The Bees Knees

CA8A59AE-110F-4EF2-AC7C-B884A782D232According to statistics, approximately 700,000 knee replacement procedures are performed annually in the US.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, says that “total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine.”  They also say, “the most common reason for knee replacement in the United States is severe osteoarthritis of the knees.  Osteoarthritis is an age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another, causing knee pain and stiffness.”

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “knee replacement surgery was first performed in 1968” and that “more than 90% of people who have total knee replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction of knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to perform common activities of daily living.” And in case you were thinking otherwise, they warn you that,  “total knee replacement will not allow you to do more than you could before you developed arthritis.”  (good to know)

They also warn that, “Excessive activity may speed up normal wear and may cause the knee replacement to loosen and become painful. Therefore, most surgeons advise against high-impact activities such as running, jogging, jumping, or other high-impact sports for the rest of your life after surgery.” (Damn!  Oh well, guess those activities are out!)

Hmmm.  So I’m sure you’re wondering why I would choose to write a blog post that I begin by sighting all kinds of research statistics about knee arthroplasty (a knee replacements technical name)? Yea, some might find it interesting, but really, so what?  Well, the so what is because I am about to join those 700,000 folks in the US and have one or both knees replaced in 2019!  

This procedure started many years ago for me, when back in 2008  I had a right knee arthroscopy to repair a torn meniscus.   At that time, the Orthopedic Doctor warned that this was just going to be a bandaid procedure, and that eventually a knee replacement (or replacements) would be in my future.  A number of years later, when I figured the pain was such that it was time to talk about the next stage, I called to make an appointment with this same Doctor, only to be told that the poor man had died.  As you might imagine, that was somewhat of a road block in my effort to move to the next level.  Time to find another Doctor!

I did, and although I almost even scheduled surgery after I retired from ABC, I just didn’t go any farther with it on Long Island.  In November of 2017, we officially moved down to Ocean City, and it was time to start the procedure over again.  One day, Susie and I gave our neighbor Doie (97 year old Marine veteran of World War Two) a ride to her Orthopedic Doctor in Somers Point, and I found my new Orthopedic Doctor!

49E85164-ACC3-4C5C-89F9-2AB472DA0E5EDr Zabinski is a NYU Medical School trained Orthopedic Surgeon, who practices out of Shore Orthopeadic.  He’s an adrenaline junky (he’s off on vacation now for 3 weeks climbing mountains in Alaska), and a very nice guy and someone I have total trust in.  A couple of bad discoveries though when I first started to see him.  3B3D2BBD-DD9B-4FF4-A1F6-FB517508DEB1#1 I have apparently lost 2 inches in height, measuring out at 5 foot 6  (he says I will gain most of that back after surgery….but does that mean I’ll limp after having just one knee done?), and  #2 He wouldn’t do surgery on me till I lost some weight and took my BMI down to a level he was comfortable with.  

In case you wondered why Susie and I have been on a low/No Carb diet since right after the Christmas/New Year holidays, now you know.   I want to get back to being able to walk the boardwalk of Ocean City without pain, meaning I want these old tired knees replaced!  Several months ago, I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Zabinski for the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.  New X-rays were to be taken, and I was to be weighed in.  If I’d done my job, we’d talk surgery.  If not, well, it would be back to a waiting game for me.

Not to keep anybody in suspense, I did good!  While he’d still like me to lose more weight, what I’d lost is enough to bring my BMI to a level that he’s comfortable with moving forward.  One surprise…after years of thinking the right knee was worse, we’re starting with the left knee!  He said I’ll be driving 10 days after the surgery!

So the process has started, and after I got a call from Gina, Dr. Zabinski’s surgery scheduling person, I know it’s official.  I’m scheduled for Thursday morning, July 11th, as I start on my path to new knees!!  Wish me luck!

May 28th, 2019

Today is the 41st birthday I have spent with the most important person in my life!! 

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I met my Susie Q on July 3rd, 1977, and I spent her first birthday with her the next year on May 28th, 1978.  Since then, I have been lucky enough to spend every birthday with the love of my life!  She is simply the best thing that has ever happened to me, and the reason I have the life I have today!

She is the most giving, loving person I have ever met, and frankly, most of our friends love the hell out of her and tolerate me because I am part of the deal that comes along with her!!  She is so much better a person than I am.  Frankly, we are not even in the same league, so once again, were it not for her, I wouldn’t have anywhere near the kind of life I have!

img_1243AE72E6CA-0B0A-406D-B087-8E65B48D0ACEI am so blessed (cant really call it lucky…got to figure it’s more like God’s plan) that she said yes when I asked her to marry me.  Love that she is the mother of our 3 kids, Grandmother of our three little darlings, and the lady that keeps me in line every day of my life.

