Mid-July???? Seriously???

nd2I give up. Time just speeds by. I feel like I’m busy. In fact, I am busy. But when I look at the calendar it’s obvious that I have been sitting on my thumbs for about two years.  Wasn’t I just in Paris?

We’re on a rowing break which is kind of awesome. Andy is doing some kind of strength/conditioning camp thing two days a week. Compared to three hours a day six days a week, that’s a cake walk. He continues to search for a summer job – so many places only hire people 18 and older. In the meantime, he’s been picking up odd jobs when he can.

With the rowing break, I thought things would slow down a bit. When it was still relatively cool, I started painting the shutters on the house. I WILL finish them tomorrow. I don’t mind climbing the mountainous ladder – I just mind the news people tell me it’s going to feel like 105 when I’m up there. Who does that help? No one.

Before I could finish the shutters, we ran into lots of rowing. Then . . . who knew? We became party people. Graduations, birthdays, it’s Saturday – all kinds of parties. Up front, it’s kind of fun to finally be in the “cool” group. Only took me 52 years and what’s cool has changed quite a bit over the years. Anyway – we’ve been eating and drinking our way through Orlando and we’re going to continue for the next week or two.

I’m mostly excited that Danny will be coming home on Thursday. He’s only been to this house once before. Weird, huh? I got to see him back in December but Mike and the brothers have not seen him for over a year. I’m so, so, so, thrilled to have all six of us together. We’re all pretty excited. Since he’s missed the past two Thanksgivings with us, we’re hosting a Thanksgiving-in-July cookout.  My sister is even coming with 2/3 of her kids!  (If you have food ideas, please share in the comments!!!) I think we’ll have between 25-35 people. If I haven’t officially invited you and you’re in Orlando – you’re invited July 15 around 4:30.

finallogo jpgIn other news, I’ve started a new side business – Overalls Overhauls. I have spent so much time over the past (yikes!) 25 or so years redoing furniture, and I LOVE  doing it, that I thought I might as well start selling the stuff instead of cramming my own house full of “just one more adorable” whatever.  To my Facebook friends, I apologize. So much of this is a GIANT learning curve for me. I’m getting it now and soon I should have my personal and my business pages working independently.  If you’re on Instagram, I will apologize in advance – that’s next week’s project.

Hope all is well in your worlds.


Give me your Christmas Spirit!

20161210_181609It’s the middle of December and, while everyone is well and healthy, I don’t feel Christmas-y at all. I spent last week in Ann Arbor with Danny. It’s been forever since I’ve had time alone with my oldest “baby.” It’s so fun getting to know him as an adult.

We went (I think) south to meet our friends, Mike and Mary, over the weekend that I was there. It was kind of awesome. They live in a small town and we arrived for their annual Santarchy party. Everyone (except me and Dan) had on Santa, elf, tree or other holiday gear. We were led by a cheerful woman covered in flashing lights from bar to bar. It was like being an extra in a Lifetime holiday movie.

I love a good party. But, honestly, I love a good party in Key West. Michigan is cold, cold, cold. We woke the next morning to more than 6″ of snow. On the way back to Dan’s house, we skidded across two lanes and landed in a ditch. Gah! The tow truck people we called told us that it would be $450 to get us back up to the highway. I think not. We used our coats and a really awesome sweater of mine as traction. Total loss? Maybe $100.  I will be mourning the sweater for years, though.

Now I’m home and gleefully warm. But, I’m not feeling the Christmas thing. Send me your best pick-me-ups, jokes or bad movies.

Aaaannnnnd . . . it’s Friday again!

pool readingMan, this has been the slowest and fastest week on record. I feel like I’ve finally regained control of the house and some of my life after the wedding.  I also feel like I’m behind on so many things I’ve been neglecting! Can’t win.

Dan and Christi are getting settled into married life.  They are discovering just how small their apartment is as we’ve been shipping wedding gifts their way!  They are planning their honeymoon (Puerto Rico) for the end of July.  I’m so happy they’re not putting it off too long.

