Saturday, May 31, 2008

Half the dog he used to be...

...and yet twice the fun.

Jasper came home from the vet yesterday weighing a little less after being neutered. Of course, the vet didn't want to give him back because he is so sweet. He had a good first night home, with minimal attempts at licking his wounds. We finally removed the cone around 10pm because he was just standing by the bed staring at Mark...not very happy. Then, he jumped up on the bed and had a great nights sleep.

Today he'll be taking it easy after a quick walk to the market, and maybe hanging out with us as we scrape the fence in prep for painting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fairport is Tops!

I haven't gone on for a while about how awesome Fairport is, but it's time to point out that Fairport (and also, technically, the surrounding area of Perinton - very confusing) was voted one of the Top 100 Best Places in America for 2008 by Relocate-America. Fairport and Saratoga Springs were the only towns chosen for New York State. That seems like a great reason to celebrate with a gelato, or a cup of coffee at Fairport Village Coffee, or a beer at the newly opened Mulconry's Irish pub, or a boat ride down the Canal on the Colonial Belle, or...

Crazy Week

It's been a crazy week of catch-up after our whirlwind trip to Virginia. Trip update since the last entry: Sue and Ken were great guides to the Roanoke area, and we spent a lot of time downtown at the market and surrounding area. On Sunday, Mark headed out to fish with a guide, and we headed for the hills. We took a scenic drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Floyd, VA, , a stop on the Crooked Road, Viriginia's Heritage Music Trail.

After lunch in Floyd, we took the Blue Ridge Parkway with the intent of stopping at a winery, and were lucky to discover Mabry's Mill, a place Sue had wanted to visit for a long time but had never stumbled upon (see picture). Then after a stop at Chateau Morrisette winery, we headed back to Roanoke for the spaghetti dinner that Sue and Ken won during Cameron's raffle.
The next morning it was up early to head back up north, but not before a stop once again at the Country Cupboard to stock up on sticky buns (with walnuts) and no-bake cookies!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Road Trip

Greetings from Roanoke, Virginia (well, technically, Salem) where we are visiting friends Sue and Ken for the long holiday weekend. (If you think you would like to take this opportunity to break into our house, don't even think about it. The house is being guarded by a vicious Golden Retriever who will probably bark your ear off and lick you to death if you try to enter. Oh, yeah, and we have a house sitter there, too.)

We made the nine-hour trip down on Friday, and it went pretty fast. The highlight was, like any snowbird will tell you, stopping by the Country Cupboard in Lewisburg, PA. There's no place like it around for great "home cookin'," old fashioned candy and awesome baked goods (we have to stock up on no-bake cookies and sticky buns on the way home).

Yesterday Sue and Ken showed us around the city. We went to the market district for the farmer's market and speciality shops, saw some sites, had GREAT FOOD, went to a festival, and just generally did touristy things. It's a very nice area with great historic brick houses. The area Sue and Ken live in (the City of Salem), in particular is very quaint, and they live within walking distance to a lot of things, including the downtown area.

This morning Mark left early for a day of fishing with a guide, and our day lay out before us, ripe with possibilities. Maybe a short road trip is in order...although being on the road tomorrow for another nine hours, we wouldn't want to be on the road too long today!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Baker Blog!

I knew it was "some time this month," but I finally took the time to check when the our blog had its first entry: May 15, 2007. So, the wishes are a little late (what's new?), but HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY, BAKER BLOG! We've had visitors from all over the world, and from just about every state in the U.S. (that's the most interesting part to me). Something happened to my counter (for some reason it re-set itself), but before it pooped out we had about 8,000 visits.

