Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I wonder if he sleeps in the Lincoln Bedroom?

Presidential pets have made news for decades, and our current president and his new pup Bo are no exception. A lot of people get annoyed by all the hype that surrounded the months leading up to Bo's arrival (and the fact that he got his own press conference once he got to the White House), but as a dog person I think it's wonderful and it really humanizes the President and his family. Getting a pet has made First Families more "accessible," like they are "regular" people, just like us. Some become quite famous. Remember the Clinton's Socks (and the ill-fated Buddy, the Chocolate Lab), and Millie Bush with her litter of puppies? Heck, Socks and Millie even wrote books.

I was especially humored by the following exchange between Michelle Obama and some school children. So cute! I've got a little experience raising puppies, and can only imagine what they're putting up with right now. Of course, we didn't have the benefit of trainer, dog walkers and secret service guys to help with the sleepless nights, chewing and puppy crazies!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Magical New York

We're back from our great trip to NYC. Am I the only person (who lives in New York State) who had not visited The Big Apple until I was 45? That's pathetic because it was a GREAT trip. Magical. Amazing. It was a little like the first time I visited DC and could not believe that I was actually "there," looking at all the buildings and monuments I had only seen in pictures, the movies, or on TV.

I have always had a certain amount of apprehension about visiting New York. It seemed like this unwieldy, overwhelming, scary place that was just to big to think about. Anyone who lives upstate will tell you that NYC seems like a different world to them, and anyone who lives in the City thinks the state ends just above the Bronx. But, my trip this past week helped make New York an attainable, entertaining place for all of us.

It started with the trip down on Tuesday, when we drove to Poughkeepsie and caught the Hudson River line metro train into Grand Central Station (majestic!). Then, it was over to the Marriott Marquis on Broadway (our hotel room overlooked Times Square), a walk around the area (Wow! So many people!), and a mediocre (yet expensive) dinner at a faux Irish pub. We got moving kind of late on Wednesday so didn't get to the Today show on time to be in the outside audience, but with plenty of time to get to NBC for our scheduled studio tour at 9:45am. That was a lot of fun. Everyone who walked in wondered, "Is that where Kenneth the page sits?" We saw the set of NBC news, the Jimmy Fallon show, and (Oh my God, that's really it!) the SNL studio. Then, it was a walk down Fifth Avenue (and into some of the upscale stores there) to the entrance to Central Park. Around 3pm it was time for me to check into the conference, and Mark and the kids just chilled for awhile before heading out to dinner.
On Thursday (while I was inside all day), Mark and the kids did a city tour and visited Chinatown, Soho, Ground Zero and other sites of note. On Friday, we got up early to try another round on the Today show, but were too late again. The crowd was four-deep, but we stuck around long enought to see Lester Holt and Meredith Viera before heading back to the hotel for the next day of conference sessions. Mark and the kids did the second day of the city tour and got a more extensive look at Central Park, and visited the Museum of Natural History and the MoMA.

After I was done with the conference on Friday we walked a couple of blocks to an outstanding Turkish restaurant before heading back to the hotel for the night (I know, we're lightweights). On Saturday morning, it was up early to head back to Grand Central station and the metro train back to Poughkeepsie. Once home, we picked up Jasper from his week in the PetSmart Pet Hotel, where he enjoyed a week of playing with other dogs and a birthday party (complete with doggie ice cream) for his second birthday on Tuesday (April 21).

All in all, an exciting and fun trip. I didn't see a lot of the sights that I wanted to, but know I will go back since it's a fairly quick trip (around 6-7 hours in all) and I'm feeling more comfortable with the ease with which you can get around the city.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's a Wonder He's Not Hallucinating

Cam arrived home yesterday around noon after an overnight bus ride from the Robotics competition in Atlanta. You should have seen the dark circles under his eyes! He self-proclaimed proudly, of course, that he had only gotten 1-2 hours of sleep a night. Whatever! I remember being proud of that when I was his age, too, but it was usually just one nights worth. Mark picked him up at the bus drop off point, brought him home, I saw him for a minute before I ran out the door in search of a new suitcase for our NYC trip. When I got home a couple of hours later he was already at his friend Bonnie's house. I couldn't believe it! How good of company could he have been? Turns out he spent a good portion of the day catching catnaps while Bonnie and her cousin played computer games. When I picked him up at Bonnie's at 9:30pm I let him stay up just long enough to upload his pictures from the trip, then sent him packing to bed. I wonder what time he'll get up today?!

On another exciting note, Mom called from Turkey over the weekend to say they had located several Turkish rugs that met our size and color specs. We ended up choosing a blue print 10 X 13 rug that contains a lot of the earthy colors in our house. We're very excited and look forward to getting it in the fall. It will be shipped back to DC with Dave and Amanda's furnishings when they leave Ankara in early July, so it will take several months to get here. No worries, though. Since we'll be choosing new furniture and window treatments based on the rug, it looks like that part of the project will extend into the new year. Very cool!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Are we coming or are we going?

Yesterday at 5am Cameron left for Atlanta for a robotics competition. After 15 hours on the bus (and numerous stops along the way), they were scheduled to arrive at around 10pm. Did they? Who knows...he won't answer his phone.

The Atlanta trip is just the beginning of a whirlwind of big travel weeks for the Bakers. When Cam gets back around noon on Sunday, he'll have a day to recover from the long bus trip (and what I assume will be days of fun and very little sleep) before we leave early Tuesday morning for New York City, where I'll be attending a conference and dragging the family along. You may find this hard to believe (since I've lived in NY State all my life), but I've never been to New York City. Let me qualify that: I've driven through some sections on the way to a family wedding on Long Island, and I've flow into and out of it many times, but I've never visited as a tourist. So, I'm looking forward to doing some "touristy" things before I'm committed to a windowless room for several days during the conference (of course, the family can continue on their conquest of the Big Apple...). More on that in the days to come.

Then, on the Thursday after we return, Annalisse heads to Washington, DC for the 8th grade trip. Overlaid in all these travel plans is putting the house back together after our paint job, which will be occurring while we're in New York (and beyond).

Whew!! That should make for some interesting fodder for the blog! Just let me know where I should be, when!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Impulse Shoppers, We Aren't

Long before the current economic crunch (that's been affecting us in what seems like forever), we've been the type of people who consider our purchases very carefully. Rarely do we buy something without some level of research, asking around, and going from store to store to check pricing and style options before making our final decision. The exception to this might be when we're at an arts festival, studio or specialty store where we find a one of a kind item that we just "can't live without." My recent search for a new shower curtain for the upstairs bathroom was no exception. Last weekend we spent a harrowing two days peeling wallpaper off strip by small strip in one of the dinkiest rooms in the house. You would have thought it would have taken a couple of hours to do the room - it's that small, but no! The bathroom is one of the rooms we'll be painting in this phase of the renovation project.

So, I basically knew that I wanted the bathroom to be a "warm, coffeehouse" color, but was not exactly sure which one. This time around, I got smart! I decided to find a shower curtain I like and select the paint from there, rather than trying to choose one of over 2,000 colors and head out on a wild goose chase to find accessories to match (age=wisdom?). Last weekend I headed out to Target first, where I found a curtain I liked but they were out of stock. No problem. Try another Target...that one was out, too. Okay, head over to Sears, JCPenney, KMart...uh oh. Nothing I liked. Head over to another Target...they're out of the original curtain, too. Panic sets in...over to yet ANOTHER Target...there it is! The last one!!

The new curtain and matching rug is just what I wanted! Look at all those warm, earthy colors! The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blog Drought

Faithful followers of the Fabulous Baker Blog...

Sorry for the drought of regular posts. Is it because there's not much going on these days beyond work, taking the kids to crew, and getting the house ready for renovations (YES!) or because I expend a lot of my less engaging thoughts on Facebook (that, too!). There are some things to look forward to, though, like:
  • Cam's trip to Atlanta with the Fairport Robotics Team next week.
  • Our trip to NYC during Spring Break when I will be attending a conference and they family will be tagging along. We're hoping to catch Wicked on Broadway while we're there (along with all the other sites)
  • Our home renovations (complete with pictures)
  • Jasper's 2nd birthday
  • Annalisse's confirmation
  • The kid's upcoming crew meets
So, you see there is a lot to write about! Keep visiting!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happy Birthdays!

Happy birthday today to two special people: My friend Elizabeth (who is seven months pregnant!) and my cousin, Roseanne. Have a wonderful day!

E: we'll celebrate your birthday when I see you on the 20th. Lunch is on me!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Weekend Cometh

Well, it's almost the weekend (YEAH!). Why do we spend so much of our lives wishing away the weekdays only to be greeted with scads of laundry, grocery shopping, yard work and other miscellaneous undesirable what-not? Why, I'll tell you: because, at some point in the weekend chaos, it will be NAPTIME!

Ironically, I can't wait to jump out of bed on the weekend, even though it's about the same time I have to drag myself, moaning and groaning, out into the weekday darkness day after day. It's all about pulling on some sweatpants and taking a walk with the dog to get coffee (he just comes along - he doesn't drink it), and a month from now we'll be getting our sticky buns EVERY Saturday at the Fairport Farmer's Market!

From Friday afternoon the weekend appears to stretch out for miles, if only I could stop counting down the minutes...