Thursday, November 29, 2012

10 line poetry

Over Easy

I never knew about
red wine, foreign films, the Peace Corps, or over-easy.
Growing up, our eggs were always sunny-side up, the
yellows and whites too wet for my liking.

My house was filled with the aroma of American cheese,
Old Style, the Mid-West, and big love.
I realize now, it was also the scent of fear.
And it's been passed down like a treasured
heirloom. It's time to break tradition - move
to my edges.

I'll take mine over-medium, please.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Person

I watch Grey's Anatomy on Netflix, a season behind most other people.

I love Christina and Meredith. Meredith always says, "Christina is my person." Christina says the same about Meredith. I'm jealous.

I totally get that, and have totally wanted that my entire life. I've read up on introverts a bit here and there recently, and we introverts tend to crave that "one person". The person they can go to whenever they need to. The person who knows their entire life history. The person who knows their entire life history and still loves them anyway.

When I was younger, I thought if I had a sister, she would have been my person. A lot of my friends seem to be super close with their sisters.

I don't feel like I've ever had my person. What a lonely thought, right?
I don't even know what to do about that. I don't think there is even anything I can do about that.

Monday, November 26, 2012

10-line poetry

Leaving the Nest

Next to our garage, the perfect tree for climbing.
Every year brought new heights and new limbs.
I was an adventurer, a philosopher, a tom-boy.
I'd pack girl scout tins with sustenance of
ruffled potato chips for extended stays.

That tree cradled my mind, body, an soul; never
betraying my secrets, though I am sure I heard
the leaves giggle.

My tree is long gone, as well as my powers to be someone else,
somewhere else.

Friday, November 23, 2012

10-Line Poetry


I jumped out of a plane once. It was loud
and fast and cold. Exhilarating. Then I pulled
the ripcord and all was quiet and still
and perfectly peaceful. It was magical.
And I was invincible.

I need to be invincible again.
There must be an easier way than freefalling.
The answer is easy:  just close your eyes, hold your breath,
and take one single step.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm a Poet

I have started my much anticipated poetry class with the amazingly talented and all-around awesome Maya Stein.

I’ve always been the math chick. I’m an accountant; numbers are kind of my thing. In high school, I remember crying in English class when I was given an assignment to write. Words are not my thing. They fail me and they escape me. I would get so frustrated at my inability to write, that the tears would come to eyes, and I’d try to blink them back. It was always so hard for me to create. Now, numbers on the other hand, they were black and white and needed no creativity. Numbers have been a comfortable friend.

So, this is the poem that I worked on last week with Maya.

And…here goes nothin’.


That middle of the night phone call – it came.

Speeding to the hospital, I made wicked deals with a
God I didn’t believe in. The door to the ER eluded me,
playing hide-and-seek like a game around a fat tree trunk.
My father kept me away. I know it. He hid so I would
be unable to call him back.
His most selfish act.

I found it  – in time for nothing except
to sit in a waiting room for the words to destroy me:
he’s died.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm Buzzing

When I am really, really tired, my body feels electric; like it’s vibrating. This morning, I feel the vibration. I am a ball of electricity. I am pretty damn tired.

I am back to interpreting in the evenings after my day job. I am a Sign Language Interpreter. I love being able to say that. It sounds so much cooler than “I’m an accountant.” Which I am; I am an accountant, but I am also a Sign Language Interpreter, and after a six year hiatus, I am back, baby.

I am so very grateful that I am working. So.Damn.Grateful. This week is my first week of almost an entire semester of working every weekday evening. I go from day job, run home, feed the dog, 2 cats, and myself, and then run out to interpret for the evening. Now, normally, my bedtime is 9pm, but that is not going to happen for awhile. I don’t get home until 10 or 10:30 most evenings, and sleep hasn’t been coming until after 11:00. So, for this chick who is used to getting up at 5am; I’m a bit sleepy this Friday.

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: OH MY…….but as the song says, “I can sleep when I’m dead.”

But, I CAN do this. I have to do this. It feels good to have my hands moving again, and my brain working in that very special way an interpreter’s mind works. Yeah, call me in December after my umpteenth week of five nights a week, and see how perky and optimistic I sound.

And, things I am looking forward to:

*A poetry class with Maya Stein starting October 1 (I hope to fill my blog with my musings after this class)

*The new Cultivate Courage workshop with Andrea Scher starting October 8 (I am going to come to work wearing a superhero cape after this class)

*Our annual girls weekend to Park City, Utah (I hope not to have a week-long hangover after this one)

And here is me saying to myself in a bathroom mirror: “You got this, beyotch.” (as an assignment for another of Andrea Scher’s classes: Treasure Hunt)
You got this!

