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later on 6/30/11
Happiness was watching my DON and ADON boogie to "Happy Birthday" at the meeting today. Almost made the cross-town trek worthwhile.

I could move into this hotel for about $50K a year. It's almost worth it. I had my two free pina coladas and a giant Waldorf salad for dinner, and lounged around the Catalina pool - Marilyn Monroe's favorite - for a few hours. Can't think of a better way to spend my birthday week. Unless, of course, Derek Jeter were here to celebrate his birthday, too. He's going to be making two rehab starts in Trenton this weekend. Of course, the games sold out as soon as that was announced.

6/30/11
Ahh, the luxorious life at the Biltmore. The bed is so comfy, the food (at Frank&Albert's) was mouthwateringly delicious, the mojito was so potent that I fell asleep at 9pm. Hilton Honors really knows me - they upgraded my room, gave me a voucher for two free bottled waters and two free "welcome" drinks at Wright's Bar (which I'll use tonight), and put me in a nice, quiet room near the gigantic pool.

I realized on my way over here yesterday that the DBacks had an afternoon game. So I detoured over and got there in the first inning, bought a cheap upper tier ticket, and sat in the suite level lounge. Had a mushroom and onion cheesesteak that was so overloaded that I needed a fork to eat it all. The Dbacks lost, but it was still fun.

I do have to head back to Peoria for the bi-weekly supervisor's meeting (and to scoop out the litterbox), but I am going to pretend that isn't part of my stay-cation.

6/28/11
Today I celebrate the 16th anniversary of my 21st birthday. Huzzah.

Went to the doc, went shopping at Target and Macy's (new bathing suit, new dress), got my nails done tonight (instead of having to get up early on Thurs to get them done), and took myself to dinner (ahi tuna and jambalaya, yum). They comped my dessert after the lady at the next table - who I was talking with - told them it was my birthday. Mmm.

And now I'm going to fall asleep while watching the Yankees game.

6/27/11
Aww, my uber-geek nephew William is doing some uber-geeky computer stuff at MIT this week. The kid's a genius. Of course, Eve and Mark are genius...es(?) too, so I'm not at all surprised.

My coworker is going to work for me tomorrow night, so I can enjoy my birthday. As much as one an enjoy a day that includes a urologist followup appt, I suppose, but now I can go out for dinner tomorrow night and then head to the swanky hotel on Wednesday on a good night's sleep.

6/26/11
And happy birthday Derek Jeter!

6/25/11
Happy birthday Corrie!

And I have never been prouder to be a (ex-)New Yorker than today, after finding out that they passed the "gay people can get married" bill (whatever it was called) - looking forward to lots of fabulous wedding invitations. Love who you love, people - the sex doesn't matter (and according to lots of straight old folks that I know, after 50 years, the *sex* doesn't matter, either).

6/24/11
Less than a week til my birthday - and celebrating at the Arizona Biltmore. Can't wait to lounge poolside and sip pina coladas and treat myself to fancy dinners and shopping. I am indeed working the overnight tonight at our sister facility, so that'll be two overtime shifts on my "birthday paycheck" - and with my Visa bill already paid off, I'll have some extra spending money. Who knew nursing would turn out to be so profitable? Going back to school after 9/11 turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.

I didn't make it to the pool yesterday, despite the 112 high temp. I went out to the post office and the library and Target (I had a $10 gift card, yes, I bought the damned cashews again, which are just adding to my curvy figure). And I drove out to check out the Vee Quiva casino, which is about 35 min away, in the southwest part of the Valley. I liked it better than Harrah's, it just had a nicer vibe to it. But you can't get free Vegas hotel rooms with the Vee Quiva casinos. Such is life. Anyway, I played some blackjack, and lost about $150, but I had a blast doing it. And then I went out for sushi (too hot to cook) and watched the first-place Diamondbacks complete their sweep of the Royals.

