A Cranky Publicist Summer Recap

Dear FITS family,

Well, it’s been a long while since Nora or I posted here — as a worried Sue King mentioned in an email yesterday. While life has handed out a few surprises in August, we’re both fine. I think the slow, hot and humid days have made time blur even more than it did in the winter. Or at least that’s how it feels to me.

We were able to take our annual trip to The Greenbrier in the middle of July. Our little group drove down on a Sunday with two cars packed high — though admittedly with far less stuff than our May trip to the spa.

Ahhhh.

The Windsor Club concierge team greeted us at the lobby door, then walked us over to The Presidential Suite. One step in and I swear everyone (including the ghosts) took a deep breath and just let go of any tension.  I’d emailed in our dinner order so first night was a matter of unpacking, then sitting on the patio sipping champagne.

A tradition.

[It’s important to mention here that the first half of this post is very Laura-centric because on our first full day at The Greenbrier, I turned 60.]

Bright and early Monday morning, I headed to the concierge to go over a quick list of things before I stopped work for 24 hours (I gave everyone three hours, then would be off until Tuesday).   I finished my list and then she said, “Are you the person I spoke to about the special order…”

I held up my hand and said, “I’m the birthday girl, you want to talk to someone else.”  I felt a little guilty about it later, but in the moment I was very clear.

I was the only one with a treatment that day (because: birthday) so I headed to the spa area around 11:15. As I limped over (first milestone of 60 looks to be a hip replacement in early 2022) I decided to add a soak in a sulphur bath to help relieve the pain. Texted Sarah (who was playing Laura that day) to say I’d be back for sandals between treatments.

After the 90 minute session, I was relaxed and ready to soak. As I headed up the lawn to the suite’s patio entrance, I idly wondered what everyone was up to.

Opened the door and there were Nora, Kat, Sarah, Kayla and Joanne waiting for me in a wonderland of balloons and Happy Birthday signs, a glass of champagne at the ready.  (There are no photos of the moment, but these will do.)

That arch and my name in silver.

The Dining Room


Once I recovered from the surprise, I heard about all the strategies to make this happen. Apparently they were on tenterhooks until I left, but didn’t let down their guard until they knew I was truly gone.  Nora and Sarah watched me from the dining room until I disappeared into the main doors.

On Sunday, they’d smuggled the supplies into the spare bedroom and monitored my every movement closely so I wouldn’t inadvertently walk in that room. Which meant when I kept heading down that hall to make sure the hotel tech fixed the lock on JoAnne’s bedroom door, I ratcheted up their tension a thousand-fold.

On Monday, once I was gone, they sprang into action: Kat built the balloon arch, JoAnne created paper flowers, then herded Griffin away from the balloons. Nora, Kayla and Sarah blew up more balloons, hung up more signs. A frenzied 90 minutes for them. A calm one for me. <g>


I sipped champagne in the equally festive dining room and opened my gifts — my gorgeous crown came first.  Accepted the love, thanked them all, congratulated them on the fabulous strategies and results. Sarah and Kat said the decorations weren’t what the concierge meant earlier.  That was coming. 

I decreed we had to dress up that evening, then went back for a soak followed by a nap, before the birthday dinner.  The big surprise was a cake made with a recipe from my favorite childhood bakery in Brooklyn, NY (the now defunct Ebinger’s) — yellow cake with a mocha frosting.  And it was perfect.  Our superstar concierge, Lane, made that one happen when the kitchen initially balked.

After dinner, we drank – a lot. Finally I turned on a Spotify playlist and we danced for over an hour (which helped with Hangover Tuesday).  And so I turned 60.

From left: JoAnne, Kayla, Laura, Griffin, Kat, Sarah, Nora

Hangover Tuesday was quiet, but we did start the card games. When my daughter Clare called on Monday, I put her on speaker so everyone could catch up. Just as the called closed, she said “You know, my mom keeps it a secret, but she LOVES games.”

I’ve disowned her. Stupid games.

