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3/31/08
It's here! Spring is finally here! Opening Day is here!

I'm all giddy, but I have to work, so I set the VCR to tape the Yankees pre-game and the game, I'll watch it when I get home tonight.

(er, or not - the game was postponed due to rain, it'll be played tomorrow night.)

3/29/08
It's a good thing we're still in winter mode up here. I wear long sleeves under my scrubs, which is handy this week, as my sunburnt skin is peeling like mad. My arms and chest are a mess of scabs. And itchy. I know it's attractive.

Checked the weather for this week - because my life is charmed, it's going to be cloudy with a chance of showers for next Friday's game. Of course it is.

This is random - I love these big stuffed animals. Dad bought me a cat one for the holidays a few years ago, and it's fantastically huggable. They're terrific.

3/28/08
Saw the first two acts of Falstaff at NYCO last night. I'm not a big Verdi fan, and this seemed like a very low-budget production to begin with. And it's just funny to me that the women are singing about how fat and unsightly Falstaff is, and really, they're not exactly the slimmest things out there! Irony, opera style.

We got home and did something much more fun, picked up tickets to a Braves/Phillies game for July. Philly has a beaufitul ballpark (and cheesesteaks).

Five more days til DC. One week until I'm back at the Stadium. Eighteen days til Nathan Gunn at Carnegie Hall. Nineteen days til Yankees/Red Sox at the Stadium. Three weeks til seeing Nathan Gunn in Boston. April will be a busy month.

later on 3/26/08
I was completely enchanted with Enchanted, the Disney movie. I'm not a Disney fan at all, but this one looked great, so I ordered it. Patrick Dempsey is swoon-able. And thank heavens for IMDB, which showed that the crazy old man was none other than Edmund Lyndeck (Judge Turpin!). Too fun. Highly recommended.

I don't know why I bother to do my taxes. The state sent back my refund check with a computer-generated form that said I mis-noted something, and my refund would be a different amount. Why bother to do them, if they're going to just do them again? Same with the federal (tho I couldn't make heads or tails out of where they said I mis-noted something).

3/26/08
You know what, I ended up working a double shift last night, so I DID technically stay up and watch some of the Japan game.

And my season tickets arrived! They are beautiful, with the "final season" logo printed on each one. My coworkers (the ones that are Yankees fans) were oohing and aahing over them, too. Now I'm just waiting for the final individual game tix to arrive, like for the Boston games and the final home game.

In the "why I'm glad I didn't run out and buy tickets to the last performance of Rent category": the closing was moved to September.

I took care of one major errand today - replacing my phone. The new one is red and sassy, and while I asked for a phone that just makes phone calls, they apparently don't make them anymore. So this one can take pictures, and can get the Verizon VCast features (yes, I could watch ESPN on my phone), and I will never use those features. I had to manually transfer over my phone numbers, so this is as good a time as any to ask my friends and family to email me their current/correct numbers so I can make sure I have them right.

Hey, check it out - the cherry blossoms will be in bloom when Tesse and I are in DC.

Bob Sheppard is going to miss Opening Day at the Stadium. I hope he's feeling better soon, he is, after all, the "Voice of the Yankees" (no matter what John Sterling claims).

3/25/08
No, I did not get up to watch the Opening Day game (in Japan) at 6am. And I will not get up at 6am to watch tomorrow's game, either. I am just not a morning person (and besides, it's Boston and Oakland).

A week in the sun has brought out all of my freckles. It's nearly cute.

3/24/08
No! Just after I finish talking about how Javy Lopez adds hottness to whatever team he plays for, he retires, adding hotness to the "retired ballplayer" team. So unfair.

