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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Confessions of a Middle-Aged Techno Geek

How can a (late) 40-something-year-old woman be so enraptured by technology? Am I not living during the perfect time? What if I were born during caveman time? Would I have been fascinated by the wheel? (Can I ask more questions??)

So what was your first clue that I'm a techno geek? Is it how I incessantly write about how much I love my iPhone, or the fact that I chose to buy a MacBook Pro over a new dishwasher last year? Or maybe it's the fact that I created an online journal (lucky readers of the Fabulous B@ker Blog!) where I espouse my love for technology at every turn. I guess I'm what the industry might call an "early adapter of new technologies." I would only qualify that by adding "if/when I can afford them."

With the release of every new gadget and development of every new technology, it seems that no idea is beyond realization. In the last ten years, and especially in the last three year or so, technology advances are moving so fast they and have forced us to constantly rethink and re-evaluate the way we do business and live our everyday lives, at home and at work. Grow or die.

This article caught my eye about 21 things that became obsolete in the last decade. Some of the stuff is really interesting. As the old going says, a technology item becomes obsolete the minute you take it out of the package. It can be a little overwhelming to think about, except if you're up to for the challenge. Along those lines is a companion article on 15 Gadgets that Changed Everything. I can't help it. I just eat this stuff up.

A friend recently showed me her Amazon Kindle. While it seems suitable enough for reading books, it's not something I would ever buy because just using it for a couple of minutes my expectations already exceeded its abilities. For instance, it wasn't in color, did not have a touch screen, and did not display pages with pictures as I expected. If I'm going to use a device to read books I'm probably going to skip all the gadgets that only get me part of the way there and go right for the "gold" standard: the iPad.

In our house, we've been having conversations about getting rid of our land line/telephone. How strange, the possibility that we will no longer have a home phone soon, although I know a lot of people got rid of theirs long ago, and function solely with their cell phones now. It seems to make a lot of sense now since the phone rarely rings, and many times, if it does, it's an annoying solicitation call.

I have a dream. It's not as revolutionary as that other famous "I Have a Dream" idea, but is a pretty exciting one for the Baker family. This year I hope to mount a new flatscreen television over our fireplace, and get rid of the cabinet of equipment we've used for the last many years. My TV will be controlled by any one of our laptops, which will communicate with the TV to play movies, games, music, display our photos...you get the idea. Gone will be the bulky stereo, CD player, DVD player, VHS player.

Basically, I'm envisioning a wireless home theatre system with surround sound. Getting rid of the big stereo cabinet and the bulky TV we currently use will free up a corner for another chair in our living room, which will also be cool. I'll post pictures when we are able to do this project, which might not be until later this year.

So, yeah, I love technology. It's also something I can talk with Cam about, since it's also an interest of his and he's also trying to stay ahead of the curve with technology trends. Keep up or fall behind, am I right?

Monday, January 24, 2011

OMG FLA

Last night at 11:45pm I returned from my whirlwind trip to Ft. Lauderdale for my association's board meeting. Have I said lately how much I think flying is a pain-in-the-butt? Not to beat a dead horse (butt), but what a hassle! I guess it's what happens when you live in a second (or third) tiered city - you have to fly to a hub to connect with a flight to anywhere worth going.

The trip started out well enough when I scored an early flight on standby and got into Ft. Lauderdale a little early (I say a little early because the flight left 45 minutes late and circled the airport in a holding pattern for 45 minutes before landing), and by a "little early" I mean I got in 1/2 hour before my original flight was planned to arrive. Oh well.

I stepped outside the airport and was born anew. Humidity and the fresh smell of the tropics after a rainfall. WONDERFUL! I know Florida is probably crazy warm in the summer but boy did that heat feel good.

I made my way to the hotel/resort, which was also very nice with a palm tree courtyard around the beautiful pools and hot tub. Unfortunately, it was a little to cold and still cloudy rainy to really enjoy the full effect of the pool, but it was still lovely. The room was also beautiful and really large. I fell upon the fluffy bed and sighed. Relaxation!

My meeting was also great and it's good that Saturday was actually a very cool and overcast day - then I wouldn't feel so bad being inside all day. Saturday night we went to a trendy, upscale section of the city for an amazing dinner. All made even more memorable by being with my great colleagues/friends.

On Saturday, the weather was sunny and warm, just in time for me to leave at 11am to catch my flight back to JFK. It was probably a bad omen that when I got there the line for security was OUT THE FRONT DOOR OF THE TERMINAL AND ALONG THE OUTSIDE WALKWAY. Unbelievable. The line moved relatively fast but I don't ever remember being in such a long line. Soon enough we were in the air, and landing in NYC. All looked well until about an hour before my flight was to depart and the attendant announced that our original plane had a mechanical problem and we were waiting to hitch a ride to Rochester with a flight that was coming from Boston, and scheduled to arrive at 8:30pm - three hours after our original departure time. Groans all around.

So, after three hours in a stinky, dirty airport [what is it about being in an airport that makes me want to take a shower immediately upon arriving home?] we finally left New York around 9:30pm and arrived back in Rochester around 11:30pm - exhausted and cold.

What a shock to the system to leave sun and 70 degrees and return to the cold, barren, desolate arctic. I definitely see why people move to Florida for the winter.

