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Smorgesbord!!! And oh, what a whirlwind!

Just now catching my breath after a month on the road. Exhilarating, exciting, eye opening and exhausting!

Had a few days home after a fantastic weeklong Dave Koz Cruise to Scandinavia and the Baltics (Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallin, Stockholm). Dave’s guiding principle: “Seeing the world together through music.”

Confess, those destinations were never on my bucket list. Mine is crammed with exotic locations: Madagascar, Seychelles, Burma, Vietnam. I also don’t love cruising: too much time on transport for too little time in port. With fewer than 10 hours docked, there is just not enough time for real explorations, serendipity, discovery and surprise, though unpacking only once is a gift.

BUT! Smooth Jazz Cruises, especially Dave Koz’s, are a different animal, more about the journey than the destinations. They are jam packed with on board Am to Am music, concerts and jam sessions, artists mingling with guest, autograph sessions, guest talent contests and, always a highlight for me, artist talkbacks. Grouped by instrument, the musicians arrive with their instruments, discuss how they discovered their instrument, their key influences, inspirations, challenges , how they compose, and more, often punctuated with music. Imagine horn players gathering (I’ve heard Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, David Sanborne, Brian Culbertson, Richard Elliot, Euge Groove, Boney James, Michael Lington, Patches Stewart, Eric Darius, Eric Marianthal), Keyboards (think Keiko Matsui, David Benoit, Brian Simpson, each of whom also played their favorite compositions), Guitars (Marcus Miller, Peter White, Norman Brown, Nick Colionne, Jonathan Butler, Larry Graham). And each cruise includes sessions For Women Only- talking about career inspirations, obstacles, family, life, choices in the most intimate way (Keiko, Shiela E, Mindy Abair, Candy Dulfer) and For Men Only (has included Kirk Whalem, Nick Corlione, Brian Culbertson, Norman Brown, Jonathan Butler, Alonzo Bolden, Eric Marienthal), but I’ve never been there! And there’s a Gospel hour, often lead by Kirk Whalem or Jonathan Butler (who also offers a fall trip to his home turf, South Africa)! Sublime!

Sometimes, docking almost feels like a bummer!

Until you hit the ground in port!!!! Earlier this year on a Smooth Jazz Cruise to the Caribbean, the artist hosted port excursions were a highlight! Everyone’s favorite English guitarist Peter White escorted us to a Double Salsa Class: Making 3 types of Salsa followed by a Salsa Dance Lesson, Dutch saxaphonist Candy Dulfer to a Jose Cuervo Tequila tasting, complete with certificate of expertise (!). Bought a bottle of 1800 Vintage Jose Cuervo unavailable outside of Mexico for Logan, which he saved and opened June 6th, his 27th Birthday!

So, though port time is minimal, the excursions are a blast! I knew with Dave Koz, I’d be in for a grand time. And this cruise was no exception! Added bonus: seeing enough of each destination to know I want to go back and explore them! So added a few more countries to my bucket list.

(And no, I don’t get anything for this plug. If you’re thinking about booking, DK cruises sell out months BEFORE the talent line up is released! His March 2019 Cruise in Australia (from Sydney) sold out last December in 59 minutes!!!)

Then landed home, just in time to see and celebrate Logan’s graduation from San Francisco State University with a degree in Business Administration. YES!!! To his delight, the ceremony was held at AT&T Park!! And YES, he flashed on the Jumbotron (have pix)!

It was a long road, 7 years! First 4, College of Marin, A.A. and A.S. dual degree, then 3 at SFSU. Why? Logan chose to work 20-30 hours per week his entire college career, so didn’t take a full load of classes.

Including high school and the 2 year interim before starting college, Logan worked in a video store, movie theater, bakery, car dealership, detailing shop, medical office, major retailer, travel agency and Whole Foods (where he spent 3 years): invaluable experience for a career in business. Some jobs he really loved, others not so much, but at each he learned a lot about work, life, and himself, and gained skills. Based on some of the stories I heard, Logan could write a blockbuster book on Best Business Practices, though (to this Mom) it might more aptly be titled “So YouThink You Can Run a Business?” (My spin, not his! Confess, he did have to restrain me from confronting his boss at a major retailer I will never again patronize- 5 letters, begins with M.)

But I digress.

The math and statistics required for a degree in Business Admin were huge hurdles for Logan, and there were academic setbacks. But he was determined to succeed. And he persisted!!!! Applying the same focus and skills that earned him his Eagle Scout Rank, HE DID IT! I could not be more proud of Logan!

September, he leaves for Badajoz, Spain, in the autonomous community of Extremadura, to teach English for the school year! His high school boarding school years at New Summit Academy in Costa Rica, a right decision that at the time devastated me, has paid one more dividend! (With gratitude!)

Takeshi, who graduated in 2017, from Camosun College in Victoria, BC, with a BS in Athletic Therapy, and is working at his old boarding school, Shawnigan Lake School, in British Columbia, Canada, flew in to honor and celebrate his brother!

Color me one happy Mom!

Celebration short but sweet, as next up was a flight to the East Coast to perform My Stroke of Luck! But that’s a story for next week!

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