Friday, December 31, 2010

Hey 2010, You Were Pretty Great.

Almost Nude Year, eh? Usually I do this whole Year in Review thing at the end of the year - or, I guess, in the beginning of the next year because I'm a slacker at times. In the past, I've filled out a survey of questions, as well as going through my goals/thoughts from the previous year and assessing where I'm at with them. Man, that all seems so boring to me right now! Frankly, 2010 was an effing good year. I say that despite tragedy, sadness, scariness, health stuff, funerals, hospitals, and very anxious drives between states, among other things. Really, the year was quite tumultuous. But nevertheless, there was some really good stuff this year. Stuff that makes me feel better and happier and healthier than I have in my entire life. Stuff that I feel confident will continue in the coming new year.

But let's not get too serious here. Going in to all that would require hours and patience and probably some booze. And frankly, I have some houseguests and a lot of things to eat and drink, so let's not do that. Instead, let's look at the year in pictures. Here are some glimpses of some of my favorite moments of this past year:

New Years 2009 - 2010. So smart. Until all the booze froze.

Madison skyline, taken by Helen. I've come to love it so much.

Trip to Florida with my oldest friends, Gina and Sherin, and their husbands. Husbands are great when they love your best friends as much as they do.

Dipping my feet in the water; necessary for a mid-Jauary-suffering Wisconsinite.

Dad makes juice while Father Paddy cuts bread. Much love to these two men.

First daffodils of the year.

Genia cooks me a beautiful dinner.

Meeting the parents in Milwaukee. Doing nothing more than walking around and taking pictures and laughing.

Emil and Mladenka visit Wisconsin and we go to Devil's Lake.

Remembering Love in New Orleans.

Genia and Helen with Smokey Johnson. Total OG.

The grand opening of the National Mustard Museum with Lynn and Jess. We met the "Duchesse" herself!

Emil and I on our sibling date. He takes me to eat what I think was the best sandwich ever. Seriously, like ranked #1. This is a big deal. His was called Hide the Salami. Please ask him about it.

Alex comes to visit. We spend time with caterpillars and Dr. Evermore. He's a gentle soul, this Alex, believe it or not.

Visiting Sarah in Michigan. We happened upon an Orchid Festival. Of course.

Mom cooked a lovely dinner and we ate in the backyard surrounded by trees and birds and love. And vegetables!

Sampling chocolates at David Bacco with Lia. This was before they changed their name to "DB Infusions." DB, eh?

On a walk with Genia near Lake Monona, watching waterskiers.

Darwin Day and the Procession of the Species with Anna. Smiling giant puppets.

Cooking with fresh food from the farmer's markets this summer.

Sweet talking a bouncer at a meat and cheese tasting with Emil and the rest of the family. I'm getting way better at sweet talking.

After seeing Trombone Shorty at La Fete de Marquette with Genia this summer. This was one of those epic nights of which you cannot share all the details. But I will tell you that we danced for a zillion hours and ate tacos and at the end of the night, there were beautiful fake eyelashes on my bathroom mirror. Actually, they're still there!

Nordicfest in Decorah, Iowa with Anna and JB. This ice cream is made with some sort of special crystals that makes it more delicious. Seriously.

Annd and JB at Seed Savers Exchange, being adorable.

This is right after I got my new fake tooth! I'll spare Emil and not put up the picture where you see my broken tooth. But it's a good one.

Visiting Sara in Atlanta for 9 days. Mostly we did things that involved animals. We drove an hour and a half to see a zedonk (yes, half-zebra, half-donkey) and found this friend along the way.

The Atlanta aquarium is a remarkable, beautiful place. I definitely cried twice at this part. We saw whale sharks eat! I mean, they opened their mouths and ate, and everything was amazing.

Besides the animals, though, we also looked cute and went out a lot. With Layla!

Aaaaand...we dipped popsicales in vodka. Chocolate popsicles in whipped cream-flavored vodka, to be specific. And to be awesome.

Sarah came to visit Madison and we hung out with Cody. Brunch at Marigold Kitchen.

I saw the love of my life, Nick Urata, and Devotchka in Chicago with Mladenka. They still shake me. Best band ever.

Attending Sara's big event in DC. So proud of my sister - she speaks to hundreds of people and gets her point across eloquently and professionally, with just the right touch of loveliness in there. No wonder she's the big boss, eh?

Photobombing with Dad. We've always had fun, but this year I think we had the most fun together.

Mom and my two aunts dancing with Jiddu at Thanksgiving. Such a treat and honor to see Jiddu in good form, dancing.

Oh hey, did you know Emil got engaged? Here we are at his engagement party, helping him calm down by doing sibling shots. Two was the magic number.

Jiddu shows love for Mladenka. Welcome to the family, M!

Aww, love! I'm so excited for these two!

Dad and I did about zero shoveling on this day, but we did have a shovel/broom fight. Okay, I'll admit. It was fake and we were just posing for pictures. And I was still in my pajamas. But come on now, we're great!

The clan at Christmas. So lucky to have all these crazies as my family.

My wonderful BFF Sarah at the Botanic Gardens. Isn't she pretty?!

Replica of the Chicago Skyline, made only from plants.

My mom had the fantastic idea of going over to the Gardens right before it got dark, and we got to see everything all lit up and magical. My mom is totally the best ever!

Leaving the gardens. P.S. I love christmas lights. It was such a lovely year! I'm hoping for more loveliness next year, and for the amazing things that surrounded me to extend to others. I'm hoping for the continued family, friends, peace, positivity, and light(s) in my life, and the same in yours. Because it's been really wonderful so far.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Miracle!

Remember how I don't like to touch raw meat? Well, guess what happened...I made meatballs! It truly is a Christmas miracle. I'll let the pictures do the talking this time:

There's always room for a photobomb!

Truly, a Christmas miracle. Happy Christmas, friends! Also, whatchu talkin' bout everybody!