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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

One Week To Go

Well, we have only one week to go until Cameron returns from Europe. While I hate to wish his great trip away, I really can't wait until he gets back. It seems like ages since we've seen him! To add to our future state of childlessness, Annalisse is going camping with a friend in the 1,000 Islands this weekend from Friday night until Sunday night. What the heck will we do with all this free time?! Maybe I will get that weeding done after all (after my nap).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pardon Me, Do You Have any Grey Poupon?

This article caught my eye yesterday. I think I'll have to start a label for pop culture since I seem to be so into it. And this happened in Salt Lake City, of all places! If you're not sure what I'm referring to, here's the commercial from the 1990s. What would Wayne & Garth think?

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'Grey Poupon' antic leads to pointed gun
Mimicking a humorous 1990s commercial, three in car get an unexpected response from a fellow driver
The Salt Lake Tribune, 07/23/2008


A Sandy man took offense to a motorist, who, after getting him to roll down his window, asked, "Excuse me, sir, do you have any Grey Poupon?" After hearing the request for Dijon mustard, the 22-year-old driver pulled a black handgun from his glove compartment, cocked the weapon and pointed it at the three people in the other car. "Here's your Grey Poupon, roll your [expletive] windows up," he responded. The confrontation happened June 18 at the intersection of 900 East and Winchester Street (6500 South) in Murray, court documents state. One of the three people in the car wrote down the sport utility vehicle's license plate number. Murray police later located the man, who admitted he pulled out the gun, racked the slide and threaten the other car. He was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Five Years Gone

Today marks five years since my father passed away, which also happened to be on a Sunday. I suppose I'm like many others who have lost a loved one and relive that day on each anniversary. But, five years! It went very fast and memories of him are still fresh in many ways. My dreams of my father usually feature him in his last months, when he was losing weight and losing ground against his battle with blood cancer and diabetes. Even if he's "healthy" I know he won't be for long, and that he is dying. Hopefully someday in my dreams my father will visit as the healthy, happy, loving man we all knew, and I'll just enjoy him without thinking about the fact that I'll be losing him. So here's to you, Dad, as the Yankees battle the Red Sox today (which I would not have known about but my sister follows the Yankees VERY faithfully)!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thank God it wasn't the 3 oz. bottle of shampoo

When I heard about the Qantas jet that landed safely after an explosion in the plane's cargo tank, my first thought was 1) I hope it wasn't a bomb, and 2) if it wasn't a bomb, I hope it wasn't caused by a 3 oz. bottle of shampoo exploding. That's all we need, further restrictions on what you can take along when flying. Just because someone lit his shoe on fire, we can't wear shoes when going through security...just because someone made an explosive out of a liquid, we can't carry on anything over 3 oz....just because a handful of people are potential security threats the 80-year-old woman in front of me needs to be thoroughly searched. Ridiculous. There's no doubt there are a lot of crazy people out there, and I'm sure we're all safer when flying because of certain rules and regulations, but c'mon! Isn't it a hassle enough to have expensive flights constantly cancelled and delayed, not to mention the fact that pretty soon all you'll be able to check for baggage will be a backpack for a week-long trip.

Rant over for today. Authorities determined it was probably a structural failure (explosive decompression) that caused the explosion.

The Longest Week

No contact with Cameron this week has made for one of the longest weeks I can remember. Finally, on Friday around 4:30pm we called him at his hotel room (it was 10:30pm in Rome). We enlisted the help of our neighbor, Yolie, who speaks Italian in case we ran into language issues at the front desk. It took a little while to reach him because the receptionist didn't have individual room assignments, so we were transferred to Beth, the delegation leader's, room. She was kind enough to send another leader up to get him. They were all just getting ready for evening room checks.

All is well and he's having a good time. There are a couple of kids he's been hanging out with, and if you know Cameron, then you know it was very difficult to get any info out of him…we had to ask MANY questions that were met with a "yup," or "nope." Frustrating, but relieving! Today they head to the Vatican with promises of pizza at some point in the day.

On a related note, one of our birds has returned to the nest after a week at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center for confirmation camp. She absolutely loved it, and apparently was the group's comic relief based on the comments on the sheet everyone signed. She did some new things at camp like sailing and kayaking. What is it with the Baker kids loving camp so much? In a couple of years we'll be saying, "What is it with the Baker kids loving college so much?", then, "What is it with the Baker kids loving the west coast so much?", then...well you get the picture. The curse of raising independent kids, I guess. Perhaps you detect a little separation anxiety in my blog posts these days (Aunt Sherry did!).