3/23/08
And no sooner am I back from one trip than I'm planning the next! Tesse and I are roadtripping down to DC next week. The Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, is doing a Kander and Ebb season, so she's going to review Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Happy Time, and I'm going to drive. Will is in Spider Woman, so it'll be good to see him again. Unfortunately, the Smithsonian American History is still closed until the fall, and the Colbert portrait will be gone the day before we go, but I'm sure we'll find ways to spend our free day there (I say free day like it's a long trip - we're going down Wed, seeing a show Wed night, have Thurs free, seeing the other show Thurs night, and driving back after the show).

Errands for the week: get a new phone, print my pics from the digital camera, make an appointment for the car's maintainance checkup, see Falstaff at NYCO.

later on 3/22/08
OK, now I've had a chance to unpack and sleep, so I'm happy. I called work yesterday to ask if I could have off for the 3-11 shift today, and just come in for 11-7, and that was OK. I needed the time to get out of vacation mode, especially since our flight was late and got in at 1am instead of 10pm. Oof. OK, the quick recap:

Saturday, we flew out of here to Orlando, on the most uneventful flight ever. I hate checking bags, and JetBlue is fairly liberal with the size of bags you can carry on, so everything we needed was crammed into two carry-on shoulder bags. We mananaged to find the rental car OK (a blue Pontiac Vibe) and tootled on over to Tampa. We got completely lost getting to the hotel, because route 60 isn't well marked around one particular turn, but after three tries, found it and dove into the pool. The weather all week was fantastic, warm and sunny, in the 80's (except for the one day the "cold front" came in and it was only 74), but we didn't do too much pool time. I'm not a "veg out at the pool" kind of person.

Saturday night, we went to see the closing night of the tour of Jersey Boys at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. They were kind enough to post a warning sign outside the theatre, stating that the production uses "authentic, profane Jersey language." I guess I really am from NJ, since I find profanity awfully authentic alright. The tour was the same as the Broadway production, and just as enjoyable. The theatre (which is part of a complex akin to the Kennedy Center) was huge, and made almost entirely of concrete. It had lousy acoustics, everything was echoing all over the place. But it was really good to see Jersey Boys again.

And now - on to the baseball! Sunday was a double-header day of sorts. After driving over to St. Petersburg to kill time and get breakfast, we went over to Legends Field (oh, how I've missed it!) for the Yankees/Indians game (we won, 7-6, with Wang vs Sabathia). While we were walking around outside, a woman stopped me and said, "oh, a Sturtze fan!" Then she went on to tell me that she named her son after Tanyon - she completely stole my plan. I was just delighted to meet another fan! She said he was sent to AAA by the Dodgers, but when I got home and looked up the Dodgers site, I couldn't find anything about that, so I'll keep an eye out.

Anyway, I was so happy to be back at Legends Field in the land of the delicious lemonade. They should market that stuff, it's like nectar. There wasn't any full team warmup that day (or the next, actually), so we spent some time watching the pitchers on the field and in the bullpen. Andy Pettitte stopped on his way back into the clubhouse to sign autographs for about 10 minutes to fans who were tossing balls down into the bullpen for him.

After the game, we drove back across the bay to Clearwater to go to the MLB Alumni Association Legends Game, a charity event. The most spectacular thing was seeing the starting pitchers - Gaylord Perry and Bob Feller. Bob managed to throw behind the first batter he faced, but hey, if my career started in 1940, I'd be happy to just be standing on the mound. It was laid back and casual, and a lot of fun.

Monday was the only Yankees/Red Sox game of the Spring, and we kicked their ass, as should be. Pettitte vs Colon (who lasted only 2/3 of an inning), and we won, 8-4. Collected the first foul ball of the trip, as tossed up to us by Heath Phillips, rookie pitcher. Apart from Derek getting plunked on the arm, there was nothing outstanding about the game. They didn't do anything special for St. Patrick's Day, and there were no brawls. It was almost disappointing! I picked up a new navy blue jersey and tank top. It was a blast tho, and I do love Legends Field. I waved goodbye until next year, and we were on our way over to Orlando for the rest of the trip.

