Saturday, February 26, 2011

The OTHER Fabulous Baker Blog

I guess everyone/thing has a doppelganger, even blogs.

On occasion, when I'm away from my computer and want to show someone our blog, I google it using words like "Fabulous Baker Blog" or "Baker Blog." DID YOU KNOW that there is another Fabulous Baker Blog? And here I thought I was being really original four years ago when I came up with the name, which was not so original because it's a play on the name of the 1989 movie, The Fabulous Baker Boys. If you haven't already noticed, the distinguishing characteristic of our Baker blog is the use of the "@" sign in the word B@ker. Whoa, so original. ; )

Just in case you haven't yet happened upon the other Fabulous Baker Blog, here's it is:

The Fabulous Baker Blog- Following the adventures of the Baker family of Kalamazoo, Michigan, these folks 2X (+1) the kids of the Fairport Bakers, and features a cute "kids" quotes sidebar.

I wonder if they've ever happened upon us?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Crazy Phobias

Today I was thinking about the crazy phobias that plague me.

Here's a big one: Imagine what it's like to have two little kids and everywhere you go, people are handing them balloons (especially at restaurants), and you accept them with mounting anxiety because what kind of parent would you be if you didn't let your kids have a balloon? Balloons are fun enough, except for when you are a globophobic, which is a fear of balloons, which really means that you're not afraid of balloons, per se, but the sudden explosive bursting of a balloon. All through my children's early years and right up until last night when I had four leftover balloons (from a work program) in the back of my car, I lived in fear of balloons suddenly bursting.

My anxiety over sudden, loud noises carries over to my hatred of loud, bright fireworks. I'm probably in the minority of people who cannot stand fireworks (Too loud! Too bright!), anxiously and count the minutes until they're over every 4th of July.

Another big fear of mine is plugging in electrical devices that could suddenly turn on when plugged in. Specifically, lamps and things like vacuum cleaners. I have no idea where this fear came from. I can only guess that my early years were a haze of plugging in things that suddenly lit up or made a loud sound. I googled "fear of plugging in electrical devices" but, alas, there doesn't seem to be a phobia name for that one. Yet.

Probably my third big fear is lighting matches from a matchbook (as opposed to lighting the wooden match kind). I have never been able to light a match this way. Too scary for me. Weird, huh? I suppose I'd be in super big trouble if I were a smoker.

Everybody has phobias, and I have the usual ones that are common such as claustrophobia and a fear of drowning, to name just a few. I remember my niece Nic, who's now 26, being terrified of clowns. I have to admit I find most clowns pretty creepy also. Especially the one featured in the recent movie Zombieland (picture at right). That's the stuff of nightmares.

In general, I consider myself a pretty well adjusted person, with a "normal" amount of phobias. That is, until I just re-read this post and realized how crazy I sound. Now I'll probably develop a blogging phobia, and coin a term it! Maybe it could be called blogophobia! Maybe...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Flyin' Solo

Today marked another Baker milestone as Annalisse took her first solo plane flight to Baltimore to spend a couple of days with Mom Shiao and the Arlington Gang (Dave, Mandy, Jackson and Amelie).

I booked a direct flight for her and arranged for a "gate pass" for me and Mom (on Wednesday) so we could accompany her to the gate and make sure she took off okay. She was so excited, and I am excited for her. In many ways (that count), both the kids are independent and confident, something of which I'm exceedingly proud. Of course, the ways they aren't as independent is when it comes down mostly to chores. Fly half way around the world? No problem! Bring your laundry basked to the basement or unload the dishwasher? Seemingly impossible.

She has already texted me to tell me there is NO SNOW in Virginia, and it looks like she'll have mostly good weather, with Monday even getting as high as 70 degrees (although it looks like it might be rainy). I suppose 70 and rainy is better than 20 and seven inches of snow, as they're predicting for Rochester.

Have fun, ARB!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Baby Turns 18!

Cameron celebrates his 18th birthday today, on the 18th (I think there's some some kind of special name when your age coincides with your birthdate). Happy birthday to my now-adult son!! How in the world did that happen? When the kids are little people always tell you to hang onto every moment because they grow so fast. I truly cannot believe he was born 18 years ago. It feels like the blink of an eye.

Cam has a lot of exciting things to be proud of and to look forward to. He's done pretty well for himself: he's a pretty smart kid, has great friends, has travelled abroad TWICE, has a job he loves and parents who love and indulge him. The last couple of years have not always been easy as we have all navigated the teen years and the inevitable "pulling away" that often happens, especially to adolescent boys. Cam's a tough nut to crack, but I also believe, in his case, still waters run deep. He's quiet, but very introspective with a sophisticated view of the world. He doesn't say much, so when he does say something, it's probably best to really listen.

