Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"honk" if you hate "honkers"

My mama always told me that “hate” is a bad word, so I use it very sparingly.

I hate horn honkers. I know that once in awhile it is necessary. For instance, when I’m putting on my lipstick and have no idea the light has turned green. Or when, I’m digging in the glove box looking for that Snickers bar that if I don’t get that instant I might die, and I have no idea the light has turned green. But, I would say most of the time, a horn honk is not necessary, and can even be dangerous. I have witnessed numerous occasions where someone is honking for the car in front of them to make a turn, and the car in front is not moving because there is a person crossing the street (or some other very valid reason). And, when someone is honking at you, you get nervous, and oftentimes might make a move that you are not prepared to make, or just shouldn’t make. And maybe I have to hear more than my fair share of honkers because I live downtown, and cabbies are notorious honkers.

Then this morning, I heard a news story on the radio. Volkswagon is recalling Jettas because they have an issue with the cars stalling. Do you want to know when the cars stall? Oh yeah baby, when they honk the horn!!

I say that is a great feature. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

*I must admit that there is one occasion that will force me to honk every time.  When I witness someone throw a cigarette butt out of their window, I will honk in disgust.  I will also yell, “The world is not your ashtray, bitch!!”

Monday, March 28, 2011

my first stop-action movie

So, I've been dying to make a movie for a long, long time.  I've had a movie just sitting in iMovie waiting for completion for two years.  I'll get to it; I just hate having to play around with stuff for hours because I don't know what I am doing exactly.

I am taking another Unravelling course, and in the process of working on the class, I was lying in bed yesterday morning and took over 200 photos of the sun rising over the lake.  Yes, I can see the lake from my bed, and the sunrises are often amazing.

I put together my first stop-action movie with the 200+ photos.

sunrise over the lake from my bedroom window from Natalie Mikolajczak on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

religion and politics

The things we are not supposed to talk about: religion and politics. Today, I pick religion!

After a week of wakes and funerals, I was once again obligated to go to church. I was raised Catholic, but haven’t considered myself a Catholic for a very long time.

I have my own beliefs which include: all organized religion is malarkey, the bible is a work of fiction, and Jesus and Joseph Smith were either schizophrenic or cunning as foxes.

Lately, every time I go to church, it confirms my decision to no longer be Catholic/Christian/religious. At the funeral I went to this week, the priest went on and on about suffering and service. It seems as though, the more suffering you do, and the more you attend to others’ happiness rather than your own; the closer to God you become.

I call BULLSHIT. IF there is a God or Higher Power, she wants everyone to be happy and to live one hell of a life.

I came home and was telling Ignacio how bothered I was about how the priest was saying that by suffering so much, this person was now closer to God. I also mentioned how anytime I have ever heard a scripture in church; it was never a happy story. It was always a story about some bad shit that happened to some good person. Ignacio then went on to tell me the story of Job. Now that is another great example of bad shit happening to a good dude in the bible. My knowledge of the bible is, ummm, non-existent, but I just don’t ever remember going to church and hearing a happy story.
an example of the miracle the life
I just can’t buy into organized religion. Every religion thinks that theirs is the right one. Really? Everyone can’t be right. And, there is just so much other nonsense that I don’t even have the desire to write about with regards to organized religion. Why can’t everyone just join the “be deliriously happy and be nice to people” religion?

an example of 'love thy neighbor'
 All I could think of while I listening to the priest talk about ‘suffering and service’ and becoming ‘closer to God’ is: WRONG! And then that got me thinking of the other thing I hear often. When someone is going through a bunch of crap, someone brilliant will say, “You know, God only gives you what you can handle. God knows you are so strong and can handle all of this.” Here I go again, but I call BULLSHIT! The Higher Power/God/The Universe doesn’t want anyone to suffer. You know what she wants? She wants you to be freaking happy and to be a good person. And by the way, if someone said that crap to me, I’d punch ‘em.

When I die, I certainly don’t want a religious service or ceremony. But, whoever is doing the talking about my life, I want that person to be able to say, “That bitch lived!”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

truer words never spoken

Yesterday, I had to attend a funeral, and after the funeral, I had to attend a wake. Today after work, I have to attend another wake. My college roommate’s mother passed away, a co-worker’s father passed away, and my 36 year-old second cousin passed away. That’s a lot of death for one week.

When I go to the gym, if I don’t take a class, I generally hop on a machine and watch an episode of something on my iPhone while I put in my 45 minutes. Currently, I’m on season 3 of Grey’s Anatomy. In today’s episode, George’s father passed away, and while I was on machine, I was crying. First, I felt that tightness in my throat that meant I was trying not to cry, and then the tears came, then my vision blurred, and I couldn’t see my iPhone anymore.

