Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ode to Bill W.

As usual, it's another busy weekend after another busy week, but this weekend was punctuated with sadness as we traveled up to the 1,000 Islands-area for my brother-in-law Larry's father's funeral. Bill Walldroff was a kind and caring man, and much loved by his family and community, alike. The upside, was, of course, seeing my nephews, niece, and other relatives and friends.

Every once in a while I think about when I might "leave this life," and when I do I want the following passage either read or printed somewhere. It's one of my favorites, and I think it brings much comfort in very sad times:

I am standing on the sea shore. A ship sails and spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at last she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says: ‘She is gone.’ Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all; she is just as large in the masts, hull a spars as she was when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination. The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not her; and just at the moment when someone at my side says; ‘She’s gone’ there are others who are watching her coming and other voices take up a gland shout, ‘There she comes’, and that is dying. -Bishop Charles Henry Brent (1862-1929)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hamster Wheel Blues

These past few weeks (specifically, since school started) have been like being on a hamster wheel. It seems like there is some obligation every night of the week, and catch-up and other stuff to do every weekend. For the past three Thursdays alone we've been double and triple booked in the evenings. Between homework, play practice, dog training, Annalisse's Reading Clinic, after school clubs, evening meetings, and work committments time at home has been spent rushing from one place to the next until we finally collapse into bed at the end of the day. For the last couple of weeks anyway, gone are the days of coming home from work, having a leisurely dinner, taking a long walk with the dog (although we still get our walk in), and getting a smoothie along the way. No wonder I lament the loss of Summer! Breathe...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Surgery Update

It's 11:00 and all is well. Mark is home, and the surgery on his wrist went as well as can be expected. He has to keep it elevated on what appears to be a very large block of sponge Swiss cheese, and he is not feeling any pain because of the pain blocker (I don't mean to say he's "out of it," just that he's not feeling any discomfort. He appears to be very "with it."). Now he's off work for two weeks, much of which will be spent, I expect, hanging on the couch with Jasper. Then, he'll be in a long cast for two weeks, then in a short cast, then, who knows what...!

So, we'll have a light lunch of chicken soup, then a nap (having risen at 5 a.m. to get to the surgery center at 6:15 a.m. - early even for us Bakers). He's off for

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Bat Chronicles - Take III

The bat saga continues. Remember when Mark was swinging that fishing net at our bat intruder the first time? What I didn't tell you is that during this "tense" time, he heard a *pop* in his wrist, and it hurt really bad for many weeks after. In typical male fashion, he shrugged it off and would not get it checked out. I finally convinced him to go to the doctor a couple of weeks ago, and it turns out he has a very bad/traumatic wrist injury.

The diagnosis: the ligaments in his wrist have ripped away from the bone, and he will be having surgery to reattach them on Tuesday. The doctor said it was pretty atypical to see this type of injury resulting from what Mark described - it's the type of injury and damage that he usually sees if someone falls off their rollerblades, or has a bad fall on the ice. He said the bat-swing was probably the last straw after a long period of wrist stress. Looking back I do remember times when Mark said his wrist hurt after bowling, fishing and other activities (lifting, throwing).

So, after surgery Mark will be hanging with the dog for a couple weeks at home, then will have a wrist cast for eight weeks or so. If all goes well complete recovery could take up to a year. We'll keep you posted!

Sign of the Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Get ready all you non-Libras! The time has come for you to bow down to the sign of the scales and serve us (if you look around, I think you'll find there are a lot of Libras out there - January and February tend to be very cold months). In our house, there are three Libras: Annalisse (October 5), Judy (October 8), and Mark (October 17 - although I'm not sure how he got into the sign since he possesses some decidedly non-Libra traits...mostly in his professional life). I had once heard the statistic that the day most people are born is October 5. We know five people with that birthday, and we're meeting more all the time.

Some fun Libra facts for you:
  • Libra is the newest of all the signs and before Roman times, didn’t exist as a separate Constellation. It was the Romans and their love of balance and harmony, that couldn’t abide a solar system of 11, unequal signs. To bring things together and have everything balanced, they created Libra, out of Scorpio.

  • Librans sprout from a series of contradictions: self versus non-self, mental versus emotional, pleasure versus pathos, helpfulness versus helplessness, generosity versus greed, kindness versus coldness, control versus chaos. Underneath the smiling face and stellar charm lies a character with many ambivalences

  • Best qualities: Friendliness, Fairness, Gracefulness; Worst Qualities: Indecisiveness, Laziness; Best Match: Sagittarius; Worst Match: Virgo; Best Day: Friday; Worst Day: Wednesday; Favorite Weakness: Romance

  • The Libra sign of the scales is the only non-human/non-animal sign in the zodiac.

Every year for the last 15 years or so I go out to dinner with my friends Meg and Jo Ann for our annual "Libra Dinner." We try to go somewhere where we can draw attention to ourselves, and inevitably end up celebrating with a ton of other self-identified Libras in the restaurant. I'm not sure any other sign makes such a big deal of it, or feels so self-important!

So, during this month of the Libra, be aware that the person sitting next to you may be secretly sitting there...feeling superior...wondering if you might be a Libra, too.

And I'll leave you with this little gem: Q: How many Libras does it take to change a light bulb? A: Libras can't decide if the bulb needs to be changed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Very Nice Day, So Far

It's mid-way through our anniversary day, and it's been a nice, celebratory day so far - mostly thanks to Mark. I received the beautiful fall arrangement (at left) just before noon, then we went out to lunch. On the way to lunch Mark surprised me with a set of fresh-water pearl earrings, but since I had a pair that was similar we went to James Salerno Jewelers (where we had gotten our wedding rings, and just about every piece of jewelry since), and I we exchanged them for a pearl choker. I've wanted a nice pearl necklace for some time, and now I have a nice one that I can pass onto Annalisse later. Thanks to Mark for his thoughtfulness on this special day!

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Wow. Where did the time go? The memories from 20 years away are bittersweet, making it hard to even think about watching the video (which I haven't done in years) with so many of our loved ones gone. Still, a lot of great stuff has happened, including our family, and our life in general (how "great" it is depends on the day!).

How are we spending our big day? Mostly at work, a Annalisse's play meeting after work, Annalisse's confirmation class, and a walk with the dog. We're probably having reubens for dinner. We'll have to save our special dinner out until the weekend as real life tends to get in the way!

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Dark Day for Donuts

What has the world come to? First the mortgage crisis, then, yesterday, we lost the only Krispy Kreme in our area. And apparently the carnage doesn't stop there. I had to sit Cameron down to break the news to him. Never again will I hear him ask, "Mom, why does my stomach always hurt when I eat four Krispy Kremes?" Sure, there are the pre-packed versions you can get in supermarkets and convenience stores, but who are we kidding? It's not the same as a KK employee plucking one of those hot "samples" right off the conveyor belt. We will miss you, oh pillows of fluffy hot sugar -- and you didn't even taste the first one.

Could we have a moment of silence, please?

(I'm sure it was purely a business decision - apparently they weren't "making enough dough...")

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fashionista Canine

Why, oh why, does his sister need to dress him up in clothes? Today's look: an understated yet fashionable white t-shirt that makes him look like a "big dog."

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fourth Ave. Street Picnic

Now, I don't mean to keep going on about this, but here's another reason we moved to the Village of Fairport: the street party. The picnic has been going on a lot longer than we've lived here, but for the last couple of years we have held it, during which we block off the street, on the Friday night after the first day of school. It seems a fitting way to celebrate getting through the first three days, and the kids (and parents) don't need to worry about getting up early the next morning. Everyone brings something to throw on the grill, drinks, and a dish to pass. With (at last count) 23 kids on the street all under the age of 14, it's a great sight to see the kids enjoying themselves playing after-dark games, riding bikes and generally enjoying all being outside at once. It reminds me of "the good old days" when kids actually played outside every day/night!

Our New Neighbor

Today, we welcomed a new neighbor to the street: Miss Lola McTwiggen, an 8-week old West Highland Terrier (Westie). She is a cute 3-pound ball of wiry white fur. Welcome, Lola!
Now, let your family sleep through the night!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Most Wonderful Day

~Among all the anxiety (What if I can't open my locker??!)

~Among all the excitement (I can't wait to see Mrs. Connor!)

~Among all the supplies chaos (Where are the 5" binders?)

~Among all the demands for new clothes (I know I can't even close my drawers, but I really want to go to Abercrombie!)

Comes the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! The only (and I do mean only) thing I don't like about school: the morning rush and packing lunches. Other than that, it's all good.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Movie-on-the-Garage Night

For the last three years (since we moved to our house), we've been invited to our neighbor's house for an old fashioned movie night. Usually held the Sunday before the first day school, it's a great end-of-summer celebration where 8mm cartoons are shown on a sheet hung from their garage. Starting at dusk, while the kids and parents much on popcorn, peanuts, and candy, Mr. Gates projects short films featuring Woody Woodpecker, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Chip-n-Dale, and lessons from Jiminy Cricket. My favorite is the longer movie about Johnny Appleseed, who "Thanks the Lard" (Lord) for the apple tree. Every year the Gates' add to their collection, and this year's new feature was a black-and-white classic about how Bugs Bunny foils two not-so-smart gangster/robbers, one of whom sounds suspiciously like Barney Rubble. Mr. Gates also added an adult feature this year, an episode of the 70s show M*A*S*H, but it was 10pm by the time the cartoons were done (And it was cold. And the bugs were really biting.), so we didn't stick around. It's just a fun old-fashioned event, and a chance to see neighborhood friends one more time before the schools routine kicks in again!