Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

I have decided--unflinchingly so--that it is time for a new blog post.  Not because I particularly feel like writing one this new years eve, but because the previous entry depresses me.  Utterly depresses me.  You will undoubtedly be cheerful to learn that I finished grading my student portfolios on time, early even, and was promptly whisked, wait, no, shuttled rather--whisked sounds far to graceful for red eye air travel--to the east coast where I have been enjoying some truly delightful family time and unseasonably warm weather.

I keep conspicuously bracing myself for the cold that never comes.  I trudge around in thick wool socks and bulky infinity scarfs while this 40 degree weather keeps rendering me ridiculous; I look even more the part of the privileged SoCal wimp than I already do.  It's tragic.  But that's not to say that there hasn't been any chilly weather.  We have had one or two minor snow falls since I've been here, one of which was on Christmas eve.  The afternoon light was such a shade of pale golden loveliness that I decided that I absolutely had to walk in it.  So my youngest brother Isaiah and I took a winter stroll along the pond and through the woods by our parents house.

We played in the life guard chair (we're a daring pair, well, Isaiah is anyways):

Isaiah did his best to befriend some geese (alas, they didn't seem too keen on the idea):

This is the certain slant of light that Emily Dickinson wrote about:

Despite some wardrobe malfunctions--the snap on Isaiah's snow pants broke when he was leaping over an icy stream on the way back and they proceeded to sink down to his ankles about every 10 feet--it was a charming outing and my mom made hot chocolate the old fashioned way (on the stove, like she did when I was a child) to warm us up when we arrived home.

There have been many other noteworthy experiences since I've been back in Ithaca and if I wasn't saddled with the fatigue of this cold (courtesy of my typhoid brothers) I would happily prattle on about them.  Perhaps when my vigor is restored, I will revisit these adventures in precise and stirring detail.  For now, I will leave you with some thoughts for the new year.

I have never been a strong advocate--or any kind of advocate at all--for new year's resolutions.  I steadfastly believe in self-betterment but resolutions always seemed so shamefully contrived to me.  But recently, I have been contemplating a lot about the future, more specifically, the thrill and uncertainty that this particular new year ushers in.  This is the first year of my twenty-seven years where I cannot say with certitude where I will be living and what I will be doing this time next year and that is at once inspiring and terrifying.  Yet, for all its precariousness, I do know this, as pitifully corny or trite as this may be: whatever or wherever this new year brings me, I will embrace it with humility and gratitude because I know that it's the love of my family and friends that truly anchors me.  So I raise the cup of kindness to all of you.  Cheers to you and all you have done for me this past year and all these past years.

A Happy (Belated) Christmas and a Merry New Year from the Kozak Family (minus Isaiah who refused to be photographed):

Just kidding that was the test shot that we weren't quite ready for (although Mom and Uncle Henry look good).  Here's the real one:

And from the Kozak-Wilks':

Saturday, December 17, 2011

'Tis the season

Don't be fooled.  In addition to this, I currently have ten portfolios sitting on the couch with me...

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Shining Star Upon the Highest Bough (and other stories from the past two months)

It's usually around this time of year that I begin losing myself in the reverie of snow covered new york landscapes and craving the thrill of lifting the shade on certain winter mornings to the sight of white laced coniferous.  I get particularly nostalgic for these types of scenes whenever I am stressed and sick and, since I have been both recently, I have more sentimental than usual.

In an effort to quell this yearning, I began prematurely listening to Christmas music.  And when I say prematurely, I mean: department-store-donning-Christmas-decor-before-Halloween prematurely.  It started out innocently enough.  The She & Him Christmas album came out right before I took the subject GRE's and since I adore She & Him and since that was a particularly hellish time in my life, I decided to make an exception to my no-christmas-music-before-thanksgiving rule, and played it each morning on my car ride into work.  Of course, it worked much like a gateway drug.  Before I knew it, I was on Christmas crack: I found myself whistling all sorts of Christmas carols, purchasing a bevy of snowflake themed Christmas sweaters--my heart even grew two sizes when Starbucks switched to their holiday cups (yes, yes, I realize that I am an utter consumer whore).

It's no secret that I love Christmas.  I do.  Quite conspicuously.  Just look at my nails.

Moses (luckily) finds this level of unabashed devotion to the holiday season endearing, but I realize that, as with most rabidness, it can be quite alarming.  It's just that Christmas is kind of a big deal in my family.  In fact, the majority of Kozak traditions focus on or around December the 25th.  Every year on Christmas Eve, as I'm sure I've mentioned in previous blogs, we sing carols by candle light.  It's positively charming and corny and everything that Christmas can and should be.  And we are so obsessed with holiday films that, in years past, we've had to make a Christmas movie sign-up sheet to ensure that we all get to watch our holiday favorites (although invariably it never works because someone's either not home or asleep when everyone else wants to watch the movie that that particular someone had signed up for).

In any case, I am thoroughly looking forward to the cheer and muppets and baking and spreadsheets that a Kozak Family Christmas necessarily engenders. Unfortunately, as always seems to be the case, a great deal of work stands in between now and then.  Some of it pleasurable, some of it trite, and most of it entirely and unmitigatedly tedious.  But no matter.  I will continue to fill my gray little Southern Californian mornings with various renditions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (while I quietly weep into my dashboard) until I find myself headed eastward.

And for the time being, for interested parties, here are some photo relics or remnants (I'm still not entirely sure which) from the past two month of my unreported adventures:

Moses and I had a Halloween Party at the end of October.  It featured pumpkins, a rather popular leek and bacon dip, spider web decor, and dry ice.  It was, by all accounts, a great success.  And here are the pumpkin cupcakes to prove it:

For Thanksgiving, Moses and I traveled to San Francisco.  We had a grand ole time and the weather was gorgeous.

We even caused a minor traffic jam on a narrow winding road along the coast to get the following shots at sunset:

It was totally worth it.  As was the rather scenic bumper to bumper traffic on the car ride home.

Although I'm not entirely sure that Moses--who was driving--would agree...

And finally, here is the first (but certainly not last) Wilks-Kozak Christmas Tree:

A humble little spruce who I am determined will soon have a poinsettia sister (cousin?) and/or wreath brother soon.

'Tis the season!  More blogging to come soon.