Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December Girls Dinner: Sunda

 Nancy chose Sunda (one of those restaurants for the pretty people where I feel they are being nice to me by letting me in) for our monthly dinner. Our reservations were for 7:30, but we weren’t seated until close to 8:00, then we had to wait too long for our wine order to be taken. Now, there are some people who get cranky when they are hungry (like me!), then there are groups of women who get REALLY cranky when it takes too long for their wine glasses to get filled (like us!). It took a long time for our server to take our drink order, lucky for us, December’s dinner also includes a gift exchange so we got started on that while we were waiting to order and get our food.
Susan and Jodi
Jodee and Heather
Bethany and Nancy
The seven of us had a nice time opening and stealing gifts from each other. I have to say that Sunda is one of *those* restaurants that is a bit loud and makes it difficult for a group to converse easily. I think in addition to the ‘*stars*’ restaurants receive for their food, they should also get ‘!!exclamation!!’ points for the noise level of the joint.

My food was very good. I really enjoyed the fritters, and everyone else really liked the shrimp. Sunda has Asian cuisine and many people ordered sushi and sashimi, but they have ‘regular’ dishes in addition to sushi, so making a decision is difficult. I have to say, that everything I ordered and tasted from other peoples’ plates was very good.

It is a good thing that Sunda has good food because their service kind of sucked. Like I mentioned earlier, we had a long wait to be seated despite having reservations, and we had to wait too long for our order to be taken. In addition, there were some errors with our order, and then with our bill. But, the icing on our nonexistent chocolate cake was when we tried to pay our bill. There were 7 of us, and 5 of us needed to pay with a credit card, and we were told that there is a limit of 4 credit cards per table. So, after having to wait too long, receiving an incorrect bill, and having a 20% gratuity added to our crappy service, they would not allow us to pay with 5 credit cards. We scrambled and came up with the extra cash and gave them 4 credit cards. Some of us had planned to stick around after dinner and belly up to the bar, but after all was said and done, we just wanted to get out of there.

Aimee was sorely missed from dinner.  I guess her excuse was valid.  She was still down the street in the hospital.  You see, she received the best Christmas present of all.

Hanna Juliet

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

5 minutes (#reverb10)

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey.

Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Author: Patti Digh

 witnessing my nephew, Cooper’s, enjoyment at seeing Billy Elliott

 seeing my Uncle Rich and being shocked at his resemblance to my father both physically and his mannerisms

 my AZ trip with the girls

 my outings (movies and dinners) with girlfriends

 deeper relationships with the above girlfriends

 my deepening desire to create (photos, a movie, etc)

 new relationships/friendships created through Mondo Beyondo

 2 fantabulous dinners at Girl and The Goat

 delicious sunrises over the lake

I feel like that is kind of lame list, but I really couldn’t think of much else. Let’s hope that 2011 is much more exciting.

Monday, December 13, 2010

action (#reverb10)

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey.

Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

Author: Scott Belsky

Thanks to some common sense advice from my friend Laura, my brilliant next step is to turn off the TV and get my 11 things to get rid of done.

A few years ago, I went to visit my friend, Jessica, in Berkeley, California. I went the entire week without watching television, so when I arrived home, I thought, what the hell, let’s keep it up. I went a whole month without television. I accomplished a heck of a lot.

I think it’s time to drastically reduce my television consumption and to start taking action.
Look out world!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

body integration (#reverb10)

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey.
Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Well there were certainly times when I did NOT feel integrated with my body this year.  There was the time when I said "shut the f*ck up" under my breath to my spin teacher and then there was the time when I was crying during PiYo (pilates/yoga) class; definitely not my finest moments.

This fall I started having Friday morning dates with my dog.  We would get up early and walk to the lakefront to see the sunrise.  Camel really appreciates a beautiful sunrise over the lake.  
Our Friday morning walks are amazing.  We start off walking in the dark, and when we get to the lake, the sun starts to rise over the lake.  It is such a peaceful walk because we start so early.  The lakefront is mostly ours.  The lakefront and Grant Park can be busy on a decent day.  Our early morning walks make me feel like the city belongs to us.  There is a quote I remember reading over 20 years ago that I say whenever I have my 'early morning tranquil feeling':  The early morning has gold in its mouth.  When Camel and I are on our sunrise walks, I usually end up saying that out loud.
So, I would venture to say that Camel and I both feel 'alive and present' our on 1.5 hour Friday morning walks. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

11 things (#reverb10)

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey.

