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Vacation: Check

Today was my first day back at work after a ten-day vacation, the longest one I've had since I started working full-time in January 2002. I wasn't about to take a nice, long vacation and just rest, though. No, sir. I had plans, and I made a list of things I wanted to do in my Palm.

On Friday the 23rd, we headed north to visit my brother and sister-in-law who live outside Burlington, VT. We hadn't been to their house since they bought it a year and a half ago, so it was fun to finally see the place.

I checked "visit my brother's house" off my list.

Saturday morning we headed even further north, crossing the border (after an hour's wait) and getting to Montréal about noon. After some poor service and poor food at a Nickels downtown, we hopped on the subway and visited the Biodôme. Then we headed to the old city and had dinner at Delices du Vieux Montréal, which offered expensive fondues (of which we did not partake) and a selection of other meals. The food and the service were fantastic.

I checked off "go to Montréal."

We got back to my brother's house late that night and collapsed into bed. The next day, we just hung around and visited, and went to see "The Bourne Supremacy" (check). On Monday, we spent the morning in Burlington (stopping by the City Market of Onion River Co-Op (holy crap, a .coop domain!) and Paradise Burrito for lunch) and then left after noon to head home. We stopped at the Vermont Country Store in Rockingham on our way, and bought ourselves some treats, including a jar of pickled fiddleheads. Mmm.

Tuesday I brought my bass guitar and amp to the local music shop. The last time I attempted to play it, I plugged it in and turned on the power, to be greeted by extremely loud crackling and popping whenever I dared breathe. So I figured something was wrong, and I wanted to find out if it was fixable or if I should cut my losses and look into buying a new one. The guy at the shop explained that the noise was caused by oxidation on the electronics, and demonstrated that by vigourously spinning the knobs on the amp and the guitar, most of the oxidation could be removed. So now I have a bass guitar that sounds like a bass guitar again. Hooray! (Bass working again: check.)

That evening, I drove to Providence and met katesg7 at the Java Café for dinner. She and I were close friends at Syracuse but we've only seen each other a couple times since graduation, even though we only live about two hours apart. We've decided to remedy that and get together more often in the future.

When I got back home, we unfolded the full-size futon in our living room and turned it into a bed. Despite owning the thing for a year and a half now, and having had numerous guests stay on it, Sarah and I had never actually spent a night on our futon. So we did, and it turned out to be unremarkable. (Sleep on futon: check.)

Wednesday was our 3rd wedding anniversary! The day before, while I was on my way to Providence, I stopped and got Sarah a present. Earlier that day, while I was at the music shop, she went off to do some shopping of her own. Nothing like last-minute anniversary gifts! But we had both put some thought into them. Sarah got me a really nice high-quality leather notebook cover with a blank notebook inside, to help foster my writing endeavours. I got her a nice portable easel to make painting easier, since in the past she has nearly broken her back trying to paint without one.

That day, I gave her easel a try, and began working on the next item on my list: paint a picture. I finished it the next morning (I'm no Matisse; my paintings take a couple hours). Here's the finished product, which currently hangs in our kitchen above the CD shelf:



Painting: check.

Thursday was a lazy, do-nothing day. We did manage to get haircuts at the local salon (check), but did nothing else of consequence. That's okay; I was on vacation so I could do nothing for an entire day, and not feel like it was wasted.

Friday I picked up my guitar and my chord charts and my Neuros and attempted to record myself playing music. I quickly discovered several things:
  • The Neuros needs a mic with pre-amp,
  • The Neuros' built-in mic is pretty bad,
  • My computer, while able to play music and audio with no trouble, just can't record anything,
  • Audacity is great, but if your fonts are screwed up it'll take you the better part of several hours to get it working right,
  • I really want a Powerbook.
But I had made the effort, so I checked off "record a song." Sorry, no mp3s to post: the hardware issues ended up leaving me with nothing but a few minutes of guitar strumming.

Later that day, we went and saw "The Village" (check). An entertaining movie but nothing really special.

Saturday, after visiting the local farmers' market in the morning and picking up our usual selection of fresh-picked organic leafy greens (and a bonus bunch of radishes), we headed to Blue Shutters Beach on the southern coast of Rhode Island. We tromped down the road (probably a mile from the free parking lot to the beach itself) and then spent a half an hour or so swimming. At some point, I lifted my hands out of the chilly water and noticed that my wedding ring had come off!

I lost weight last year, and since then my ring has been noticeably loose. It's come off once or twice while I was vigourously shaking my hand for one reason or another, but it was usually fine. This time, though, the cold water and the motion of the waves made it slip off unnoticed, and, try as we might, we couldn't find it.

We went home. I felt naked without my ring. We had plans to meet katesg7 and her fiancé in Providence that night, so we decided to head up a little early in order to have time to stop at a jewelry store in the mall. I got a new ring, more expensive than the original and a couple sizes smaller, and I felt whole again.

We fought our way through the massive crowds of people who were in Providence for the Waterfire exhibition and met our friends, then spent a couple hours just walking and talking.

Sunday, the last day of my vacation, and I had only one thing left on my list: play Zelda. I've been slowly working may way through The Legend of Zelda: the Ocarina of Time on my Gamecube for the last... year and a half. I don't spend much time on it. Sunday, though, I took a few hours and played, and made some good progress. I expect to finish it by 2007. Check.

We went out and rented a movie, randomly choosing one that we'd never heard of: "All I Want," it was called. I tried looking it up on IMDB, but failed. Futher searching revealed that it was originally titled Try Seventeen. It starred Elijah Wood, Franka Potente, and Mandy Moore. It turned out to be, again, entertaining but nothing really special. It seemed like some lucky film student's senior project script was funded by a small independent studio with more money than brains, and the result was a professional-looking but ultimately clichéed and mediocre tale. Still, it was fun to watch.

So I had a very relaxing and yet very productive vacation, and now it's back to work for a couple more months, at least. And if you've actually read this far, you're either nuts or related to me (hi mangofandango! I love you!).

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
isquiesque
Aug. 2nd, 2004 08:03 pm (UTC)
I am not related to you, and I really don't think I'm nuts, though opinions differ.

Anyway, glad you had a mostly good trip. Any plans to share more photos?

Thanks for sharing the bit about the ring. Both my rings are loose, and one is irreplaceable. I guess I'll quit looking at my grandmother's platinum and diamond wedding band with the thought of, "My, it's pleasant to see it looking loose, reminding me of weight I've lost, since it's *never* going to fall off, it would seem."
kizlj
Aug. 2nd, 2004 08:27 pm (UTC)
I nearly lost mine last year. I haven't lost weight, but my fingers have slimmed (especially on my left hand) since I went back to playing cello. When mcp was in town visiting, we all went out for dinner, and an emphatic gesture on the walk home sent my ring flying off into the street. fortunately, I felt it go, and we found it. whew. Now, when it starts to feel loose, I move it to another finger for the day.

Anyway, I am glad you had such a fun vacation!
preysz
Aug. 2nd, 2004 09:30 pm (UTC)
When I was in Philly, I met a married couple that had tattoos of rings on their fingers instead of actual rings. I thought it was a pretty cool idea. If they lose those, they have bigger problems than just losing a ring...
rfreebern
Aug. 3rd, 2004 07:14 am (UTC)
I actually suggested that to katesg7 and her fiancé at one point, but they just laughed.
rfreebern
Aug. 3rd, 2004 07:13 am (UTC)
We'll probably put up an album of miscellaneous photos from the vacation at some point. I'll certainly post about it when we do.
joenotcharles
Aug. 2nd, 2004 08:34 pm (UTC)
You were in Montreal and didn't tell me? miseri and I met elf for the first time on Saturday evening - if we'd known you were in town, we could've at least dropped in and said hi.
rfreebern
Aug. 3rd, 2004 07:21 am (UTC)
I utterly forgot that there are MUDders in Montreal until after we got back home. But we'll be back, and next time we'll let you know beforehand!
fourcoffees
Aug. 3rd, 2004 02:26 am (UTC)
I really like that picture.
rfreebern
Aug. 3rd, 2004 07:25 am (UTC)
Thanks. I'm pretty happy with it. I've never been fond of painting, mostly because when I create artwork I usually attempt to make things that look realistic, and then get frustrated when my skills aren't up to the task. This time I had a vague idea in my head and just tried throwing it together and letting the finished product come out however it did, and it turned out looking fairly close to what I had imagined, so I'm pleased.

I'll probably be painting more in the near future, too. I'm trying to make my life less focused on computer-related activities since I often feel like I fritter away too many hours just staring at the screen.
celticgirl106
Aug. 3rd, 2004 03:37 pm (UTC)
Happy anniversary! Sounds like a great vacation.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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