Friday, March 30, 2007

Teenagers... they can be so darned cute

Today on an "up" escalator at the Mall I stood behind two short skirted belly baring gum chewing teenagers. They were really adorable, and even more so, when one turned around, looked down the escalator behind her and noted "that would really suck to fall down an escalator... you would just keep falling". Who says our kids aren't getting a good education these days?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Movie Review: The Holiday

Talk about a chick-flick. This ones a doosie. Jude Law ordinarily doesn't do much for me, but it sure is easy to get lost in him on this one. And Cameron Diaz is so adorable. What was JT thinking? She is a pefect example of aging gracefully. Then of course, Kate Winslet. It would be impossible to just not LOVE her in everything. But then out of the blue comes Jack Black. Hmmm, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet... Jack BLack. OK, someone either owed someone a favor or lost a bet on that one. The plot is quite simple, 2 women switching homes and lives in order to escape their own reality, and oh what a surprise, find the loves of their lives. The settings are cozy, the plot is light and fun, and lots of "feel good" moments like when Kate Winslet befriends a lonely older gentleman. You'll be tempted to buy the soundtrack just for the vintage Christmas hits. Gather your girlfriends around, spike some hot chocolate, and prepare to drool over Jude Law!

Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce

If you google "Peoria area Chamber of Commerce", you get two choices, The Chamber of Commerce, and the Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce. Honestly, at first I thought it had to be a typo, but if you call the number for the Black Chamber of Commerce, you will find that it is a legitimate entity. Now, forgive me if this sounds politically incorrect, but what does the Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce do that the Peoria Chamber of Commerce doesn't do? Isn't this discrimination based on race? At the very least its divisive. I just don't get it. Can't we just all get along?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Vote "Wildlife Prairie Park" Today!!

Lets put our Peoria Pride to work and put forth our greatest efforts to vote Wildlife Prairie Park in to the Seven Wonders of Illinois. Bill Rutherford who founded Wildlife Prairie Park, and later donated it to the State of Illinois, was a wonderful, generous, and compassionate man who has done a lot for Peoria. What a wonderful tribute it would be to his memory, his family and his legacy. Not to mention a great boom for our tourism and businesses! Do not wait... go immediately to and cast your vote. Lets just show the rest of the state what Peoria is all about! Please encourage your friends and e-mail list to do the same.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Today my blog was taken over by aliens. Actually, I think it was a pathetic person that I wish had been taken by aliens. It forced me to change my settings so that now all comments will be in lala land until approved. Pity. Fellow bloggers, please share with me what your settings are for publishing and what kind of problems have you had in the past?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"The Secret" Phenomenon

Last night I attended a private screening of the "The Secret", an approx. 90 minute film that professes to hold the key to limitless happiness, wealth, health and relationship bliss. It was inspiring and uplifting, and quite well done. The commentators were pursuasive, and I was excited to imagine the endless possibilities it suggested. In a nutshell, the theory behind the secret is that our life is a manifestation of our private thoughts. However we see ourselves, that is how we will be. So if you can convince yourself to feel nothing but happy positive thoughts, and imagine yourself driving a Ferrari and living in a big house, then that, my friends, is your future. Sounds great. I had a little bit of deja' vu and then realized that I had felt the same stirrings after reading "The Purpose driven life" and "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" by Deepak Chopra. Pre-baby boomers were probably introduced to these concepts in "The Power of Positive Thinking". All of these books contain truth and merit... but they all have the same shortcomings. That is, they sell the value of positive imaging, but fall short on suggestions as to how to achieve it. For instance, as uplifted as I was after seeing the movie, I felt the opposite extreme just getting up this morning. I was just plain in a BAD mood. And as you know, once you are in a bad mood, its just that. A BAD mood. No amount of happy dance and happy talk is going to change it. If anyone ever cracks THAT secret, I'll buy the book, the DVD, The read aloud tapes....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Boat Drunks - impressions of an amateur critic

The Boat Drunks, A Jimmy Buffett Tribute band played last night at the Packard Plaza to a sell out crowd. The Packard seemed to have trouble managing the crowd at first because even though the doors were to open at 7:00, people were still outside in the rain until at least 7:45. Once inside, it was pretty pleasant, although they ran out of limes for the Corona, a cardinal sin, and they didn't sink them in the ice long enough. Ideally, Corona's should be served from a slush machine. The Boat Drunks were great. but admittedly, we are all so cabin-crazed Donald Duck would have sounded OK. The crowd was a typical Buffett crowd, with the median age being around 50. That doesn't sound so bad until you realize that if the median age was 50 ....catch my drift? I think a few courtesy shuttles from the nursing homes were parked out front. Haha.. please don't be offended... we are all just a few steps away from the same. To sum up.. great time! Colder beer and shorter lines next time around. Any time you can catch a concert by the Boat Drunks its a guaranteed good time. You can follow them on their website:

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Inspiring Words from Bill Smith, Assoc. Pastor, Woodland Baptist Church, Peoria

I am so honored that Pastor Bill Smith allowed me to reprint his words that were in the Church Newsletter for Woodland Baptist Church last week. This could be a heavy subject, but doggoneit, someone has to say it. Our society is just getting downright hedonistic, and shame seems to exist in only the remotest form. When I read this article, I was in awe that someone had so eloquently put in to words some things that I have been feeling for a long time but did not quite recognize or couldn't begin to verbalize. Thankyou, Bill for sharing these words:

Pastor Bill Smith writes:

Recently I’ve been reading from Jeremiah, Lamentations and now finally Ezekiel. I’m finding that those books are not particularly fun to read. I’m seeing a similar thread running through much of those writings. I see huge amounts of God’s condemnation and judgment upon the people who are not obeying him.

I’m a skimmer and, as usual, was zipping through the writings of these great prophets when the realization of our similarities to those people being condemned by God snapped to the front of my skimming brain. The people in those books paid scant if any attention to God’s directives. They ignored or worked around obeying his commandments. They heard His fair warnings but really don’t allow them to hamper any personal agenda or drive. They were simply living life their own way and gave Him no thought unless it was convenient or politically expedient. Their world seemed to be flashing along at a break neck pace toward what. Toward wealth? Toward sexual excitement? Toward physical strength? Toward power? Toward personal success?

I began to wonder if Jeremiah or Ezekiel had been watching our morning news or reading the local paper before they wrote these words. If they were writing the truth about their time and if God reacted as He did, what would that mean for us today? I’m a “glass half full” person but these words are more than relatively clear. Just like the cities and nations mentioned in these books, we seem to be in a world of hurt spiritually and we either don’t know it or don’t care. I’m not sure which of these are more condemning, don’t know or don’t care.

So, what’s the solution? I don’t like the condemnation and judgment seen in these books nor would I like to face it. Certainly, we are due nothing better than they experienced, but it would be far better to share in His Kingdom rather than His condemnation. II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” And you are saying “I suppose that we are the ‘My people’ mentioned in those verses.” The first “people” who comes to mind is “me” or maybe “you” if you are reading this. We must be the first one of “my people” to begin to pray strongly about God’s directive and His expectations. Then, as attitudes adjust, more of the “my people” may be influenced to join in the prayer. Do we budget for this? No, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Do we organize this? No, we simply go to our Father. He already has it planned. Do we promote this? No, again, He has all power in His hands. After praying comes humility and turning. Those could be tough in today’s world. With our hope comes the inevitable, truthful, faithful promise of God. We will be forgiven and healed. God is so capable and remarkable.

“He is able, more than able to accomplish what concerns me today. He is able more than able to handle anything that comes my way. He is able, more than able to do much more than I could ever dream. He is able, more than able to make me what He wants me to be.”

What a gift God presents!

Bill Smith
Associate Pastor
Woodland Baptist Church
6915 N. Allen Road
Peoria, IL 61614

Monday, March 5, 2007

Webkinz World - How come I didn't think of this?

Walk into any home with preteens, and there is a good chance they will be on the computer on the site. Its approaching cult status among this age group, and boys and girls alike are hooked. So, true to the spirit of Curious George I just had to see what all the fuss was about. The first challenge is to even find one. Oh, yeah.. I'll describe what they are. They look like beanie babies only slightly larger, and have a "webkinz" logo on the paw. What sets them apart from any stuffed animal is that attached to each one is a little plastic tag that contains a unique password that allows the new owner to log in to the site. More about the site in a moment. You can't find them at Target and Walmart.. that would be too easy. You have to sniff them out at specialty shops. I found one of the last ones at the Crazy Daisy on University Drive. Ran in to about 3 other Moms and their desperate daughters during the few minutes we were there... all indulgent Moms looking for the same thing for our spoiled kids. Finally found pay dirt at the Hallmark Store in Grand Prairie.. they had just gotten in a large shipment but were going fast. My kids selected the white bunny and the Chihuahua. We just couldn't wait to get home to log in to the sacred site. After logging on it dawned on me that the website had to have been created by either a)aliens or b) someone on hallucinogens. The fact is, it is genius. It allows the user to go in and create a virtual world for their new pet, including wardrobe, their room, in fact, an entire house, food, appliances, anything you can think of. There is a "happiness" meter that tells the user when the pet is hungry, sick, or lonely. You name the pet, "shop" for it at the mall and win money by playing their games. Pretty much the trifecta of Teen satisfaction. Now the older kids are getting the younger kids hooked. My 4 and 5 year old can navigate the website faster than Bill Gates. OK, confession, but I'll deny it if it's repeated. After the Kids are in bed, I play the games. You might try it. Then your kids will love you and think it is amazing that you have such a natural talent. What a bonding experience.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Restaurant Review - Kobe Japanese Steakhouse - Willow Knolls Shopping Center, Peoria

