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5/31/07
Even tho the Yankees had a 5-0 lead in the first inning last night in Toronto, I was sitting on the edge of the couch, wondering when they would blow it. And they nearly did. But surprisingly enough, they managed to eke out a win over the Blue Jays, and Boston lost, so we're only something like 14 games back. That's ok, it was the same thing in 1978 (or so I hear, I wasn't watching the games then).

I've become Jimmy Farrell's character in Fever Pitch. There's a scene where they're in a restaurant and someone starts talking about the game, and he covers his ears and starts going "la la la" so he doesn't hear the score - since he's going to watch it after dinner. That's me at work - I tell the Yankee fan residents (and staff) not to tell me how it's going, and for the most part, I'm able to get home and watch it on Yankees Encore with no idea how it's going to end up.

I'm really going to miss the bunch of residents we have in the sub-acute section at work right now. They're all really terrific, and better than than, they (and their families) are very complimentary towards me, my aides, and the facility in general. We're doing a great job lately, and it feels good to hear it. I tell the families, "just let my boss know what you think."

5/29/07
One more step on the road to fiscal responsibilty. I made the last payment on my car loan today, two years ahead of schedule. The bank should be sending me my lien release and title in the next two weeks.

Now, with my luck, the car will die, now that it's paid off.

5/28/07
Happy Memorial Day. Double-time pay today for working the holiday, may I be spared from crazy families, falling patients, and irritable doctors.

5/27/07
As reported in the Times, and not a moment too soon:

To Love and to Cherish for All Eternity, or Not
By JANE HELLER

I am no stranger to divorce. I am a two-time loser, having severed my unions with both the man I married when I was too young to know better and the man I wed when I was too work-obsessed to pay attention.

But I honestly thought I was over that particular brand of heartbreak — the accusations, the recriminations, the tears, the lonely nights, the division of property. I was determined not to put myself through another breakup, and yet I do not see any other way out. My current relationship has unraveled.

I gave it everything I have. I am sick and tired of the "I trieds" and the "What do you expect me to dos?" I've been begging for answers and all I have gotten are platitudes. Enough is enough.

And so I am divorcing the New York Yankees — all 25 men on the active roster, in addition to the manager, the coaches and the general manager. Oh, and the trainer, too. And, of course, the owner and all his baseball people.

The grounds for the divorce will be mental cruelty. I mean, I made a commitment to these guys, emotional and financial, and they betrayed and humiliated me by allowing the Red Sox — the Red Sox! — to run away with the division. When I think how I defended the Yankees to their legions of detractors, it hurts. It really hurts.

I was so loyal, so trusting, so willing to shell out $165 so I could buy Major League Baseball's Extra Innings package and watch all the games from my house in California. And yet look at how they treated me. I will tell you how they treated me — as if I were a Kansas City Royals fan.

Yeah, I know. There have been injuries. A sore back. A cracked fingernail. A bone spur. A hammy. Please. I am not stupid. If a guy does not want to show up for me, he should simply say so and stop making excuses.

And yeah, there have been disruptions in routine. But again. A rainout is no reason to act all out of sorts and say, "I guess I just didn't have good stuff."

When, exactly, did I fall out of love with the Yankees? (To clarify: I will always love them, but I am no longer in love with them. There is too much anger, too much baggage between us now.)

Maybe it was when Cashman started spending a fortune to acquire pitchers who suddenly could not pitch, at least not in pinstripes. Vázquez. Loaiza. Contreras. Weaver. Wright. Pavano. Every time one of these guys would take the mound (or consult a surgeon), my heart would crack a little more. I kept wanting to slap Cashman, to make him feel the pain I was feeling, to strike back against what I perceived to be his abusive behavior toward me.

And do not get me started on how he breached my faith by overpaying for Clemens, a man who forced me to care about him only to leave me for Houston. It is still too raw.

Or maybe the love died when Zimmer quit and Torre had to make managerial decisions on his own. There were all those nights when Joe would call for Tanyon Sturtze in relief — so many nights that he turned that poor guy's arm into a pretzel, the way he is doing now with Scott Proctor. There were also the nights when he would pull Mussina or Wang or whichever starter was actually pitching brilliantly and efficiently in favor of a reliever who would blow the game. (See Sturtze.)

And then there was his flip-flopping: "I won't use Mo in the eighth"; "I have to use Mo in the eighth." Those mixed messages can really get to a person in love. We all need to know where we stand, don't we?

But my passion — that mad, crazy, dizzying feeling — really petered out as a result of the team's collective offensive slump. (No, this is not about you, Jeter, although I have not forgiven you for not sticking up for A-Rod last year; and Jorge, you are not to blame, given your smoldering- hot bat.)

