Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Today the sun will rise at 7:39am, and set at 4:38pm - giving us a whopping 9 hours of sunlight! In case you need something to look forward to, a month from now we will have already gained 1/2 of sunlight.
This longest day is the start of what will be the longest work week as we have to work through Wednesday. And how slowly those days will go until we have a week-and-a-half off to regain our sanity and ring in the new year!
Monday, December 14, 2009
This year, as always, there was a great selection. As with the last couple of years, the Baker kids request "Christmas Windows," which aren't so much a cookie as they are candy (mad with three ingredients: chocolate, butter and colored marshmallows). Apparently the either (1) have no imagination, or (2) just can't get enough of those Christmas Windows. Ironically, I didn't get a chance to try any of the cookies folks brought, but the best part of all: we get to keep all the cookies people didn't take. Linda: this year I'm going to finally get a taste of those Kahlua brownies!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Such self-examination comes with maturity and feeling more comfortable in one's skin, but I've been thinking a lot lately about my relationships and things I've been involved in. This year in particular, has been one of those where I've said "I'm all done with that," and have practiced letting go of some long practiced (and loved) activies and traditions.
Because the holidays have so many milestones and events associated with them, this year has caused a noticeable drop-off of a couple of things I've always initiated over the years. One example is that I stopped coordinating Mark's extended families gift exchange ("drawing of names") for the Christmas Eve party at his Aunt and Uncle's house. I've initiated this activity for about five years now, and this year when it became apparent that there were a couple of schools of thoughts about ways we might do it differently (i.e. just draw for the kids, donate to a charity), I didn't feel it was my place to make a recommendation to the family. So, I decided it was time to pass it onto to another family member. In effect, "I'm all done with that." (A relief.)
The next example is an event that I thought would cause protests among my kids if I suggested ending the tradition, but no one even noticed: St. Nicolas Day. Every year since Cameron was born we've gotten together with Mark's cousin's family (who have children the same age) to celebrate St. Nicholas Day (you can read about last year's St. Nicholas celebration in the Baker blog here). Again, sensing that I was the only one who really cared about this tradition I decided not to remind the kids about it, and did not contact our cousin a month ago to pick a date and time. Guess what? The day has passed and no one noticed that we did not celebrate. I guess I'm all done with that, too.
I'm learning that's the way of life, and that everything evolves, including relationships and traditions. It's neither bad nor good, it just "is." Be assured, that for every activity or tradition that I've discontinued over the last couple of years, there is always one (or two, or three) to take its place.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I complain a lot about how much of a pack rat Mark is (I'm the opposite...I get rid of everything that I'm not using or haven't worn in the last couple of years), but for once I as glad for his tendency to save because I located (most likely) every letter I wrote to him during the early years of our courtship, dated from December 1981 through August 1984, right up to the time I moved to Rochester.
- I went out to bars with my girlfriends (a lot), and drank a lot of screwdrivers and "quarter drafts." I mentioned, more than once though, that I didn't drink "that night" because I was the designated driver (Wow! How 2009!).Most of my letters to Mark were written after I got home from going out. Usually after midnight or 1am. Can you imagine me staying up that late several days a week now?! I did have the good sense to re-read the letter(s) before I mailed them.
- I had a really hard time finding a job
- I couldn't wait until the next trip to "Roch-cha-cha."
- Apparently my parents drove me crazy, especially my father with his questions about "where I was going." In one letter I was complaining that he wouldn't let me go to Frontiertown with Sue, her mom, and her cousin, San. That's craziness! I wonder why he wouldn't let me go! The fact that my parents drove me crazy is something I do not recall, but it makes me feel good that I complained about my parents much like I'm sure my kids complain about me.
- I made my friends a lot of taco dinners. This, I remember.
- One of Sue's long-distance boyfriends paid me to buy (and deliver) her a white rose.
- There is some sexual innuendo in the letters. We won't go there.
- I wrote A LOT of letters. Sometimes every other day in the summer. Wow!
- I complained about the number of letters Mark DID NOT write.
- At one point I apparently had a job interview at Alcoa, the aluminum company where my father worked. In the letter I write, "I hope I don't have to wait two hours for a 10 minute interview like Tim Bell did." I absolutely never recall an interview at Alcoa! I wonder how different my life might have turned out if had gotten a job there?
- I also apparently took a civil service exam. Again, no recollection!