Today was a cold, blustery 25 degree day in early March, and we just got a hankering to do something different to try and knock ourselves out of the winter doldrums. So on a whim we decided to check out the new Kobe Japanese Steakhouse in the Willow Knolls Shopping Center right next to Burlington Coat Factory. In the interest of full disclosure, I should state for the record that being from Chicago, I am no stranger to the Japanese steakhouse type of restaurant...most notably, Ron of Japans and Bennihana's. I was pleased by the atmosphere when we first walked in. Very similar to the aforementioned restaurants, but slightly brighter lighting. My 4 year old daughter and 5 year old son loved the large circular fountain in the large waiting area and amused themselves for the few minutes that it took us to be seated. At 5:30pm they had a full house, but it is such a large restaurant that we had no trouble being seated. The evening was destined for failure, however, when they seated us at a large U shaped family style table nearest the door. Everytime someone walked in (which was practically every 30 seconds) we were hit with a rush of the wintery air. Fine for me who suffers from hotflashes but not good for pre-schoolers. We all froze our hiney's off. The service was quick and friendly, the meals affordably priced. I ordered the steak and lobster, John had the scallops and the kids had the childsized meals of chicken and vegetables, and some fries thrown in for good measure. The meals came with shrimp appetizers, a salad and soup. The shrimp was good, the salad was a few pieces of iceberg with some thousand island (not ginger!) dressing, and the soup could have been chicken bullion with a slice of raw mushroom floating on the top. The chef cooked the meals right at the table and was very talented. The food was marginal at best. It was all so infused with salt that had they done a blind taste test I don't think I would have been able to distinguish the steak from the lobster from the shrimp. My lobster serving was more the size of a crawfish and was placed on my plate a good 20 minutes before the rest of the meal was ready. And where the heck was the egg sauce? Man, did I miss that egg sauce. Especially with all the salty food I really needed something to sweeten things up. At the end we were so anxious to leave we sent the kids out to the fountain while John paid the bill. $75. to feed a family of 4, including tip.. not too bad. I would give this place a 3 out of 5 star rating. As a last hurrah, the kids threw their brand new "Webkins" animals in to the fountain to see if they could swim. Needless to say, we left that place in a hurry. I would imagine they wouldn't want us back anyway.

Friday, March 2, 2007

12 Signs it's time to move

Diane, Here are a few tips for your clients

12 Signs it may be time to Move!

12. When your neighbor plays his Barry Manilow CD… your windows rattle

11. When every time someone walks across the floor… you have to hold your drinks so they won’t spill

10. When you know the critters that run when the lights go on…by name

9. When your neighbor buys sheep… just so they don’t have to mow

8. When your land lord offers to provide the down payment for a house

7. When you start to wonder if they make bunk beds…3 high

6. When every time someone rings the door bell… the lights dim

5. When your garage is bigger than the house…(with exceptions.)

4. When you unlock the front door…the key knocks out your back window

3. When you have more junk… than places to walk.

2. When you keep a floatation device in the basement…for the next time.

1. When your land lord and the in-laws are the same people.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Where's My Daddy?

OK, I am NOT the father of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter. But I agree, it is pretty addicting for those of us that do not have much drama in our lives!

Singles in Peoria: Tell us where you hang out & what you do to meet new people!

Ciao! Katie

Top 10 Reasons I like Peoria

Having just returned from Green Valley (South of Tucson), on a golf trip that was pretty lousy due to catching a bad cold from my roommate, attempting golf in 45 mph wind, and fighting delay after delay by the airlines-- I have concluded that even though our winters are miserable, I still like Peoria. Following are the top 10 reasons I like Peoria better than Southern Arizona:

10 -- Most Drive by shooters still speak English, increasing one's chances of ducking in time
9 -- White middle fingers are harder to detect in a white snowy background
8 -- Country Music around here means only this country
7 -- Golf Shots in the rough not likely to awaken Rattlers
6 -- Every 80 year old woman isn't looking for a man
5 -- Local radio doesn't have a golfcart traffic report on the 8's
4 -- Donut shops have cops instead of Border Patrol agents
3 -- Drivers in Peoria can at least See the Red Light even though they seldom stop at it.
2 -- No traffic Cops in Walgreens Parking Lot

And the Number 1 Reason I like Peoria over Southern Arizona or anwhere else --
WHY -- The Neighbors on Imperial Drive of Course (Well most of them)