Category Archives: vacation

Toronto-Bound: TIFF, Day 1

Song Lyric of the Day:

Cowboy heroes / Cops and robbers / Glamour and strife / Bigger than life! / Sitting in the darkness / What a world to see! / Let’s go to the movies

Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney & Ann Reinking / “Let’s Go to the Movies

Up bright and early today. Off to the airport!

I’m going to do my best to blog/Twitter throughout since it’s what I do. I document everything. I should’ve been a documentary filmmaker. Anyhoo.

You can check back here for updates, follow me on Twitter, and check out my Flickr albums (although give me about a day before any new pics are uploaded).

Ah, I already love Toronto. It’s a gorgeous day here as I’m writing this from THE BUS to my hotel. The nice, clean bus with free Wi-Fi. Woohoo! I’m taking advantage, obviously. To that end, be sure to check my Flickr album in a little while for the first batch of photos.

I’ll try to update here and there throughout the day, so check back later. Maybe I’ll have my first celebrity-sighting in the meantime.

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The ABCs of My OCD

Song Lyric of the Day:

High Anxiety / It’s always the same / High Anxiety / It’s you that I blame / It’s very clear to me / I’ve to give in / High Anxiety / You win

Mel Brooks / “High Anxiety

In case you’re new to my blog or haven’t popped by in a while or are just really good at tuning me out when I get all repetitive-like (I’m looking at you, dear), I’m heading off to Toronto tomorrow for the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s pretty much all I’ve talked about lately. And to say I have ants-in-the-pantsitis is a complete understatement. I’m basically bouncing off the walls since the last vacation I enjoyed was our amazing trip to Uruguay last March. After that trip, Rich and I stayed much closer to home, and this year we’ve only gone away together for a grand total of two nights, once to Chattanooga for Valentine’s Day and then to the amazing Creekwalk Inn for our 9th wedding anniversary in April. So am I ready for a vacation? You bet your ass I am.

As I wrote the other day, it’s something of a tradition for me to freak out a bit before going out of town, whether it’s for an overnighter or for a longer trip. I blame it on my selective OCD. I say selective because, while I don’t need to tap the lightswitch 18 times before leaving a room or, say, blink three times and spin in a circle every hour on the hour, I do have my quirks. One of those quirks is making list after list of things to prepare for vacation, things to take on vacation, things that need to be taken care of around the house, bills that need to be paid, etc. And I have a thing about taking extra underwear on a trip. I’m not talking the recommended extra pair or two, but almost a whole week’s worth of extra undies. Rich likes to tease me about that hypothetical underwear dilemma/nightmare, the one that’s hovered in the back of my mind for every trip over the last dozen years or so, that will lead me to need all those extra undies. I shudder to think what that might be, should that particular catastrophe ever strike.

Pre-trip freakout rituals aside, my day-to-day OCD quirks are limited to two things: my alarm clock and the front and back door locks (okay, three things). I have to check my alarm clock several times before I can rest assured that I set if for (1) the correct time and (2) the correct time of day. As in AM instead of PM. That little mistake has made for a few bad days over the years. I won’t get started on how I used to obsess over the volume of my alarm, but ask Rich how many mornings he’s had a heart attack as a wake-up call and you’ll get the answer to that. As for the locks, Rich knows how much of a trigger this is for me. All he has to do as I’m, say, drifting off to sleep, is casually whisper, “Goodnight, and are you sure the front door/back door is locked?” knowing full well I’ll hop out of bed to go check right that very moment. I think he — and the dogs — think it’s funny.

My packing is about 85% complete, so all I have to do tonight (besides freak out and inadvertently annoy the spouse) is double- then triple- then quadruple-check everything*, amass all my electronics (laptop, DSLR, digital camera for shooting video, and iPod), finish rewatching Being Human (ahem), and make sure my earplugs and sleep mask are at the ready for when I’m settled in on my flights. Because for me, flying is a time for sleeping. I’m not there to socialize with my seatmate(s). So I swaddle myself in a blanket — covering my neck, of course — pop in my earplugs and put my mask on. Sure, if the plane — God forbid — starts to go down, I’ll hold my seatmate’s hand and be their best friend to the bitter end, but until then? I’m napping.

*Underwear counting included.