Well, it's off to the market, groceries and taking the dog to the field. Not exactly a European adventure, but satisfying just the same!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What News, Europe?

A lot of people have asked me if we have heard from Cameron yet. The answer is "no," and we don't really expect to. We made the decision not to by him an international calling card because we had heard, and have since heard, that they are really difficult to use. We also considered adding a temporary international plan to his cell phone, but the delegate leaders expressly said not to bring cell phones. So, that leaves us with trying to contact him at one of the hotels along the way, a hit-or-miss proposition at any rate with the time difference and the chance that the hotel we call will not have individual phones in the rooms. We've been relying on all the phone and e-mail messages from the other kids to their parents to let us know how the trip has been going.

The plan right now is to try to call Cam in his hotel around 4pm tomorrow (10pm in Rome). I may try to enlist my neighbor, Yolie, who I think speaks Italian, for the beginning of the call in case I have difficulty communicating with the hotel operator.

We'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, July 21, 2008

International Weekend

After getting Cameron launched on his European adventure, we welcomed two Turkish students, Ufuk and Hayat, for the weekend. We started their visit with a trip to Genesee Country Museum, the recreation of a 19th century village and one of our favorite places around Rochester. To us, the buildings, furnishings and dress seems so old, but to someone from Turkey it must look really young in relation to the sites they see every day! I love it there and feel like I could actually live there (especially in the log cabin).

Ufuk and Hayat were both really nice kids, although Hayat didn't feel great all weekend (sore throat), but was a real trooper. We let them sleep in on Sunday morning, then, after dropping Cameron off for her ride to confirmation camp, we hung around for a while before going to Aladdins for lunch. After that we took a ride out to RIT and the University of Rochester, before a stop at Mt. Hope Cemetery where we showed them the graves of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

So we're alone again this week. I must admit, the novelty is wearing off and I feel like I've not seen Cameron in a long time (except for a couple of hours last week) and hope he's making friends (after our not-so-excited send-off on Friday), and miss Annalisse also (although it does seem a lot quieter around here...!). I will probably breakdown and try to give Cameron a call this week to see how everything is going.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where in the World is Cameron Today?

Follow Cameron's travels day-by-day in the left hand sidebar under "Where in the World is Cameron Today?"

Friday, July 18, 2008

The World Traveller

We're just back from the airport to drop Cam off for his trip, and he was in a downright miserable mood. Maybe it was a combination of not really knowing anyone and just his general quiet nature (plus missing camp), but we could not get that kid to smile if his life depended on it! Let's hope when he comes home he has a sunnier attitude. How lucky he is!!

We have a lot going on this weekend. Tonight we're going to a co-worker's party (too much wine...), and tomorrow at 9am we pick up two Turkish students who are attending a month-long program at the College. They will be coming to stay with us overnight, and we're looking forward to welcoming Ufuk and Dilhayat to Fairport. We'll probably stay home for a home-cooked meal on Saturday night (something really "American" like Annalisse's favorite, fettuccine alfredo), then we'll most likely eat out on Sunday night before returning them to the College.

On Sunday afternoon Annalisse leaves for the week (until Friday) to go to confirmation camp about 2 1/2 hours away. You know what that means...EATING OUT! The week is a little choppy, but hopefully we'll get a couple good meals in.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Way to Go, Steve - NOT.

The headline emerged yesterday that Steven Page, one of the lead singers for one of my favorite bands, Barenaked Ladies, was arrested outside of Syracuse for possessing and using cocaine (or as Nonnie would have said, "he's was on the dope"). Way to shoot to the top of rock-singer cliches, Steve! I wonder how this will go over with the promotion of BNL's new children's album, Snacktime. I guess he couldn't hide his moody darkness behind "If I had a $1,000,000" forever.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Summer of Growth

We picked the kids up at camp on Friday afternoon knowing that Cameron had only been able to attend the first week of counselor-in-training activities, and that he would miss the second week because he leaves for Europe on Friday (originally, he was supposed to leave on Thursday, so I thought it would probably not be worth it for him to go to the second week of training since he'd have to leave on Wednesday).

Well, when we got there for pick up he and his counselors were trying to figure out a way for him to complete his training this summer so he could move to Jr. Counselor next summer, and be on track to (possibly) be a full-time counselor two years from now (that means he would be gone to camp for FIVE weeks). All of the dates they had suggested for "make-up" did not really work because of overlap from the Europe trip, and I thought Cameron was going to lose it. So, I asked if it would be possible for him to come back this week and leave camp on Thursday...would that fulfill his training requirement? It would! Happy faces all around and Cameron could not get wait to get back to camp on Sunday. We're leave at 10:30am because he has a "staff meeting" at 11:30am, then he's off and running.