When I first fell in love with the Yankees, players knew how to bunt. They knew how to get runners over and get 'em in. They knew how to make productive outs. And — here is the biggie — they knew how to hit consistently and in the clutch.

Watching the current lineup flail at the ball was what finally made me decide to take action. I will pack up my Yankees T-shirts and caps and anything else I own with the interlocking N and Y and donate them to charity. I will stop checking the scores hourly. I will no longer dream about what might have been.

The truth is, I have already started to look elsewhere for satisfaction and companionship, which is how you really know a relationship is over. I have been watching the Devil Rays lately, and let me tell you: They do for me what the Yankees could not. They entertain me. They make me laugh. They put me in a good mood. They run and hit and they are young and cute. They do not win often, but they are fun!

Do you know how refreshing that is? How liberating? I am feeling frisky and free and unburdened now that I am with the Rays. (That is our little pet name.) It is not quite love. Not yet. But I am open to it.

As for the Yankees, if they suddenly start winning and somehow become not only the American League champions this season but the World Series champions, I will take that as a sign that they want me back and I will give them serious consideration. But as of right now, we are over. I am not that into them anymore.

5/25/07
Wasn't it just last week that we had freezing rain and lots of wind? Today, it's 90 out. Shorts weather. Break out the sunscreen weather. But not quite air conditioner weather.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was extremely funny. I still think the first movie was the best all-around, but this was just made me laugh out loud. And it's always great to see something in a sold-out theatre. They even had the theatre manager down front giving out prizes for trivia questions, recapping the first two movies, and hosting a mini-consessions stand in the front of the theatre so you didn't have to leave for popcorn.

later on 5/23/07
And Carl Pavano? Yankee career over. About time.

Missy and Oliver want to treat Liz and I to birthday dinner (since Liz and I are both June babies), so I suggested Aquavit, where I haven't been in ages. Might be too pricy tho, so I'm trying to think of other places for delicious birthday food.

And it's Fleet Week - my favorite holiday!

5/23/07
I was appointed an official mentor at work - which means I will officially be orienting new staff nurses and being a go-to resource for them. I really like teaching the new nurses (tho I'm not that far removed from being one myself), and am getting a lot of good feedback from the ones I've worked with. It isn't a promotion (and will probably go unnoticed by everyone), but it feels nice.

I love the smell of fresh-cut grass, but I can't stand that the lawn guys must come, en masse, so early to cut it. And by early, I mean 9am.

5/20/07
This should be a busy week - work tomorrow and Tuesday (I wonder if our new residents from the evacuation are still with us), Yankees/Red Sox with Missy on Wed (I have my crying towel all ready), Pirates of the Caribbean on Thursday at 8pm (did I see on the moviefone site that there's going to be a fourth movie?) followed by working the 11-7 shift, and then Coram Boy for the second time on Friday (which I just found out is closing on Sunday - that's so wrong, it was brilliant).

I watched the first two Pirates movies on DVD to get ready for Thursday.

later on 5/19/07
Another Yankee pitcher down, as Darrell Rasner breaks his hand on a line-drive back to the mound. Maybe they should start scouting the Old Bridge Little League.

5/19/07
There are really only two things wrong with Boston. One, it rained all week. Two, everywhere you go, there are Red Sox fans.

I slept through the drive up, because I was up all night Tuesday night. The hotel was on the outskirts of downtown, but it was easy enough to drive into the rest of the city. We went down to the Common and started walking the Freedom Trail on Wednesday afternoon. Lots of big old stuff. We made it down to Fanueil Hall, and stopped in around the corner at The Old Union Oyster House. Delicious food, and by the time we were done, it was drizzling. We walked down to where we parked and drove over to Fenway for the game. It wasn't raining when we got there, but as soon as we got settled in our seats, the skies opened and it started thundering and pouring down. So we moved back under the roof and watched it rain for an hour until they finally called the game off (to be made up as part of a doubleheader on Thurs). Best moment? They have TV's under the roof in right field, because the sightlines are terrible, and during the rain delay, they were showing the YES Network. I kid you not. They would never show NESN at the Stadium!

So instead of doing more touristy things on Thursday, it ended up being the doubleheader day. We did a quick drive-through of MIT and Harvard up in Cambridge, and then drove to Fenway. I had initially thought that there were no bad seats in the park, but I was wrong. For the first game, we were in right field box seats, but they were angled so you directly faced the bullpen. And right next to an aisle where people kept coming in and out and stopping right in the line of sight. We left in the seventh inning (honestly, I'm not a Red Sox fan, or a Tigers fan), and walked down Newbury Street to window shop. They have a Lush store, where it was really easy to drop $100 without thinking. But I'll smell great for the next while.

