Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christ the Savior is born


...And the angel said to them "Do not be afraid. I bring you tidings of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you: you will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger." ~ Luke 2: 10-12

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Night before Christmas - Politically Correct!

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck…
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."
And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose

And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.
Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football…someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;

Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere…even you.
So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth…
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

Notice: This poem is copyright ©1992 by Harvey Ehrlich. It is free to distribute, without changes, as long as this notice remains intact. All follow-ups, requests, comments, questions, distribution rights, etc should be made to mduhan@husc.harvard.edu .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mortgage rates fall below 5%

From Cefcu's website - a conventional 15 year fixed rate mortgage loan is now 4.675% and NO points! I never thought we'd see the day.

So although the message "now is a good time to buy" can be overly simplistic and in my opinion should not be advised without caveats, from a mortgage standpoint, it most certainly IS a good time to buy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chicago!

With the state of Chicago (ah-hem!) being such a hot topic these days, I felt inspired to post a few photos from our Thanksgiving excursion to the appropriately named Windy City.



It all came about when Chyah of the Peoria.com forums recommended signing up for the Travelzoo Top 20 weekly best deals e-mail list. Travelzoo.com is a website that consolidates the best deals from all the major travel websites.

Thanks to Travelzoo, we booked a hotel suite a block from Michigan Avenue for $119 a night. We then spent a few days enjoying Chicago over the Thanksgiving School holiday.

The first order of business was to get a metro pass. We only had to pony up a cool $20 bucks for the 4 of us to enjoy unlimited public transportation for the duration of our stay. No cabs here. Public transportation is a hoot and the kids loved it!

I was anxious to check out the giant bean at Millennium park. OK, cool. Now I saw the giant bean. It looks like... a giant bean. I can rest peacefully. It was pretty cool though and the kids enjoyed making goofy faces and posing in it's reflection. Come to think of it, so did I.



My little brothers and nieces and nephews joined us the following day. The brave ones among us took an elevator to the top of the Sears building and the weenies (like me) kept the home fires burning at the ground-level Starbucks. They could have spent all day up there as far as I was concerned so long as they didn't insist my ass be with them!

That evening we walked from our hotel to the Cheesecake Factory in the John Hancock Building for dinner. While there, we stumbled upon a lavish Christmas Village and model train display in the lobby. It was easy to get lost in ones dreams while watching the trains winding through the village that was literally as big as a house. It made me realize how lame our "Thomas around the Christmas Tree" set really is, but fortunately, I don't think the kids made the same connection.



Thanksgiving morning we checked out of our hotel, but not before we caught the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade winded its way down State Street and we meandered through the crowd and found the perfect spot to observe. The floats were huge to the point of intimidating and there were marching bands from all over the state of Illinois. The only thing that we will do differently next year is arm ourselves with a thermos of hot chocolate and a thick blanket. Otherwise it was an awesome experience.



This was such a blast we decided to take a similar excursion over the Christmas Holiday. I see on the Travelzoo list there is an $89. deal at the Chicago Marriott Courtyard. This time though, we'll leave the car at a park-n-ride outpost. The hotel parking bill was $48. a day. Yikes! But aside from that, we are THERE!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More funny kids stuff...

My hubby John and our boy Jim were leaving Independence Village yesterday after a Tiger Scout Christmas caroling gig. As they approached the parking lot John cautioned Jim to avoid a car that was backing out of its parking space.

Hubby: "Jim come over on the other side of me."

Jim: "Why, Dad?"

Hubby: "Because I don't want you to get hit by this car backing out."

Jim: "Well Dad, I don't want you to get hit either."

Upon which, John felt a warm fuzzy feeling welling up inside of him. But not for long...

Jim: "If you got hit, who would drive me home?"

Ahhh, the self absorption of a 7 year old!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Peoria rocks at the Historical Society Candlelight tours...

This is the final weekend for the candlelight tours of the Peoria Historical Society's Pettengill-Morron House Museum at 1212 W. Moss Avenue. This years theme, Silhouettes of Lincoln, has been extremely popular! The attendance this year was more than double that of last year.



As we prepare to celebrate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, we thought a fitting tribute would be to tell some of the little known facts about Lincoln during our Candlelight Tours this year. Enjoy!

The house is decorated to the hilt by the Peoria Garden club. They did a wonderful job and the results were amazing! The house has never looked more beautiful. Tonight I volunteered in the gift shop, where visitors can purchase historic books, post cards, Christmas ornaments and various novelties.



Tomorrow is the final day of candlelight tours, and the house will be open from 2:00 - 4:00. It's a great experience for the kids, so don't be shy about bringing them. Tell them if they don't break anything, they'll get a cookie at the end of the tour.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mayor Jim Ardis kicks off his re-election campaign

Over 100 supporters of Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis convened Wednesday evening at Weaver Ridge in a huge show of support for Jim's re-election. Many are battle-weary from November elections, but it was obvious that there are still plenty who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get back to campaigning for one of our most popular mayors since sliced bread. Below is Mayor Ardis with State Representative David Leitch, and Congressman Ray Lahood who both turned out for the event. Congressman-elect Aaron Schock was out of town for Legislative training, but I feel confidant in saying he was wholeheartedly present in spirit.



The crowd was an eclectic mix. Democrats and Republicans, incumbents and candidates were all schmoozing and making nice. The shared commonality was of course, an appreciation for what Mayor Ardis and his council have brought to the table over the past four years -a more cohesive and approachable government, decreased crime rates, and an overall enhancement of the image of Peoria.

Being the pre-election season, various petitions to get on the ballot were being circulated like crazy. Candidates for Patrick Nichting's 5th Council seat were present and working the room. Below is Douglas P. Crew, Governmental Affairs Manager for Caterpillar, running for Nichting's seat. Nice man, cute smile, firm handshake. Two thumbs up! I met his opponent too but it was later in the evening where drinks were flowing freely and well, I just can't remember his name. Nice guy. Will report back later.



