Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanks, I guess.

Two whole blog posts in two months, aren't you the lucky devils?  Well, I did promise my mother (and lone reader) that I would write a thanksgiving post of some kind and I'm just about tired enough of reading my students' awkward syntax to feel compelled to construct some contraption of words remotely resembling substance.  Do you see that students? Subject predicate: complete thought. There. Was that so hard?  Apparently.

In the world of bloggers that I secretly read but will never acknowledge that I read because I feel uncomfortable following the chronicles of strangers, Thanksgiving is SO two weeks ago.  Well, we move slower here at the Adventures of Wendy Kozak.  And we linger and loiter and mull around with these things for days.  I'm still processing Easter.  But that's just me.

For the sake of relevance, I will try to see if I can expedite this process and whip up some topical commentary on the nature of Thanksgiving. I promise that it will be neither entertaining nor illuminating, so feel free to click your way back to reddit whatever.

Okay, expose of Thanksgiving 2012.  Go.

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that I rather like Thanksgiving.  After all, I like a lot of things food related.  So much so that I almost always wage an ill-advised campaign to get one of my equally food obsessed students to write their personal narratives on their love of food--just so that I can read it and be reminded of how much I love food (because clearly their personal narratives should be about me).  And every semester they always pick their grandmother's death instead.  Snooze fest.

In the past, Thanksgiving was an excuse to eat too much of my grandmother's stuffing. Thanksgiving is now really just another excuse for me to indulge the babcia in me: I make pies and chide my guests/hosts about not eating enough.  Then I overindulge to the extent that I lay sick on the floor of Moses' Aunt's bathroom for hours, half napping, until I finally succumb to pinot noir and crab dip poisoning.  Fortunately that is not a tradition yet and hopefully it will never become one. Over share much?  Yes, thank you.
One of the culprit: the apple pear ginger pie I made


Which, brings me to my next somewhat obvious point: what I am thankful for this year.

1. Deliciously guilty pleasure television that distracts me from my miserable problems, like Hart of Dixie (utter heaven) and the return of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (a christmas miracle)

2. That one compliment I get from my students per year.  Last fall, a student told me that I reminded her of Zoe Deschanel because I wore vintage dresses, talked in weird voices when I taught, and sometimes sang at inappropriate moments.  This fall, a student told me that I looked like someone off of Bravo's Gallery Girls.  In other words: tall, sleek, and cutthroat.  Sweet vindication.

3. That Moses watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with me.  Even though he hates that sort of thing.

4. Moses' mustache.

5. That we found a decent Thai restaurant close to our apartment (finally!)

6.  That White Christmas is on watch instantly netflix.

7. My amazing Los Angeles family, who hosted thanksgiving and let me nap on their bathroom floor for an undetermined amount of time even though I am not blood related.

8.  My amazing Los Angeles friends, who I missed seeing on thanksgiving (because I was too busy napping on the bathroom floor of Moses' Aunt and Uncle's condo).

9. My amazing Ithaca family and friends, who I missed seeing on that day (and every day).

10. The two weeks that I have left of teaching for the semester and for the foreseeable future.

A Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you, from a reluctantly grateful grouch.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Three months in the life...

Oh, hello.  Bet you wonder what I've been up to the past three months.  Well, too bad, I'm not going to tell you but I will say this much: they were pretty epic.  You should be jealous.

You should be jealous of my October hike on Santa Cruz Island.


You should be jealous of the fact that I rose at the crack of 6AM and groggily printed off a stack of students' papers to take with me while my male companions teased me for my fool hearty ambition.

You should be jealous of the fact that Moses prepared coffee for me to take along in a container that I had not washed properly and tasted like equal parts lavender parmolive, armpit, and soy milk.  It's okay, I supplemented it with some truly superior gas station coffee in the valley.

You should be jealous of the fact that I graded papers on the hour long ferry ride there AND the hour long ferry ride back.  Were my grapes sour?  What do you think?  And I'll kindly thank you not to judge my prosaic use of idioms.  Anyways, I managed to contain my bitterness and rally for the troops.


