Friday, October 31, 2014


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!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

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 being cut at the end of the fall term, has had her time on the team extended through the winter season. The other coxswain she was competing against has also had her time extended. That's part good news and part bad news. The good news: she's still on the team (and received SU sweats and a hoodie as part of the team), the bad news: she's still "trying out," which is unsettling for her. Some of her friends did end up getting cut from the team, so we're trying to encourage her by letting her know it's significant that they didn't cut her ~ she still has a chance to prove herself. 

We stopped by Syracuse to have dinner with her on the way back from Saratoga, which was nice. It continues to be awesome to have her so close and to the east of us, which is a direction we travel much more than going west (toward Buffalo). Just about every day I thank my lucky stars that she ended up at Syracuse rather than Buff State. I know now she would not have been happy there. Bullet dodged.

Today is an at home day hanging with pup, with a little running around, but nothing major. It feels great!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

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 cheer him on.
Seriously, what are the chances of me running into these random people in these unexpected ways? It definitely felt a little serendipitous!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Road Trippin' to Chicago

Wonderful friends, wonderful times!
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 couldn't afford to fly as well. The trip was a straight shot along Lake Erie then Lake Michigan through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana and, while an easy route, was a super boring drive. While in Chicago we enjoyed spending time with Joanne and her husband, Jimmy (and super cute pup, Heffy and old cat [20 years!] Tony Buttafuoco), staying the first night in their lovely home. Being lifelong Chicagoans, Joanne and Jimmy know the places to eat and things to see in Chicago, and were wonderful city hosts. We did a ton of walking (10 miles on Sunday alone!) and site seeing, and ate wonderful food. On Sunday, Kristen ran the Chicago Marathon in 4:41, which was a new PR by (2 minutes) for her. We were so happy for her - I really admire her endurance!!  It was also so much fun spending time and catching up with Kristen and her husband, Ken, and with Joanne and Jimmy - they are all such special friends!! The weekend weather was warm and beautiful, and the city, with the Chicago River running through it, is very lovely, especially at night.

On Monday morning, we were back on the road at 5am (Central time, 6am Eastern time), headed for home and to pick up our freshly groomed pup.   There are things we would have liked to do this trip, but, regrettably they did not work out. We wanted to attend a taping of one of our favorite NPR news shows,Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, but they were not taping on Thursday night. Also, we would have liked to go a Second City Show, but tickets were sold out for the three nights we were there, as were tickets to tour the submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry. Sooooo, you know what that means...we have to go back!!

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 most of the weekend's festivities, which obviously Annalisse enjoyed very much. He's a very nice young man, and we also enjoy spending time with him.

On Monday, I went out to dinner with pals Meg and JoAnn for our 23rd Annual Libra Dinner (we are special and we know it!). This year we went to Tony D's which was okay...not great for all the hype it gets.

Wednesday the 8th was my BIG DAY, which was not too exciting as I had to work all day, and when Mark and I got home we were really focused on doing laundry and getting packed for Chicago the next day (see Chicago blog post!). We went to our fave Fairport village restaurant, Donnelly's, with Nic and Patrick, and Mark got me 1 1/2 half dozen roses, some of which were pink - as a joke, since he knows I'm not all into the pink=cancer thing. Still, they were quite beautiful, despite being pink!!

And on Friday the 17th, we celebrated Mark's birthday. Again, we just sort of rushed home, had dinner at Donnelly's, stopped into Fairport Brewing for an Apollo 8 (it was a beautiful night...we spent time sitting outside next to one of their firepits). We got to bed early as Mark was to hit the road early on Saturday to catch Cam's race in Boston at the Head of the Charles. Attending the HOTC was on Mark's bucket list, so he was very excited to go. Cam was also very excited to have the opportunity to wrap up his RIT crew career at this world famous race. His boat (the Men's 4) came in 38 out of 44 ~ which I'm sure he was fine with seeing RIT's team is a "club team" (not Division I, II or III), and they were competing against some of the best teams in the country. Mark actually drove there and home in the same day, getting back around 11pm last night. Crazy person.

Also on Saturday, Mary and Larry (and Drew) picked up Annalisse on their way through the Syracuse area as we were headed to the Book of Mormon at 2pm. I guess you could say that seeing the BOM, while not exactly on my bucket list, was something I've wanted to do for several years. It was very funny, irreverent, insulting, and full of heart.

Today, we take Annalisse back to Syracuse. But the fun is not over weekend we are on the road again to Cam's race in Saratoga at the "Head of the Fish." I'm thinking by now the car could drive itself up and down the NYS thruway!!!

So happy together! 

Hey 30!
Libra birthday buddies
I believe!

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!

The Lake Placid area was sooooo beautiful the last weekend in September. We walked a lot, took a gondola ride up to "Little Whiteface," drove up Whiteface mountain (and hiked/climbed rocks the last 1/5 of a mile up - check my post about meeting people in random places), and stopped in for a little nostalgia at The North Pole/Santa's Workshop. We all reminisced about visiting Santa's Workshop during our childhood, EXCEPT for Sue, who apparently, despite her family's spending so much time in the Adirondacks, NEVER got inside the gate of the North Pole. Well, that explains a lot. I suppose it's nothing years of therapy can't undo.

All agreed that Lake Placid was an ideal location for Girl's weekend, especially in the fall. It was breathtakingly beautiful and appropriately quaint. Another wonderful weekend spent with my girls!

Monday, October 6, 2014

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 Placid
  • Fairport Oktoberfest
  • October birthdays
  • Our trip to Chicago
  • Recent random encounters

Whew! That's going to be a long one! Check back!!