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6/28/10
Happy birthday, er, Me.

Best part of working the evening shift is that I get to sleep through the humidity in the morning, then drive to work and work through the hottest part of the day inside the air-conditioned building.

6/26/10
Happy birthday, Derek Jeter. I'm right behind you.

6/25/10
Even tho the plane was delayed by an hour (time well spent in the airport bar, with the free WiFi, uploading pictures to Facebook), it still landed on time. And the NJ Transit train was pulling into the platform as we were getting off the escalator. And there was a cab waiting at the Matawan train station. So it was a quick and painless trip home.

You'd have thought we abandoned the house, the way the cats were meowing.

Last day in AZ? Flagstaff (still on fire in the mountains), went to the AZ Snowbowl ski lift ride to the top of Mt. Aggasiz, where you can see 60 miles to the Grand Canyon, as well as all the other mountains in the area. It's not for the folks with vertigo. Then lunch and driving back to Phoenix. The plan was to go to the movies and see The A-Team, but the timing didn't work out. So I got my hair cut (shorter than I'd planned, it's a chin-length bob again), and bought a fantastic Marc Jacobs summer tote (and Mom bought me the matching wallet as a birthday present), it's so sassy. Dinner at Olives&Ivy, which had flatbreads and Mediterranean food, and then we drove around my future historic district houses one last time.

While I was on the way home, my staffing lady at work called to ask if I wanted to work a double tomorrow. Absolutely - since this week off was unpaid, every little bit helps.

And now I am off to get the most-needed pedicure ever.

6/23/10
Feet hurt. Hiked down into the Bright Angel trail in the Grand Canyon, it was truly stunning, and next time I'll start earlier and hike deeper. We also did the helicopter tour over the Canyon and drove around the South Rim. But yeah, feet hurt and I'm covered in red dust.

6/22/10
You know, I've been to Sedona twice now, and I still don't know what color my aura is. Or if my chakras are balanced. Huh.

So Iceland had the volcano, and Flagstaff has the wildfire. But luckily this Act of God isn't anywhere near our hotel, downtown, or the road to the Grand Canyon.

Drove up from Phoenix via Arcosanti (stupid hippie-shit (yes, that is an adjective) architecture plan for some commune thing that hasn't worked out, didn't like it, but it was interesting), Sedona (see the note on auras, above), Oak Creek Canyon (still one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken) and historic route 66 (I dunno, it's historic, I guess). You can see the smoke plume from the wildfires up in the mountains. Downtown Flagstaff is the hippest city we've been to, it's a small college town like Burlington, VT, so thumbs up.

6/21/10
Dare I say it? Another beautiful... blah blah blah.

Chase Field is a really great place to see a game - except of course for the big World Series trophy right in the main lobby. But still, $4 beers, a retractable roof, and a zillion and one food options. If only they could field a winning team. Winning overall, I mean, since tonight they actually did win against the Yankees. Obviously wearing my lucky Cervelli jersey didn't help the team. Tho I guess I can't hate the team - because a) they suck these days and b) when I move, they will be my home team. It's a good thing I look good in "Sedona Red" and "Sonoran Tan."

And in the "small world" moment of the day, my email-friend Garrett, who lives in LA, drove in with his family for the game tonight, so we got to finally say hello. It's been a good trip for catching up with people.

6/20/10
Another beautiful day in the Valley of the Sun. My friend Michelle from high school moved here five years ago (and we reconnected through the miracle of Facebook). So after a quick drive through my future neighborhood in the daylight, we met up with Michelle and her husband Sean (also from NJ) for brunch downtown. Michelle and I own the same sunglasses frames. Too spooky. Then it was off to Tempe to walk around Mill Avenue (love that the restaurants and bars with outdoor seating have these "misters" to cool off those areas), and see the matinee of In the Heights.

So glad that I bought tix for the Sunday matinee! Lin-Manuel was fantastic and as full of energy as I remember from seeing him on Broadway. And this was otherwise the same cast that I saw on tour in Orlando, so that was good. Such a great show.

After the show we drove around Scottsdale to ogle and wave hello to the rich people. Then off to dinner at an Italian place down in Old Town (which was covered in Yankees stuff, can't go wrong there), and back to the hotel for pool time.

Bought an ASU Sun Devils baseball t-shirt, will wear it to the Yankees/Dbacks game tomorrow.

6/19/10
El Guero Canelo's Sonoran hot dog was so good that I had to stop in again today for another one.

Drove from Tucson down to Bisbee (which is like someone took Haight-Ashbury and put it on the side of a cliff, it's so steep), and took the Queen Mine tour. I would never want to be a miner. Ever. Then drove south even further to the US/Mexican border (but didn't cross over). Oddly enough, there was a US Border Patrol checkpoint north of Tombstone, I flashed my passport and said, "Yes, I am a US citizen." Tombstone was touristy, sure, and awfully hot in the blazing sunshine, but it was worth the stop.