I'm so excited to see what the next few years bring for Cam as he grows toward greater independence. I'm sure there will be mistakes and missteps, and great challenges, but there will also be great victories, fun and many laughs.

So happy birthday, Cam! You are loved very much!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Hot New Ride Redux

Wasn't just about a year ago that I posted this entry about "Our Hot New Ride?" Well, as they say, it's deja vue all over again.

For a while now, at least six months anyway, I've been thinking seriously about trading in my 2006 Honda Civic. While I did love that little car, it was just that: little. And a standard shift, which, it seems was only enjoyed by me as Mark found driving it a pain in the *ss.

Also, since Cam got his permit he could really only drive the CRV because, while I wanted him to learn to drive a standard, I didn't want him to learn to drive one while he was still mastering the basics of driving in general. So, since Mark mostly drove the CRV, when Cam and I wanted to go out and practice, we never had a car available. (For some reason, Mark does not want let Cam drive and I'm the one who always has to take him out. I have my own theories about that.) I did, though, have a dream about giving the Civic to Cam in a couple of years and getting a new car then. Oh well.

So, off we went to Honda and bought a 2010 Honda Accord. When I think about it, this was an impulse buy that I've been thinking about for quite a while -which cancels out the definition of an "impulse buy." Since we "bought" the car on Valentine's Day I'm telling Mark that's his V-Day present. Some people get dinner out. Some get chocolates. OTHERS GET A NEW CAR.

But, the car is AWESOME. It's a beaut, as they say. Smells good. Looks great, shiny black on outside and black leather on the inside. Because it's last year's model and we got it at a pretty good price it also has an amazing navigation system and bluetooth technology where it connects our iPhones to the car's computer to talk hands-free through the speaker (you even answer the phone using a button on the steering wheel - VERY COOL). For a techno-geek like me, well, you can imagine my excitement.

So a win-win for everyone. Now, onto five years of payments...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Goodbye To "The Friends"

On Monday, we're having Annalisse's room painted so today we spent some time cleaning things out to get ready. Annalisse made it a point to tell me that when we put her room back together she doesn't want her stuffed animals or kids books in there anymore. Of course, that made sense, but it was heartbreaking to send her "friends" into the attic to be stored in large plastic tub until she's ready to enjoy them again...probably when she shares them with her own children.

Throughout the years we've had many "clean outs" of the kids rooms when all the diggers, kid's books, trains, Legos, Barbies, American Girl dolls and stuffed animals are put into storage, but that didn't make it any easier for me to say "goodbye" this time as I felt I was also saying goodbye to my last "young" child and getting myself ready for the fact that in two years, she too, would be getting ready to head off to college.

Readers of the B@ker Blog with young children: I know you've heard it before, but enjoy every minute while they're still at home because someday those fluffy bears, stuffed ponies, and roller-skating kittens will be turned away to make room for make-up, more clothes, fancy shoes and a growing collection of yearbooks.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Randomness

Whew! After my last loooonnnnngggg blog entry I must be spent...nothing of real interest or substance to write about this week. All of a sudden it's Wednesday (I'm not complaining) and work has been, well, let's just say, interesting this week. It's my policy not to write about specifics at work on the blog, so that's all I'll say. I already warned my family that I would most likely be pretty crabby this week, and it's actually not as bad (so far) as I expected. One thing I will say for work this week - there's been food around every day; between chocolate cake, bagel breakfasts and birthday parties it is NOT GOOD.

There are only two more days until the weekend, and Valentine's Day is on Monday. I'm one of those people who actually really likes VDay, probably since I don't take it too seriously and always use it as an excuse to eat out (sometimes both meals: I have Mark pick me up for lunch and then we all go out for dinner). It's one of those holidays that people seem to either hate or love (as they should - it is the holiday of love after all), but I'm decidedly middle-of-the-road about it.

Oh, and another thing: The kids got their report cards today. Neither flunked out of high school, so we're safe for another ten weeks. I think I may also have senioritis since I just want Cameron to do what it takes to get through this year when he has admittedly "checked out" of his studies.

The next two days are busy...I don't like being so busy. But then there's the promise of a possible nap on the weekend. One foot in front of the other.

P.S. I googled the word "random" and this picture of Chuck Norris came up. That's pretty random.

Friday, February 4, 2011

MCHS Class of 1981 - We Like to Rock!

It occurred to me today that my 30th class reunion is exactly six months away. WHICH MEANS, I have six months to lose probably five pounds. (I don't know exactly how many because I'm afraid to step on the scale. All I know is that I have rolls sound my waist.)

Things do change by the 30th reunion. Not just how many mates you've had or how many grandchildren you have, but they way people view and behave at the 30th reunion.