After all, they were relying on me for my optimism.

Apparently, we hiked up and down the empire state building one and half times that day (in terms of altitude change).  Plus, I got to see the US Geological survey marker, which was pretty neat.


Overall, it was a good hike.  Father and son bonded and I managed to almost successfully stave off the guilt for not spending that time slaving over my students' writing.

Although, Daniel was disappointed in my lack of outrageous photo posing. So I threw this in there to be a good sport.



Someday I will enlarge this photograph and hang it above my mantle in my study.  You will be welcome to join me there for some brandy as we toast to industry.

I know, I know. So what? I go hiking all the time.  I live in the empire state building and travel up and down it every day.  Blah blah blah.  Well then perhaps this impressive sampling of some apple picking photos will coax your envy.

It was the final hurrah before the dreaded collection of midterm portfolios.  Somehow knowing that I would spend the foreseeable future working every waking hour commenting and conferencing and loathing my adorably misguided I-just-want-to-make-a-difference nature, I didn't feel the least bit repentant for taking a day with the Wilksie to high tail it out of the city and go an apple picking.  Because, that's what you do in the fall in upstate New York.

Our first stop was Snowline Orchard in Yucaipa, CA.  It was deliciously unlosangelesy and dare I even say?  Straight up upstate new yorky.


At the heart of Snowline Orchard was a general store housed in what looked to be an old red barn.  I am a total sucker for that aesthetic.  And I will happily plunk down any number of dollars on quaint overpriced little jars of jam and pickled anything.

While there, we also gracefully munched on some homemade apple cinnamon donuts.



 We sampled some cider, bought some cider.  We sampled some apples, bought some apples.


Having been starved of good apples since making the trek out west four years ago, I understandably became a little attached.


But we weren't satisfied with just buying apples.  We wanted to pick some apples.  And since we could not pick our own apples at Snowline, we drove a little ways up the road to another orchard where we soaked in the sunlight and general splendor






and tried not to kick the apples...


Next we headed over to the nature preserve.



 It was quite to my liking.



Had enough?  Sorry.  Not done yet.  Best start pulling from the patience reserve you've built for me during my three months of silence.

So I collected portfolios and graded and graded and graded.  Like always my grading was punctuated with existential crises and my existential crises were punctuated with fantasies of abandoning my classes and going to work as a fashion editor in New York City. I would call this whole grading stuff soul sucking work but that is much too kind.  

(Soul sucking not pictured).

Then the blackness lifted, I finished dotting the last "i" on the last page of the last student's paper, and I convinced the Wilksie to take me to the place that I had been dreaming of since the word "midterm" first bitterly left my taut lips.

Disneyland.

Note the new glasses.  Don't they look swell?




Whatever.

Now, I have returned to my pre-midterm routine of constant commenting, remorse for how much commenting I always should be doing but so often physically cannot, and flirting with the notion of a 9-5 anything.  Only three more weeks and then I jollily caper into the next terrifying chapter of my life--one that for this first time in a long time will not involve any teaching.  What will I do, you ask?  Excellent question.  Give me your email address and I will get back to you in 7 to 10 years.  Maybe I will try homelessness.  Maybe taxidermy.






Friday, August 31, 2012

Acridity (with a pinch of sugar)

Well, readers, summer is officially over, so naturally I've begun tallying my grievances--as one inevitably does at the end of anything.  Or as one inevitably does when one is perpetually irritable and/or of an unnaturally bad disposition.  Which I am.  I'm sorry, maybe I should start over.  Hi, my name is Wendy, have we met?  Well you're reading this blog, so probably.

Anyways, after much consideration, I have deemed that my grumblings are noteworthy enough to itemize here because you clearly haven't read enough lists on my blog.  Or suffered through enough complaining.  You are wholeheartedly welcome.

List of current gripes:

#1: Summer is donso. (I thought I would jazz up this tragedy with a little outdated lingo.) 