At the end, Christina went to talk to George, and this is what was said:

Christina: There’s a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can’t be in it until you’re in it. You can try to understand; you can sympathize, but until you feel that loss….
George, I’m really sorry you had to join the club.

George: I don’t know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn’t.

Christina: Yeah, that never really changes.

my dad
my dad

Monday, March 21, 2011

March girls dinner

Jodee chose Mexique for our March dinner.

I have to pause here and mention that Nicole Richie and Benji Madden must be readers of my blog. They were just spotted at Sunda, our December restaurant. I bet all the restaurants we visit will be full with stars real, real soon.

There were six of us for dinner at this French/Mexican restaurant.
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I had the Skate Wing, Nancy had the Chile Relleno (aka rat sandwich), Jodee, Aimee, and Liz all had the Asada (flank steak), and Heather ordered the Mar Y Tierra (scallops and pork belly).

I think we had our most ever winners of the “Clean Plate Club” at this restaurant. Those plates were seriously licked clean.
march dinner
The Apple Tart and the Enchilada were our orders for dessert.
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Mexique meals were delicious, and I loved when the chef came to our table to ask us how we were doing. To me, it’s kind of like meeting a famous person; a mini-President or something.

Friday, March 18, 2011

protein shakes build muscle

My cat, Piccolo

So, on this new diet, I have to eat within 30 minutes of waking up. That’s hard to do when I go to the gym in the morning, so an EAS protein shake it is.

My cat, Piccolo, LOVES those shakes. I don’t know how she does it, but she knows as soon as I take one out of the fridge. If she doesn’t see me with one, she can hear it when I open it. She is on me like stink on shit, and she is grabbing at the shake trying to take it from me. I always share a little bit of it with her.

Piccolo trying to get my protein shake

 piccolo shake

But look what happened after three weeks of protein shakes!

Male Lion on Rock
Piccolo after too much protein.  (photo courtesy of wwarby on Flickr)

Friday, March 11, 2011


I made it through my second Bikram yoga class at Bikram Yoga Chicago. Immediately after class, I’m pretty shaky, but by the time I arrive home, I’m pretty euphoric. I’m happy and relieved and surprised that I’ve made it through a 90 minute yoga practice in a 105 degree room. I’m hoping for the weight loss miracle to happen.

I recently wrote about my passions here, and how I go balls out when I find a new passion/hobby. Well, I’m a nutjob and just *had* to make some purchases at the yoga studio this morning.

you see that glow??  that's just like me after class.

I just know that these things will IMMENSELY help my yoga practice.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I did it! (and lived to tell about it…..barely)

This morning I took my first Bikram Yoga class at Bikram Yoga Chicago. There was a brand, spanking new studio opening right next door to my home, and the first classes were held yesterday evening, and the first morning class was this morning. Once I found out the opening date, I worked myself up because I was so nervous about taking a Bikram class. I am a bit particular about my yoga classes. I’m not a fan of power yoga or the other rough stuff. I prefer Hatha yoga, and a nice paced class where I’m not struggling and getting pissed off. For those of you wondering what the hell Bikram Yoga is, it is yoga in a studio heated to 105 degrees. 105 !!! My bedroom is 62 degrees. Ummm, that’s a big difference.

The class is 6-7:30. I arrived a bit early to sign up, and get set up in the studio. Their website recommends arriving 20 minutes early to get yourself acclimated to the heat, and if I am anything, I am a follower of rules. I laid there and thought, “This isn’t too bad, it’s not as hot as I thought it would be.” Then class started with the breathing exercises, and that’s when I started to sweat. Yup, just breathing made me sweat.

The teacher was really nice, and during her directions and corrections, she even said, “Natalie, you’re a natural.” In my mind, I was like, “Ah Jennifer, you say that to all the yogis.” But what I’ve come to find with yoga, is that certain positions do not like my gut or my boobs; they’re just in the way.

I’d say I got through 90% of the class. There were a couple times where I had to sit down to catch my breath, and one time, I got a bit dizzy, and had to sit down. But, can I just tell you, I sweated my ass off! Really, I have no ass. Here is the only picture I could think to take. There was no way I was going to post a picture of my bright red, serial killer face, so you get a picture of my shirt. Yeah, those dry spots crack me up; every other stitch of clothing was soaked.