I hope you have enjoyed sharing in our not-very-exciting-but still-satisfying-lives! I wonder what the next year will bring?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Day In the Life - Middle School

Yesterday I spent the day at Annalisse's middle school volunteering for the Staff Appreciation Lunch (taco bar with VERY BAD deserts of eclairs and cheesecake). Since I work full-time and don't get a chance to be as involved as stay-at-home moms might be, I love to volunteer when I can. It gives me a chance to get a glimpse into a "day in the life of the middle school," and Annalisse loves the novelty of having her mom in the building all day (she actually admits this). She has wonderful teachers this year (and has had wonderful teachers during her entire time in the Fairport schools), and it's great to see them, too.

But it didn't end there! I chaperoned the 6th/7th-grade fun night which brought together the two Fairport middle schools. The "fun night" (we used to call them dances) was a much anticipated event as a lot of the kids could not wait to reconnect with their friends from elementary school. I worked three shifts in different locations, the last of which was the gym where the kids were dancing. I use that term loosely, however, as dancing in 2008 seems to mean all bumping and jumping together in a group, mosh-style. In some large moving masses there must have been at least 50 kids. The more experienced (male) teachers would move thorough the undulating crowds breaking them up and dispersing the kids. Us amateur chaperones would mostly hang on the fringes wondering what to do...! Annalisse managed to avoid me all night, but was happy to head home where she fell into bed in an exhausted stupor.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandma Pat!

A very happy 65th birthday to our mother/grandma Pat! The day is yours!

Not a Huge Fan of Crowds

We went to the Lilac Festival last night. Oh, you've heard of it? If you're from Rochester there's no way you could not hear of it. The wafting scent of fragrant lilacs combined with the heavy smell of fried dough - there's nothing like it. And yes, we went on a Monday night. Around 7pm. I must confess, I CANNOT stand crowds or standing in a long line for ANYTHING anymore (I'm not sure I ever could). It's a theme that has been emerging the older I get. Breckenridge during mud season when most of the stores are closed? Works for me! Nantucket in early May before high season? No crowds, but some restaurants aren't open yet. Vermont at Veteran's Day? Hey...I can actually walk around this store! Disney? Forget it unless we can get there mid-January. When I actually did go to Disney for the first time last year for a conference, I bought an after-hours ticket for the Magic Kingdom (which was within walking distance of my hotel), headed over at 4pm, stood in a relatively quick line for "It's a Small World," walked around the park once, and headed back to my hotel by 5:30. So, that's done. The crowds were even a bit much in the late afternoon the last week in April. I cannot even imagine what it must be like when everyone is there for spring break. And the mother of all crowds to avoid: Black Friday. Those people who get up at 4pm to get $20 off a DVD player have got to be the most outrageous of all (I realize I may offend some readers, many of which are my relatives, who love this crazy activity but, YOU PEOPLE ARE INSANE).

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Dream Mother's Day

My dream Mother's Day: getting up late, walking with the dog to get my multi-flavored Green Mountain coffee, coming home and leisurely eating my darkly toasted everything bagel with lots of butter while I slowly and quietly peruse the Sunday paper. I'd take a shower eventually, maybe after my nap, and maybe watch movie or two that I've been dying to see. The day would probably also include a nice walk with the dog, and maybe dinner at one of my many favorite restaurants - or a cookout dinner at home. I'd fall into bed at night, already relaxed from my day, and get a great night's sleep so I could wake up refreshed and ready to face the work week on Monday. Oh! And the dog would sleep quietly and would not wander around and jump on-and-off the bed all night.

My actual Mother's Day: the alarm rang at 6:15, and I jumped into the shower to get ready for church and teaching the little darlings at Sunday school. Then home for a quick run up to the field with the dog, then over to a dog-friend's house to get some rocks for our gardens, then over to Lena's for a Mother's Day brunch, then home for 45 minutes, then over to Pat's for dinner, then home for a walk with the dog, then collapse into bed (with a couple of loads of laundry and regular chores thrown in).

Don't get me wrong! Even though it was busier than I would have liked, it still had a great Mother's Day! The kids gave me what I requested: peace (no fighting or whining), harmony (absolutely no fighting or whining), and cooperation (I used the Mother's Day excuse to have them take out the dog, clean their rooms, empty the dishwasher, ect.).

