Sunday, April 29, 2012

We Survived: Prom 2012

Another milestone has come and gone: the Junior Prom. After six weeks of preparation, Annalisse celebrated her big night with the perfect date: her longtime friend, Peter. (It was so nice to have her forgo her imaginary boyfriend, Russell, for the night.)  After my nail biting return trip from Austin (Would I make it or would I miss my daughter's big night??), I headed over to where she was getting her makeover (thanks to my niece, Nicole, who took over when I couldn't be there!) and hung out until she was done.

After a quick change into her dress it was time to greet Peter and his parents, Sherry and Tom, who came over for some pictures before the kids joined the "big group" (27 kids!) for pictures and the limo ride to the prom. She looked so beautiful and grown up, and Peter was very handsome also. A really special night for all of us!

After the prom the kids were invited to a friend's house for a party before going over to her friend Mo's for a sleepover. She texted me at 1:24am to let me know they had arrived at Mo's. One thing I know about Annalisse: she needs her sleep. I knew she would be a bear today, and she is. I hope to hear at some point how the night was beyond, "Good (scowl)."

Now that the prom is done and the wonderful memories have been made, I told Mark it's probably good that we only have one daughter. Between the cost of the dress, the limo, the hair, makeup, mani/pedi a parent could go broke!! But who can put a price on such as special night?!

Keepin' Austin Weird

The Texas State Capitol at night
I arrived back from my trip to Austin yesterday at 2pm, JUST IN TIME FOR PROM PREP, but more about the prom in my next blog entry. First, Austin.

I flew out on Monday morning in the middle of a late spring Nor'easter, which brought snow and sleet to the Rochester area (and the East Coast) starting late Sunday night. Just my traveling luck: It's 80 degrees for most of the month of March and when I need to fly, there is a late spring snowstorm. Anyway, I was surprised that my flight was going out on time (6am!) and hopeful we would not be affected by the adverse weather conditions. Not so fast. The plane taxied out then spent an hour
Only in Texas
on the runway getting deiced. An hour? Really? Unbelievable. l. I was concerned I would miss my 8:30am connection to Austin from Dulles. So, when we landed and I was able to break free from the crowd I was on my way, trying to hustle through the crowds to get to the gate (which seemed to be a very long distance away) and arrived huffin'-and-puffin' at 8:30 on the dot. I was greeted with a crowd, just mulling around. "Is this the flight to Austin?" I asked. "Yes," replied a bystander, "but there is a mechanical problem with the plane so we're delayed." DANG, foiled again! (The really cool thing about landing at Dulles was that I was able to see both space shuttles piggy-backing on their 747s. What a sight!)

Austin at night
Three hours later we were on our way to Austin, and arrived around 2pm. After a quick trip from the airport, it was off to meet my pal, Kristen, and her husband, Ken, for some fun before our Tuesday meeting. Little by little my friends trickled in, and we explored the city. The hotel, a Hilton, was located very centrally to to a lot of the Austin action, including Sixth Street, which features tons of restaurants and bars/music venues, and Congress Street, another great area for restaurants and shopping, and featuring the (in)famous Congress Street Bat BridgeOn Tuesday, I spent the entire day in my meeting and did not have a chance to step outside until around 5pm (hot and humid!). 

Getting ready for the photo booth
For our board dinner we went to a delicious seafood restaurant called "Trulucks" and had amazing stone crab claws as an appetizer. I chose a delicious sea bass as my entree, and it was done just right - delish!!! On Wednesday morning I spent time wandering around before my 3pm meeting kicked off the conference. I was in search of a good bagel for
Kittie Pain won the armadillo race!
breakfast and hit approximately six cafes before I found one that had halfway decent looking bagels. It's a good thing I ate before I went to the restroom because in there I was met by a cockroach the size of my thumb. Y-U-C-K. I know it's Texas and all, but do they have to be that big? After breakfast I did a bit more exploring in search of some cool t-shirts to bring home. Around 1pm I headed back to the hotel to freshen up before my meeting and then I was off and running!

