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Showing posts from December, 2010

An end to washing dishes like a pioneer

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Little things mean a lot. Especially, when it comes to my new dishwasher.

Some background: Our dishwasher gasped its last breath back in April. At the time, we didn't want to run out and get one (financially), and, I reasoned: I washed dishes by hand for nine years when we lived in our first house, and there were even two babies involved, so I should be able to wash dishes without a dishwasher for a little while, at least. Besides, I really don't mind doing dishes and actually find it a little relaxing; queuing up my fave tunes and settling in for a little scrubbing.
Except that, for whatever reason, my tap water doesn't get hot enough to really get the dishes clean and every time I wash dishes I have to boil a kettle of water. REAL OLD, REAL SOON. Why not then, you ask, get a dishwasher sooner? Well, the reason is probably one that many will think is odd...
My laptop died right around the same time as my dishwasher. It came down to deciding what I wanted more: a new laptop…

Happy Birthday to my OLD LADY!

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Happy 80th Birthday today to my mother, Aline! I hope she finds glorious wealth from the $20 in scratch-offs that I sent her in the mail. Have fun today, Mom!!

'Twas the day after Christmas...

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...and of course I'm up by 6am doing laundry and other chores.
It as a great couple of days, punctuated by lots of family and fun surprises. Regular readers of The Fabulous B@ker Blog will know that sometimes Christmas really send me over the edge, but that's mostly just the "lead up"; the crazy store decorations and sales, the holiday music in November, the emphasis on spending. But when all is said and done, it's great to see the extended family and, if I've done my job well, paying attention throughout the year, the gift giving is very rewarding.
This year followed the same comforting format of all the years that came before: Christmas Eve service, the Christmas Eve party at Uncle Pete's and Aunt Mary's (who is thankfully doing really well after her tough fall battling lung cancer), then the "silent night, holy night" prep for the big morning.
On Christmas morning I got up early and fed pup, took him out, turned on the lights and waited. An…

I Deserve a Break Today

Rarely have I ever looked more forward to a break than I am to my vacation that starts at around 2pm tomorrow! While I'm sure I felt exactly the same way last year at this time, forgetfulness is a kind mistress since I jumped back on the horse and rode at a quick pace for the last year.
Long live sanity restoring vacations!
(Hey wait! What if it turns out to be a stressful, contentious vacation with two bored teenagers? Still TOTALLY WORTH IT!)

Cam's Big News!

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How can it be that it's December 20 and I have neglected to announce to the world via The Fabulous B@ker Blog that Cam was accepted to RIT on December 8?!
Wow, that one definitely slipped by without the attention it deserved!

CONGRATS, CAM, ON MAKING YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!

Now, if how to pay for it...?...

Cookie Overload (Not a bad thing)

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Last night we hosted the Seventh Annual Fourth Ave Cookie Exchange, which, of course, included a lot more than cookies. Wine, 12 different kinds of micro-brews, my famous ('round these parts) homemade eggnog, some simple appetizers, and, of course, the stars of the night: the cookies. I love the way our house looks at Christmastime, with the soft glow of the tree, the mantle lights, and the candles. That's probably why I have such a hard time taking the lights off the mantle until mid-February.
It was great seeing all our neighbors as we don't see them quite so often with the snowy, cold weather (not to mention it gets dark so early these days), and it's so much fun to see all the kids from year-to-year - they are growing up so fast.
Enjoy some pictures from our night:
Couch Potatoes
Annalisse and Smiley Riley
Guests
More guests
The Cookie Load
The Nog
Noshing!
Geoff and Chris
Unfortunately, we are "stuck" with the leftover cookies. Oh well, might as well make the best …

Vacation Countdown

While I know we should not dismiss our moments as we wait for others to arrive, I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS VACATION. One more week until I'm off for 10 days, and I really feel like I need the downtime. It's been a crazy, stressful fall and I just want to chill out at home and work on some once-a-year projects like: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 atticPut 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 FebruaryRelocate all the games in the cupboards to make room for the 30 photo albums Of course, beyond the projects, on the vacation list are (these mostly go without saying): Sleep lateWalk with pup to get coffee every morningTake napsGet up to see Mary for quick overnight if the weather allowsDon&…

Fly In

There is a right way and a wrong way to spend time in Chicago.
The Right Way: fly in, check into a great hotel downtown, walk around, do some shopping, eat at some great restaurants, see the sights.
The Wrong Way: fly in, check into the hotel connected to the airport, spend two days in meeting room, and experience mounting anxiety about your ability to get out of that snowy hell before the blizzard hits.
I spent this weekend seeing Chicago "the wrong way." Luckily I was able to catch an early flight out before Mother Nature wrecked havoc on the Chicago area. But, it wasn't as bad as it sounds...I got to spend time with some great colleagues, met some new folks and got back to Rochester in time for dinner on Saturday night. Whew!

Saying Goodbye to Ma Bell

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I lost a very important person today: Barb Bell, my best friend Sue's mom who was like a second mother to me. She had been in declining health for several months, and today she passed away peacefully at Sue and Ken's home in Roanoke. She's now at peace, joining her beloved husband, Jack, who passed away 30 years ago.
I am heartbroken, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I often tell people I got my sense of humor from the Bells (and their cousin San) as they were always such fun people, never taking themselves too seriously and finding fun whereever they went. Charades, a colander on your head at the New Year's party, enjoying that "generous" glass of wine, and our favorite British comedies. For God's sake, would I even know Benny Hill existed if not for the Bells?
The Bell family, and especially Ma, always welcomed me with open arms as if I were one of their own. Growing up I spent so many nights there I had my own toothbrush. They knew if I was goi…

Our Crooked, Full/Flat, Holey Tree

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I should have know when we found it so quickly. But it looked so "perfect" in the field, and had those nice, soft needles. I continue to think it's a really cute tree, a little on the small side, full on one side, flat on the other, and a big gap at the top. Annalisse needed a little more convincing, calling it ugly and small.
Just like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, it seemed to come to life once I got the lights and decorations on it. For the barren spot near the top, I hung a beautiful glass ornament, which looked great with a light right behind it.
After it was decorated, I stood back and exclaimed, "It's the most beautiful tree we've ever had!" - just like every other year!

Have Yourself a Melancholy Christmas

As we enter the season of Advent, and the world "waits" for the happy promise of Christmas, I am reminded how hard this season can be, and will be, for several folks I care very much about. Please keep in your thoughts and prayers our friends and family who are facing devastating loss and health challenges this year: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 brotherBarb "Ma" Bell, a woman who is a second mother to me, during her battle with cancerSue 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 healthMy coworker, Jo, as she faces yet another surgery after which has been a discouraging and scary year with her health issuesTaylor in the loss of her mom, and Hannah in the loss of her dadOur cousin Sue and her family in the loss of Joh…