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Filed under personal, toronto, travel, vacation

Tuesday 10: Irrational Things I Will Worry About on Vacation

  1. That Rich will give away my cat Belle
  2. That Rich will give away my cat Buster
  3. That Rich will give away my cat Finn
  4. That my puppy will commit suicide
  5. That TiVo will forget to record season/series premieres
  6. That TiVo will accidentally delete said season/series premieres
  7. That I will go into a diabetic coma the third day in after eating nothing but buttered popcorn and drinking large sodas for every meal
  8. That zombies will attack, catching Rich unprepared due to his lack of zombie-movie knowledge
  9. That I will go blind five days in, my eyes having gone from round to rectangular from watching too many movies on the big screen
  10. That I will sprout a curly tail upon coming home, having caught swine flu after traveling


Filed under list, personal, vacation

Labor Day 2009

Song Lyric of the Day:

I don’t want to work / I want to bang on the drum all day / I don’t want to play / I just want to bang on the drum all day

Todd Rundgren / “Bang on the Drum All Day

Holiday weekends spoil me. I lose track of time, stay up too late, and drink too much soda. So what did I do this particular holiday weekend? I celebrated my nephew’s first birthday and my sister’s (age-censored) birthday. I managed to squeeze in a workout where I didn’t wrench my back and do cardio, as well. I played way too much Guitar Hero: Smash Hits with Rich, to the point that my left hand has atrophied from holding the guitar and now resembles a claw. I also barely missed out on a perfect score by one measly note on Warrant’s “Cherry Pie,” a fact I’m not sure about which I should be proud or scared. Maybe both. I ate too much pizza, first from Roman’s and then from Brixx. I started rewatching Being Human (LOVE this show) and caught up on Supernatural in anticipation of this week’s season five premiere (that I will have to catch online or wait to watch when I get home). I got our guest room back in respectable shape in the wake of Operation Bookcase (about which I’ll probably write after vacation).

And, most importantly, I have begun my ritual pre-vacation freakout. I’ve gone on a Bree Van de Kamp-worthy cleaning spree, vacuuming like a madwoman and doing load after load of laundry. It’s not that I don’t think Rich can handle the house while I’m away. This is just how I am. I do this before every trip, even weekend ones. What can I say? I have an overwhelmingly irrational fear of dying on vacation and people seeing our house in disarray and them thinking, “Well, look at that. They lived like slobs all along.” when we don’t. And my mother just standing there shaking her head, saying, “I taught her better than this. I don’t know where she went wrong.” I know, I know — I should look into therapy. Again.

I did take a moment today to say a silent prayer of thanks for the fact that I have a job, something I am incredibly grateful for in light of our country’s economic situation. I can honestly say that I am very happy in my professional life, although I have definitely already mentally checked out for the week. Tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be very long days for me, and even though I love my job, come Wednesday afternoon, my coworkers are going to see a Pattie-shaped cloud in my wake as I spring for the door and the vacation that awaits.

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Countdown to Vacation

Song Lyric of the Day:

To be gone away awhile, tell me all the things that I / I’ll be missing here in this old life

Safetysuit / “Gone Away

Even though it’s two months and a day away, I’m excited beyond belief counting down to my solo vacation in September. Where am I going? To Toronto! Specifically, to the Toronto International Film Festival.
Why a film festival, you may ask? Well, I’m a big movie buff; I wouldn’t call myself a film buff because I’m not that discriminating. I love movies, but I’m not snobby about it or elitist about which ones I’ll watch. (Remember, Clue is one of my all-time favorites, after all). I’ve met film buffs who were actually film snobs in that they turned their noses up at most of what modern movie studios have to offer. They were actually very judgmental about yokels who like stupid movies like, oh, let’s say Clue (ahem). They were genuinely off-putting with their attitudes. Needless to say, we never did get together to watch that experimental black-and-white, 8mm-processed film about the inner workings of an oversized clock in a German industrialist factory and the one-handed idiot savant who ends up uncovering a terrible government plot that threatened mankind’s very existence (cough). I watch movies for the same reason most of us do: to escape. What’s the point in being a snotty shit about what I watch? That’s what TV is for. (I’m looking at you, America’s Next Top Real Housewife Idol Dancing With Made-Over Chefs).