December 11 – 11 Things
What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. weight--I need to get rid of my excess weight.  I need to get rigorous about my exercise and eating habits.  I don't like feeling embarrassed of the way I look.  I hate the thought of seeing people I haven't seen in a few years; I'd rather eat glue, seriously, I'm that embarrassed.
2. clutter-- I am a pack rat and the clutter around me makes me anxious, and there is no reason I can't fix that problem.
3. obligation-- I always feel obligated to do certain things, and once I commit, I would never cancel even if I don't want to do something.  I need to get over it and only commit to participate in activities that I really want to do.
4. guilt-- I can feel guilty about anything.  I can feel bad for 30 minutes for getting ready to turn right at a stop light and having to stop suddenly for not seeing that pedestrian.  I feel guilty if I am gone too long and not home for my animals.  I feel guilty if I take all of the big dryers in the laundry room.  It's all little stuff that has no meaning.
5. fear-- I fear people I don't know, certain social gatherings, and I could break out in hives at the hint of conflict.  Come on, Nat, grow a pair, and stop being such a baby.
6. debt-- This one has been on my list to get rid of my entire adult life.  Just get it together, Natalie, would you?
7. laziness-- My alarm goes off at 4:55 am every morning.  I need to just get my ass up and get to the gym instead of laying in bed and having a fight with myself.  I mean really, was an hour of sleeping with the snooze alarm going off every 9 minutes really restful?  Also, there is so much I could/should be doing rather than watching TV.  I think my DVR has ruined my life.
8. relationships-- I feel like it's that time in my life where if a relationship doesn't benefit me in some way, there is no reason to work at it.  If there is no joy generated from a relationship, I just need to move on.
9. procrastination-- I have so many photography books and creative books and notes from e-classes and Rosetta Stone on my computer, and I need to dig in.  I mean really dig in.  Seriously, I think my DVR may have ruined my life.
10. recluse-ness-- My laziness, fear, and grief and made me a bit of a recluse.  I am perfectly happy to sit in my home for days, maybe weeks on end.  I am perfectly content to sit on the couch and watch TV instead of doing all of things I mentioned above.  Damn DVR.
11. grief-- I feel like the grief over the death of my father has paralyzed me.  The sadness I felt/feel has caused me to gain a lot of weight, buy a lot of unneeded things, and to stay inside my home.  On the other hand, I feel if I let go of the grief, I'll feel guilty for not holding my dad close.  (I realize this isn't a logical argument)

Friday, December 10, 2010

wisdom (#reverb10)

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey.

Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
Author: Susannah Conway
I've been thinking about this prompt for a few hours now, and nothing really life changing is coming to mind.  I mean, it was a great decision to quit smoking crack, but that's not really life changing (JOKING!).  And it's not like I had to decide which daycare to send my animals to or anything.  I did decide to lose 40 pounds this year, but it didn't happen, so umm, yeah, not such a great decision.  A great decision would have been to purchase 5 more pairs of red shoes, but it wasn't in the budget.  So, my 'wisdom' for the year might be a bit lame, but it's brought me some joy and fun throughout the year.
My best decision was to learn how to shoot in manual mode on my camera and to get the 50mm 1.8 prime lens (very affordable).  Both of those really changed the way I take pictures.  I've always loved photography and admired the emotions photographers can make me feel with their photos.  
I started the year with a short on-line class from Big Picture.  It got me away from shooting on auto and to take a bit more control with my photos.  Later in the year, I purchased the UNmanual from Mom*tog, and that was a great next step for me.


I try to include photos in my blogposts because there is a reason I am an accountant:  I ain't no writer.  So, my thought is that I can make my posts a tiny bit more interesting by including a photo.  

I also took Vivienne McMaster's You Are Your Own Muse this year in which I learned to turn the camera on myself and use things like remotes and textures.
 I am hoping to learn a lot more about photography and to exercise my atrophied creative muscles in 2011.  I may even take a real, live photography class.  What a novel idea!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

party (#reverb10)

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey.

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Author: Shauna Reid

2010 was a low key year. I don’t think there was anything that really knocked my socks off, but there were a couple of fun get-togethers, for sure. This morning, I scanned all of my pictures for 2010 and saw a few fun events, but I do believe my socks stayed on all year.


Girls Weekend


JohnnyFest 2010

Chicago/Doobie Brothers concert


My low-key birthday celebration

I love this photo.  It was right after we saw Billy Elliott, and Cooper was demonstating a beautiful arabesque

I think 2010 was filled with Chicago activities: restaurants, festivals, concerts, and walks. The people, music, food, and drink were as varied as Chicago weather.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

beautifully different (#reverb10)

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey.

Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different-you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful

(Author: Karen Walrond)

I am a 5’10” vegetarian, pseudo hippie with naturally curly hair and size 11 shoe who laughs really loud, has furbabies instead of real babies, drives a scooter to work when weather permits, and wears red shoes whenever possible. I can perform a mean time step (thanks to 20 years of dance class) and say “I love you” in six languages, one of which being sign language which I am fluent (but a bit rusty).

This picture displays my big feet, curly hair, and my 2 cats and 1 dog all on the couch with me. You can also see a picture of me at age 2 with my curly fro in the background.

I am sure my mother would have a ton to add about how I am different.  She doesn't really understand where I came from.  If I only had a dollar for every time I heard her say, "Nat, where did you come from?  Whose daughter are you?"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

community (#reverb 10)

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey.

December 7 – Community

Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

(Author: Cali Harris)

I may be late, but I am FINALLY joining the reverb party.

In 2010, I discovered a couple communities.

This year online I discovered Mondo Beyondo and the magic that is dreaming big. Through Mondo Beyondo,  I met some great friends like Laura and The Great Askini. I’ve also scratched the surface of my creative self with the help of Vivienne and You Are Your Own Muse.
me tears
Community does not come easy for me. I don’t know why that is, but as I get older I realize how hard it is for me to make new friends. Actually, as I get older, I realize how scared I am of people in general. That is so weird to admit.

For instance, I am in need of a part time job, but the thought of working someplace where there is even the slightest chance of having to deal with a disgruntled customer has me running for the hills. There is a new market opening in my neighborhood in a few months, and I thought I could apply there, but to be a cashier or other front line worker where someone might be displeased about something FREAKS ME OUT. I don’t know, maybe it is conflict that petrifies and not so much *people*. Nah, I think it truly is people. One on one is very difficult, I mean, what if I run out of things to talk about?

I have also made deeper connections with a few friends that I have known for over 10 years. It began last year and has continued this year. We’ve been getting together at least once a month for years, but finally, something happened, and my connection is deeper, better. And I am thankful, so very thankful for these friends.

As I look to 2011, I hope the new connections I’ve made continue to blossom, and the old connections I have continue to deepen. I am also looking forward to UNRAVELLING.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

have you heard of this????

Geocaching. Have you heard of it?

I’ve debated whether I should blog about geocaching or not. It seems like a bit of a secret society, and I didn’t want to blow it, but then in the shower this morning I realized something. The reason I even know about geocaching is from a TV show on PBS this weekend, so if geocaching can be on TV, me blogging about it certainly can’t hurt anything.

Ignacio was surfing through the channels on Saturday, and stopped on a program about geocaching. Since the program was already in progress, I was still very uncertain what the hell geocaching was. I picked up bits and pieces, and then went to my trusty iPhone to see about getting an app. You know, there is always “an app for that”.

And voila! There was indeed an app for that. Geocaching is the name of the app.

So, what the heck is geocaching? Here is wikipedia’s definition:

Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook.

Fun, right?!

So, I got the geocaching app, and then looked for nearby geocaches. There was one in our little neighborhood park. After walking home from a movie, Ignacio and I decided to try to find our first geocache. The app uses its GPS to navigate you toward the geocache. There are hints and descriptions of what you are looking for. After a short search, we found it!

It was so cool; like a treasure hunt. After our little geocache high, we had to see if there was another nearby geocache to hunt for. A four block walk took us to our next geocache. Our second hunt was a bit more difficult, but we were successful!
On Sunday, we walked down State Street for a little shopping. On the walk home, we knew there was a geocache to be found, so we did a search and were able to find our third cache. The cool thing is that there are caches all over the world. So wherever we go, we can do a hunt for a cache. However, one must be discreet when looking for caches so that the ‘muggles’ don’t spot you finding the cache.

Who knew that such a cool thing existed? I sure didn’t.

Friday, November 26, 2010

November Girls Dinner: Shokran Moroccan Grill

Pat chose Shokran Moroccan Grill for November's Girls dinner.

Only five of us were able to make it after an attack of the flu took some of the girls down for the count.
Liz and Pat

Bethany and Nancy
Shokran is BYOB, which is always a nice treat for our group of lushes.  We had our own beautiful private room.  I almost felt like we were in Sex and The City 2 eating a fabulous meal in Abu Dhabi.

