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Showing posts from 2015

Wrapping up 2015, Welcoming 2016

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It's that time again...putting the finishing touches on 2015 and looking ahead to 2016. This year went by the blink of an eye, it seems!

Christmas is all wrapped up (pun intended?!), and Cam and I have been enjoying a quiet week at home. Unfortunately, much to his chagrin, Mark had to work Monday-Wednesday, this week, and Annalisse is enjoying the mid-80s temps of Orlando with Alex's family (stinker!). Christmas was nice, but pretty low-key overall, with the realization that our family keeps getting smaller and smaller - a far cry from the cast of thousands when I was growing up. On Christmas day, in fact, there was only four of us for dinner - me, Mark, Cam, and Grandma Pat - as Annalisse flew out on Christmas day (her flight was supposed to leave at 1pm but was delayed because of technical difficulties until 6pm - not pretty). So, since we were such an intimate group we celebrated with lobster tails....yummmmm!!!

Christmas morning we hosted with the Nara, Lena and Ken or bre…

Almost There!

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Seven more days of work and I am HOME FREE and off until 2016. Hurray!! 
This morning I am enjoying a very chill day at home as Mark is raking and mowing the lawn at the church ON DECEMBER 12. I'm loving this mild weather, I'm not going to lie, and trying not to think of any possible payback like snow in May. ERASE! ERASE! ERASE! that thought from my mind. The tree is beautiful, everything is decorated, and we it's wonderful to bask in the soft evening lights.
After a very intense week, the kids are on the downslide of the semester. Annalisse was particularly stressed (we heard about it) and Cam could have been equally stressed (but we did not hear about it), and next week they are finishing up projects and Annalisse has several finals. By Friday afternoon both will be nestled back at home, and Jasper will be ONE HAPPY DOG. 
I also spent this week feeling annoyed and disappointed that the Massena house sale fell through. Unfortunately, I had mentally come to depend on tha…

34 Roosevelt Street - SOLD!

We were surprised and happy to sell our parent's house on Friday. After being vacant for 5ish years, and on the market since July, it all ended up happening very quickly. Apparently the buyer (a man) was interested in the house a couple of months ago, then came the Alcoa announcement, so he put his plans on hold, then came the other Alcoa announcement, and he decided to go ahead with it. The selling price was lower than we had hoped, but we are just relieved to have it sold. We will all get a little $$ out of it once all the bills (including my mother's funeral) are paid off, so now we wait (holding our breath a little) hoping all goes through without a hitch.

This week the home inspection will be done. We let the realtor know the property is "as is" - we are not willing to make any improvements which my be identified in the inspection, since the house was priced so low.  The buyer will surely have to put a chunk of money into it, bringing it up to date and probably …

Turkey Time

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I CANNOT EAT ANOTHER THING. I haven't been hungry for three days. That totally seems like a 1st world problem, but seriously. It looks like I'm going to be that person who joins a gym after the new year. This holiday eating is already out of control.

Which is among other things to chat about. The house is quiet again and the kids are back at school after Annalisse being home all week and Cam coming home on Wednesday. It's wonderful to have them home, but the time goes too fast. I took the week off with no real plans, although the days seemed to fill up very quickly and on Wednesday we were out all day on a day trip to Ithaca - to have lunch at the famous Moosewood Restaurant, which was awesome for Annalisse as it features vegan/GF fare.  There was plenty of sitting by the fire and binge watching different shows, and not enough book reading, for sure! The week was capped off by an always fun (and delicious) Harvest Dinner at Mary and Larry's. They are great hosts and a…

Busy + Lazy + Depressing News = No Blog Entries

Hey, Fabulous B@ker Bloggers, so sorry I've been away. I have obviously gotten out of the habit of blogging, at a minimum on Sundays. How can it be that it is almost Thanksgiving? (TURKEY.)

Truthfully, there's not much to tell. The days are "shorter," and  definitely colder, and by the time I get home from work all I want to do is put on my sweatpants and fluffy socks and watch English period dramas on Netflix. (I'm kind of running out...I even had to watch "Jane Eyre," which I really didn't enjoy. I couldn't even finish "Great Expectations.")

Of course, there is stuff going on all around me, most of which is not great: Mark's mom is facing an uncertain medical diagnosis, Paris has been devastated by last week's terror attack, Massena is facing upwards of 500 Alcoa layoffs which will be last nail in the coffin for my little town (not to mention my Mother's house will never sell now), and Montreal is dumping 2 billion gallon…

If I had a $1,000,000

You know how people say, "If I had a $1,000,000, I would..." (adjusted for inflation and 2015 prices, $1m actually doesn't seem like really, really a lot of money, but I digress)? I'm sure you've speculated about what you would do/how you would live if you were wealthy.

This weekend I added a new "something" to my list of things I would do if I were wealthy. In addition to fresh flowers around me at all times, a personal chef (who cooks super healthy meals), a trainer and the obvious things like homes in several desirable locations and opening my coffee shop, JuJu Bean's (which someone else would manage and I would just enjoy), I would have weekly foot massages. 

OMG. My awesome sister-in-law Lena gave me a one-hour foot massage for my birthday, and she and I had a nice little girls morning on Saturday at Happy Feet. It felt like Heaven!!! Soooooo wonderful and relaxing - I didn't want it to ever end. I will be going back...they have a package d…

Birthday Palooza!

Saturday, Mark's birthday, marked the conclusion of the Libra Birthday Mega Palooza Celebration(s)! Looks like we're done for another year, and in a couple of days the many, many birthday cards will be taken off the buffet.

Since my last post: Starting with Annalisse's birthday - I think she had a good day (for a Monday!). We sent her a little bouquet of flowers, which she loved (she just loves getting flowers and having fresh flowers around). In the evening, her friends took her out to dinner, so she had a very pleasant and fun day.

My birthday, Thursday the 8th, was as fun as any workday birthday could be, I suppose. I worked...BUT, I got a really sweet fall bouquet from Mark. In the evening, we picked up Cam after his class and went out to dinner at Orbs, a cute little restaurant downtown which specializes in meatballs (and other stuff). It was a fun little place. So, in general, nothing too crazy for my big day, but it was very pleasant!

For Mark's birthday on Satu…

Happy Birthday to Nic!

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Happy Happy Birthday to Nic, today ~ celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of her 29th Birthday! 
Looking forward to celebrating with a nice dinner at Havana Cabana tonight!!

Some weeks are just like that...

Remember last week's report from the porch? Great news from the kid front, wonderful late summer weather?

This week we are living in Opposite Land. It was just a dreadful week. Rainy and cold. Both kids sick and also the running around associated with both kids having broken phones (which doesn't seem like a super big deal except without their phones it's very difficult to communicate with them). Add to that a choppy week of travel for me, and me just being in a general cranky mood - a mood that has carried into the weekend, which is not a good sign for starting the week off fresh with a nice, clean, blank slate.

One of the low points of the week was the truly nightmarish trip I had back from Ithaca after a grad fair on Tuesday night. The day was pouring rain and dark to begin with, but I didn't get back on the road from the fair until after 8pm, and a (mostly backroads) trip that usually takes 1 hour 45 minutes stretched out to 2 1/2+ hours of torrential rain, fog, an…

Indian Summer - Report from the Porch

It continues to be an amazing fall! The plants have all gone inside from the porch (since the mornings are so dark and cold), and have been replaced by big, bright mums. I can't yet bear to bring the furniture in, we probably have three (or more) good weeks of porch sitting before we give in to the cold forces of late October.

The Baker kids had a great week this week. As a follow up to last week's post, Annalisse called Sunday night SOBBING. I thought something bad had happened, but it was the opposite...she and two others had made the improv team and she was overwhelmed with happiness. This will be a real boost for her confidence, which she has sometimes been lacking in her college experiences (little fish, big pond stuff). She had been wanting to get back into improv and has missed it these last two years. We are soooo happy for her. We also learned that, as a result of joining Zamboni Revolution, she also became part of "Float Your Boat," a sketch comedy group at…

Twenty-Eight ~ and other stuff!

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Another year has passed...28 years married (plus, remember: I want credit for the six years we dated...). It goes sooooo very fast!

Yesterday, our anniversary, was very, very reminiscent of the actual day of our wedding. It also fell on a Saturday, and it was rainy. It was also a very busy day that started with a quick trip to Syracuse to deliver some mail, groceries and a visit with Jasper to his sister (or "sisser" as we like to call her). We got to A's place around 10am, unloaded the goods, and headed out for a walk where she had arranged for some of her friends to meet her most favorite person (dog) in the whole world. After a stop at one of the dorms, we headed up to the Quad (getting really warm out already...), and were greeted by tents, a bouncy house, tailgating and the wonderful, entertaining SU pep band playing on the steps of Hendricks Chapel. What a fun vibe the school had! It even made me want to go to a football game when we return to campus next weekend f…

A summer of sunshine, one day of rain

It rained today. Hard. And it was pretty cold out.

All because it was the day of the annual Fourth Ave Street Picnic. Can you believe it?! Looks like the kids will have to wait a week to have fun riding their bikes up and down the street, and the neighbors will have to wait for the communal picnic and the wine - oh, the wine! Also, there will be no bonfire today. 
Sadness. And a little extra sadness because we can't make the rescheduled date of next Saturday as it will be our 28th anniversary and we have tickets to see Spamalot at Geva. Dang it all! Have fun Fourth Ave'ers. Think sunshine!

Nary a free moment

Hello! (Aunt Sher...)

I'm back. No excuses for the long time between posts, mostly a lethal combination of busy-ness and laziness. BUT, the good news is I've been getting a jump on my fall reading for book club, so there's that...!

Obviously, we have a lot of catching up to do! The kids are settled at school ~ Cam is in his third week of classes, Annalisse: her second. They are knee deep into classwork and other obligations. For Annalisse, her part-time job is taking up a bit of time. For Cam: he's just plain busy with coursework and the two labs he teaches on Fridays (apparently one of the kids called him "professor" - HA!). I sure would like to be a fly on the wall of one of his labs to see how he is doing. The students (officially: Teaching Assistants) who teach these labs are given very little training. Other than the occasional text, I don't really hear from him. Last night we took a big pan of mac-n-cheese over to the house he rents with five (or is…

Annalisse's Productive Summer

Well, I tried to get Annalisse to do a guest blog, but she refused ("I don't like to write!"). I wanted her to tell you all about her productive summer, about which continues to proclaim: I got a lot done this summer! Or, I accomplished pretty much all my goals this summer!

Since she won't tell you about her productive summer, I will!
She took a Chemistry course that she needed for her major, and got a B+She saw Ed Sheeran in concertShe got her licenseShe worked 100 volunteer volunteer We visited some Rochester museumsShe took care of various doctor's appointmentsAnd, on Wednesday, she's going to Seabreeze, which she's been wanting to do all summer She packed a lot into three months. Now, onto a productive semester. She doesn't start classes until August 31, but she starts her volunteer coordinator job next week so will be heading back to school on Sunday. Junior year!

(P.S. I'm off again this week...and keeping very busy!)

Report from the Porch

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Hello! It's been a while since the last post AND IT'S ALMOST MID-AUGUST. Seriously depressing. I've heard recently that August is like Sunday night, and it is too true. Blah.

Change is in the wind as we start to shift back to school, and everybody is a little upset (me: A LOT upset) that summer is almost over. While it's been a very busy one, it's not totally been the "good" kind of busy, meaning we've been busy with work and school. That's not to say there haven't been weekends (and extended weekends) of fun. In fact, just about every weekend has been filled with day trips or trips up north to clean Mom's house.

I have had vacation time, though. During my first week off I did a lot of running around, and Annalisse FINALLY had her road test (she passed by a hair...). We did a couple of historic house tours, but Mark and the kids were tied up most of the week with work commitments. I also did not get as much porch reading done as I might h…

Kids and Careers

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This summer, both kids have been making great strides in preparation for their respective careers.

Cam has been involved in Bioinformatics research at RIT for 40 hours a week (paid, thankfully), and comes home really excited about his progress and victories related to the project he is working on. Of course, when he explains what he's doing I have no idea what he's taking about. Oh well. Don't you hate it when they get smarter than us? Anyway, he's also involved in beginning his Master's thesis, the proposal of which he will defend in early fall. But it hasn't been all work for him, he's been having fun spending time with his Bioinformatics friends this summer and has developed a real bond with them. It's very nice to see.

