Monday, June 30, 2008

The Family Historian

We're just back from a tiring but good trip up north to Massena. In two visit-filled days we were able to see my mother, several aunts, my uncle, cousins, my niece and a handful of friends. A hightlight: stopping into the Dairy Queen for a chocolate-dipped vanilla custard (the kids LOVE the DQ). On Sunday morning, my 7th grade boyfriend, Pete, treated us to a ride down the St. Lawrence in his boat. As the morning started out the skies looked threatening, but it turned out to be a nice sunny day for a ride.

We stopped "up the hill" to see Aunt Carol Chase (who is technically my father's first cousin), who will turn 88 next week. We had a quick chat and a walk around her beautiful lawn/garden. I've always enjoyed spending time with Aunt Carol (who still lives in the same house her father built in the early 1900s), and chatting about the family history, as well as current events. She never strayed far from home and did not travel very much in her lifetime, but I always thought she possessed a very worldly view of things. Her health has been declining lately, especially with a recent fall in her yard, so I wanted to be sure we were able to spend some time with her on this visit.

On the way home we stopped by The River House restaurant in Pulaski that's owned by one of my many cousins. So, I'm back to my other life now, the kids are ready to chill out for a day or two, and I'm ready to head back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

See You in September

On Saturday, Mark's mom leaves the country for a year in Turkey. She's going to join David, Amanda and Jackson for a year to help out with Jackson's care when Mandy goes back to work in July. We'll really miss her, but the good news is she'll be back for three weeks in September, until she's gone again until next June. Annalisse has iChat on her Apple so we need to get that up and running (for some reason she has some connection problems), and that will help. What did we ever do before technology? At a minimum Mom will be communicating through e-mail and the blog I set up for her. With Mom's year abroad comes Mercy's year-long adventure with the Bakers. Mercy will probably come back into our house after her last stay and, upon being greeted by an overenthusiastic dog who thinks he's her size, roll her eyes and hiss, "Not him again!"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weeds Be Gone!

I finally accomplished something I said I would this weekend. I hoed out the garden, got rid of all the weeks, and planted two flats of begonias. It felt so great to turn that soil over and have everything look neat again. But, the fun's not over yet. I need to get out again today and work on a couple of different sections of the yard. Mark spent the better part of yesterday cleaning and prepping the fence for a much needed painting.

Today, Mark is off for a couple of hours of fishing with Scott on the Canal, and Annalisse and I are off to take the pup swimming. Don't you just love "relaxing" on the weekend?

Friday, June 20, 2008

June 20 - A Momentous Day!

June 20 is a momentous day in the Baker family! One year ago today, our furriest, lickiest family member joined us, and we can't imagine life without him now!

But that's not all that makes this day special - today is the last day of school. Cameron finished classes last week and has been taking tests all week, but Annalisse finishes today for good. We are all a little bummed that school is over for this year. It's been a great year for both kids, especially Annalisse who enjoyed her teachers and her friends very much. It's probably also been a pleasurable year for Cam (we wouldn't know because he does say), but there were a couple of bumps along the way until he got on track academically. There was one teacher in particular that he made a connection with this year, and the rest were really good about keeping me in the loop with his progress. Can you believe that three years from now we'll be celebrating his high school graduation?? Wait! Wasn't he just going to kindergarten?

To top the day off one of my co-workers is having a bark-a-rita party at noon. We'll all bring our dogs along to her fenced-in yard and drink margaritas while they run around and tire themselves out. The weather this week has been crappy, so I'm hoping it will clear up by noon. The more margaritas we drink, the sunnier it will get anyway. The best part is she's my neighbor so I can walk home afterward!

So here's to a fun Friday and a weekend of working in the yard. I'm determined to get the back garden in shape (but if it rains I'll be forced to take a nap...pray for rain)!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meet the Authors!

A couple of months ago I posted a blog entry about the locally published memoir, Seven Women, Seven Lives, of which three of my Fourth Avenue neighbors were contributors. The authors were recently featured in a Democrat & Chronicle article, and you can meet them this Saturday (June 21) at Fairport’s Red Bird Market (Village Landing) from 10am-noon. They'll be signing copies of their book and greeting their adoring fans.

Congrats again to Ann, Elaine and Donna! Come on down to meet these great ladies and their writing partners and cheer them on!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You'll never get rich from a yard sale

Some things, like death and taxes, are a sure thing. Like the fact that you'll never get rich from a yard sale, but it will sure feel good to get rid of a lot of junk!

The yard sale had a lot of steam on Friday, which ended up being a beastly hot and humid day after early threats of thunderstorms that thankfully moved away from us. Cameron made out the best having sold his X-Box game system right off the bat, plus a ton of computer games and books. Annalisse did pretty will also and was able to get rid of a lot of stuffed toys and books, and we achieved our goal: making enough $$ to go out for dinner...just barely.

I always start off with such high hopes that I'll make more cash than I do at our sales, then I remember it's a little hard to really make any money when everything is marked for 25-50 cents, or at the (high) bargain price of $1. Still, it was enough to go to the Turkish Festival on Friday night and buy four dinners. Mark's friend Scott did a brisk business with his mini tackle shop, and there were some very happy fishermen from Faiport and beyond after leaving our house.