Going to a film festival is something I’ve thought and talked about doing for years. This year, the timing worked out in that no immediate family members are due to give birth, I have more than enough vacation days, and I can actually afford to go. And while I’m excited about getting to watch all these fresh, new, hopefully original movies, what I’m really looking forward to is meeting up with a friend I haven’t seen since college; this will be his and his best friend’s eighth year going, so his input has been invaluable in helping me plan. And, admittedly, the mere thought that I just might get lucky enough to see and, ideally, meet an actor or actress I admire is also something to look forward to. Who would I love to meet? George Clooney? Pass. Brad Pitt? Nah. Julia Roberts? Yawn. Now, Simon Pegg? Hell yes! My God, I’ve watched his movies (and most episodes of Spaced) often enough that I could act out pretty much any part in any scene. I love his writing (and acting) that much. The man is a comic genius. Genius!

And to address the elephant in the room, Rich is not going with me — this is a solo vacation. Why? Because as anyone who knows my boy is already keenly aware, Rich is not the watch-up-to-six-movies-a-day kind of guy on the best of days, and certainly not on a vacation. This is a man who won’t watch a movie a second time if his first viewing was less than a year ago. Now, take him on an all-the-art-museum-visits-you-can-cram-in-a-day vacation, and he’d be a happy boy. Besides, I need to know my puppy is happy with his daddy around the house. Because he’ll be on suicide watch without me around for eight straight days (Troubadour’s just a *wee* bit attached to his mommy. Just a tad.).

Now if only I knew a Toronto-based blogger with whom I could meet up for a drink. In between movies, of course.

Image courtesy of Viole Music via a Google search.

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Filed under movies, toronto, toronto international film festival, vacation

And We’re Baaaaaack

Song Lyric of the Day:

They even bother my poor father cos he’s down with me / It’s tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that’s right on time / It’s Tricky (How is it?) Tricky (Tricky) Tricky (Tricky)

/ “Tricky

I’m back. And by back, I mean back from Uruguay. Basically, after celebrating Rich’s birthday, we went into overdrive getting ready for the trip. Heading to South America for an eight-day vacation takes a bit more prep time than heading to the mountains for a weekend, you know? So most of our free time outside of work was spent making lists, shopping for travel items, pricing and buying luggage, making arrangements for the kids, stocking up on pet supplies, ensuring TiVo wasn’t going to miss any shows while we were away (guess whose concern that was), getting recommended vaccinations (Rich & Pattie! Now hepatitis-proof!), etc. After all those days without Internet access, working cell phones, and other technological creature comforts (ahem), it was all I could do to get motivated to turn on my laptop, much less blog. But here I am!

Me being me, I have tons of photos (surprising, I know) to upload to my Flickr album. And once I have some of them uploaded, I’ll start posting recaps of our adventures in Punta Del Este and Colonia Del Sacramento. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this: Uruguay ROCKS.

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Wednesday Randomosity

Song Lyric of the Day:

Some may say I’m crazy / I may say that’s true

Chrisette Michele / “Work It Out

I know our trip to Uruguay is just around the corner, but, God, it cannot get here soon enough. I need a break. From everything.

I’ll Finish … Someday
I am the queen of the unpublished post. It’s a direct result of working on a computer all day, day in and day out. By the time I get home most nights, I don’t even want to look at a computer, much less log on. So I’ll start a post, get tired, and leave it saved and unpublished. And I don’t even remember the last time I uploaded pics to my Flickr account. Because lord knows, I have a lot of new ones to add.

Walking & Getting Nowhere
Rich and I bought a treadmill last Friday after work. And it’s the most fun piece of exercise equipment we’ve ever owned (built-in fans, stereo to plug the iPod into). Whereas I was ready for a heart attack after 10 minutes on the stationery bike, I can power-walk on this baby for a half hour and barely break a sweat (and burn 130+ calories per session). Of course, the treadmill scares the bejesus out of Caleb. He smiles and then barks his head off as he slowly backs away and runs back upstairs. Snoops could give a rat’s ass, as is her naturally cool disposition. The treadmill is in the Florida room, which is nearing completion thanks to Rich and the invaluable help of his dad, Doug (and a nice assist from Ken the other day). We’re aiming to blow the room out and get everything finished as soon as we get back from our vacation.

Raise What’s Left of the Flag for Me
I’m listening to the Flogging Molly album Whiskey on a Sunday as I blog this. And wishing I were in an Irish pub enjoying a sing-along. Must go back to Irish Times soon… Man, how awesome would that be if Flogging Molly played Knoxville? Hey, I can dream.

Left to His Own Devices
Caleb started his own blog the other day, The Amazing True Tales of Caleb, the Pitiful Bull. And he’s already kicking my ass with updates. Go figure.

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Filed under blogging, caleb, dog blog, flickr, vacation

Life Going On

Song Lyric of the Day:

The rain is fallin’ on my window pane / But we are hidin’ in a safer place / Under covers stayin’ dry and warm / You give me feelins that I adore

Colbie Caillat / “Bubbly

It rained all day today. It was one of those days where I just wanted to stay in bed, alternating between sleeping and reading*. Alas, that was not to be since I have to make a living. Work’s good, although it’s been kicking my butt again. But I’m really fortunate in that I’ve gotten to learn and dabble in a bunch of different things the last few weeks: country music news, HTML coding, travel guides, cocktails. Keeps everything interesting.

Even though I’m exhausted most nights, I’ve stepped up my exercise routine. Have to lose a few more pounds so I feel Uruguay-ready (vacation is only weeks away!), specifically Uruguay beach-ready. (In case you’re wondering, I’ve lost 5.6 pounds in the last month or so, starting with when I got sick. That was a 3-pound handicap right there.)

So other than work and exercise, not a whole lot’s going on right now. Which is just fine by me — more time to write, read, and relax.

*I’m currently reading False Memory by Dean Koontz, Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster, and The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde.


Filed under books, vacation, work

Post-Vacation Recovery: 85% Complete

Song Lyric of the Day:

If I could take you away / Pretend I was queen / What would you say / Would you think I’m unreal

Rachel Yamagata / “Be Be Your Love

I’m almost completely recovered from my whirlwind trips through Atlanta and Chattanooga. I’ll write day-by-day recaps later on, when I find the time and hopefully have some pictures to post. You know, since I forgot my camera. Thank God Caren was nice enough to let me use her camera so I could get some shots. I’ll elaborate on the stuff that I Twittered about throughout my vacation, which I don’t think even Rich read. Probably because he didn’t know I was Twittering.

And just like that, I’m back into my usual work-home routine. Although I am now very behind on TiVoed TV shows, thanks to my latest XBox 360 addiction. Damn BioShock.

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Filed under chattanooga, vacation

Time to Blow This Popsicle Stand

Song Lyric of the Day:

Vacation / All I ever wanted / Vacation / Had to get away / Vacation / Meant to be spent alone

Go-Go’s / “Vacation

It’s finally time for mio vacanza, and not a second too soon. My brain is on overload and needs a break.

Caren and I will be leaving work no later than noon to hit the road to Atlanta. We’ll be staying in the Buckhead area, which looks pretty nice based on what I’ve seen online. It’ll be nice to finally explore the city a bit, since the only other times I’ve been there have been to go either to Six Flags (which is closed this weekend — wankers) or to IKEA. Come Saturday, we’ll head to Chattanooga. I’ve explored Chattanooga more than I have Atlanta, but we’ll be hitting some new areas this time around, so I’m looking forward to that.

Last night I went through my pre-travel ritual of freaking out over how much clothes to pack (extra underwear — always); whether to bring my MacBook or not (decided on not); packing all the camera accessories (including extra batteries); making sure bills are paid up; quadruple-checking that I didn’t forget anything; etc. At least I restrained myself — mostly, anyway — from lecturing Rich on how to keep the kids alive (if Buster stares at you in the kitchen in the morning, he wants treats; remember that Caleb poops after he eats his breakfast). Yes, I’m one of those people.

I also synced (see, honey, I used the right word!) my iPod to make sure every bit of music I have in my iTunes library will be accompanying me on the road. Caren is also bringing her iPod, so between the two of those and our car audio adapter, we’re all set for music. As it is, the other day she essentially called me a music Anglophile since five out of the six discs in my CD changer are by Brits or British in nature. I’ve got the Layer Cake soundtrack (yes, again), Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Paul Oakenfold, and The Fratellis in heavy rotation at the moment. And I just discovered a cool site I can use to discover more Anglophile bands. What can I say? I’m enjoying the music they’re putting out these days more so than my stateside counterparts. Although they are accompanied by California’s Linkin Park at the moment, a disc that is likely to be replaced by either Franz Ferdinand (Scottish) or Snow Patrol (Irish) at the drop of a hat.

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Filed under chattanooga, music, vacation