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8/30/09
The rain (mostly) held off, and it was a nice weekend in the city. I dropped my things at Dad's and went to the game on Friday, where it drizzled through the entire thing. I'm so glad my seats are under the facade - no raining on me!

Yesterday, Tesse and I met up to stick our names in the ticket lottery for Hair - and we won! It was the number one show on my to-see list for this season, and I'm so glad we went. I loved it - and was moved at how they staged the ending. I would go again in a heartbeat.

Between lotto and the show, we grabbed brunch at an Irish restaurant on 44th Street (The Irish Rogue, appropriately enough), where the service was slow, the food was disappointing, but to make up for it, they were showing a British soccer (football, whatever) match between Arsenal and Man United, so the place was packed with attractive Brits cheering their little hearts out.

So then, after the show, we walked down to Penn to get the train to the Meadowlands (which is actually a train to Secaucus and another train to the Meadowlands). It took about a half hour to get to the Stadium. I called my friend Mike (from high school!) who said he was going to be tailgating at the Stadium, and we walked aaaalllll around to the other side of the parking lots to find him and his sister. They had the car parked with the back open, a table, a tent and a grill. And a cooler full of beer. And all the other cars along the aisle had the same setup. So we hung out there for about an hour, ate some delicious food, and generally got ready for the game (Mike's sister lent me her blue hair spray to put an appropriate Giants-rooting streak in my hair). Thoroughly enjoyed the game - and the lack of rain - my friend Gina got tickets in the endzone, about 22 rows up, and we had a great view of all of the players' asses, which is the main reason to watch football. And now I can say I've been to a football game, and to Giants Stadium.

Hopped the train back after the game - we took the train back to Penn, I took the subway down to Dad's to grab my bag and turn around, and got to Penn just in time to find out that they changed the schedule last week. So now instead of leaving at half-past the hour, the trains leave at quarter-past. So I just missed the train, and had to wait an hour. Caught the 12.18am train home, and was home asleep by 2am.

Today is beautiful and sunny, and I slept til noon.

8/27/09
Oh look, rain. Dad and I were planning to go to NYY Steak, the steakhouse at the Stadium, before the game. The only reservation time they had was for 3.30pm. I just got up (it's 10am) and it's pouring out, so I called Dad and we decided not to do steak today, since it's supposed to rain all night and we have no interest in spending the time between dinner and the game (or between dinner and the time they cancel the game) in the rain. NYY Steak is open all year round, so we'll go in the offseason.

Still going to the city, and we'll see how the weather is come game-time.

8/26/09
Francisco Cervelli is back from the DL - and hopefully will be back in the Bronx with the September callups. Maybe even sooner, since Jorge hurt his thumb. Maybe they'll call him up today and he can catch tomorrow when I'm there. When it's raining. It's supposed to rain (no, really!) tomorrow night, and there's a hurricane that's supposed to come through on Saturday evening - just in time for the Giants/Jets game! We'll wait and see... and pack the umbrella.

I had a weird dream about Raul Esparza last night. Since Cervelli reminds me of him, it's fitting that I mention it.

later on 8/24/09
Map of Bones. That was the novel.

8/24/09
Avis annoys me. When I checked my Visa statement online, I saw a charge for $300-odd dollars from Avis. I found the original receipt, and saw that they added a "fuel service charge" of $150 to the bill! I called up their main support number, and after waiting on hold for about twenty minutes, got absolutely nowhere with the guy there. So he told me to call the Avis center at the Toronto airport and talk to the manager. After getting everyone's name, rank and serial number, and another twenty minutes waiting for someone to pick up the phone in Toronto, I got the manager. He said that the car was returned with an empty tank. Not so, I said - it was 7/8 full, and in any case, the sign where we picked up the car said there would be a $25 fee for returning it less than full, not $150. So I had to fax my original receipt to them, and he called right back and said they were refunding the fee. I'll be looking at my Visa statement very carefully to watch for it.

My memory is shot. I recently read a novel, and in the author's note, he said he used a book called When in Rome as a source. So I picked it up, and it's really entertaining. And I have absolutely no idea what the novel I just read is called. I'm drawing a complete blank. I can't remember a thing about it - but obviously it must have been set in Rome or the Vatican. When I start losing the car keys, then I'll worry.

8/23/09
Jay is moving back to the city! He's leaving the heat and humidity of Atlanta behind, and coming home to the heat and humidity of NYC. I can't wait!

8/22/09
Well, thanks to the weather - both here and in Toronto - we got an extra unexpected vacation day, even if it WAS spent mostly in the airport. I'll get to that.

Toronto is a lot closer and easier to get to than I thought. It was only a 90 minute flight, and then a 30 minute bus ride to downtown. We stayed at the Hilton Toronto, which I'd highly recommend. The place was packed with tennis people (Dona would probably have recognized some of them, they all had tennis gear) since the Rogers Cup was going on. And the hotel was right downtown, in walking distance of just about everything. We checked in and got unpacked and set out to explore, armed with my mini-guidebook and the downtown map from the hotel.

Ate lunch at Jack Astor's (delicious burger with bacon and brie), and then walked down to the Rogers Centre. We took the stadium tour, which was a lot of fun. I'd never been in a domed ballpark before. The roof was closed, and the crew was in the middle of converting the field for baseball. It's a multipurpose stadium, and it takes about three days to put down all of the baseball turf sections. The place looked dark and dismal, but the roof was closed and all the lights weren't turned on. Still, very cool. After the tour, we walked down to the Harbourfront, which was about two blocks from the stadium. We decided to hop on one of the little boats that tour the Toronto islands - a series of islands just off the coast. Perfect weather to be on a boat (it was 93 degrees and humid, the hottest day Toronto had had all summer). As we sailed past Hanlon's Point, the guide mentioned that Babe Ruth had hit his first professional home run as a member of the Providence Grays (in 1914) on that island, and that there was a plaque to mark the spot. I had no idea.

The hotel's pool was open til 11pm, so we came back, went in the pool, and went out to find dinner. We walked down Queen Street, took a stroll through the Eaton Centre (skip it, it's a big mall) and wound up at an Italian place around the corner from the hotel. It had a large mural of old-time Wall Street, which made no sense to me, but also delicious food.

Tuesday, we had thought about doing one of those hop-on, hop-off bus tours around, but after looking at where we wanted to go, we decided to just take the subway around. More affordable, and we had a lot more control over where we were going. The Toronto subway is incredibly easy to get around (and so clean, compared to ours). before we headed out, we got breakfast at a place on Yonge Street called Eggspectations, wchich we spotted the night before when we were walking about. They make eggs in just about every combination thinkable, and lots of bacon. You can't go wrong. I love it - had the Eggs Benedict with salmon. We went to Casa Loma, which is this big castle-like house built in the early 20th Century. Obviously someone with too much time and money. It was again a hot day, and the place was packed, but it was fun to walk around the underground tunnel and up to the top of the tower. To get to Casa Loma, you have to walk from the station up to the top of the hill, which includes a staircase to rival the Stairs of Death in Inwood (practice for Paris, where everything was stairs and more stairs).

Hopped the train down a few stops to the Royal Ontario Museum. It had a lovely old building to start with, and then they stuck this huge building called the Crystal onto it. It's kind of a neat combination. They were doing an exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and they also had exhibits on gems (love), the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Wedgewood china. When we came out, it was sprinkling rain. The weather reports were saying all week that it was going to rain severely, and it never happened (until we were suppoesd to fly home, I'll get to that). So instead of walking down to the University area, we hopped the train back to the hotel (where it wasn't raining) and went in the pool.

The map said that there were passenger ferries to the islands (besides the tour that we took), so I said, hey, let's go to Hanlon's Point and see where Babe Ruth hit the home run before we go to the game. Easy enough to find the ferry terminal, and it was a beautiful ride on a rinkydink ferry over. The ferry crew guy pointed out the map of the island, and the Babe Ruth plaque was about two minutes away from the terminal. Found it, admired it, and walked around for about a half hour before the ferry came back. We made it to the Rogers Centre about 20 minutes before game time.

It looks so much better with the roof open! Our seats were about 29 rows from the field, right behind home plate. And you can see the CN tower right up close from just about every seat in the place. Ate the prime rib sliders for dinner, and walked around the entire ballpark during the game. The Blue Jays are atrocious this year, but we had to root for them since they were playing the Red Sox.

Wednesday - we went back down to Union Station to pick up the rental car. It was a Dodge Caliber, a car I can safely say I will never own. Besides having horrible sightlines out the side windows, it's just ugly. I hated it. And I wonder how James Bond can just jump in a car and start driving, whereas I sit there in an unfamiliar car for about 20 minutes, adjusting the seats, the mirrors, you name it. Whatever. It was easy enough to find the car and get on the highway by 8.15am to head to Niagara Falls. It was the first time I'd rented a car from a non-airport location, and it worked out well.

It's about a 90 minute drive from downtown, and we stopped at Niagara-on-the-Lake to stretch and walk around, before heading to Niagara Falls itself. I LOVE Niagara Falls. It's truly one of the most stunning places in the world. Words don't do it justice. We didn't get to do one of the things I'd wanted to, the Cave of the Winds, because it's on the American side, and I didn't bother to bring my passport. Whoops. But we walked all around the Canadian Side and just kept stopping every two minutes or so to gawk at the falls.

Easy drive back, drove over to the St. Lawrence market to walk around a bit. It reminded me of the Reading Terminal Market in Philly, with all of the foodstuffs.

Then we parked the car near the hotel - and everything I've said about Toronto being easy to get around went right out the window. You apparently can't turn on any of the major roads during rush hour, so we ended up driving way out of the way to try to get near our hotel. What a pain. Then we went back to the Rogers Centre to get tix for Wednesday night's game. I didn't buy them in advance because I wasn't sure what time we'd get back, but we got excellent seats. I was hoping to see Roy Halladay win his 14th game of the season, but he actually pitched one of his worst games ever. It was atrocious. Had the Asian noodles for dinner (a good value, but a little too spicy).

Thursday - had the rental car all day, and the plan was to return it at the airport before our flight. Ate breakfast at the egg place again (had sunny side eggs on a bagel, smothered in cheese and layered with bacon). Then we drove out of town to St. Jacobs, about two hours into the country (never trust the apparent distances on the map), which is in the heart of Mennonite country. Two days a week (and Thursday is one of them), they have this HUGE farmer's market, which sprawls through two buildings and out into the parking lots. I'd never seen kangaroo or camel meat in a market before, or whole octupi for sale, but there they were. Lots of delicious good to gawk at, and I wish we'd had a kitchen or an apartment because everything looked so good. We did some more driving through the countryside, and then came back to Toronto to return the car and fly home.

Or so we thought. The flight was supposed to be at 8.45pm. Well, we sat there as the skies got darker and darker, and then the rain and the lightning came (it turned out that a tornado touched down right outside Toronto), and they kept delaying the flight. Most of the flights out of Toronto were cancelled or severely delayed, so it was a packed airport or cranky people. We were just about to board the plane, at 10.30pm, when they cancelled it. Ugh. So we had to call Air Canada (why we were flying on an Air Canada flight, when I booked through Continental and was supposed to be on a United flight for some reason, I have no idea) to rebook, and the only available flight was Friday night at 6.50pm. All the earlier flights were sold out. They also gave a dicount voucher for hotels, and I got us a room at the DoubleTree near the airport. If you're going to be stuck overnight, may as well get the free cookies.

One of the quirky things about Canada is that when flying back, you clear US Customs while you're still in the Toronto airport. So to get out of the airport, we had to technically re-enter Canada through customs, and then leave again. It was a major pain in the neck. Like I said, we had free cookies at the DoubleTree tho (and Hilton Honors points), and free cookies can make up for a lot of hassle.

Slept til noon yesterday, got lunch, checked out late, and went - where else - back to the airport. I wanted to see if there was an earlier flight, but they were still all sold out. Now yesterday was a beautiful day in Toronto, but apparently the nasty weather was sitting over the NYC/NJ area, so flights were getting backed up again. We were supposed to leave at 6.50pm, and they kept pushing it back and back. It got to the point that we looked up car rental on priceline, thanks to the woman next to us who had wireless internet access, thinking we'd get home faster driving, but the prices were nuts. So we kept waiting, and the plane finally took off after 9pm. We walkeed in the front door just after 1am.

But the good outweighed the bad - two good games (even tho Boston won them both), Niagara Falls, some really good food, and an excellent hotel downtown. I'd go back in a heartbeat, but maybe not when the tornados are coming.

And came home to see that the Yankees whipped the Sox in an absolute slugfest, that's the perfect ending to the trip.

8/17/09
Why is it that I can never sleep well before I know I have to get up early?

My thumb has stopped huring as mysteriously as it started. To make up for it, my left knee has been predicting rain since last night, so I packed my IcyHot patches and knee-sized ACE wrap. Oh healing waters of the Niagara, fix my aches!

Back Thurs night. Late.

8/16/09
Thumb feels better - I have no idea what I did to it, if anything, but at least I can bend it again.

Mostly packed for Toronto. I have to throw in my phone charger and extra camera battery, and my bathroom stuff. We're taking the 7.51am train (ugh) to the airport tomorrow morning, and flying up. Very excited to spend some time in Toronto, root for the Jays (they're playing the Red Sox) and of course go to Niagara Falls - that's going to be the highlight, I just know it. It's supposed to rain on Tuesday (the day we go to the game, of course), good thing the Rogers Centre has a dome.

Yankees in first place by 7.5 games, can't beat that!

Someone pointed out that the Yankees are 36-11 since June 24th, when Brian Cashman went down to Atlanta to inspire the team. That's a .766 winning percentage. I know what really happened in Atlanta on June 24th - Cervelli hit his first major league home run. That's what turned things around. Seriously.

Spent my days off lounging in the kiddie pool and napping on the couch, can't beat that either.

8/15/09
I think I am going to be financially prudent and not go to the football game.

More money to blow in Vegas.

8/14/09
Day one of vacation, and I spent part of it back at work. Two of our residents got married (to each other) today, so I went in for the wedding. The recreation departmet really did a nice job with setting everything up - there was cake, faux champagne, and the bride and groom looked really terrific. And then I went and got my nails done (I tried to go before the wedding, but they were booked, so I went after). Got a French manicure (my first), and I hope the polish doesn't chip off in a day, like they usually do. The lady told me to put clear topcoat on at home every day, so maybe that will help. All the handwashing at work wreaks havoc on my hands.

Then I vegged out on the couch and fell back asleep until it was game time (Yankees are in Seattle, so it wasn't on until 10pm). Yanks beat the Mariners, and we are still in first place.

Tomorrow and Sunday - more of the same. I'll probably fill up the kiddie pool and lounge in the backyard, it's supposed to be really hot all weekend.

8/13/09
Yay, last day of work before a week off.

Francisco Cervelli is on the minor league DL, with soreness in his left hand. So I'm not going to drive to Durham to see the Scranton team play, since he won't be playing. But in good baseball news, Aaron Boone, newly recovered from heart surgery, is back in the minors, and prepared to rejoin the Astros in a few weeks. Yay! I hope he's with the team when we go see them play in Philly in September.

My left thumb hurts - it's swollen a little and I can't bend it at all without hurting. I don't remember hitting it on anything, so it must be some rare African insect-borne fatal illness.

My friend Gina asked if I wanted her extra tix to the Giants/Jets pre-season football game. I said sure, since I've never been to a pro football game (usually because they are sold out, and it's cold, and I know so little about football), it'll be fun. It's at the end of August, on my weekend off.

later on 8/12/09
Well, it stopped raining in time to hang out on Lori's porch, tho there was no pool-going. Tomorrow we're going to stop by our house after work, so I can show Lori the cat stuff (she's going to feed and litter-box-clean the kitties while we're in Toronto next week), and Julia keeps saying how nice our house looks from outside, so I'll give the grand tour. It IS a great house, I love living here, leaky basement and un-insulated walls and all.

8/12/09
Oh look. Rain. It had better stop by 11.30 - Julia, Lori and I are planning to stick our feet in Lori's pool after work. I guess if it's still raining, we'll stick our butts on my porch instead.

8/11/09
I think it will be too hot to drive to Durham, even if Francisco Cervelli is there. And I'm sure he looks good all sweaty and stuff. So I have no idea what to do with the weekend.

8/10/09
Today was a mental health day from work. And my allergies are acting up, so I didn't sleep great, so I honestly didn't feel badly about calling out.

Went to see Julie and Julia, which was fun (Meryl Streep = always fantastic), and it was great to sit in the air conditioning for a few hours. I spotted Stephen Bogardus in a two-second cameo. Not that I mind the heat all that much - this is better than the crappy rain we've had all year. And now, I am off to refill the kiddie pool (which I have already re-inflated with the hair dryer, you think I blew that thing up by myself?!) and soak in the icy cold for a while.

Seeing the movie (which mentioned that Julia Child's kitchen from her Cambridge house is in the Smithsonian) made me go and look to see if the Smithsonian American History museum had re-opened yet. It's been closed for renovations. And voila - it's re-opened! I'll have to get down there - that was one of my favorite parts of the Smithsonian.

Going to read My Life in France now.

8/9/09
Sweep! Boy does it feel good to beat Boston all the time. I got in the car after work just in time to hear John Sterling doing his "Thhhhheeeee Yankees win!" and now I'm going to watch the game (I taped it, it was on ESPN so I couldn't watch any of it at work).

8/8/09
Oh, of all the nights to give Dad and Ann my tix to the Red Sox game. Fifteen scoreless innings. Fifteen. Scoreless. Innings. And then A-Rod (I hate A-Rod) had to go and win it with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the fifteenth. What a game. I have a feeling we'll be seeing that one on Yankees Classics next week.

later on 8/7/09
I didn't love this Harry Potter movie so much. It just seemed to drag on and on for parts. Of course, whenever Alan Rickman came on the screen, he stole the show.

8/7/09
It's about time we beat Boston! Not just beat - but slaughtered them 13-6 last night. It was lovely. Horrible pitching tho - lots of walks. But hey, what matters is that we won, and we're in first place, and we will stll be in first place when the series is over on Sunday. I very nearly felt a tiny smmidgen of sadness for John Smoltz, who I adore, but hey, it's his own fault he signed with the Red Sox intead of retiring. They designated him for assignment today, and for that, I do feel badly. Tonight will be the first non-rainy Friday night Yankees game of the season, since I gave my tix to Dad and Ann. They should have perfect, dry, sunny weather. I'll watch it from the comfort of my couch.

Going to re-fill the kiddie pool (not as many bugs as there are at the lake) and relax today. Maybe go see Harry Potter finally.

8/5/09
This is the kind of day that calls for hanging out at the lake, doing nothing.

I can't believe Mike Torrez is the pitching coach for the Newark Bears. I have his autograph on a photo. A photo of him giving up the home run to Bucky Dent in 1978. Great pitcher for all of his career, but he will always be remembered for that one home run. Just like Bucky - light-hitting shortstop for all of his career, but he will always be remembered (and rightly so) for that one homer. I'm thinking about checking out the Bears tonight - it's Dollar Ticket Night, and it's also Dollar Dog Night. You can't beat that. If it cools off. If it were also Dollar Diet Coke Night, I'd be all over it.

I hopped on the Wii Fit last night, for the first time in about a month. What can I say, it's summer, it's too hot to move around when I get home from work. Anyway, I'm happy to report that my Wii Fit age is currently one year younger than my real age. Which, as we all know, is still 28.

8/4/09
Haha, tonight one of my patients asked me to tape her mouth shut. I thought, wow, usually they don't read my mind quite so clearly ;-)

I'm thinking (very vaguely) about driving to Durham (NC) on my next weekend off to see the Scranton team play the Durham Bulls. I've never been there, but my friend Tekay told me what to check out. It's a long-ass drive, tho, so if I go, it might be a last minute thing. Of course, the reward is seeing Francisco Cervelli catch. That's worth an eight hour drive, no? In the dead of August?

8/2/09
OK, I'm home from Vermont, it can stop raining now.

Actually, yesterday was beautiful. Friday, it rained the entire drive up. The kind of blinding, driving rain that makes people pull over on the side of the road because you just can't see a damn thing. I got to Weston in time for a quick trip to the stores before dinner at the Swiss Inn (where I was staying). And then I went to see Rent at the Weston Playhouse. It was the opening night, and the director had a little talk before the show. And I have to say, he did a really nice job with it. The show worked well in a small theatre, and the cast was incredibly talented. There were one or two (OK, two) numbers that I didn't like the staging for, but overall, thumbs up.

Saturday - it was sunny! All day! And warm! I had the top down on the car the whole day (and am partly sunburned as a result). I had no plans except to show up in Burlington for the Lake Monsters baseball game at 7, so I just drove up route 7 slowly. I stopped in just about every little town - there was an "ethnic" street fair in Rutland for lunch - and did some holiday shopping, plus went to the Vermont Teddy Bear factory in Shelburne before getting to Burlington around 5pm. The ballpark is small and cramped and from 1922 - wooden seats and all. And the players are just out of high school it seems like (it's single A). But the food was cheap, the game was fun, and the weather was perfect. Eight hours to drive up to Burlington, 2 and a half back (no stopping along the way).

Today? Rain. Drove home in the rain.

Downside of New England is having to watch the Red Sox sports network and listen to the Red Sox radio stations, especially since the Yankees were losing all weekend in spectacular fashion. They made up for it today tho, with a win, and with Melky being the first Yankee in 14 years to hit for the cycle.

The new Diana Gabaldon book comes out September 22nd. I'd better get cracking on finishing my re-read of the last one so I can be all caught up.

-catherine

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