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12/27/07
Oh, the Ziegfeld is the place to see Sweeney! Paula, Tesse and I saw the 4pm show today, and the picture and the sound is so astonishing there - much better than the theatre here. Even tho we all know the score inside and out (and I had seen the movie last week), it was still shocking to see. And so much better the second time.

Dad, Ann and I had holiday dinner last night at Two West, the restaurant inside the Ritz Carlton downtown. I may never eat again - I had the duck, which was delicious. And the lobster bisque. And the lemon cheesecake.

And I got to see my friend Peter, who lives in LA now, who I hadn't seen in several years. He came with me to LGA to pick up Tesse last night. Her flight was late, but that was OK, because we went sailing past the exit for the airport and ended up way out on the LIE, so by the time we turned around and found the right exit and parked at the terminal, she was getting her bags off the carousel. We drove back into the city with no problems, dropped Peter off downtown at his hotel, and then I crashed on Tesse's couch with the world's softest blanket.

Today, before the movie, Peter and I went to the Met Museum to see the Rembrandt exhibit, which was stunning - and they have all of the Dutch masters paintings on display, including the Vermeers that I love so much. I could have spent all day in the Met, but I was getting (as Jen would say) "museum head" and it was still a long day to go.

But yes, go see Sweeney Todd on the biggest, loudest screen possible. And try not to spend the second half curled up in the fetal position, cringing. I can't wait for the DVD.

12/26/07
We had so much food at work yesterday - various coworkers offered to cook something, so we had a big tray of rice and beans, roasted turkey, sausage and peppers, shrimp cocktail, assorted desserts, and a big sheet cake (which was delicious). There was enough to feed all of the 3-11 staff that wanted food, and still a little leftover to make up plates for the night shift. Delicious.

Let's see if all of today's plans work out - I'm heading out in a bit to go to the city and have dinner with Dad and Ann. Then finding my friend Peter to meet up for a drink. Then driving out to LGA to pick up Tesse (this is a last minute addition to the list), and crash at her place. And tomorrow we see Sweeney Todd on the big screen at the Ziegfeld. Her office is making her come in for a half-day of work, so I just have to figure out how to spend the morning.

12/21/07
Surprise! I enjoyed Sweeney Todd immensely. In fact, I can't wait to see it again with Tesse at the Ziegfield next week. It was very, very good. And "Epiphany," my favorite part of the show, was incredibly done. The score - as expected - sounded fantastic with a full orchestra, and the non-singers in the movie didn't bother me as much as I'd expected them to. I really, really liked it.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets wasn't as good as the first movie, but still enjoyable.

And I came home to find a letter from the Yankees (with my invoice for the regular season tickets, which I'd just paid online). It also had news about pre-sale info for the All-Star Game (just that there will be a pre-sale, no other info yet), and pre-sale info for the final regular season home game. Very exciting!

12/20/07
Speaking of cold places, enter to win a ten day trip to see polar bears. It looks cold!

12/19/07
I learned something new at work yesterday. It's so cool.

I Am Legend, the movie, was cool for the fact that it's set in an abandoned New York. I wonder just how they shot it all. I wasn't fond of the screaming virus-laden walking corpses, tho, and the ending wasn't what I expected. But Will Smith - he's on the list of people I'd like to see stand on a bare stage and read the phone book. He's that captivating. The movie had one scene that got to me, where they're evacuating the city. It was like 9/11 combined with the Fall of Saigon (er, as seen in Miss Saigon). Let me spoil part of it (since no one I know is going to see it, and if you are, you've already seen the previews) - why bother to destroy the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges? Why would anyone evacuating the city want to go to Brooklyn or Queens, honestly? I know it's not as cinematic, but blocking up the tunnels to NJ or blowing up the bridges to the Bronx would be so much more effective. Overall tho, big thumbs up for the movie's effects. Especially the effect of having Will Smith, as a government employee, make enough money to own a townhouse on Washington Square Park.

I re-read Into Thin Air, and also read Ed Viesturs' autobiography, both of which just hammer home that I do not want to die in a snowstorm on a mountain, where the air is so thin you can't breathe. Very pretty to look at, but I do not want to be out in that kind of weather. I will stay home and not die, thanks.

12/18/07
Huzzah, I got my holiday pack tix. Now I can pick and choose which ones I want to go to, and sell the rest on StubHub. I mean, offer them to my friends and neighbors. I got tickets to the Red Sox games on Fourth of July weekend, and I already had tix to that Friday night game as part of my season ticket package, so I'm going to take the whole weekend off.