Sigh,

We traditionally have one day of work at Greenbrier, usually the Wednesday. On the line up this year was an interview with the German podcast Eat, Read, Sleep, filming a video Q&A for Little Brown UK, a photo shoot for new social media pictures and our traditional Facebook Live.  I was director and cameraman, the rest of the Smart Girls helped with hair and makeup, and we completed the tasks before our one dinner out in a restaurant. (The rest were on our patio.)

The remainder of the week fell into the tried and true pattern: workouts for Nora and JoAnne, some pool time for Kat and Griffin, reading and puzzles, champagne and conversation for all.

A kiss from Griffin.

The non-birthday highlight came at the end of the week: glassblowing with the amazing Max Clair at the Virtu studio. We divided into two session with Kayla and Nora going on Saturday; Kat, Sara and I went on Sunday. Kayla wanted to make a paperweight this year. Since she made a paperweight last year, Nora wanted to try blowing a small vase. Kat and Sarah wanted to do some more complex vases this year and I opted for a small pitcher.

Nora blowing hard while Max keeps a close eye on the glass.
Kat rolling through all the colors.

You know how things flow when you have a good teacher? I’d say each of us found that flow as Max gave us confidence to build on what we’d done last year. Glassblowing remains a group favorite and stays at the top of our must-do Greenbrier activities going forward.

From left: Laura’s pitcher, Sarah’s b&w vase, Kayla’s paperweight, Nora’s vase, Kat’s rainbow vase.

We finished the week on a different birthday note: ice cream cake for Kayla who would turn 19 after we returned home. Next year, she turns 20 when we’re at Greenbrier. We’ll see what strategies and planning bring for her surprise.

Then it was time for the party to end and head north.

Balloons down.

We tend to keep things positive here, but in recapping the summer I have to talk about the good and the bad.

Reality resumed on the way home from Greenbrier. JoAnne is Nora’s lifelong friend and business manager. While driving back they came to the decision for Nora and BW to announce a vaccine mandate for all their Boonsboro businesses. While some employees quickly got their shots this spring, others were hesitant. Watching the numbers increase over the summer, Nora and JoAnne felt a mandate was the best course of action.*

When the announcement came, some employees felt differently. Several abruptly resigned and left in the middle of a shift. Which meant the first week of August was a scramble to find replacements and new hires with JoAnne in the lead on the interview and schedule front.

That Greenbrier Ahhhhh? A thing of the past.

Things seemed to be steady when Nora and BW left for the family week at Nemacolin at the start of the second full week of August. Within 24 hours they received word of a two-alarm fire at Vesta. While the restaurant was closed on a Monday, a crew was in for cleaning in the morning. The fire broke out around 3:30 pm. Two of the residents in the apartments upstairs were home, but got out safely.

The fire has been deemed suspicious and remains under investigation at this point in time. Nora and Bruce have offered a $5,000 reward for anyone giving information that leads to the identity and apprehension of the person or persons responsible for the fire.

While the scene is cleared for repairs, there is no reopen date.

And there you have it FITS family: a rather fun and celebratory July. A nose-to-the-grindstone August.

What’s up going forward here on the blog? We shake off the late summer doldrums next week with teasers for Forgotten in Death followed by the excerpt from The Becoming over Labor Day weekend.

So stay tuned.

We’ll talk soon,
Laura

*Please note: Comments are not open to debate about vaccine. Nora and I have clearly shown support for them all along. Any arguments against will be deleted.

97 thoughts on “A Cranky Publicist Summer Recap”

  1. So sorry to hear about Vesta! Fingers crossed someone comes forward with information. Happy Birthday Laura! Nice that the ladies were able to pull off the surprise for you! Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer and hope things calm down out there! Positive thoughts for you all

  2. I absolutely love these Fall into the Story blogs. I love feeling so included in the “action”. Thanks for allowing us the peek into your fun. 🙂

  3. Glad all is still well, for the most part. Take care and stay well. Happy 60 🎊🎂🌸

  4. Happy Birthday!!! So glad they were able to celebrate you in the middle of the craziness!!!

  5. Congrats Laura on # 60. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Do sulfur baths really work? Sorry that you are having hip pain.
    I don’t know what the big deal is about getting the vaccine most people get a flu shot every year this really isn’t much different of course these are the same people that won’t wear a mask either. I am looking forward to the Tuesday after Labor day when Forgotten in Death comes out ( I have the Kindle all warmed up LOL). Hope you and Nora have a great rest of the summer and I look forward to more posts this fall

      1. Hi Laura.. I too have hip pain at the age of 59 … really affects my travel as I am not able to walk as much I want .. Epsom salts baths really do help!