Below are two of my favorite Dems, 4th District council member William Spears, and Peoria County Circuit Clerk Robert Spears. You simply have not lived until you have been to one of Bobby's 3rd of July backyard BBQ's. Bobby is pure rompin, stompin fun all the time, and generous to a fault. He is also a great single parent to his three beautiful daughters. So many of us recall the beautiful spirit of their mother, the late Regina Spears, who will always reside warmly in my heart.



One of my most fondly recalled conversations of the evening was one I had with Peoria County Board of Review Chairman Gary Shadid. Gary and I have squared off a time or two, but I think the world of him and his family, and we both understand and respect the other's task. Mine is to help keep real estate assessments fair and accurate and his is to... on second thought, guess you'll have to ask him. Ha ha.. just kidding. Sort of. Gary is running for City Treasurer against opponent Patrick Nichting. I think Gary would fill that position with competency, honesty and integrity. What more could you want from a treasurer?

All in all it was a pretty tame, laid back event, just the way Ardis likes things. Later in the evening on the drive home, John (my dh) was reminiscing about his old "Lucky Lady" days, where he worked alongside Jim as a bartender and DJ for a few years. John holds the entire Ardis family in the highest regard, and feels they were brought up with wholesome, traditional values in their shared Columbia Terrace neighborhood. John was particularly close with Jim's sister, the late Ann Ardis Centers, who answered the call from our Lord just a few months ago after a long battle with cancer.

John and I plan to work extra hard towards Jim's re-election. We feel he has and will continue to do a great job as Mayor and represent the citizens of Peoria with the utmost integrity and highest ethical standards.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From the oxymoron department...

In Entertainment News, here is a little tidbit from Nov. 17, The National Enquirer,

"Girls Next Door" gang up on Hef's twin playmates.

The Playboy Mogul's ex-girlfriends, Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson, have ganged up on their replacements - the gorgeous 19 year old Shannon twins - and are begging Hef to boot them from his mansion.

Here is the kicker...

"Dump those trashy twins - they don't deserve you! They are riff-raff and they are using you."

*cough**cough* OMG this cough is just KILLING me! Haven't been able to shake it ever since I read this.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Peoria honors its veterans

One week ago was Veteran's Day, and in our book, it is a day like no other. It is the day we honor the bravest and most selfless of American's - The hero's that have fought for our freedom - our Veterans. Fortunately, the kids had the day off school which offered plenty of oppportunity to demonstrate the significance of this day.

Despite the cold and rain, many Peorians turned out to watch the downtown parade. I have to say, it is my favorite parade of the year. There were at least a dozen marching bands and nothing warms my heart more than watching Kids in a marching band. All the hours they spend in practice is time they aren't out cooking up trouble. Marching bands=good! There was an entry and a Parade Marshall representing 6 U.S. wars. To the best of my recollection they were WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and the War on Terror.

The memorial service at the WWII Memorial after the parade was particularly moving. Despite the cold there was a respectable crowd and although the kids didn't necessarily understand the words, they definately understood the reverance and importance of the occassion.

You'll have to take my word that I had a lot of GREAT photos to share that somehow got lost when I synced my phone with the computer. Shit happens. Technology - it is definately a love/hate thing with me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friendship

It's such a loose term. Bandied about way too often and almost always conditional. I try to teach my children to rely on family - spouses, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. These are the relationships that, if nurtured, will truly sustain you. True friendship is becoming a rare if nonexistent condition - another casualty of the era we find ourselves in that is defined by an almost complete erosion of human virtue. Call me jaded.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Can you get any lazier than this??

Here's a tip. NEVER go grocery shopping when you feel your laziest. If you do, you just might end up with something like this in your cart...



And if you are anyone other than a college kid, and you have this in your cart on the same day, it might be time for your friends to stage an intervention.



'nuff said.

Friday, November 7, 2008

An ancient maternal ritual

Today while waiting for the little Christmas train to stop at Northwoods Mall, I noticed my daughter was wiggling the crap out of her lower front loose tooth. She had made considerable progress on it throughout the day and that sucker was hanging on by its last little thread.

I asked her if I could feel it, and as I did so, was overcome by some strange mystical force. Just like my Mom did for me, as generations had done before her, I grabbed hold of that little tooth, estimated just the right amount of leverage and YANKED. Mercifully, it cooperated and out came her first little tooth.

I shudder to think how horrible it would have been had I yanked and it not come out. As Moms, we all face that moment of truth - to yank, or not to yank. Thankfully, our first experience was a good one. Time will tell if she will ever let me near her mouth again, but tonight, we have a little girl who can't wait to wake up in the morning after a long anticipated visit from the tooth fairy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Epilogue

Whether you love or hate the election results, I think we can all appreciate the fact it is over. The country and the world can collectively exhale, for now. President-Elect Obama has his work cut out for him, that's for sure. For the sake of the entire world, I pray he is up to the task. You have to admire the professionalism with which he ran his campaign. He stayed on point, rarely slipped up, and kept his message for the most part positive. He was clearly the country's choice, and his significant margin of victory will help McCain supporters (like me) accept his win, suck it up, and move on.

The race that is far more difficult to digest is Jehan Gordon's win over Joan Krupa. Joan was clearly the more qualified candidate for the State house 92nd District, most everyone would agree. The stars lined up perfectly this year for Gordon, and the results are, in my opinion, a perfect example of an imperfect democracy. The people that voted for her, hopefully did not realize the role that her mentors played in the fact that our state government is in the crapper. If they did, how could they possibly believe then that their representation of the citizens of Peoria will be any different?

On the other hand, Joan Krupa is one of the most selfless, loving and God-fearing people I have ever met. Her qualifications for the office she sought were beyond reproach, according to past two term Republican Governer of Illinois, Jim Edgar. As I read the daily smut that Gordon and her corrupt dysfunctional Chicago friends threw against Joan and her exemplary record of public service, it hurt me on a very personal level. She might as well have been slandering my Mom. I can overlook Jehan's shoplifting conviction. I can even almost overlook her lying about her degree, but I will never forget her maliciousness towards Joan. She may have won the election, but you can't win integrity or a conscience, and if she doesn't have it by now, it's a real long shot. Gordon is young with a long life ahead of her, but I'm afraid with her demonstrated lack of boundaries, it will not be an easy road. The problem is, citizens of Peoria are now along for the ride as well. Scary.