Say hello to my little friend
The conference was great, and a really fun thing the group did was the Thursday night social at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum  which had a cute little theatre in which they alternated two 1/2 hour movies "The Star of Destiny" and "Wild Texas Weather." Both were very cool!! We had a specially designed margarita for the occasion to celebrate NAGAP's 25th anniversary which had jalapeno juice and cilantro mixed in, and BOY WAS THAT GOOD (I had two...). Also very fun were the armadillo races outside the theatre. Those Texans sure know how to have a good time!

The feast to behold! Right on the
table, no plates, no utensils
 On Friday night I made an announcement to the group to meetin the hotel lobby at 7:30pm for anyone interested in seeing the bats in flight at dusk from the Congress Street Bridge, which was about a 15 minute walk from the hotel. So, a group of us headed over with very high hopes to see some bats, even though we had been told that the bats had not gone out "early" for the last three nights or so. It was a real carnival atmosphere by the time we got there, but, alas we stayed until 9:30pm and only saw a fluttering of activity.

The bats were probably watching us from the bridge and decided to wait until we had all left...I don't know. (They were probably thinking: Damn tourists!) So that particular pursuit will have to remain on my bucket list for now. Others, however, have been more lucky so here's a glimpse of the bats departing from the bridge. Doesn't it look crazy?!

Austin was a great city! I can see why people like it so much! [Did I mention it was over 90 degrees and sunny all week?!!]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Golden Boy Turns 5!

First Day Home
Happy birthday yesterday to our golden boy on his fifth birthday. I can't believe he's five already, it seems like he just came to live with us yesterday...

If you've been a long time B@ker Blog reader, you'll remember the heartbreaking story of Casey, our first golden who died by an overdose of chocolate in April 2007. Her sudden death really devastated us, probably more than we ever thought it could. At the time we said "no more dogs," but it soon became apparent that not having a dog left a huge void in our lives. After our search for another golden, which we admittedly were reluctant about because of our experience with Casey's destructive nature, we decided on Jasper and our experience could not have been more different. Submissive, cuddly, loving and non-destructive right from the start, he was, and continues to be the, the PERFECT DOG. We were so fortunate to be able to carry on after the loss of Casey with such a sweet boy.

How did he spend his birthday? Mostly the way he spends all his days: laying around. We were out for a portion of the day, and when we came home we all took a nap then after dinner gave him his treat of Frosty Paws ice cream. He must have known it was his birthday because he was uncharacteristically mischievous, eating a small bowl of trail mix that was on the coffee table (luckily, no chocolate in there). He spent most of his evening begging for treats. I'm sure he figured he was entitled, it being his birthday and all.

So, happy birthday to our furriest child, Jasper Rocky Baker!

Jasper through the years:

This one ended up in the paper
Sissy loves to dress me up 
Loving the snow
Duke and Jasper - BFFs
Love Love Love
Dude on his 5th Birthday

Friday, April 20, 2012

They Never Eat at Home When Mama's Away

On Monday morning I head to sunny Austin for the week for my association's board meeting and conference. There's always a lot to do at work and at home to get ready to go like:



What have I done to make these people so helpless that they can't cook a meal or pack a snack?

It seems there's always a price to pay for being away, doesn't it?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Great College Tour - Round 1

Mabry's Mill
We arrived home yesterday afternoon from our 1,400 trek to Roanoke and back during which we visited two colleges: Roanoke College (for the second time) and Susquehanna University. Annalisse like both colleges (they each had its pluses and minuses) and is now really into the college search, looking up many possible colleges to visit. (Seriously? When will we have the time to visit five or six additional colleges all up and down the eastern seaboard?)

The trip to see Mom, Dave and family in Arlington was quick but nice, and we headed out to Sue and Ken's after breakfast on Monday morning. That night we mainly hung around and caught up...the weather was so nice!! On Tuesday, after our visit to Roanoke College, we went on a day trip to Floyd, VA and Mabry's Mill, through the twisty, windy roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On Wednesday we went out for a light breakfast then headed to downtown Roanoke while Sue and Ken caught up on some work before getting back together for dinner.

We said our goodbyes on Thursday morning and drove to Charlottesville for the afternoon. On my bucket list was a visit to (Thomas Jefferson's) University of Virginia, and it did not disappoint. The "lawn," with the famous rotunda at one end, was just beautiful! Living history. Amazingly, we came upon a student on the lawn with a Fairport t-shirt on and, of course, had to ask if he was from Fairport. He was a "first-year" (freshman) and he recognized Annalisse from Downstage, which boosted her ego a little since he was a real cutie.

Annalisse loved Charlottesville and it fit her ideal of a college town. Unfortunately, UVA is not "on the list" so we'll keep looking for a college with a cute little town nearby ala Charlottesville. We left around 2pm to head up to Selinsgrove for the night to get ready for our 9am appointment at Susquehanna. The funny thing was that we depended on our GPS ("Serena") to get us there and it took us the wackiest way you could imagine: all backroads, very few highways. We certainly get to see the "real America" when we depend on our GPS rather than using our instincts about which route to take. Way to go, Serena.

Selinsgrove is a super cute town and we stayed at the cute inn there: The Selinsgove Inn. On Friday morning, after the tour and interview, we were back on the road by 11am, and, of course, had to stop at the Country Cupboard for lunch before the long trip home. We pulled into Home Sweet Home around 4pm, and headed back out to bring Annalisse to work at 4:30, followed by a trip to PetSmart to pick up the freshly bathed, newly groomed Jasper.

Tired? Yes, a little, but what a great trip!

The view from our room (!!)
A treasure from Black Dog Salvage
The Rotunda at UVA
Statue of TJ
Freshly Groomed

Saturday, April 7, 2012

All in all, a good week for the Bakers

Reaching for the finish line
This has been a pretty good week all around for the Bakers. It started with Annalisse finally securing a prom date (she broke down and asked a guy friend that she's known for years, and he said "yes"; I'm still a little bewildered that no one asked her, and by the fact that her friends didn't help her out in this regard, but I needed to let her work that through herself), and continued on with a good third quarter report card for her and word that Cam "aced" a calculus exam on Friday (his hardest subject). Then, today, Cam's boat came in first in his race (the prize: the losing a crew t-shirt from the losing team which, according to Cam, is cooler than a medal). So, lots of positives this week. It helps balance out the tough weeks.

Friday, April 6, 2012

And it's...BREAK!

Boy, what I had to do to actually get my work done before the end of the day with our April break looming (stay focused!). Isn't that just the way: you try to scrunch a whole bunch of things into a very short amount of time so you can enjoy your time off? The only thing I have to say is


After Cam's race against Ithaca College tomorrow we'll head out on our journey on Easter Sunday. This will be the second Easter in a row that we're on the road, so it's little disappointing that we don't really get to relax, reflect and enjoy the day. Still, fun stuff ahead!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

No News is No News

It's been almost a week since my last post. I guess it's pretty indicative of the not very exciting life we're leading right now. Pretty mundane stuff punctuated by the occasional good TV show or nap.

HOWEVER, we are looking forward to our little trip to Virgina next week. As often happens, I'm looking forward to a lot of time in the car to catch up on my reading (thank goodness I can read in the car...many can't), and to put some pages between me and my May bookclub selection. We're also looking forward to seeing our Virginia relations and spending some time with Sue and Ken.

It will also be our first trip to really look at colleges for Annalisse (Roanoke College and Susquehanna University are the first stops), and I've been feeling a little upset about that, realizing that she'll be out of the nest in a year-and-a-half and it will be just me, Mark and Jasper. It's a good reminder for me to slow down and live for today...which is a little hard to do seeing I'm wishing this work week away so we can get to our vacation!

Life if full of contradictions.