Now my entire paycheck belongs to Visa. That balance of $0 was nice for a while.

Bwahaha - kitten in scrubs. Too funny.

Fabulous - both Sweeney Todd and the new National Treasure will be playing at the movies in Hazlet (10 minutes away) on Friday. I know how I'm spending my day.

12/17/07
There aren't too many things that gross me out, but vomit is one of them.

So, naturally, today was "vomit day" at work. Ugh.

Yankees Spring Training tickets go on sale January 11th! Holiday packs go on sale tomorrow at 10am! Good thing I checked their website, so I can set the alarm clock. I see they've hiked up the prices again for all of the tickets (the Mets did, too), and they announced their complete schedule. There's a weird two-game series against the Red Sox on a Wed and Thurs, that's just odd.

12/15/07
I'm honestly scared of the singing in the Sweeney Todd movie. All of the orchestrations I've heard sound terrific, and all of the singing sounds wretched. It could be horrid. I mean, I know Johnny Depp (who I like) isn't a singer, and Helena Bonham Carter (who I do not like) isn't a singer, but I didn't think it would be that bad. There was a TV special on VH-1 (a channel I don't think I've ever watched) last night, so I watched it - and hoo boy.

I was channel surfing last night and came across Lord of the Rings on TNT, and an ad that Gladiator was going to follow. Now there's a lineup guaranteed to glue my butt to the sofa for five or six hours right there. But they were running the movies with commercial interruption, so when LOTR was over, I popped in the DVD of Gladiator instead, so that was much better.

We're expecting lots of slushy, frozen snow and ice today into tomorrow. I'm throwing my boots and sleeping bag and a change of clothes in the car, because I do not want to take a half hour to drive two miles at 7am, and have to shovel out the driveway, and then have to shovel again and be back at work for 3pm tomorrow. I'd rather sleep at work somewhere. Sundays are my crappy not-enough-sleep days to start with, I don't need to add snow to the mix.

12/14/07
Happy birthday, Jay! I'm glad you're home from the hospital and doing better.

I absolutely refuse to believe that Roger Clemens had anything to do with steroids, no matter what the Mitchell Report says. Perhaps it's serious denial, but really - he's never even been associated with the stuff, and has never had a positive test. I just refuse to believe it. Other players, sure, but not Roger. And probably not Andy Pettitte, either. They're not stupid. Kevin Brown, on the other hand...

(Of course, I am still deep in denial about Boston winning the World Series this year, and I have to keep telling myself that it happened.)

later on 12/13/07
It's sleeting and snowing out, the roads are nice and icy. I told Elizabeth that there's no way I'm coming into the city today, so she should take the Spamalot tix and run.

Instead, I spent the morning online, booking our Florida trip - airfare, hotel, car all done. I also picked up tix to the closing night of the Jersey Boys national tour, which will be in Tampa while we're there. The actual Spring Training tickets for most teams aren't on sale until January, so as they become available, I'll buy them.

This weather sucks.

The Mitchell Report on steroid use comes out this afternoon - I hear Roger Clemens is in it.

12/13/07
It was a week full of Norbert. Tuesday, I saw Dan in Real Life (because I took a sick day from work, and with the Optimum Rewards card, we get free movies on Tuesdays), which had a surprise appearance by the Butz. It also had the guy who mangled the National Anthem at Fenway when we were there - Dane Cook. Not a singer. And yesterday, Mom and I saw Is He Dead?, a long-lost Mark Twain play. It was fairly funny, but Norbert stole the show.

Yesterday was a long day in the city - but fun! We parked at Lincoln Center, since that's where we were going to end up. It was "Donate food or $25 to the food bank at Yankee Stadium, and get a voucher for four free tickets" day, so we took the train up to the Stadium and donated money. Now we have two vouchers for free tickets during the season - excepting premium games, of course, and good only for Monday-Thursday night games. It was very strange indeed to see the area around the Stadium deserted - none of the stores or bars were open, and there was only a handful of people there.

Went back downtown for the matinee of Is He Dead?. Along our travels, I realized that the various midtown Starbucks outlets are located with perfect spacing - you buy a drink at one place, walk a little while you drink it, and by the time you're finished, voila - another Starbucks is right there.

After the matinee, we walked to the holiday bazaar in Bryant Park, did some shopping (sadly, nothing for anyone on my list, just for me - fabulous knit newsboy cap, lavender-filled eye mask with a strap, as opposed to my old one sans strap to hold it in place), and then to the holiday bazaar in Grand Central Terminal - which is always a bust, since they have nothing I would ever buy. Tho the Transit Museum store has some fantastic subway stuff. I just can't imagine saying, "Dad, I had no idea what to get you, so here's a model of the number 4 train."

Since we had lots of time to kill before the Met, we walked up Fifth Avenue to Lincoln Center, stopping to see the gi-normously huge tree (from Vermont!) in Rockfeller Center, and play dodge-the-tourists. Near Columbus Circle, there's another holiday bazaar, which sold the most important purchase of the day - hot apple cider.

At the Met, huge surprise. Nathan Gunn actually performed Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet! No repeat of the Pittsburgh trip for me! He was terrific, as were Roberto Alagna and Anna Netrebko in the leads. I didn't care for the set tho, it's a new production which is apparently set in a wood-cut which is located in the galaxy of Zog, somewhere outside the Milky Way. It was cool tho, they're preparing to show this production in the HD movies and on HDTV, so they were taping this performance. They had two cameras down in the orchestra pit, two on the sides of the stage that were on programmed rollers, and one across the front of the stage that was on a roller, too, so it automatically moved. They had one steady-cam that you could sometimes see when the camera operator was in the shadows upstage.

All in all, a long but highly enjoyable day.

12/12/07
What's wrong with the movie people? Sweeney Todd, in addition to not having a midnight showing anywhere, isn't playing in NJ - at least not for the first week it's out (can't find times past that on moviefone.com) And the second National Treasure movie (LOVED the first one) isn't playing nearby, the closest theatre is up at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth. I do like that movie theatre tho, so I'll make the drive.

12/11/07
If the Ziegfeld is doing a midnight showing of Sweeney Todd (and what better movie to do it with?), they haven't announced it yet. They really should. And according to moviefone.com, the Ziegfeld is the ONLY theatre near my zip code that will be showing it. I find that so hard to believe.

One of my residents gave me her family recipe for peanut butter and chocolate cake bars. She said they taste just like those Tandy bars that Hostess makes. I made the recipe, they're chilling in the fridge now. I hope they taste just like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, myself.

12/8/07
Happy birthday, Tesse - I hope you're feeling better.

The William Finn revue, Make Me A Song, started out promising. It ended up not quite clicking, and something was missing. I thought some of the songs could have been assigned to other performers in the cast, and that if you didn't know the plot of Falsettos, then the entire Falsettos medley would confuse the heck out of you. And that's a show that needs a revival, by the way. Revival people? Make that happen. After you make the Ragtime revival happen (damn you, City Opera).

I felt bad for Tesse feeling bad. She had no voice, and there I was, shoving nachos in my mouth like they were going out of style. We attempted dinner but took most of it home in a bag. We did successfully manage ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery on 9th Ave - there is nothing better for a non-phlehm-y cough and sore throat than ice cream. Trust me, I'm a nurse. Eat the ice cream.

I woke up bright and early (9.45am) to see about getting Red Sox "Sox Pax" tickets to upcoming games (the pack includes a Yankees game at the end of Sept, which I would keep - the rest would be sold on StubHub.com). Their website must be running on Boston time, because about 9.47am, when you click on "buy tickets," instead of getting that error that says "the tickets are not on sale yet," you get tossed into this "virtual waiting room" that automatically refreshes. It says, "When we refresh your browser, we will determine your status in the waiting room and, if appropriate, give you an opportunity to request seats." They surely know I am a Yankees fan and therefore not appropriate, right?

And while the StubHub.com commercial says there few things worse than staring at a computer screen at 10am on a Saturday, hitting "refresh" months before an event, one of the worse things is paying StubHub $200 a ticket months before an event.

Anyway, that's what I'll end up having to do, most likely. I waited for an hour (an hour!) for the stupid page to advance past the "waiting room" part, and nothing updated at all. I hate to say it, but I prefer ticketmaster's site for ease of use.

12/6/07
Since my holiday shopping so far has consisted mainly of gift card, gift card, gift card, it was really easy to go out today and buy them. The lines weren't horrendous, either. Next Wednesday, when Mom and I are in the city to see Is He Dead? and Romeo and Juliet, maybe we'll stop by the holiday fair at Bryant Park between shows and I'll try to find some other things.

Today is another day where I did not look for a new winter coat, and I did not get a haircut.

The movie of Sweeney Todd is going to play at the Ziegfeld! I hope there's a midnight showing, since everyone I know wants to go.

Fingers feel better today.

I swear - the cats know when it's time to go to the v-e-t. Only Sheeba and Pippin made it today - Mimi took off and I couldn't find her anywhere. So she and I are going back next week. Hopefully I can surprise her next week and she won't pull the vanishing act again.

later on 12/5/07
Check that - Dad can't go next Thursday. But I have the tickets - if anyone wants to go with me to Spamalot, let me know.

12/5/07
Happy birthday, Michael!

Oh look, more snow. It's only flurries, I shouldn't complain.

Well, I was going to go get a haircut and look for a new winter coat today, but I couldn't sleep last night and didn't wake up til 2pm. When I got home last night from work, I couldn't bend my pointer finger on my left hand all the way without it hurting. And it's a little swollen. I don't remember hitting it on anything, and it's not like when I get that itchy allergy to some unknown substance that makes my whole hand get red and itchy and hard to bend (and mysteriously goes away in ten minutes). So I made a little splint for that finger so I wouldn't bend it, but when I took it off this morning, my finger wasn't much better. I don't know what it is.

They had tickets for Spamalot (which I never managed to see) for next Thursday on TDF, so Dad and I are going to have a night out. I'm looking forward to it.

12/4/07
Happy Hanukah!

My thoughts go out to Jay, down in Atlanta (who should really move back up here). He's in the hospital with a blood clot (pulmonary embolus), where there's a lack of attractive nurses, he says. He was supposed to get out yesterday, but they're still monitoring the heparin and coumadin levels. Hopefully he'll get out Thursday instead. Jay was going to come up here next week for his birthday, but he's postponing it until January, it looks like.

12/3/07
I can't believe they're playing Christmas carols 24 hours a day already. It's really kind of annoying.

I am in severe need of a haircut. Maybe Wednesday, when I have a day off. Thursday is "try and catch all of the cats so we can go to the V-E-T," and Friday Tesse and I are celebrating her birthday by seeing Make Me A Song, the William Finn revue.

It's so nice to see my Visa statement come in the mail with a balance of $0.00 and the big words "nothing due" written there. I'm sure I'll be using it soon, tho, because in addition to not having done any holiday shopping, spring training is right around the corner (well, tickets go on sale sometime in January). Plus the Yankees website says that "holiday packs" of tickets go on sale soon. But for now, owing nothing is lovely.

The weekend x-ray tech that comes to where I work (we don't have lab or x-ray on site, so people have to come in for that stuff) is cute. Really cute. And his name is Bob. Woo. Should have asked for his number or something, but did I? No. Because I'm a dork.

12/2/07
Happy birthday, Eve!

The snow we had overnight was lovely to look at, but a pain to drive home in. It had mostly changed to wet, freezing rain, so I drove home doing about 20mph. And still skid past the driveway.

And then at work tonight, one of the hoses on the patio - that the residents use to water their plants with - had frozen solid and burst, so this hose was just spraying water all over the patio. The supervisor and I ended up covered in mud and with wet shoes and socks, trying to get the water turned off and prevent the patio from becoming an ice rink. It doesn't sound like much fun, but we were both so tired from working the weekend that we couldn't stop laughing.

12/1/07
I can't believe it's December already. Tomorrow we're supposed to have a "wintery mix" of snow and frozen rain. I'd rather have the snow, thanks. Frozen rain is not my idea of fun.

New Jersey really is the land of the mall. Yesterday, the plan was to go to Jersey Gardens mall, up by IKEA, so we could find the store (that I swear they have) that does personalized ornaments and the like. The store must have disappeared tho, because we circled the mall twice and couldn't find it at all. That place is huge, and every other store is a shoe store. Or sells sparkly things for teenagers. After that, we went to Menlo Park mall. Big plus - they have a Harry and David store, and H&D makes this delicious onion and apple relish, which they don't seem to have in their catalogs or online. And prior to finding out that they had a store at Menlo Park, the closest one I knew of was way up at Woodbury Commons in NY State. And they have a J. Jill store, too (back when I worked at Xceed - when Xceed still existed - we built the original J. Jill website). So it was a successful shopping day as far as touring the malls of New Jersey.

I cannot believe that the Yankees would give up Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera for Johan Santana. That is absolutely ridiculous. It can't be true.

Because I live in this pop culture vacuum, I had never seen the movie Independence Day. So I watched it last night. I remember when the previews were in the movies, and I thought, "Wow, how cool, they blow up the White House." But after having seen some aliens blow up the World Trade Center, it's really not so cool watching it in the movie. They severely underestimated the amount of dust and smoke in the air. But still, the movie itself was fun to watch, and I do love me some Jeff Goldblum.

-catherine

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