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Friday, July 29, 2011

A Bad Day For a Good Soaking Rain

Today is the big day for the Fourth Avenue Street Sale, and it's incidentally the first day we've gotten a MUCH NEEDED GOOD SOAKING RAIN in a really long time, I'm taking more than a month. Everything is brown, dry, and hard so we definitely needed the rain, but c'mon! How am I ever going to take my sale loot and go out for dinner when I can't even put my treasures out?

Hoping for the weather to clear...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Graduation Celebration

This weekend we celebrated Cam's graduation with a dinner/dessert/bonfire, which was exactly one month after his June 23 graduation from FHS (it seriously seems so long ago!!). I think you may recall me mentioning at one point, probably back in the early winter, that Cam said he did not want a graduation party. The dinner, followed by dessert at home was an acceptable compromise for all of us.

At 5:30pm, our extended family, plus a couple of friends (about 30 people in all, counting the littler kids), gathered for a dinner at Bocaccini's, a nearby restaurant that is one of our local faves. Mom/Jeanne, brother David and our nephew (Jackson) and niece (Amelie) had come from Arlington for the weekend, and Mary and her family, came from Watertown for the day. The beautiful day was the crowning jewel to what had been a hot and sunny week. We had a delicious dinner with appetizers and four entrees (served family style) that we had chosen ahead of time. At the beginning of the dinner we presented Cam with the t-shirt quilt Grandma Pat had made from t-shirts I had hidden away over several years. It is very cool and we hope he will use it on his bed at RIT.

After dinner, we came back to the house for (a lot of) dessert and had a little celebration for Amelie's first birthday, which was Friday, July 22. She is so stinkin' cute!! A little into the dessert Cam's friends came over for a bonfire on the patio, and we all took care to leave them alone and tried not to embarrass him too much. It sort of worked (not really).

The party broke up around 9pm, and Cam's friends headed out around 10. Then, it was up-and-at-'em early this morning to get Cam packed and ready to go back to camp in time for his 9am breakfast meeting/party. Annalisse followed with her 11am drop off for her second CIT week and what I'm sure will be a more management week heat-wise.

What a crazy, busy, wonderful weekend it was! Is there any doubt why I love this summer so much? Another milestone achieved, and now we turn our attention onward to prepping and packing for college, which is a mere five weeks away.

Aunt Lena and Jackson

Cam, Uncle Pete and Dad

Opening Amelie's presents with Mom, Dave and Aunties

Cam and Dave - GAME OF THRONES = Total Happiness

Cousins! Annalisse, Nic, Drew and Drew's girl, Ashley

Cam's t-shirt quilt

Amelie and Jackson playing in the pool

Amelie and her new furry friend

Thursday, July 21, 2011

2011 Epic Summer Fails

This has been a wonderful, action packed, fun-filled (hot) summer so far, but there are two areas that have not been successful: my garden and week 1 of eating out while the kids are at camp.

I'm not much of green thumb, but most summers I manage to get some nice, colorful annuals and a bunch of herbs into my garden by the end of May so that I might enjoy them all summer long. This year, according to my usual routine, I picked up my herbs and a couple of flats of nice red verbenas, along with a couple of pumpkin plants just to shake things up a bit. I also found a couple of packets of peas and green beans in the garage and decided to give them a try, growing them in a pot so that I might have a nice little patio garden.

Unfortunately, I had two main forces working against a hearty garden this year: the heat and the squirrels/chipmunks/rabbits (I don't know which one is the culprit, so I might as well list them all). Within days of planting the verbena, the plants has been mercilessly dug up and dragged to other parts of the garden or into the yard. Replant, dug up. Replant, dug up. Give up. Fail. They did the same to my little bean/pea dish gardens. I can only imagine them in there with their little front paws digging through the soil to get to the juicy seed. Dang critters!!

Next was the heat. I'm do not generally think to water the yard/plants/gardens, but this year we've had non-stop heat with very little rain for what seems to be almost three weeks now. So this one was my own fault. When I returned from Las Vegas most of my little garden, what was left of it, was decidedly brown and dead as a doornail. Poor little pumpkins...looks like the kids won't have the benefit of a Halloween pumpkin from our own garden...which was basically just a fantasy I dreamt anyway.

Next 2011 Epic Summer Fail: The Week of Eating Out/Week 1. If you've been a faithful reader of the Fabulous B@ker Blog for any amount of time then you know that when the kids go off to camp we try new restaurants in a week long (or two weeks, depending on the camp schedule) odyssey of eating out. Today is Thursday and WE'VE NOT EVEN EATEN OUT YET THIS WEEK. I know! It's unbelievable.

The reason is that Mark has a new position and his team is working on a project that has been resulting in late nights and weekends at work (or working from home). So, he's been getting home pretty late (for us) each night, and last night he had a work dinner. It's not as bad as it sounds; when I eat out I tend to eat more, and when I eat at home (because I hate my cooking) I eat less. Eating at home assists with the reduction of my PFD, or Personal Floatation Device (stomach/mid-section), as we like to call it at work.

So, I've been trying to water the garden more and we have a second chance at redeeming our "Week of Eating Out" next week when the kids are back at camp. Maybe I can salvage these summer "fails" yet!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Final Farewell to Some Old Friends

A trip to the IMAX theatre this afternoon marked the last time we'll see our friends Harry, Ron and Hermione (in 3D, no less) on the big screen. The long awaited Part 2 of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows is complete, and it's so sad. JK Rowling is a brilliant writer, and the movies (some better than others) brought her characters to life. Could we envision anyone else playing Harry, Ron, Hermoine and the other characters? Probably not! We will miss you, but you will live on on the "small screen" for a long time to come.

On another note, welcome to the 500th post of the Fabulous B@ker Blog. You know what that means! I will be publishing the first 500 posts into a book for each of the kids to enjoy later. I hope you'll join me for the next 500!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Viva Las Vegas 2011

On Tuesday night at midnight Mary, Annalisse and I returned from this year's junket to Sin City - Las Vegas. As with last year, I had to go to Vegas for my national association board meeting (poor me!!), and Mary and Annalisse tagged along for fun. After my meeting was over we had a couple of days to shop, eat and sight-see. If I had to characterize this trip it would be: totally fun and a lot of laughs!!

While Mary and I are not big gamblers, we did designate a litte $$ for the slots in honor of our father, who loved going to Las Vegas. Mary was pretty lucky the first night, winning $175 while playing just $6. She was really excited! The next night I got up to $350 on $20, but got greedy and cashed out at $200, which I used toward tickets to see the Beatle's Love, a Cirque du Soleil show at the Mirage (where we were staying). Acrobatics, dancing, spinning, flipping, bouncing! It was amazing and I would highly recommend it, even if you're not a Beatles fan (which I am).

While out there we also visited our cousins Nancy and Patsy, who live in nearby Henderson. Patsy's husband, Joe, who is a bodyguard, entertained us with some great stories about the celebs he's worked with/for, and our cousin Nancy told stories about the celebs who shop Neiman-Marcus where she works as a designer. Anyone who knows Annalisse, Mary and I knows we ATE THAT RIGHT UP!

Las Vegas is such a strange and crazy place. Very surreal. We saw tons of weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and an Elvis or two. Who the heck shops in those extremely high end stores, anyway??

Here are some pixs of our fun and memorable trip:

Mary with one of those freaky statues that move

Yummy Treats!!

Beautiful Palm Trees

The Two O'Clock Show at the Fashion Show Mall

Mom and Daughter...she's taller than me...

LOVE!

The Gardens at the Bellagio - Beautiful!

Dolphin Show at the Mirage

The Waterfall at the Mirage

Jet Lag

Wow, do I ever owe my faith readers an update from our trip to Las Vegas. In a nutshell: lots of fun, lots of laughs, but it's been nose-to-the-grindstone since I got home, and when I get a minute to post (usually in the evening) I'm too whipped to do it. Will post details and pix soon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Reflections from the Hammock

Isn't the sky so blue today?

Hey, look at that sweet bunny in the garden. I don't think he knows I'm here.

Where's Jasper?

I wish there were a stronger breeze so I could rock back and forth.

Chippy, I don't care if you're mad that I'm under the tree.

Blue jays, can you keep it down?

I probably should go back inside and fold the laundry. Nah.

I wish I could sleep here tonight.

Zzzzzzz....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Looking Forward to the 35th!

We just got back from our one-night attendance at my 30th HS reunion. SO MUCH FUN! I saw so many people that I wanted to see, and had a great time catching up with everyone. Although, I must confess, it was a bit of a different experience than our 25th get together, mainly because of Facebook. The ability to keep up with everyone's news on a daily basis certainly takes away from some of the mystique surrounding the event. Instead, the mood changes into one of familiarity rather than the greeting of a long lost friend. Of course, that only applies to classmates who are "on Facebook." Those who are not were chided and cajoled (by me) to join, mostly out of my desire to stay in touch now that we've reconnected once again.

The highlight of the reunion was seeing my old friend Chris Derby, and his wife Marie. There are always a couple of people that I especially hope to see at these shindigs, and he is one of them. Chris was a very special friend throughout my HS years, and it was wonderful to spend time with him and Marie, with the promise of a possible get together when I will (hopefully) be travelling to Philadelphia for a NAGAP reception in September.

Connection. It's what life is all about. And it feels so great!!

(A special shout out to classmate Dave Randall who accidentally stumbled upon the Fabulous B@ker Blog in an Internet search for info on our reunion. Good to see you again, Dave!!)