Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just another manic monday (that's really a tuesday)

One thing I will say about my new hair cut is that is gives me profoundly more interesting bed head.  Which, given my lack of patience for styling my hair or doing anything that requires more than five minutes, really means that it gives me a much more interesting working professional hairdo.

It's times like these that I am grateful I work at an art college, because I am fairly certain that the bouncy hair police on the LMU campus would try to ward me off with holy water and garlic.  Because apparently being a hair transgressor is the same thing as a vampire?  Well, you don't have to look far past my sullen and pasty white exterior to see the resemblance...

Even a grimace in the sunlight. (Or is that a sparkle?)  No.  Stop.  We will have none of that none sense here.

So what was I saying?  Ah yes, important things of value.  You see, I sometimes catch a glimpse of myself in the windows of buildings as I walk around campus and think:  My!  What a fine hair cut.  Don't I look stylish?!  But then I move about fifty feet closer to behold the matted medusa mess that is currently gracing my scalp and I quickly flee in terror.  And no matter how many people reassure me that it doesn't look stupid, I can't help but brand them all liars and go sulk in my ugly corner.  So I guess what I'm saying is: I am still getting used to it.

Of course, my grouchiness about my shorn lady locks probably isn't helped by the fact that I'm coming off a weekend high of sheer splendor at the beach.   Moses and I had decided to high tail it out of Los Angeles for a few days to relax at his grandmother's condo in San Clemente.  We played board games and lazed around and napped and read and wrote and walked around town and watched movies.  Oh heaven, thy name is three day weekend.

After a solid Sunday morning of indoor activities, we decided to peruse the mostly closed shops along Avenida del Mar.  We found ourselves wandering into Rocket Fizz, where I misguidedly bought a box of Hello Kitty Cupcake Sprinkle Bites (it was the ultimate betrayal) and where Mose and I thought it would be fun to buy some candy cigarettes (I picked out the one with the horse packaging, naturally).

I thought I'd go for effortlessly homeless that day.

Turns out that they tasted a lot like the stick part of a tootsie pop.  Don't ask me or my teeth or my taste buds how we know that.

Oh yeah.  And they contained beef gelatin. A clever anti-smoking campaign if I ever saw one...

On Monday, Mose and I rolled out of bed at the late hour of 9:30 AM only to discover that we had tragically missed the donut part of the local Surfin' Donut Breakfast Shop but we consoled ourselves with a breakfast burrito con avocado.  We ate it too quickly to get a photograph; I am sure instagram will never be the same.

We did manage to capture this, however.

Yet further confirmation that Moses has been spelling his name wrong all these years.

Sigh.  Back to the land of dishes and Jillian Michaels and hair cuts and answering emails written by people who apparently learned how to read and write English off of cat meme websites.

Can I haz mor weekens now plez?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

An open letter to young girls everywhere...

Hello ladies.  How's Justin Bieber? I assume that you like him, I apologize if that is grossly ignorant of me and you really have more sophisticated taste like Chris Brown or something.  Did you see Justin Bieber got booed at the gdhsgjkds awards?    Confession time: I don't really know anything about Justin Bieber except that he once said that he hoped that if Anne Frank were alive that she would be a Belieber.  Heart. Be. Still.

Anyways, that was really just my weak attempt to relate to you gallies, because, if we are going to be honest with each other, we know that we don't have much in common.  And I know that you never really listen to people like me (case in point the one negative eval I got for Fall 2012 semester was by a young lass who said the most effective thing about my course was that she got cerrredit for it.  And yes, I tots know who you are Miss handwriting that bears a striking resemblance to Lucinda handwriting font), but I thought I would just pass along some friendly advice that you can then promptly ignore before getting back to mean tweeting Kim Kardashian about being a big fat dumb pregnant heifer.

First of all, we need to talk about your wardrobe. Do you know when wearing sheer tops with nothing but a dark colored bra underneath became acceptable going to class attire?  Because I sure don't.  Maybe I didn't get the memo or maybe my father just loved me enough growing up but girlfriend, (and you should know that I never say that,) if your professor can see a bug bite on your stomach through your shirt, it's a problem.  You might need to rethink your life decisions.  I am all for you being empowered and dressing your body in the way you see fit but this screams more "I am confused about what it means to be sexy and how to get attention, so I will just go ahead and emulate prostitutes!" and less "I am transgressing gender norms and advancing the rights of women!"  It's a tricky distinction, I know.