Phoenix is - well, the same as when I last saw it. I love that it is 100 degrees and not humid at all. My feet aren't freezing. My sinuses aren't complaining. It's 90 at night and just perfect weather. I can live here. Drove down to the historic district that has lots of bungalow-style houses for sale, and it's just perfect. Now I just need to sock money away.

later on 6/18/10
Oh I am in heaven. I told my masseuse that I needed to win the lottery so I could come back every week. I know why movie stars are so relaxed, with their own massage staff. Going to melt now (but not literally, because the weather is perfect).

6/18/10
Once again, hot but not humid. Life is good. Went to ogle a zillion different cacti at the Desert Museum, then hit El Guero Canelo for Sonoran hot dogs (take the hot dog, wrap in in bacon, etc), then pool time. And now it's off to the spa to be pampered, and then off to see the Tucson Toros (part of an independent minor league baseball league) down at Hi Corbett field.

6/17/10
It was 108 today in Tucson, it was 90 and not-humid at 9pm, and I had the perfect chicken chimichanga - it had applewood bacon in it. I am happy.

6/16/10
Lin-Manuel Miranda is going into the tour of In the Heights, starting in LA. But to get ready, he's going to do the matinee perfs this weekend in Tempe! I, of course, have tix for the evening perf on Saturday, so I picked up a pair for the Sunday matinee as well. Hoping to give the Sat night tix to my friend Jolene in AZ, if she wants them. So excited to see Lin again.

Last day of work before vacation! We catch the 8.44am train tomorrow. Keys are with the catsitter, the bathing suit is packed, and I'm ready for some 105-and-no-humidity weather.

Packed my passport, too, in case we wander across the border or have to have our citizenship checked for committing a crime.

They say the mind is the first to go - Dona reminded me that it was El Azteca that we went to on 9/11. Must've been too many margaritas. It's only a long block away from Mi Nidito. And oddly enough, Mi Nidito looks exactly like El Azteca on the inside!

Broke a nail at work - of course, on the night before I fly. I'll have to either find a Korean nail joint in the desert, or just stick it out a week til I get back to my girl here. Can't believe that I was actually upset over this when it happened at work.

6/15/10
I was hoping to get to the city early enough to sit out in Bryant Park with my book for a while, but no, the Lincoln Tunnel thwarted my plans. Damn you, Lincoln Tunnel. Instead, I got to the city with perfect timing to grab some sushi with Tesse before Hair. It was as emotionally disturbing as ever ("Can we do a happy musical next time, Officer Lockstock?") and we were bawling our eyes out at the end. After the show, I met my friend Peter (who's in town from LA for a few days) for late dinner at Mi Nidito. We had planned to do Italian, but the place we were headed for has undergone a gentrification of sorts, and upped their prices accordingly. Mi Nidito is delicious (and since I'm in for a week of Mexican food, perfect) - it hasn't changed at all since the last time I was there, which was on 9/11 (the original one) with the girls.

6/14/10
Oh, Francisco, you are so worth calling out from work for.

The Steiner Sports offices are huge and covered in signed memorabilia, my sales rep showed us around the place, and then there was a Q and A with Francisco and Marcus Thames for about a half hour, and then a line to take a photo. Very very cool. I said hi to Francisco's dad, and shook hands with him and Marcus.

New Rochelle is full of million-dollar homes, so before the Q and A thing, we did some driving around. In Ragtime, the show opens with the kid saying, "In 1906, Father built a house at the top of the Broadview Avenue hill in New Rochelle," so we drove to the top of Broadview Avenue, just for kicks.

But the highlight of my day was meeting Cervelli, hands down.

6/13/10
Didn't watch the Tony's, didn't care about the Tony's. What is my life coming to?

T-minus 17 hours til I get to meet Francisco Cervelli. Ooh la la!

6/11/10
Despite the lack of rain, Tesse and I enjoyed the Yankees game - especially when Francisco smacked a two-run single in the first inning. Always a good way to start things off. I had some time to kill before the game, so I walked down 161st Street over to Grand Concourse and back - ah, the South Bronx. It was actually a nice walk, past Joyce Kilmer park and lots of Mexican/Spanish restaurants. There's a movie theatre down the street from the theatre (rain plan: see The A-Team), and lots of huge apartment buildings on the Concourse.

I can't believe it's been three games in a row without rain. It'll probably rain in AZ to make up for it.

6/10/10
Yay, Hair on Tuesday, then meeting my friend Peter for dinner afterwards, then packing for vacation! One week til AZ!

6/9/10
This is turning into one of those weeks where everything blurs together. I think it's Wednesday. Which means I have one more day to work before my day off. Happily, they're predicting nice sunny weather for Friday. Which means I will pack my umbrella for the Stadium anyway.