The Krupa campaign would also beg to differ on her claim that she won the election by her diligent and brilliant campaigning. I'm thinking the multiple debate hosts that were stood up when she didn't show for scheduled debates would disagree. You won, Jehan, so you can quit with the spin. Act like you've been there. Just give credit where credit is due and thank Barrack Obama next time you see him. While your at it you might want to apologize for capitalizing on his good name without his permission. Joan, on the other hand, told me on the phone today that she is praying for your success in Springfield.

How about that State's Attorney's race? What a nail-biter, and one I chose to stay out of. For one thing, DH, being a defense attorney would have to work with the ultimate victor. Secondly, both Kevin Lyons and the Lahood families are friends of the family and it was just tooo weird. Kind of like if your Mom was running against your sister. They both ran strong, vibrant campaigns, and the results could have been a coin toss.

The only thing I would offer in retrospect is this. It is worrisome that the City and our Police Departments took such a strong stand against the State's Attorney's Office. I don't think that can be chalked up to "politics as usual". Something is seriously wrong in Who-ville. I hope that Mr. Ardis, Mr. Settingsgaard and Mr. Lyons can extend mutual olive branches and try to resolve their differences on behalf of the city. Everyone can use all the help they can get, and since they are all stuck with each other might as well make the best of it.

Mr. Lyons, I know this is none of my business, but you seem like a nice man. You gave our daughter daisies last week for Pete's sake. Would it really kill you to participate in the Mayor's crime task force? What is it an hour a week? Even if you just go and don't utter a single word your mere presence could speak volumes to the public on your willingness to fight crime. Additionally, it just might freak out a crook or two, and if it spares even one little old ladies snatched purse, it would all be worthwhile.

Those are my thoughts for what they are worth on election 2008. All of the candidates are very brave people to put themselves out there, warts and all, to judge and be judged, with at least a 50% chance of losing. That takes a lot of GUTS, some I surely do not have. Joan Krupa asked me Tuesday night if I would ever run for public office. I told her, accurately, that if someone with her caliber could run and not win, I wouldn't stand a chance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Inside the Schock victory party

In an evening filled with angst and hand-wringing for Republicans, the Lord in his mercy offered a single bright spot - the election of 18th Congressional District Candidate Aaron Schock to Congress.

A huge crowd filled the new Peoria Civic Center ballroom to capacity as many of Aaron's friends, family, supporters and colleagues joined him in an evening of anticipation and ultimately, Victory.

Aaron spent the evening mingling with the crowd, pausing patiently for photos, doing network interviews and occasionally trolling the election stats via cell-phone. The depth to which Aaron connects with people of all ages and ethnicity's will never cease to amaze me. To be honest, it was this very quality that brought me on board the Schock train the day I met him, almost a year ago during the primaries.





Below is Aaron, enjoying a fringe benefit of the job. It's rough, but somebody's gotta do it!



I'm sure posing with me and hubby, John was quite the letdown after the prior photo! Heh heh.



Fairly early in the evening, it became evident that once again, Aaron would deliver a resounding victory to Illinois Republicans. The pride that permeated the room was indescribable. Steven Shearer, Schocks campaign manager, never took a single moment to savor the victory. He was all business, all night long. Steve, if you are reading this, log off NOW and get thyself to Cabo!



Despite the thrill in the air over Aaron's win, there was also a profound melancholy as we watched the returns come in for the darling of the Republican ticket, Joan Krupa. This is something that I find difficult to even write about, and right now I will only make a few comments. Although our system of Democracy is the greatest in the world, it is by no means perfect, and never has that been more apparent than by the defeat of Joan Krupa last night to Jehan Gordon. I will spare any further comment for a later post... but suffice it to say, her election defied any logic and common sense, and in my opinion will prolong the critical state of Illinois government.

At approximately 10:00 p.m., Schock and Company took the stage to address the crowd. Imagine my surprise when Steve Shearer asked me to join the supporters on stage. Of course, I was humbled and honored to stand with the youngest person ever to be elected to Congress. That sh** doesn't happen every day.



The program was opened with a moving rendition of America the Beautiful by local singer Pat Ward. Her deep resonant voice, coupled with the realization that other Republican races weren't going so well, brought tears to my eyes.

Shortly thereafter, Schock's primary opponents John Morris and Jim McConoughey made a few clever and poignant remarks relating to their experiences as Aaron's opponents in the primary. "Yes, I got to know Aaron well too...", McConoughey quipped with a feigned eye-roll as the crowd chuckled in empathy and understanding.



Other speakers to take center stage were Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, Campaign Chairman and Peoria City Council Member Eric Turner, several Mayors, and state representative Keith Sommer.

Aaron's remarks, although brief, were humble and powerful. Aaron thanked all those who voted, endorsed and supported him, and at the same time offered a reassurance to all that he would, as he has in the past, reach across the aisle to serve all citizens. A little Republican red meat was tendered as well when he assured the crowd that if he disagreed with a policy, he would fight it with all his heart and soul. You know what? I believe him. Whether you agree or not, this is a man that is driven by powerful conviction.



Now I realize that Schock has his dissenters. I believe that most of those that yell the loudest are people that have never met him or cared to learn what is in his heart. That's OK. I just ask that you give him a chance. I'm willing to give it to Obama. Deal? All we are say-ing, is give peace a chance. Hey! That would make a great song!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-Chia!

Do people really pay good money for a Chia Pet? I've always wanted one, but the little common sense voice inside my head would scream "loser" anytime I came close. So when my Mom surprised me with a Chia Pet she found at a Walgreen's for half price (she is good at stuff like that!), I was psyched. We couldn't wait to get him started. I decided as a a sort-of public service announcement to share the Chia experience with my readers. Who knows, there may be others out there as mystified and conflicted as I was.