6/23/11
I really enjoyed my orientation shift at our sister facility - a little more laid back than the subbacute where I work. I told them I could work Friday if they need me, so I'm waiting to hear back. Today is my official day off, then, and it will be spent sleeping, doing errands, and at the pool. Ahhhh.

later on 6/22/11
Check that - they filled the shift for tomorrow night, but I'm still going to orient tonight, so I can work there in the future. Awesome.

6/22/11
So our nursing facility is part of a larger CCRC (continuing care retirement community). We were offered the opportunity to float over to the long term care center, on our days off, for an extra $2/hour. So I said I'd be available on such and such dates - since I have no plans for my days off this week, I'm going to go orient tonight and then work tomorrow night. Hopefully it'll be a little calmer than the subacute units. My HR guy said I'm not allowed to like it better and jump ship.

Oh, and it's $2/hour extra AND it's overtime.

And yes, I *am* having a Malibu Bay Breeze for breakfast, thankyouverymuch.

6/21/11
My doctor gave me a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid to lower cholesterol. Unfortunately, with the exception of the pineapple juice, all of the pina colada ingredients are on the list. Along with everything I snack on. I think the fine print at the bottom says, "And Catherine, lay off the butter crunch cashews."

And happy summer! It hit 112 on my car's thermometer today. It's like standing in front of an oven - thankfully, I enjoy that feeling.

It's also the longest day of the year. Hopefully it will not be the longest night of the year at work.

6/20/11
It was just like old times at work last night - having a resident scream for 8+ hours at me and my aide. Came home with a ringing headache and feet that were ready to fall off. They still feel like they're going to fall off. I fell asleep as soon as I got home this morning, and now it's mid-afternoon. I really want to go soak them in the hot tub, but I'm not sure I have the energy to move right now. I may just prop my feet up on pillows and fall back asleep.

Tomorrow will be a long day - stopping in at the clinic after work to pick up some prescription refills, then nap, then off to the urologist to see about my tiny, UTI-prone bladder (aren't you glad you're reading this), then nap, then off to work again. And then I have no plans whatsoever for my days off. Ahh.

Free rookie league baseball starts tonight - the baby Mariners and baby Padres will be playing down the street from me. Maybe I'll check that out on my days off. I'm still hoping to get to San Diego this year to see the Padres play - they're on the road this week. They're home on Friday, but I'd have to drive the six hours back after the game, to be ready to work on Saturday, so I don't think that'll work.

6/17/11
I was going to go to the 6.30a inservice - really, I was - but I just couldn't get up that early. So I went to the 1.30pm one instead (a much saner hour, especially if I'm not working the night before). And then I went right to the movies to enjoy some air conditioned goodness. Saw Mr. Popper's Penguins, which was a hoot. I stayed for all the credits because one of the actors looked so much like Lin-Manuel Miranda that I had to see if it was (it wasn't).

Sat in the extra-expensive seats at the DBacks/White Sox game, always fun (and this time it was free!). The DBacks won, because I bring the "winning" to Arizona. I like the club seats because they are right near the bar, and they make a mean Malibu Bay Breeze. At Chase Field, anyone can go sit on the Insight Diamond Level, too, which also has real bars and big TV's and nice views. You can't sit in the suites, but you can sit in the lounge areas. It really is a friendly ballpark.

Booked my flight to NYC for Thanksgiving.

6/16/11
I enjoyed Company on the big screen - made me miss all my NYC friends and the city, but not enough to want to be there in the lousy weather. As they say in the show, there's a time to come to New York and a time to leave it. I was done. But I do miss my friends and Marie's Crisis and I sure hope Arizona has some holiday bazaars come the fall, or I'm going to miss that, too.

6/15/11
Yay - just got the email that my All Star Game tix are on their way. And I have taco casserole in the oven. And I don't work til Saturday. And I just got out of the pool. And I'm going to see the filmed version of Company tonight at the movies. Yeah, life is good.

6/13/11
Happy Monday the 13th, my feet are killing me after the weekend at work, and I have two more nights to go.

My coworker Margarita - who helps me with my Spanish - surprised me with a chocolate cake with caramel flan on top. I brought it in for the night shift (to avoid eating it all myself), so so good. I saw her this morning and thanked her, and she said it was to thank *me* for helping her with her English, and for talking with her daughter last week about nursing school.