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The new studio is gorgeous, the locker room is very nice with free lockers, and the staff is very friendly and welcoming. Here is the funniest line I heard all morning: as I was leaving, Jennifer said, “See you tomorrow morning.”

Hilarious, right?

Monday, March 7, 2011


Ignacio and I started a new program (because I’m not supposed to use the word diet, right?) that involves eating a restricted diet (shit, there’s that word) for six days, then on the 7th day, he rested we can eat anything we want. It’s like a nun quitting the convent and going to Bourbon Street for Mardi Gras. It’s like a week of discipline, and then a day of debauchery.

We knew that our ‘free’ day would be Sunday, and shopped accordingly. My cousin, Amy, had found a recipe for these Nutella crescent rolls, and I bought the supplies so fast, your head would spin. Sunday morning, Ignacio and I were up at 5:30 in the AM. Imagine that, we were up at the butt crack of dawn on a day where we were able to eat our faces off. We started with the Nutella crescent rolls.
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We had made brunch and movie plans with our friends Jodee and Steve earlier in the week to coincide with our debaucherous day. We met a Meli Café in Greektown and while we waited for our table, we had delicious Mimosas that went down like Kool Aide. (but I forgot to get a picture of the Mimosa because I drank it too fast, so you'll have to settle for a picture of my strawberry/orange juice)
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The menu was like getting the Sears catalog a month before Christmas. I wanted EVERYTHING! I settled on an omelet that had my lover, goat cheese, inside, and Ignacio had a skillet.
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Meli Café is known for their marmalades.
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After licking my plate clean (I am not exaggerating), we headed to our favorite movie theater and saw The Adjustment Bureau. The ratings from the four of us ranged from a 6 to an 8. I, for one, am still waiting for Bureau to make some adjustments in my life to get it on track.

Oh yeah, and a great movie that Ignacio and I saw on Saturday was Behind Blue Skies. It’s a Swedish film we saw at the Gene Siskel Film Center, you know, because we are so freaking cultured and have a membership now. Tickets are only $5 when you are a member. Last week we saw a documentary about Phil Ochs (a 60’s folksinger and activist). We are so cultured that during Behind Blue Skies, we were totally giggling and nudging each other when they showed nudity.

But alas, today is Monday, and I am back at the convent following all the rules.

Bite me.

note: I found no need to post pictures of the giant bag of peanut M&Ms I ate at the theater, nor the bag of ranch flavored Doritoes, nor the gallon of Squirt I washed it all down with.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

passions on my shoulder

Yesterday as I was coming in from work, I met up with Ignacio in the lobby of our building. He was laughing at me because of all the crap I lug to work everyday. I bring at least two bags of ‘things’ to work. These ‘things’ are whatever my current passions happen to be. We joked that I wear my passions on my shoulder instead of my heart on my sleeve.

 I’m a freak. I know some of you may be saying, “You’re just learning that now?” It’s true, I’m a weirdo. I get totally obsessed with whatever is my ‘passion’ of the moment. I spend all kinds of time and money on my passions du jour.

Past passions include:
  • ~dance class
  • ~sign language/interpreting studies
  • ~psychic/healing classes
  • ~court reporting school
  • ~knitting
  • ~anything related to France/French
  • ~necklace making

 Many of those, I still dabble in here and there, but my current passion du jour is photography. Photography may rate up there with one of my highest costing passions. It figures.

In an effort to improve my photography skills, I asked my friend Aimee if I could take photos of her new baby. She obliged me, and here are a couple of my favorites of baby Hanna from our shoot.


 hanna feet
hanna tutu
hanna sleeps


 I had grand visions of professional quality pictures and poses, but you know how it goes, “the best laid plans…..”


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

new beginnings

It’s March 1. I love the first day of the month; it’s a chance to start new. It’s like a mini new year 12 times a year (with new freaking resolutions 12 times a year). I love flipping my calendars at home and work and getting to look at a new picture.

The very first thing I do on the first of the month, is check out my new monthly horoscope on Susan Miller’s Astrology Zone. I read it and get excited about all the great things that are coming my way. Normally, around mid-month, I get disgusted that all the great things never happened, but the beginning of the month delivers such optimism.

The start of the month is a chance for me to wipe the slate clean and make new goals for myself.

Helloooo March.


Last year, I purchased an orchid. I know next to nothing about plants and flowers. After the orchid was done flowering, I was pretty close to throwing the thing away. I called my mom and asked her if the orchid was a one-hit wonder, or if I should keep her around. She told me to keep it. Boy, am I glad I did, that orchid is back better than ever. See: