Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wills and Kate

It may be a cliche and a little annoying, but Annalisse and I have succumbed to the royal wedding fever that captured the world for the last couple of weeks, and culminated in the beautiful wedding yesterday of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Yes, we can all rave about how useless the English monarchy is, how they cost the taxpayers of England millions of dollars for "doing nothing." Gadzooks! How can the Royal family spend millions of dollars on wedding when the country is experiencing strict austerity conditions?!

The fact is, many of us are really drawn in by the fairytale romance between a handsome prince and his down-to-Earth, beautiful commoner choice of a bride. After thirty tumultuous years of royal-watching where Prince Charles revealed himself to be a cold, out-of-touch spineless mamby-boy who led his young, shy, inexperienced, emotionally unstable choice of a bride forth like a lamb to slaughter, it's wonderful to see love prevail at last! Who would have thought Chuck and Di's "fairy tale romance" would all turn out as badly as it did? Certainly not me and cousin Jean, who were up at the break of dawn 30 years ago to watch that ill-fated royal wedding.

It seems lessons have certainly been learned from the story of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Prince William and Princess Catherine represent a warm and promising future that I believe will breathe new life into the English monarchy.

There was a touch of sadness when we think back to the tragic circumstances of William and Harry's mom's death, and the memory of those two young boys walking solemnly behind her carriage during the funeral procession. Very sad for those guys. I'm sure it was on their minds especially yesterday.

Back across the pond, Annalisse and I got up at 4:30am and drove over to our friend Chris' place for an early morning viewing of the wedding, complete with English-themed treats like scones, croissant and jam, and tea. There were collective sighs of "Ahhhh!" when Prince William, upon being joined by his bride-to-be at the alter, told her "You look beautiful." (Lip readers, all of us.) After the wedding, Annalisse and I headed home to wait for "the kiss" (scheduled for 8:25am - and there were TWO kisses!) before I dropped her off at school. I took the day off to hang at home with pup, and make a belated Easter dinner, for which Nic and Patrick joined us.

The day was a great success, with warm fuzzys all around!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Today it is warm, sunny and breezy. When the weather is like this, I feel so alive! Isn't it funny how the weather affects our mood? I was truly meant to live in a warm weather climate.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Road from Virginny

Well, today it's "back to the old grind," as Nonnie used to say, after our quick trip to Virginia. The build up to the trip was tempered a little when I was befelled by a 24-hour stomach bug which started around 11pm on Monday night and lasted until 4:30am Tuesday morning, followed by an unexpected day off work spent drifting in and out of sleep all day. As always happens, I felt a bit more human on Wednesday morning as we packed up an headed south to Arlington for a quick overnight with Mom before heading down to Sue and Ken's in Salem, VA. I emphasize the "VA" because of the following exchange, which occurred on Friday:

Annalisse: When are we going to Salem.
Me: What do you mean? We spent the whole day there yesterday.
Annalisse: Are we going to the brewery?
Me: What brewery?
Annalisse: You know, the one near the Witch Museum
Me: That's Salem, MA, not Salem, VA!!!!

After dinner with the Arlington-based branch of the family, we got up early
Thursday and head south on 81 to Sue's. We got in around 12:30, had a little lunch, then headed over to Roanoke College for a tour for Annalisse. (We figured that since we were down there we might as well look at RC, which is the type of college Annalisse will be considering in a couple of years.) It was a beautiful place, just blocks from S&K's
house. On Thursday night we went out to a cute restaurant in Troutville (where Mark should live if he ever moves south) to hear Ken play with is jazz group. They were great!!

On Friday morning we headed back north to Charlottesville to see Monticello. By the time we arrived, around 11am, there were already a ton of people there, and we bought tickets for the 2:40 house tour. So, until our tour time we wandered around the grounds (beautiful!) and generally meandered. Around 1pm we decided not to stick around for the house tour as it was getting colder and beginning to spit rain. I was really not all that disappointed as I believe I'll have the opportunity to visit another time. The grounds and the house from the outside were worth it!

After leaving Monticello we went into Charlottesville to the pedestrian mall, and by this time it was miserable out: steady rain and cold. I was chilled to the bone. We ducked into a diner for lunch, and after lunch went into just a couple of shops as I think we were all tired and cold by then. So we loaded up and headed back south through the alternating drizzle and pouring rain, and fog. We went back to the hotel and just relaxed, and Annalisse and I watched The King's Speech, while Cam went into his virtual world for a couple of hours (it's very stressful to have to relate to humans all day). Mark, who's been battling a cold/cough, fell asleep around 6:30pm and didn't resurface until 8 the next morning. He really needed that sleep.

On Saturday, we went into Roanoke to the market, and did a little shopping until Ken joined us for lunch at a great BBQ place. Then, for some reason, our focus shifted to trying to find Annalisse a dress for the 10th grade dance, which is in two weeks. Alas, after driving around to six or seven stores, we came home empty handed. That will have to be this weekend's focus! After a wonderful dinner at S&Ks, filled with lots of laughs, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel for our 6:30 departure for home. We had to watch the time since we had to pick Jasper up at the Petsmart Pet Hotel (!) by 6pm and it's a 9-10 hour trip.

As an Easter celebration, yesterday was definitely below par with no Easter service or Easter dinner. I may make up the Easter dinner part with a special dinner of ham or lamb this weekend.

All in all, a wonderful trip spent with wonderful family and friends, including Sue's cousin, San, whom we love dearly, filled with great company, great food, and great fun!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Road Trip!

Here I am wishing time away again. I HAVE GOT TO STOP DOING THAT! But I really can't help it...I'm so looking forward to our short break next Wednesday when we travel south for a quick trip to visit Mom S. in Arlington VA, then head out early on Thursday on Thursday to visit Sue and Ken in Roanoke. We haven't been to visit them in several years so I'm really looking forward to it. It's such a nice area. While there, we're going to take Annalisse to look at Roanoke College, which is a college very much like the one's she'll be considering a year from now when we begin to look at colleges for her.

Another fun thing I talked to Sue about doing was a day trip to Charlottesville to see Jefferson's Monticello. A trip to Monticello's been on my list a long time, so I'm really excited about that possibility as well.

I'm soooo looking forward to a change of scenery and a break from work. Although I like my job very much, I feel like I haven't had a physical and technological break for it in a while. This will be one of those trips when I tell the staff to only contact me if it's an emergency or calling me is a last resort. Ten hours in the car (each way) with my book and a stack of magazines sounds like HEAVEN right now!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thoughts for Jo

I'm thinking of my friend and co-worker, Jo, today as she begins agressive treatment for lymphoma. What could be worse than being treated for cancer a day before your birthday? As if having to spend the whole day in chemo wasn't enough.

Best of luck, Jo, for a full recovery!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Get Down On It!

I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had with my NAGAP friends during our conference in DC! What a great group of people I've gotten to know through my NY group and the national group, and my circle is getting bigger every year.

While I'm not much of a dancer (I'm still sort of stuck in the 80s), we had a blast dancing to one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE songs to make fun of, Kool & the Gang's Get Down On It. (I'll bet you thought I was going to say it's one of my all time favorite songs, and not the "to make fun of" part.) It's a classic!! Now, thanks to GDOI my friends cannot get that catchy tune out of their heads. It's the stuff of nightmares. And, here it is:

How you gonna do it if you really don't want do dance

By standing on the wall?
Get your back up off the wall
tell me.
How you gonna do it if you really don't want to dance

By standing on the wall. Get your back up off the wall

'Cause I heard all the people sayin':
Get down on it

So, Josh, Kristen, Kittie, Larry, Monica, Tonya, Michelle, etc. etc., GET DOWN ON IT!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I Got One!

Being a little focused (some would say obsessed...) with getting an iPad 2, I trekked out of my hotel bright and early on Wednesday morning and took a cab ride over to The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City to try my luck at the Apple store. I got there around 9am, and there was already a line of about 20 people waiting for IPads. I went up to the employee greeting line waiters and she asked "what kind of iPad I wanted (???!!!)." I told her, and she handed me a white ticket with my specifications written on it. "Does this mean I have one?", I asked. "Yes," she answered.


With much excitement, I took my place in line (and immediately called Mark: "I GOT ONE!") behind a friendly soldier named Ed, whom I got to know a little better during our 1/2 hour in line. A very pleasant wait, indeed.

Long story short, I'm the proud owner of a wifi 32G iPad2 with a cool orange magnetic cover. HURRAY!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tweet with me

Seriously. Now I'm on Twitter. What could I possibly have to say that I've not said on Facebook, through e-mail, or on my blog?

About a year ago I created a Twitter account because it seemed like the technological thing to do. But it wasn't until today, April 5, that I actually "tweeted after much peer pressure from my NAGAP pals, who have apparently been "tweeting" for a while now. So, I bit the bullet and wrote

My first tweet. How do you like me now?

Pretty compelling stuff, huh? If you are so inclined to "follow me" and have access to my most compelling (nonsensical) thoughts, I can be found at "Judith_Baker."

Capital City

I arrived in DC yesterday night (after a two hour delay out of Rochester) to warm, balmy, beautiful weather! We are the Marriot Wardman Hotel, which is just steps from the metro and down the street from the National Zoo. Walking up the path to the hotel I was overwhelmed by he smell of tulips and hyacinth. Could it be true? Is it really spring (somewhere)? I was made for warm weather.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Still Not A Line-Waiter

I must say I wish I was more of a patient line-waiter, because now that I'm ready to buy an iPad 2 I can't fined one. Due to underestimating demand (or some other lame excuse, like the inability to get certain parts for the iPad 2 since the earthquake/tsunami in Japan), there is not an iPad to be found. My coworker, Tonya, who is MUCH MORE patient than I am stood in line for three when they went on sale on March 11 and, is probably enjoying her iPad, "as we speak."

But then, I've never had much patience for waiting in line. For this reason, a trip to Disney* has never been a really high priority for me (in fact, the idea of the crowds and the lines, to say nothing of the cost, is a bit of a nightmare for me), and when I encounter a long line for an event or to get food, I usually step aside and wait it out. I recall a time when the kids were little, and I got up early to go shopping on a Black Friday (which I never, ever do), and within a half-hour of being in Toys-R-Us I abandoned my cart and headed out the door.

So, on the bright side, I guess I don't need to feel the pressure to spend $600 on a new iPad right now. The downside is, I still want one. A lot. : (

*If I had not gone to Disney for a conference five years ago, I'm pretty sure I still would not have gone there by now. During an afternoon break I walked from my hotel to The Magic Kingdom, wandered around for a couple of hours, stood in line for "It's a Small World," and walked back to my room. I can now check that one off my list. Annalisse, who has always wanted to go to Disney, will probably cite this as a reason for her ruined childhood when she's in therapy during her mid-life crisis.