For the umpteenth year in a row, I didn't see any of the Tony Awards. And I don't feel like I missed anything.

6/10/11
I'm headed back to NJ/NYC for Thanksgiving! Have to buy the ticket still - after the next paycheck. I don't have firm plans yet (other than turkey with the family, of course), but I'm looking forward to seeing as many of my friends as I can.

6/9/11
In the interests of exploring more of Arizona's cultural sites, I drove down to the Harrah's Ak-Chin casino. I took a hundred bucks, and came home with a very full stomach from the buffet.

I also hit the drugstore, the library, and the Ford place - got a thing in the mail that they were having a scratch-off contest, I won a $10 Target gift card. Guess how much a large thing of butter crunch cashews costs?

Work called to ask if I want to work overnight tomorrow (Friday) - absolutely, since it'll make my sleeping on Saturday so much easier, and the paycheck will be nice, too.

Went to see Bridesmaids tonight - that might be the funniest movie I'll see all year. I couldn't stop laughing.

6/8/11
I fried up some chicken tenders and made my favorite summer chicken salad - the one with the apples, celery, cranberries, honey and mayo. It's almost a Waldorf salad, but not quite. And since I was chopping things up, I decided to do the rest of my onions and stick them in the freezer. I used a chopping technique I found online, and to my surprise, they chopped up some much more easily, and I wasn't crying as much. I mean, there were tears shed alright, but not nearly as bad as usual. So now I have onions for future cooking, and a fabulous salad in the fridge.

Drove through Paradise Valley (not just a town, a way of life), where the REALLY, REALLY rich folks live. You can drive up some of the streets to see the houses from afar, but most of them have gated drives, to keep the riff-raff out. If I ever had a spare 12-14 million, and a staff of 30, I would buy my winter home there (the summer home, of course, being a cottage in Newport). Clive Cussler lives there.

And I went over to The Poisoned Pen, an awesome mystery/fantasy/sci-fi bookstore in Scottsdale - because Clive was doing a signing for his new book. I didn't buy the book because I don't care for this new series (I'll read it from the library), but I did have him sign a new copy of Raise the Titanic for me, since my copy is all worn out. Diana Gabaldon also does a lot of signings there, and I saw they had lots of foreign langugage versions of the Outlander series.

I think Clive might be getting a little touch of dementia. He didn't talk with anyone, and seemed confused with what he was signing at times. But whatever - he is the man behind Dirk Pitt and I love him for that. I wonder if he needs a private duty nurse up there in Paradise Valley.

6/7/11
Happy birthday, Ann! Hope it's a great one.

I will be warding off scurvy today - Fry's (the grocery store) had fresh strawberries on sale for 99 cents a pound. There are two pounds in the fridge right now soaking in some sugar. Yum.

6/3/11
I feel like I didn't have a whole day off, since I've had to be physically at work every day. Today was a quick training class on the new computerized CareTracker for me and the other weekend supervisor. It didn't take too long, but still.

So after that, I went to the zoo - the Wildlife World Zoo is right by me (as opposed to the Phoenix Zoo, over by Hole in the Rock). They have an aquarium, which was awesome, and a super variety of animals from all over the world. I was sad that the giraffe feeding station was closed this week, but what can you do. After that, I stopped at Target to buy new shorts (I am wearing a size 8, up from a 6, probably because of the butter crunch cashews) and some butter crunch cashews, and then went out for lunch.

My neck and shoulders are peeling, my first AZ sunburn. I'm having some of my coworkers over for poolside lounging tomorrow, the sunscreen will be applied liberally.

6/2/11
I survived most of the night-day double shift (and really enjoyed working with my day shift colleagues again). The evening supervisor relieved me at 12.30pm, and then I came home, put my aching feet in the hot tub for ten minutes, and then fell asleep. Woke up for dinner and to watch the Yankees game (that I had taped), and then back to bed again.

And now I'm off to get my nails done, to the supervisor's meeting at work, and later on - to the DBacks game.

-catherine

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