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Susie, like most of the folks in our life, I love you and am in awe of your ability to touch folks and to be loved by them.  Thank you for including me and giving me a better life than I could have ever dreamed of!  You are my life!!  I will love you FOREVER!!!

 

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A disclaimer…the above was written and published without the benefit of my #1 copy editor, so any and all typos, miss-spellings, and punctuation errors are solely the work of your author.  See, another thing she does for me!

95.5, WPLJ….New York’s Best Rock!

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If you Google Irish Wake, this is what you get:

“The Irish Wake is perhaps one of the best known funeral traditions associated with Ireland. The Wake, the glorious send-off of departed loved ones, is a prominent feature of Irish funeral traditions.”

Well this pastTuesday night, at the Cutting Room on NYC’s East 32nd Street, former WPLJ VP of Programing Tom Cuddy did what Cumulus couldn’t or wouldn’t do… he hosted an incredible “Irish Wake” for a great New York radio station, and it truly was a “glorious send-off of departed loved ones”!

If you remember a blog I wrote back in March about Cumulus selling WPLJ (if you don’t remember or didn’t read it, and want to, here’s the link  https://fdthird.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/95-5-wplj/), this was something that most of us who worked at the station through the years never thought could ever happen!  Separating the AM/FM siblings was not even fathomable to us, but it happened.  Welcome to the radio business, 2019 style!

So rather than let it go out with a whimper, Tom Cuddy decided that he was going to make sure that it went out with a bang,   It was a hell of a party, attended by folks who in one way or another had been part of WPLJ in the 48 years since it’s call letters were changed to that from WABC-FM.  Having spent 40 years of my work life there at WABC and WPLJ, there were years worth of memories, and people to sort through.  It was an incredible night!

After Ubering to the city from our daughter’s apartment in Astoria, Susie and I started our night with a little pre-party at The Ginger Man on NYC’s East Side.  We called this a “70’s Party”, and the guests included folks that were at WPLJ when I got there in 1976, people that started about the same time and I did, and folks that got there shortly after I arrived.  

I’d have to say that this really is our core group, as we were all about the same age when we started at ABC.  Because we were the same age, and several in the same family situation, we not only worked together, but we socialized.  Birthday parties at work, drinks after, visits to each other’s houses, Good-bye and Batchelor Parties, Weddings, and oh yeah, working together.  It was universally agreed by Engineers, DJs, and office folks that this was indeed the best time of all our work lives!  Sometimes in my later years at ABC, when I’d complain to Susie that I kind of felt left out, when younger folks went to lunch or out for drinks after work, she’d remind me that when we all were their age, we did the exact same thing!  Point Taken!

So as it approached the 6 PM start time of the real party, we all settled up our bar bill at the Ginger Man, and started out on the 4 block walk to the Cutting Room (http://thecuttingroomnyc.com).  Because this party had been widely publicized in the radio trades in an effort to reach as many alumni as possible, you needed to email in a request to come and be put on a list. As we got to the club, there was a line of folks waiting to check in.  Of course, after working at the stations for 40 years, there were lots of folks I knew, and luckily I remembered everybody’s name!!  

After a period of mingling (there were probably 400 folks there, so there was only so much mingling and hugs that one could do), our host Tom Cuddy opened the evening’s presentations.

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Tom Cuddy…our host for the evening

The number of on-the-air people past and present that were in the house was amazing!  From the early day folks like Jimmy Fink, Jim Kerr, Carol Miller, Bob Marone, Marc Copolla, people from the middle years like Fast Jimi Roberts, AJ Hammer, Bobby Ray Rossi Vallentine, Blain Ensley, Tony Roma, to the recent past and present staff like Scott Shanon, Brad Blanks, Jimmy Diele, Chris Marino, Joe Nolan, Race Taylor, Annie, Joey Kramer, John Foxx, Robby Bridges, Mike Allan! , and others I’m sure I’m forgetting,,,please forgive me. News folks like Shelli Sonstein, Cathy Maloney,  Naomi Diclimente Salvatore, and Patti Steele.

Our friends Jimmy Fink and Jim Kerr spoke, talking about those early years of WPLJ and how they were tied to today’s WPLJ.

Scott Shannon talked about his years at PLJ during which he captained the PLJ Morning Show!

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Scott Shannon

Then Tom Cuddy brought the two longest term morning show hosts in PLJ’s history to the stage, both of who still hold forth on New York Morning Radio…just not PLJ!