We ordered vegetarian couscous, beef couscous, beef kabobs, chicken couscous, and kafta.  The meals were tasty, and there was no room for dessert.  I know, y'all are shocked that I didn't stuff my face with some sort of chocolate, but I stuffed my face at the beginning with hummus and pita bread, so there was no room for chocolate.  You can bet that I made up for my lack of chocolate consumption over the weekend though.

Next month is our special December dinner that has a gift grab bag to make the dinner even more special.  I'm excited.

Friday, November 19, 2010

PERFECT family photos--

This picture has always been my favorite family portrait.  It says everything you need to say about my family.  It is in a word:  perfect.  I can't remember why we did this photobooth photo shoot.  I think it may have been for our IDs at Dolton pool.
First, you have my brother, Tiger, shirtless and goofy.
Next, you have my mother beautiful and bodacious.
Then there is my father, 6'4" and unable to be fully seen.  The quiet giant.
Finally, there's me, giraffe neck and curls.

Every single time I see that picture, I laugh and think how that is the best family portrait my family could have ever taken.  It is so honest.

Now, for more 'honest' family photos:
Tell me if see you a theme in all of these next photos....
Tiger being goosed
Cousin Ron being goosed
my dad in the act of goosing Ron

In each photo, you will notice that whomever is standing next to my dad has a wide open mouth.  That is because for mostly every photo ever taken, my father would goose whomever was the lucky dope to stand next to him.
Yeah, our family pictures really do tell an accurate story.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

when is the parade?!

I first moved to "the city" from the suburbs over 20 years ago (holy shit, it's been more than 20 years?!).  I moved to my current downtown Chicago location more than 12 years ago.  My first November of living in my downtown condo, I was out walking and saw this banner on the light pole:
I was so excited that a parade was going to take place right outside my window (almost).  I looked at that sign and took note, "okay, parade starts at 8am, but what day is it happening??"  I walked to the next light pole with a banner and studied it looking for the "day" of the Thanksgiving Parade.  I didn't see it on that banner either.  I walked from banner to banner studying the front and back of each banner trying to figure out when the hell the damn parade was going to take place.

It wasn't until three days later that it finally clicked:  the Thanksgiving Day Parade was on Thanksgiving Day!!  Oh yeah, I'm smart like that.

So, every year for past 12 years, I've been woken up around 5:30am on Thanksgiving Day with the sounds of high school marching bands practicing and the man over the loud speaker calling out roll call.  Luckily, I've gained a couple of nephews over the years and now we have a tradition of the boys spending Wednesday night at my place, and waking up early Thursday morning to go down to the parade.  If it is too cold or rainy, we just watch from the window or the terrace.  I've always told my friends that if their kids can wipe their own butts, they are welcome to participate in the sleepover.

And this year, I look forward to Thanksgiving Day Parade number 13 with Cooper and Carter.  Let's hope for decent weather and some rockin' bands and that everyone is able to wipe their own butt.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

what i did on vacation: NOTHING

my feet looking at the ferris wheel at Navy Pier

There were no real vacations for me this year, so I have some vacation time to burn.  Last week I took 3 days off.  When I scheduled the time, my plan was to knit and read.  To, like, almost have a real vacation even though I was just going to be at home.  As the time drew nearer, my 'to-do' list grew longer.  I had 3 pages in my little notebook filled with things to get done.  That is exactly what I didn't want to happen.  I didn't want to spend my 3 days off feeling guilty and pressured because of that damn list.  In the end, I was only able to knock out a tiny portion of the list.  Don't ask me what I did because I really haven't a clue.  I know I didn't sit back and watch telelvision.  
There was a day when I had to wait for two repairmen (one for the handle on the Macy's reclining couch and one for my California Closet that fell out of the wall [good customer service grades for both companies]).  Other than that, there were no significant chunks of time accounted for.  
Bottom line is that I think I get much more done when I am busy.  When I am working, I wake up at 5am, get to the gym, and have a rather productive morning.  When I'm not working, waking up at 8am is a big time difference.

my size 11's standing almost as tall as the John Hancock
In other news, I am so excited about my new e-class that began on Monday.  "You are Your Own Muse" is a class being offered by Vivienne McMaster and it is a class about self-portraits.  So, here are the first two pictures of me (well, not me per se, but my feet).
I've been anxiously waiting for this class to begin.  I just love Vivienne's work.  Her photos make me feel something that is hard to describe.  There is a beauty and a certain peace I feel when I see her pictures.  I am hoping to be able to find some kind of magic in my own photography; the kind I see or feel when I look at other people's work.
I'm definitely not feeling love and peace when I look at those size 11's  in front of the John Hancock Building.  Actually, the longer I look at that photo, the more I am feeling a kind of Godzilla vs King Kong situation.