First, you take the pet out of the package and resuscitate him. If you have children under the age of 7, you will no doubt have to name him. All bets are that it will be a Fluffy or Skippy or Barky. In fact, to simplify, give them those three choices. Soak Fluffy in water overnight. Simultaneously, mix the seed mixture with water and allow it to goo overnight as well.



The next day, spread the goo on the soaked Chia Pet. The kids love this part, and expect a big mess. After they lose interest, (in about 3 minutes) and aren't looking, re-do it.



In about a day you will see the little seeds sprout. After a full 2 days your Chia Pet will look like it is covered with maggots. Of course, this will not phase the experienced parent.



After 4 days, it starts looking like a Chia with a flat top, and in a week, bar the door, Fluffy! This baby needs a trip to the groomers!




Epilogue: Although it is enjoyable to watch anything flourish and grow, this dude got old pretty quick. The kids kept asking when they could play with it. As soon as they realized that Fluffy would never fetch or roll over, they moved on. The experience was worthwhile though, because at least now I can be certain that on my deathbed I won't think "Hmmm, I wonder what it would have been like to grow a Chia Pet?"

I would also be more inclined to purchase another if they offered one that grew something to eat, spice with, or smoke. Now THAT would be cool!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Unmoderated comments found....

A few slipped between the cracks. My apologies to anyone who thought I was censoring.
They should all be published now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A classic "Do as I say and not as I do"...


From a Kharma standpoint, I probably shouldn't post this, but what the heck! Today, while walking through the parking lot of Gold's Gym, I noticed a busy City of Peoria Parking Enforcement Officer diligently writing tickets to naughty parking challenged motorists. I really didn't think much about it until I realized that she herself was parked illegally in the #1 handicapped spot. I wonder if she wrote a ticket to herself. Heh heh. I just got a chuckle out of it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Obama redistribution "plan" opens up all kinds of new doors!

This was forwarded to me from the ISBA discussion group. I have permission from the author to reprint it here. The last line, although intended to be funny, is pretty frightening, when you realize its implications.

I am the president of my home owners association. The association consists of 18 homes. We usually need about $70,000 a year to cover expenses, so the typical dues are $4,000 a house for the year.

For 2009, I'm thinking about acting like Obama to collect the dues. I'm just going to ring the doorbell of the biggest house and tell them they owe $87,000. When they pay, I'm going to use $70,000 for the expenses and give $1,000 to each of the other houses.

This is going to be so much fun! Funny thing, too: We took a vote on it at the last meeting, and it passed 17-1...
Jim "Go Figure" Foley

Peoria rocks out at the Women's Lifestyle Show...

Let me tell ya, ladies, if you are ever in the market for liposuction, a spine realignment or a face-lift, you can get your first, 2nd and 3rd opinions all at the same time at the annual Women's lifestyle show downtown at the Civic Center. Based on the size of the crowd, it appears that feelings of inadequacy are alive and well here in Central Illinois. Ha ha, I'm just kidding - sort of.

We actually had a great time and a side bonus was a stash of pens that will last at least through Christmas and some sack clips that you can't ever have too many of.

Lugging along my trusty Canon Rebel, I captured lots of images to share.

A crowd favorite is of course, the Cubs chow line. Who doesn't love to shove free pizza, sausage and cake into their face all at the same time.



No surprise here - my favorite booth - The Repubs! I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to my homies in the Repub booth.



Also present today was a glowing Joan Krupa, candidate for State Rep, a woman who next to my Mom and dearly departed Sister-in-Law is as close to Godliness as I've met.




We loved the VESPA booth. Actually, I think it was Illinois Cycle but the daughter couldn't resist mugging for the camera on top of the featured Vespa scooter. Here is a little Vespa on a Vespa.



States Attorney Kevin Lyons was pouring on the charm for the ladies with bouquets of Daisy's. Here is Kevin with our daughter and a smiling supporter, the lovely Renee Parker.



Here is well known and loved Blogger Eyebrows McGee, stumping for the Junior League and her fav cause - The Peoria Playhouse. I'll let you in on a little secret about Laura - she does NOT like getting her pic taken. Best strategy here is to shoot and run.



Wholesome entertainment was featured throughout the day. Unfortunately, James Buffett had a schedule conflict and was unable to perform.



The character of the various displays ranged from mundane to insane. These Monty Python characters were a site to behold.




All in all, a pretty fun day. And by the way, if I disappear for a few weeks and upon my return appear a little refreshed and 10 pounds slimmer, it wouldn't be illogical to conclude that I fell prey to some of today's offerings, would it? Ha. I can dream anyway.

Friday, October 24, 2008

...breaking....Biden out, Gordon in!

Talk about rubbernecking. That's just ZACTLY what I did driving down Sheridan Road this afternoon and coming upon this Obama/Gordon sign. I was like, HOLY CAMPAIGN SIGNS BATMAN! When did Biden resign?



OK seriously, does this pass the sniff test? $50 bucks to the first person who can forward me proof that the Obama campaign approved this sign. I won't be holding my breath, and in the meantime, given the fact that anything seems to go this campaign season, I've ordered some of my own signs - you know, to kind of capitalize on the Obama Train.

First off, I think we need a town blogger. Billy Dennis, although he occasionally gets on my nerves (Lol!) wins my endorsement. So I'm having me printed up a few of these to slap around town:



Second up, I think we need a town quacker. Just to kind of liven up the place. So I nominate the old family favorite, and someone we all know and love, Mr. Donald Duck. These signs should be ready any day now as well:



I can't wait to start putting out all of our shiny new signs. The Obama campaign doesn't seem to mind. This will be a blast!!

Lets' share the wealth

Today on my way to lunch, I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money". I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had an "Obama 08" tie. I laughed again as he had given away his political preference. This gave me opportunity.

When the bill came, I decided not to tip the server and explained to him I was testing the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need - the homeless guy outside. The server was pretty angry and stormed away.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy the $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I had decided he could use the money more. The guy was really grateful.

My conclusions:
The homeless guy was grateful for the money he didn't earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn, even though the actual recipient deserved the money more.
It's a matter of fairness.
People just don't understand such a simple concept.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guest Blogger contest! - UPDATED 2XX! We have winners!