Friday, May 9, 2008

Spring Dreams of Summer in the Village

Another (long) work week almost down the drain. I'm very excited because the pace in the Village of Fairport is really starting to pick-up. Everyone is out and about now, and it's even getting harder to get through our evening walk in a reasonable amount of time because we meet so many folks to chat with along the way. We were out of town last weekend when the farmer's market opened, and we're approaching shopping at the market, and Village life in general, with renewed interest considering the skyrocketing price of gas and groceries. We're going to try to buy all our vegetables for the week at the Saturday market, all our meat at Skip's, the butcher in town, and a lot of "other" stuff at the newly opened Red Bird Market in the Village Landing. In four short weeks will be Canal Days, then old car night will start back up, then Thursday concerts at the gazebo, then...!! Throw in a couple of new restaurants, many ice creams, gelatos and smoothies and you've got a great reason to get away from the computer and the TV. Oh, and better add in a lot more walks to keep off the effects of the ice creams, gelatos and smoothies!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Heading to the Chopping Block

We've recently made the decision that in the next couple of weeks we're going to get Jasper neutered. How soon depends on when we can fit it in...but we're definitely going to do it "soon." Our breeder had asked that we try to wait until he was two years old (that's when the male golden's testosterone makes it way through the system, and he will have the full advantage of and beauty of being a male Golden Retriever), but we've noticed he's getting unpredictably aggressive with other male dogs. I know! Can you believe it? The most mellow dog in the world? But, when we're walking on the street or at the dog field we're just never sure how he's going to react these days. So, off "they" will come, and all will be well with the world! Snip, snip!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Haunted Colorado

A month or so before our trip to Denver, we saw a great show on the Travel Channel (I think it was) about Haunted Colorado. Of courses, we decided we just HAD to see some of the spots featured on the show.

The first was the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, about an hour north of Denver. I think I mentioned in the previous post that this was the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. Last Monday we took the ghost tour, and here are our pictures, complete with "orbs" (click on pictures to enlarge).

There are four rooms in the hotel that our tour guide said were "very haunted." To the right is a shot of room 217, where Stephen King stayed, and Jim Carey lasted only a couple of hours before going to the front desk and demanding they book him at a different hotel. Notice the orb on the left side of the bed.

To the right is a shot of a room on the fourth floor, which is officially the hotel's attic, but was made into rooms for the maids and children who accompanied their parents to the resort.
Word is it's so creepy the maids won't even clean it. Enlarge to see the orbs (note, the circle in the upper left is not an orb, it's a fire alarm), the largest one being over the pillow of the bed near the door.

Finally, above is a shot of the fourth floor hallway where Stephen King "saw" the boy and girl playing with a ball. You can see an orb in the bottom left of the hall. It was very creepy up there with a low ceiling and dim lighting.

Down the street where we stayed on Pennsylvania Avenue in Denver, stands the Molly Brown House (of Titanic fame - who hasn't heard of Molly Brown?). They would not allow you to take pictures during the tour, but I spoke with a girl afterward who was one of the former curators of the house and she confirmed the house is very haunted, with occurrences happening just about every day. She's experienced a lot of stuff like doors opening and closing, smelling fresh cigar smoke, footsteps and figures while she worked in the house.

The Brown Hotel, Breckenridge

On our day trip to Breckenridge, the locals told us about The Brown Hotel, which is supposedly also very haunted and has had a tragic past. There are all kinds of stories about sightings in the women's room of the tavern. Unfortunately, when we got to the door, it was closed, as many of the town businesses were when we visited. It was just our luck that we came during "mud season," the time between the end of ski season and the beginning of the summer tourist season when when many business shut down for a month or two. Bummer! But, we did get a nice shot of the outside.

It was a lot of fun visiting actual haunted places, but I can't report any interesting things about our experiences...we didn't sense a thing!