Do you know how I know that summer is over?  No, it's not because of any shift in the weather.  It's still 80 degrees too hot to wear my fall fashion (this gripe to be continued...)  It's because all of those glorious hours of nail painting and Bravo t.v. watching have been replaced with ambivalently staring at my computer screen, typing out handouts and lesson plans ad.na.se.um and trying my absolute gosh-darn hardest to stave off the indecisiveness that plagues my very being.

So far, the results have been mixed.  Bottom line is: I am happy to be teaching again but deeply mourning the loss of all my free time.  I know, I know, my martyr badge is showing.  Did you see its new coat of polish?

#2: Jillian Michaels is a bitch.

It's okay.  She said in week three of her Ripped in 30 DVDs that we could call her that.  And I have. Many times. What can I say?  Exercise gives me tourrettes.  It also apparently gives me back problems.  Maybe I am just getting old because of all the injuries I have sustained over the years as a soccer player, lacrosse player, dancer, and gymnast, positively NONE of them have been back related.  And now I have to lather on the icy-hot and travel to and fro with an orthopedic pillow.  Like the old men puttering around the first aid section of Walgreens.

#3: Icy hot is disgusting.

That is all.

#4: Bad Money Management + New School Clothes - Money = Poverty

Remember those times when summer was the season in which you made the most money?  Neither do I because for the past several years, the summer months have been my least lucrative.  Mostly because I'm not teaching.  That usually also means that August is the diciest month because by then, I've used up what little savings I started out the summer with.  But this doesn't stop me from going back to school shopping, every day, during the first week of classes.  It's really a Kozak tradition--one that I alone uphold.  And on some version of steroids (I'm pretty sure that I was allowed one pair of new shoes, not four.) Unfortunately, what this means is that I am a horrible, irresponsible, materialist mess of a lass.  Go ahead and get your torches and pitchforks ready, because I'm pretty sure that in normal-being-a-good-person terms, that qualifies as a monster.

#5: My DSW coupon has expired

Yes.  The one I have been saving all summer to buy running shoes when I "had money again."  Note that this problem of not having money did not stop me from making my 45 other purchases.  The discount Gods are clearly punishing me for my hypocrisy.

#6: People keep feeding my cake

I don't know when it happened, but sometime over the past few months I totally ceased craving junk food.  Now I eat greek yogurt for dessert which is UNHEARD of in the food diaries of Wendy Kozak.  Alas, this past week, we have been brought cake in our office at work on several separate occasions and I feel obligated to partake in a celebratory slice.  It's like a toast, right?  You have to take a sip or else you're just being rude.  But for once in my life I don't particularly want that piece of cake and I almost always feel gross after I consume it.  What's a homie to do?

You know what?  Don't answer that.

#7: No labor day weekend jet setting for Wendy

Moses and I were planning on camping in the grand canyon.  Those plans fell through.  Moses and I were planning on a weekend getaway to San Clemente.  Those plans through.  The most I can hope for at this point is a stay-cation.  Although that word makes me want to smash things.

But...

On the brighter side of things:

Relax, no one has hijacked my blog.  This is just a healthy dose of honey to my vinegar.  Or however that saying goes...

#1: This summer was pretty good

Traveling, wine drinking, horseback riding, ocean kayaking, death defying (I rode some rides at a county fair where they didn't check your safety harness before they shot you upside, through the air...not like those pansies at Disney)

#2: I have a tan! 

For the first time in my life as an Irish/Pole/Albino, I do not resemble some creature bred in cave-like darkness.  I have color!  The undertone of my skin is no longer blue but a soft caramel.  It is wondrous!  In the course of my twenty-seven years of existence, I have never been able to sustain a long term tan.  My fair skin crisps in the sun to a hideous shade of lobster, turns brownish for one glorious hour and then quickly fades back into near transparency.

I think I have my perpetual summer sunburn to thank for my goddess-like bronzing. Sure I will probably look like a leather bag or a dehydrated peach by the season's end.  Might even have a few precancerous freckles to commemorate this momentous event.  But it's totally worth it.  Gloaty gloat gloat gloat.