Dinner was steak at Smith and Wollensky's, which is in this building that used to be an armory, and everyone calls "the Castle." Delicious. A slow walk back to Fenway for game two, for which we had another set of bad seats. In the grandstand, but about eight rows behindo ne of the supporting pillars, which meant that to see the batter or anything near the third base line, everyone in our section had to lean one way or the other. We lasted about three innings and went back to watch the rest of the game at the hotel.

Yesterday - still raining. But we sucked it up and finished the Freedom Trail, ending up seeing Paul Revere's house and the Old North Church. We went back to Cambridge after that and went to the Harvard Museum of Natural History, which has the collection of glass-blown flowers that look lifelife. And then took the T back to Boston Common and went to the movies to waste some time in the rain. After that (it was Blades of Glory, and you can skip it), we went back to the hotel, ordered in dinner, and vegged out - watched Roger Clemens make his single-A rehab start in Tampa, they were showing it on ESPN.

The plan for today was to go to Plymouth Plantation, but since it was still raining, we decided to just drive home instead.

Great trip, excepting the two things I mentioned above.

And what's up with the Yankees? Ten games out of first, that's not right.

5/16/07
I wasn't expecting to work overnight last night, but I got a call from the VP of our company, saying that they were evacuating another center in NJ because of these forest fires that are all over the southern part of the state. How many beds could we make available? So I called the big bosses, did a building assessment, called him back, and arranged - with another 3-11 nurse - to stay and set things up. We mopped floors, moved beds, set out supplies, devised a triage system, set up stations to do vital signs and blood sugars, and alerted the rest of the staff. I'm pretty impressed with the work we did. We even set out "Welcome to our center" signs in the lobby for the new folks. No idea how long they'll be staying.

The new residents hadn't even left their emergency shelter by 6.30am, so we (the ones who stayed overnight) were able to leave, and let the day staff do the actual processing and paperwork.

I'm really impressed. I hope things run smoothly today - since I'm off til Monday, I won't get to see it all in action, since they'll probably be gone by then.

Sleep - then off to Boston.

5/15/07
I'm confused by some of the Tony nominations. Probably because I didn't see a good deal of the nominated shows this year, and the ones I did see, I either loved (and they didn't get a lot of nominations), or walked out of because they were so dull (and those ones got a handful of noms). I hate to say it, but I'm not going to spend the night of the Tony's biting my lip over who wins.

I've been orienting a handful of new nurses at work over the past few weeks. I really like doing the hands-on teaching. And as I said to the guy I was working with last night, "I talk a lot, so I'll talk you through everything I do tonight." It seems to work, the orientees are all telling me they like working with me and they're learning a lot. But it'd be nice to have a day or two without someone shadowing me, so I can just do my work and go home. And not get a sore throat.

Off to Boston tomorrow for a few days, it's supposed to be cold with 60% chance of rain.

5/14/07
It was so nice to see all of the women at work (the residents, that is), dressed up for Mother's Day yesterday. But it was a little sad to ask one of them, who's new to us, if she had any children other than the ones I had met, and she said she didn't know.

I can't believe Roger Clemens might pitch at Trenton on the 23rd - the night Missy and I are going to see the Yankees/Red Sox game. That's timing.

5/12/07
Home again.

So - because I have awful luck, we get to the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh only to find out that Nathan Gunn pulled out of the opera, Billy Budd, because of "acute laryngitis." In a really cool, operatic turn of events, the producers were able to find a singer who had performed the same role in the same production somewhere else in the world, and they flew him in from Italy to do it. He was good, but I'll bet Nathan Gunn would have been better.

The drive out there took about six hours, and tho Pennsylvania is pretty to drive through, I always get bored on the trip. Luckily, it was perfect convertible weather for the entire couple of days.

Thursday morning, we went out to Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house in the middle of nowhere. I had been there about 12 years ago, when it was covered in reconstruction materials and big blue plastic tarps. On the way back, we stopped at an animal petting zoo, with deer and alpacas and zebras and pygmy goats, all of which eat right out of your hand and cover you in saliva. Fortunately, they have sinks.

Thursday night was the opera, to which I wore a cleavage-bearing dress and band-aid-requiring heels. The theatre is gorgeous, and the production was really enjoyable. Like I said above, just a shame that Nathan Gunn wasn't there.

Friday, we drove again to the middle of nowhere and went to the Pittsburgh Zoo. I could watch sea otters all day. On the way back into the city, we stopped at the Frick Museum, which is three different collections plus a cafe. There's the art gallery, which had an unimpressive exhibit by some artist I'd never heard of, the Car and Carriage museum, which housed a collection of cars right out of a Clive Cussler book - Dirk Pitt would be proud - and also the family manse, Clayton, which is bigger and more impressive than a house needs to be.

Friday night, I turned traitor and put on my John Smoltz shirt and Atlanta Braves cap, and watched the Braves beat the Pirates 4-1. PNC Park is one of the new ballparks, and reminds me a lot of the new one in Philly. But don't say that to anyone in Pittsburgh, they seem to boo anything from Philly. The park has a great view of the city skyline (which is oddly dark, Pittsburgh being a "green" city) and the many bridges that cross the many rivers. They gave out free umbrellas as a promotional item - they would never do that in the Bronx. And in addition to a pirate and a parrot as mascots, they have a pierogi race (like we have the animated subway race), similar to Milwaukee's sausage race. They also sell pierogies in the ballpark.

And today - just drive drive drive home again. I have to go take a nap, working 11-7 tonight.

5/9/07
Off to the opera - in Pittsburgh!

5/8/07
It finally looks like it's warm enough to wear a skirt to work. Bracing myself for the catcalls from 90 year old men right now.

The Daily News worked it out, that Roger Clemens will earn about $10,000 a pitch. And won't have to travel with the team (tho he says he will, and will spend a lot of his time working with the minor league pitchers). And that as part of his contract, Carl Pavano will have to carry his bags (just kidding). I don't care - I'm just happy to have him back, and maybe the pitching staff will stabilize a bit now so we can get on with the important things, like winning a series against Boston and winning the World Series.

5/7/07
Happy birthday, Jen!

So a friend in Texas was at an event where Sondheim was, and my friend mentioned to Steve that I was a fan, and could he please send an autograph. So today in the mail, I get this envelope - with a personally signed photo of Steve. How cool! I've got to find a frame for it.

5/6/07
Roger Clemens! The Rocket is back in pinstripes! I could not be more excited!

Watch out for the hamstring, Rog.

later on 5/4/07
Well, if you like good pitching, tonight's game was not for you. We left after the fifth inning, when Seattle was winning 14-8. The Yankees had scored 5 runs in the first inning, and then it all went downhill. The final score was 15-11, and it's just really, really depressing. The Yankees pitcher who got the loss, Colter Bean, was booed off the mound.

In happier news, we made the house safer today, going to Home Depot and picking up new smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

Back to work for a double shift tomorrow.

5/4/07
Swept the doubleheader. Carl Pavano may be having surgery (big surprise, what a waste of money). Off to see the Mariners tonight - and for another "Cap Night." I think it's safe to go in normal clothes, not in 14 layers, since it finally seems to have warmed up around here.

The tree we bought last year and planted in the front yard doesn't seem to have survived the erratic winter/spring/winter/spring that we had. I think it needs to be dug up and replaced. Maybe they make trees that don't care what the weather is like.

5/2/07
Falsettos down at the George St. Playhouse isn't the best production of the show I've ever seen, but it wasn't bad by any means. I think it could have used some better singers (the actor playing Mendel listed no singing credits in his bio, and we were not surprised). It's always a crashoot seeing shows there - that's where we walked out of Songs For A New World at intermission. Yes, I know the show doesn't have an intermission, but this production did. Anyway, this was one of the better shows they've done.

No Yankees Encore tonight - the game in Texas was rained out. Doubleheader tomorrow, I hope I'm working on a unit at work where I can slip on the YES Network and keep an eye on it.

later on 5/1/07
So I'm standing around at work, around 10.30pm, and one of my residents, who also watches all of the Yankees games, comes down to the unit I'm on. He's got a look of disbelief on his face, and asked, "What? You aren't watching the game?" I said, "Shh! Don't tell me anything because I'm going to watch it when I go home." We weren't watching it at work because my aides wanted to watch Who Wants to be America's Next Top Dancing Idol or whatever it is.

So I came home and settled in to watch the game on Yankees Encore (which, by the way, is the best thing ever). Holy cow! Phil Hughes (the new kid, who really does look like a young Roger Clemens) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. And then - right after announcer Bobby Murcer jinxed him by saying the words, "no-hitter," threw a pitch and grabbed his leg in pain. Hamstring. Out for 4-6 weeks.

Ouch.

Good news tho, we won 10-1, and the Red Sox lost.

5/1/07
It's perfect Spring weather. Warm, sunny, and above all, not snowing or raining. But it's in-between wardrobe weather. Do I wear a coat? A sweater? Last week, when I decided I didn't need to bring my sweater to work with me, someone cranked up the AC in the building. And when I leave work at midnight, it's usually cooler than when I go in. So I bring a coat.

If this is the biggest dilemna I have all day, I'm lucky.

Just realized I'll be in Pittsburgh when my Geico bill is due (the one I'm planning to pay on the day it's due, because that's when pay day is). Well, it'll be a day late. It's due on the 11th, and we get home on the 12th.

-catherine

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