Thursday, September 21, 2006

Days of Wine and Monkey Crap

Never has an 11 hour drive each way been less onerous than on this past weekend, when I dragged my lazy self to Ithaca, NY for a wedding of one of my college buddies. It was splendid.

I enjoy living in Indiana (a fact many of my out-of-state friends find hard to comprehend.) I don't long for the mountains or ocean beaches per se. But I did go to college near the Catskills, and I haven't been back in that direction very often in the intervening years; so the Finger Lakes region had a pleasant, familiar autumn groove going on that awakened all sorts of college nostalgia in me. Got to spend the weekend with nearly all my buddies, including (but not limited to) Upyernoz and Mrs. Noz, Dr. Pretentious and her husband, Cthulhia, and of course the Groom Himself. The drive turned out to be 11 hours long; when I got to Erie PA, I thought, "hmm, according to mapquest it's only 2 more hours! yet when I examine the road atlas it looks more like FOUR hours...sonofabitch...." The experience was enhanced by the fact that it started to rain, was pitch dark, and the route from the big highway up to Ithaca was missing its center line and shoulder lines due to repaving. So I ticked along at about 35 mph for a good long way, no doubt infuriating the driver behind me... But he didn't hit me, and I made it there in plenty of time to refuse to play Ticket to Ride with jeremy. We hit the Ithaca farmer's market both mornings, and I must say it's a fabulous market. Plenty of excellent food, including blueberry wine, lemon turnovers, and apple cider doughnuts (which I liked so much I might actually try making them at home.) Saturday afternoon there was a catered BBQ at Taughannock State Park, where we ate, drank, played frisbee and hiked up a shale-y path to see an amazing waterfall. Saturday night we managed to steal the groom away from his groomly duties to spend quality time and play board games, about 10 of us crammed into Dr. P's room. Sunday we drove out to a winery for some tasting, and I bought a bottle for my parents. So it was a winey weekend... The wedding itself was lovely, a combination of traditional Jewish matrimony and new age commitment ceremony. I can't express how happy I am for Josh and his new wife; they seem to fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. After coffee with the remaining 4 of the gang in the morning, I hit the road for a beautiful drive home. (Well, beautiful until I got to western Ohio... but we won't talk about that.) It was a glorious weekend.

Then I got home to a maelstrom of student questions, papers to grade, and my new volunteer assignment at the zoo, which involves baboons. LOTS of baboons. (And wild dogs, and lions. But mostly baboons.) I now spend 4 hours every other thursday morning becoming intimately familiar with several different kinds of poop, and the vast number of locations a troop of monkeys can put said poop in their enclosures. Don't you wish you were me?