Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
CONGRATS, CAM, ON MAKING YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!
Now, if how to pay for it...?...
Thursday, December 16, 2010
- Clean out the cellar and arrange all the garage sale stuff (dreaming of June - there I go not living in the moment again...)
- File two years worth of kids "to keep" stuff in their memory bins in the attic
- Put approx. 700 pictures into photo albums (this idea deserve a blog entry all its own)
- Take down the wallpaper in Mark's cave to get it ready for painting in February
- Relocate all the games in the cupboards to make room for the 30 photo albums
- Sleep late
- Walk with pup to get coffee every morning
- Take naps
- Get up to see Mary for quick overnight if the weather allows
- Don't eat too much (very hard this time of year)
Monday, December 13, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
- My cousins Lisa, Frank, Joey and their families on the loss of Uncle Joe, and especially Auntie, who has suffered the devastating loss of her husband, her big brother, and now her little brother
- Barb "Ma" Bell, a woman who is a second mother to me, during her battle with cancer
- Sue and Ken, and when they can help out, Lisa, and San, who are so willingly and lovingly making Ma Bell so comfortable during her decline in health
- My coworker, Jo, as she faces yet another surgery after which has been a discouraging and scary year with her health issues
- Taylor in the loss of her mom, and Hannah in the loss of her dad
- Our cousin Sue and her family in the loss of John this year
- Aunt Mary TV, on her health challenges this year
- And lastly, for my mother with the challenges that come to adjusting to her new life living with my sister, Carol, and for Carol, who has also had some recent heath issues, including emergency appendix surgery. Especially for Carol having to deal with the challenges that come with helping my mother out day-to-day!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Joe Greco was my father's youngest sibling, with my father being the oldest and my Aunt Carol (Auntie) the "rose between two thorns." He always had such a twinkle in his eye, and a smile on his face. He was a devoted father and brother, and gave service to the Massena Police Department and the Volunteer Fire Department for many years. Our family was always very close, and his brother and sister were his best friends. For all of us, we feel a piece of us has died with Uncle Joe.
Although Uncle Joe will never pull another penny from my ear, I will cherish my memories of him for the rest of my days. Rest in peace, Uncle Joe, and I hope you are having a wonderful time with Nonnie, Poo Poo, Dad, Uncle Duff, and all those who went before.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Last night I randomly started calling Jasper "'Bear." I don't know why. Maybe I just needed to shake things up a little. Or maybe it's because when he lays on the floor he stretches and flattens out like a bearskin rug. Perhaps it's his manly fluffiness.
Anyway, it's not catching on and he just looks confused.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Around the beginning of November each year I start to fret about taking the ever-elusive Christmas pictures of the kids (and, for the last several years, the dog) for our yearly missive, and it's never easy. Well, I should say, it's easy with two of the subjects (Annalisse and Jasper) and not easy or pleasant with Cameron. He spends endless shots ruining the pictures with weird faces and far away glances. Last year, think we took upwards of 50 pictures to get the one we finally used, and that was only achieved after several threats. Every year I tell him, "Cam, I've done a picture Christmas card since the year you were born, and XXXX WON'T be the year without a Baker family card!" Can you imagine this exercise without digital photography?!
This year, I decided to simply scan three separate pictures and put those into the card. When I caught on to this idea, I quickly decided on the kids' pictures, and had Annalisse take an appropriate picture of Jasper. Then, being ON FIRE with the idea, I ordered them. Of course, when I received them I had to sit right down and address them, and, well, you get the picture. I think the recipients of this year's card will be pleased - I think its' one of the best ones ever!
I know that our friends and family, especially those across the miles, enjoys seeing how the kids are growing up in the same way I love to receive their cards. It's a little strange to think about how old the kids are getting and that one of these years might actually be the last year for the picture card. It's also really fun to look back at all the cards over the years. When I get them each year I put one aside for each kid's "memory book" so that someday THEY WILL appreciate their mother's effort and persistance, even though trying to get "get the shot" has caused more than a couple gray hairs from year to year.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I think the reason I love the musical Evita, starring Patti LuPone, is because of the commercial for the Broadway play, which also starred Mandy Patinkn, and ran in the late 70s/early 80s. It's a classic, with Patti LuPone singing "Just a little touch of, just a little touch of, just a little touch of star quality!" Another classic commercial that was popular during that time was the Milford Plaza advertisement. When I was in NYC last year I saw the Milford Plaza, and, of course, the jingle sprang to mind.
My father's New York City was a gritty place, not unlike the urban setting of "All in the Family," the hit 70s sitcom set in the Astoria section of Queens. For those of us from a small town, NYC was a mysterious place, much like the world depicted in "All in the Family," the Daily News, and on the NYC TV station. For me, these things, were, and continue to be, New York. When I go there I feel a very strong connection with my father, as he always kept up with the news and, of course, his beloved Yankees.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
(HINT HINT, sisters.)
With these short, dark days, I know I'll need something to get through the winter, like sunshine and sand and surf. Stay tuned...
Sunday, November 7, 2010
THE FALL SEASON OF CREW IS DONE!
Hurray! At last! The kids have been at it since the last week in August, day in and day out, rain or shine (or darkness). Needless to say, everyone is relieved and looking forward to the break.
At today's last fall season regatta, Pittsford's "Pull the Plug," each of the kids won a silver medal, and Cam was just four seconds away from winning two. That was a nice finish for him since he hadn't taken home a medal all season. It was a nice way to end this VERY LONG SEASON.
Things will start up again at the end of February with winter training, which will take us through the official start to the spring season in early April. At this point, Annalisse is not planning to participate in winter training as there is not a lot for the coxswains to do, and she is thinking of trying out for the spring play. This was a rough season for her - she was not feeling really motivated and a lot of the friends she joined with dropped out (although she's never really at a loss for friends...). So, we'll see what spring brings. She claims she'll do spring season, but not fall. Time will tell.
In the meantime, we'll just enjoy our down time and the lack of rushing in the evenings that comes with it!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
That's what it feels like for me right now. It's been non-stop since the kids got out of school, and Mark and I (mostly "I") have been on the go a lot in the last month. Of course, Cam has been gone (to Germany, then camp) since June 25 (I think we counted that he's been home for maybe 10 days in the last month-and-a-half), and Annalisse has been enjoying our family vacations, time traveling with her friend, Mo, and a week at camp herself. No wonder the years seem to fly by!!
This morning for the first time in what seems like months we're heading to the Fairport farmer's market to stock up on fruits and vegetables, and will also make a stop at the meat market to fill the freezer with one of their "meat" package specials (i.e. 2 lbs of this, 3 lbs of that). As a result of our crazy schedules (and the fact that there's usually only 1-2 people home at any one time) we've been eating out a lot. So my comfort in the routine will come from having fresh food in the house and making meals at home. CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE I'M SAYING THAT? ME, WHO REALLY DISLIKES COOKING?
See, we always want the opposite of what we have. I'm thinking I'll last a couple of days and then head out to McCardles for the Tuesday pasta special!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I thought as the calendar turned to August 1 I would have a respite from the doom and gloom, and get some good news, but my August 1 included a speeding ticket on my way home from a whirlwind trip to Massena. I earned this special token I thought I was in a 55 mph zone but apparently I had just recently entered a 55 mph zone (I definitely saw the 55 mph sign, checked my speed, and settled in at 57) after exiting a 45mph zone and was 12 miles over the speed limit. Freakin' Route 12 between Ogdensburg and Morristown!! To be fair, the sheriff was a really nice woman and told me to go online, download a form, and request a reduction in the charge to a moving vehicle violation (which she said would almost certainly get approved), which would carry with it no points and no insurance consequences.
Today's little interlude just added to my gloomy and cranky state, the mood of which, of course, my family was unfortunately subjected to for the rest of the day. Oh well, as they say, tomorrow's another day.
ON A BRIGHT NOTE: Happy 25th Birthday to my awesome nephew, Anthony! We love you very much!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
We dropped Jasper off at the Petsmart Dog Hotel and headed north for approx. 8 hours to Portland Maine on Thursday, July 1. In Portland, we stayed at the Inn at Spring Park, a beautiful historic row house right in the heart of the "Old Port." The location was great, within walking distance to really neat shops and restaurants on Maine's Casco Bay. Our goal was to eat seafood for every meal (except breakfast, of course, where we were treated to decadent meals at the inn), and we mostly accomplished that except for a meal or two.
My general impression of Portland, which is the largest city in Maine, was that it was a lot like Saratoga Springs, and not at all like I pictured Maine. We saw the "real" Maine soon enough with a morning visiting lighthouses (some are really hard to find) and white water rafting on the Kenneck River, two-and-a-half hours north of Portland.
One of the highlights of the trip was "said" whitewater rafting trip with my high school chum Dave Fiacco, his girlfriend Kim, her two daughters, Annie and Christina, and their friend, Tom. I've told many people that I'm a huge chicken when it comes to thrill-type activities, and I readily confessed my nervousness to this adventure. BUT, we had so much fun, and none of us really toppled out of the boat (except Tom, and we weren't even in bad rapids when he slipped out). It was so great to see Dave and meet Kim, and was a thrilling experience.
Another highlight of the Maine trip was taking Annalisse to spend the afternoon with her friend from Fairport, whose family owned a cottage in Ocean Park, near Old Orchard Beach. They bought the cottage 20 years ago and have been fixing up ever since, and it's just three blocks from a beautiful sandy beach. They live there for almost two months every summer. What a life!!
We got home on Tuesday, July 6, unpacked our suitcases, repacked and got ready to go to...