#3: Survivor Man

It's been long enough now that I can enjoy this show again.  It even makes me feel slightly nostalgic for Moses' attic room at KDR, where we used to watch hours upon hours of this show before bed.  Netflix has all three seasons.  What bliss!

#4: Speaking of Moses...

I still like him even though it took him three weeks to read my blog about him.

#5: Teaching is pretty awesome

During a class discussion on thursday, one of my students said something so thoughtful that it made my grinchy teacher heart grow three sizes.  They are vaguely likable, aren't they!

#6: My fall outfits are fabulous

Even if my hair has been weird recently.

#7: And finally three words: three. day. weekend.

But, I will probably spend a good chunk of it lesson planning.

Let's face it, folks, it can't be all honey.  Look who you are talking to.


There she is.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ode to Monsieur Wilks

Last Tuesday marked the eighth year of Moses' and my coupledome and the third anniversary of my discovery of mascara.

Although the day is primarily devoted to celebrating mascara, I usually try to reserve five minutes or so to shake Moses' hand and wish him luck in the coming business year.

But since we're already on the topic and I abhor having to come up with clever transitions, I figure I will give a little more lip service to the man that I've shared the past quarter of my life with.

I'm fairly certain that all three of my regular readers are familiar with the narrative of how Wenoses or Mosendy (I'll let you decide which one is more obnoxious) came to be, but, on the off chance that someone happens upon the post while sampling blogs written by lush, sarcastic, and highly succesful twenty-seven year olds, I will retell the tale.  I think it's important for you to see how I've come to lead this glamorous life of mine...

Moses and I went to middle school together and except for a few glimpses of him in band (he played Saxophone, I played the trumpet) and the moderate fame that accompanied him when he was named "Most Musical" in the 8th grade year book, we didn't interact much.  Although I seem to vaguely recollect Moses being in the same study hall as me in the 7th grade.  But Mr. Kelly's study hall was of such a nature that I seemed to have blocked most of it.

Moses and I became friends in High School.  Since we were both overachieving bandits, we shared most of the same AP and honors classes.  Moses now finally admits that he always thought I was "a really cool renegade" (explanation forthcoming) and "awesomely hot" (I may have slightly tweaked the language on that last one but I'm the wordsmith, remember?)  I, on the other hand, pretty much always had a crush on Moses.  It's true.  My best friend Gwendolyn can corroborate.  The only thing that varied from year to year was the intensity of the crush.  It had reached its initial peak during junior year of High School when we were both in the same English class.  Not to brag, but I pretty much ruled that class.  I once got up in the middle of reading Walden and declared that I was sick of reading Thoreau, that it was pointless and stupid and that I was going to go get coffee.  I then, naturally, asked our teacher for money which he gave me, and returned 30 minutes later with a mocha latte. Yeah, that acutally happened.  And to Moses, this was one of the most epic things he had ever witnessed at IHS that he still speaks of it with a sense of awe.

After graduation, Moses and I went through a brief period of despising one another.  I will call this the Pride and Prejudice portion of our courtship.  Moses would hate that but as we have already established, he doesn't read my blog, so I think we're good. You can go ahead and to refer to it as that from now on and he will be none the wiser.  Moses claims that he never actually disliked me and I am sure that I never truly hated him either but suffice it to say that with the help of a healthy dose of high school drama, Moses and I did not get along from about the summer of 2003 to the spring of 2004.  During our Pride and Prejudice phase, I would complain incessantly about Moses to all of my girlfriends.  My best friend Gwendolyn, clever but mostly sick of hearing all Moses-related griping, finally confronted me and asked me point blank if I liked Moses.  In that moment, talking on my cell phone on the top bunk of the bunk beds in my college dorm room that was double converted into a triple, surrounded by pictures of Sylvia Plath and Tori Amos, I had an epiphany.  I did like Moses.  I liked him more than I had ever liked anyone before.  And so began my summer missions: to win the heart of Moses Quinn Wilks.