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Scott, Jim, and Tom

 At one point, Tom Cuddy asked everybody in the room who’s voice had ever graced the WPLJ airwaves to come on stage!  That was a hell of a picture!

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An incredible group of voices and friends

But as many of those folks as there were, that was just a fraction of the folks in the room!  There were several past General Managers like Mitch Dolan and Steve Borneman,  production people from Jim Brownold in the 70s, to today’s Dan Kelly and Phil Micari, lots of past and present Engineering folks, Sales Folks, and office friends that kept the radio station running!  It was a wonderful night for me with so many old and new friends!

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Jim Kerr, Jimmy McGuire, Jimmy Fink…another 3 Jims!

But remember when I started, I called the gathering a great “Irish Wake”, and sadly, that’s truly what it was.  Had it not been for the sale of WPLJ by Cumulus, and the transfer of the station on June 1st, and the fact that so many of the folks that I stopped working with a little over 3 years ago will be without a job after May 31st, there would have been no reason for the party.  Like an Irish Wake, Tuesday night’s gathering was indeed, in a way, the glorious send-off of departed loved ones.  That’s a radio station, and the people that still call the 17th Floor of 2 Penn Plaza home!  

I want to end this blog by copying something I posted on Facebook the night of the party.  We spent the night at our daughter Krissi and about to be son-in-law Michael’s Astoria Apartment….they get married in just a couple of weeks on June 15th.   A little before midnight, while Susie was settling down to sleep, I was sitting on the edge of Krissi and Mike’s sleeper couch, and using my iPhone, I posted this to Facebook along with some pictures:

“I walked onto the 8th floor of the ABC Building on August 8th, 1976, and I left the 17th Floor of 2 Penn Plaza on January 29th, 2016.  Between those two dates, I had the honor of working with some wonderful radio folks at two great radio stations. Tonight, thanks to Tom Cuddy, we got to say goodbye to what will always be to me 95.5, WPLJ…New York’s Best Rock!  At the end of this month, PLJ will no longer exist as Cumulus has sold the station to a Christian Broadcaster.  It was great being with old friends,  I’ve known and worked with for over 40 years, but sad for my friends who still work there.  Thank you to the love of my life, my ever patient Susie Q who endured her husband hugging and kissing folks all night (men and women…hey, I’m Italian) and having a great time. It was a night I will long remember filled with people from my youth, and folks who are younger then my kids!!!  I love you all, but especially Susan Johnson D’Elia!!”

Good Bye WPLJ…God Speed to all the great radio people who will ride it to the end on May 31st!  You are in my heart!

All Access’s story about the party:

https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/186606/wplj-throws-gala-going-away-party-reunion-in-new-y

Some Interesting WPLJ YouTube videos..

https://youtu.be/JJiyMC1xhDs

https://youtu.be/VMEFVVYyUwk

https://youtu.be/DkXRubz2cak

https://youtu.be/B4xp02qfU14

https://youtu.be/anpeNQUZQ80

Meeting our New Granddaughter

Last October, at our youngest son Kenny’s wedding, oldest son Billy informed us that he and his wife Lori were expecting their third child.  Having started with a girl and then a boy, we figured they were done, but we were overjoyed when we heard that their family would be growing.  

Just over a week ago, on Wednesday afternoon, April 17th, Billy sent us the following text, “Annabelle Lorraine D’Elia is here!  Lori and baby are both doing great!”, and we got to see the first pictures of our just born Granddaughter!

A little later, we got details that she was born at 4:06 PM, was 7 lbs. 4 oz, 21 inches, “And beautiful”, said the proud Papa!

The next day was a big one in little Annabelle’s life!  First, she got to meet her big sister and big brother, when our 5 year old Granddaughter Layla, and her 3 1/2 year old brother Henry visited Mommy and Annabelle in the hospital.  Just looking at Layla and Henry with Annabelle, it’s easy to tell that both of them are thrilled to have a new baby sister, and are going to be a great big brother and sister!  The other big event in little Annabelle’s life was that she and Mommy were going home!  Hard to believe, but within 24 hours of being born, Lori and her newborn baby were getting out of the hospital, and going home.  How time changes the way things work.

Another thing we learned on Thursday was that they were going to be calling her Anna.  I had to tell Billy at that point that his Anna D’Elia was not the first time that first and last name had gone together in our family.  His grandfather’s mother, my paternal Grandmother was also named Anna D’Elia.  She died in 1953 when I was 3 years old, and I don’t have any recollection of her beyond pictures and stories, and don’t know if Billy had ever even known, but little Anna and her Great Great Grandmother share the same name!

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My Dad’s Mom…another Anna D’Elia

Although pictures kept coming from North Carolina to Ocean City, at this point Susie and I could not wait till Saturday when we were heading down to NC to spend Easter weekend with Billy’s family and to meet the newest member of that family!

Our trip started early Saturday morning with torrential rain as we left Ocean City, but by the time we got to Delaware, the weather had calmed down, and the further south we drove, the nicer the weather got.  The drive was long, but once we got to their house Saturday afternoon, that was all forgotten and we were taken with how incredibly beautiful and small our new Granddaughter was.  We tend to forget the size babies are when they come home from the hospital, but even though it’s been 30 plus years since any of our babies were that size, Susie had absolutely no trouble sliding right into Grandma mode!

Anna was very awake and totally aware of what was going on around her.  She sized us up, and we like to think decided we were acceptable as Grandparents!  I know for sure she liked snuggling with Susie, and enjoyed the bottle she fed her and even the diaper change Grandma effected!  And for Grandma, it was of course, love at first sight, especially the new baby smell!  And what was I doing while Grandma was bonding with her Granddaughter, why Grandpa was playing Mouse Trap with Layla and Henry!

I don’t remember if our kids ever had the game Mouse Trap, but it’s something Layla and Henry always drag out and want to play with Grandpa.  It’s a diabolical game, that takes about 3 times as long to set up as it does to play, but the kids love it!  Honestly, the game itself is rather lame, but the board, with all it’s levels and Rube Goldberg kind of ball drops is a lot of fun, and what they really love about the game.  As the saying goes, “Some Assembly Required” and this time took the efforts of Grandpa and Dad before we could play.  About halfway through, Henry tired of the game and Layla and I continued to play for him and in the end, he won, Layla came in second, and Grandpa last!  Not my favorite game, but playing with those two is some of the most fun I have whenever we visit!

Talking to Billy and Lori, we discovered where Annabelle’s name came from.  Annabelle was Lori’s late Dad, Fred’s ,Mom’s name, and Lorraine was Kathy, her Mom’s Mom’s name.  Once Billy knew that Anna was his Grandfather’s Mom’s name, he commented, “So she was named after 2 old Italian ladies”.  

The next day was Easter, and we were all going to a big family gathering at Lori’s sister’s house, and Billy and Lori needed some items from the store, so while we watched the 3 little ones, Billy took Lori on an outing to the grocery store!  Is there anything better in life, than spending time with your Grandkids??  Love talking to Layla and Henry, and getting their take on life.  Grandma was in 7th Heaven with Anna, while honestly, Layla and Henry are more my speed.  Love hearing them call me “Grandpa”!

Easter Sunday dawned cloudy and the weather forecast was for a cool and cloudy day.  We arrived at Lori’s sister Kerry and her husband Bill’s house at 11 AM, and were immediately surrounded by family, including 11 kids under the age of 10, including Layla, Henry and Anna!  Everyone had brought something to contribute (we’d brought traditional Easter Pies from my Dad’s heritage), and there was so much food, including the very good Shrimp and Grits our son had made.  It was a great day, with lots of food and conversation and the kids playing, and participating in an Easter Egg hunt, and Anna spending time in a lot of folks arms…even Grandpa’s!  

After a busy Easter, Mom and Anna were pooped and just looking for some down time, so we spent our last day in Raleigh with our son Billy and Layla and Henry.  First on our schedule, lunch at Chik-fil-a and playing in the playroom (Layla and Henry that is).

Next we were off to see The Missing Link at the movies.  The theater we were going to was in a neat shopping destination called North Hills.  Along with the theater there were restaurants and shops all along carefully laid out streets.  Once we got the tickets, we went on a short walk to look around, before Dad got a Starbucks coffee, and we settled on a park bench while the kids played a bit in the gorgeous sunshine!

Once we got to the movie theater, it was tough to steer Henry away from the little arcade that was right inside the entrance, but with the promise of soda and popcorn, we moved to the theater.  Like when we went to the movies in Florida, this is one of the new theaters with reclining seats, and all the comforts of home, and the two kids made full use of them!  Grandpa had to sit next to Henry and Layla had to sit next to Grandma.  Then Daddy wisely got both the pop corn and soda split into two for them, and after about 20 minutes of previews, the movie finally started.  I don’t know why they have to do the same endless previews with kid’s movies, because every time a preview started, Henry would ask me, “Is this the movie Grandpa?”.  What a pain!  We enjoyed the movie, but by the end, Daddy had both kids in his lap, forgetting the carefully crafted seating plan they’d earlier devised!  After 30+ years, you forget what it’s like to have little kids!

By the time the movie was over, and we’d gotten Henry off the motorcycle in the arcade, it was close to 5, and as it was a school night, it was time to say good-bye to our son and grandkids.  Hugs and kisses were given all around, and promises to see each other real soon were uttered, as they walked Grandma and Grandpa back to their car.

As we always do, we loved our time with our North Carolina Family, loved being with our Grandkids, and loved meeting little Anna.  It’s hard when your kids and their kids live a 7+ hour drive away from you, but you make it work, and you enjoy the hell out of the time you get to spend together.  I know we both did, and will enjoy the memories till we get together again, either in Ocean City or in Raleigh.  It is what it is!

Week 2

Pardon the delay, but waited till we got back home so I could finish this on the computer rather than my IPhone!

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On Sunday morning, we woke already tied to the dock, back in Galveston, Texas.  This was the boys weekly “turn around day”, and the plan was for them to show us what they do weekly.  Just before 10, armed with our old and new Sea Pass cards, our In-Transit cards, and our passports, we worked our way off the ship, down the gangway, and through Immigration.  We were the happy people in the group, as we knew in a couple of hours, we’d be joining the Liberty again!

Once through Immigration, we met up with Kenny who told us Chris had taken off to make the long walk to a store he needed to get something from and he’d join us soon, so the 3 of us headed off to The Strand.  This is a tourist area just a couple of blocks from the port, and where the boys spend most Sundays.

Once Chris met us, it was off to their first weekly stop…a store that sells everything, including drinks!  Apparently, to sell booze on Sunday before 11 AM, you’ve also got to provide food, so a piece of a cut up hot dog was provided. Then it was to a table on the sidewalk to enjoy the Mimosas.

 

After that, we headed off to their “brunch” place, a taco “stand” with about 50 beers on tap, and a very eclectic menu of gourmet type tacos.  We had some great ones, and it would be great if I had any photographic evidence, but we ate everything before I thought of it!!!  Tell me we haven’t done that before!

After lunch, we headed off to their “after-lunch Bar” with their favorite bartender Sophie, but alas, she was at a baby shower and not working!  Oh well, perhaps next Sunday.  Then it was time to walk back to the ship.

We said goodbye to the boys (they go on via a crew entrance), and with our In-Transit cards and our new Sea Pass cards already in hand, we got to skip the lines, and in not much time at all, we were back in the R Bar starting week 2 the same way as week 1!

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After another boat drill, the boys joined us on our balcony for sail-away, and then dinner in the Windjammer.  A brief stop in the casino, and then it was time for bed…we were all pooped!

Day 2 dawned sunny and warm, and on this sea day, our plan was lunch for 4 in one of the Liberty’s specialty restaurants, Sabor, Modern Mexican! We met Kenny and Chris at the restaurant at 12:30, and as usual, we were served too much food!  We didn’t eat it all, but we did our best!!

After a brief stop in the casino, Chris went off to work the ice show, Kenny retired to their cabin for some R&R, and Susie and I went to the Ice Show.   A great show, more so because it’s on a cruise ship!!

After the show, it was time to shower and dress for the Captain’s Champagne Reception on the Royal Promenade. Some free champagne, an hour spent people watching (and some is sooo good), and listening to the Captain speak.  You must admit, we did clean up well!

 

Then it was time for Chris to hit the hay, while Susie, Kenny, and I headed to Vintages Wine Bar for something a little better quality than the cheap Royal Champagne!

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We had several glasses of wine, had a nice talk with Julia who we’d met earlier in the Jewelry Shop on the Promenade, and with Remy, who works in Vintages. There are a lot of nice people who work on the Liberty, if you just take the time to meet them!!  We enjoy meeting these crew folks from all around the world. learning a bit about them and where they’re from, and hearing their experiences!

After 3 glasses on wine each (I think it was three???), a profitable visit to the casino, a couple of pieces of pizza at Sorrentos, it was time for bed, ending day 2.

 

Day 3 was Cozumel again. As you may recall, this was our only duplicate port, and since we’d had an incredible day there at the El Cozumeleno Beach Resort just 4 days earlier, and since the boys had a busy day with a tech run and two performances of In the Air, Susie and I decided to stay on the ship and let them go their own way.

We started with a lazy morning, headed up to the pool deck and the adult Solarium, with our books, and a couple of Pina Coladas!  We read, we sipped, and we dozed a bit. The Liberty was quiet, with the majority of folks wandering the streets of Cozumel.  It was nice!!!

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Because the ship was so empty, just after they opened at 1, we decided to go to Johnny Rockets for lunch!!!  Great burgers!!!

 

That night, performances of In the Air, after which the boys came to unwind in our cabin.  A nice day.

