Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Weekend Blogger

It certainly seems lately that the only time I blog is on Sundays. Maybe it's because the weeks, in general, are so mundane and boring. And maybe it's because the weekends, lately, have been filled with activity, mostly fun. This weekend was no exception, times 10!!!

Sue, Ken and cousin San arrived from Roanoke on Thursday to attend niece Lauren's graduation (and related activities) from RIT this weekend. Rolling in around 7:30pm, they were greeted by a big pot of spicy sauce-n-balls/spaghetti dinner (a really good batch), but first there were snacks and wine on the porch. It was a really beautiful, early summer night. We got caught up on all the news, and rose early on Friday (a cold, rainy day) in order for Sue, Ken and San to attend the graduate convocation at RIT.

Then around lunch time, Annalisse and I joined them for the "Order of the Engineer," a really neat, albeit extremely unorganized, ceremony where the graduates take the oath to perform their profession with integrity and to the best of their ability. At the end of the ceremony the students received a certificate and a ring made of steel "to be worn on the small finger of their working hand" to remind them of their oath. Very interesting.  On Friday night we went out to dinner at our "go to" restaurant, Donnelly's. It was packed and raucous as that place!!!

On Saturday, we got up really, really early and went to Lauren's graduation. It was a very nice, although a very long ceremony. After commencement Lauren's folks, Tim (Sue's bro) and Lisa, invited us out for a nice lunch at Label 7. Always looking forward to the next meal (!!), for dinner later on we decided to stay in and have a Low Country Boil, a big pot of corn on the cob, potatoes, kielbasa, crab legs and shrimp boiled with old bay seasoning. Y-U-M. That meal was enjoyed by all...what a treat!

The perfect day was topped off in a perfect way with a bonfire on the patio. We had a large group of around 20 people including Lisa, Tim, Lauren, and her boyfriend, Derek, Ian (Lauren's bro) and his wife, Sam, Lauren's friend Shaneka, Nic, Patrick, their friends Melissa and Justin, and Annalisse's BF Alex. It was a beautiful, warm night. Just perfect!!!

This morning we said goodbye to our dear friends, and will miss them a lot. I will see Sue for our girl's weekend in the fall, but I'm not sure our paths will cross before that. It was so wonderful spending time together, and was a very fun weekend.

The greatest news of all: we're off work again tomorrow for Memorial Day. Sleeping in, a big breakfast, and the Faiport parade are planned for our bonus day. God Bless 'Merica!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Get out and mulch!

Mark has been a mulch madman for two weeks (over two weeks?) ever since getting several yards, then several more, of mulch delivered at the end of April. That man loves to do yardwork; summer, fall, spring - and, when it comes to shoveling - winter. We're almost done with this year's first round of mulching, weed pulling and flower planting. Our yard (and porch) is a wonderful, restful oasis. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could enjoy it more than six months out of the year since, when, in the case of this year, winter lasted six months (BOOOOO!!).

You've heard of horticulture therapy? You can see it in action right here at Bakerhaus. Relaxing, rewarding, a pleasing sight for the eyes!!

Comforting and contemplative:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother Love

Mom and Aunt Jeanine in 2004
Today is Mother's Day, and with every passing year folks of a certain generation (mine and beyond) can really look back and express an appreciation for the role of motherhood. Of course, children of any age know how important and impactful our mothers are (can be?~not everyone has such fond feelings), but as we begin to lose our moms hindsight becomes clearer than ever. Once again I will say: many deride social media (especially FaceBook) but today, as with all special days, it becomes a medium for those to post pictures of their moms and families, and to express appreciation, gratitude, and sometimes sadness and longing for those who are no longer with us. I love love love the older pictures my friends and family members post, and it makes me feel everso connected to them, sharing in their joy and their pain.

I took a quick trip up to Massena to visit my mom yesterday. I had not seen her since November...the harsh winter, other commitments and, admittedly, excuses about "other things I had to do on the weekends" kept me from returning to see her. There's a fair amount of guilt for not going sooner, but I know she's failing and it is not a pleasant thing to see, so I think I've been in a bit of avoidance mode.

It was very good that I did go as she really seems to be losing ground physically and mentally. She cannot breath without oxygen now and is really not communicating. Very hard to see but we, as a family, are relieved that my sister, Carol, works at the home she is in and takes very good care of her there. It was a wonderful day spent with my sisters and Nicole, who came at the last minute to surprise Mary and her mom, Carol, or, as we like to call it, GIRL TIME.

Early this morning I returned to Fairport am looking forward to preparing a Mother's Day dinner for my two other beloved mothers, Pat and Jeanne. Cam is coming over also, and the only thing missing is my sweet girl but she'll be home for the summer on Thursday and we can spend our time together after that.

So, here's to all our mothers! Beloved today and every day!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Can I move now, please?

The view from my window
I took the red eye back from SUNNY, WARM San Diego on Friday night, arriving back in RAINY, COLD Rochester around 9:45am on Saturday. Really, what a wet, dark, cold slap in the face. San Diego is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, the weather was perfect (sunny, warm/hot, not humid), and the area we were staying in was very nice, and within short walking distance to many sites (the USS Midway and other historic ships/boats, Petco baseball stadium, the downtown area) and shopping venues (like the Seaport Village right next to the Manchester Grand Hyatt, where we were staying). 

The week was bittersweet as I attended my last NAGAP board meeting, and we were all feeling sad with the realization that this is the last time many of us would be together as a group for a while. Still, we managed to have many, many laughs. The conference itself was really worthwhile as well, and I am going back to work tomorrow feeling professionally refreshed and bursting with new ideas. One really cool aspect of the conference was the Thursday night off-site event on the USS Midway. I have never been on an aircraft carrier and it was truly amazing. Soooo interesting! With a growing awareness of my claustrophobia, I know there is now way I could ever be in the lower levels for a ship for months on end. It was amazing.

While there, one of my NAGAP friends married his partner of 18 years. We were all so honored to be able to share in Dave and Leo's special day, and it was a wonderful end to a wonderful week. Next year the conference will be in New Orleans, another place I have not been, so, budget willing, I'll see my friends again and we can pick up where we left off!