Despite running in the same social circles, this task was not as easy as I initially thought. My first obstacle was ignorance.  I had never pursued anyone in my life so I wasn't entirely sure how to go about doing it.  My dating career was rather modest and all the boyfriends that I had had up until that point had pursued me (naturally.)  The only actual examples I had of a woman pursing a man came from romantic comedies and I was relatively certain that stalking, manipulating, and destroying Moses' life ala Julia Roberts in My Best Friends Wedding was not the way to go.  Well, fairly certain anyways.  The other unfortunate fact remained that I had never quite acquired the skill of flirtation.  If I had a crush on someone, which happened never,  I usually teased and/or was mercilessly sarcastic and then prayed that the lucky individual found that endearing.   But the situation with Moses was a delicate one.   I needed to be stealthy, even coy.  I didn't want to spook him.  I liked him far too much.

So when I spotted him at the next party the summer after freshman year of college, I gingerly approached him and said the suavest, subtlest thing I could think of: I want to date you. 

It was smooth.  So smooth in fact that Moses thought it was a joke and we continued the same game of bluntness and misinterpretation (my absolute favorite!) for what seemed like an infinite amount of time.

But on the night of August 14th, after performing with his funk band, we sat together in the dingy and decrepid college-town digs of our friend Sam, and I, like a shameless harlot, won my prize and Moses finally agreed to be my boyfriend, or something. 

And we've been together ever since.

The thing about Moses is that he is exactly the type of partner I've always wanted, except that I was never the sort of person to give any thought to what it was that I wanted in a mate, so it's almost like I've developed this retrospective/retroactive checklist based on all the things that I love about Moses.  Which is basically everything minus the video games and the leaving the peanut butter out, so it's a pretty long list.

For example:

Moses plans out loud--I love that.  Because I hate planning.  And anything that doesn't require painstakingly drawn decision making.

Moses makes me feel like the most intelligent, most talented, most beautiful, and most adored woman on the planet.  Just this past weekend, when we were going out to dinner for our anniversary, Moses told me I looked like a fancy prostitute.  And you better believe that I felt like the fanciest prostitute this side of 19th century Paris. (And Mom, just in case you are reading this and are appalled, he was 70% joking.)

Moses is incredibly logical and this makes me both less irrational and less neurotic.  All he has to do is give me a certain look and say "really?" and like a dog that has been reprovingly spritzed with water, I freeze instantly, stop what I am doing or saying, fill with shame, and scurry away.

Moses can also comfort me just as swiftly.

Moses is essentially a smarter, funnier, and more talented male version of me.  We laugh at the same jokes, like the same foods, dislike the same bands, hold the same political beliefs, subscribe to the same philosophies about life and humanity, sass to such a degree that it makes others wonder if we are really assholes, and share a secret language based entirely on inside jokes.  Naturally, we make one hell of a Taboo team.

There is really nothing about Moses that I don't admire and respect and I trust his opinion more than anyone's. Except for when he tells me that high-waisted jeans don't look good. Then, he's just wrong. Because they're fabulous.

And even though I'm a poor professor and he's an even poorer graduate student, we truly have the happiest life together.

I've had a crush on Moses since I was sixteen and I really don't foresee it ever ceasing.

I will leave you all now with some of my favorite snapshots from the past eight years.









Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The answer to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle, they're on TV.

I grew up in a small, liberal, hippy town in which birkenstocks and patchouli oil abound and on any given day you could spot ten volvos spattered in bumper stickers that read "Make love not war" and "Mondale and Ferraro."  This also meant that about 50% of the kids that I went to school with grew up in a "crunchy" household.  Our family started out that way to some extent.  My sister and I were denied sugar and subsisted on wheat germ dusted cereal and fruit leathers from our local cooperative  market.  But there was one fixture in our household that was absent from most of my granola loving classmates': A television.

I watched a fair amount of television growing up and to this day, I feel somewhat conflicted about how much time I devote to it.  I see those bumper stickers (again, mostly in Ithaca--you wouldn't be caught dead with anything like that here in tinsel town) that encourage you to "kill" or "throw away" your television; I hear those tales told of children reared in homes without it and I admire that.  But then I remember how much I like watching Bravo and all of those delicious fantasies I have about chucking my television, taking up quilting projects and generally becoming a productive member of society, promptly go out the window.

My T.V. watching habits are particularly egregious over the summer: no papers to grade, no lessons to plan, just hours and hours of prime re-run watching at my disposal.  I'll waste whole afternoons with entire seasons of The Rachel Zoe Project and Real Housewives of Anything Ever.  And gosh darn it, if it doesn't feel so good to come home from work at 1PM, sprawl out on my couch and slip into the sweet comatose lull of reality television programming.  It's like going to spa.  Except not at all.  Although sometimes I do reemerge from an episode of Pregnant in Heels to discover that my nails have been painted.

Sure, I could be reading or sewing or cooking or vacuuming or doing the dishes or doing (quite literally) anything else but summer is all about relaxation, n'cest pas? And I've been so worn out by this past year that I need my veg. sessions to recuperate. I am essentially one bad class away from turning Miss Viola Swamp. Permanently.  And for those of you unfamiliar with the children's book Miss Nelson is Missing, Miss Viola Swamp is this woman:


The retributive alter ego of the sweet (and grossly abused) teacher, Miss Nelson.  Sound familiar?  Well it should because that's me.  My teacherly plight is so long and filled with suffering that I might as well be a character from a Victor Hugo novel...or fodder for fabulous picture books. 

But I digress. 

The point, dear reader, is that if I do not want to be a twenty-seven year old burnout with bad hair, hinging on bitter haggishness, I need to have down time and I need to learn how to enjoy that down time.  And pronto.  Luckily Monsieur Television is an excellent trainer--he taught me how to delight in other people's interpersonal drama while blissfully ignoring my own problems, how to relate to other people in a cordial yet shallow way, and perhaps most importantly, how to take pleasure in moments of laziness while only feeling slightly rueful about it.  As a result, I am once again nearing human perfection.  At least until fall semester begins and I once again shrivel up into an overworked harpy.

So you see my predicament: as much as I may want to, I can't throw away my television.  I can't have one of those households where everyone reads all the time and makes papier-mâché models of greek gods instead of rotting their brains to the likes of The Vampire Diaries.  I am not that good or true or estimable. Maybe someday I will feel differently.  Maybe I will ban the television from my future household and instead make my kids go play outside, or something tyrannical like that.  But in the meantime, le television will be my companion of leisure and you can go ahead and feel superior to me, although I have to warn you, two can play at that game, compadre, and I have a genetic predisposed advantange.

And besides, productivity is overrated. Just look at American politics...

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Monday Mosaic

If I am going to keep up this blog with any regularity, I need to stop waiting for interesting things to happen to me and make the things that are happening to me seem more interesting.  Or at least train myself to feel less awkward about reporting on the mundane.  So here, for your viewing pleasure on this lackadaisical Monday, is a random sampling of thoughts and happenings paired with pretty pilfered images from the internet.


I've finally done it.  After many a self-loathing summer of begrudgingly drinking hot coffee, I have finally made the necessary preparations to drink iced coffee at home.  Meaning that I have finally had the prudence and the restraint to set aside some coffee to refrigerate and freeze into ice cubes.  As you can see the process is incredibly arduous and it's no small wonder why it's taken me ten plus years to do it.

Stats: Number of months I have now been making iced coffee: 2.  Number of times I have actually enjoyed an iced coffee beverage at home: 1.  Baby steps.



I have been considering joining pinterest.  It reminds me of the scrap booking my sister and I used to do as girls with photo albums and pictures that we had cut out of magazines.  I've been considering joining for about the past two months.  Pros: I like photographs of nouns that reflect my aesthetics but that I am neither skilled nor creative enough to create on my own (case in point: all the pictures in this post.)  I also like looking at and assembling things that look nice.  Cons: I'm already pretty self-obsessed and I'm worried that pinterest will nudge me over into full-blown narcissism.


