Showing posts from December, 2011

Goodbye, 2011

How is it possible that it is the end of the year already? At times it is very disconcerting how fast the years go now. It seems as good a time as any to reflect on the highs and lows of the last year, which, overall, was a pretty good one.

If I had to think about a theme (or, in this case, several themes) for 2011, they would be:

Milestones ~ Connections ~ Travel ~ Fun


An 18th birthday, a high school graduation, a 30th class reunion, starting college, a 16th birthday, a 50th birthday. WOW, those are a lot of exciting, important events for one year.  I made it through mostly all of them without a lot of tears (of happiness). Milestones really do help us mark the passage of time, don't they?


This was truly a year of connections - spending time with loved ones and reconnecting with those who mean a lot but who we don't see all the time. Cam's graduation and celebrating Annalisse's Sweet 16 and Mark's 50 gave us many great opportunities to spend t…

Christmas Week Chores

Among all the merriment and celebrations (and laying on the couch watching movies and naps) I do actually count on getting certain things accomplished during the week between Christmas and New Years. I'm happy to say I'm making pretty good progress on my yearly chores this week. Here's a sampling of the compellingly mundane stuff I do during this brief window of sanity before January hits again:

File all the kids special momentos collected over the last year in their "memory tubs" in the attic. This year there was some great stuff because of Cam's graduation and Annalisse's Sweet 16. I'm just hoping they'll appreciate it when they buy their first home(s) and I get to give them 5 or 6 large plastic tubs containing their artwork/projects (from daycare on up), report cards, school papers or essays I thought they might find interesting later, magazine and newspapers highlighting significant current events, t-shirts from special events or camps or what…

Happy Birthday, Mom

A very happy 81st birthday to my mom, Aline, today. 
I hope she has a 
great day!

A Very Baker Christmas

Two days after Christmas I finally have a chance to post an update on all the festivities.

Saturday's Christmas Eve followed a very intense, busy week at work and it took me a little while to unwind and realize I actually have 10 DAYS OFF! HURRAY!

One of the great dilemmas this year was when/where to go to church on Christmas Eve. We love our church, but our services were at 5:30, 7:30 and 11pm, none of which really fit into the Christmas Eve plans of getting to Aunt Mary and Uncle Peter's in a reasonable time for their annual family party, which started anytime after 8pm. Sure, the 5:30 service would have worked for us, but...OH ALL THOSE KIDS. If we attended the 7:30 service, we would not have gotten to the gathering until after 9, and 11pm - forget it. We considered going to our old church which had a 6pm service, but it's a little too contemporary for our taste. So, for the first time that I can ever remember we did not go to Christmas Eve service. This bothered me a l…

The Sweetest Thing!

The only thing better than the feeling of a Friday night is...

A FRIDAY NIGHT THAT BEGINS A VACATION WILL LAST FOR 10 DAYS! If you want to find me I'll be on the couch in my sweatpants.

Bringing Back the Light

Today is the Winter Solstice, which means...we made it through the darkest part of the year. Every day it will become a little lighter, which is of great joy to me. I'm always amazed when, at some point in January I leave work and all of a sudden it's light instead of dark out. The seasons certainly do turn, don't they?

Though still in darkness, we will find the light in the days to come as we celebrate Christmas...with a little help from the 700 lights on our tree.

Side note: Looks like we'll be having a white Christmas as there is still no snow, and even though the Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter, it means we have just three more months until the ground comes alive again! It's the eternal optimist in me, I suppose.

The Longest Week commences the longest work week of the year. Or, if you ask Annalisse, the longest school week of the year. Or, if you ask Cameron, the longest, most awesome sitting-alone-in-the-living-room-playing-video-games-and-watching-movies-wrapped-in-a-comforter-with-Jasper-nearby-while-everybody-else-is-at-work-or-school week of the year. I guess it all depends on your point-of-view.

Shakes Takes Downstage

Last night was Downstage's first show of the season, and the beginning of Annalisse "Shakes" Baker's second year with this great, talented bunch of kids.

(If you're just joining us, Downstage is Fairport High School's comedy improv troupe. You can read about when Annalisse was selected here.)

This year there are five new members, to replace the five who graduated in June. One of the most awesome things about last night's show, in addition to the great laughs and our pride on how much growth (in comedy confidence, not size) the kids have shown since June, was that the five members who graduated, Jacob, Mark, Kate, Mitch and Jimmy, were at the show. It was great to see them and I know the kids enjoyed having them there.

After the show, as is the Downstage tradition, the kids got a couple of pizzas and had a sleepover (this time at our house). As I write this, there are eight out of the 10 kids sprawled across my living room. The bacon is cooking, the pancake…

Zombies are Scary

Annalisse and I are halfway through the second season of AMC's zombie-tastic series, The Walking Dead, and I'm telling you: ZOMBIE ARE FREAKY SCARY. Oh, they're alright if you encounter them one at a time, but if they swarm you, you are doomed. Why, oh, why do I watch The Walking Dead before bed?

I think zombies are actually pretty funny. I enjoyed their staring roles in Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, and it was probably only a matter of time before they got their own series.

So the next time you encounter a zombie (a single one, not a swarm), just remember: Zombies were people, too.

Side note: the star of The Walking Dead is Andrew Lincoln, who has one of my favorite roles in one of my favorite movies, Love Actually - a holiday fave at the Baker's. Love him!

Dreams of Martin Street

For the last two nights I've had dreams of my Nonnie's house on Martin Street. It's been pretty weird, consisting of situations where we're going through the stuff that existed when she lived there and discussing meaningful momentos.

The house on Martin Street is now for sale since my Uncle Joe passed away last November. It's a real shame that no one in the family can take it over, having been in the family since probably the mid-1930's. The house as it stands today does not exactly look the same on the outside, but the basic design still exists on the inside - enough to evoke strong, wonderful memories.

You've read about my childhood spent as part of a big Italian family (Nonnie had 11 siblilings, two of which had passed away by the time I was born) several times before, including this post and this one, and most of that time was spent in the house on Martin Street, which was a magnet for nightly extended family activity. In fact, five of Nonnie's sib…
Seriously, how could anyone, especially Santa, resist this face?

My Friday

Today is my Friday as Mark and I are taking off work tomorrow (I suppose that makes it "his" Friday, too) to embark on our annual Christmas shopping extravaganza. List in hand, we will most likely knock off most of our shopping all in one day, come home, wrap the bootie, and stow it safely beneath the tree. Then, when Annalisse gets home from school she will all of  a sudden notice that presents have magically appeared and her excitement will rise 10 decibles. (Funny how Cameron never had the same reaction. Kids!) It's a little deceiving, though, since only a portion of the gifts are for her - but, whatever.

The early highlight of the day will be going to the Chit Chat Cafe in Victor for breakfast, a once a year treat since we don't usually go out for breakfast. Then we'll head over to Eastview to pick stuff up there, then, who knows? Maybe I'll even get a nap in if we get done quickly. Now THAT would make for a perfect day!

O Christmas Tree! 2011 Edition

The tree is up, the house is decorated, we are ready! (Except for the shopping part.) Once again, we have a beautiful tree - isn't that what I say every year? I absolutely love the glow of the tree at night and always miss it when we take it down (although I am always totally ready to take it down and get on with the new year...). Even though I do tend to get a little annoyed with Christmas at times, I do love the soft glow of our decorations combined with the warmth of the fireplace. Sounds like I'm ready to settle in for a long winter's nap...

(Did somebody say "nap"?)

The Groundhog Commeth?

Groundhog's Day is exactly two months from now. I cannot overstate the importance of this. Now, I shall go back into my hole until February 2.

Bullet: Dodged

Yesterday Windstream completed its takeover of Paetec, and we are relieved that Mark escaped unscathed. For now anyway, his job is secure. Here's the article from yesterday's D&C. Fingers crossed for the near, and far, future!!

Ready, Set, CELEBRATE!

Let the race to the new year begin!
Christmas cards ordered and written:CHECK!Outside decorations mounted: CHECK!Christmas tree in place and decorated: This Saturday!Baker Holiday Cookie Exchange Scheduled: Sunday, December 18!Shopping Done: OF COURSE NOT!Holiday music loaded onto iPhone and iPad, including Michael Buble's new album, Christmas: CHECK!Monitor amount of cookies, holiday appetizers, and wine consumed: TBD.Counting down to holiday break: 22 MORE DAYS!Taking a breather to reflect on the "Reason for the Season" and to think about the year gone by: I'M TRYING, I'M TRYING!Remember that old saying, "If you need something done, give it to a busy person." Right.

Have a wonderful December!