I don't think I've ever seen Cameron so excited or into something as he is with camp. Since he's a bit of an introvert I've talked with him about the fact that if he wants to be a counselor he'll have to be comfortable with being goofy and "out there" (not exactly his personality). He assures me he is/will be, and that observation is backed up by his sister who tells me, "He's really different at camp, Mom. He sings and claps his hands and everything!" Hmmm....

So, it's back to camp we go this morning for a Thursday afternoon pickup, leaving enough time for me to wash ALL his clothes so I can put them in his suitcase for Friday morning, when we leave for the airport at 9:45am. I suppose he can sleep on the plane!

The main idea of this long and rambling post is that it feels like Cameron is really on the verge of something...like he's turning a corner that will result in a great deal of personal growth and maturity. It's bittersweet, but a good feeling for a parent, too!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

America, The Land of Eternal Optimism

Only in America, would you see a headine like this. I bet the Brits would never view it this way.

Friday, July 11, 2008

So Long, E!

One of my colleagues, Elizabeth, is leaving her position today after 5 1/2 years at the College. Elizabeth worked for me in my previous position, but she's more than a co-worker, she's a great friend. This fall she'll be on the final leg of her undergraduate journey as she leaves the College to student teach, and I'm so proud of her for reaching her educational goal! That's what happens when you're third in your high school graduating class, I guess.

Why does Elizabeth get her own blog entry, you might ask? Because I know she's a faithful reader and it's my parting gift to her. So now readers from all over the world can wish her well! Good luck, E, and keep in touch! Visit often!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sue!

A very happy birthday to my BFF, Sue! I won't mention how old she is, but no matter how old I get, she'll always be older than me.

Sue, we'll celebrate your big day when we get together in August!! Love you!

A Good Night's Sleep

Finally, a good night's sleep after two hot and humid nights with pets wandering around all night. Even though we have air conditioning, the upstairs is typically warm and stuffy when nighttime temperatures are a balmy 80 degrees (or at least it seemed). On Monday and Tuesday nights the dog and the cat wandered around all night, their nails click-click-clicking on the hardwood floors, jumping up and down on the bed, the cat meowing and making cat-sounds. I was about to banish both of them to the basement but I was too tired to get up.

Last night's temperatures were a lot more comfortable and we were able to turn off the AC and open the windows. They both slept great! It doesn't help that the kids are away this week and Jasper can't get his energy out hanging with his playmates all day. Still, I LOVE SUMMER!

Yesterday afternoon we travelled to Camp Bristol to pick Cam up for his People to People picnic in Greece. He was NOT happy about having to leave camp. He absolutely loves it, especially now that he's a counselor-in-training. In his words, "I wish I could stay there all the time." I think he means weekends and forevermore. So ironic...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Week without 4-H Camp...

...is like a week without eating out!

We dropped the kids off for a week at 4-H Camp Bristol this afternoon. They could not wait to get there!! I always find it so ironic that Cameron, the sit-on-the-couch-play-video-games-kid loves going to camp, and wants to spend all next summer there if he can. This summer he'll be a CIT (counselor in training), and this is his last hurrah before he heads to Europe late next week.

Of course, we'll be taking advantage of "our vacation," too, by eating out several times this week. It looks like we'll make it out Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. On Wednesday we need to head to the west-side with Cameron (we'll be picking him up at camp for a couple of hours) for a mandatory People-to-People picnic to finalize details before his trip. On Thursday I have a work picnic, and the kids will be home Friday afternoon. We're still not exactly sure where we'll find our culinary delights...I'll keep you posted! Until then, Bon Appetite!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Your Worst Nightmare?

Brighton skydiver dies in Batavia. Imagine what must have been going through his head...

Happy 4th!

The Fourth of July is such a fun day around Fairport. There's a huge parade at 10am where we see tons of friends before taking our place with our neighbors at the corner of Fourth and West Church . Then, it will be off to Wegmans before (hopefully) A NAP! Mark went fishing today, so when he gets home we'll be heading off to Cheeburger! Cheeburger! in Charlotte to celebrate the end of the school year (Report cards came yesterday - both kids made honor roll with Annalisse beating her brother [by barely a point] with a final average of 91. Sweet justice for her!).

I have a confession to make: I'm probably one of the only people in the world who doesn't like fireworks. I don't mind them from a distance, where I can marvel at their beauty, but up close...too loud, too bright. So I think we'll avoid that scene tonight. We'll probably be able to see some from our porch anyway.