This brings me to my next point.  Leggings are NOT pants.  Tights are NOT pants.  Pants are pants. I don't know who told you otherwise but I can tell you with 100% certainty that this person maliciously lied to you.  They wanted you to look like a loony old man who forgot to put on his trousers before he drove down to CVS.  Not so cute if you didn't come of age during the Truman administration.

Sorry if this offends your delicate sensibilities but we needed a visual aid here. (Also, if you have delicate sensibilities you probably shouldn't be reading this blog...)

We also really need to discuss your reading habits.  I am not talking about gossip magazines; my morning routine has been known to include the checking of an US Weekly app on my iPhone, so I can hop off from atop my majestic high horse on that one.   But this...

...this is unacceptable.

This is also unacceptable:

Girls.  You need to stop.  Just stop.  I mean it.  That is all I can say on the matter because this makes me feel like I want to die.

But not really.

But maybe a little bit.

And do you want to be responsible for my untimely death?  I didn't think so because we both know that I would be one real B of a ghost.

The last thing we really need to hash out is your relationship with boys.  I imagine that this is one of those lessons that you first have to let get you pregnant and then abandon you on the way to the clinic to learn but there are certain types of guys that are not worth spending your time on.

If you had the choice between this man:

And this man:

Who would you choose?

I bet the vast majority of you young-ins would pick the first guy.  He looks effortlessly cool.  He's smoking.  He seems like the type of guy who is tough and sullen but secretly has a heart of gold and all he needs is just the right woman--you--to change him into a happy well-adjusted person (who is only slightly still inclined to brooding).  But guess what gals?  That man does not exist.  All you will get out of the first guy is months, possibly years of heart-ache, dissatisfaction because he doesn't care what you want, and being treated like dirt's lesser and weirder sister.

My whole life, I have chosen men like bachelor number two.  And I have been right.  Why?  Because he's smart.  He knows how to read; he knows what he wants in life. And he will worship you.  He will care deeply about your happiness and about making you feel fulfilled.

(Also if you had picked the first guy, you would have ended up with Mickey Rourke.  Suckas!  And if you had chosen the second, Mark Ruffalo would be yours, which is more apt than you may realize.)

Oh and before you go, you should know that you are the reason that stores like this exist:

Yes.  I apologize profusely for my hair.  I would like to blame humidity but as seeing how there is none in Southern California, we can pretend that it's still settling into its new shorter length and that I haven't made a huge mistake.  But we are not here to discuss me, we're here to discuss you.  If I don't see some massive changes, you should expect another intervention right around Christmas time.  And you might want to actually read a good book written by some named Charles Not-Stephanie-Meyers-Dickens to know what to expect.

Most sincerely not yours,

Wendy S. Kozak  (The "S" stands for Susan or Smug)

Monday, May 20, 2013

The road to self-improvement is paved with tequila

After the memory of yet another lovely soiree was tarnished by a one too many margarita regretfest (perhaps more commonly know as cinco de mayo), I awoke the next morning vowing that I really would try to be a better person this time and that I would stop all this nonsense that haunts the more responsible side of my psyche with vague threats of turning into some version of David Hasselhoff eating a hamburger off of the kitchen floor.  Pass.

And yes, I saw it fit to finally end that sentence.

Something about edging in on thirty makes me feel like taking a good long look at certain aspects of my life and uttering the classic (overused?) line from the Lethal Weapon Movies: I'm getting too old for this shit.

And before you get all huffy and puffy, I am not suggesting that thirty is old by any means.  I'm not a lunatic.  But I think it is safe to say that twenty eight is right around the time in a young gal's life when she should begin distancing herself from the guilded age-esque party girl lifestyle.  Like who do I think I am, Zelda Fitzgerald?  No thanks. Sign me up for some good old fashion adult willpower please.

