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!