We awoke the next morning, already at anchor in Grand Cayman.  There’s no pier there, so this was our only tender port of the cruise.  The water was the most incredible color blue, and we sat on our balcony watching the tenders come and go, while waiting for the boys to finish a meeting.   A short tender ride, and we were walking the streets of Grand Cayman, heading to the boys favorite lunch spot!

 

Tell me those drinks, and that background doesn’t look magical!

Then, another stop at another outdoor bar, on the way back to the port.  I’d call this more of a “dive bar”, but good drinks, great setting, and a fun atmosphere!

 

Back on the ship, the boys joined us for a small Sail-Away party on our balcony and a little champagne.  

 

I think that this was the most beautiful port we stopped at during our two weeks on the Liberty, and reminded me a lot of our several visits to Bermuda.

 

That night, while Chris was doing some Dance Captain stuff, Susie and I joined Kenny in the Star Lounge and enjoyed 4 of his fellow singers in a presentation called the Jazz Set.  Really mislabeled, as I’d call it more American Standards, we enjoyed listening to his 4 very talented friends.

 

Then we met up with Chris and after discussing where to go to have a bite, it was decided to give Johnny Rockets another shot!  Good burgers all around!  On the way out, we paused to take a photo in front of one of the art pieces on Deck 12.  A little bit of Chris’ home town of Reno, Nevada on the Liberty of the Seas!

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Our stop the next day was Falmouth, Jamaica, in a port that was created a number of years ago by Royal Caribbean for the Oasis Class ships, that were really too big to fit in other ports on the island.  Created to resemble a 15th or 16th century town, the port is full of shopping opportunities, because that, it seems, is what most folks do on a cruise.  However, we had other plans!  Our first stop, the Jamaican Beef Patty stand for a round of patties for all!  Then it was off to Margaritaville, with their potent drinks, some of their delicious food, and the pool with a swim up bar!

 

The water was cool, the sun was hot…it was a great way to spend the afternoon, before heading back to the Liberty of the Seas!

That night, it was time for Kenny to do one of his other jobs on the ship, and that was the 70’s Set on the Royal Promenade during the ship’s 70 Disco Party themed night!  Because Mom and Dad wanted to have a good view of the action, we got there about an hour and a half early, and sat at a table outside of the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Parlor.  Having not eaten since Margaritaville, we passed the time by having a couple of sandwiches from Cafe Promenade for dinner, along with a couple of drinks from the R Bar.  As we were waiting there, who should come along but our personal photographer Jennifer.  We called her that, because she was the only one who’d taken pictures of us on our second week, and she obliged us again and took 3 wonderful pictures, that were the only ones we bought that week!

 

We had a lovely conversation with her and discovered that although her name tag said Columbia, she was really from Venezuela, but had escaped the problems there, and called Chile home.  She would be signing off the ship after a couple of more months and told us it would be winter when she got home…a season she hasn’t seen for some time!  Another great member of the crew we were happy to get to meet!

Then, what we came for…our baby (he really is our baby….being the youngest of our 3 kids!) on the flying bridge, above a couple of thousand passengers and crew, performing with his partner about 15 minutes of songs from way before he was born!

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So much fun!!!

After Kenny changed, we met the boys down at the Schooner Bar, had a couple of drinks, and then went into the casino for a little One Armed Bandit action!  Tonight, Lady Luck was on our side, and we had a really great run on a Wheel of Fortune machine!

 

Following our stop in Jamaica, we had two sea days, our last two days of the cruise as we traveled over 1,000 miles back to the Liberty’s home port of Galveston, Texas.  

After sleeping in a bit, Susie and I had a cappuccino at the Promenade Cafe, then selected a table near Sorrento’s Pizza and waited for the Move It, Move It Parade!  Kenny joined us and we played cards for a bit, till the participants started to arrive for the big Dreamworks Cast parade all along the promenade, that Chris, as Dance Captain, coordinates.  The parade lasts about 15 minutes, and is supposed to end with Chris shooting off a confetti gun, but just before the parade started, one of the Dreamworks characters picked the gun up, and dumped all the confetti out!  

 

 

Night 6 of the cruise was our second Formal Night of the week, and since we’d cleaned up so nicely on our previous Formal Night, we decided to do it again and journey, once again to Giovanni’s for a wonderful Italian meal!  Thanks to Alex the host, and our favorite waiter Melvyn, it was another memorable night, with great food, wine, and laughs!  

As day 7 of the cruise was a busy one for the boys (a tech run of Saturday Night Fever in the morning followed by two shows of SNF that evening), following dinner, we let them head off to their cabin, while Mom and I headed back to see our friends at the Schooner bar, and have an “after dinner”  Martini or two!

 

This has really been our go to bar this week of the cruise, being the place we’ve stopped most for daytime Mai Tai’s or nighttime Martinis, with bartenders Antonio, and Francisco and waiters Alexander and Fernanda.  You know us, we like feeling like we’ve got a home, and when folks know your name, and you enjoy the conversation with them, well, that’s what makes us feel like home.  So when Antonio would say, “Susan, Frank, the usual?” we were happy!

 

After a couple of drinks, and listing to Phil at the piano bar, we decided to head back into the casino, and see if the night before had been a fluke, or if our luck was indeed on the upswing.  Well, if Lady Luck was on our side the night before, she was in our laps tonight!  Just saying…..

 

A nice way to end what had been a wonderful day!!

So, that brings us to day 7 of our cruise and our last sea day before Galveston.  This was a full day for our boys, as they prepared for tonight’s 2 shows of Saturday Night Fever, and therefore an alone day for us!  It was time to drag those 3 suitcases that had been stored under the bed in cabin 7344 for 2 weeks out, and to empty the closet and the drawers, and to prepare to leave a place that had been our home for the past 14 days.  It was a sad day because we’d had a wonderful time, and tomorrow would be the last day with Our Boys for some time, but all 4 of us knew it was also time to get back to the real world.  

So drag out those suitcases we did, and Susie packed, while I brought her the items she asked for.   In short order, we were packed and headed to the Windjammer for some lunch.  We relaxed on our balcony that afternoon, reading and honestly napping, and a little after 5, we met Kenny outside the Platinum Theater as he let us in before the doors opened for the last time.  We love watching these two on stage, seeing them both do something they love.  Hope you do too!

 

 

A little after 9:30 the next morning, we were off the ship, through Immigration, and out into a cold and damp Galveston!  The week before on turn around day, it had been sunny and in the 70s, today it was hovering right around 50!  Yikes…not the Caribbean anymore!  Our plan today was simple…once we met up with the boys, they were going to roll our suitcases to one of their Sunday hangouts while Susie and I Ubered to pick up our rental car.  That done, we drove over to the local Walmart so that they could do probably the most extensive shopping they’ll do during their time on the ship, spending close to $300!  Then we had a marvelous lunch at a place on the Galveston Sea Wall called, My Spot.  It was our last Family Meal….

 

Then it was time for Susie and I to drop the boys back at the pier, and to make our way to George Bush International Airport in Houston for our flight home to Philadelphia.  We finally arrived back on Pennlyn Place and home in Ocean City about 1:30AM, ending what had been a wonderful two weeks in the Caribbean sunshine with Our Boys!  And so ends the story of week two of Sue and Frank’s Excellent Adventure on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, with the Fox Boys!

A couple of postscripts…

One thing Susie loved was some of the art that was featured around the ship.  Here are some of her favorites that she captured via her IPhone camera.

 

Last, but not least, even though we were in the Caribbean, we’re never really far away from our Jersey Shore home at heart, as you can see from this picture of our cabin door!

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Week One

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As I said before we started, we are doing without internet on the ship, so there will not be a detailed blow by blow description of our travels, but I’ve been taking some notes on my phone, and depending on how good the internet is in Galveston on turn around day, I hope to post some brief notes about our first week of two on the Liberty of the Seas!!

So, we’re on week one of a two week cruise around the Western Caribbean with our boys. The first two days of the cruise were sea days, the first of which was cold and rainy!   No view of Caribbean weather, so it was an inside the ship day!  The second sea day, however, the sun was out, the sky was blue, and the temperature was in the 70s…beautiful!
This was also an alone day for us, as the boys had two performances of In The Air, and had a lot of prep to do during the day.  After breakfast in the Windjammer, we spent a lovely couple of hours by the Solarium pool, reading, people watching, and enjoying a couple of Pina Coladas! A little time in the casino, a little shopping,  some nap/reading time on our cabin’s balcony, and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to meet the boys to get in the theater and see 2 great performances of In The Air!
After 2 sea days, we spent today in Roatan, Honduras at Captain Jack’s Bar, perched over the water, just outside of the port!  With our Bartender Babe making incredible drinks, and their kitchen making excellent Conch Fritters, Onion Rings,  Calamari, and Plantain Chips, it was a wonderful relaxing day spent with 2 of our 6 favorite kids!  Great family time, talking about dreams and the future, it was an incredible day!  No need for zip lines, monkey farms, or swimming with dolphins! After a hug, we told Babe we’d see her in 6 months when we’re back. She said she’d be looking for us!!
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Today we are in Mexico…Costa Maya to be exact. Susie and I were last here 2 and a 1/2 years ago, and had a wonderful beach day with the boys.  This year, however, the boys have to work, so different plans are called for. Tonight they do two performances of Saturday Night Fever (6 and 8:45 PM), and on days like this, they also have a “tech run” in the morning, so a busy day for them. We’ve decided that we’re just going to get off the ship and hang around the dock area.  As I write this, Susie and I are waiting for the boys in our cabin, and preparing for the 1/2 mile walk down the pier from  the ship to the land!!!  Yes, a full 1/2 mile of pier between the ship and Costa Maya!  It’s a definite knee brace day!
There were 4 cruise ships in Costa Maya today, so the pier was crowded. The boys took us to a favorite burrito place and we had a couple of great ones, before heading back to the ship.  The walk was long, but we stopped a couple of times to look at the incredibly blue water!  Back on the ship, we said bye to the boys, and both groups went to relax.
Right now, Susie and I are sitting in the Platinum Theater waiting for the start of the first performance of Saturday Night Fever. Our night ahead?? Two performances of SNF, a drink or two, and then meeting up with the boys after the shows.  Nothing better than seeing Kenny and Chris on stage!!  This is the 7th and 8th time we’ve seen this production of SNF, and I tell you it just keeps getting better, and we’re not of that opinion because 2 of the cast members are part of our family!!! The audience LOVED the show, meanwhile we shed a tear or two of joy, watching our kids doing what they love!!!  Life is very good tonight!!
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Welcome to Cozemul , Mexico!  Port  #3 on this week’s cruise, and the only port we visit twice during our two weeks on the Liberty of the Seas.  We’ve just gotten back from a wonderful day at the El Cozumeleno Beach Resort, where for a $65 Day Pass, we had an incredible day of food, drink, and pool life!  Thanks to Miguel and Santiago, we never wanted for ANYTHING!!!
We’re back on the ship now, sitting on our balcony having a rum and coke and watching our larger sister ship, the Oasis of the Seas leave the dock.  Our lines are being dropped now and we will soon follow her. Next stop…Galveston, Texas, after a sea day tomorrow!!  The end is near for most folks, but for us, just the beginning of week 2!!
Last night we had an incredible dinner in Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant.   Thanks to Manager Alex, waiter Marvyn,  and the magicians in the kitchen, it was a magnificent dinner, and we all loved it….and may have eaten too much!!!
Today is a sea day, and the last day of the cruise for most…but not us, as we start the adventure all over again!!!  Susie and I slept in a bit, then went to the Windjammer for breakfast, then spent an hour plus watching people trying to master the Flowrider!
Then we met up with Kenny outside Sorrento’s on the Promenade Deck to watch the Move it Parade,  orchestrated by our other son Chris!!!  Good job Chris..well, except when Shreck almost went flying, but all’s well that ends well!!
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We spent the rest of the afternoon taking advantage of our drink package at various venues around the ship. Changed for the night, had a couple of glasses of wine at Vintages, and then finished up with a martini with our friend Silbert at the R Bar.

Tonight, a late dinner and room service ala Chris and Kenny!  Burgers with Sriracha Peanut Butter, etc.  a fitting way to end week one of our latest adventure!!!
See you next week, when we sail to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica!!

One and done!

So, it’s 7:57 Central Daylight Daylight time, and day 1 is coming to a close. We left Ocean City a little after 8 this morning, headed down the AC Expressway, and about 9:30 arrived at the place we parked our CRV for 2 weeks. A quick shuttle to Philly International, an easy trip through TSA Security (even though Susie’s metal rivet shirt was not “TSA Security friendly”), and before we knew it we were on the plane, heading to Houston.

After a 3 and a 1/2 hour flight, we were at George Bush International Airport, and ASAP here come our bags down the conveyer belt!  About 5 minutes later, Jackie our Lyft driver showed up in a brand new Acura MDX, and we were off on our hour plus ride to Galveston!  Nice car, nice lady, pleasant drive!

As I type this on my iPhone, Susie and I are in our PJs sitting in our room at the Harbor House Hotel, right next to the cruise terminal.  We’re relaxed, having just cone back from a wonderful dinner at Willie G’s Steak and Seafood, just across the pier!

We started with two wonderful Martinis…with these glasses, how could they be anything but wonderful???

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Don’t we look happy??

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We started with a wonderful Gulf Shrimp Cocktail!  7 Shrimp!!!  Then a wonderful entree Shrimp Platter!!  And dessert??  How bout a couple of Mai Tai’s???  It was a good night!!