- I missed Mark a lot during out time apart, "more than he could know." There was a lot of that kind of blather.
- Etc. etc. etc.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
One of the hot things going around on Facebook these days is the challenge to post a message every day about things we are thankful for. Of course, I'm thankful for the usual stuff: healthy kids, my husband, my home, my job, my extended family, etc. but one of the things I'm REALLY thankful for is that I have a job that allows me to travel to cities that I might not otherwise have the financial means to visit. As a result of trainings or conferences in my previous and current positions, I've been able to go to San Antonio (and Bandera, TX - the Cowboy Capital of the World), Scottsdale, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Denver, Boston, and New York. In April, if all goes well, I'll be heading to San Fransciso. Who could complain about that? Definitely something to be thankful for.
Every trip just reinforces how I wish I could travel more (read: all the time). I think we all have dreams of travel in our retirement but there are two things wrong with that plan: (1) we won't be retiring for quite a long time, and (2) chances are we won't be able to really afford to travel that much.
Remember Cam's trip to Greece, Italy and Paris last year? Well, guess what? Now he's going to Germany in June for an home stay/exchange program through his High School. I'm sure annalise won't be far behind with travel. I've told both kids they should take advantage of study abroad programs when they're in college...hey, maybe we'll finally get a chance to travel abroad to visit them! That's probably what it will take. I can dream, can't I?
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Even our sweet nephew, Jackson, has been through the wringer this week with a double ear infection, pneumonia, and the H1N1 virus. Dave and Mandy have been in and out of doctors and emergency rooms with him for a week now, and Mom flew down on Wednesday morning to help out. Luckily, yesterday (after being in the ER for re-hydration until 4am the previous morning) he seemed to turn a corner and has been perking up regaining strength, and eating a little again. All of this does not bode well for a worry wart like me.
Next week I go for a two day conference in Boston, and that family joke is that every time I go away someone gets sick. My only consolation in all this is if everyone was sick this week, maybe I'll have a worry-free trip next week. Fingers crossed.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
As a consellation prize for having to forgo my sanity-restoring yearly trip to Vermont this fall, Mark and I are going to sneak away from the regatta after the kids' morning races are finished and spend some time in Manchester, Vermont, which is about an hour from Saratoga. Even though the day is calling for rain, I'm sure the quick trip and a nice, leisurely lunch will offset the fact that we didn't spend time in the Green Mountain State this fall.
Who's with me?!
Monday, October 19, 2009
My employer would likely never consider this since we are a very service-oriented place (less visits would most likely result in less enrolled students), and we actual have students who live on-campus, so we need to keep things up and running all week long. Our main respite is the week between Christmas and New Years, when we do actually close down for a week or so (except for my office, where several employees still go in to handle the volumes of applications we get during that time).
I don't think it's any secret that Mark and I love our free time, whether it be vacation or just a weekend. So, it goes without saying that we would fully embrace the idea of a four-hour work week, even if it meant being totally dead for that extra day since the work days would be so long. I think as energy and gas prices (and the price of things in general) continues to rise, though, we will see an increase in the 10-4 idea.
Indeed, and idea whose time has come!!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Have a great one, Mark!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
- shutters for the upstairs bathroom and Cam's room
- new shower fixture
- new bathroom cabinet handles
- drywall repair and paint side entrance
- and, of course, new furniture (couch and chair)
- new sewer pipes in basement
- remove wallpaper and paint the backroom (Mark's cave)
- paint Annalisse's room
- remove wallpaper and paint the downstairs bathroom
- tile for downstairs bathroom
- new vanity
- new toilet
- new tub (maybe...)
- seal (or replace) driveway
- home theatre system (TV mounted above fireplace and wireless remote for all equipment)
- paint the outside of the house
- new porch
- new front steps
- new garage
- a new kitchen!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The highlight of my trip was on Sunday night, when I checked into The Old Library Inn Bed & Breakfast in Olean. When I called to confirm my reservation, the Inn Keeper let me know that I was one of two guests for the night, and also told me that they (the Inn Keepers) stay "off premises." Okay....I wasn't sure how to feel about that. I had never stayed at a B&B where the Inn Keeper was not present. But, I overcame my reservations (no pun intended) and arrived to a beautiful, old (1895) house that was very much in the style of The Capitol Hill Mansion Inn (where we stayed in Denver). By the time I came back to my room after a great dinner at a Bistro 188 (a "nice" dinner was not easy to find in Olean, which seemed to close down on Sunday nights), I returned to my room and was still the only car in the lot.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
All of this certainly contributes to the atmosphere of Oktoberfest but let's be honest: it's all about the food. The heavy, bland, wonderful food (and pastries). It's also all about the music, especially the yodeling and the alpine horns!
We've been going to Oktoberfest for several years now, since being invited by our neighbors Morey and Ann. We even invested in a pitcher that we bring every year. Here's a video of Annalisse and our neighbor, Chris, acting like they know how to Polka. Enjoy!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Here's to our anniversary (spent mostly doing crew-related stuff with the promise of a dinner out one of these days)!!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
(Remember: the more books sold, the closer we get to that street swimming pool!)
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
We headed down to Dave & Amanda's early Friday morning, and I was reminded how much fun the area is and how much I miss it now that my BFF Sue no longer lives there. There was a time when the kids and I would take off for the weekend on Friday morning (direct, cheap flights), and come home on Sunday night. I always feel extremely awed and humbled to be in DC, and also extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to visit many times in the past, and the prospect of visiting a lot in the future now that our family lives there.
We did some of our usual favorite things: an afternoon browsing the stores and Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, lunch at the Austin Grill, a trip to the Eastern Market and a walk from Capitol Hill to the middle of the Mall. The heat! The crowds! It was craziness!
Mark had hoped that we could bring our Turkish rug back from DC, but it has not yet arrived with Dave & Amanda's household goods from Ankara. Oh darn! Looks like we'll need to take another trip down when it gets here!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
I made a to-do list at the beginning of the week and I'm happy to report I was able to check everything off. This exciting list contained such compelling activities as "pick up a 'new driver' handbook at the community center" and "file kid's stuff in their bins in the attic." Oh! And don't forget the very necessary, "Get a new watch battery." Mundane stuff, but ultimately satisfying because these are things that have been on the list for a while now. The highlights of the week were being able to take several dips in grandma's pool, and we were blessed with great swimming weather during what some have said has been the nicest week of the summer.
I persuaded Mark to take today off so we can spend my last day of vacation much like the previous day's vacations: checking stuff off the list. Today's exciting activities will include taking Cam out to look for some playing cards he's been wanting, and checking out couches to go with the new rug (which is not here yet).
Try not to get too overwhelmed with excitement!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I had the meanest mother in the whole world. While other kids ate candy for breakfast, I had to have cereal, eggs or toast. When others had cokes and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. As you can guess, my supper was different than the other kids' also. But at least, I wasn't alone in my sufferings. My sister and two brothers had the same mean mother as I did.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I've been really lax about blogging lately. I do have some ideas I'd like to blog about, but with the kids home it's been really hard to get a block of time on the computer. That's mostly true, but is probably more of an excuse for the fact that I'm really busy right now, and simply have not taken the time to blog!
Here are some highlights of the last week:
- Last weekend we travelled to Massena for a family picnic with Aunt Jeannine and Uncle Larry who were visiting from Edmonton, Alberta. I think I've written before about how awesome Aunt Jeannine is, and it was GREAT to see a bunch of other relatives all at once. My super nephew even taught the kids some drinking games (using gatorade)...that was just great.
- Cam is still really busy with camp. He's home this week but goes back on Sunday for another week. In all, he will have spent five weeks at 4H Camp Bristol this summer. He would move there if he could!
- Annalisse is raking in the dough babysitting this summer. Last week alone she made $140! Of course, it burns a hole in her pocket! This past weekend she went to spend a couple of days with Aunt Mary in LaFargeville, and between shopping and hanging out in Alex Bay for Pirate's weekend, they both got their fill of girl time.
I just got back from Saranac Lake for my annual girls weekend with Sue, Lorie, Heather and Gina. It's always a wonderful, fun, relaxing couple of days with my girls who mean so much to me!!
I will post pictures of my Massena weekend with Aunt Jeannine soon (Annalisse has them on her computer). Until then....stay cool!!
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
WHERE THE HECK HAS THIS YEAR GONE? Don't even get me started on the fact that we are on the other side of the year and it's a slippery slope right into hanging the tree and wrapping presents. Just ridiculous! In August the days get noticeably shorter (or as Mark continues to remind me: they don't get shorter, they're still 24 hours long), and the lazy days of summer (for whom?) are overshadowed by the structure and routine that characterizes fall.
I think I'm going to be one of those people who has a really hard time with getting older. The years pass in a blink, and before you know it my kids will be touring assisted care facilities trying to find a good place for me that will let me bring my dog along.
On that note, HAPPY AUGUST!
Monday, July 27, 2009
The kids are back at camp for another week (it's Cam's first actual work of week), and that means another week of eating out. If you sense the lack of excitement, as indicated by the fact that I did not capitalize those words or use an exclamation point, you're onto something. My waistline is still recovering from our last week of eating out, and all the weeks in between. So, I think it will be the "Week of Eating Out - lite." I'll keep you posted on our selection of culinary delights this week.
On a house note: Mom (so glad she's home!) came over for dinner on Friday night and stayed until 11pm (way past my bedtime!) hanging pictures and helping us with furniture arrangement. The house finally looks like someone lives in it again! Curtains are up, pictures are hung, and all is really cozy. Next up: when our rug arrives from Turkey, we'll travel to DC to pick it up and then go shopping for new furniture! (Again, once I get my new camera I'll post new pix...it looks awesome!)
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Remember: the more books they sell the quicker we get that Fourth Avenue swimming pool!
Monday, July 6, 2009
A couple of minutes later he got me up again saying he thought the mud was coming out, could I get the tweezers? Well, we headed back to the bathroom and rinsed it again, and out came a creepy black bug! YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK!! His relief was immediate and we all went back to bed. Double YUCK!
Friday, July 3, 2009
The Seaway International Bridge, which connects Cornwall to Massena via two spans, has been closed for a month to people traveling from the United States to Canada, because of a dispute between the Mohawks and the Canada Border Services Agency about a plan to arm border guards.
This might seem like a "blip" on the radar screen of world affairs, but it sure affects the people and business in my hometown, and my family in particular. For many business in Massena, already struggling to stay afloat amid the closing of the GM plant, layoffs at Alcoa, a half-empty mall and a main street of empty storefronts, a drop off in customers from seems almost unthinkable. Right now, if Cornwall residents want to visit Massena they have to go 45 minutes to cross at Ogdensburg, NY, and 45 minutes to get back home. There are many folks who work on both sides of the border who now have real issues with getting to work.
Beyond the obvious blows to the economy, is the fact that my mother (or any of us) can't get quickly over the border to visit relatives, and visa versa. A quick trip that we have taken for granted all our lives now takes thought and planning, and becomes an all day affair.
There have even been rumors of the Seaway International Bridge closing altogether, which would surely sound the death knell for several businesses in Massena, not to mention the hit the Mall would take. It's just beyond belief that I will not have quick access to my relatives in Cornwall when I come up for a visit.
Let's hope the U.S. government steps in "soon" to resolve this issue, recognizing the effect it has had on the economy of an already depressed town.
(As a follow up to this post, my mother and sister tried to cross at one of the nearby borders during which it was discovered my mother's visa expired five years ago! At the Massena-Cornwall border, the guards knew her and never looked very closely!)
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
- We had our street sale and only made enough ($32) for an Applebee's-level dinner out, which we promptly spent on bird food. At least the birds enjoyed a nice dinner out! We sold the crockpot we had gotten for a wedding present (it still works!) for $3 - that was one of the bigger-ticket items. Mark's friend, Scott, did really well with his fishing equipment, though. We closed the sale at noon on Sunday because of soaking, torrential rain.
- The kids are finally done with school, including finals. Let the boredom begin!
- On Sunday, Cam leaves for camp where he'll be in a week of training. Then he's home for a week, then gone for three and home on weekends. It seems a little like last summer between the time he spent at camp and his three weeks in Europe.
- Annalisse will be going to camp for one week and rowing camp for another. Other than that, she doesn't have much planned. Have any little kids that need sitting?
- I struggle each night to not go get one of those gelato spaghetti and meatball desserts. Give me strength!
- I'm off for a couple of days during which we'll be spending the day at Seabreeze (Wednesday) and biking to Pittsford (six miles each way) to go to the Coal Tower for lunch (Friday).
Now you're up-to-date with the Bakers! How about taking the dog for a walk so I can take a nap on the couch?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The only unknown: the weather. At this point it looks like rain for both day, as I compulsively check my iPhone weather app for updates. Pray for sunshine!!