I generally spend about $100 per week on groceries.  And this is almost assuredly a gross underestimate.  Unfortunately, much like my dressing myself, I eat based entirely on my mood.  So just like I am always pondering what my next outfit will be, I am always planning what my next meal will be.  It's only gotten worse since becoming a more adventurous cook and fashionista.  To avoid overspending (at least on food--I've lost all hope that this will happen with clothing,) Moses and I have made a bi-weekly grocery list complete with the ingredients of our top 10 favorite (and most commonly used) dinner recipes.  Although we spoke about making this list for four+ months and only just made it about two weeks ago, I feel confident that we will begin using it soon.  The jury's still out on whether or not this list will also help me with impulse buying, procrastinating less when it comes to making moderately important life decisions, and/or going to the grocery store hungry.


I have been blessed with my mother's metabolism. My entire life, I've eaten basically whatever I've wanted, when I've wanted, and never had to experience the unpleasant side-effect of gaining weight. During spring semester, however, when I was uber stressed and working all the time, I developed the unhealthy but tragically unavoidable habit of not eating all until 6PM, at which point I would binge. like. crazy.  This has wreaked havoc on my once glorious metabolism.  Approx. 10 lbs worth of havoc.  So since May (with the exception of a two week break for something clearly so important that I can't remember what it is) I have been exercising regularly with good 'ole Jillian Michaels and her dreaded circuit training dvds.  That's right, every night I have the priviledge of sweating to such gravelly taunts as "don't phone it in," "don't you dare quit," "I will murder your children if you don't give me everything you got on this chair squat," while I quietly pray for death.  But Moses swears that he can see results and that I am starting to look fit and thin again and I'll let you know when I think he's no longer lying to me (which will probably be never.)


Netflix watch instantly has recently added Bravo TV series Kell on Earth, chronicling the experiences of Kelly Cutrone, the founder of Fashion PR company People's Revolution (and, apparently, new America's Next Top Model judge).  It is the best thing that has ever happened to me.



And I never exaggerate.




So there you have it, kiddies.  In about a week or so I will be traveling to visit my family on the East Coast and then I will undoubtedly have more climatic things to relay but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the ensemble of ordinariness.

A happy Monday to you.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

En Juillet

I must confess myself, dear reader, astonished that it is July.  My gaze seems to have drifted from my calendar somewhere in mid-May, only to just wander back to behold the bleak and ghastly reality that it is now the dreaded estival median.  That's right, folks.  We are currently confronting the mortality of summer.  I can count the number of weeks left on one hand.  How's that for depressing?

But never you fear, dears.  I know you come to me for your daily dose of optimisim and I don't want to dissapoint.  So dab your eyes and repress your sighs--all is not lost.  I can say that now because I am on the other side of it; I've come out of my veritable mid-summer crisis.  My sentences are peppered with far fewer alases these days and I've managed to almost entirely cease all my lamentations that summer is half over, that I haven't done anything yet, and that I don't know who I am or what I am doing with my life (it was rather existential, as most of my crises inevitably are.)

The fact of the matter is that I have done things.  Lots of things.  And I have a quite a few more things planned before the summer's out.

For example, earlier this month, Moses and I traveled downtown and visited the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. 


I love Natural History Museums.  I don't know who doesn't.  If you are reading this and you don't, do me a favor: go to a mirror and take a long hard look at yourself and ask yourself why your life is a lie.  I mean, doesn't everyone want to be an archeologist from ages 6-9?  I still sometimes flirt with notion whenever I've had a particularly crummy day of teaching.  In fact, I'm rather surprised it took me and Moses so long to get down there.  I shamefully didn't even know it existed until watching a T.V. show that was suppose to take place in New York but like everything else is actually filmed in LA.  In that particular episode, the protagonists were suppose to be visiting the Natural History Museum.  Since I've been to the one in New York half a dozen times, I knew immediately that the space that they were claiming to be the American Museum of Natural History was not, so I asked Moses if Los Angeles had one.  He said that he thought they did and I immediately went a-googling to confirm.

Although considerably smaller than its eastern counterpart, it was still quite fun.  The gem exhibit was particularly exquisite.  It was like looking at magnificent, naturally occurring artwork.  Moses was equally impressed and was very to excited to be learning new things.  He insists that he enjoys it.  Clearly, as a scientist, he's chosen the wrong profession.


I think that overall, the dinosaur exhibit was my favorite.  I've had a long standing love affair with dinosaurs (see picture below).  I wanted to be a paleontologist from ages 9-13 because apparently being an archeologist didn't involve enough digging up of dinosaur bones.  Also, dinosaurs are awesome.  If you are reading this and you don't like dinosaurs, do me a favor: go to a mirror and take a long hard look at yourself and then punch yourself in the face.  You deserve it.


I also got a bike this summer.  That is certainly something.  And Moses and I have taken many a weekend ride to the Venice beach bike path.  We even biked down to the Marina on the Fourth of July to watch the fireworks display.

We had never been before, so we weren't entirely sure how early we should get there to reserve a good spot.  We decided we'd pack a picnic equipped with makeshift trader joe's s'mores and a nalgene bottle filled with two buck chuck and bike down to Burton Chace Park around 6ish (three hours before the show was schedule to start.)

Technically this is against the law, since it's an open container, but luckily I'm subtle.

Naturally, we were a little apprehensive at first.  Neither of us particularly liked the prospect of having to spend three hours in each other's company, our stomach knotted like fists...


Oh and by the way, that picture, the one above, is Moses' new absolute favorite picture of us together.  Yeah.  Can you believe this guy?


Me neither, but I digress.   As you can see we nabbed a spot with a great view...


...of the Marina, not, unfortunately, of the fireworks.  We were informed by Park Rangers about 15 minutes before the show that if we wanted to see any of it, we would need to go to the opposite side of the park.

Please note that I do not have any pictures of the fireworks because A. I actually watched them for real, instead of filming them on my iPhone like everyone else around us (not that I have an iPhone but that's hardly the point) B. My camera has a firework setting but I have been unable to figure out exactly how it works (t-minus five years and counting) C. It was crowded and I didn't feel like it and I didn't particularly want to ruin other peoples' viewing of the show with my camera's constant flashing (unlike those mentioned above in A.)

The following weekend, Moses I traveled to Estes Park, Colorado for Bill and Ruth's wedding.  It rained 99.8% of the time, which didn't bother me any except that I didn't think to bring rain appropriate footwear.

The landscape itself was remarkable.


Yes, the view from the rental car was spectacular
And we stayed in a rather charming cabin with Kate, Jacob, Baby Jake, and Mellie Rae.




I apologize for the general lack of photos but I was too distracted having a great time to do much snapping.  They did have a photo booth at the wedding, which I thought was a really neat idea.  And like any good idea, it was made only greater by debauchery.

Case in point:


Yes.  That is my boyfriend of eight years. Isn't he amazing?  Although, I would like you all to know that it was I who suggested he use the app on his phone for his Flava Flave clock.  You're welcome world for my awesomeness.

You're also welcome for my modeling genius. 


Although in my gin and tonic + infinite glasses of wine haze, I didn't quite realize that some of my poses were awkward (and perhaps vaguely racist.)  So, sorry world for my terribleness.




A big congrats to Ruth and Bill!  You are a lovely couple and lovely friends and lovely people and your wedding was lovely and enjoyable x 1000.


There you have it, proof that I have not wasted my summer.  I have made it to this midpoint having had a respectable amount of fun.  Stayed tuned for more adventures!

Not pictured: the hours spent sitting on my couch reading US magazine and watching repeats of the same Keeping Up the Kardashians episodes for the 18th, 19th, and 20th time.