Saturday was a washout by 10:30am as the sky started a slow drizzle that continued all day. We packed up by noon, cooked some burgers on the grill, then took a nap. As usual, the weekend has passed too quickly and I still have not weeded or scraped/painted the fence. Maybe next weekend..!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Awards Day

Today was a monumental day of Baker Family awards. This afternoon, we went to the 7th grade awards ceremony at Annalisse's school where she recieved the 7th grade English award for her "team," and the Attitude award (I'm assuming that means for "good" attitude versus what we see when she's overtired or doesn't get her way). Then, Cam came home with an art studio award. Congrats, Baker kids! Well done!

Fourth Avenue Street Sale!

Clean out the attic and the garage, because here comes the Annual Fourth Avenue Street Sale! We'll be hawking our wares Friday and Saturday between 9am-4pm, and so far about 10 neighbors are participating in he sale. Mark's friend Scott will be bringing over a ton of fishing rods, reels and other stuff, so we're hoping that will be a big draw (he'll be our "anchor store"). We're selling some stuff left over from last year, plus other "treasures" we dug up since last June.

So come on over check things out. My goal: to make enough money to go out for dinner!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jasper Baker, CGC

Just like anyone else who is proud of the degrees they earn, Jasper can add the initials CGC to the end of his name now: yesterday, at puppy class graduation, he passed AKC's Canine Good Citizen test. The purpose of the test is to demonstrate that the dog can be a respected member of the community, and can be trained and conditioned always to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs in a manner that will reflect credit on the dog. The CGC Test is not a competitive program, but rather a program of certification; it seeks to identify and recognize officially those dogs that possess the attributes that enable them to serve effectively as personal companions and as members in good standing with the community (

Now that Jasper is certified, he can continue on the path to becoming a therapy dog. The CGC certification is also often required if you're travelling with your pet (to stay in hotels), so having that distinction can only help. Annalisse has been his main handler during training, and she's really awesome at it! Congrats, Jabber!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Airport H*LL

Have you ever heard people tell outrageous airline stories about numerous airline delays that eventually result in a flight cancellation, an expensive overnight stay, a rescheduled flight the next day that is also delayed (and will drop you in a city 70 miles from home)?

You guessed it: I had the return trip from Hell out of Chicago. There was delay after delay followed by cancellation after cancellation because of several days worth of weather backups resulting from storms in the mid-west. So, these days, not only do you need to get to the airport two hours before your scheduled flight and pay really careful attention to the size of your carry-on bottles and be prepared to ditch other"contraband" (like bottled water), you have to sit in a stifling, stinky, overcrowded, tension-filled airport for seven hours. Your reward: paying $250 a night to stay in the Hilton that adjoins the airport so you can get back to the gate bright and early, only to find your morning flight delayed. AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!! This is tough stuff to swallow for someone who can't stand crowds and hates to stand in line for anything. No wonder I can't imagine watching that show "Airline" on the A&E channel. I get really uptight just thinking about it.

The worst part: I missed the opening of Fairport's Canal Days and the fireworks on Friday night (I was originally supposed to be home by 7:30pm), I had to cancel my sister's visit, I missed Jasper's puppy class graduation (more on that later), I missed all of Saturday's Canal Days' activities, and I got Cameron to his mandatory People to People meeting an hour late.

But, I got home at 2pm (Mark had to drive to Buffalo to pick me up) and all is well. Originally, this blog was going to be about how awesome a city Chicago is (I was staying at the Hyatt Regency downtown, which was a couple of blocks away from the exclusive shopping district of Michigan Avenue), and how clean and beautiful it is, with amazing architecture all around. I would love to spend more time there, but next time maybe I'll drive (which is pretty unrealistic, though, given gas prices). Now I know: my kind of town, Chicago is!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Kind of Town? Chicago is?

Tomorrow I head to Chicago for a quick overnight for work. Finally, I'll actually be able to say I've been in Chicago "for real." I certainly have been through O'Hare enough, but that doesn't count! I'll get in around 7:30pm on Friday and be heading directly to the Canal Days kick-off, the funnest night of the year in Fairport! See you at the fireworks!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wow! What a weekend!

This was one of the most productive weekends we've had in a long time. It's a good thing, too, since it's bookended between two extremely busy weekends: last weekend we were in Roanoke and next weekend is Canal Days (Come on down! You'll be in the company of 200,000 of your closest friends for what promises to be an excellent weather weekend!). Just a summary of some of the accomplishments of the weekend:

  • I planted a couple of herbs and veggie plants in the garden;
  • Mark mowed the lawn and weed-whacked;
  • I mopped the kitchen floor;
  • Mark tore down some loose wallpaper in the side entrance (only to reveal that one wall had YET ANOTHER layer of wallpaper);
  • We finally bought new smoke detectors (but who knows when they'll get mounted) and bird seed (the birds and squirrels have been waiting patiently);
  • I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie (lucky Morey!);
  • We went to the farmer's market, the Asian market (pork dumplings this week!), and the Indian Market (samosas next week!);
  • I did four loads of laundry (and put it away!);
  • I vacuumed and dusted upstairs (I still need to do downstairs);
  • We swept and mopped the front porch (which was yellow from so much pollen dust), and brought the jade plant out for its summer vacation;
  • We went for loads of walks, including one that culminated in smoothies all around;
  • and lastly, we took a nap today!

Satisfaction! Contentment!