The verdict is IN. My Mom has spoken. She has reviewed all of the guest blog entries and has rendered her decision.

First Place: Cheetoh's Meows! Mom sez: "Well you know how much I love cats... and I love that this is written by a cat. Very unique and original"

Second Place: Crodseth heads off the beaten path... Mom sez: "This was a cute, fun read. And I gave him a bonus for the photo's as you requested"

Third Place: A Tie! Mom loved the sentimental pieces, but probably didn't appreciate them as much as she would at other times because she has been nursing a sick husband (my Dad) and at this time appreciated the lighter pieces. She thought both were very well written and a wonderful tribute to the author's loved ones!

I will contact each of you to get your prizes to you!

Thank you to my wonderful young authors for all your guest blog submissions. Who woulda thunk we had that much writing talent lurking? The HUGE decision is now in the hands of my Mom. Lol! Please allow her a day or so to review the entries and declare the winners!

Do you have something you want to get off your mind? Do you have a funny bone that is just dying to express itself? Can you tell one whopper of a story? Have you ever thought of starting a blog but are just a big chicken? Is something sitting in your craw? Here is a chance to dip your toes in the water, exercise your right of free expression, and win an expensive and fabulous prize!

Between now and Monday, October 20, I would like to invite all readers to submit an original blog post to Peoriarocks! for publication. The post can be any length, on any topic, and can be serious, tongue in cheek, or just plain hilarious. I have the right to reject any entry that contains obscene, or slanderous material. Bonus points will be given to submissions that are Peoria-specific, and/or contain your original photos. You can use your real name or a pseudonym. Of course, I'll need your real name but will assure your anonymity.

The judging will be done by........ my Mom. She is 74, of German descent, and is Independent in her political beliefs. She's voting for Obama. We try not to talk about that though. She loves children, crossword puzzles, and is a tough old duck if you cross her.

Here are the fabulous and expensive prizes!

First prize - $25. gift certificate to Borders
Second Prize - Set of 3 Waterford Christmas Ornaments
Third Prize - Waterford Crystal Christmas Ornament - "Noah's Ark"

So get out the old Laptop, crack a few Corona's, and start typing. I will publish the entries as they are submitted. Just send your entry to me at dianevespa@yahoo.com. Hope to get lots of participation and have fun!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Governor Jim Edgar stumps for Krupa in Peoria tonight

Tonight former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar arrived at a private residence in Peoria to talk to Peorian's about the importance of electing Joan Krupa as State Representative. Governor Edgar was introduced by event host Wayne Baum, who remarked, "If common sense prevailed, we wouldn't even be here tonight".



Edgar was enthusiastically welcomed by the crowd of over 100 people. Among those attending were State Representatives David Leitch and Aaron Schock, Congressman Ray Lahood, and former Peoria Mayors David Ransburg and Jim Maloof. "Springfield is in the biggest mess I have ever seen," Edgar said. "To straighten it out, we will need highly qualified, competent people in office, and from what I understand...." He never finished the sentence. The insinuation was clear. The tawdriness of the Gordon campaign became legendary this evening as the crowd embraced Joan with their support.



Governor Edgar said that in his entire career he has never seen a more qualified candidate than Joan Krupa. "I hope you all realize how lucky you are that she is willing to serve the people of Illinois. With health care being one of the most important issues of today, she is the ideal person to have working on our behalf in Springfield."

Below is my hubby, John "hob-knobbing" with the gov. It made his day! A giant Thank you to former Governor Jim Edgar and all those who travelled from Springfield and beyond to show support for the 92nd District. Please punch the ballot for Joan Krupa, State Representative on November 4.

Politics: Schock sets new record for Mayoral endorsements!




City leaders from across the state converged upon the "Schock for Congress" Headquarters this morning in a unified and powerful endorsement of Aaron Schock for U.S. congress. Today, Shock was endorsed by a record 116 mayors of cities, towns and villages all over the 18th District in his race for Congress.

The 116 Mayors include Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

The spirit and energy in the room was palpable as Mayor after Mayor declared their personal reasons for their overwhelming support of Schock.

Many had similar sentiments. Here are snippets of some of the comments that I heard repeatedly.

"Aaron came to our community, sat down, looked me in the eye, took notes, and really worked hard to understand our needs"

"Aaron was so personable, and really connected with our citizens."

"If Aaron wasn't sure about something, he would say he would look into it and get back to us, and then he did!"

"Aaron visited our nursing homes, our factories, and our schools"

"We were so impressed that he took such an active interest in our needs".

"As our state representative, Aaron was always accessible."

"We have admired Aaron's ability to maintain a positive and idea driven campaign - even when his opponent was doing nothing but tearing him down. His dedication to remaining above the fray is a breath of fresh air."

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis had a cute quip that garnered a pretty good guffaw from the audience..."It seems strange to describe someone as 26 years old as a legend, but I can't think of a better word".

The Mayor of Washington, Gary Manier, had this cute story. "Aaron asked to meet with me one morning. He asked what my day was like. I told him I was visiting a First grade. Aaron asked if he could go along, and he did. After that I was invisible to the Kids - they were so thrilled to meet him".

The Mayor of Peoria Heights, Mark Allen, who admits that he tends to lean more Democrat in policy had this to say: "Aaron and I have our ideological differences, but we have talked about them, worked it out, and we maintain our mutual respect for each other. Aaron is clearly the best choice to represent our interests in Washington, DC. It's a slam-dunk"

So, I guess to answer the question persistently asked by the Callahan campaign "Where is Aaron Schock"? Here is your answer...

