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3/31/10
I was going to write this tomorrow, but was afraid people would think it was an April Fool's joke: I quit my job today. Don't stress - I already have a new job lined up. Same kind of work, in the same neighborhood, but a 20% pay raise (before the overtime even kicks in!). I figure, if I'm going to put up with stress and whatnot, I may as well be well-paid for it. So I gave my two weeks' notice today; my last day will be the 15th. Then vacation, then new job orientation starts May 5th.

So relieved.

The Kars4Kids people picked up the Sebring.

And there's a new Clive Cussler book out in stores - my coworker (soon to be ex, I suppose) tipped me off - off to the bookstore.

3/30/10
Today isn't just rain, it's heavy rain. Weather.com reports "historic flooding" in the northeast. I'm ready to dump a ton of sand in the basement, hook up some heat lamps, and declare my private beach open for the season.

3/29/10
It's supposed to be 70 degrees on Friday. I'll believe it when I see it.

3/28/10
I dreamed I was somewhere really, really hot - because I was wearing my bikini and putting lots of sunscreen on, even tho I was already sunburned. And there were lots of Russians around. It was some kind of a resort with pools, and right as we were getting into the pool, it started pouring rain. So then I went to the subway (I guess this resort was in the city), and this wildly attractive yet dorky guy - who I knew was someone famous but couldn't place them - came over to me and asked if we could wait for the train together. Even tho I knew I was going unfashionably downtown, I said yes, and then the train never came so I got out and walked.

Today I am making the cranberry brisket, for Passover. I was going to make it next Sunday to eat while watching Opening Day, but - well, see below. I have to work.

Another rainy day down in Tampa. I guess it wouldn't have mattered which March weekend I went down, since both of my weekends off were rained out down there.

3/27/10
Donating the car - to the company with the catchy theme song that advertises during the Yankees games (yes, I am fully aware that Kars4Kids donates their money to an organization that promotes Jewish heritage in underprivledged children). In addition to the tax deduction, you also get a voucher for a two-night hotel stay, and one of the cities you can use it in is Tucson, so hopefully we can use it for our AZ trip in June. They're supposed to confirm via email and will call so we can arrange a pickup time. Bye, Sebring!

later on 3/26/10
Hair rocked, again. We had a blast, and super food at Don't Tell Mama, which has converted their lounge into a restaurant. We did the $22 prix fixe menu - I had the butternut-toasted pulled pork crostini appetizer, the pan-seared tuna with roaster red peppers and a lemon caper sauce entree, and the lemon merengue pie. Heaven in two-and-a-half courses.

It's not warm. It's downright cold again. But it's in the upper 80's in Phoenix right now, maybe 90 on Monday and Tuesday. Sigh. Guess I'll have to set up the kiddy pool indoors and turn the thermostat all the way up, so I can pretend to be somewhere warm. I'll just shut up about the weather and go back to my laundry now.

Note to self - gotta take the Sebring to the inspection station on Monday and see if it passes. I think there's a leak in the transmission somewhere. Then I need to figure out if I'm selling it, donating it, or what.

3/26/10
Excited to see Hair again tonight with Tesse. I was going to stay over and go with her to the ASPCA (it's kitty-adopting time - for her, not me), but she managed to get an interview with Raul Esparza set up for tomorrow, and that is the only thing that trumps cuddling kitties. Well, one of the only things.

Three-day weekend, it had better warm up a little.

Mailed off my paycheck to the IRS.

It's one week and two days til Opening Day - Yankees in Boston! I requested the day off two months ago, and it was denied (first time that's happened) - I didn't realize it was Easter. There had better be the full staff at work on Sunday - if they gave the day off to new people (that is, people I have seniority over), I'm going to be very annoyed. I'll have to tape the game and watch it after work (like that's something new!).

I dreamed that I was at the opening day of the new ballpark in Minneapolis. And it was warm and sunny (this is how I know it was a dream), and I was waiting in line with all these scalpers to get a ticket, and then I was wandering around all these kiddie-game exhibits they had outside. And when they rang a bell like they do at the theatre - to signal the start of the game - I woke up.

I have no idea why I dreamed this.

3/24/10
Picked up my Euros at the bank today. Can't believe Paris is in less than a month.