Can't believe Hair is closing on Broadway on the 27th. The only possible day I can see it again is Tuesday - waiting for Tesse to get back to me if she wants to go.

6/7/10
The IRS sent a letter today explaining the $400 check. They said that I apparently qualified for the Making Work Pay tax credit on line 8 of my 1040-EZ form. I ask again - why do I bother to do my taxes if the gov't is going to re-do them anyway?

And no, I have no idea what any of it means.

6/6/10
No running around today - vegged out on the couch and watched the Yankees win (note to the AL East: please stop hitting Francisco) and inflated the kiddie pool in the backyard.

Oh, and I booked our tix for helicoptering over the Grand Canyon while we're there. And I found a website that sells Chinese Mary Jane slippers, or as Eve and I used to call them, "jap slaps." So politically incorrect, but so stylish. I bought four pairs.

6/5/10
I had the strangest dream. I was on vacation in some city that was right on the beach. And I had Mimi (the cat) with me for some reason. I was shopping in a huge mall and wanted to buy a beautiful raincoat, but it was something like $40,000. So I left, and walked through the city, which looked familiar but I had no idea where I was. I made my way back to the hotel, which was on the beach, and couldn't remember my room number. Then I realized that I had my credit card with me and I swiped it at the desk, and it told me my room. I went up in the elevator (which was covered in notices for the housekeeping staff) and the hallway was very narrow. The rooms were all made of see-through glass with bamboo shades that pulled down. I went in, and there was Mimi sleeping on the bed. And the place was a mess. I went into the bathroom and the tub was filled with complimentary bottles of trial-sized shampoos and lotions and such in little gift baskets. I looked at my watch and saw it was 7pm, and everyone else on the floor was leaving the hotel to go down to the beach.

What does it all mean? I have no idea.

Maybe it means, "Don't take the Benadryl at 2am."

Drove up to New Rochelle (about an hour and change) to check out where the Steiner Sports HQ is, and while we were there, we had lunch at Mariano Rivera's restaurant, which was excellent. Too bad they're closed on Mondays, or we'd go back when we go up on the 14th. Too hot for real food, but I had the tuna tartare and an iceberg salad. The entire place is covered in Yankees photos, and all of the waitresses wear jerseys with the "42". Definitely worth the trip.

Finished off my day with a trip to Lakewood to see the Blue Claws play. They're the single-A affiliate of the Phillies. I'd never been to their park before, and it was surprisingly easy to get to. Closer than Trenton, but I prefer the Thunder because they're a Yankees team. Lakewood has a really nice park - I brought my blanket and bought an $8 ticket to sit out on the berm. Perfect night to stretch out in the warm air (FINALLY) and read my book during the slow parts. Stay away from the overloaded hot dogs. They put so many toppings on it that there is no way to eat it in a ladylike manner. Trust me on that one. Between innings, they have the "pork roll, egg and cheese" around the bases. It's hard not to root for breakfast sandwich foods. They also had - sponsored by an eye doctor - a "giant eyeball" race later in the game. Not sure what to make of that one.

6/4/10
Summer colds are the worst - I can't shake this. I'm blowing my nose til it turns red and I'm sneezing all over the place. Of course, tonight was the night at work that the crew came to tear up the carpet in the lobby, so the dust was everywhere, too. Everyone was sneezing. I'm happy to have this weekend off.

6/2/10
Oooh, Francisco Cervelli will be at the Steiner Sports HQ in Westchester on June 14th for a meet-and-greet and photo op thing, and you can take a tour of the Steiner Sports facility. My goal for work today is to find someone who will work for me on the 14th so I can be there.

6/1/10
June is bustin' out all over. How many times have I said that?

The IRS sent me a check for $400. Either there's an economic stimulus package that I am unaware of, or my taxes were wrong again. Which just begs the question of why do I do them at all, if the government is going to re-do them for me and tell me how wrong they are? Either way, thank you, Department of the Treasury, for the unexpected windfall.

Discovered that we have a wireless internet connection at work. So I can sneak in my iPod Touch and check the Yankees score, which almost makes up for not having the YES Network. Still loving the new job, and I'm trying to get one of my ex-colleagues to come work there, which is probably unethical, but hey, what can you do.

It was thundering and lightning-ing for a good half hour last night - the power went out at work twice, but came right back on. And instead of cooling down, it's still humid out. I'm glad Mom put the air conditioners in the bedroom windows, I cooled off my room to make it comfortable. Usually it's cooler inside the house, but today it's just sticky.

And since it's my day off, the sore throat that was starting to annoy me at work yesterday has blossomed into a fullblown can't-swallow, swollen-glands kind of thing. Off to the drugstore!

-catherine

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