Settling into the fact that we have a married child has both Mike and me thinking that no matter how young we feel (really) – we have been together a LONG time and when you really look at it, we have been through a lot – sickness, health, richer, poorer and every insane thing that falls into another category. I guess it could make me anxious for Dan and Christi but, honestly, I’m so excited to see what the future holds for them.  So many possibilities.

In other news, things here keep moving along. Ian reported another set of straight A’s for his summer term. Not bad for a homeskooled kid, huh?  He’s working a lot for the rest of the summer and trying to catch up on some fun reading. Tim had a friend-who-is-a-girl visit this week from Iowa.  She was all that Tim described and more. Fun, funny, smart and adorable. I’m so happy to finally meet her.  He’s got two years in Tallahassee and she will be two years at Univ. of Iowa, so who knows what will happen.  Still, I love seeing Tim so happy.

Andy’s had rowing again all week. Because that is what he does. Row. Now he drives and rows. He’s up to driving in 40 mph zones.  Kill. Me. Now.  I’m too old to be teaching another kid to drive! Andy’s not even a bad driver so far.  It’s just the fact that you know they are NOT in control of the car and the only way they can learn is to do things.  Have I mentioned that my “jesus handle” is broken?  There’s only so much my feet on the dashboard can do.  If you have kids coming up on driving age, start stretching now – you want to have multiple ways to brace yourself!!!!!

I was beyond excited this afternoon when Mike told me that he and my brother are closing the warehouse tomorrow and taking a day off.  Not only does Mike need it, he’s happy to drive with Andy.  A BREAK!!!!!  Our neighbors are away for one of their son’s baseball tournaments.  We are watching the fish and feeding a couple of stray cats they have always taken care of.  The fish are needy.  I think I might get up and buy myself a float tomorrow and keep an eye on the fish while reading and floating in their pool.  (I must say that they would let me float in their pool any old time.  But, it’ll just be me and my book and the fish.  I can hardly wait.)

Speaking of books, this spring I read Mr. Mercedes.  With writing all the time, it’s hard to find time to read. I have taken May and June off from writing. I’ve been looking forward to reading non-school-related fun stuff.  For my birthday, Dan sent Finders, Keepers and Tim/Andy gave me House of Leaves.  Even if you’re not a Stephen King fan – the first two books are fun. They’re not terribly supernatural, more mystery.  Great characters.  Definitely fun beach reads.  I have just started House of Leaves.  I have had it on my to-read list forever. It’s supposed to be VERY scary.  I’m not too far into it but I can definitely tell you it’s weird.

I got new tires this morning. While I waited, I walked to Chik-Fil-A and grabbed breakfast and read.  I almost burst into tears on the section I read this morning – so unexpected! Instead, I bought myself an ice cream cone for breakfast-dessert. Tears contained.  I’ll keep you posted as I get further into the book.  When that one is done, I still have a stack on my nightstand – I wonder how long I can put off tenth grade for Andy????

We are looking forward to an uneventful 4th of July – no party planned. Nothing. Our grumpy neighbor did call the police tonight but it was nothing Andy and his friends were doing – the nice police officer just drove by and waved.  Gah!!!  Hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

Happy 22 Danny!

How it is possible that you are 22 is beyond me! But there you are – eating with utensils, potty-trained, able to read and sporting a Kris Kringle beard – not to mention the fact that you’re engaged to the “girl-that-is-a-friend” who is no longer a girl!!!!! (Hi Christi – we miss you too!)

I hope you have a great day! We miss you and love you. We’ll be home eating cake in your honor and remembering awesome things like the time you crashed through the table at Ian’s magic show. Should be a fun night – you did lots of stuff like that!  😉

I’m going to go sit in the “old people corner” now.


Well, another month is gone and I haven’t been blogging. Ugh. The days just fly by and so much has been going on and I am in the midst of all of it. It doesn’t help that I cannot focus or hold a thought lately to save my life. By the time I sit down to “goof” around at the computer, I can’t remember what made me sit down in the first place. I’m turning into an 8-year-old with each passing day.

We successfully shipped Ian off to Florida State and he and Dan are living in brotherly harmony as I type. Or not. My monkeys, but no longer my daily problem. They both started classes on Monday. I talked to Ian and he is settling in well. He took his server’s job at Chili’s here in Orlando with him to Tallahassee and is pleased with his new schedule and environment. Dan never calls me anymore and I have to rely on reports from Ian. (Dan, why do you never call?)  😉 I kid. Dan was in position for a good start to the school year and eventually, I’ll hear about it.

Dan and Christi have set a date! Gah! I’m not old enough to be a mother-in-law (at least in my mind). June 20, 2015 is the date we will add another Baker to our family tree.  (Someone remind me to plant the tree and label it before June?)  It’s kind of an awesome date though, that is my parent’s real anniversary. Dan and Christi will get married on my parent’s 51st anniversary. They will celebrate their own 50th anniversary in 2065!  (Yes, I imagine they’ll renew their vows while wearing the jet packs promised to us by the Jetson’s.)

Christi, aka the-girl-that-is-a-friend, is in Michigan starting graduate school. Dan is in Tallahassee finishing up his degree. It’s going to be a long year for both of them I think.  (I would know more if Dan ever called me. But, you know, he neglects me. Feel sorry for me.)

Tim is here, school full-time and working. He definitely misses his brothers – as he’s ripping loft beds down, repainting his room and enjoying the extra space. He’s got a new job at a photography studio and so far the hours are great and school-friendly. I know he’s sick of living with us, but he’s taking the smart route by working and saving and living with free rent, food and laundry. I like having him here and Andy likes not losing all his brothers at once. He and Tim get along really well and are having fun in their free time.

In other news, we took my car in for one problem and it had every other problem you can imagine. And, nothing wrong with my car fell into the recall category. The car is home and I’ve worked the mechanic smell out of it. For what we paid, though, this thing should fly.  Seriously, why doesn’t it fly?

Andy is back to rowing. We just finished week two. Fall is long distance season and we were warned to make sure he is eating enough that he does not lose weight. (I never have anyone tell me that.) I’ve been trying to get about 5000 calories a day into Andy without it being 5000 calories of junk. I am happy to report that after being weighed after tonight’s workout, Andy has gained nearly 2 pounds. I don’t care if he gains weight or not (the coaches do but, yeah) … I just want to keep him healthy.  Andy is on board – he hates to be sick.  Sheesh, 5000-6000 calories a day is a lot of food when you also have to fit in school, sleep, practice and having a life.  So here is my official HI FIVE to whole chocolate milk, butter in everything and Andy’s willingness to eat every hour.  (Mike and I will be paying the price of this new diet – it’s delicious and we do not have that teenager metabolism – nor do we run, row, lift weights in any way comparable to what Andy is doing. Send sweat pants.)

We have started the freshman year of high school for Andy. Andy! My baby! The beginning is always a little bumpy but we’re finding our way. I have added French to his studies. He still has Latin. Latin? I am constantly learning as I teach. French? I can’t speak French outside of Pittsburgh. BUT, I can read it and write it pretty well. We’ve been doing our initial lessons in the car. Counting, alphabet and introducing yourself and others. With Latin I often have to stop and double check my answers. French? Umm . . . Andy was horrified when he figured out I actually know it. Muhahahaha.  He’s also studying Ancient History, Geometry, Logic/Rhetoric, Biology and Writing. He probably won’t enjoy it as much as I do but, he will thank me one day.  (Unless he’s like Dan. You know, Dan? The one who never calls?)

Since this post is endless already, I’ll add that I’ve finished painting the living areas of the house. The new wall quotes will be done by Sunday.  I will get some pictures. I think this is my fourth or fifth cycle of wall quotes. I’m either going to have to give them up next time I paint or start over from the beginning. I thought I could give them up this time around, but after a week, I missed my words around the house. Still,  I’ve used so many of the really good ones.  My latest favorite is in the kitchen:  “Good moms let you lick the beater. Great moms turn them off first.”

The writing business was great over the summer. But, it has slacked off tremendously lately. I’m looking into writing a few e-books. I will likely be starting a new blog that combines my regular life and my writing life. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you know anyone that needs a writer or editor, send them to me. I’m fast and reasonably priced! 

I hope all is well in your world!

Slacker – that’s me!

I have no excuse other than days just whiz by and I’ve not blogged. I’m sorry to leave you all hanging and unable to go on with your own lives. 😉

This past weekend, Andy went to the SE Regional Regatta as I mentioned in my last post. And, as I mentioned, his boat was outweighed and out-manned by the other competitors.  There is a huge difference between 14-15 and 18-19 year-old  boys/men.  Still, Andy’s boat managed a great time for their own records and they all had fun over the weekend. 

Mike went as a chaperone. He had fun running around with the boys but, man, was he a tired puppy when he got home Sunday night!  He waited until 8:00 pm.  By 8:01 he was snoring.

Here is some video – the first race you see involves half of the boat that Andy’s team replaced – they are in the dark boat wearing navy with an orange stripe.  Look at the size of those “kids” and picture a boat of Andy’s – about 6′ tall and maybe 135? (I smell a hit tv show – SuperModels Crew Team) Their coxswain – a wee girl who scares the s**t out of those eight boys- was allowed to carry 40 lbs of sand into the boat to help equalize the weight with the other boats and it didn’t make a dent. 

Doesn’t it look like fun though? (Of course, the video cuts off right before Andy’s race . . . lol – we’re so spoiled with technology, huh?)

I stayed home, what with Mike chaperoning and Andy bunking with his boat mates.  As it happened, Ian and Tim were gone to the beach for the weekend.  It was just me and Cally.  Weird. I did a lot of cleaning – baseboards, mirrors, bathrooms, kitchen cabinets – stuff I don’t normally mess with because well, they’re just boring to clean and they get undone quickly.  A little sushi for dinner and then I was confused. 

I sat on the couch for a minute and woke up when Mike called to say goodnight at 9:30. And then I woke up at 6:30 am stiff and really, really confused.  I have not slept for that long without interruption in years.  But, honestly, what are you supposed to do at 6:30 in the morning? Even Cally wouldn’t give me the time of day.  I ended up at Walmart buying the week’s fill in groceries, some fabric and chocolate. 

I came home to a spotless house, no laundry and nothing fun I wanted to do (I ate the chocolate on the way home). I actually took a nap that afternoon.  So very sad.  I’m happy to have everyone home again because now I know what to do.  Good thing Andy is going to homeschool college – just don’t tell him. 

Other news? Ian bought himself a car!!!  A 2006 Toyota Corolla.  It’s cute (in a manly way, of course) and I think he’ll get a lot of miles out of it.  It should, at the very least, cut down on the confusion about who’s working when and how they are getting there and getting home.  No more midnight runs to pick one or the other up. Yay!

Two more weeks of school. Finally, I will be done with 8th grade forever and ever and ever, amen. Now to find real-life applications for my mad algebra skills.

Danny is coming home for the first time since New Year’s – just a long weekend, but it will be fun to see him. He’s only got two semesters left and he’ll graduate.  How weird is that?  

I’m still writing for money – sort of. The pay is abysmal for beginners like me and the content is dreary and hard to glean inspiration from. I’m definitely faster and able to churn out content but it is not edifying in the least. Some of the things I have enjoyed writing are earning me repeat customers but now it’s time to find out how much they like my writing or how much they like running a sweatshop.  Ugh. I don’t want to make a fortune, but I do expect to surpass minimum wage. We’ll see what happens.  The whole global market thing means I am competing with writers from India and other places where writing for $.01 a word is a good living. 

Ooops – I was sure I updated

Let’s just work in order:

My mom and I went to Tallahassee to see the-girl-that-is-a-friend’s Senior Recital.  (Her name is Christi, but you did not hear it here.) We went in my fancy new-ish car.  You know? The car that can pass other cars and drive in lanes beyond the far right????  My mom and I had a great time on the way up to Tallahassee and I am happy to report that we DID NOT get lost.  Not a single wrong turn.  This was even more confusing than getting lost in some ways.  We checked into our hotel on time and then just sat on opposing beds staring at each other.  We had built extra hours into our trip . . . crazy, huh?

Eventually, we headed to Dan’s house.  It really is the home of engineering students – nerd-ness at every turn.  In a good way.  We went to the grocery store and then headed out for dinner.  We were still ahead of schedule – this NEVER happens in my world or my mom’s world.  We walked around the campus of FSU and got caught up with Dan. It was great – the weather is definitely cooler in Tallahassee and Danny is so much more relaxed talking when he’s guiding two directionally-challenged women through campus.

As recital time approached, we realized we had a sweet parking spot and decided to just hang out by the car.  I had a gift to wrap.  We debated breaking open the box o’ wine I had picked up at the grocery store and making signs for the recital.  You know, musical things like “Trumpets rock, oboes suck.”  Fortunately, we had no paper or paint or strong opinions about any particular musical instrument.  (You’re welcome, Christi) We hung out and devoured car snacks and greeted friends of Dan’s, Christi’s and just general people as they arrived. 

The recital itself was absolutely beautiful.  Christi wore a gorgeous gown and played a piccolo trumpet with some piano to accompany her.  The room was filled with an amazing array of family, friends, teachers and fellow music students.  I think Danny was more nervous about the whole thing than anyone.  No need. His girl-that-is-a-friend was spectacular.  I got a bit ferklempt more than once. 

The ride home was uneventful as well.  YIKES.  We actually stopped for a snack and a car wash because we were so far ahead of schedule by not being lost.  I still don’t think anyone believes us.  But, it’s true.

Sunday night, my dad and my brother met us here at the house.  Mike grilled some amazing steak and chicken and we had fajitas for dinner that put Chili’s to shame.  After dinner, we had dessert (key lime pie and chocolate chip cookies with pretzel bits – yes, you need these) while we watched Ian’s pictures of his travels.  Not only am I married to a talented cook, I am the mother of a brave and gifted photographer.  I loved hearing about the details of the photos and was left wanting more and with a pair of itchy feet – I want to go somewhere now!  HERE is a link to Ian’s f
irst set of photos – his pictures of Dublin.  I will try to get the rest of the links for you soon.

So, there’s a big chunk of November for you.  More in a few minutes.

It’s all too fast!

Time seems to be hurtling by WAY faster than usual.  It seems like just a day or two ago that Danny was home jumping out of and airplane with my mom.  It’s close to two weeks!  How????  At this rate I’m going to miss Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

I don’t have much to show for the time, lots of school with Andy.  He still cannot do much else, so I’m cramming as many lessons into him as he can stand.  So far, eighth grade is looking far more promising than seventh.  I actually got weepy because he math was so good the other day.  Who knows, maybe he won’t end up as the greeter at WalMart? We’re all hoping the doctor gives him the all-clear for full activities on the 24th. Stir crazy is too mild a word for Andy’s state these days.

Dan is back in school and busy, busy, busy. He bought Tim’s scooter/moped and took that back to Tallahassee with him.  After two years on a bike, he is in heaven.  Tim hated the scooter and I think is glad to get a good portion of his money back.  I do think it’s more suited to a college town like Tallahassee.  

Tim is also back to school.  He has a plan!!!!  He should enter the Univ. of Central Florida’s School of Education this summer.  Yay! I think he will make an excellent teacher and he’s excited to get started. He’s picked up a second job at Publix grocery store. It’s a great place to work and they pay fairly well.