Alsey, Altona, Arenzville, Argenta, Ashland, Athens, Atlanta, Barry, Bartonville, Bath, Beardstown, Bellevue, Bluffs, Bradford, Broadwell, Browning, Buffalo, Camp Point, Chandlerville, Chapin, Chillicothe, Clayton, Coatsburg, Congerville, Creve Couer, Curran, Dawson, Dunlap, East Peoria, Easton, El Paso, Elkhart, Elmwood, Emden, Eureka, Forest City, Forstyth, Germantown Hills, Glasford, Glasgow, Golden, Goodfield, Grandview, Granville, Green Valley, Greenview, Griggsville, Hanna City, Hartsburg, Havana, Hennepin, Henry, Hopedale, Hopewell, Illiopolis, Jacksonville, Kilbourne, Kingston Mines, La Rose, Lacon, Lafayette, Latham, Liberty, Lincoln, Loraine, Mackinaw, Manchester, Manito, Mapleton, Maroa, Marquette Heights, Mason City, Meredosia, Metamora, Morton, Mt. Pulaski, Mt. Sterling, Murrayville, Naples, North Pekin, Oakford, Oneida, Oreana, Panola, Payson, Pekin, Peoria, Peoria Heights, Perry, Petersburg, Pleasant Plains, Princeville, Riverton, Roanoke, Rushville, San Jose, South Jacksonville, South Pekin, Sparland, Spaulding, Spring Bay, Standard, Toluca, Topeka, Toulon, Tremont, Versailles, Warrensburg, Washington, Waverly, Williamsfield, Winchester, Wyoming, and Yates City.

That's where he was. And did I mention he received the endorsement of every one of those mayors. Oh yeah, I just did.

His apologies if he wasn't available for Patty-cake.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The JEANS, AHLAGEES AND OUR SISTERS of My Town

"Slow down" and "be careful what you wish" for are wise and eloquent words from Guest blogger, and peoria.com forum member aVoice...

As time goes by… and it does… I find myself better recognizing certain subtle things that are commonly experienced by human beings. Sometimes, recognition hits hard and leaves a deep impression. Almost as though the very notion that we may have anything in common had never once occurred to me at all, at any other point in time. I'm certain whatever I'm experiencing at that particular point in my own life and whatever maturity has developed with which to contemplate, rather than skim over these commonalities, both contribute to moments of a heightened sense of perception.

Most recently, the matter that has captured my attention, and affects me profoundly, is that it seems so obvious that we're not always ready for the things we once thought we deeply wanted. Moreover, age has no bearing on that principle. Regardless of how many candles were on our last birthday cake, we still seem to experience that phenomena.

For example, the seven year old son of friends has begged and pleaded for siblings for quite some time. Now that he has received the very thing he so desperately wanted, he's not completely certain that he's happy with the situation. He's become decidedly aware that what he thought it would be like once he attained his goal, and the reality of the situation, are two very different things.

With too much ease, I relate to his struggle, probably moreso than someone closer to his own age, simply because I am seven times plus three years older than him and have experienced the same inner dilemma many times over…. finally getting what I wanted only to realize it wasn't what I thought it would be.

As a kid, I couldn't wait to grow up. Everything centered around that one goal of being "grown up and finally being able to do whatever I wanted." Oh brother! It's laughable now how many times I shrugged off the words of "old people" who wisely warned me to "slow down" and "don't be in such a hurry." Now I am that "old person" who offers that same bit of advice to kids, who also shrug it off and continue headlong toward their goal.

It reminds me of the classic play, "Our Town," written by Thornton Wilder. It's main characters initially are George and Emily, who are also in a hurry to grow up, falling in love with one another as they do so, and of course, the elders warning them to slow down and not be in such a hurry. Finally, they reach the grown-up goal and marry, as grown-ups do, and all the while life itself moves on around them. Lives are born. Lives leave this world. All too soon, Emily's life ends and she finds herself gathering daily in the local cemetery with the other residents who "live" there, to discuss the days events. Watching. Concerned. Hopeful for those they love and always desiring the very best for them.

I was introduced to "Our Town" in the sixth grade by a teacher I didn't particularly care for, but I did fall in love with Wilder's unusual play, and only learned much later in life that it had won a Pulitzer Prize.

It fit in perfectly with my passion for reading books of long ago people and happenings, as well as hearing my Mom's fascinating tales of her own childhood and the people who filled it. I recognized the awesome power of words while I was still very young. They were the currency that bought the time and attention of this kid, who otherwise had too much busy stuff to do to sit still very long.

My Mom spent that currency wisely, weaving together the fabric of many worlds,… her's, mine, and so many others. Aunts, uncles, cousins, parents grand, and parents great-grand, whom I'd never known or barely ever knew, all took their place at center stage, time and time again, as if pulled briefly from their hiding places and given a new breath of life.

"Your grandmother, my mother, now that was one little German-Irish lady you didn't want mad at you!" and "her mother, your great-grandmother was so prim and proper. Every button had to be buttoned and her long hair in a tight bun on her head…." were words I grew familiar with as the actors prepared to take their places. While Mom spoke in the background, my own imagination soon became crowded with both the practical and the fanciful activities of ancestors who vied for my attention while they mimed their own stories in front of me, a rapt audience of one.

People who had lived and breathed, laughed and cried, sailed oceans and changed the world, passing from it long before I was born or while yet a wee babe held in my mother's arms, took a bow and told me their stories all the more vividly after one particular conversation took place with my Mom.

On assignment from my second grade teacher, I went home eager to obtain the needed information. "Mom, my teacher said that we're all supposed to ask our parents about something called our jeans and ahlagees, and tomorrow we have to take turns standing in front of the class to talk about that and our sisters."

A moment of puzzled silence preceded an amused chuckle from my Mom, who had a very quick, witty sense of humor, before she asked "Do you mean your geneology and ancestors, babe?"

"Yeah, that's it."

After taking a few minutes to better explain the meaning of those two terms, Mom, the most patient teacher in the world, also told me the little bit she knew on the subject of how our ancestors "crossed the pond" and came to settle in what is now Peoria, Illinois.

Attempting to sum it all up, she ultimately said, "You tell your teacher that you are the great American melting pot, babe. Your ancestors are German, Dutch, Swede and a little bit of Irish. Your grandpa, my Dad, always used to say that the little bit of Irish must have come from a clever leprechaun." The ornery twinkle that lit her crystal clear blue eyes told me that the joke should have been over my head. But, I understood it well enough, in that way non-city kids usually do understand, simply by noting the behavior of the animals that share their country way of life.