Of course, any time I swear up and down that I am on the road to self-improvement, I feel a bit like Liz Lemon making grand and empty promises about this being the year that she will finally finish her quilt and get her life together.  Will I actually succeed in following through with these things?  If I was going to be honest with myself I would say: answer unclear ask again later.

I have made some progress, though.  As I'm sure you can all recall, I began exercising regularly with Fur Michaels as of this time last year (although there was some considerable slippage in the fall courtesy of those sixteen hour work days).  I've also managed to abandon my tub of Pillsbury frosting and box of kraft mac and cheese diet and transition into something less diabetes inducing. (Complete with Kale!)

But despite my strides in some areas, I'm still struggling in others.

I need to work on buying smarter and less often.  I am kind of the queen of overshopping and letting all my vegetables rot.  So really, I'm queen of compost.  Except that my compost pile is a shameful Los Angeles trash can whose contents probably get dumped into the ocean and kill dolphins.  So really really, I'm a dolphin murder.  It's a problem.  And try as I might, I haven't manage to do much better in the whole not going to grocery store everyday and spending at least $30 each visit department.

But don't worry, starting in a week, I plan to frequent the grocery store only twice a month to buy ingredients for planned dinners. Do you hear that?!  Planned! Dinners! And I've put the fresh veggie heavy meals in the beginning of the week so we will have minimal wiltage.  I would show you my flow chart but it would only embarrass you by its awesomeness.  That would be a first for this blog...

I also fairly obviously need to work on two other things, which are really things I need to work on all the time: not having such a persistent brattitude and not overindulging like an bandit.

As nature or fate would have it, I love me a scowl and a glass of red wine.  It's just who I am.  But just because it's who I am does not mean it's who I have to be.  That may or may not have been a line from the movie Honey...

Hmm...this particular post is a little reference-heavy...

Regardless, I am trying to practice some self-restraint and to trade at least fifteen of my scowls for one or two smiles or half smiles or, at the very least, dim positive thoughts.  It seems to be working mostly.


To be perfectly frank, I've had 100% success rate on the restraint front and maybe a 4% on the not being a bovine front.  Check back with me in a fifty years and maybe it will have nudged to a 7% by then.  Or not.  I still haven't quite managed to stop myself from asking questions during movies that I (and my fellow movie watcher) have never seen before and that's been annoying people since 1986.

And this doesn't really have anything to do with anything but I maybe just impulsively decided to chop six inches off my hair (that has been long since before graduate school) and I maybe reacted like one of the girls from America's Next Top Model being told to shave their heads.  And I also maybe felt a little bit like Jo from little women, except that my long glorious locks were lopped off for far less noble reasons.  On the plus side, the hair dresser from the salon asked to keep a lock of my hair because "the color was cool" and she wanted to see if she could recreate it with hair die.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A less than pleasant adventure...

So I might, might, be ever so slightly inclined to exaggeration.  It's probably not the worst thing that has ever happened to me when I can't find my black tights in morning while trying to get dressed for work.  And it may not actually be the worst day of my life when I discover that the Peppermint Altoids I bought in desperation after running out of my Trader Joe's Sugar-free Vanilla Peppermints with nary a Trader Joe's in sight are NOT, in fact, sugar-free.  And I also probably wouldn't rather die than spend fifteen minutes in an Abercrombie and Fitch store.  Or maybe I would but suffice it to say that it was no exaggeration to think that world was over on Friday when I lost the key to the Honda Civic that Moses and I share.

Friday was kind of a crappy day to begin with, peppered with plenty of minor annoyances that built and built until I felt like I was one hitch hiker short of turning into Large Marge from Pee-Wee Herman's Great Adventure.  You can thank me later for the obscure reference.

Because I had worked late the previous night, I was planning on leaving early.  My etd kept getting pushed back from 3:30PM to 4PM to 4:30PM to finally at 4 f-ing 50 I shut down my computer, scooped up my purse, and told the world to suck it because I was going home.  Except that I didn't actually say any of that.

I was wearing a pair of wedges that I hadn't worn in a while, so over the course of the day, being the delicate flower that I am, I had developed some pretty ugly blisters.  I limp up the stairs to the parking structure and over to my car and I am about five feet away when I begin feeling for the key in my purse.  iPhone, wallet, plastic baggie full of bobby pins that I rarely use but somehow always seem to leave a trail of, sunglasses, house keys, book, receipt, coupon, coupon...but no car key.  (Keep in mind that as a carrier of a large purse, I perform a similarly choreographed routine every day.)

I heave my bag off of my shoulder on to the very unwashed trunk of my car.  I only cringe a little when I think of just how unwashed it is.  I begin weeding out all the larger objects, opening up zippers, feeling for that familiar shape but nothing.  Okay, don't panic.  You probably just left the key on your desk in your office.  So I hobble back down the stairs to the parking structure and up the stairs to my office.  I search my entire office: my drawers, my desk, under my desk, in the trashcan.  It's nowhere to be found.  I go down stairs to the lost and found.  The security guard pulls out a bouquet of car keys that I pick through hopefully only to discover that mine is not among them.  Where else could it be? I walk back up to the parking structure and start searching around my car and under the surrounding cars.  I walk the block to the Japanese restaurant where I had lunch and back (remember those blisters I mentioned earlier because I sure do).  I stop at stores along the way.  Anyone return a set of keys to a Honda Civic? No, no, no, and no.

Unfortunately, I am not by any stretch of the imagination graceful under pressure, so I did the one thing I always do when on the brink of a meltdown.  I call Moses.  It just so happens in this case to also be the call that I am dreading making because why?  Wait for it......wait for it.......we don't have a spare key.

When Moses initially bought the car, it only came with a single set of keys and although we had made grand plans to someday get a spare set, grad school (as it tends to do) got in the way of our hopes and dreams, so we never actually followed through.

Now I didn't and don't know much about the subtle nuances of key technology but I was fairly certain that Hondas aren't the type of car that you could just call a lock smith for.  So with aching feet and heavy heart, I confess to Moses that it seems I have lost our car key.  He is calm and understanding but I can tell just by the tone of his voice that this news is very distressing to him, which makes me feel like I want to die (no exaggeration) because I hate doing anything to upset anyone, especially Moses.

After some additional scouring, I call it off and hitch a ride with a co-worker back to my apartment.  When I arrive Moses and I attempt to strategize.  Friday night was the Senior Show at Otis, which is typically attended by 5,000+ people.  Not ideal searching conditions.  (Think one too many sardines in a whatever.) We decide it might make more sense to go to campus on Saturday after graduation, when the parking lot and campus would be emptier 

I call the Honda dealership and ask them to explain the process for key replacement.  The receptionist informs me that in order to get a new key we need to get the car to the dealership with the key so that they could reprogram it.  I explain that we don't have the key (thus why I am calling and asking you what to do when you lose a key, you expletive).  Unhelpful response, confusing information, goodbye.  Ugh.

So I relay this information to Moses who googles around and discovers that yes, we do in fact need to get the car to the dealership.  But the car is currently locked in the parking lot at Otis with the emergency break on.  Cue additional googling about towing cars with emergency breaks on.  Meanwhile, I have now gone from a 5 to 129 on the panic spectrum.  I begin tallying up all the expenses of getting the car towed, getting the key replaced, the getting the new key reprogrammed (service charges galore), and anticipating all the stress that will accompany the various steps.  I suggest to Moses that we go back to campus and search that night. Who knows, maybe we will find the key!  Judging from the optimism, I am clearly channeling my mother.

One tense 30 minute bus ride later we arrive at Otis.  We go into all the stores in between the Japanese Restaurant where I went to lunch and the campus.  We ask the same questions that I had asked not three hours prior and get the same responses.  We leave contact information.  We finally make our way to the campus which is p.a.c.k.e.d with people.  We check with the security guard again.  No honda civic keys returned.  We go up to the parking lot and crawl around and in between the labyrinth of cars using our smart phones as flash lights.  No sign of anything but oil stains and littered paper products.  As a last stitch effort before we call it a night, we go back and re-search my office.  We go over every inch that I had gone over before until....suddenly Moses triumphantly plucks the keys from out of a little strip of plastic on the back of my office chair.  Now.  To appreciate just how bizarre this spot is and why I maybe didn't think to look there in all my searching I am including the following image.

This is similar to my office chair. The red arrow is pointing to where we found the key.  Would you think to look for it there Sherlock?  I thought not.  So stop your judging.

Long story short (too late), that is how we spent Friday night.  And in case you were feeling really bad about yourself, you should know that the Friday night before that, Moses and I shared one beer and I fell asleep at 10PM while watching reruns of Castle.  I think I'll finally let the cat out of the bag and tell you that the Fast and Furious franchise was loosely based on my life.

In happier news, today is Mother's Day.  As you all know, I have the most incredible mother in existence (no exaggeration).  I always miss my mother--with us being on opposite ends of the country--but I especially miss her on days like this.  The older that I get the more and more I realize just how much she does and how much thanks she deserves but so rarely gets.  So thank you Mom for all the times we didn't thank you for holding us all together and being the most understanding, patient, encouraging, and loving person there is.

I got you your favorite type of flower, Mom.  One that doesn't smell.

And I want to wish a special happy mother's day to all my friends who are mothers or expecting mothers.  I was going to say thanks for keeping it real but that seems sort of inappropriate.  I will say that you are all nothing short of amazing.

And a special special happy mother's day to my Irish grandmother, Violet (who turns 90 this year and doesn't own a computer), my Polish grandmother Helena (who passed away almost five years ago), and to my for all intents and purposes mother Lynne (who is one of the most thoughtful and giving people I know) and grandmother Blanche (whom I adore and whom I have the privilege of spending today with).

Ugh.  Sorry to get so mushy on you.  Won't happen again.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I'm not a jealous person by nature.  I don't hate people who have perks that I don't or skills that I don't or great hair that I don't.  (I reserve my hatred primarily for stupid people.)  Instead, when a girl crosses my path who is smart and beautiful and well dressed, the sentiment I am struck with most closely resembles pity.  Not pity for her, pity for myself.  Pity that I don't have that awesome blazer or those long skinny legs and proportionate torso.

Pathetic?  Well, duh.  But I would categorize this less in the Cathy cartoon pitiful category and more in the pug pitiful category.  Like: oh you silly fat old thing with your skin infection and breathing problems...

This line of woe-is-me thinking has recently been exacerbated by the fact that I've been incapacitated for the past two days with some plague resembling the flu with its aches and pains and debilitating fatigue.  So I haven't been particularly feeling as everything's coming up roses as I normally do.

To top it all off,  I keep hearing about all these people around me who are achieving wonderful things.  Meanwhile, I have been achieving a vertical position on my couch atop of a throne of pillows with my hair matted to one side, weeping my eyes out to What to Expect When You're Expecting (which was either made more tolerable by illness or was actually better than I was anticipating it being...)

And to think that Standford turned down this jelly for their PhD program.

Perhaps they were just intimidated by the sheer extent of my knowledge on Hilary and Hailey Duff movies.  Who wouldn't be?

It's just that all these recent whispers of accomplishments have reminded me of some old goals I had back when I was a bright eyed idealistic undergraduate, completing my last semester of study.  At that time, my plan in life was clear (and I thought attainable): get a PhD in English, become a well respected author, poet, instructor, and literary critic.  Nearly five years have past and I'm arguably no closer to those goals and once more, I am not even sure that these are my goals anymore.

I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a twinge of saddness thinking about this.  I would also be lying if I said I didn't dwell in that old familiar feeling of self pity that I am not the one out there conquering the world of academia or making choices that nudge me closer to making a real decision about my life and future instead of just punching the snooze button, over and over and over again.  Just five more years, okay?

Are you bored yet?  Me neither, I will complain some more.

Maybe it's just the season.  Remember that it was this time last year when I first awoke from the stupor of my delusions of grandeur.  I know that ultimately everything worked out for the best and that right now I really love where I am and what I am doing and I almost never feel dissatisfied.

But every now and then, when I hear about so and so and their fellowship or so and so and their book deal, I start to wonder if it's that I no longer want those same things or if it's that I simply gave up trying to attain them.

Also, if I have to read one more article about how my generation is apathetic, anxiety ridden, indecisive, poor, and unfocused. I. will. lose. it.

And no, the irony is not lost on me.

And oh yeah, happy May Day.  I am sending you a virtual basket of goodies via this post.