Here are my class reunions, from my point of view:

10th Reunion: At the 10th reunion there was as much pressure and effort to look good as there was for any "big dance": looking months in advance for “just the right dress,” growing your hair out for “just the right look,” and insisting you spouse come along so you could show him or her off (almost like a prize). Most of us were just beginning our careers, some had been married just a little while, and some of us were having the first of our children. Others were on their second spouse already and had not accomplished much at all. The point was you felt you had something to prove; that you had risen above the limitations of high school, matured, married well, and made something of yourself.

There was an invitation mailing (this was before the Internet and Facebook). There was a fee to cover the weekend activities. There was pamphlet listing what each classmate was doing/where living/who married to now. Friday afternoon many participated in a newly established scholarship golf tournament honoring one of our lost classmates. Friday night featured a casual gathering with snacks, and Saturday night featured a more formal buffet dinner where everyone dressed up real fancy-like. Sunday, before we all went our separate ways, we had a picnic at the beach. Definitely a lot of work for the organizers.

The men had not all yet lost their hair and gained their pot bellies, and the women were still somewhat slim themselves. Some classmates had already left us, and their pictures were on a table with a votive candle in front of each: one hit by a car, one lost in a farm accident, a possible suicide, another one, a good friend of mine, an early victim of AIDS. Five boys in all by 1991. The 10th reunion was the one and only time my good friend Derb has attended a reunion so far. I wish I could see him again.

20th Reunion: The tone is noticeably more casual, and e-mail was used to get the word out. The Mike Hazelton Memorial Scholarship Tournament on Friday and the gathering at the fire station on Friday night, featuring a local band made up of classmates from our class and the class before us. It was off to the Elks club on Saturday night for more of the same. New mates all around, more grandparents, and many who are gay finally feel comfortable in their own skin and are able to “be themselves.” The 20th reunion had a substantially more relaxed atmosphere with old friends who are just happy to see each other again, spending a couple of hours together.

25th Reunion: Was five years too soon after the last reunion? The celebration is much like the 20th, but on Saturday night, it's a 70s dance party at a bar we all used to frequent, a place that has seen better days. I had to miss the Saturday night event, but rumor has it my down-the-street childhood-playmate-neighbor, who's now a law professor at the University of Baltimore, danced on a table in leather pants. Pictures don't lie, Mike.

Some classmates are on their third marriage, with multiple children all around for most. Bridging the gap with small talk and trying to make a connection, the focus turns to talk of careers and the passing of family pictures with these familiar strangers, and sometimes it’s hard to see our friends in the faces who have changed so much.

30th Reunion: Coming up the first weekend in July. Featuring the usual activities, but there’s comfort in the routine, isn’t there? Formality is out the door, but this year there may be a special surprise: the organizers have invited April Wine, the late 70s, early 80s Canadian rock band who sang MCHS Class of ’81’s signature long, We Like to Rock, have been invited to perform for our group. It may cost more, but wouldn’t been be cool?

People are more confident, and some of the spouses might even be encouraged to stay home (“you’ll be so bored,” or “I really want to just hang and catch up with friends for the night”) as our confidence ourselves as adults has increased. Most of us aren’t that afraid to go places by ourselves, and we don’t need a spouse to demonstrate our success. We are defining success on our own terms. No offense to our spouses, but this has become about “us” again.

The 30th reunion table of classmates who have passed will feature a couple more: one lost to cancer, one to cystic fibrosis. There are those who have never come to a reunion, and this year will be no different. Or, maybe this will be “the year” since they have reconnected with so many old friends on Facebook (peer pressure, even when you’re in your late 40s = a good thing). There will be others of us who will attend to bask in the illusion of ease and grand happiness that we think characterized our teen years, as we step back in time for just a little while.

To follow Massena Central High School Class of 1981 reunion to see how it all turns out at their big event this year, follow the link that contains our motto, from the April Wine song, We Like to Rock at

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is Nara a Rabbit?

Happy birthday today to my sister-in-law, Nara, whose birthday also happens to fall on Chinese New Year. I'm not sure what "year" it is in the Chinese calendar; probably something like 5,402. Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit.

Have fun Nara!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ode to the Groundhog and the Over-hyped Storm of the Century

Today is my FAVORITE holiday! Three cheers for the groundhog! The promise of spring and new life. Now get the heck out of that hole...

...but he can't, because of the much-anticipated-over-hyped-so-called (SNOW)STORM OF THE CENTURY. Which didn't amount to a hill of frozen beans except for the usual couple inches of snow and a little sleet. It was enough close Fairport schools, though, which many of us from Fairport agree was more of a preemptive strike since it didn't really snow all day and there was no blowing to speak of. The kids sure were happy. Me, I trudged off to work, dreams of spending day in my PJs dashed for the time being.

Still, apparently it is a day that shall live in infamy as it was so fondly named "The Groundhog Day Storm of 2011."