Our conversation proceeded in the usual way and soon my Mother's powerful words and storytelling skills were once again weaving together mental images in the window of my mind, causing me to virtually see and hear people I'd never met. But not just ANY people. Now I understood so much better than I ever had before, that these were MY people. MY ancestors. The people whose very lives were necessary for my own life to exist. The people whose own lives created my family tree. My geneological roots and limbs. The mighty oaks from which this grateful acorn fell. Or, as Mom said, giggling, the mighty oaks from which a nut or two sprung forth.

How I longed to know those people better. All of them. How I wished with all my heart that I could truly see the world that each of them had seen, and experience all the things they had experienced before they slipped into the shadows of their hiding places.

I realize now though that much of what they saw and experienced probably wasn't very pleasant. Yet I wonder, like me, were they in a hurry to grow up and experience all of it? Surely they must have been. Just as the little guy must who now sits snuggled at my side, asking question after question, like I did at his age.

"Grandma?"

Was that cute little blonde haired lad with crystal clear blue eyes really talking to me? Wow. Time really does fly by. Why was I in such a hurry to get here and have some pup call me Grandma? Grandma indeed! I feel too young and alive to be anyone's Grandma!

"Yes, babe?" I, nonetheless, replied sweetly.

"Why don't you use a pencil? You always use an ink pen and your crossword puzzles always look so messy."

I couldn't deny that he was right, but like my Mom, I could tell him the story and maybe through it, he'd meet a mighty oak or two.

"Well babe, it's like this. My Mom, your great-grandmother, LOVED crossword puzzles, and ever since I was a little kid I hated them. I thought they were stupid because I could NEVER figure out any of the answers. And I could never figure out how my Mom could solve every puzzle in every crossword puzzle book that she got her hands on. She always used a pencil and it had to have a good, clean eraser on it so she could rid herself of any wrong answers she had lightly penciled in. Anytime she had a few free minutes, which wasn't often since she worked full-time at home and at a full-time job outside our home, she'd sit down with her crossword puzzles and love every minute of it. She called it relaxing. That didn't make any sense at all to me since I found them so frustrating. Well, when I was about your age, we were driving to Colorado for vacation. Like always, my Mom did her crossword puzzles while my Dad drove. And trust me, the way he drove scared the daylights out of everyone! My Mom blocked it out by focusing completely on solving an endless number of crossword puzzles. Us kids focused on pestering each other until Dad laid down the law and we knew we better not make a single peep or do anything further to upset him. I got sooooo bored I couldn't take it anymore! So I leaned forward to look over my Mom's shoulder and tried to figure out some of the answers to the puzzle she was working on. Like always though, I couldn't come up with even one correct answer, so I asked her how she always managed to figure them out since they were so hard. Her reply was 'Well babe, they're really not that hard once you get used to doing them.' 'Get used to doing them?!,' I nearly shouted back at her. 'How does ANYONE EVER get used to doing them?! They're stupid! I'll NEVER get used to doing them because I'm NEVER going to do them!' Very patiently she tried to show me how to piece the answers together, and said 'it's easier if you can get on the same wavelength with the person who wrote the puzzle and try to think the way they think.' That sounded even more stupid to me and I happened to mention that somewhat loudly, on the verge of hysteria from being stuck in the car for so long. Your great-grandfather did not like to stop for ANYTHING until we got to where we were going, and boy oh boy, let me tell you, that could be extremely stressful when it felt like you were already two hours past the point of desperation for a bathroom. I don't really remember if that was the case or not, but chances are very high that it was. Between that and being overly annoyed with the quiet little things my brother and sister kept doing to bug me …. like looking at me…. and being stuck in the car so long with your great-grandpa driving like the whole world was his own lane at 80 miles an hour, and your great-grandma seemingly happy as a lark in her own little world, I was about to snap. Welll….actually, I did snap."

"What happened, Grandma?"

"I blew my top like a volcano, buddy. Like a big, silly volcano and very loudly and emphatically told my mother that I would NEVER, EVER, EVER understand WHY she liked crossword puzzles and why she wasted so much time with them and I most certainly would NEVER, EVER, EVER need any of the pointers she was trying to share with me. To which she very patiently and sweetly replied 'Never, ever, ever is a very long time, babe. Maybe when you're my age you'll feel differently.' I more or less shouted back 'I WILL NEVER BE THAT OLD!' and she just laughed a cute little laugh and kept right on filling in her puzzle and said 'Ok babe. We'll see.' I think I was just so annoyed that I wanted someone else to be annoyed with me and she wasn't doing one thing to help me out on that account. So I yelled 'Well even IF I ever am THAT OLD and do like crossword puzzles, I'll use an ink pen and not a pencil! That way EVERYONE can see ALL my mistakes instead of everything looking so nice and neat like yours do!' "

While that little boy with the blonde hair and crystal blue eyes, very much like his great-grandmother's, laughed heartily at the absurdity of his grandmother EVER being so young and saying something so foolish, I tried to maintain my dignity by attempting to fill-in another answer in the crossword puzzle laying in my lap.

Once again though, he broke into my own little world by asking, as though he'd just heard the stupidest thing he was likely to hear in his entire life, "so that's why you love crossword puzzles now and always use an ink pen to solve them?"

"No babe, but the rest of the story wouldn't be complete unless you heard that part first," I replied while trying to write over the top of the wrong answer I'd already inked into my puzzle.

"Grandma?"

"Yes, babe?"

"So what is the rest of the story. Or am I going to be sorry I asked?"

"Probably. But… we won't let that stop us, now will we?" Grinning, and receiving one in return, I forged onward. "When your Dad was still a little boy, somehow, some way, in a moment of desperation for something relaxing to do, I found myself trying the crossword puzzle in the newspaper and I could actually answer some of the questions. I couldn't find a pencil so I used a pen instead and started laughing when I realized that I actually was doing exactly what I'd told my Mom I would do, a long time ago. It amused me so much I just kept doing it. Not only was a passion born for crossword puzzles, but a habit… let's say my own personal little tradition… was created of always solving them in ink. And then while we were visiting at your great-grandparents' home many years later, I happened to wake up one morning before anyone else. So I pulled my crossword puzzle book and ink pen out of my suitcase and went out on the front porch to enjoy the peace and quiet… while relaxing and indulging in a crossword puzzle, of course. I was concentrating sooooo hard that I didn't even hear my Mom walk out onto the porch. But I heard her giggle and I KNEW what she was giggling about. She remembered too. I looked up and smiled as she asked me very sweetly 'Would you rather use a pencil, babe? I'll bring one out for you. Your puzzle will look nice and neat that way and no one will be able to see all your mistakes.' I grinned and said just as sweetly in return, 'No thanks, Mom. I may have been wrong on one count but I have to at least do what I can to be right on the other. I'll keep my word and stick with my ink pen.' We had an awesome time sitting there laughing like two silly idiots, telling old stories over and over, and laughing some more, buddy. It was as perfect a moment in time as a moment in time can possibly be."

"Grandma?"

"Yes, babe?"

"Is that the same great-grandma that sent her grandkids birthday cards in foreign languages that no one ever understood, not even her, and always signed them 'LOVE ALWAYS from YOUR Sweet Little Ol' Granny.'?"

"Yep, that's the one, babe."

"I see where you get your silliness from, Grandma."

"Hey, watch it buster. And how many times do I have to insist that you call me Sweet Lil' Ol' Granny and NOT Grandma?!"

"All the time, Grandma. All the time. I remember that great-grandma a little bit. She always said that her grandma had german ears. But I've never understood what she meant by that. What are german ears?"

"I haven't a clue, hon. But she seemed to think she could tell how much german a person had in them by their ears. Kind of like they were some sort of gas gauge or something, I guess."

"Am I full-blooded german, Grandma?"

"No, babe. You are the great American melting pot. You're German, Dutch, Swede, a little bit of Irish, Lebanese and American Indian, on your Dad's side of the family tree. You'll have to ask your Mom about your ancestery on her side."

"So I don't have german ears then, Grandma?"

"I'm not 100% certain, babe, but I don't see how that could be possible since your melting pot has more in it than mine does. Personally, I think you have cute little leprechaun ears."


From the stage that I recognize as my own personal "Our Town," I see and hear the familiar faces and voices of those who gathered to watch in awe the happenings of those who remain on the other side of the veil that divides here from there.

Sweetly, tenderly, someone comments, "He has my baby's eyes… his grandmother's eyes… and her hair. Sweet Lil' Ol' Granny, huh? She remembers. How touching…. she remembers."

"Those are your eyes, Sweetheart," I hear a familiar and much loved male voice say, as he caresses the hand that rests gently in his.

"That grandson is just like her when she was a little kid! The questions never end!," remarks someone whose voice I seem to recall vaguely from my childhood.

Another replies, "Yeah, and where do you suppose they got that from?," causing each person to turn and look at one another, their expressions saying loud and clear "Hey, it wasn't me!"

The voice most familiar returns again, now filled with ornery spunk, "Must have been the leprechaun."

As their laughter settles into hushed awe, and their thoughts turn to the hopes and dreams for the acorns that dropped from their limbs, one heavily accented voice shouts from the rear of the crowd "Will someone PLEASE tell me what german ears are and am I the ancestor who's supposed to have them?"

Nearly all blend together into a melting pot of laughter, while that same voice mutters, "What's funny?! That's not funny! Who would ever tell a child such a silly thing?! I hope you're happy with what you've gotten started. German ears! Why …. I never….!!"

I still find them all so extremely fascinating and wonder often what their lives must have been like. But now that I've reached this particular grown-up stage of my life, I truly have to wonder why I was in such a hurry to get here. Like most, I now recognize that the play is over all too quickly and it's best enjoyed when savoured slowly, one moment at a time, rather than at a mad dash to the closing scene.

"Grandma?"

"Yes babe?"

"I think it would be ok if you used a pencil now to solve crossword puzzles. Do you want to use one of mine?"

"Don't be silly, buster. Some things just need to be left alone and enjoyed for what they are."

"I guess, Grandma. I don't think I'll ever like crossword puzzles, though."

"Ok babe. We'll see."

The stage lights dim and the actors fade from view as an acorn contemplates the enormous task of being a mighty oak, feeling quite certain that the legacy that has been placed in her lap is much more than what she'd bargained for.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lincoln, Lincoln I've been thinkin...

History buffs enjoyed an opportunity of a lifetime as participants in a live Press Conference with President Abraham Lincoln. The event, a collaborative effort between the Peoria Historical Society and The Abraham Lincoln Association unfolded this evening at the Pettengill-Morron house on Moss Avenue.



Christine Zak of WEEK and Barbara Mance Drake, retired editor of the Peoria Journal Star fired the first questions at the President. Ms. Drake, in particular had some pretty feisty questions, cleverly crafted to elicit advice from the dead president relative to our current political conditions. "Might a black man ever be President?", she asked.



President Lincoln, played by authentic historical reenactor George Buss, answered every question with the legendary thoughtfulness and humor of Honest Abe. When the press conference opened up to questions from the audience, many tried to stump him, but it was to no avail. This guy knew his stuff. The outstanding questions from the audience ranged from "Do you feel other options were available to avoid the war?" to "How is Mary (Todd's) cooking?" Our daughter, who is no shrinking violet, had a question of her own. "Do you have papers under your hat?", she asked.



Imagine her thrill when he called her up on stage, took off his hat, pulled something from it, and handed her an old folded up piece of paper. Upon later examination, I realized it was a replica of the Gettysburg address in Lincoln's own handwriting. She's probably the only kid in America tonight sleeping with a copy of the Gettysburg address under her pillow.



The Museum home was open afterwards for the guests to enjoy hot cider, cookies and lots of photo ops.



What a fabulous and educational experience. Please support our Peoria Historical Society.