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2/28/11
So I went to the dentist this morning (in preparation for IHOP's Free Pancake Day tomorrow). Apparently they don't schedule the cleaning and the exam on the same day, unless the tech and the dentist are both there, which they weren't. So today was xrays, meet the dentist, and get a consult slip for having the implant done on my lower left side (where I had the tooth pulled in 2008), and I go back Wednesday morning for the cleaning. With my insurance, it'll cost about $1100 to have the implant done, so I'm going to wait a few paychecks before I think about that.

On evening shift to start the week. I need to talk to the staffing guy, because I'd hoped to be on my regular schedule by next Wednesday at the latest, since I have baseball tix on the 10th and have to go to Tucson (for the book festival) on the 11th-12th. I'll talk to him when I go in today.

Paid all my bills for the month today, too, and gave a little to Visa, so it doesn't feel left out.

2/27/11
The rain held off! Well, I mean it poured all night, but it was cool and sunny today, almost-perfect baseball weather. It stayed about 50 degrees, so I was of course bundled up and still cold, but with the sun out, it didn't feel terribly cold. I lounged out on the lawn seats with a pina colada and some teriyaki noodles, and my Kindle, and it was a great afternoon.

Not only did the little tiki bar in the outfield make pina coladas (and mudslides!), but they sold a refillable discount cup, which of course I bought, for future discounted frosty beverages. The only downside (and this is so minor) is that the drinks are not served in a hollowed-out pineapple with a little umbrella. I think I can bear it.

And now I can make some dinner, veg out and watch the Yankees game on the MLB Network, and DVR the Oscars so I can fast-forward to Colin Firth winning.

later 2/26/11
Lunch was fantastic - Michelle and Sean came over to meet me, Stephanie and Peter for lunch at a burger place down the street, and we just had a blast.

I spent some time hooking up my old VCR/DVD combo (the one that won't play back commercial DVD's, for some stupid reason), since it can record. And it's now hooked up so I can record things from DirectTV to a DVD. Why is this important? So when the Yankees beat the Red Sox this season, I can tape the games to watch in the off-season, of course. I had to make a quick Best Buy run to get a cable, but it's all working now.

Yankees baseball! Aw, Francisco changed his number. I'll hang onto my jersey so when he's rich(er) and famous(er), it'll be a collector's item. But Yankees baseball and the dulcet tones of Michael Kay. Life is good.

2/26/11
I'm DVR'ing the Yankees game so I can watch it later today. All I know is that Francisco is catching. I went over to the Peoria Sports Complex for the Mariners/Padres FanFest. It was pretty much watching the players warmup and take batting practice (which I could watch all day and not get bored), and they had a lot of the concessions and gift shops open. There were also autograph and memorabilia salespeople there, and a woman from San Diego who was selling her book of sports interviews and such, so I bought a copy, and she signed it for me. I spent a lot of time walking around the lawn area in the outfield, to get a feel for it (and figure out where I want to sit when I go tomorrow). I also checked out the "Spring into Peoria!" street fair, which was small but fun. There were booths from a lot of the local restaurants along 83rd Ave, with free samples and discount coupons. I couldn't sample the delicious-looking ribs tho, since I'm waiting for my NJ high school-friends Stephanie and Peter to swing by and we're going to get some lunch. They're out here for the week. And after lunch - Yankees on the DVR!

Oh, and there appears to be a frozen beverages stand in the outfield at the Peoria Sports Complex, making my summer dream of lounging outside, drinking a pina colada and watching baseball a reality. This is what I moved here for. Lawn seats and pina coladas.

2/25/11
It's Spring Training game time! There's one game today, three tomorrow, and then the season starts in earnest on Sunday. I'm there - rain or shine.

And I have a paycheck waiting for me, life is good.

In an incredibly small-world moment, my friend Erin (who I met through rec.arts.theatre.musicals, many many moons ago) has a friend who's moving to Phoenix for work. They're both stage managers. And guess where her friend Heather is moving to? Peoria! To be the SM at the theatre about two miles from here. Awesome.

later on 2/24/11
I made it through the shift, which was crazy busy enough to keep my mind off my stomach. I think I can even handle some dinner.

And I'm all set for going to the clinic next Tuesday. Dentist is Monday. I'm holding off on the eye doctor until I have an actual day off on my real work schedule, because of the dilating drops. It's awfully sunny out here, you know.

Tomorrow is payday! Yay!

2/24/11
Off to work - we'll see how long I last, what with my stomach still gurgling on and off. I'm glad I'm still on orientation, and not at work-work.

Mom booked her trip for May - super excited to have her come out, and to have Dad and Ann here in April. I already told work that those are the days I'll need off unpaid, so I can have some family time (by the pool, of course).

2/23/11
I seem to have picked up whatever stomach bug is going around work, so I called to tell them I wasn't coming near the place today, in the hopes of not-spreading it any further. Ugh. Stomach, please calm down.

Forecast is for rain on Sunday. Of course it is. I have tix to the Mariners/Padres game.

Time to take some more Tums, drink plenty of fluids, and not wander far from the bathroom.

2/22/11
Oh, I hate Ticketmaster. It let me log in (after 10 minutes of timing out), and showed that All Star Game tix were there, but there was nowhere to click to buy them. So I called the Diamondbacks ticket sales line, and spoke to a lovely woman who put the ticket purchase through for me. So I have a pair of tix for the Home Run Derby and the game and the Fan Fest (my friend Garrett is coming out to go to the game), and I am super excited!

According to yankees.com, the MLB Network will be showing ten Yankees Spring Training games, either live or on tape delay. I'll be in Tampa in spirit. I thought about making a quick trip down there to catch some games, but there's only one bunch of days I could go, and I think I'd better save the money, especially since I just dropped a lot of cash on the ASG tix, and Visa must be paid! Besides, there are ST games every single day right here!

Today's tidbit of trivia - our medical director is from NJ and went to NYU. I adore her. She said it wasn't so much talking fast, but finishing up with everything for one patient before moving on to the next. I was asked at work if I preferred nights or evenings - I know they're looking for a fulltime eves supervisor, too, but I don't want to work straight Mon-Fri eves, I kind of like the schedule I've got. I'll have three days off in a row which will let me do some exploring, and it's two shifts as supervisor, and two as floor nurse, so that's a nice balance for me. And on those days off, if they need me for some overtime, I'm there.

later on 2/21/11
Aw, tonight I split my orientation time between looking over admission paperwork (which we didn't get to finish, because the admission came at a really inopportune time for teaching) and shadowing the supervisor (who works the 12-hour day shifts on the weekend, backing me up). She's terrific, very supportive and encouraging, and most of all, calm. We hit it off and have decided that the weekends will be very low-stress with the two of us together.

Having such a nice night at work made up for the wave of homesickness that came over me. Not that I want to go back to the snow, but I miss having my friends and family close by. I wish they could all move out here where the sun is shining and the... well, where the sun is shining.

Oh and it was nice to not have to get up at 4.30am for work.

2/21/11
I took the old laptop back to Best Buy so they can "send it out for service." I hope it comes back in one piece. I have no idea what I'll do with two laptops.

All Star Game tix go on sale at 10am tomorrow. I already set the alarm clock. Working the eve shift today to learn more of the paperwork. I hope it's actually busy so the time flies. I hate sitting around doing nothing.

And I called the dentist (across the street) and made an appt for Monday to get my teeth cleaned and poked and prodded. May as well take advantage of the insurance. I called the onsite clinic at work, but they only keep hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I'll call back tomorrow to make an appt.

2/20/11
As part of the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival (who knew?), they showed a screening of Jews and Baseball: an American Love Story today at the movies up the street. So that's where I spent my afternoon. What a great movie! It isn't new, tho, since they had an interview with the owner of the Expos. But I really enjoyed it. And they had a promo where if your program had a star on a certain page, you won a set of "Jewish Major Leaguers" baseball cards - and guess what, I won. I will have to dispose of the Kevin Youkilis one. (update: it's from 2010, and I'm sending the cards to my friend Alan.)

Chicken in the slow cooker for another batch of enchiladas, it's making the whole apartment smell good.

And the sky looks great - there're white puffy clouds, then a patch of blue sky, and then these huge forboding rain clouds over that. It was pouring rain this morning, and now it seems to have tapered off.

2/19/11
It's crazy windy out, and the sky is full of rainclouds. Not a day to go out walking. Today I cleaned, vacuumed, Swiffer-ed, did the dishes and the laundry, and so far that's about it. It's awfully windy out there.

Since the rain cooled things off considerably, I don't have the patio door open today. The cats - Pippin especially - are put out by this, and Pippin's sitting there mournfully looking outside. Me too, Pippin. I'm going to get outside for a bit as I walk to the car to drive to the movies. I guess my blood has thinned out in the five weeks I've been here, since it's 52 degrees and I'm COLD.

My new health insurance card came in the mail today, so I spent some time looking up where the nearest dental office is (right across the street from my apartment, apparently) and eye doctor is (not nearly so close). So Monday I'll call to make appointments with those two and with the free (to company employees with the health plan) clinic, too, so I can get all the medical stuff going. I'm squinting at the TV, which means I'll either end up with new glasses or a bigger TV. Or both! First payday is the 25th, and it will go to paying the monthly bills (car, rent/water/trash/sewer, tv/phone/internet, electric) and some of the Visa bill, which will only go up on Tuesday when All Star Game tix go on sale.

I wonder what my future husband Tanyon Sturtze is up to.

2/18/11
Hey, it's Friday and it's going to rain this weekend, just like being in NJ. Except for the lack of snow.

All done with the day shift, I made it! And after work, I went to IKEA and got the gray slipcovers I wanted (I called first to make sure they were in stock). Michelle's coming over to help me put them on the couch and grab a few drinks. The rest of the weekend will be spent setting up the rest of the computer and watching the rain. And I think the new Liam Neeson movie opens this weekend? If so, I'll go see that.

2/17/11
Aaaaaah, I hate computers. I hate them. First off, my two-year old laptop was just crawling along. So I took it to Best Buy (home of the Geek Squad) to have it looked over. So, they had it for four days, and finally said that it needed to be sent out to have the motherboard replaced. That's why it was overheating and crashing. That wasn't the answer I wanted at all - so I went back today and bought a new laptop. I am not loving it so far - it runs Windows 7, which is frustrating beyond belief. The trackpad isn't really a trackpad, the mail client is lousy, and I'm just frustrated at having to copy all of my files over manually using my flash drive, since of course my old laptop crashed in the middle of a backup - so I have no idea what sort of backup exists on my external hard drive. And the keyboard on this laptop is just weird, with buttons where I wouldn't expect them to be. I'm going to have the (former) laptop sent out anyway, to see if they can fix it. I know part of the frustration is just that I'm not used to something new, but still. Aaaaaaah.

On the plus side, I've managed to get all of my files and emails transferred over, and I'm working on getting my software re-installed. I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

Oh! And on top of my laptop blowing up, I went down to take my bike out, and it had two flat tires. So I met the nice people at the bike place, and learned that with all the cacti out here, thorns in the tires are pretty common. So now I have new tubes inside my tires.

Anyway. Tomorrow is my last day on the day shift. I made banana bread last night and brought it in today as a thank-you.

My preceptor Diana is fantastic - besides showing me how things work at the facility, she and I think and work the same way. She's also given me great suggestions on places to visit, roadtrips to take, she gave me the contact info for her catsitter, and said she'd give me my Depo Provera shot tomorrow. I love her. Learning a lot of the paperwork (hate to say it, but we had a resident die today, and the thought crossed several minds that this was a great opportunity to take a look at the "what do we do when someone dies" paperwork in practice, rather than theory). The Medical Director told me I talk too fast. I had to explain that not only am I from the east coast, but I'm used to having double the amount of residents and having to get a lot of info into a short period of time. Things are definitely more relaxed here.

So now I will wait for my iTunes conversion program to finish running, so I can have my iPod sync to the new laptop, and then I will go to bed.

Oh! And tix for the All Star Game go on sale on Tuesday! So soon! I'm getting a pair for my friend Garrett and myself, but if anyone else is planning to come out for the game, let me know, I can get up to eight tix.

2/13/11
Happy Spring! Pitchers and catchers report today! I should go up and hang out at the Peoria Sports Complex to welcome them.

Drove out to the White Tank Regional Park (at my coworker's suggestion) and hiked the Waterfall Trail, which goes past some ancient petroglyphs on the rocks and then to what would be a waterfall if there were rain. Since there hasn't been any rain, there's what the Brits would call a "fairy pool" at the bottom of the rock falls, with some brackish water in it. There were quite a lot of people out at the park, since it's a Sunday, and it's almost 80 degrees. Perfect hiking weather.

After the park, I went to IHOP, because I was craving pancakes and bacon (two things that I shockingly do not have in my apartment). So good.

My laptop is frustrating me. It's slow to startup, and I can't figure out what's launching on startup, because I don't have any applications that are supposed to start up when I turn it on. And I had such a hassle with it last night because there's supposed to be some way to hook the computer and the TV up on the network so you can view videos from one to the other. Well, I just ended up with a headache and gave up. It's hard to believe that I worked in technology for so long! I guess things change.

2/12/11
Happy birthday to my grandma, stuck in snowy PA. She said that besides the foot of snow on the ground, there's a few inches of ice on top of that, so she won't be able to see the grass for quite awhile.

But today was a perfect sunny day to hit the ballpark! The DBacks had their FanFest today at Chase Field (free parking, free admission), so I went down to check it out. They had merchandise on sale, some of the concessions open, ticket windows open, autograph and photo sessions with the players and a lot of things for kids to do. I got my picture taken with hottie "almost perfect game" pitcher Armando Galarraga (who just came here from the Tigers) and center fielder Chris Young, who mocked my NYY jersey (in a nice way). I did end up buying a DBacks jersey, mainly because I love the deep red color, but also so I have something to wear to the National League games. Since the DBacks tend to, well, suck, it's OK to root for them.

After that, I went to IKEA to look for the slipcovers I want. The ones I thought I wanted (in a light brown) were actually pretty ugly in person, so I decided to get the more expensive gray ones. Except that they didn't have them in stock. They're supposed to come in at the end of this week, so the clerk told me to call on Thursday to see if they actually have them or not.

2/11/11
Yay, survived the first week of orientation, and went to the CPR class today. It's Friday and I'm off til Monday, and how am I celebrating? Making chicken for dinner (and leftovers) and watching CNN. I'll probably fall asleep by 9pm, just because I've been up all day.

2/10/11
Survived another day of super-early morning, my first incident reports at work, my first supervisor meeting, and my official "putting the fingerprint into the time clock." Tomorrow I'm on the day shift again, doing more of the work while being supervised. And then I have the weekend off, which is good, so I can catch up on sleep and hiking and enjoying the 80-degree weather. I like it there so far, it's a beautiful facility, and I've been working with some really good people. I've only met one person who's actually *from* Arizona, the rest are transplants from all over the country.

Pitchers and catchers report Monday, which means we are two weeks from Spring Training games. On the one hand, I want to get on my real work schedule ASAP, but on the other hand, I have a ticket for the Mariners/Padres game on the 27th, and if I'm working my regular schedule, I can't go (because it's on a Sunday afternoon, when I'll need to be asleep), so I kind of want the orientation to drag on til then.

2/9/11
Even more amazing, I woke up at 4am! I had set the clock for 4.45am, but Pippin managed to jump on my head and get me going a little earlier. Best part of the day - it's 2.45pm and I'm done and home again. I love that it's less than two miles (I clocked it) to work. The people I worked with were great, we had 13 residents on my side today (the average nurse/resident ratio seems to be about 15-16, which is amazing, considering I came from a 28-bed unit on my own). The schedules are so different from what I'm used to - the Mon-Fri staff nurses work 8 hour shifts (6a-2p, 2p-10p, 10p-6a), Monday through Friday. The weekend staff nurses work 16 hour shifts days/eves, and a separate weekend night shift comes in. There's always a supervisor on, during the week that's an 8 hour shift on hours I'm used to (7a-3p, 3p-11p, 11p-7a), and on the weekends, the supervisor works 12-hour shifts (7a-7p, 7p-7a). I'm sure I'll get used to it soon. But anyway, the work is the same, the paperwork and some of the equipment is different. I learned a lot today, and made a list with my preceptor of what we'll cover tomorrow.

2/8/11
I managed to get out of bed and showered and dressed and to work at 8am - and was done by 9am. It was just paperwork - tax forms and the handbook and OSHA and HIPAA - so it wasn't really what I'd consider orientation. I met the nurse who I'll be working with this week, and tomorrow I meet her at 6am (6AM!) to get started on the floor. Can't wait.

I spent the rest of the day cooking (well, putting beef stew in the slow cooker), biking (to the library and back) and relaxing poolside. Or rather, in the pool. It's 70, which is warm enough for me. The pool is about four feet deep at the middle, and has an attached hot tub. I was going to just soak in the hot tub, but tested out the pool and found it wasn't as cold as I thought it would be. Today, life is good.

2/7/11
I don't care who won the game, but it was a thrilling game to watch, and the commercials were terrific. I stayed awake for the entire thing. Made Swedish Meatballs (and I use the word, "made," loosely) and Mimi licked the plate clean without throwing up. And between a nightcap of Bailey's on the rocks and my Ambien, I slept pretty well.

Got the car washed, which it really needed, and got my aura washed (metaphorically) by driving to Sedona to bask in the red rocks. I didn't *actually* visit an aura-cleanser, but just being there was relaxing. Must be the vortex. Ooh, spooky. On the way up there (since I was taking the non-highway route for a while), I stopped at a Mega-Super-Ultra WalMart, and in their garden section, they had a bench cushion that was nearly perfect for my patio bench. And when paired with a matching overstuffed pillow (both in a red-brown print), it IS perfect. So I bought both cushion and pillow and now my patio is ready for lounging.

When I got back, I soaked my feet in the hot tub. Aaaaaaaaah that felt great.

Tomorrow is my first day of orientation. I would complain about having to be there at 8am (for the paperwork stuff), except that I have to be there at 6am on Wednesday. Do you realize that I'll have to set my alarm clock for a time that I would usually stay up until??

I don't know how I lived ten years in Manhattan without a care in the world, and out here, if someone slams a car door I freak out and panic. That makes no sense to me.

2/6/11
I can't wait to work nights, since sleeping during the night is obviously not my thing. Since I have the world's tiniest bladder, I am up every two hours like clockwork. Last night I couldn't fall back asleep since Mimi was deciding to throw up (in solidarity with Sheeba in NJ, who has also been throwing up), and then some super-loud neighbor was down in the parking lot slamming their car door and revving their engine, and for some reason that threw me into a fullblown panic attack.

Yet I have no problem sleeping during the day. I'm sure I will fall asleep during the Super Bowl. I wanted to get out and go for a hike or something, but since I didn't sleep much at all, I might just walk over to the clubhouse here and check out the stairmaster or something, safer that way if I nod off.

I can't believe there's going to be a movie starring two of my favorite actors (Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig) - much less that it's called Cowboys and Aliens.

2/5/11
Happy birthday to my brother Peter, lounging on a beach somewhere.

Now I thought the classic cars show would be the perfect place to see Clive Cussler, but he wasn't there (that I know of). There were, however, lots of classic cars, all lovingly restored. Very pretty to look at.

Drove around some of the "surface streets," as I call the non-highways, and there really are some shitty parts of town. I'm glad I live in a decent, somewhat-upscale area, which is nothing of course compared to the really rich parts of Phoenix, and more glad that I don't live in a slum where buildings are falling down and people don't care what their houses look like.

2/4/11
The blackout fabric worked wonders. It even cut down the ambient noise from the highway. Score. On their website, you can (and are supposed to) use the fabric to make into decoratively covered panels with velcro tape that you fit into your window spaces, to act as heat/cold trapping devices. But a) I don't sew and b) I don't want to trap the heat inside. The panels work perfectly lining my existing curtains. Love.

I start my orientation Tuesday at 8am (paperwork day), and then I pick up the schedule for the rest of the orientation. I know Wednesday is on the day shift, starting at 6am (ugh), but the day shift part should only be for a week, maybe less. And I gave the staffing guy the days that I can't work, so he has them nice and early.

Love the spa - massage today was better than the first one, probably because I'm more relaxed in general and haven't just driven across the country. They have a Valentine's Day promotion going on where you can get discounted gift cards, so I bought myself a fantastically huge gift card to use for future services. It comes out to nearly half-off the face value. Best investment ever.

This weekend is the chocolate-fest in Glendale. I am now the proud owner of two luscious chocolate-covered strawberries. They won't last long.

later on 2/3/11
Going for a massage tomorrow evening, after I get my PPD read at the new job (and hopefully confirm when orientation will start). My shoulders were really hurting after the move, I think from the shoveling and the packing and the driving. The right one still hurts - and when I looked in the mirror, my right shoulder seems a few inches lower than my left. I can't tell from looking if my spine looks crooked, but it's on my list of things to ask my future doctor when my future insurance kicks in. It probably has something to do with my carrying my purse and bags on my right side. I have a giant bag from IKEA that I use when I have to carry a lot of things up the stairs to the apartment, so when it's full, it's heavy.

But yes, massage tomorrow, it will feel wonderful. And I got a half-off coupon from Groupon, so it'll be even more special.

2/3/11
Oh wow, just Tuesday I was thinking how great it would be if I could get the building people to cut down some of the dead tree branches that thwack against my windows in the wind (it's been really windy all week). And they must've heard me telepathically, because today the lawn guys are out there cutting down the dead branches! I wonder if I can telepathically contact the Mega Millions guys next.

I went to the fabric store to pick up some insulating fabric for my bedroom windows. It minimizes the light and sound, "for daytime sleeping," says the packaging. Perfect. I also picked up some giant blanket safety pins, to attach the insulating fabric to my curtains, and wow - it really does block the light. That's super. While I was out, I went to Target, to find mailing boxes so I can send my scrubs back to NJ, and walked out with new plates and bowls, a larger mixing bowl (for the summer pasta salads), new undies and bras, and a gray cardigan to go with the sundress I bought at Anthropologie yesterday (in a fit of girlie-weakness/celebrate the new job).

So now I'm going to take the old plates and bowls to Goodwill and throw the new ones in the dishwasher.

Andy Pettitte - going out on top.

2/2/11
Well, the downer today is that I have to buy new scrubs - because my NEW JOB has an "all navy-blue for RN's" dress code! I think I can deal. Tho I did just buy a bunch of nice new scrubs before the holidays. Such is life.

So I got a job with the place that's right down the street, less than a 10 minute drive door-to-door. It's nights - every Sat and Sun 7p-7a as the night supervisor, and every Mon and Tues 10p-6.30a as a staff nurse on a small long term unit. The entire place is 111 beds (with attached assisted living that I may get calls for as needed), and it looks like I'll get lost because it's so spread out. They seem really nice there, fingers crossed that it works out well. Oh, and the salary is about 10% more than I was making, and health insurance kicks in on day one.

Now to go scrubs shopping! Again!

2/1/11
Oh, it did rain yesterday, for about 15 minutes (while I was on the unpaved road, which I thought would turn to mud immediately). We're having a cold snap (it was a whopping 48 while I was out driving), so I turned the heat on. Brr. I'm watching CNN, and they're showing the huge storm that's hitting the rest of the country. I am so glad I left when I did - anyone who wants some sun, come on out.

I have had coffee twice in a row, and my stomach isn't killing me. Maybe I grew out of the "can't drink coffee" phase. That's good to know.

Did my taxes, I should get back about $300. I'm sure the IRS will take one look at the pages, say, "oh, this is the girl whose taxes we re-do every year," and re-do them for me. I always end up getting mail from the IRS in like September, saying, "here, have another check," or, "you actually owe us money, here's a bill."

So I went to the movies (free popcorn) to see 127 Hours - and ooh, I'm a nurse and can usually deal with the blood and guts, but man! This movie squicked me out! However, it *is* set in the Canyonlands, which is beautiful, and now I never ever want to go hiking again.

-catherine

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