Showing posts from 2014

Sad day on Fourth Avenue

Today we said goodbye to our wonderful, kind neighbor, Elaine B., who passed away suddenly on Christmas day after suffering a devastating stroke on Christmas Eve. We are in shock. Her family, friends and the neighbors on our street are reeling from the sudden loss of Elaine. There is much talk of "if I knew that would be the the last time I saw her/spoke with her...," and much remembering of her sparkly personality and kindness to all. Sometimes it seems like we are so focused on those who are chronically ill or whose health is in decline due to advanced age or a lingering medical condition that we forget others can be "snatched" from us without notice.

We are all so sad...the street will not be the same without her. RIP, Elaine. You will be missed.

Christmas 2014

Of course, you are probably expecting a Christmas update from the Bakers...? Here it is!

First of all, it was wonderful to be off for 10 days starting last Tuesday. On Tuesday evening we hosted NAGAP friends Dave and Leo who were up from Florida visiting friends who live in Rochester, and that was delightful with delicious desserts from Pittsford Dairy (another indication that is going to be tough eating week (month) for my calories). A visit from them kicked the holiday off right. Also that night we played host to the sweet kitten my coworker Tonya was giving her family on Christmas day. What fun that was! He was so sweet, and we think Jasper really liked having him around...he was very curious and gentle. He's now happily settled into his new home with the new name of "Nicky" - I'm thinking that might be short for St. Nicolas?

On Christmas morning, I got up early to make Grammie Versprille's apple kuchen for breakfast at Lena and Ken's house, where we were…

Vacation Mish-Mash

Hurray! Vacation time is here. The year is wrapping up, and while I may need to do a little work over the break, I'm (mostly) free from the commitments of the working world, at least for a little while!

It's been sort of a disappointing week for Cam. He had a couple of unexpectedly lower grades this term, but still maintains an overall GPA of 2.9 in his program. My thinking about his grades has truly shifted from "he's not studying enough" to "wow, he's in a really hard program." Still, he was visibly upset about his first C-; apparently he thought he had in the "low Bs" in that class. I think he's feeling under a lot of pressure lately, and it didn't help that he got his first speeding ticket today on his way home from seeing Shaina in Oswego. I have warmed him many times about speeding, but nothing drives "mother's point" home better than the terror and panic of seeing the flashing lights behind you, doing 75 in a 5…

The Final Stretch

The new year is just around the corner, and sometimes I wonder how I will get everything done in time to wrap up the "old year." Things are super crazy at work and I have some major things to accomplish by Christmas break (since I will also be out for the first three weeks [or so] of January for my surgery), there is still a little shopping to be done, and, of course, I need to fit in a nap or two on the weekends! I also need to finish my bookclub book by January 5 (My Antonia - slow going).

Adding to the anxiety is waiting for the kid's grades to come in from the fall term, and hoping they did well (we ask for "B"s or better). It is nice, though, that Annalisse is finished with her first term at Syracuse and can really enjoy her break, which will include a trip to Florida with Alex's family between Christmas and New Year's. LUCKY! Cam has two more finals and will be home on Tuesday. His break will include having to check in (and serve) for jury duty. O…

Advent - Waiting

Although I complain about Christmas, it's probably more about how quickly the years are passing (and all the work that comes with decorating and un-decorating the house), and the expense of it all. Ironically, that's also what I love about Christmas. Go figure. WOMEN!

We broke with tradition a little and bought a tree from the Boy Scouts this year. Yesterday, was so cold, dark and rainy that I was not in the mood to tromp through icy mud to find a tree, and be chilled to the bone for the rest of the day. So, since my window of "getting all this done" is so short we decided to go a couple of blocks to the Village and get a pre-cut. It's pretty nice, but I expect we'll have more need dropping since it was probably cut a while ago.

It remains a little weird to do all this without the kids home. It reminds so much of the years when it was just Mark, the cats, and I except now it's Mark, me and Jasper decorating (but mostly me!). Every year it seems I gain mo…

With Us

I'm pretty sure Mom, Dad, Auntie, Uncle Duff, Uncle Joe and Nonnie (and everybody else!) were with us during Mary's 2nd Annual Harvest dinner on Saturday afternoon. It's the first time in many years that all the Greco cousins (and great cousins) have been together. We were almost at 100% with the first and second cousins with the exception of Anthony who couldn't make it from North Carolina, and Joey, who remains a little disconnected from the family. It was a wonderful day - great food and tons of laughs.

Mary and Larry really have a special home, a warm and inviting place to gather and relax. There was even an impromptu jam by the "Family Three," the '70s era cousin girl-group who introduced a whole new generation to classic hits like "Pass the Sugar," "Jingle Bells" (Partridge Family style), and their original Martin Street chart-buster "The Nonnie Song."

Today, the Bakers parted ways again as Annalisse headed back to Syr…

Giving Thanks

Another turkey bingefest is upon us. Did I mention Thanksgiving dinner is a favorite of mine? I can never get enough. WAIT - yes I can, by the second day of leftovers. But still...

It's so wonderful to have the kids home for Thanksgiving break. The weather has been a little nerve wracking for travel, but everyone is safe and sound and where they need to be. It's so wonderful to see the kid's relationship now that they are older; they are really good friends.

This has been a year of ups and downs, and still another hurdle with a hysterectomy scheduled for right after the new year (preventative - related to the BRCA1 gene...let's hope there are no surprises), but I'm feeling really upbeat, despite the early high stress of spring and losing Mom in August. So here I sit, preparations underway for a delicious dinner, hanging with the kids and watching "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Who could ask for more? Thankful!!

Attic Treasures

Because the Bakers never stay home...
We journeyed to Massena on Saturday to help out with the clean out of Mom's house. Mark and I were assigned to clean out "the attic," which is really nothing more than a very small crawlspace off the bedroom. For years the attic has been a source of curiosity for me...I remember years ago that there was a lot of stuff from our childhoods in there. I was anxious to get digging, and my main goal was to try to find my mother's wedding dress, which I believed to be in there.
The house itself is in quite a chaotic state. Most of the furniture is gone, and what is left is an overwhelming amount of junk - tchotchke. I think I've spoken of this before, but my mother had a tendency toward hoarding and buying cheap, tacky stuff for years, and after my dad passed away it seemed to get exponentially worse. Now, we have to figure out what to do with all the knick knacks and other useless stuff. It's hard to believe so many figurines, …

First Race

Yesterday was Annalisse's first race with the SU women's rowing team. It was a great first showing! She's still not officially on the team, so she was a little anxious about the race, which was really more of a scrimmage with two other teams: University of Buffalo and Cornell (Northeastern was originally scheduled to race but did not come).

She raced the first two out of three races, and her boat came in second in each race, right after SU's varsity boat, beating both UB and Cornell in both races. She was pleased with the results, and I think it will go a long way toward boosting her confidence. Nice job, 'Lisse!!

I'd like to deck those halls, alright.

Well, it's November 3 and I've held off stating how annoying it is that we are all now turning to Christmas preparations. I swear every January I'm so glad it's over and I have a good stretch without Christmas, during which I enjoy that Christmas is over. And every year it comes up just as quickly, if not more quickly, than the year before.

Yes, probably. But, I feel like Christmas is constantly stalking me in my rearview mirror.

Nonetheless, yesterday I ordered our (picture) Christmas cards. What is wrong with me? The calendar turns November and the pressure is on. So annoying. I even found myself looking at cute, twinkly, different colored lights in Target yesterday, and was seriously tempted to buy them. Talk about being at war with myself. Jeez.

Always looking for the silver lining: we're just three weeks away from a long Thanksgiving weekend, and then just a month after that I'll have a week off! YAY! ~Now that,…


You would think that now that my kids are grown I wouldn't get so excited about Halloween, but every year I'm just as excited as the year before! It's just tons of fun in the Village with all the kids and their parents (our friends!) coming by. This morning I was recalling how special it was two years ago when the Irish kids were stranded here because of Hurricane Sandy in NYC (disappointing for them, fun for us), and they all came over to our house and raided the "dress up" box to find something to wear to go trick-or-treating. Then, they all gathered back here for snacks and one of them sat down at the piano and they all began to sing. Crazy Americans! Wonderful memories!

Anyway, tonight we will take up our perch on the porch and greet the little ghouls and goblins (and princesses and pirates) that come up the steps. Stay safe, all!

Crew Kids

I think most of the fall travel on the weekends is winding down. Yesterday we ran the roads again to Saratoga for the "The Head of the Fish," on what turned out to be an extraordinarily beautiful day for racing. Cam made out pretty well, coming in 5th out of 22 boats. He was disappointed, though, as he was so close to a bronze medal (3rd place). Still, a respectable showing. He's gotten a lot of time on the water this season, so it's been worth it to go to his races/regattas. With the exception of a race against the University of Rochester next weekend, just the spring season remains until he finishes his time with RIT crew. 
As an aside: It's official ~ Cam is continuing on with his Master's degree in Bioinformatics at RIT, starting in the fall. It should take him about a year and a half to complete. We're glad he's taking that route.
In other crew kid news: Annalisse, who has been on the development team at SU, with the prospect of one coxswain bein…

Pumpkin Spice-O-Rama

Don't you think America has gone a little overboard with Pumpkin Spice this-and-that? Wow, am I sick of pumpkin spice.

Here are the 29 super ridiculous pumpkin spice products. I'm thinking I could totally do without PS pringles, burgers (YUCK) and jerky. But the PS vodka and pasta sauce sound interesting. I'm not sure I want Jasper walking around smelling like a big spicy pumpkin, however.

Last week I went to Trader Joe's and picked up pumpkin spice bagels and PS cream cheese spread. They are seriously delish. I noticed Trader Joe's really embraces the whole pumpkin spice thing, and somehow the stuff they offer actually appeals to me. Maybe it's just because I love Trader Joe's.

But, if you really want to Pumpkin Spice Your Life, check out some of these unique items...

25,000+ and counting!!

In case you missed it, somewhere in the last week or two  the Fabulous B@ker Blog hit 25,000 visits. 

Keep on readin' B@ker Blog-iverse!!

Weird Chance Encounters

This is the last of my catch-up blogs from the last month...

The last three weeks have been a little weird in terms of chance meetings with people who are in places I didn't expect them to be. Several such chance meetings that have happened to me recently are:
Running into my Rochester higher ed colleague and pal Joe C. at the top of Whiteface Mountain.Seeing my NAGAP colleague Katie B., who recently moved to the Rochester area from DC, at the Fairport Oktoberfest.After chatting with Katie about her new job at RIT and finding out that her new boss is someone I have heard a lot about (good things!) for many years but never met, then meeting said boss at Fairport Brewing Company not 10 minutes later. We both acknowledged that we knew a lot about each other despite never having met!Running into Annalisse's first Mercyhurst roommate, Sarah (who is from Ohio) at the Head of the Genesee Regatta since both Cam and her boyfriend are rowers and she had traveled from Erie for the day to …

Road Trippin' to Chicago

I've written several times on the blog about how much I enjoy visiting Chicago (here,here and here). Not that I've been there a ton of times - last weekend was just my fourth - but I knew after my last trip I really wanted to return and make sure Mark was with me. In other words, I wanted to visit Chicago for pleasure, not business!!

So, when I mentioned to my friend, Joanne (who lives in Chicago) that we really wanted to come for a visit, she suggested we come the weekend of the Chicago Marathon (Sunday, October 12) when my other friend Kristen would also be visiting to take part. So, off I went hunting for an affordable hotel so we could stay right downtown and really take advantage of some of the hot spots. We ended up staying at the Talbott Hotel, a nice, old boutique hotel on Delaware Avenue, two blocks from Michigan Avenue ("The Miracle Mile").

We drove the 10 hours to Chicago on Thursday, October 9; because of the high price of accommodations, we really could…

Libra Birthdays Roundup!

The blog catch up's the Libra birthday roundup!

The first weekend in October my "baby" turned 19! Unbelievable! It is so nice having her so close as we were able to attend Cam's regatta in the morning on October 4 (Nic's 30th birthday!!), jumped in the car, drive to Syracuse, pick her up, come back to Rochester and catch Cam's second race in the afternoon. Whew! No wonder I'm feeling so tired with all the running around we do!

After Cam's race, we went out to dinner for Nic's birthday, which Carol and Paul had come for as well. On Sunday the 5th, Annalisse's BIG DAY, we got up, had a nice birthday breakfast, took our annual trip to Power's Farm Market to check out the pumpkins and teepees, went grocery shopping, and headed back to Syracuse. Before drop off we went to Pastabilities in Syracuse, which has an amazing "spice hot tomato oil" sauce which is awesome with bread or on pasta. Alex was able to join us for m…

Back in the blogging saddle - Girl's Weekend 2014

I'm back!

Okay, where was I...? Oh yes! Girl's Weekend!!

Girl's Weekend
The last weekend in September, Sue, Lorie, Gina, Heather and I embarked on our 11th annual girls weekend, this year to Lake Placid, site of the 1980 Winter Olympics (Miracle on Ice, anyone?).

Just an aside before we get started: How can it be that I grew up  1 1/2 hours from Lake Placid and DID NOT go to the 1980 Winter Olympics??!!

We stayed at the Golden Arrow Resort, which was the perfect place to stay - right on main street near the shops and restaurants, overlooking Mirror Lake. Our suite opened up to a patio with furniture, where we spent quiet time just chatting and enjoying the view. Our friend, Clare, could not make it to girl's weekend, so Laurie ingeniously created a stuffed "Clare" who seemed to get into tons of trouble all weekend (hanging out in the drunk she needed to be carried home, flirting with the guy in the room next door). As usual, there was tons of laughter!

I hate/love fall

Sorry for no posts. Honestly, I've been super busy traveling (and working late) for work and pleasure, and have not had much leisure time (read: sit around and update the blog) for the last several weeks. I both love and hate that about the fall.

This morning is no exception, and I'm not sure I'll get a chance to post in the evening, but be assured, when I do, you'll hear about:

Girl's weekend in Lake PlacidFairport OktoberfestOctober birthdaysOur trip to ChicagoRecent random encounters
Whew! That's going to be a long one! Check back!!

No more signs?

Do you remember this post, where I talked about how, after my father passed away, I began to associate the "blowing out" of street lights with him because, frequently right after his death, when I was walking the dog or driving down the street a street light would go out at the precise moment I passed it? In fact, the day "Nana" passed away Annalisse texted me to say a light on campus had blown out just as she was walking by it, and she said hello to Grandpa and Nana (and felt a bit of comfort in that).

Well, just an update to say this hasn't happened to me in a while. I especially wondered if I would notice it more after my mother passed away, but it's been almost a month and NOTHING. Strange, huh? I'm thinking she's keeping him so busy "up there" that he doesn't have any more time to send me signs. Either way, I'm glad they're together again, but miss those comforting signs just a little.

Magical Twenty-Seven

Happy Anniversary to us! Twenty-Seven Years. Hard to believe!!!

As I've stated on the blog before, it's weird and wild and exciting to think we've been married for 27 years, but sad, too, missing all our family members who have left us. I think back to when my parents had a 25 year anniversary celebration and they seemed so old then! And just to blow your mind a little more, Mark and I started dating when I was 18...and we all know how old I am now! There have been ups and downs (and really high ups and really low downs), but here we are alone again, with no one to keep us company but the dog!

We will be celebrating our special day with dinner out at Mr. Dominics in Fairport.Then, on Sunday, Nicole and I will head to Syracuse, pick up Sissy, and go to look for bridesmaids dresses. In the meantime, today is a celebration of US!

Hibernation mode...shutdown in progress...

Sweatpants after work, bed at 9. It's happening.

Last week: 80 degrees and sunny. This week 50 degrees, windy and cloudy. Noooo!!!

As with the last couple of years, last week I traversed 700 miles in three days covering the North Country grad fairs. That gets old quick. Anyway, it was great to see my colleagues again, and I had fun catching up over a glass of wine (or two).

The kids' semesters are in full swing. The fun novelty of SU has worn off and Annalisse is trying to juggle all her commitments between school work, the expectation of volunteering for her major, and crew. This past weekend she tried out for the SU improv team, and, although she advanced to the second audition (10 out of 40 kids advanced), she did not make the final cut. I'm sure she's very disappointed about that...that was the ONE thing she truly wanted to do in college. Oh well, I'm sure there's a silver lining in this lesson for her. I am a little relieved she did not make it (although I…

Fairport State of Mind

This weekend was the epitome of everything that is awesome about Fairport. There are many days when I'm amazed that we are able to live in such a wonderful town. Here's why.
Friday the weather forecast called for hot and humid weather, WHICH I LOVE (right, Aunt Sher?), so I told Mark to hurry home so we could walk to Donnelly's for dinner before it got too crazy there. Well, he did, but it was CRAZY, so we decided to go to the Blue Cactus, where, despite their being chronically understaffed, I had a delicious mojito. Y-U-M. After dinner we headed back home, took Pup for a quick walked, called Nic and Patrick and invited them to meet us at Fairport Brewing Company for some outdoor-live-music-patio-fun. FBC has an amazing thing going this summer, with live music every weekend, food trucks, fire pits on the patio, and generally just a fun '80s beer blast vibe. It was the place to be on a wonderful, late summer night where we saw tons of people we knew, and the age demogr…