Ian leaves for Europe in 19 days. Wah! I have to say, though, he’s organized.  There are checklists all over his room, supplies are stacked and marked and he even has a little black book with important notes.  Despite the best preparations, though, you cannot anticipate everything.  Ian came home yesterday with a rash. I looked at it.  It looked a lot like chicken pox, just grosser.  Yep.  Ian’s got shingles.  The doctor seems to think he caught it early and he’s taking big doses of an anti-viral now. Cross your fingers it clears up and he’s pain-free by October 1. 

Not much else is new around here.  Mike is submerged in football-world between coaching and trying to keep up with all of his favorite teams on television. I am walking the fine line between crazy and rubber-room crazy that seems to be common among most women my age. Everyday is new adventure in mental health. Who knew there were so many Amy’s in here??? 

I win!

I have the coolest mom ever.  I should have said that about 35 years ago, but here it is now.  This morning Dan and my mom, aka Bing, celebrated their Sept 4/5 birthdays by skydiving.  They left here around 8 am, both looking a little gray, but in good spiritis.  Andy and I waited until about 8:30 to leave.  :::sigh:::: I got lost, of course, so we missed it all.  Fortunately, Deland Skydiving takes care of this stuff.  

By the time we caught up with Dan and my mom, they were celebrating in the bar/restaurant.  Dan bought my mom a Bloody Mary – breakfast of champions!  They were so excited and happy.  I’m just floored that my mom jumped out of a plane – on purpose!  Dan, I kind of expect that from him, but MY MOM????  She’s already talking about her next jump!  

Here are some pictures to give you a feel for their adventure!  Honestly, how many people can say they spent their 21st birthday skydiving with their grandma?  How awesome is that????? 

Dan is ready to go!

So they threw him out of the plane!

Bing might be having second thoughts.  Unfortunately? Lucky? for her that cute guy behind her is strapped to her back.  Don’t tell my dad, but they’re talking marriage . . . 

And, she jumps!!!!!!

Dan lands safely!

Bing lands safely.  

More tomorrow!


Ian is home safe and sound.  He had an amazing trip to NY and CT.  Based on my nightmares last night, I’m happy to have him home without a giant, ugly tattoo on his neck.  I cannot wait until he puts his pictures onto his computer.  Everyone . . . “Yay, Ian.”  His initial comments included being happy to have visited a truly big city before heading to Europe.  He was able to test his backpack for carry-on eligibility and ease of use – he gave it an A+.  He used the subway system and feels better about facing the Metro in Paris. (He’s SOOOOO going to thank me for Latin when he gets home.)

Talked to Dan and my mom (aka Bing) tonight.  Their birthdays are a day apart.  Dan turns 21 on 9/4 and Bing turns something bigger than 21 on 9/5.  To celebrate, they will be skydiving together.  GAH.  There’s a good chance that Andy’s godfather, Gregg (who turns 50 in the same week), will be joining them.  Yep.  Three people I love dearly, hurling themselves out of an airplane.  I think I will stay home and make martinis for everyone who comes home alive.  

We’ll probably do a cookout after the event with birthday cake(s) and all of that.  I figure we have a couple of themes to work with – death, airplanes, parachutes . . . I could go on.  If anyone has a good idea for a cake or food or anything, please let me know.  I think I’ll make wee parachutes for everyone to have in their drinks.  For the kids in the crowd, I’ll attach the parachutes to little plastic army men rather than trying to stuff them into soda cans or water bottles.  Heck, if everyone survives, I may let the younger folk up on the roof to launch their parachute people.  If the party goes late enough, I’ll toss in glow sticks.  

In other exciting news, I’ve been spending a little bit of time each night working on my t-shirt yarn rug.  I had made a lot of progress, but the stoopid thing would not lay flat and I spent a week or so dismembering it.  I’m back at it and nearly at the end of what I had originally finished.  This rug might be done when I turn 70-80-ish.  Still, I like the sewing – it’s relaxing and allows me to watch shows like House of Cards and Downton Abbey and, even, Grimm.  Fun stuff.

Tomorrow is lining up to be an exciting day (technically, I guess it’s today not tomorrow).  Here’s our garage door chalk board – I cannot believe how handy this canvas has become.