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4/30/08
While all of our All-Stars seem to be on the disabled list, you can still go and vote for the 2008 All-Star team. I love when they play with the names of the players:

There is a lot of time between now and then, a lot of research to do on these candidates. There are two Drews, a Hardy boy and a Bard. There is a Hill and Stairs. Surely there must be potential leaders among Kennedy, Wilson, Jackson, Johnson and Chavez. There are two "A. Jones" -- one a Dodger and one an Oriole. There is a Durham and a Pierre to see. There is a Bay and an Overbay. There is Lamb and there is Pie, Crisp and Dunn. There is a Prince and fortunately a Butler. For those who love water, there is a Hudson and we found Wells. This will go on for Weeks.

I wish the Yankees would hurry up and say if and when tix to the game are going on sale for season ticket holders. You can register at yankees.com for the chance to buy tickets (and yes, go and do it, and you can give the tickets to me). They listed the prices for the events, too. Go, register.

4/29/08
And Consumer Reports loves the Miata, too. They didn't say anything about the fabulous color selection, but I'm sure it gets a thumbs-up, too.

We had our hot dog fundraiser at work today, so I had hot dogs for lunch (brought in my own packets of "stolen from the Stadium" spicy brown mustard). I'm about to go have hot dogs (with store-bought spicy brown mustard) for my after-work, 1am dinner. And tomorrow we're going to the Stadium, where I will try my damndest NOT to have hot dogs. They make excellent Cuban sandwiches at the Stadium, maybe I'll get that. By Friday's game I'll probably be ready for hot dogs again.

Turns out you can't just add the Yankees checks onto an existing account. That sucks. I am not opening an entirely new account just to have cool checks which I would hardly use anyway, because I pay nearly everything online.

4/28/08
I am also ogling the Mazda Miata convertible. I've always liked them. And it comes in Highland Green, which is a lovely color. When the weather turns nice again (it went from 75 and sunny to cool and rainy - Ah, Spring!), I'll have to go and test drive the ones I like. And finish saving money.

I went to Bank of America to see about getting the Yankees checks, and it looks like you have to have a completely separate checking account for that. I emailed them to ask if they can just add the checks (and check card!) onto my current checking account, so I'm waiting for an answer. I am a sucker for cheesy advertising stuff.

4/25/08
So there was lots of traffic on the way to Laguardia Shea Stadium - all up the Staten Island Expy, the BQE, the Grand Central and Northern Blvd. And the Stadium is - as ever - a dump. It really is. The new park, CitiField, will be a huge improvement. We went to the CitiField preview center that they have there, where they have some of the new seats, and large-screen images of what the view will be like from some of the "you can't afford this" luxury boxes.

I will say this for Shea tho, they do make excellent grilled (not steamed) hot dogs.

Our seats, while cheap and right behind home plate, were way up high in the nosebleed section. But they were something like $6 each, so you can't complain. The Braves got a run in the first, then struggled mightily as they walked in three runs in a row, and then came back to take the lead again. Was nice - in a weird way - to see Bobby Cox do his usual "arguing balls and strikes" bit and get ejected for his 136th time.

No traffic at all going home - must have been the Friday night rush hour that did us in going to the game.

Yankees lost (but so did Boston), and the pitching woes continue, as everyone goes to the DL. Rumor has it that Shelley Duncan will be back this week, so he can stop seething down in Scranton. Come back, Shelley, we miss you.

Two things of note:
a. celery + peanut butter + raisins = still the best snack ever
b. I read this fantastically funny book called My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins and Fenway Park - I highly recommend it. It has baseball, musical theatre, and really - what else do you need? When there's a character who, in a theatre review, states that all a certain show needs is "a score by Sondheim to really make you want to go kill yourself" - well, I was in tears. I'm picking up the author's other books on amazon.com as we speak. What good is working two jobs if you can't splurge on books? Heck, what good is life if you can't splurge on books?

later on 4/24/08
Day Two was terrific. I pretty much worked on my own, and it went smoothly. The people I worked with yesterday and today are friendly, helpful, and they made the time fly by. So I think it'll work out fine to be there one or two shifts a week. I wouldn't go there fulltime - I like my regular job too much, and like I said, there's a lot of organization that needs to be done, but per diem is just fine.

I will have saved enough money for a new car in no time flat. I was admiring the Ford Mustang convertibles, too. Hrm. Stylish.

Tomorrow is Mets/Braves at Shea - go Braves!