Also picked up tix to the Orioles game on 4/28 (the day after we get back) - the Yankees will be in town, so it'll be a good game. We're going to stay overnight so we can check out the Peeps place while we're there.

Oh wait! The Peeps store is in National Harbor, not the Inner Harbor. It's down by DC. Hrm.

3/23/10
So Ann sent me some restaurant gift certificates for the holidays, and I used one of them to go to La Riviera on Main Street. Big thumbs up for the decor, it's a beautiful restaurant. And the menu looked fantastic. But I have to give a thumbs down to the actual food. I had the tuna ceviche appetizer, which was way too big for an appetizer, and layered with too much guacamole. I ended up picking out the bits of tuna to eat. And I had the paella, which wasn't spicy enough for me (and that's something I never say) - it just seemed bland. Perhaps the leftovers will reheat well.

Nathan Gunn will be doing Billy Budd at the Met in 2011-2012. Must. Buy. Tickets. Now. Speaking of Nathan Gunn, Mom and I snapped up tickets to see him in Die Zauberflote at the Met next month - in the front row of the orchestra! Front row! Dead center! Can't wait. It's the full-length production by Julie Taymor (in German), as opposed to the shorter, English-language holiday version that she did (that was on PBS).

3/22/10
Happy birthday, Stephen Sondheim. And happy week-late birthday to MissyMink. I was on the road, Miss, and I spaced.

It was a gorgeous weekend, which I spent entirely at work. Now it's supposed to rain for three days straight. Figures.

3/20/10
Six months smoke-free. The money that I would have spent on cigarettes now goes towards getting my nails done every two weeks. Much prettier than nasty lungs. The guy who was sitting next to me at In the Heights went out at intermission and smoked about six cigarettes, you could smell him a mile away. He spent the second act wheezing so audibly that I turned and asked him if he was alright.

The frozen chimichangas were like Hot Pockets, but not bad. The taquitos, however, are delicious. I am avoiding scales this week, since I have managed to put away four and a half boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the past five days. Two cookies = one serving, my ass. My fat ass, this week.

3/19/10
Yesterday the cats were all, "oh oh, open the window! it's nice out! open it!" and today they're all, "like whatever, dude, it's an open window, now go get me my tunafish so I can go back to sleep." Kind of sounds like me.

Oh oh, it's nice out! Day off!

Nothing better than a dollar VHS and book sale at the mall. I bought a few movies that I'll donate to work after I watch them, and some books for Summer reading (heck, for Spring reading). And in the non-sale department, I found a dress to wear to Billy Budd in April and some clean t-shirts.

And while I was at BJ's, I found frozen chimichangas in the frozen foods aisle. I bought a bag, will try them out for dinner. Also some mini rolled-up taco-looking things for snacking on.

3/18/10
I am tolerating my new haircut (really, what choice do I have?) but am not loving it.

3/17/10
I got to spend St. Patrick's Day with an Irishman - my dentist, Dr. Rooney. Two fillings. I think he enjoys using that novocaine needle a little too much.

Did my taxes - the state is sending me a whopping hundred bucks, which will go right to the feds, along with the other $800 I owe them.

There is now a massive Marshmallow Peeps store in the Inner Harbor. If I had known that on Sunday, I would have stopped off in Baltimore. All this means now is: roadtrip. Gotta find out when the Orioles are home and I'm off from work.

Friday, July 2nd, is "Francisco Cervelli Bobblehead Day" at the Trenton Thunder. Ooh. I am SO there. I will drive from Yankee Stadium (where I will be at the 1pm game) and go right to Trenton. That rules. I am such a dork. There is, of course, the same dilemna as last year - dealing with traffic leaving the city at 4pm on a Friday of a holiday weekend... I have a few months to figure it out.

3/15/10
Ooh. I can turn my room into a hotel room. I wonder how much one of those comfy pillowtop mattresses costs. I always sleep so well in DoubleTree beds.

3/14/10
After eleven hours driving - from the swamp to the rainy garden state - I am home again.

Super tired - so the quick recap: found the swamp and the glassblower, bought three beautiful bowls for the price of one in the gallery, drove straight up I-95, hit traffic again around Richmond, hit rain around Baltimore, dropped off Florida oranges at Mom's work, and am home unpacking. Whew.

And someone please tell the Daylight Savings people that I want to lose the hour on a weekend when I have to work, not a weekend that I'm on vacation, thanks. And vice versa.

3/13/10
Woke up in Orlando to this mysterious weather phenomenon - this blinding ball of gas in the sky, turning the landscape bright and shiny. I had to search for the sunscreen and flipflops.

And holy cow, we had baseball. We had Yankees. We did not have Jeter, A-Rod, Tex or Cervelli (they were all on the road trip part of the split-squad game), tho. But I had the fantastic lemonade at Steinbrenner Field, and it was sunny (if not warm), and Jorge went three-for-three. So the trip wasn't a complete washout (pun intended).

After the game (or rather, after the 8 innings that we stayed for), we drove back to Orlando and I dropped David off at the airport. And then I drove, drove, drove north for six more hours and here I am in lovely Santee, South Carolina. I like that SC has a nice entryway into the state when you drive up 95 (I missed the "thank you for visiting SC" on the way down, since I drove a smaller highway into Savannah). It's like this big southern plantation gate with a palmetto tree on it, welcoming you.

It started raining again halfway through Georgia, but then it eased up. It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow, all along the east coast. Should make for a fun visit to the swamp and then home. I was listening to the Blue Collar comedy channel on Sirius radio (because the showtunes channel was playing the "Rain Song" from 110 in the Shade too many times for my liking), and one of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if..." things ended in "...the directions to your house include the words, 'turn off of the paved road.'" and I could not stop laughing (see directions to swamp place below).

So now I am kicking back in my Hampton Inn room (clean, nice, the less-ritzy Hilton chain), polishing off a Bud Light and setting the clock ahead an hour. Tomorrow I backtrack 20 miles to visit the glassblower (I called earlier today to confirm, going there at 10am), and then head north for another ten hours or so.

3/12/10
Raining.

But I had a fabulous dream about Francisco Cervelli (and it did not involve baseball at all). Maybe it was the late-night tapas. Or the full-page picture of him in the Spring Training program. And this morning I was watching Anderson Cooper on the Regis morning show - he was trying to wiggle a cookie from his forehead to his mouth. This is why I don't get up early. Maybe it was the tapas after all.

So we got to see an inning and a half of the Braves/Pirates game. They started it late (because of the RAIN), and they cancelled it after Ross Ohlendorf got hit with a comebacker (the article says they played through two more rain delays, but we left after this first one), because it was RAINING even heavier. So we drove back down International Drive to Pointe Orlando (some kind of weird outdoor mall) and went to the movies to see Avatar: in 3-D (set in a strange, unknown world without precipitation). I liked it more than I thought I would. Dinner at a crepe place next to the movie theatre, and then the tour of In the Heights, which was better than I remember it being - the whole show. Fantastic production, and I hope this cast is the one that we're going to see in Phoenix. It was truly a great production.

Tomorrow it's supposed to be, well, if not sunny, at least not wet. I realized when I looked at the schedule that the Yankees are playing split-squad games (which means half the team stays in Tampa and half the team goes on the road). I had better see me some Cervelli.

Ticketmaster is kind enough to refund the price of yesteday's and today's games.

I think next year - Spring Training in Phoenix. No rain.

later on 3/11/10
Could the weather be any worse?! We drove (SLOWLY) to Tampa, because the Yankees kept saying, "the game is scheduled to be played," and it was dark and windy and again with the blinding rain. So we get there, go in, and 45 minutes later they cancelled it. I did manage to get some nice pics with the tarp on the field, tho. So we got back in the car and drove (much more quickly this time) back to Orlando, with no rain and no wind this time around. Dinner at the tapas bar next to the hotel - meeting tomorrow at 10am for breakfast (I hope the IHOP here has the bacon omelette) and then a no-rain dance before seeing the Braves/Pirates game tomorrow (hopefully) - if no game, movies. Then In The Heights.

At least it isn't cold.

3/11/10
Oh - there's the rain. It was blinding rain all the way from Savannah to Orlando (5 hours). And now that I'm at the hotel (again, DoubleTree, love), there's a "severe thunderstorm" warning and a "tornado" watch. I can deal with the rain and the wind. Big swirly tornados? Not so much. I'm waiting for my friend David to get back from the movies (he flew down last night), and then we're going to decide what to do if the game tonight is cancelled. It probably will be - tomorrow's is likely to be cancelled, too.

