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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cheeto's Mews

Thank you to Cheeto, a guest blogger, and the first CAT who has ever posted to my blog.

Meow out there ! Iam so excited to do this guest blog. I love getting my paws on the PC keyboard. I want to share what is so special about me ( well, really everthing is ) but this is special to us Tabby cats only. Mom keeps telling me the story over & over ( like I didn't all ready know ) but I let her amuse herself as Iam usually not even listening, meow, I could tell her a few things ! Oh well on to the story of the special " M " marking all us Tabbies have on our forehead.

How did Tabby Cats get their 'M'?

All tabby cats have an 'M' marking on their forehead, and on some this mark is very distinct. The 'M' is often referred to as 'the mark of the true tabby'.There are several amusing legends about how tabby cats got their 'M'.The most popular of these legends tells us that when the baby Jesus was lying in the manger he started to shiver with the cold. Mary covered the baby with blankets but still he kept shivering. Mary then ask all the animals to move closer to the manger so that their body heat would warm Jesus. The animals stood as close to the manger as they could but the baby Jesus remained cold and shivering. After a time a small cat with tabby markings jumped into the manger and snuggled next to Jesus. Before long the baby had stopped shivering and was sound asleep, contented and warm.In her gratitude to the tabby Mary made the mark of her own initial, upon the cat's forehead so that tabby cats will forever remind the world of how they saved Jesus from the cold.

So you see Iam very special and I always feel even more so as Christmas approaches ! Hope you enjoyed my story, meow and out ! Cheeto

Monday, October 13, 2008

Needing to be grounded.

A touching tribute to her father by Guest blogger and Peoria.com forum contributor Stayathomemommy

My father has always been a large man. His size, strength, opinion, humor, zest for life and even emotion, although he kept it hidden from most.

Most of you don't know me that well, but I'm sure from just my user name and personal info, you've formed somewhat of your own opinions. There is more to me and I attribute part of whom I've become to my dad.

I wasn't sure what to blog about, but I knew that humor would come easy and perhaps short in nature and I wanted some personal sustenance to this blog. Something that would mean something for myself and anyone reading that could relate. In most recent years, I've had this longing to reconnect with my dad and thought writing a book or short story about him would be a good way to share his life with others. A tribute to him. He's not deceased, however, the agonizing journey began almost 9 years ago and continues today.

Some of us outgrow our parents in many ways. Some of us fight to maintain a relationship with them. And there are some of us wishing we could go back in time and get what we've lost. For me, I feel I'm in a tornado and find myself flying in all directions.

I left my parents home in the early 90s, headed for college. I think I had my bags packed in high school. I could not get away fast enough. I'm sure everyone has been at that place in life in one way or another. I needed to live my own life and live all those experiences my parents preached and warned me about. Guilt and mixed emotions plagued me as I ran quickly from my Catholic upbringing. My father seemed to be hesitant about my leaving and somewhat saddened at the same time. No one in my current family had attended a four year university and actually finished it. My father did not go to college and although established in a respectable career I believe, in his mid-life, he was regretting it on many levels. Perhaps he was a bit jealous, although he kept a proud face in a public light.

My father travelled as a sales person, for the company he was employed, at the time I was in college. This gave him flexibility to visit me once or twice a month, which in my opinion at the time, was probably a bit much. In hindsight, I'm thankful he always phoned first! He'd take me to dinner, or buy groceries for me, or put gas in my car. He was always taking care of me. I appreciated it, but today I appreciate it on a different level. I knew he was missing me and I him. In those moments, in the moments I've come to miss deeply, we created a new relationship. An adult relationship. I respect you, you respect me. From the time I hit puberty, until I ran screaming for college, we did not have this relationship. I can not tell you if it was because he had three daughters and was being protective or if it was just the fact that I was an overly emotional teen that felt everything he said was wrong and uncompromising.

After graduating from college, he reluctantly moved me into an apartment in the big city..no, not Peoria. I headed to Chicago after a 6 month stint at home, trying to find work in my field in Peoria. No one was paying what this college grad was worth, so I was 'out of here!' Although further away now, my father was still checking in on me from time to time and continued to do so for the almost 6 years I was in Chicago. I had a lot to prove and it was a hard road, but in the end (and it's still not over), I know I'm a stronger person for having pursued what I wanted. My father had hopes for me, but I don't think they included college and a career. I'm not sure what his hopes for me were because I never asked and now I will never know. Therein lies part of my tornado and wanting to retrieve something I've lost.