4/24/08
Day One of orientation at the per-diem went well. The people are friendly, and, as expected, the basic work stuff is the same as what I'm used to. It's just learning new people and new paperwork for the most part. To be honest, there's a lot of things that could use some consistency, and a lot of new administrative staff there. And I'm the kind of person that would jump right in and try to get things organized, so I have to remember that I'm only there once or twice a week, and it's not my place to jump in like that. But - I can certainly work with what's there, and that's what matters. And so far, I like it.

Back today for Day Two.

4/23/08
I can tell it's Spring. Beside the fact that it's 70 degrees and sunny, this is the first day that I'm not wearing leggings under my scrubs.

4/22/08
The Pope at Yankee Stadium, as per The Onion. When I think of the Pope in NY, I think of House of Blue Leaves, and the song:

The day that the Pope came to New York
The day that the Pope came to New York
It really was comical
The Pope wore a yarmuke
The day that the Pope came to New York

Maybe it's just me.

4/21/08
Back from Boston, and my feet hurt from walking around. The drive up was uneventful, and I think I dozed off for most of it. We got to the city with plenty of time before the concert, so we went to get dinner at Morton's, where they bring out the big tray of meat so they can explain what a filet mignon is. It is what I ate, no explanation needed.

The city was packed, especially around Copley Square, because they were setting up for today's marathon. So lots of in-shape, crazy people wandering around. Lots of bleachers and signs, too. I especially liked the few churches that had "blessing of the athletes" signs up.

The BSO performs in Symphony Hall, which is beautiful. Our seats were in the first row (row D? the first row? OK) which was a bummer, since we had a view of the strings, James Levine's head, and the side of the head of whoever was singing - they were on the far side of the stage. So I got to HEAR Nathan Gunn, and occasionally get a glimpse of his hand or his hair when he leaned over. And the piece they did (a world premiere based on Orpheus and Eurydice) was very modern and not my type at all. The second piece they did, which Nathan was not in (it had Ben Heppner and Ann Sophie Von Otter, lest you think we were deprived of good singing) was Mahler's Lied von der Erde and much more enjoyable.

Saturday, we did the tour at Fenway, which was almost as fun as the tour at Camden Yards - in Baltimore you get to go down to the field and the dugout. But at Fenway you get to go to the top of the Green Monster. So it's really a toss-up. We thought about going to the MFA, but it closes at 4.45pm on Saturdays and it was already after 2pm by the time the tour was over. So we went instead to the Massachusetts Historical Society, where there's a small exhibit of letters by John Adams. They even had a copy of the Declaration of Independence in his hand, before the final changes were made. That was impressive.

The game was depressing, too many Red Sox fans. And Texas blew the lead. Very sad.

On Sunday, the plan was to go to the game again, but my feet were aching, especially after doing some more walking before the game. A lot of the streets were blocked off, because there were all these runners. I asked some guy what was going on, since the marathon was on Monday (today), and he said it was the women's cross country Olympic trials. Cool. Anyway, I didn't feel like sitting through another three hours on the wooden seats, so we sold the tix to the game, and came home instead.

They get both 660AM and 880AM (the FAN and WCBS) in tune on the radio up there, so we listened to the Yankees game on the way home (they beat the Orioles, avoiding a sweep), so the drive home wasn't as dull as the drive up.

I looked at my calendar - between work, job #2, games at Shea and in Philly, and theatre, I do not have a day off until May 21. Wish me luck.

4/18/08
The only good thing about last night's game was the guy who caught Manny's (second) homer. He was about four rows directly in front of us, and he threw it back on the field to a huge ovation. And Tino flipped over the "remaining home games" counter.

Otherwise, it was depressing.

Off to Boston, to see Nathan Gunn and to root for the Texas Rangers!

Happy Passover this week.

4/17/08
It's 70 degrees out today!

Every Yankees/Red Sox game should be as good as last night's. Clocking in at a brisk four hours and eight minutes (they're all that long, it seems), it was tense. They scored first, then we had two homers to take the lead. Then they tied it up, and we came back to take the lead. They tied it up again. We came back AGAIN to take the lead and then tacked on a few more runs to win 15-9. It was fantastic, and another nail-biter.

A-Rod hit another homer (to pass Ted Williams and Willie McCovey on the all-time list), and then got plunked in the back. Manny Ramirez nearly got thrown out (and was serenaded many times with "Manny Sucks" from our side of the ballpark). Jorge Posada somehow ended up on third base after a hit. I hope tonight's is as good. I'm sure it will be.