And hey, this ought to say something about the number of military bases in the area (or maybe how baseball is not really the National Pasttime anymore, sad) - twice, when I told people in Savannah that I was passing through on my way to Spring Training, I was asked, "oh, are you in the Army?"

3/10/10
Oh oh oh - in one of the shops here, they have this beautiful red blown glass bowl done by the same artist who made the blue vase I bought in South Carolina. It just caught my eye as I walked past, and I went in to talk to the shopkeeper and take a picture of it. I simply cannot afford $1300 for it, tho. So I was looking on the internet for info about the artist, and it turns out he has a website, and a phone number. So I called and asked if he would be around on Sunday (on my way home) - he's about 20 min off of I-95. The directions he gave me were something like, "get on rt 78 heading west, go about 13 miles, bear left at the flashing red light in town, then turn onto this dirt road, go past my mailbox, don't turn in there, you'll see a dead end sign, and if you cross the river you've gone too far, and call me when you're coming so I can open up the gate for you." I love the South. So excited - so I'll drive from Orlando to bumfuck SC on Saturday eve, then go there Sunday before I head home. Maybe I can find a piece or two that I like that won't break the bank - he sounded so happy that I already owned one of his pieces.

Booked a Hilton in Santee SC (20 miles up the road) for Saturday night. Cleared off the rest of the Visa card. I believe the magic words here are: "Friday is payday."

I had shrimp and grits (mmmm) for lunch, and a salad with "hot honey bacon dressing" - so good.

Went and got my hair cut - by a stylist from New Jersey. How random is that. We talked about the Yankees. It's still long, and I'm not sure if I like the layers he put in yet - if I don't, whatever - hair grows. Or I will go and get it all cut off to match the shortest layers in back. I don't know how many times I have told hairstylists that my hair is baby-fine, almost Asian, and that layers will just fall flat, and how many times they have said, "no, no, they'll add volume." Of course, there are an equal number of times that I believe them, which is why I hate haircuts. I'll have to see how it looks tomorrow.

And for two years, I have been dreaming lustfully of the biscuits with honey-butter and the pecan-crusted fried chicken at The Pirates House. I can now safely report that they are as delicious as ever. I was licking my fingers. Plus the bartender carded me, which made for an all-around great dinner experience.

And in the "news from home" category, NJ Transit reports: "The new round trip into Manhattan will cost approximately $27.50 instead of the current $22. The new round trip fare will be nearly a third higher than the soon-to-be-eliminated $18.75 off-peak fare." It is now officially cheaper to drive into the city.

later on 3/9/10
Thirteen and a half hours to Savannah! Straight down I-95, but still, I thought it would be longer. It was quick going, except for the usual traffic between Baltimore and DC. And it was in the mid-70's (temperature AND speed limit) driving, once I got past DC. I did indeed strip down my layers as the trip went on. Coming in to Savannah is the scariest suspension bridge ever, because it has this huge incline. Not fun to drive over when you're tired and it's dark. But I made it.

I love my car - it is the perfect roadtrip vehicle. The Sirius radio continues to be awesome - hardly had to change a channel the entire trip, and that was only when bad songs were on (I do not consider the score of Love Never Dies, the POTO sequel, among "bad songs that required changing the channel", because I wanted to hear it, and while it was so atrociously bad that I wanted to pull over and throw up, I managed to make it through the entire broadcast), and the hands-free Sync phone-thing is awesome. Love. I also love Hilton Honors. I called them when I was an hour outside of Savannah to see if they could find me a hotel room (since when I called one of the hotels directly, they said they were full). They did - at the AAA rate for the Hilton Garden. And - and this is why I love Hilton Honors - when I went to check in, the clerk told me the hotel was also overbooked, so they put me into the DoubleTree across the street, and comped my parking. And free internet, too. And of course, the free DoubleTree cookie. And all these pillows! It's a swanky room.

I went out for dinner, and now I'm going to soak in the tub and read all the hotel literature and stuff. Tomorrow I walk and eat (I have my umbrella, it's supposed to rain). I'm right in the Historic District, so it's easy to walk around - won't need the car until I check out on Thursday morning.

3/9/10
I wanted to leave at 5am this morning, but the sinuses and the headache and the world's smallest bladder kept waking me up, despite the sleeping pill, so it's closer to 7am. Whatever - a late start never hurt anyone! See you in the South.

3/7/10
Packing tonight - because tomorrow night I plan to come home from work, watch House, take an Ambien, get up at 5am on Tuesday and hit the road. Can't wait. Better be warm and sunny. Bathing suit? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Umbrella? Sadly, check. Need to get down there and give some luck to my team - their record in Spring Training is 1-4 right now. But you know what they say - bad rehearsal, good performance.

I hope Cervelli is feeling better by Thursday's game. He sure does get hit in the head a lot, maybe that's part of his appeal.

The hotel I want to stay at in Savannah has free WiFi, so I'm taking the laptop with me (if I remember it on Tuesday morning as I stumble out of the house). I didn't make a reservation yet, because while I'm planning to drive straight down to Georgia in one fell swoop on Tuesday, you never know. So I'll play it by ear. Meeting my friend David in Orlando on Thursday, so I'm not in too much of a rush.

3/6/10
Happy birthday to my future boy-toy, Francisco Cervelli.

3/5/10
Forecast for Orlando and Tampa next week? Scattered thunderstorms. But 75 degrees, on average. I don't know whether to laugh or cry or just enjoy it. Also chance of thunderstorms for Savannah, where I plan to pass through on my way. It rained last time I was there, too.

3/4/10
Got up at the crack of 11am and got our Diamondbacks/Yankees tix for AZ in June. The first tix I selected were $175, right behind home plate! Should have snapped those up (come on, it's a vacation), but I picked "choose again," and wound up with tix in the outfield. But the price level listed says, "all you can eat" on it - I hope that's true, because I don't mind sitting in the outfield with unlimited hot dogs.

later on 3/3/10
Small world moment - so I'm standing up to get off the subway at 14th Street, and there's my friend Alan on the same train, right in front of me. Since we were supposed to be meeting at the restaurant two blocks away, I guess it isn't that surprising, but then again, there are 8 million people in the city, so it is.

Good Mexican food (tho man, still craving Macayo's), in Chelsea, then walked up to 23rd Street for some fantastic chocolate chip cookies with bacon. Bacon-y goodness baked right into the cookies. Oh man. Love.

3/3/10
Huzzah - first televised Spring Training game of the season! Cervelli! In the starting lineup (and the first Yankees baserunner of the Spring, since he got hit by a pitch).

Well, after 45 minutes on hold, I talked to someone at the Yankees ticket upgrade office. If you're going to expect high call volume, you should hire more people to work the phones. I'm just saying. And when I called (on the other line) my "personal ticket rep," his voicemail said to call the 800 number. Bad service, but I digress. After spending 45 minutes on hold, I asked about moving down a few rows and closer to home plate. Well, they don't offer anything closer than row 11 (where I am), and they could put me almost behind home plate, but in row 13 (there are only 14 rows), and not on the aisle. So I'm keeping my seats. Took less than five minutes to talk to the guy.

Bank of America can order my Euros for the Paris trip - I'll do that when I get back from Florida.

3/1/10
Ooh yay, I got picked in the ticket lottery for Diamondbacks/Yankees tix - for the series in AZ in June. They go on sale Thursday, let's hope I can snag a pair, and then I can plan the AZ trip around the game. It's the time of year to plan the baseball roadtrips. My friend Alan and I are doing a Philly-to-Boston trip in May, having snagged tix to the Yankees/Red Sox via *their* ticket lotto. I am super excited!

Cute moment from work. One of our wackier guys was getting in his mood where he likes to yell at the nurses - "You goddamn son of a bitch bastard good bye good bye" over and over again. We ignore it, like a tantrum. Well, tonight as he started to yell, this other man rolls up in his wheelchair, locks the wheels, stands up, and sticks his finger in the first guy's face. And he told him knock it off, watch his language around the ladies, and to treat the nurses and aides with respect because "they're here to take care of us, and I love them, and without them you wouldn't be here." I hugged him and said it was alright, what man #1 says goes in one ear and out the other. He said, "that isn't the point - I'm 94 years old and I wouldn't get any further without you, I'll always stick up for you." The first guy slunk back to his room. These moments make me love my job.

-catherine

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