Annalisse, my sister Mary, and I headed out to Las Vegas on Thursday, July 8 for a board meeting for my professional organization, NAGAP (I'm the membership committee chair). I knew I would be tied up from Friday at 4pm until Sunday at noon, so I asked Mary to come along to hang with Annalisse since they both LOVE to do girl stuff (you know, pedis, shopping, that stuff). When we headed out of the airport on Thursday evening to catch the shuttle to the MResort, WHOOMP! we were hit with a wall of heat. It was amazing. So that's what 107 degrees feels like? It's really something!
We made out way to the hotel (which, by the way, was amazing - contemporary and beautiful), and prepared to head out on Friday morning to "get the lay of the land." In honor of my father's birthday the day before, we decided that for every casino we entered in our travels we would play $1 in honor of Dad. Well, you can imagine we were done quite quickly!
We had a really good time going in and out of the different gardens and shops at the casinos. We aren't big gamblers, so I think I lost a total of $25 for the entire time I was there. It was really fun just to see all the extravagance, not to mention all the incredibly tempting food and treats. If I see one more pastry shop... (I may just cave in and eat it all!)
While there, we had a chance to visit with our cousins Nancy and Patsy (Spadafore). Patsy has lived in Henderson, NV for almost 20 years, and for Nancy, it's probably been not quite that long.
On our last day, we ventured back down to the strip in the morning, but came back to the hotel early enough to spend a couple of hours lounging by the pool. It was heavenly!!
And through all our travels, Cam was having the time of his life in...
We got home on Tuesday, and Cam flew in on Wednesday evening.
Cam visited Southern Germany for approximately three weeks from June 25 until July 14 through the Fairport High School German Exchange program. For the first two weeks of his trip, he stayed at the home of Belinda Fischer, the young lady who stayed with us in May. Then, after leaving the host families the 22 Fairport kids traveled to several castles in the area, visited Salzburg, and spent time in Munich before returning home.
Cam took around 400 pictures of his trip, and said it was "the best trip of his life." It probably didn't hurt that he was there during the World Cup, which is huge in Europe. He really enjoyed the public viewings, where the entire village came out to one central area to watch the games.
A wonderful, wonderful trip!
Think our travel is over? Not quite. Annalisse left yesterday for a week in the Outer Banks with her friend Mo and Mo's family, and Cam left today for his summer job at 4H Camp Bristol (he'll be home just weekends for the next three weeks, and possibly more if he is able to work some of the camps that rent Camp Bristol after their season is over).
No wonder summer passses so fast!!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
- All the news from our trip to Maine, complete with beautiful pictures
- A diary of our adventures in Las Vegas, for which Annalisse, Mary and I leave today (Happy Birthday, Dad! We miss you and are heading to LV in your honor today!)
- Cam's arrival home from Germany next Wednesday
- Our crazy travel summer in general
Saturday, June 26, 2010
A collective noun is the term used to describe a "group" of something. There are the common ones that we hear all the time like "a herd of cattle" or "a flock of geese," but there are some collective terms that are downright beautiful, and others that are just plain weird. Some examples you might not have heard of - including the title of this post- are:
- Shrewdness of apes
- Chain of boblolinks (what the heck is a bobolink?!)
- Wake of buzzards (seems fitting
- Kindle of kittens
- Scold of jays (is that why they seem like they're always yelling at each other?
- Smack of jellyfish
- Leep of leopards
- Watch of nightingales
- Bevy of otter
- Bouquet of pheasants (sounds lovely!)
- Passel of possum
- Storytelling of ravens
- Harem of Seals (those crazy seals!)
- Knot of toads
There are many, many more collectives that can be found here. I have a couple less eloquent terms I'd like to add to the list:
- Tumbleweed of doghair
- Mountain of laundry
- Stack of dirty dishes
- Eternity of homework
- Rotation of bills
- Foot of weeds
Obviously, I could think of tons more. The English language can be so much fun, don't you agree?
This blog entry brought to you by the murder of crows outside my window every morning starting at 4am. They make my mornings sound like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Here's what we know about Belinda so far:
- Her mom is American, and is from Fairfax County, VA. They visit the states every summer for a month (it used to be twice yearly, but these days flying is too expensive). So, she definitely has had an introduction to American culture, and speaks really great English.
- Her favorite food is Italian (so I'll be making my famous sauce-n-balls dinner).
- She LOVES Scrubs (the TV show).
- She has a Golden Retriever named Sunny.
- She has a younger sister who is Annalisse's age.
After Belinda leaves us on June 2, she and her group will spend another week in the States visiting NYC and Washington, DC. Then, on June 25, Cam will head across the pond to spend two weeks with Belinda and her family, attending school and learning about the area. After his two weeks, his group will travel around Germany and Austria for another week.
WHAT LUCKY KIDS!