The Doubletree in Orlando was at the swankier end of International Drive, not the crappy end where I stayed last year. And, true to its name (the Doubletree Castle), it does look like a castle. We had a corner, turret room. We walked around I-Drive for a bit, played miniature golf at the place next to the hotel - I played left handed, I would have won if I did it righty, I swear. Grabbed dinner at a Japanese restaurant, and crashed for the night. Doubletree has the most comfortable beds ever, and tons of pillows, I slept like a baby (not a whiny, crying, colic-y baby, but the fast-asleep kind) the whole week.

Tuesday was our non-baseball day. Drove out to the Kennedy Space Center to fulfill my inner geek, and that was just fine with me. I am such a dork about science stuff, so KSC makes me feel right at home. I am still amazed that we managed to have a space program at all, much less walk on the moon, when you consider that most of the work was done by slide rules and on paper. It's phenomenal.

Dinner at Emeril's Orlando. I highly recommend it - I had the barbecue shrimp appetizer, and the andouille-crusted redfish, making sure to save room for the signature banana cream pie for dessert. I don't think you could go wrong anywhere on the menu.

It was time to see how the other half lives on Wednesday, so we drove across the state to Palm Beach. Honestly, there is nothing there but a bunch of big houses. Really - it's in the middle of nowhere. I can't possibly imagine living so far from civilisation. I guess you make your own. But man, the houses there are gorgeous. It's like a mini-Newport. We went to the Flagler Museum, which was a private house that was turned into a museum. I love the gilded age extravagance, but I can't fathom spending so much money for a house where you're only there 6-7 weeks out of the year (spending the other months in your city mansion, your Newport mansion, your yacht, your villa in France). It's too much.

If Palm Beach is in the middle of nowhere, the Mets fit right in. They play at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, which looks like it's at the end of a dirt road. There is seriously nothing around. And don't listen to those commercials on SNY telling you to move to the "town of Tradition," it's like they plopped a subdivision down on a dirt field and planted some shrubs. Maybe in fifty years it'll be a nice place to live, but stay away for now. Let me also just add that Florida is just too hot to live there year round. It's nice for me to get away from the winter weather here, but I know that our own humid summer is coming and fast. I couldn't do it all the time!

So the Mets played - who else - the Indians, and won, 3-2. It was Maine vs Laffey, and everyone looked good. We didn't actually stay for the entire game, since it was two hours back to Orlando.

Thursday, we went to Gator Land, one of the original Orlando tourist attractions. I don't think I had ever seen an alligator up close before, and now I can safely say I don't need to, ever again. They grow to 8-10 feet and have big, pointy teeth. I never did find out how fast they can move, and maybe I don't want to know. They have a big area full of baby and adolescent sized gators, those are more my speed. The big ones can just stay where they are!

Off to Wide World of Sports for the Braves/Tigers. I was absolutely thrilled to see Javy Lopez back with the Braves. He increases their hotness quotient by zillions of points. The man is just delicious to look at. I hope he makes the team, he's there as a non-roster invitee. I was happy that this was a night game (so was the Mets game), because sitting outside in the bright, Florida sun every day isn't the most comfortable thing to do. The Braves won, 3-2 (it was Hudson vs Verlander, a great matchup), on a bloop hit in the bottom of the ninth. The most thrilling of all the games we went to.

Friday, I worked on my sunburn at the final game of the trip - Braves vs Indians (yes, Cleveland again). I'm pink everywhere. I don't tan, I burn. This game was the only one we saw where the home team lost - the Indians beat the Braves 6-4. It was Bennett vs Sabathia, and just a fun game all around. After the warmups, the Indians' manager, Eric Wedge, was signing autographs right where we were sitting (oh, we had excellent seats right behind home plate for both Braves games), so I had him sign the second foul ball of the trip, and I'm giving it to the only Indians fan I know.

When we got to the airport in Orlando, Jet Blue announced that all flights to Newark were delayed due to high winds in NJ (let me tell you, there was not a gust of wind when we finally arrived), so we sat in the airport until 10pm (instead of our original departure time of 7.30pm). I finished reading a book by Gene Cernan (last man to walk on the moon as part of Apollo 17) while we were waiting. When we finally got home, it was 36 degrees - completely unfair after all of the warm sunny weather we had all week. It was surprisingly easy to get back to the economy lot and find the car, and we were home by 2.30am.

Miscellaneous from the trip: I discovered that my cellfone, which already had a crack in the case, split in two completely and is just being held together by a wire. Literally. I think it's time to get a new one - that'll be this week's task.

And I got an email from the Yankees that my season tickets are on their way! Two weeks from last night and I'll be at the Stadium, not wearing shorts, but bundled up in my twelve layers of clothes like last April. Can't wait for summer weather to get this far north.

3/22/08
Home and sunburnt! More later.

3/15/08
Finally! Back on Friday.

later on 3/14/08
Always - when I know I have to get up early, I can't sleep. I tried to sleep, but got up. Raided the closet for something nicer than the plain skirt and nice t-shirt I'd planned to wear to Jersey Boys and dinner at Emeril's, came up with a black slip dress and a lacy black overshirt. Which means nicer shoes (and probably bandaids). Which means I should do my toenails. By the time that's done, I should be able to sleep.

3/14/08
Happy Birthday, Missy Mink!

Loot from the "we don't need anything from IKEA" trip to IKEA: two new kitchen chairs (the old ones are loose and even when I tighten them, they're still wobbly); new potholders; new slipcovers for the couches (as yet un-shed on by the kitties); new pillows for the couches (the old ones have shed so many feathers we could make a chicken); a new colander; a new strainer; and a new tub mat. Oh, and new placemats for under the cat dishes and a whimsical red "cat castle" like the whimsical red cat house that Uncle Peter gave us. Pippin loves it.

3/13/08
The new five dollar bill? I don't think I like it.

I'm OK with the Yankees losing to the Pirates today, because Mike Mussina threw five perfect innings. And Billy Crystal was the DH (he struck out). Fabulous game.

I am all packed. And I got my car inspected today.

I am in love with Google Maps. Not only is it the coolest time waster there is, I actually used it to find better driving routes than being stuck in Tampa highway traffic. It rules. Something like this makes me want to get a phone that has internet access. Or a GPS. Because while getting lost is half the fun of traveling, sometimes you really just need a good up-to-date map. This is awesome, I've seriously spent the last hour looking things up.

3/12/08
Or perhaps I will have insomnia, stay up until 6am, sleep all day, and not do anything on my "to do" list.

There was a brawl at the Yankees-Devil Rays game - stemming from when a Tampa minor leaguer slid hard into Francisco Cervelli, our minor league catcher, at home plate during a Spring Training game, and broke his wrist. So not necessary during Spring Training. So apparently today there was a bench-cleaning brawl. The game wasn't televised on YES, so hopefully they'll show clips or something on ESPN later.

I watched the coolest show ever on the National Geographic Channel - about what would happen to the earth if all of the humans suddenly disappeared. It was fascinating. But I kept wondering if they would show things like the pyramids, and the Roman ruins that have stood for thousands of years. It mainly focused on "modern" things, like nuclear power plants inploding and buildings collapsing. Loved it.

3/11/08
My vacation officially starts now! No work until the 22nd.

I took a look at my car today and realized (in addition to the eternal, slow leak of the front left tire) that it needs to be inspected this month. I added it to the list of things to do before Florida, so maybe I'll go tomorrow (after filling up the tires). I also have to hit the drugstore, find the digital camera charger, pack my sunscreen and triple-check all of the hotel and flight papers.

Ooh. Ragtime at the Kennedy Center in Spring 2009. And Side Show. Roadtrip.

In the "they know me, they really know me" category: a cookbook all about BACON. I must have it. I could eat bacon three meals a day. One of my favorite dishes at the local diner is the bacon omelette - eggs and bacon and that's it.

3/9/08
Oh, the Mitsubishi Eclipse is a sweet car. My coworker and I drove (or rather, I drove his car) to Wa-Wa for our coffee run tonight, and it's really a great ride. It has the same issues with "sightlines" out the rear window that my convertible has now, so I'm already used to craning my neck when I'm merging into traffic. OK, now I just need to save my money and maybe by 2009 I'll be able to buy one.

You know, after the rain passed, it looked so nice out. Bright, sunny, crisp. Don't let Mother Nature fool you. I took one look out the window at the thermometer, and it's still 22. The sun is no indication of warmth.

3/8/08
Pouring rain all over the place.

One more week until sunshine and baseball and shorts and driving with the windows open.

3/7/08
Gypsy was enjoyable for the simple reason that I like Gypsy. Patti didn't blow me away - I'm still holding my opinion that the Tyle Daly production was the best one I've seen - but I didn't dislike her. I thought Boyd Gaines was fantastic. And the orchestra was phenomenal, even if the tempos on some of the songs were way too fast.

I thought about Marie's afterwards, but I was tired and had the beginnings of a major headache (not brought on by Patti, possibly brought on the woman next to me, whose cell fone went off right at the climax of Act Two), so instead I dropped Tesse off at home and came back to NJ. Somehow I missed the turn for the turnpike (I did that last year, too, after a Yankees game) and took route 4 all the way over to the Parkway, which added a good twenty minutes to my drive. Luckily, there was no traffic at all.

3/6/08
Different cute drummer, but no surprise there - I realized it's been seven years since I saw the show in New York. It's still as astonishing and as much fun as ever. I loved being in the color guard back in high school (more than seven years), so it's great to watch the Drum Corps-esque show. My cousin Matt is in the Rutgers marching band, and my cousin Sara plays in the high school band, too, they loved the show, too.

Tonight is Gypsy - I'm looking forward to seeing Patti LuPone in it, since it's a role I think is made for her. And you all know I am not a big Patti fan, so that's saying a lot.

And just another reminder why Red Sox fans are assholes. As if you needed another reminder, this is just sick.

3/4/08
I'm excited - going to see Blast! with Mom, Aunt Barbara and cousin Matt tomorrow in Easton (PA). I wonder if the hot drummer with the fantastic biceps is still in the cast. After all, drumming builds biceps.

3/3/08
Almost 60 degrees out - I had the top down on the convertible to go to work today. It's supposed to pour tomorrow, up to an inch of rain they say.

And the Yankees are 2-0 (and a tie) so far in Spring Training. I loved the quote in the Times from Hank Steinbrenner about Red Sox Nation being a "[expletive deleted]." I also loved where they said that the new stadium will be the Red Sox Nation version of hell.

My coworker's going to bring the Mitsubishi to work this coming weekend, so we can make the 2am WaWa coffee run in it. And he offered to come with me when I have the money saved to buy it, so I don't get shafted as a single female buyer.

3/1/08
Two more working weekends until vacation! I'm making my list of things to pack, starting with "bathing suit" and "sunscreen." Did I mention the average temperature in Tampa in March is 78 degrees? We had snow and rain here last night - I'm ready for some warmth.

And I'm excited to be planning a quick trip to DC (well, to Virginia) to see Kiss of the Spider Woman with Tesse, who's going to review it. Will's in it, and the Signature Theatre does good work, so it'll be a nice overnight. She's hammering out the dates, and then I will hit priceline to find a place to crash.

I didn't finish watching Nicholas Nickleby yesterday. Instead, I watched the Mets lose to the Cardinals in a Spring Training game. I'll have to watch it next week when I get a day off.

I think that this is the car I want. My coworker drives the non-convertible version, and I love it. I've sat in it, just to get a feel for it, and I think I'm going to ask him if I can take it for a spin around the block.

-catherine

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