Excuse me now as I lay my head down on this accounting spreadsheet for just a minute…

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What Spice Am I?

The last couple of years have left me wondering which spice I am. I struggle with it often.

Am I Sporty Spice?
Am I Scary Spice?
Am I Posh Spice?

I’m certainly not Baby Spice, and I don’t really know what Ginger Spice was all about.  Actually, it’s amazing I know the Spices at all.  I was definitely too old to follow them.

But, I’ve been trying to find out where I fit. 

Am I Sporty Spice? Would Athleta clothes be more my style? I drool over the Athleta catalog and the fit models.  They all look like they completed a kick-ass work-out, and threw on some really cool clothes.  I would kill to have a body like the Athleta models.

Am I Posh Spice?  Well, posh for me is more similar to Banana Republic.  Am I classic and put together? I would love to feel put together and classic.  Like sometimes you see a woman walking down the street, and you just know she has her shit together.  I would love to give people the illusion that I have my shit together.

Am I Scary Spice?  Am I the funky chick who wears cool, funky outfits and feels unique and hip?

Just wait until Fall arrives and I can wear my Athleta dress, with some cool red patented leather hiking type boots, then I’ll be Scary-Sporty Spice.

I guess there’s a bit of everything in me.  I wonder if other women are the same, or if they have one particular style.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kids wear me out.

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This was the epitome of my few days with my nephews.

Last week, I had my nephews stay with me for a couple of days.  Cooper is just about 9, and Carter is 6 1/2, and they are a freaking handful.  When my sister-in-law dropped them off Thursday morning at 6:57 in the AM, she told them to be good or that she would just come back and get them, and that would be that.  At about 9am, I texted her and asked her to come back and take them home. She just laughed a maniacal laugh, and the boys stayed with me.

By hour 3 of their stay with me, both boys were in the bathtub.  The result of a tie dye adventure gone wrong.  I had a tie dye kit that has three bottles of color, and you just squirt the colors onto your rubberbanded and twisted t-shirts.  Carter picked up the UNcapped bottle of blue dye, and felt the need to shake it up.  The dye went all over his ear, and all over his nice Under Armor work-out shirt.  I should have known better and given those boys smocks to wear.  We put our shirts (oh yes, I said "our".  Do you think I would let those boys have tie-dye fun without me?) in bags to sit overnight.
After their bath in lavender bath salts (I don't have Mr. Bubble at home), the boys and I hopped on the 'L' to McDonald's for lunch.  Those two just LOVE public transportation!  After lunch, we usually hop the 'L' north a couple of stops to Marshall Field's.  I refer to a lot of the free stuff we do as "adventures".  The boys buy it.  So, our adventure to Marshall Field's is an adventure because from the train, we take the "secret passage" right into the basement of Marshall Field's luggage department.  Then we pretend we are taking a trip to Paris, and shop for luggage.

We didn't make to Marshall Field's because for some reason, Chinatown came up.  Cooper told me that Chinatown was in California.  I told him we have one in Chicago, too. The two of us argued, then to prove my point, we got back on 'L', and went south instead.  We landed in Chinatown and did a little bit of shopping and walking around.
We headed home for dinner before walking to SummerDance.  On the way to SummerDance, we did some Geocaching, and the boys LOVED it.  That night SummerDance was some sort of Hungarian gypsy/folk dancing or something, so we didn't last long.

