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Transition Vacation

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On the last Friday of August I drafted a long list of things I could keep myself busy with during the first week of September, my third and final week-long vacation from work for 2012. Random chores and to-dos that I had either been putting off for a while or had just recently reminded myself needed to be done.

As expected, I took a vacation from such tasks. My priorities for the week, in order: sleeping, watching movies, bicycling, eating out at least once each day, napping, reading, and more napping. I did take care of a few of the errands I had committed to the list, namely a visit to Hancock Fabrics for a button to fix my shorts and a zipper tab to fix my winter coat, and I donated a box of books to the Book Nook.

I like taking the first week of September off as I only need to use four days of PTO (as I automatically get Labor Day off) and the weather is usually going through a transition between summer and autumn. I intended to get in at least 100 miles of bicycling, but on a few days I found myself more in the mood to go jogging in the morning. I still managed about 73 miles, which isn’t too shabby.

I finished reading Film Magic by David Hutchison and read The Kon-Tiki Expidition, Thor Heyerdahl’s account of his South Pacific voyage in 1947 from Peru to the Tuamotu Islands via a balsa log raft of vintage Polynesian design. Both were good reads. I recommend the former to anyone interested in pre-CGI special effects and various film formats, and the latter to lovers of travel/adventure stories.

Though confined to the Cedar Valley, I managed to satisfy my various cravings with a mix of cheap in-&-out meals (Jimmy Johns, Pita Pit, Hy-Vee Chinese) and quality please-be-seated meals. Tuesday I feasted at Steamboat Gardens, enjoying two 99¢ Tugboats and a cool draw of PBR (!!!), all for $3.72. Can’t beat that!

Tuesday felt like summer: hot and windy. I nearly fried myself reading out on the beach at George Wyth. I considered finishing Film Magic with a couple pours of Millstream on the deck at the Cypress but when I bicycled by there was a sign on the door stating they were closed for that day only for renovations. I resigned to the old stand-by, the Panther Lounge, for the rest of that evening.

Wednesday I joined Sharina at Wasabi, the 1st St Hibachi restaurant, where we enjoyed scrumptious crunchy roles, red snapper and (types of sushi) for the criminally low price of $13. Thursday I dined at Rudy’s Tacos and kicked back with a couple cocktails in the Lava Lounge. Friday felt like autumn; nice and cool thanks to an overnight storm.

I finally subscribed to an online movie site – Hulu Plus, which offered a free one-month trial service. I went with Hulu over Netflix (for now) as Hulu has a bevy of Criterion films in their catalog, many of which I have wanted to see for years. Over my nine days off I watched Picnic at Hanging Rock, L’Atalante, Pandora’s Box, The Match Factory Girl, The Earrings of Madam de…, An Autumn Afternoon, Floating Weeds and The Only Son. All are great movies! The last three were made by Yasujiro Ozu, who also made Tokyo Story and Late Spring, which I’ve already seen and love both.

Saturday I joined Swestka at Highland Park for a revival of the old-time block parties they used to have each year. Joyce organized it and Dan manned the grills. Checker and the Bluetones provided quality live music. Joyce had asked Ben and I to man the beer kegs from 8:30-9:30pm but they had both been tapped out before our shift began. We helped tear down and spent the rest of the evening at the Ankrum’s, polishing off the remaining beer and burger patties and wrestling with their dogs.


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