And to top it off, they had someone from the International Space Station throw out the ceremonial first pitch - from space! It would have been funny if they had a ball drop down onto the field at the same time, but the video was more than enough. And when they got to the end of the fifth and rolled over the "countdown" calendar to show that there are now only 73 more home games left at the Stadium, it was none other than Bucky Dent who pulled the lever to turn it over.

And in an appropriate twist of fate, The Onion is reporting that the Yankees buried Bernie Williams under the new stadium for luck. Hee.

In an effort to put more money in the bank (and buy a snazzy new car whose tires don't go flat all the time), I went by another long term care place near here, and applied for some per diem work. They immediately offered a full-time position, but I really like where I'm working now, so I'm going to stick with the per diem. The staffing person was terrific, and said to just make a list of when I'm available and I'll be on the schedule. I go in next Wed and Thurs for orientation, and then I'll do one or two shifts a week and see how it goes. I'm excited! The place looks really nice, and the work is identical to what I'm doing now, so the learning curve won't be too bad - just learning the paperwork and getting to know the residents.

4/16/08
The driveway is smoking. Literally. They came with the mini-backhoe and mini-steamroller, and now we have a smooth asphalt driveway instead of the cracked mess that was there before. And they dug up the old concrete slab where the garage used to be and laid down a load of dirt, so the backyard is extended out a bit and smoothed over. It looks great. Can't walk on it for a few days, which is fine, since we'll be away for the weekend anyway.

The game last night was typical - the Yankees came out to a big lead, the pitcher got injured on a line drive, the bullpen gave up enough runs to tie the game, and then Cano hit a pinch-hit home run to win it. It was a real nail biter. Tonight's game was a good one, too - any game that ends in a win is a good one. Tomorrow, the rivalry continues in the Bronx, and we'll be there.

Nathan Gunn's recital was terrific. Except for the random bizarre modern dancer. But he looked and sounded great. Our seats were in the second row, and Zankel Hall is small to begin with, so it was a total treat. He sang some pieces based on Thomas Merton's writings, and his wife (who accompanied him on the piano) played these weird atonal pieces in between the song cycles. Like I said, except for the random dancer, it was terrific. Can't wait to hear him again in Boston on Friday.

4/14/08
Oh, the drama! First some Sox fan tries to curse the Yankees by burying a Red Sox jersey underneath the new Stadium, but he was thwarted. I think - since it was an Ortiz jersey - that he only succeded in burying David Ortiz, who isn't hitting at all. Then, we lose our backup catcher (after losing the AAA catcher and Jorge being out, too). Then, Joba has to leave because his father is ill.

And then, I get a real flat tire, as opposed to the usual slow leak. The car's at the tire place now, being un-flatted.

Tomorrow the construction guys are coming to tear up the driveway and re-pave it. I wonder if they'll find a jersey underneath the concrete. Or perhaps more fittingly, a flat tire.

This week will shape up tho (it has to!). Tonight I'm working, then I'm off until next Monday. Tomorrow night, we're seeing Nathan Gunn at Carnegie Hall. Wed and Thurs are the two Red Sox games at the Stadium, and Friday, Mom and I are off to Boston, to see Nathan Gunn with the BSO on Friday night, and two games at Fenway (go Rangers!) on the weekend.

4/11/08
Absolutely fantastic game tonight - especially since we won. It was a great pitching duel on both sides, but Wang was just brilliant - a two-hit complete game win. Glad to see the rivalry is back in full force.

Speaking of, this Avis commercial just makes me laugh every time I see it. "Wicked psyched," indeed.

later on 4/10/08
The drive to Scranton and back was a breeze - two and a half hours each way, all on highways.

Downtown Scranton itself is a dump - sorry, but it is. The entire city seems to be in a state of slow decay. I cannot imagine living there. We drove all over, and then went to the National Park there, Steam Town, where they show all about the steam railroads that helped develop much of Pennsylvania and in fact, the country. That was pretty cool, and much more fun than I'm making it sound.

The park, PNC Field, is about the same size as Legends (sorry, Steinbrenner) Field in Tampa, but not as classy. Get this - I was there before. In 1989, when what was then known as Lackawanna County Stadium first opened, our high school marching band competed there in the Atlantic Coast Championships. It was Astroturf back then, and I remember we all flipped out about marching on it, because we had only ever marched on grass. I wasn't sure if it was the same place, so I asked the local Sherriff, who happened to be at the park tonight.

They have some interesting foods there. They do have lemonade, which wins me over anytime. They also have pierogies and latkes (a Passover special? or there all year long?), the usual hot dogs and such, and the world's largest potato chip. Seriously, they take a large potato, cut it in one big messy spiral, and deep fry the entire thing, so it comes out like a gigantic potato chip. It has to be seen to be believed, which is why I took a picture of mine and will be tormenting my friends with it for years to come.

It was too cold to stay for the whole game, but we stayed for Shelley Duncan's first two at-bats. He was the DH, so I imagine him sitting in a corner of the dugout between at-bats, pouting, and sending "get well" notes to Derek Jeter, so he can come back to the big leagues. We saw him taking some swings in their indoor batting cage before the game, and I can now say that I was *this* close to Shelley Duncan, separated by tinted glass however.

I think we're going to go back when it's warmer - maybe in August when the Red Sox AAA team is there.

4/10/08
I know there are people out there (many of whom are my friends) who think the score to Candide is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I will disagree with them. I just don't love the show. I wish NYCO had done Ragtime as they originally planned.

I found the coolest thing at the bookstore yesterday - a four CD box set called the Great American Baseball Box. It's four CD's, all baseball related. The first is songs, everything from John Fogarty's "Centerfield" to the Treinors' "Say Hey" to Bob Dylan's "Catfish." The second CD is all clips of great events from games, including Bucky Dent's homer (which is the ringtone on my new cellfone, btw). The third is clips from player interviews, radio commercials etc, and the fourth is miscellany, like DeWitt Hooper performing "Casey at the Bat" and Abbott and Costello doing "Who's on First?" I love it.

I didn't know there was a series of CD's called "Diamond Cuts" with songs about baseball. I'm adding them all now to my amazon.com wishlist. I need roadtrip/stuck-in-traffic music.

Since Derek Jeter is out with a strained quad, they sent down Shelley Duncan to AAA so they could bring up Alberto Gonzalez to play shortstop. So maybe we'll see Shelley tonight in Scranton. With my luck, we'll have Kei Igawa pitching.

If I watched more TV, I'd know that The Office is set in Scranton, but I don't, so I didn't know that until I looked online for other things to do in Scranton.

What Happened With That Whole Roger Clemens Thing? asks the Onion.

4/9/08
So JetBlue serves these incredible blue potato chips from Terra Chips, which I had never found in the store. And today - on a lark - we went to the big, uber-huge Shop Rite, and they had them! I have blue chips! And I didn't need to go on a plane to get them. I am in chip heaven.

Tonight is Candide at NYCO. Strange as it seems, I've never seen the entire thing. The last time it was on PBS, I turned it on in the middle.

4/7/08
It's a shame I have to work on my birthday, because it would be kind of cool to go to Cleveland for free money day.

And my word, there is a Yankees Christmas Village. That is just too much.

I really want to find some time to catch up on DVD watching - Company and Sweeney Todd both came in the mail this week. But tomorrow is work (and you KNOW my after-work time is spent watching Yankees Encore), Wednesday is Candide at NYCO, Thursday we're going to Scranton to see the AAA team play, and Friday starts the Yankees/Red Sox Series, so I'll be glued to the TV. Ah, such is life. I can't complain.

4/4/08
Back from DC and the city, and I'm very tired!

Tesse and I took off for DC on Wednesday around lunchtime, we made excellent time getting down there, but managed to get lost trying to find the hotel. Their directions were atrocious, so we kept turning around while trying to find the intersection. It was your typical boring Days Inn, but hey, it was cheap and had beds. And it was right next to Fort Myer, which will be relevant soon.

We didn't have time to actually eat before Spiderwoman, so I'm glad we'd stopped at a rest area on the way down to grab a bite. We found our way to the new Signature Theatre (which is beautiful, they did a terrific job with the new space), and saw Will in Spiderwoman - so good to see him, he sounded and looked great. And shirtless. Always a plus. After the show, they did a talkback with some of the cast members, so we stayed for that. Will saw me in the 2nd row and gestured to stick around and chat, so we caught up on what's new. He'll be coming back to Rent for what looks like the final cast (now that the show's extended through September).

We thought it would be an easy drive back to the hotel, because it was only one stop away on the highway, but no. We managed to drive right into the front entrance of Fort Myer, where we were asked for ID and the make and model of the car before being graciously allowed to make a U-turn. Your tax dollars at work.

Thursday was a day to sleep in (necessary because it was going to be a long day). We tried to sleep in, but were awakened by the sound of gunfire. Really, gunfire. When we got outside, we found out that they were doing something at the fort in full military dress uniforms. Maybe practicing the 21-gun salute? So we checked out of the hotel, then drove into DC. I hate driving in DC. There is absolutely nowhere to park downtown (plus, there were tourist buses galore because of the cherry blossoms). We must've spent a good hour driving around trying to find a parking lot before deciding on an out of the way place near L'Enfant Plaza. Ate a horrible lunch in a food court. How on earth do people stand working there? This is your government in action - nowhere to park, nowhere to eat.

So to perk ourselves up after the lousy morning, we went to the Holocaust Memorial. And then, to feel better about ourselves as Americans, we went to the Archives. Saw the documents, sang a little 1776, got drenched in the rain (the rain that would not stop until this morning).

We went back to Shirlington, where the theatre is, with plenty of time to get a delicious dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. And then went to see the other show on our agenda, The Happy Time. Neither of us knew anything about it, and I swear, if Tesse didn't have to write an article about it, we might just have left at intermission.

It rained the entire drive home, and being nighttime, and there being lots of trucks on 95, it took 5 and a half hours of white-knuckle driving to get back to Inwood. It might just be the worst drive I have ever made (physically). I fell asleep immediately on Tesse's couch, and was relieved that, unlike her, I didn't have to get up this morning to work.

I slept til noon or so today, and killed time by getting lunch at the Garden Cafe and reading and watching TV. Then I took the train over to the Stadium to meet Peter, and Missy and Oliver, for the game. They've renovated Billy's! The bar is now almost swanky and upscale, but it will always be a dive in my heart.

The game was horrible. We were slaughtered by the Rays 13-4. Ugh. It has to get better.

4/2/08
Everything about Opening Day (Night?) was fantastic. Some time ago, my coworker John told me that his daughter was also a huge Yankees fan. So we'd been in touch via email, and she bought some of my extra tickets from me. I called her yesterday and asked if she wanted to go to the game, and of course she was ecstatic - neither of us had been to an Opening Day game before.

We had no trouble at all getting into the city - no traffic on the way, and easy parking in my usual lot (whose price was upped, along with the ticket prices). It was drizzling a little but stopped before we got there, but it was actually a balmy 60 degrees out, so after we walked around a bit, we went back to the car and I dropped off my coat. It was fine with just a sweater (over all the other layers). We walked around the perimeter of the new Stadium first, and it's just coming along so nicely! So much more done than when I saw it last in October. We took some pics of the new entry way, but most of the outside is blocked from view by the scaffolding. Our seats, thanks to Peter, were in the loge level (where I'd never sat before), in fair territory near the right field foul pole.

The tarp was on the field when we got there, and at 6pm, the grounds crew came out to take it off (to a standing ovation). I felt bad for the soloist who sang the National Anthem, and completely lost the tune.

The first hot dogs of the season were eaten. Reggie Jackson threw out the first pitch. And the game was terrific! Melky made two superb catches in the 4th inning, and then he hit a home run. A-rod got his first RBI. Joba (love Joba!) pitched the 8th and Mo the 9th, neither allowed a hit. And we won 3-2, the way a season should start.

As soon as we got back to the car, it started pouring out. The only hassle was waiting to get out of the parking deck - never a quick thing. We probably sat there for close to an hour before getting out, and once we were out, there was no traffic at all again over the bridge and back home. Good thing we hit it off.

OK - now off to DC for some theatre with Tesse, and then another game on Friday before I come back home.

4/1/08
No fooling, I'm going to the game tonight - my first Opening Day!

My friend Peter (who's going to Friday's game with me) called from the rainout to ask if I was at the game. I said no, but if he needed a date for the makeup game, I'd be happy to go. Unfortunately, he said, he couldn't use the tickets for the makeup game, so I offered on the spot to buy them. So after work, I drove into the city to pick them up, and I am so excited. I've never been to an opening day, and this is the last one ever at the Stadium. Can't wait! Better not rain tonight.

Are you a reporter, looking for sources? Are you an expert in your field, or just an incredibly intelligent person? Go check out Help A Reporter now.

Nathan Gunn is supposedly playing Lancelot in the Camelot concert at the Philharmonic in May. Ooh. I am so there.

-catherine

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