Thursday, August 8, 2013

The road too much traveled

Well readers, I'm pooped.  I know, I hate that expression too but it was the first phrase of fatigue that came to mind and I'm too tired to go back and edit it, so I guess we'll both have to deal.

Why am I so exhausted?  It's good of you to inquire, it saves me the trouble of having to come up with some forced transition [wink].  I am road-weary, reader, very road-weary.  Over the past twelve days or so, I have traveled to the east coast and back, to Valencia CA for a college fair and back, to downtown Los Angeles on a Friday (during peak traffic hours) for a Fashion tour and back, and to Las Vegas for a wedding and back.  All together that adds up to one too many cramped hours of sitting and pretending not to feel bored and restless.

Oh boo-hoo, poor little Wendy for having travel opportunities, vacation time, and kind friends who will invite her places.  I know, it's the worst.  Annie only wished her life was as hard knocked as mine.

Okay fine, you win.  I'll type you all about my journeys.  And since you asked so nicely, I will chronicle them in my usual tedious amounts of detail and shifting verb tenses.

So let's start where Maria von Trapp suggests is best: the beginning.

Side note: Moses has never seen Sound of Music.  Feel free to send shame his way.

For the first time in my adult life, I took something called a "paid vacation."  I frankly thought that these were a myth or that they would be something like gracefulness--a gift that other people have and enjoy and that I very much envy, but something that I would never experience myself.  I haven't really accrued much vacation time yet in my new position but enough that I could take a little jaunt to the east.  And by jaunt, I mean 12+ hours of traveling (one way) and the oh so many rejuvenating red eyes through all time zones.

On a not entirely unrelated note, I have been confirmed the worst booker of flights.  Ever.

I always somehow manage to inadvertently choose the flight with the nine hour layover or the one with the five minute layover before catching the last flight of the night because I'll have time, surely.  Except that as the queen of having at least one significant delay that puts a major cramp in my flight schedule style, I almost always miss said connecting flight, which subsequently sets off a cascade of the worst things that have ever happened to me.  But what is traveling without at least one sobfest in an airport bathroom stall, am I right?

This time, though, there were no tears.  I just picked the red eye flight with the five hour early morning layover.  Yay?



Not too shabby considering the florescent lighting and the five+ hours of travel on two hours of fitful airplane sleep.

This is actually part of my avant-garde photography series called "In Airport Bathrooms."  Pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and forcing you to reevaluate your preconceived knows of art.  You know how I do.

Not pictured?  My totally cute cowboy boots.  They're a thing.  I've become quite fond of them really.  I find them inexplicably summer-y.  Anyone's guess as to why because they are very very toasty.

So where did I leave off?  Nowhere.  I've gained no ground yet in this narrative.

Well, there are lots of funny stories I could tell about the flight from LAX to JFK.  They mostly involve the two tanned twenty year olds in full make-up, taking selfies in the seats next to me.  Losers.  Take selfies in airport bathrooms like normal people.

The flight from LAX to JFK was surprisingly not terrible and when I arrived in New York, I hunkered down in front of my terminal with a cup of Dunken Donuts coffee (16 oz of bliss), watched reruns of 30 Rock on my phone and debated whether or not to buy a big old cone of Ben and Jerry's at 7AM.  We'll chalk that up to proximity and awesomeness...

Guyyy, I haven't even gotten to Ithaca yet?  Get it together narrator.

Okay, I will; I am focusing.  So my trip to Ithaca was relatively brief--only about five days.  But in those five days, I managed to check off just about everything on my rather long Ithaca Summer To Do List.

Ithaca is pretty magical in summertime; humid as hell but lush and green and I often find myself sitting out on the balcony of my LA apartment desperately craving the idyllic scenery from my parents' backyard at dusk, beaded with lightening bugs and wildflowers.  Hellooo Pastoral!  It's heaven.  Heaven.

All my siblings where in town while I was there, which means that my parents had all of their kids sleeping under the same roof for the first time since last December.  And which also means that I had built in playmates for every activity on the ole checklist.

I don't know why I don't have more photographs.  I always go to Ithaca intending to take an embarrassing amount of pictures and then realize on my way home that I actually only have five.  I regret everything.

So what I did in Ithaca:

1.  [Not pictured] Went to one of my old familiar food haunts Ithaca Bakery no fewer than four out of the five days that I was there.  No wait, I got bagels on the last day to take home to Moses.  So five out five. 

2. [Stupidly not pictured] Went to visit my maternal grandmother Violet.  She'll be 90 in November.  I haven't seen her in a couple of years and my mom didn't tell her that my sister and I were coming, so we were a bit of a surprise.  She was overjoyed when she saw us and said she was glad she didn't have a heart condition.

3-5. [Some of which is pictured!] My brother Scott, my sister Genny, and I hiked the paths at Treman park.  Probably one of my favorites. I am total sucker for stone masonry.






No shortage of hammy photos in the Kozak household.



After our hike, we went a wine tasting in Cayuga wine country.  We got a late start--who knew that wineries encourage you to start drinking at noon?--so we were only able to visit one winery but it was the one I wanted, no need to panic (I know you were).

That evening, we had dinner and a flight of beers on the outside patio of the Ithaca Beer Company and then a bonfire at home once it got dark.  It was a summer day perfectly spent.

6-7. [Again mostly not pictured] The first few days of my trip were pretty mild, cold even.  By my fourth day in Ithaca, it had crept back up into the 80s with 100% humidity.  My hair was pretty unhappy but what else is new.

I spent the morning of my last full day eating fried food at the Ithaca Farmer's Market.  I realize that the combination of fried food and humidity sound awful but it really really wasn't.  I swear.  Maybe it's just a testament to how much I love the Ithaca Farmer's Market. I know I've sung its praises many a time before in more memorable blog posts--back when I was trying harder to be clever and entertaining.  Now, clearly, I don't care.  In fact, I seem to have made a game out of how thoroughly I can bore you and myself while writing this.  Going for the win!

That night I did the whole familiar indecisive dance of should I go out, should I stay in.  I chose the former.  My brother Scott, our neighbor/friend Mason, and I went out for a couple of drinks, which turned into a bar crawl, which turned into me spending a 21 year old's night in a 28 year old's body.


One of the many adult beverages sampled that evening.

8.  [Thank god not pictured] The next 12 hours or so were spent vomiting or being close to vomiting.  TMI?  Too bad.

The trip home was also unfortunately not uneventful.  The flight from Syracuse to New York was delayed, the flight was full that I was guilted into gate checking my "larger" bag. I did to be kind, so that everyone else would have enough space for their bags.  From now on, though, when it comes to airplane baggage, I'm looking out only for number one.  Congratulations jet blue, you turned me into an objectivist.

Because the first flight was delayed, it made what was once a two our layover into a rather tight connection.  So when we got there, really, my little ole bag didn't stand a chance.  Can you tell how this story ends, reader? Well, I'll tell you.  At 2:50 AM, the flight that was originally suppose to arrive at 1:35 AM landed in Los Angeles.  At 3:30 AM, I left LAX sans bag to meet Moses, who by that point had been circling LAX for an hour, poor thing.

That work week was a rough one.  I was coming off a vacation high, suffering from jet leg, I had mountains of emails to respond to, strict editing deadlines that had me working overtime, appointment after appointment with students, and I already mentioned the required mileage.  Needless to say, I was glad when the week was over.  Especially because it meant going to Las Vegas to see Donald and Kaci get married.




Moses, photobombing our own photo.


The literary gals.


Literary themed matches.



Clearly not secure in his masculinity.


Clearly crazy.

As you can see, Moses and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that evening, even if we did have to sit in the grossest of gross traffic on the way home the next day.

So there you have it.  I am all traveled out and I look forward to this weekend when I lie on the couch, pinterest, and probably watch hour after hour of Chopped on hulu plus while dream of Walking Dead starting up again October.

By the way, I have just given myself the award for the dullest blog post in internet history.  Thank god its over.  You can go about your day now.  Go on, git.

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