Friday morning, Cooper woke up at 5:30.  Yeah, I said 5:30 in the morning.  I made him stay in his room until 7.  Then, we hit the ground running.  We took the dog for a walk, got to wash out our tie dye shirts, had a photoshoot, and then headed to the movies.  We walk to the movies too.  The boys always want to take the train everywhere, and they don't understand that the trains don't go everywhere.
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After the movies, we headed to Millennium Park for the symphony.  They were playing Beethoven's Fifth that evening, so I thought the boys would at least recognize the music.  We also discussed going back to SummerDance for Disco night.  I had packed a small picnic for the symphony, so we sat and ate, and listened.  Well, not really.  The boys were in such a mood!  They would not sit still, they would not be quiet, and they would not stop touching each other.  I was so frustrated, but really, what was I to expect with two boys at the symphony?  I asked the boys if their mom ever cried out of frustration.  Finally, I had had enough, and told the boys we were heading to Disco night at SummerDance.  Carter told me that he thought he was already listening to Disco.  Oh my!  Beethoven's Fifth is Disco?  Priceless.
Beethoven at Millennium Park tonight.
Beethoven at Millennium Park this evening.
I had to get the boys home early the next morning for football equipment pick-up, but Cooper came back downtown later for his first concert.  We were going to the Doobie Brothers/Chicago concert at Northerly Island, and I gave Cooper a ticket for his birthday gift.  He loved it!  Standing, dancing, singing... he totally got into it.
Nat and Coop. Doobie Brothers and Chicago concert.
On Sunday, I think I napped the day away.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I don't watch the show, but Nancy and Jodee do, so the very next day after girls' dinner, we headed to Bill and Giuliana Rancic's restaurant, RPM. We were seated at Bill and Giuliana's table because we are just that cool. (No, Bill and Giuliana were not there, but if they had been, they would have LOVED our company).
We started off with a little cocktail (of which now I cannot remember it's yummy name).
I think Jodee became really nervous when we were told that this was yet again a place to share plates.  I felt really bad because I know I wouldn't want to have to eat with me if I were in their places.
But, it wasn't too bad, we shared two salads and four appetizers, and then we each ordered our own pasta dish.
My creation
I was really having issues with trying to remember to get a photo of each dish.  We had shredded brussels sprouts with avocado salad and the arugula with shaved artichoke salad.  Both damn yummy.
For appetizers, we had fried olives, gnocchi with gorgonzola, lobster caprese, and roman-style artichokes. I didn't like the gnocchi that well; the gorgonzola taste was too strong for me.  The olives had sausage in them, and the girls loved them.  I quickly fell in love with the artichokes.  HEAVEN.
We ordered a bottle of wine (most likely two) to accompany our dinner.  Our mini pasta dishes were:  sweet pea risotto, the special ravioli, short rib pappardelle, prosciutto pansotti (I'm not 100% sure about the last one).  And here's what happen with the pasta:  we scarfed down those bitches like it was our last meal on earth.  Our plates were all void of any pasta, but we could see sauce, so we did what we had to do.  We yelled at any busboy that came by to try to take our plates, and ordered bread so that we could lick our plates clean.
We ordered two of the desserts, both of which were chocolate, and both of which I wish I could eat everyday for breakfast (not that they are breakfast foods, I just want it everyday). OH MY!!
Afterwards, we walked to The Westin on the river so that we could continue drinking and talking.  This seems to be our "go-to" joint.  It's relatively quiet so that we can hear one another, has cozy couches, and they give you free nuts!
Nancy and I had taken the 'L' from my place to the restaurant, and our way back, Nancy was such a chicken shit!  She was so scared of the 'L' at night. Sheesh, you can tell that one lives in the suburbs.
But, as always, great night with even greater friends.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May Girls' Dinner

This past Thursday, the group headed to Sable Kitchen & Bar for our monthly get together.  The executive chef of this joint is Heather Terhune of Top Chef fame.  (I was trying to count, and I think this is the third restaurant we've been to of a Top Chef contestant...we have many more to go).
Sable dishes are meant to share, and because I am a MAJOR pain in the ass when it comes to what I will eat, the group hates me at these types of places, and I don't blame them one bit.

We had mini wild mushroom veggie burgers, pear and brie flatbread, tuna tartar tostadas, sweet corn creme brulee, potato and cheese pierogis, balsamic roasted cauliflower, and bacon wrapped dates.

The food was fantastic.  The stuff was really good.  I think it's all about being a bit brave at some places (yeah, that's coming from the chick who won't eat meat, mushrooms, or olives), but something that sounds strange like sweet corn creme brulee is delicious.  It's a strange phenomenon when you are sharing plates, there is always a bit left because no one wants to seem greedy and take the last bite.  So silly.

The best part of my evening, was my 'L' ride back home.  I walked down into the subway, and I heard music playing, so I peaked through the little doorway in the subway tunnel, and saw the musician singing and playing guitar on the other side of the tunnel.  I stood and watched and listened to him serenade ME with "Darling, you send me, ooooh, darling, yooooouuuu send me, honestly you do" for quite awhile.  I motioned to my camera, and gestured to him to make sure he was cool with me snapping his photo, and he moved to the edge of the platform, so that he was a bit closer to me, and allowed me to snap away.  As he heard my train coming, he stopped playing, and blew me a kiss.

That is kind of stuff I live for.  The little serendipitous moments.

A juicy evening, indeed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Back in the Saddle (or ballet shoe)

I’ve finally done it. I went back to ballet class.  It’s been years since I was in dance class.  The mirror has not been my friend (but that’s another story for another time).  I got a great deal on Groupon for ballet class at the Joffrey Academy of Dance.  I purchased the Groupon in January, but it took me until April to get my ass to class.

There was the issue of the lost ballet shoes.  I had two pairs of relatively new ballet shoes, and they disappeared into the ether of my closet.  It’s kind of okay because when I had my mother sew the elastics on the shoes, she used black thread.  Did you hear me?  She used BLACK thread on my pink ballet slippers.  Oy, mother.

So, it took a couple of months for me to purchase new ballet slippers.  Then, it took me a couple of months to sew the elastics on.  (I used bright yellow thread).  Then, it took a couple of weeks to gather the courage.

So, three weeks ago I made it to a Sunday morning class.  It wasn’t as bad (read: painful) as I thought it would be.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk come Tuesday, but I was pretty okay.  The studio is beautiful.  It is right on the corner of State and Randolph just north of Marshall Fields.  Two of the walls are floor to ceiling windows, and it is just an amazing city view.  I’ll have to take an evening class to see the night view.

I learned that if I raise my eyebrows during relevé, I can balance much better.  I also have decided that arabesque is an unnatural position and should not be required in people over 40.  I also learned that I get much dizzier than I ever have before when doing turns across the floor.  On my second week of class, the teacher was trying to give me a correction after a turn sequence, and I was so dizzy, I couldn’t even see her.

Sunday mornings are a great time for ballet class, so feel free to join me.  I’ll be the chick hiding in the back, wearing all black.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Girls' Dinner

Six of us headed to Grange Hall Burger Bar for our April dinner. 

The joint was really cool.  The music selection was the best I’ve ever heard in a restaurant, but then again, I am a sucker for 70’s tunes.  The décor was really cool, too.  The plates, the bar, the wine glasses, etc.; it was so cute.

The burgers were good, but I would have to say that the burgers and selection are better at Burger Bar.  Grange Hall definitely worth a trip, though.
April Girls' Dinner

Monday, April 30, 2012

March Girls' Dinner

March?! Are you kidding me?  Why the heck am I so late with this?  Umm, no freaking idea.

March’s dinner was at Salatino’s.  There were six of us there for dinner. I texted Nancy (our seventh diner) to see if she was on her way, and she completely forgot about dinner, even though, we’ve been meeting on the third Thursday of the month for YEARS!

I hate when I take so long to write about dinner because I forget all of the juicy details.  From what I *can* remember, it was pretty good Italian fare.
March Girls' Dinner

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm very, very, very smart.

Have you seen these?

I’ve seen people wear these shoes at the gym.  Of course, they are the skinny runner types that wear them.  But, what I am wondering is how sizing works.

You see, my middle toe is as long as my pinky finger.  It is one helluva long toe.  You know how they say; a long middle toe is a sign of high intelligence.  I believe that one just like I believe it’s lucky for it to rain on your wedding day and also when a bird shits on your head.

Anyway, what do the makers of these shoes do when someone such as me with very high intelligence wants to wear their shoes?  Tell me if I’m wrong, but I’ve never seen a pair with an extra long middle toe like I would need.

Monday, February 20, 2012

February Girls' Dinner

February’s dinner took place at the brand, spanking new Bread & Wine on Irving Park Rd.  There were 10 of us in attendance!  Some of my devoted readers (all two of you) may have noticed that there was no post about January’s dinner.  Well, that is because there was no January dinner.  I know!  Very disappointing. 

February more than made up for January’s disappointment with the ten of us.  We had three new ladies join us.  And, listen to this…we walk into the restaurant, and I’m told our friend, Julie, who lives in Kentucky, called and sent our table two bottles of wine.  That was, like, the nicest thing ever. And, it got us off to a great start for a total of seven bottles of wine for the evening.  Not bad for a Thursday night!
 My creation
I think our newbies, Andrea, Meredith, and Linda enjoyed themselves.  Of course, we’ll see if they show up for March’s dinner. 

For dinner, people ordered: chorizo tacos, chicken breast, fettuccini, and striped bass. We had a cheese and meat plate and delicious herb fries for an appetizer, and we ordered one of each of their desserts.  Well, that’s not completely true.  I, of course, ordered my own dessert because I still haven’t progressed enough to share my dessert.  And, let me tell you, the sweet potato doughnuts with caramel sauce were amazing.
 My creation
The restaurant is brand, spanking new, and little bit loud right now, but I know they are planning on fixing that.  The food was really good and I really like the look and the vibe of the place.

After dinner, a few people went back to Aimee’s house, and more wine was consumed.  I know one person ended up sleeping on the couch because she was too intoxicated to drive home.  If anyone wants to rat her out in the comments, that would be great.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I took a little bite.

Listen to this. 

My cousin treated me to a trip to NYC. She TREATED me to a trip to NYC.  I’ve never been to NYC, and Melissa made it happen for me!  I was able to take a little bite out of the Big Apple.
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It was a wonderfully fantabulous weekend.  I arrived Friday morning and met Melissa and Andrea at the hotel, and then we hit the ground running.  We hit 5th Avenue (or do you say: Fifth Avenue?), Central Park, MoMA’s café, Grand Central Station, and Greenwich Village
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Andrea and I ventured to Grand Central Station and fell in love.  There was a certain calm and peacefulness to it.  My friend, Beth, told us about a new bar inside of Grand Central called the Campbell Apartment.  It was AMAZING.  It is very small, and so very cool.  We sipped on our yummy cocktails and snacked on some delicious cheeses.  Heaven, I tell ya.  Seriously, any day that contains laughter, cocktails, and cheese, is going down in the books.
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After filling up on cheese, we picked Melissa up at the hotel, and took the subway to Greenwich Village (where I asked to see the pope), for a fabulous dinner.  Beth was right on with another recommendation.  We went to Bianca and it was cheap and tasty as hell.  We had a bit of a wait, but the bar next door is very accommodating. 
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After dinner, we stopped in Times Square where my cousin and I had a pose off.  It was hysterical, she would take pictures of me, and then I take would pictures of her, and we’d be doing to same poses.
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Saturday was a walking marathon.  We took the subway to SoHo, walked around NYU, to Little Italy, through Chinatown, and then we walked half of the Brooklyn Bridge.  And we got our Mary Tyler Moore on on the bridge.  Awesome, right??  After that, we went to a decadent dinner in the Meatpacking District to a beautiful restaurant called Spice Market.  Every single item we ordered was fantabulous.  That includes the pitcher and a half of ginger margaritas.  Oh, I would love to have my girls’ dinner club there.  YUMMY!
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After dinner we went to see a Broadway show.  We saw Memphis, and again, it was awesome.  The singing and dancing…..well, I guess that why it’s Broadway.  There were some talented people on that stage.

On Sunday, we walked around a bit, but the weather was much colder, and our legs were a bit tired from WALKING TO BROOKLYN the day before.  All we managed to do was belly up to the bar at a nearby Irish pub, drink some cocktails and eat some grub before it was time to take a cab back to the airport. 

The trip was fast and furious, and deliriously fun.  I am so happy that I am getting to know my cousin all over again.  She’s patient and kind and generous.  BUT, she has the Mikolajczak sense of humor.  Now, I, for one, LOVE the Mikolajczak sense of humor, but you’d better have tough skin.  Being with Melissa is like being with her dad and my dad.  She reminds me so much of them.  I love it. I love her.  And Andrea is the ridiculously happy Costa Rican.  She is so sweet and kind, and she is always happy.  I had the time of my life in NYC and also took away some life lessons from these amazing women. 
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Thank you, Missy.  From the bottom of this cold, hard Mikolajczak heart, I thank you.  And as my brother, Tiger, says, “Mikolajczaks 4Life”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Where the hell have I been?

I tell you where I’ve been; I’ve been in Dillon, Texas.  I’ve been there for a couple of months now, and because of Dillon, I’ve haven’t written on my blog, I haven’t Tweeted, I haven’t done much of anything interesting.

You see, I was way behind, and finally started watching Friday Night Lights. BRILLIANT!  Last night, I watched the 76th and final episode and cried like a baby.  I don’t know what I am going to do without my friends from Dillon. 

Who woulda thunk that I would fall in love with people from Texas?!  All of the “y’all”s didn’t even get to me.  This show is about football and the people in Texas who are crazy about football.  But really, it is SO much more than that.  I wish I could express and review and explain all of the reasons why this show was so brilliant and magnificent and funny and warm and touching, but I know if I tried I wouldn’t do the show justice.

The show made me laugh and it made it me cry.  It really touched me.  I absolutely loved the actors and the characters of this show.  I wish everyone could have a love and relationship like Tammy and Eric Taylor.  They listened to each other; they tried to understand each other.  They walked in each others’ shoes, and their love made me melt.
After Tami sees Matt buying condoms, Tami and Julie have a frank and moving talk about sex.

The actors were so ‘real’ to me.  My favorites were Matt and Landry.  Their interactions were so natural and they made me laugh every time they were together.  It was like they weren’t acting, just talking to each other like real people.  Their dorkiness was so real, it was amazing.

So, I haven’t blogged in over a month and it’s because I was in Dillon, with my new friends.  Man, I loved them, and I am so sad that they are all gone.  So, if you were late getting to the Dillon party like I was, do yourself a favor, and take a trip.  I promise you will love it, and I will want to talk about it with you.  Seriously, that show made me drop off the face of the earth for two months so I could watch five seasons worth of shows.