      2. Had my hip replaced after ten+ years of being in pain.
        I shouldn’t have waited.
        I wish you good luck with your surgery.

  6. Belated happy birthday Laura.
    I am sorry to hear August has been so tough and to hear of the reasons why. Best wishes to Nora and family from Ireland.

  7. I’m so, so sorry about all this bad things going on in your life. Pray that all is calm again soon. All my praises and pride to the woman, writer, manager and human being that Nora is. Love from Brazil.

  8. Laura, your birthday celebration sounds terrific! I love the blown glass pieces, everyone did a great job.
    I’m so sorry to hear about Vesta, that is terrible news. I hope they find the guilty party very soon.

    Also sorry to hear about your hip, I was missing the pictures from your daily walks.

    I hope all stays well with you, Nora and all the gang!
    Take good care!

      1. Happy Birthday Laura, I miss walking and cycling. My hip replacement surgery is another year down the road. Sigh!

      2. Had my first hip done at 53, second one this last November!
        Just make sure you do you therapy!!! It will make all the difference!

  9. Happy belated Birthday, Laura! 60 looks good on you! Really sad about the Vesta fire, but hope the perpetrators are found and punished.

  10. Thanks for sharing your adventures, it’s not something you have to do but it’s appreciated! Happy belated 60th birthday!!

  11. Both you and Nora rock. I love the books and I love the blog. I wanted to say I personally appreciate that you jump in when the comments on the books get really off track, and you delete when necessary.
    I am sorry for the hip replacement, but very happy that you all had such a good time.

  12. Happy Birthday, Laura! I’m so sorry to hear about the fire at Vesta. Keeping you all in my good thoughts.

  13. Love the pieces of blown glass. Love how close you all are. happy Birthday Laura. So glad to see Fall i to the Story! Always a treat! Smart to insist on vaccinations..just talked my daughter and son-in-law into getting it…now working on grandson…so important! Looking forward to your next adventure and of course Nora’s books!

  14. Love hearing about your birthday Laura! Sounds like everyone had a great time! So sorry getting a simple vaccination causes so much trouble!

  15. Laura, speaking as someone with 2 hip replacements, you’ll feel so much better when it’s done! I’ve wondered, why did I put it off so long! And Happy Birthday! You look a lot better at 60 than I did! (I turn 66 in a couple weeks)

    Sorry to hear about the fire at Vesta & if it was arson, I hope they get caught soon & don’t enjoy whatever punishment is handed out! andno, I don’t understand all the brouhaha about masks & the vaccines. But then, some people are just plain foolish…and I don’t mean me!

    1. Thanks! That’s what I keep hearing. Relying on a cortisone shot next week to get me to January. Then I hope to schedule first thing in the new year. ~Laurq

  16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Laura. Looks like you had a lovely time.

    100% agree with your decision on vaccination. In the UK we’re called double jabbers and I’m happy to say I am and I have my covid passport. Just need to find somewhere to go. 🤔 I guess it’s gonna be the Scottish Highlands again this year??!!! There are worse places. ❤️

  17. Bad vibes about the timing of the fire….Too close to the mandate….But maybe I’m reading too many of Nora’s books…..Pfffft – I could NEVER read too many books!! So sad about Vesta tough!! Such a lovely place! Find the guilty party(s) and string ’em up!! Stay safe my friends!