Does this mean I'm getting old and ready to retire?! If so, sign me up!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Warm Weather Denial

Tomorrow I will be flying the friendly skies south to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for a weekend meeting of the national association I belong to (to which I belong?). I'm definitely in a bit of "warm weather denial," what with the frosty and frigid conditions 'round these parts for the last two months. I just can't bring myself to pack shorts and/or capri pants, although I did pack a bunch of short sleeved shirts and some sandals for good measure. After all, it will be 80 degrees there, and sunny, of course. Even so, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that, as I write this, I am stationed directly in front of the space heater trying to warm up and there's a distinct possibility that tomorrow at this time I could be sitting on a deck (OR BY THE POOL) sipping mojitos.

So, off to Ft. Lauderdale (cool, since I've never been there) I will go, and after one full day and part of another, I will board a plane again on Sunday to try to deal with the rest of this frozen-hell winter.

Oh, and did I mention that when I get back it will be 5 degrees in Rochester? No? I didn't think so for I am trying to block thought from my mind.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Morning Ritual

A couple of weeks ago at work we were talking about drinking coffee and tea, and one of my coworkers, a very calm, serene lady, talked about how drinking her morning coffee is like a ritual. I knew exactly what she meant. For me, it's lining up all the little events in a morning that calm and center me for the day, and it goes a little like this:
After the kids are off to school and the dog is walked and taken out ("the World is Jasper's toilet"), I get in my car and go a couple of blocks to the corner gas station where I get my 20 oz cup of Green Mountain Coffee. The mixture is always the same: 1/2 decaf hazelnut and equal parts for the other half, which consist of some combination of Wild Blueberry, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, and a wildcard flavor (according to the season) like Gingerbread, Southern Pecan, Peach, or Tropical Coconut. [These coffee combinations will probably make some readers gasp in their craziness but they are OH SO YUMMY.]
Then, I come home, pour a little of the coffee into a small glass to make room for my fat-free half and half (and lots of it - I like my coffee "light"). Next, I fire up the computer, put my toast, wheat roll, or "everything" bagel into the toaster oven, and wait. Once the toast (or whatever) is done, I sit down in front of the computer and check my email, my Facebook, and catch up on all the (celebrity and national) news. I also check my bank account and a couple of blogs I read. About 7:30, I head upstairs to finish getting ready for work, then I head out the door.
Variations on the morning ritual might include a trip to Canaltown Roasters in the Village of Pittsford, or a stop at Panera Bread. In either case I bring along some reading material for some calm, quiet time before work.
Does that sound a little OCD to you (especially the coffee mixing part)? Maybe so, but it's the quiet time I need to get ready for the rat race of a day that's usually ahead. And, in case you're wondering, my weekend routine is pretty much the same, except that in nice weather Mark and I walk Jasper down to the corner gas station to get my coffee. That make the routine even better!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Weekend Fantasy

Lately (well, specifically since my holiday break) on every Friday I trick myself into thinking I'm still "on vacation" by telling myself that I have two days left to my break. Somehow it makes it seem like there's more time than just a weekend until I'm "back to the old grind," as Nonnie used to say.

Oh, the things we tell ourselves to get through the day!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Lost Musical Genre

Every once in a while I'm reminded how much I enjoy the "dead teenager" and story-teller type songs from the '70s. Having experienced most of my childhood and teenhood in the late '60s and through the '70s, I really felt fortunate to be able to tune in to 1340WMSA and hear these gems:


These songs, and others like them that I'm certain I've missed, have provided hours of ridicule for me an my friends over the years. They sure don't make them like that anymore!

(Do you have any to add?)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Carol!

Happy birthday today to my "middle" and still much older sister, Carol. Having a birthday on a Monday sure makes it a little easier to get through the day. Have a great one!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Heart January

January is one of my favorite months. I can hear your *gasp* of disbelief at this statement since I've often vocalized my disdain for winter, but hear me out.

January is a no-pressure-stay-inside-hunker-down kind of month. The holiday hubbub is over, the decorations are put away, there are no big dinners to prepare for...you get the idea. The weekends, by nature, are usually uncluttered so a lot of time can be spent wrapped in a blanket and sitting by the fire with a favorite book or movie. FROZEN, SNOWY, HEAVEN!

The best we can hope for is a really good snowstorm that sends the town out to stock up on milk, bread and eggs, and the feeling like no other when the school closings scroll across the bottom of the TV (and, if I'm lucky, my college is closed, too - which it usually is if it get's bad enough for Fairport to close).

So here's to January's white, cold glory!

Monday, January 3, 2011

To marry for love or $$?

On days like these, the first day back to work after 10 days of vacation, I'm thinking I should have married for money instead of love.

If I married for money, I could sleep in every day and come downstairs to my chef-made breakfast (it would probably still be Green Mountain flavored coffee [or, my other faves, Canaltown or Fingerlakes Roasters] and an "everything" bagel), then, I could meet with my personal trainer, then join "ladies who lunch" for a healthy midday meal. THEN TAKE MY DAILY NAP. With Pup. In the evenings, I could have low fat, healthy dinner at home (again, my chef could cook and the help would clean up), or I could go out to dinner every night!

Instead, the alarm went off at 5:45am and we all dragged ourselves out of bed, eyes barely open, and stumbled through the morning on our way to school and work. My sweatpants will really miss me this week.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1.1.11

Welcome to 2011! The year of Cameron's high school graduation, and the year of my 30th MCHS reunion. May it also be a year of health, happiness, fun and travel! Every year feels like a new beginning, with new "resolutions"; doesn't January 1 feel so good? A clean slate. We're all well rested and ready to face the new year!! Have a wonderful 2011!