Sunday, November 30, 2014

With Us

First Cousins
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.

Second Cousins
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 Syracuse for her last two weeks (better get studying for those finals!) and Cam went back to RIT. It won't be long before the nest is full again!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

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!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

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, gadgets, and kitchen do-dads could fit into a 900 square foot house. 

But I digress. Back to the attic.

We dove in, or, rather, I should say that Mark dove in, and started pulling stuff out. I am not lying when I say that at least 1/3 of the attics contents were plastic bags in plastic bags in plastic bags. The other 1/3 was comforters, bedsheets and table cloths. There was also an overwhelming amount of Christmas stuff. I think what must have happened is that each year, instead of burrowing into the attic to get the Christmas decorations, my mother just bought more. Seriously. It was amazing. Also among the "treasures" was every birthday, anniversary and Christmas card she ever received. WHY WHY WHY?! I know, I through the Depression and all that jazz.

But, the attic did yield some amazing treasures as well. Mark, in the quick succession of pushing and handing stuff out of the small opening, passed on a garbage back with what looked to be yet another blanket/comforter. I stuck my hand in and felt...velvet! It was the dress! How excited was I? It's just beautiful and in great condition - still bright and holding together very well! We also found several Yankee playbooks and tickets from Dad's trips to watch his favorite team play - including the World Series against the Red Sox in the 1960 and a trip to "The Price is Right" in New York City, - Dad's diploma, tons of very old pictures, our christening gowns, bags and bags of baby clothes, and various childhood mementos. It was really fun seeing what we could discover next. 

It was a dirty job, and quite laborious, but I'm glad we did it. It was amazing how much was stuffed into that small space. 

Things with the house are winding down, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I'm not sure if I'll get back up there before we put it on the market. I anticipate it will take a while to sell as it needs a lot of  repair work, and the interior needs a major update, having last been renovated in something like 1978 (and it shows!). Massena is so economically depressed and there are tons of houses for sale, so we'll just have to hope for the best. So many memories...I hope the house can find a nice family to take care of it and give it life again.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

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!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

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, I can't wait for!!