Friday, October 29, 2010

BFFs (aka 3 stooges)

My best friends are Don and Marty.  Unfortunately, Don lives in California and Marty lives in Arizona.  We were doing a once-a-year weekend get together thing taking turns at each of our homes.  This year, it sadly didn't happen.
Don and Marty are very funny individuals. They are clever and witty and they never fail to make me happy.  But together!  Together, they are a comedy act.  You can just sit back and be entertained for hours.  Sometimes I feel inadequate because I just can't keep up with them.
The picture above is from 2 years ago when Don and Marty came to stay with me for the weekend for my 40th birthday.  We thought we were freaking hysterical taking these pictures of ourselves with the self-timer.  Every time the camera clicked, we would move our heads a little bit.  Our goal was to put together a flip book, that when you flipped the pictures, it would look like a mini-movie. Well, the flip book never got finished, but this very short slide show did.
I hope you at least giggle when you watch because I am laughing very loudly.

3 stooges from Natalie Mikolajczak on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Girls' Dinner: Thalia Spice

Stephanie chose Thalia Spice for October girls' dinner.
Liz and Steph
A beautiful surprise: $5 martini specials.

Pat and me
We had appetizers of egg rolls and crab rangoon.  I ordered the tilapia for dinner, and the other 3 girls ordered different versions of chicken: a spicy one, a thai one, and a sweeter one.

I must say that we were all members of the happy plate club.

For dessert, I ordered the 'death by chocolate' and I don't know what came over me, but that sucker was gone before I even had an opportunity to even think about getting a picture of it.  I think I've had the same problem in the past.  Sheesh, chocolate has this crazy hold on me.
It was a lovely evening with yummy food.

Monday, October 25, 2010

reunion week

The end of September was a whirlwind.  In the course of five days, I saw many people that I haven't seen in a very long time.

It started with Marty and Myron.
Myron and Marty
Myron and Myron live in Arizona.  The last time I saw them was six months ago when we took our girls' trip to AZ and we met up with Marty and Myron for a couple of hours for dinner. M & M were in town for a wedding, and they were able to get some time away from their family so that we could go out for dinner.  We went to Green Zebra for some excellent vegetarian fare.  
The food was delicious, but the company was better.  I love my time with M & M.  

Two days later, I made my second pilgrimage to Girl and the Goat to meet my cousin Dave and his wife, Kathi.  Sure, it's no big deal to have dinner with your cousin, right? Well, Dave and I figured out that we haven't seen each other in 26 years!  Yeah, you heard me, 26 years.  You see, Dave is like all smart and stuff, and after high school, he headed out west to that Stanford place, and just stayed out west after college.
me and Dave
Kathi and Dave
I was so happy that Ignacio and Dave were adventurous and tried the pig face at this restaurant.  I think they liked it, but weren't able to finish it because it was so rich.  The meal was delicious, but as I said before, the company was even better.

Two days later, Ignacio, my mom, and I were on the road to Iowa to celebrate my Uncle Butch's marriage to  Aunt Jackie.  We drove 8 hours through a million miles of corn fields to arrive in a little Iowa town.  
Uncle Butch and Aunt Jackie
My dad was the middle brother of three, Uncle Butch is the youngest bro, and Uncle Rich is the oldest bro.  My Uncle Rich and Aunt Pat came in from Florida, my cousins came in from Florida, California, Minnesota, and Missouri.  It was a wonderful family reunion.  The last time I saw most of them was at my dad's funeral.
Uncle Rich and Aunt Pat
Andrew and Julie
Ignacio and Aunt Pat
my mom and Missy

Ron and me (we have the same chin!)
Our trip was great and it was so good to see everyone together in one place.  It very rarely happens.  Uncle Butch and Aunt Jackie were the best hosts; fabulous home cooked dinners, and fun lunches.  The wedding reception was a lot of fun too.  Uncle Butch and Aunt Jackie are fantastic dancers and can really cut a rug.  We all did our best to keep up, and we did cut a pretty good polka or two.
the happy couple
The weekend was great and it was such a treat to spend it with my aunts and uncles and cousins.  The Mikolajczaks are a great bunch, and you will always be laughing if you are with us.  (yeah, you may be laughing at one of the MANY illnesses we have to offer, but at we least can we laugh at ourselves with the best of 'em)

A slideshow of the Iowa trip: