chocolate, and fruit! It was so good, we ate the entire thing! (Egg whites = diet food = excuse).
Jack even volunteered his tummy . . . more or less . . .
He “let” the girls pet it! I love all of Jack, but his tummy is a thing to behold!🙀 My petty-pet.😽
On their last day we had lunch at Little House Cafe, drove up to West Tisbury and bought ice cream sandwiches at Alley’s General Store . . . walked down the street past the First Congregational Church and then over to the Field Gallery for the dancing statues.
‘Cause Mary remembered it from the first time she visited the island . . . back in my Holly Oak Days…💞
So it was redux! She’s still got it! Did it perfectly!🥳
I went a little crazy with that leg . . .
But nobody had as good a time doing it as Shelly!😁
It became a thing . . . we did it all over the garden!
Quite happy with ourselves!
Too soon. But just perfect. They’re home safe and sound . . . just like we will be before we know it! But Oh! The memories! Still living in the glow. Love them forever for coming!!!💞
After they left, Joe and I went back to walking while listening to this wonderful book ~ finished yesterday!😢 The cover says “A wildly entertaining, swooningly funny-sad story.” And all that is true.💘 Published in 1945 England, it’s a step back in time. When one of the characters said this⬇, I had to write it down!This gives you permission to wear your longest pearls, to use a cigarette holder for your candy cigarettes, and to say, “Hello DAH-LING” in your fake English accent …🎬
I’ve had more to do on Disilled Genius, and of course I had to play “book” with the cover. I wrapped it around another book that’s a bit too big . . . and pretended! I love it! That’s all I can say!💝
I’m so happy to hear so many of you are doing your Christmas shopping with this book! I talked to the printers about getting us more before Christmas and they are checking, but they said I should not hold my breath!😬 I hope to know before I go. It’s the paper that’s the problem, very hard to get these days. And when you finally get it, it takes another while to get the book printed and delivered. But I’m trying. If you haven’t seen my new Quote Book, it’s my 40 year collection of quotes, handwritten and watercolored, and up for preorder ~ we still have them … you can read more about it HERE!💫
See? It fits right in! Looks like it’s always been there!
So here’s where you can find me for the next couple of months, amongst the bluebells . . .
lurking around old houses in little villages strung with bunting,
Long live the Queen! 🇬🇧
toasting all of us with Peah Cid-ah . . . oh yes, they have it on the ship!!!
BTW, The last Zoom I did for the Enchanted Book Club has been posted to YouTube in case you missed it . . . just go HERE!So my dearest ones, that’s it for now! Hopefully I’ll add a bit more Queen Mary 2 info before we go … and say Aloha!👋 Enjoy the spring, plant your gardens, and don’t forget the bees!
We will stay in touch!!! Praying daily for a better world.🇬🇧 Counting our blessings and can’t wait to see everyone.🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