Life brought me back to the Peoria area in '99. I was ready to leave the big city and 'settle down' in many ways. My father was secretly jumping for joy. I married my husband in 2000 and although that was one of my most momentous life changing moments, I was hit in the gut, on a personal level, with the doom of my father on the same day.

My father was a self taught musician and played lead guitar as a hobby in several bands for over 25 years. He played at local venues and although not a big rock star in the Peoria scene, he played for many weddings and at Chateau on the Lake many weekends. I remember him playing mostly in our basement growing up. He was always my rock star. As a little girl growing up, it was quite cool to have a dad that could rock out on a guitar and occasionally sing for you. So, in choosing my father/daughter song for my wedding reception (Fleetwood Mac), I chose something I was sure he knew and had played previously. When we started to dance, he had the most confused look on his face and that's when I first knew. He did not recognize the song and he could not dance the way I had seen him dance with my mother. My father was born with rhythm and could tear up a dance floor.

My father started to unravel, so to speak. He lost his job of 17 years and then continued to be 'let go' until he had stopped at 6 jobs in 6 months. He could not maintain work and started acting not of himself. He was unexplainable at the time. Friends and family knew something was wrong. We were trying to find excuses. He could only tell us that something was wrong with his head. After many unexplainable behaviors and several months of denial, we convinced him to have an MRI.

At 50 years old, my father was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia. The MRI showed that much of his frontal lobe was missing. He also had some damage to his temporal and parietal lobes. Today, at age 58, we refer to it as Alzheimer's. His symptoms are indicative. He has every indication that he is in the late stage. With his diagnosis we were told he had 7-10 years to live. He is in year 8. He has lived in a nursing care facility for almost 6 years.

I miss my dad. I miss talking with him. I feel so selfish in wanting more time, as I know what he has missed. I feel selfish in wanting so many memories and events back. I went through both of my pregnancies without my father. He has missed every event of my children's lives because he can not communicate with them. Their presence alone does not constitute a relationship, does it? They will never get to know the person he was to me as a child. Stories and pictures alone can not give them those experiences. And although I take them almost every time I visit, it will never been the same. He is not the person I wanted them to know. He is not the person I wanted my husband to know.

It is so very difficult to get myself to visit my father. Trying talking to someone who doesn't respond, who always argued with you before! Try hugging someone who you so need that emotional connection with, but can't hug back because their mind doesn't make a connection. It is even more difficult to take my children to visit their grandfather because he doesn't walk, doesn't speak, can't feed himself and wears diapers. They don't see how this very large man's life has been untimely diminished. I'm glad they are young and have always grown up around him. It makes them love him just the same. They don't see his burdens like I do.

I think I was blessed with three wonderful kids so that I might know my father better. ...So that I might know what he went through while I was discovering myself. ...So that I keep one foot grounded in reality while the other is in a tornado.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Crodseth heads off the beaten path in Baltimore...

A big thank you to Crodseth for his "guest blogger" post. It will be a tough act to follow but c'mon - ya gotta try!

First of all, I’d like to thank Diane at Peoria Rocks for this opportunity. Normally, I’m ranting and whining on my own blog, Get The Stink Off, but this is my very first guest blogging experience… very exciting. The pressure to come up with something good is intense. Whew. Just breathe. Breathe in….breathe out. Imagine your audience naked, it will help you relax.

Ewwww…gross. Hairy fat guy down front, put something on, will ya?

Anyways, as I was saying. Today is an unusual day because I flew into Baltimore (and no, my arms aren’t tired). I come here two, sometimes three times a year on business. Normally I don’t venture around too much, I just drive to and from work and get delivery all week. Well this week I decided to do something different. I immediately decided that I wanted to try some local cuisine. After searching for hours, I finally found this out of the way little pizza joint. You’ve probably never heard of it.



The place is called Papa John’s. I’m pretty sure Baltimore is the only place you can get this pizza, and let me tell you, it’s fabulous. I talked with John Jr., the owner of the place. He was doing the baking tonight as his regular cook called in sick. John Jr. told me he’s been in business for about 25 years. Prior to John Jr. taking over the reins, John Sr. had been running the joint for almost 40 years. You can’t get this kind of history just any old place. After I gorged on their pizza for awhile, I decided to find myself a nice, out of the way pub, to see if I can sample some local micro-brewed beer. I searched through the downtown area, through the north end of town, and finally found a great local micro-brewery near the harbor area.

The micro-brewery makes and sells their own beer called Miller Lite. It’s a local beer made in Baltimore by a man and his two sons. They told me they just make the beer as a hobby, they don’t really make any money on it, and that they only make about 50 cases of beer a year. I understood, but mentioned that with mass production, they could take their product global.



Ummmm….ok, you caught me. I’ve been flying all day and I just landed in Baltimore. I’m tired and cranky and I just wanted some grub and a couple beers. I do have plans to get some local cuisine….in a couple days, but for now regular old stuff will suffice.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

City of Peoria Employer Assisted Housing Program

CJ's post got me wondering if many city of Peoria employees are aware that the city offers a downpayment assistance program to it's full-time employees (including fire and police). The basic guidelines of the grant require that the proposed home be located within the city of Peoria and the employee be either a first time homebuyer, or have not owned a home in the past 3 years. The grant amounts are $3,000 city wide, or $5,000 if the home is located in a "priority area" which is generally any home South of Lake Street. There are a few other guidelines that apply but it is really a pretty sweet deal.

If the employee accepts the grant and leaves city employment within 2 years, a pro-rata share of the grant must be paid back. After 2 years of employment, the entire grant is forgiven.

If you would like a complete set of guidelines and/or an application, just shoot me an e-mail to dianevespa@yahoo.com or call me at 645-8608. We will get you pre-approved and then the fun begins - finding the perfect home!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Entertainment News: Angelina Jolie seeks therapy

From the Latest Star Magazine I copped from the Eliptical Trainer next to me at Golds:
After months of stress and turmoil, a weary, frustrated Brad puts his foot down and forces Angie to get professional help.

Duh. She has 6 kids under the age of 6. Who wouldn't need therapy? Ten bucks says someone with no kids wrote this. The only difference between her and many other moms in similar circumstances is she can afford it. Nothing of interest here. Move along.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Zoo News: Anyone else see the humor in this?

From the Peoria Zoological Society "Zoo Tales" newsletter, Sept. 2008

First successful breeding of Giant Zambian Mole-rats at Peoria Zoo

Peoria Zoo welcomes its newest arrival, a Giant Zambian molerat, born June 2, 2008. This marks the Zoo's first surviving offspring of this species. Mole-rats are built for life underground. Their streamlined shape and short legs enable them to move easily in their narrow burrows. Their eyes are small and can probably only detect light and dark. Even though their ears are also small, they use squeak, grunts and growls to communicate. The most notable feature of the giant mole-rats is a pair of large incisors that lie outside the mouth. Giant mole-rats excavate their burrows by biting at the soil with their incisors. They can move their lower jaws independently of each other making them a very versatile set of tools. The loosened soil is pushed under their bodies with their forefeet and then collected and kicked behind them with their hind feet.

Umm, I would submit that there is a REASON no one else has tried to breed giant Zambian Mole Rats. Call me shallow, but does this make you want to run for your checkbook? Stay tuned for next months update on the Zoo's latest project "Cloning a household cockroach".

This is a joke - I have nothing against the zoo!

Peoria Historical Society presents: A Presidential Press Conference with Abraham Lincoln

UPDATED! Please visit the review of this event here.

From A Mailer from the Peoria Historical Society:

The Abraham Lincoln
Association and
Peoria Historical Society
invite you to a very special
Presidential Press
Conference with
Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, October 16, 2008
5:30 p.m.
Pettengill-Morron House Museum
1212 W. Moss Avenue

Free Admission

Join President Abraham Lincoln in a modern-day
press conference, as he responds to questions from the
local media and the audience, concerning important
events of his presidency. Featuring nationally known
Lincoln interpreter George Buss of Freeport, IL and
Robert Lenz of Bloomington, IL as Press Secretary.

Before the press conference visit the exhibit, Lincoln: His
Life, His letters, His legacy and join us at a reception following the press conference.

For more information call The Peoria Historical Society at
309-674-1921


Presented by The Peoria Historical Society and the Abraham Lincoln Association

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bringing civility back...

There is no doubt that the relative immaturity of the Internet makes it not too dissimilar to the wild West. And just as the wild West was eventually won, I predict that, given time, the Internet will morph into a far more civil and hospitable place as well, with the adoption of legislation such as this.

In the meantime, it is what it is, and suffice it to say, I regularly witness some pretty obtuse behavior on our local blogs and forums. Now, some may casually dismiss it with the attitude that if you can't stand the heat, blah blah blah. Unfortunately, wide acceptance of this attitude increases the likelihood that even the innocent bystander who has no interest in on-line networking will become a "victim" of vicious Internet chatter.

It seems that many commenter's, particularly some that do not use their real name, set a completely different standard for themselves when they *think* they are anonymous. Comments that would not even remotely be considered in a real-life situation seem to fly carelessly off the fingers of this boundary-challenged person.

Fortunately, hosts of forums, blogs, and interactive news sites are starting to realize that allowing this endless onslaught of vitriol damages their work product and stunts their stated objectives- which is often to affect positive change in their community. In addition, it curtails otherwise healthy debate and problem solving, and God knows, we could use some of that right now!

I had a somewhat unsettling conversation with a friend the other evening. He was talking about how much he hates the blogs. Somewhat taken aback, I asserted "They serve a purpose". He begged to differ. I left the conversation feeling a little embarrassed that I had a blog, but I completely understood his point.

To any of you who feel that this post may be directed at you, it probably is. Here is my advice:

1. When you feel the urge to comment, first write the comment the way you have become accustomed. Use all the swear words, insults, and name calling you can muster up. Then, start taking it apart sentence by sentence, and challenge yourself to make the same points as if you were standing in front of your 3rd grade English teacher. The effectiveness of your argument just increased exponentially in its second edition.

2. If writing a civil, thoughtful response is not possible, try to get at the root of what is really bothering you, and address it appropriately. Meds=good.

3. Don't think for a moment that you are guaranteed anonymity. Commenter's that exhibit perpetual bad behavior at the expense of others can and will be exposed. People talk, people sue, and many bloggers will spill the beans at the drop of a hat or after their second beer, whichever comes first.

4. Wonder just for a moment what your Mom or your boss would think if he/she were reading over your shoulder. Likewise, is this the example you care to set for your children?

5. Site owners, remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Act responsible and don't allow slander and/or harassment on your site. Be mindful that this is the community we love, raise our children and own our homes in. If someone blows you a bunch of crap for over-moderating, send them this link. If that doesn't load fast enough or is down again, then send them this link.

6. There are moments when, despite your best efforts, you "snap". This usually follows a series of comments directed at you from the commenter's that are the subject of this post. If this happens, enjoy the moment, then move on. Don't continue to slither around in the mud. The pigs enjoy it too much. Nobody is perfect, and your fellow bloggers will forgive and forget your indiscretion if it is an aberration and not a pattern of behavior.

I realize this may all be "pie in the sky" thinking, but hey, its a start. Somewhere I read or dreamt this final comment:

The true measure of a mans character is how they act when they think no one is looking.

Friday Oct 3 Journal Star Page A7

Give me a break. This is media bias at it's best.

A nearly full page color ad for Barack Obama under the disguise of a public service message urging people to read newspapers. I'm sure we'll see a similar John McCain ad one of these days - yeah right!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Things I learned at last night's bloggers bash - updated 2X!

Every bloggers bash seems to take on a unique personality of its own and last night's was no exception. Here are a few miscellaneous tidbits I picked up at the bash last night.

1. CJ feels that the US President should fly commercial airliners and not Air force 1.

2. Brad Carter is surprisingly capable of talking about things other than politics

3. I am not

4. Scabies are contagious

5. Billy talks just like he writes

6. PI does not like to talk about work outside of work

7. DeWayne Bartels is kinda shy in a cute sort of way.

8. If you tell Jamie Markley to be somewhere at 6:00 he will be there at 6:00 and that's it.

9. Eyebrows McGee works too much

10. It would be a good idea to bring ear plugs to future bashes.

11. Jen from Keep passing the Open Windows does not know the URL of her blog

12. If a guy watches his own kids it is not babysitting.

13. Reno is actually normal in person.

14. Some commenter's, to be accurate, should type in ALL CAPS.

15. Men share a common interest in sports, and SUPER HERO'S

16. Ramble-on occasionally walks on the [conservative] dark side.

17. Katie is going to have to change the name of her blog!

I hope I didn't tick anyone off. This was all in good fun. Feel free to add your own!

I had a great time, and it was an honor to be in the company of yins.