Then, in addition to her Bio class (in which she got a "B"), Annalisse has been working as a volunteer nutrition intern at Trillium Health.  For her program, she needs 250 volunteer hours by the time she earns her degree, so…

Vacation!

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I'm off for a week! I'm on vacation! Siesta! 
I don't have very much planned for the next week that I'm off ~ Cam is working. Mark is working. Annalisse is at her internship for three days. IT'S OKAY! The porch and my books are calling me, not to mention wonderful pup time. This weekend kicks off with Mark's 35th Pittsford-Mendon High School reunion at Cobblestone Creek (what to wear? what to wear?), and on Monday I'm going to have some "girl time" when Nic, Annalisse, Mary and I head down to Canandaigua for some old house tours at the Granger Homestead (haunted!) and Sonnenberg Gardens (probably also haunted!), along with a nice lunch at Simply Crepes. Annalisse has her road test on Wednesday afternoon (it's about time), and other than that the week is wide open for me. What a great feeling!
It's been such a crazy summer so far. There was a time when work seemed to have quiet/downtime where I could focus on projects and really explore ne…

Pull those weeds!

Another summer weekend has flown by...slow down! And how do we wrap up a warm, beautiful weekend? With a turkey dinner, of course...courtesy of my sister, Carol, who is visiting. I'll take it! Turkey in July!

Mark and I spent most of the weekend pulling weeds and doing some yard clean-up. I'm very disappointed in my herb garden this year, and actually with a lot of my plants. I planted really sweet yellow, orange and gold pansies at the end of May to brighten up the garden, and they mostly pooped out. So, do I rake them out and plant new? Well, yes and no. I turned the dirt over to get a lot of the weeds out, and took out most of the pansies, but left a few. Planting all those little plants is not my idea of fun, so I will need to decide  if I want to plant new annuals (like a hearty begonia) this late in the season.

Adding to my floral disappointment this year, I decided to get red geranium hanging pots for the front porch, remembering a couple of years back how beautiful and…

Holiday Weekend Recap

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It's the Sunday wind-down-holiday-weekend recap. What a wonderful weather weekend, and a weekend filled with low-key fun. Just in case you forgot:
I LOVE SUMMER
Ahhh, it's so wonderful. It's still my goal to get a job with summers off. Two more years...when Annalisse is done with college...I'm hoping I can make some changes and figure out a way to not work in the summer months. We'll keep noodling on that one.
Anyway, back to the weekend. 
On Friday morning, Mark and I got up early and headed back up north to do some more cleaning and packing in my Mom's house. This time, we attacked the basement (damp, yuck) and threw tons of stuff out, and packed up other stuff. We were not able to bring as much back to Rochester as we had hoped, with the plan being to bring the boxes and boxes of housewares and tchotchke back to be donated to the annual Advent House sale (Morey gladly takes it off our hands and delivers it to the donation center). We got into town around 11a…

The Week that Was

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What a news week! Unless you live under a rock, you know there were some pretty important issues in the news this week, all of which I am happy about  - being the bleeding heart liberal that I am!

First up, the removal of the confederate flag from buildings in the South (not just South Carolina). After the tragic murder of nine innocent people at a church prayer service in South Carolina last week, the confederate flag became the focus (and has long been the emblem) of white supremacist hatred, seeing such activity as the inspiration for the shooter. While I would love the warmer weather in the South, I'm not sure I can deal with their attitudes. Take down that flag!

On Thursday, the SCOTUS decision to uphold provisions of the Affordable Care Act (which others call "Obamacare," but I refuse to call it that...I find it a term derogatorily used by the crazy conservatives). Please, people, can we move on? ACA is WORKING! I now realize that before the ACA if Mark and I had …

Dismantling a life

Last weekend Mark and I left early on Friday morning to head up to Massena to try to make some headway in finishing the clean out of my parents' house. It's getting down to the wire now with "stuff" remaining, and I guess any hopes of getting it on the market in spring have gone down the tubes as we enter the dog days of summer. Not that it will sell quickly anyway - it needs so much work and is one of five other houses on the market on their block alone...all the same two bedroom cape cods in various states of disrepair.

Mark and I got right down to business and made great progress in our cleaning. By the time we left, every room was cleared out, with boxes stacked in the dining room, ready to be donated. There is still a little work to be done in the basement, and we will most likely be heading up again soon to finish that. Then, the house will need a GOOD cleaning. A really good cleaning.

This time around, packing stuff up, I spent a bit of time just looking aroun…

The Great Baker Bedroom Switch

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Just about every five years or so we have a need to shake things up and decide to switch bedrooms. Last weekend was taken up with moving Mark and I into the guest room (now known as our "suite" because it's connected to the three season porch with a couch and TV), moving Annalisse into our old room, and making Annalisse's room into the guest room. Cam's room is the only one left untouched (because, basically, he doesn't care where he sleeps). But, it's not just moving the bedrooms; it's figuring out the "closet situation" when no one closet is big enough for me and Mark to share. In the two older houses we've owned, one of us usually has to go into another room to use his/her closet. Mostly, that ends up being me.

 It seems like a continuation of the deep dive into cleaning we've done in the last month, beginning with the vacuum and tossing-out-stuff project in the attic. We had not really cleaned out (or cleaned) the attic since we …

Girl's Weekend - 2015 Edition

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I'm a little late getting to the Girl's Weekend 2015 edition because...work, family stuff after work (like dinner...dishes...dog walks...porch sitting...), but mostly because of binge watching different shows on Netflix rather than updating the blog. MY BAD. In other words: laziness.

Anyway, last weekend five of us girls headed to a cabin in the woods on Fourth Lake in the Adirondack town of Inlet, about 10 miles from Old Forge. Every year we begin the planning for our weekend in January or so, and this year it seemed extraordinarily difficult to find a date that worked for everyone. We must have gone back and forth 10 time before we "penned in" June 4-7, then deciding on a location, well, that took another bit of time. Last year, Girl's Weekend was in September, and this year, going in June, it seemed like we just got back from our last get together! After much deliberation, we finally settled on returning to the Adirondacks and renting a cabin. Kudos to Sue fo…

Happy Belated 75th, Aunt Sher!!!

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A very happy belated B@ker Blog shout out to Aunt Sher on the occasion of her milestone birthday last week. 

Seventy-five years young!!! And what a celebration...Kara, Piper and Beth from Oregon, the Versprilles from Massachusetts, relatives from Florida, near and far, all gathered for a celebratory picnic to honor our beloved family matriarch!

I'm glad you had a great day, Sher!! Much love!!

Recipe for a perfect weekend

What's the recipe for a perfect weekend?

Ingredients:

Eight extra hours off work on Friday Dinner with a special sisterA perfect night under the stars, chatting with friends, and listening to some great tunes at Fairport BrewingGetting up early on Saturday and getting some delicious bagelsA trip to Canandaigua to get some sweet yellow, orange and white pansies for the garden, followed by lunch at PUDGIES!A full day of yard workDinner with the familyAn evening walk with Pup Enjoy each ingredient as it happens. Add a dash of sunshine, and throw in a thunderstorm or two.
BONUS: Realize it's only Saturday night and there's a whole other day ahead! More yard work, and the promise of a nap. What a perfect weekend!

Perfect Weekend Post-Script: The wind and rain swept in on Saturday afternoon, and, 
LIKE A ROCK
the temperature dropped from 80 and humid to 48, with pouring, cold, non-stop rain. WHAT A BUZZKILL.

Presenting: Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Wilkins!

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They are wed! Knot-tied! Married!
What a wonderful wedding weekend it was! Beaming groom, beautiful bride, handsome wedding party. Nic and Carol, along with the Wilkins family hosted a great event that started with rehearsal on Friday night at my old church, St. Mary's. After rehearsal, we headed over to Patrick's parent's place for a delicious (although chillingly cold ~ what's up with the cold weather?!) picnic, after which we headed back to the hotel and Cam and Alex, Annalisse's beau, went swimming.

We stayed at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Hotel (about 10 miles east of Massena), which was really, really nice, with great accommodations and amenities. It really felt a little like a destination wedding with very nice rooms and a nice pool and spa area. Most of our family, and Patrick's as well, stayed right at the hotel, which also played host to the reception, so it was very convenient.

On Saturday morning, we got up bright and early and Annalisse headed up t…