    1. Ooo. We think alike here. I also thought that the mandate might have had something to do with the fire but then thought I’ve read to many Eve Dallas books lol. I wish more places would 5hink along these lines especially our Elderly Residential Homes here in the U.K. I’m of the thinking that if you are looking after the elders in our community then you should have the vaccination yourself. Laura I LOVED your crown, it was a marvel to behold & remember- 60 is just a number like any other 🥰

  18. So sorry about Vesta. Best wishes for a full recovery of the business and hopefully finding the person or persons responsible. Congratulations on turning 60. Don’t stress about the hip. My partner has had both done and has said it was the best decision ever cuz “no pain”.

  19. What a fabulous birthday celebration! That glassblowing excursion sounds fantastic and makes me want to read Born in Fire again. Good thing I took advantage of a recent Audible sale and bought that series, one of my all-time-favorite reads!

    Looking forward to the new releases this fall!

    Thanks for sharing your adventure.

    1. And I meant to mention, good luck with the hip replacement. My husband had both of his done. A year apart, from a fantastic surgeon. Apparently people fly into Georgia from all over for him because he is so good with hip replacements. Hubs had the surgery on a Thursday and was back at work the next Tuesday both times. I hope your surgery is just as successful!

  20. Laura, happy birthday!! My husband finally got his hip replacement and felt like he should have done it years before. He was up and out the door in a manner of days. His advice as one who resisted for years b/c he just didn’t want to lose that cranky old hip joint: Just do all the prelim exercises and walk. You will be so glad you had it done. Best wishes to you all! The Vesta fire sounds like NR’s Blue Smoke….very sad for someone who does so much for others.

  21. Happy Birthday, Laura! Fabulous celebration! Smart choice to mandate vaccines. Sorry hat August has held so many difficulties, but happy for all the positives. Good luck with the hip replacement. You will be glad you did it. Anticipating with excitement the next release!

  22. Happy Birthday Laura! Sorry about all of the setbacks and I agree 💯 on vaccine!

  23. I totally support the vaccine mandate. My husband who has cancer is very susceptible. We went yesterday and received our 3rd Pfizer shot.
    If only more had relented to receive the vaccine, we would not be in this mess
    We wear mask, have gone back to grocery delivery, no socializing, no eating out.
    My husband’s health is the most important motivator for me. I love him so, we just celebrated 49 years married. We have had a blessed life and look forward to many more. Precautions now so that we could enjoy those years together

  24. Happy Glorious Birthday!!!

    OMG! My favorite are from Ebingers too! What delicious memories you brought back!!!!

    Horrible news about the fire…but, oh so thankful that no one was injured! Hopefully, Vesta will reopen stronger than ever!!!

    YES. YES. YES TO VAX MANDATE! I lost too many people I valued to this horrible virus!!!

    And on a separate note…so appreciative of the time Nora takes with her autographs! My mind boggles at how much time this must take … but wow…just wow!!

    Finally, Griffin is glorious!!!!

  25. Happy Birthday! I, too, had a BD in August, a biggie for me, 90. Glad all of you had a happy time celebrating before the unhappy part hit. I don’t understand peoples reluctance to get vaccinated; it’s a no-brainer to me. Let’s hope the fire was not in retaliation. September will be better.

  26. Happy Birthday, Laura and Kayla! I am so sorry to read this about Vesta! Please keep us up to date for reopening news. I love the pizza there!! Keep us in your prayers as Ida comes to visit.

  27. Thanks for your version of the summer. I enjoyed reading it very much. Sorry for the bad mixed in with the good. My husband & I are both vaccinated and were extremely thankful when it was our turns. Best of luck with your hip surgery. I walk 2 miles almost every morning and would miss doing that very much. My very best to you and Nora.

  28. Happy, happy belated birthday, Laura! Another milestone reached. Makes me think of the song from Hairspray – Welcome to the 60s! So glad you had a wonderful birthday celebration. The hip replacement will do away with the pain. Both my hips are bionic so I have personal experience. I’m looking forward to both books. You and Nora are a fabulous team! Keep smiling and blogging, we devoted fans will keep reading!

  29. Happy birthday Laura! Looks like a fun time was had by all! You look marvelous! 😁 I am sorry some people reacted badly to the loving, respectful, responsible and common sense thing to do. It actually baffles me to no end. I’m sorry about Vesta as well because people need their jobs and the food is great, so I am a little sorry for myself too. Hopefully they can open again shortly. Everyone stay safe and well! Lisa Pair Ferguson

  30. Laura, a Belated Happy Birthday 🎂, from another Laura! I’m 73 and am having my hip replaced next year, had the knee done 2 years ago. It’s not as bad as you might think. Lot less pain and limping is gone. It looks like a great surprise party! As I’m born and raised , still live in Brooklyn (though Park Slope now), I know that Ebinger’s cake quite well! I hope you enjoyed the taste and memory.
    I think Nora and BW were right about the vaccine mandate! My daughter, son-in-law 13yr old granddaughter and I are all vaccinated
    We will get booster shots when it’s time. I cancelled a trip to visit extended family in GA, as most are not vaccinated and don’t plan to be. I’m not risking my health or my children’s health because of them!
    You all did well on the glass blowing. Of course Kat, exceeded expectations.
    All fans are waiting for newest ID book on September 7th. Tell Nora we all are panting with anticipation!

  31. Happy birthday Laura and Welcome to the 60’s, I wish the pain goes away soon and you can get back to your walks. I miss seeing your photos as well.

    I enjoy seeing the updates of the comings and going’s and the photo’s. I was saddened to hear of the fire at Vesta’s, the staff was wonderful when I was last there for my 62nd birthday in July and was looking for a dish that I had when there in 2019 and they made me a version that was fantastic!

    I so hope everyone stays healthy and hope to be back to my happy place as soon as I can.

  32. Thank-you for the vaccine mandate…so sorry for all you have to go through for your decision. Happy Birthday Laura!! I also was born in Brooklyn (Brighton Beach)…Ebingers was a favorite and the yellow cake with mocha frosting was my personal favorite!!! Also love the Blackout cake…how could you not!!! Stay healthy and stay strong!

  33. I always enjoy these insight posts from you and of course Nora. This one had special meaning for me because of your Ebinger’s Birthday Cake. I grew up in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 50ies and 60ies and my Mom used to say she never baked because of Ebinger’s. My favorite cake had two layers, one yellow and one chocolate with mocha filling and Icing. My other favorite was the Othello individual cake. I’m 77 next month and I can still taste them. Happy Birthday, you looked lovely in your beautiful crown.

  34. I teared up a little reading the end of this blog post. I have been to Inn Boonsboro many times and have eaten at Visa every time we visit. I’m so sorry this has happened. I have grown to love Boonsboro through my visits. I hope Vista will be back up and running soon.

  35. Happy Birthday Laura! 60 looks great on you. Loved your informative blog, as always. I know the exact Ebinger cake you’re talking about. Toss up to personal favorite between the mocha vs the iconic blackout. There have been many imitators, but none compare. Loved Ebingers😍😍😍

  36. Congratulations on 60! What lovely friends!

    Sorry about the fire, especially since it was suspicious. That really sucks. The hip also sucks.

    I hope September swings back to July mode.

  37. I had my left knee done 3 years ago and the right knee 90 days later. The only down side was not doing it earlier! It was pretty pain free. Just do the exercises before and after as they are a big part of the recovery. Watch the meds …I took half the meds for half the time after the second surgery. End result …no pain walking and bending.

  38. Happy Bleated Birthday, Laura.

    So sorry to hear about Vesta. That’s mean. Thanks for sharing all of the fun at Greenbrier.

  39. 1st – HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURA!! 🎂 really glad y’all got to have an awesome time!
    2nd – LOVED the glass blowing items y’all made! So beautiful and creative.
    3rd – Great for y’all trying to keep people safe, but so Sad and Upsetting people have to be destructive. Truly hope y’all find who messed up Vesta, truly love their food and atmosphere.

    Y’all keep up the great work! Thanks for the over view, so fun to read about what y’all do!
    Xoxo

  40. Many happy, if belated, returns on you birthday Laura.
    Thank goodness that the Vesta fire was able to be controlled and no one was hurt. I’m sure the investigation will be fruitful and the culprits will be punished.

  41. Happy Birthday to both the birthday girls. Sounds like fun times. So sorry about the restaurant. Hope it is back soon. Looking forward to Sept release. I bought it for my birthday present for myself which is today can’t wait to get it. Blessed Be ladies you all do great work.

  42. Happy Birthday Laura! I had a hip replacement May 18th and am so happy. (Nobody told me how painful the first week would be…) Good luck and know how amazing it is to walk without pain! Nora – so sorry about Vesta. Hope everything is resolved soon. Glad you all had a good time at Greenbrier. So fun to read about it and see the photos.

  43. Happy Birthday Laura!!! You look damn fine for 60!! Keep up what you are doing💐😊

  44. Happy birthday Laura! I had both hips replaced ten years apart, and the best thing was the absolutely pain free result! It was worth it, and hope you don’t wait too long, it’s such a relief!
    Love your blog, keep up the good work and great news on books!

  45. Happy birthday, Laura. Congrats on turning 60. I hit that in May. Best of luck for your hip replacement. Actually, I’ve been told that was a breeze. My brother had his done, and was finished with his physical therapy in two weeks.

  46. Thanks for the update. I turned 60 in May and had a wonderful day too, good friends make all the difference in the world.

    I have to say I almost choked on my water as I read the part about your daughter telling them you love games. Oh Laura, that was priceless. I kept waiting to read that the scoreboard was then brought out. Those are some of my favorite stories, I always get such a smile with you and the games.

    Also loved the glass blowing, I am going to have to get out Born in Fire and enjoy a bit of Maggie and Rowan now, thanks for that.

    So sorry to hear about Vesta and I am so happy they will rebuild it, I am looking forward to eating there some day.

    Thanks for all the pictures, especially the one of that handsome Griffin.

    Hope the hip does well/better until your surgery.

  47. Happy Birthday Laura !!! loved the blog update .. i felt the same about summer … it was very sluggish… and what a shame about Vesta … hope they get to the bottom of it all. Hope you have great luck with the new hip … all i’ve heard is “ do the therapy “ and you’ll do great…

  48. Happy Belated Birthday Laura. My Granddaughter’s birthday is Sunday. She’ll be six and she’s all girl. My grandson and I share Nora’s birthday month. He’ll be 9 and I’ll be 59. He loves reminding me that I’m exactly 50 yrs older than him. Lol.
    Loved all the pictures and especially Griffin. He’s adorable.
    I agree with Nora about the vaccine mandate.
    Here in South Carolina, our Repug governor won’t mandate masks and the delta variant of Covid is running rampant in our small town and in all of the counties in Greenwood.
    Got a lot of stupid rednecks around here. But it’s not just the unvaccinated one’s getting this variant, they’re giving it the vaccinated too. ( the unvaccinated are the ones getting hospitalized and have a much serious symptoms and are put on the ventilator )
    I’ve been vaccinated since March of this year. I tell anyone who’ll listen to take it.
    So sorry to hear about Vesta and the suspicious nature of the fire, I’d bet my life, that it had to do with the mandate.
    I hope they’re found and convicted for they’re crime.
    I absolutely loved your crown.
    Ever since I read Born In Fire, I wanted to try glassblowing, I think it’d be hard but thrilling and the same time.
    Hope September is better than August. Thanks again for all you do!

  49. Happy Birthday Laura. 60 is a marvelous thing to be; old enough for the “senior discounts” and young enough to enjoy them. My birthday is in August, and when asked what I want for a gift, I always request a bookstore gift card so I can get the new JD Robb release in September. And I got what I asked for and am looking forward to Forgotten in Death.

  50. Happy 60! Laura!! Great way to spend it with friends that are family and relaxing.
    I think Bruce and Nora did the right thing with the vaccine mandates. When you are dealing with the public in their businesses, precautions are good business. Covid is not a laughing matter and any protection is good. My daughter’s university just decided on vaccine mandate and the reception was pretty positive but the negative was very loud. Hope they find out what happened and the perpetrators are caught.

  51. I thought it was a misprint about Laura turning 60. I would believe 50.
    Good on you mandating vaccine. Proud of you.

  52. I turned 60 on August 18 and went to mountains for a week. So glad all of you had a chance to get away and enjoy. Looks like it was a great one

  53. Happy Birthday Laura. What a wonderful time you had for your 60th… So sorry to hear about Vesta. I hope they find out what happened.

  54. My husband beat me to it and pre-ordered your next two books as soon as they were announced. Now I’ll have to wait two days while he finishes the books first 😢!

  55. So glad you had a lovely Birthday, celebrated my 75th a week ago, my hip problem is getting worse just so nervous about an op…. Anyway loved to catchup with the ladies antics all looks so !much fun. So sorry to hear about Vests loved visiting when I am with my brother who lives in Annapolis.🤗 Stay safe all of you.🤗

  56. Sounds like you all might need another week at the Greenbrier! Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy reading the posts here and on Facebook.

  57. I hope y’all have a restful and unfrenzied Autumn (fingers crossed). So sad to hear about the fire and hope all goes according to plan for reopening.

  58. Happy Birthday!
    I had a hip replaced in 2015 and it was the best thing ever! Bit of advice, make sure you massage the incision area to prevent the build-up of scar tissue which can hinder mobility in the future.

  59. Happy birthday 🎉 Laura, sorry about that fire 😔 I can’t believe the contention Covid-19 is developing. Sigh. Your glass blowing was amazing. I’m adding it to my bucket list.
    I’ve spent most of our winter DIYing. Can’t wait for summer… Hopefully we’ll have kicked Delta to the curb so we can travel to our favorite camping site’s and maybe find new ones.

  60. Belated Happy Birthday Laura. The day before my ex was born his parents got into a car accident on the way home from his grandparent’s house in Brooklyn. His very pregnant mom had an Ebinger’s chocolate cake on her lap. The cake ended up smooshed all over her ready to deliver belly.

  61. Laura, Happy Belated Birthday! Ain’t it grand to have such special friends throw a little surprise party with all your wishes granted (cake especially)! So glad ya had fun on vacay! I am going to check into a glass blowing class. It looks like fun. So sorry to hear about the fire. Hope it all is worked out and fixed soon. I loved the crown-so festive! You and Nora please take care and stay safe!

  62. Happy Birthday, Laura. You really look like a girl in her 40’s. That crown was beautiful. I hope your surgery goes well, and you’ll be back to your old energetic self. I still live in Brooklyn, NY, a great place to live.

    I’m sorry to hear about the fire. I just don’t understand some people. Any business has a right to protect it’s staff and customers. Anyone has a right not to be vaccinated, but don’t expect to go about business as usual while you put everyone around you at risk.

    I’m counting the days till Forgotten comes out. Any day now.

  63. Happy Birthday, Laura and Kayla!
    Wow, the Vesta tragedy had shades of one of my favorite NR stories. So good that noone was hurt and I hope there is justice and closure. These times can make it hard to do the right thing, but I can’t see another choice you could have made regarding the vaccines.

  64. Happy birthday, Laura! Love the crown,
    So sorry to hear about Vesta. Hope recovery and finding the culprit are swift and painless.

    I wanted to send a Happy birthday to Lu who turned 90, but the blog won’t let me. It keeps telling me it’s a duplicate comment. ?? So happy 90th, Lu. 90 plus is one of my goals. May you have many more

  65. Laura, I had a total hip replacement 2years ago April. Not a problem at all-I went back to my horse riding 6 weeks after the surgery. You got this. Oh, and Happy Birthday!

  66. Yesterday was my 63rd birthday! Very hard to believe because most of me doesn’t feel 63, except my feet. No walking (for exercise) for me, either.

    For me the life-changing surgery was on my back in 2009. Before, it was hard to walk and impossible to stand up straight. Thank heavens for a standout surgeon and modern medicine! But my feet, a more recent issue, aren’t as easy to solve. (Different problem for each foot.)

    I’m very proud of Nora and BW for the decision they made. How ridiculous and downright nasty that someone could try to damage their business (and someone’s living space!) for that decision. I hope the mystery is solved soon.

  67. Thank you for the lovely story of your stay. Happy birthday I am glad you got spoilt. Sorry to hear of the dramas on coming home. Also hope all goes well with Vesta, so sorry to hear of this. At least everyone was safe. Hope things improve for you all soon, take care and keep safe. And thank you Laura for keeping us updated and Nora for the stories. They are keeping me sane at the moment.

  68. Happy birthday Laura!
    Love reading about the Smart Girls escapades. I am just now revisiting JD’s “Promises In Death” and the part about the shower/sleep over for Louise. Smart girls… made me smile. You ladies do have a lot of fun… love it!

  69. Happy Birthday Laura. Glad you were able to enjoy some alone time at the spa. All of you know how to enjoy your time together. Everyone did a great job on their glass blowing. So sorry about Vesta. Stay safe.

  70. Great update. Happy Birthday to all. Sorry about the reaction to the mandate. It’s a hassle but needed to be done. I hope the police resolve the ‘Vesta’ fire. Have a fabulous September.

  71. Happy belated birthday Laura. What a great way to spend turning 60 and you certainly look great for turning 60! Sorry to hear of the fire at Vesta and hope they find who did it. Kudos to Nora for the vaccine mandate. I wish more would follow that policy. Summer is done and here comes the fall. Good luck and best wishes to all.

  72. I’m so sorry to hear about the fire at Vesta. Every time I’m near Boonsboro, that’s one of my favorite stops! The pizza is amazing. Glad no one was hurt and I’m so happy that you’re looking out for your employees and your community. Happy 60th to Laura!

  73. Laura, you look “mahvelus dahling” on your 60th!! What a fun celebration!! If everyone followed Nora and BD’s decision about shots the world would be better off! I just don’t understand people these days who are being so selfish and ignorant. So sorry about Vesta! Good luck on your surgery! I am soon to have surgery for my second round of breast cancer and it is scary to me with covid so rampant again! Thanks for brightening my day with your entertaining story!! Looking forward to Tuesday and Forgotten in Death!!

  74. I hope all will get better for all. I have to tell you a hip is easier than a knee. I had one 6 years ago and things have certainly progressed since then. You will be so happy when you do this!
    Take care and good thoughts and prayers!

  75. I think of myself as a Nora Robert’s super fan. I’ve read most of her books at least twice, some many more.
    This is the first time I’ve read one of these blog posts and it’s just made me love her more.
    So grateful for people in the public spotlight willing to speak up for the vaccine. I have 2 children that aren’t yet old enough to be vaccinated and feel those who can need to step up and keep not only my children but others safe!
    Happy belated birthday and good luck with your surgery.

  76. Happy Belated 60th Birthday. I just had my 63rd in August. Got my 3rd Pfizer vaccine yesterday. Already pre-order Forgotten In Death. Can hardly wait, but also sad, because will have it read in one day then have to wait for the next. Usually reread the entire series yearly. Hope the rest of the year improves for everyone. Best of wishes for Nora, you and the JD family at large.

  77. Happy 60th Laura! Looks like it was a blast…your wares from the furnace are beautiful. The Greenbrier was on our list to celebrate turning 50, but it will wait awhile longer. There’s this virus going around ya know…vax mandate good choice. 👍

    Sorry to hear of events. This is where the divide is seen for good vs bad about social media. Good to celebrate birthdays and really cute grandchildren…bad to conjure and spread misinformation about science. Good luck and God Bless.

    Ps…we vacation alot at Antietam, sorry to hear others in area are that selfish. We have met some of the nicest people in area.

  78. Belated happy birthday Laura! You look great love the crown. Hope your hip surgery is soon. Mine has to wait need to lose some more weight first. I love the pictures you post. Glad you had a great time away.

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