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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fun Friday

Stephanie over at Rocket Scientist just started a new blog Ask Me Anything. She has given me the honor of having my question answered first. It was a real doosey. Check it out: Ask Me Anything - For Lola: Swallowing Broken Glass. Be sure to come back and comment here.

Yes, I am fine, and no, I did not do it on purpose so as to be her first question. And no, I was not practicing up for a job with the circus when it comes to town.

Lola's Diner

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Being that St. Patrick's Day is coming up, and that some of us like to celebrate early, I thought I'd post this a little early.

Anastasia and I are both Irish. In theory, we should both be serious drinkers, however we are not. I'm not trying to perpetuate a negative stereotype, I'm just saying, within our own families I am stating a fact. In any case, in the years that I have known Anastasia I have never been drunk, and I had only seen Anastasia drunk once. I have always been the designated driver when we go to parties. I'm a firm believer in not drinking at all if you are getting behind the wheel.

One Friday night almost 2 years ago, Anastasia went out with a group of friends for a going away party. Around 11pm she phoned me quite drunk and apologetic and asked me to come get her. She told me that she was afraid to call, but didn't feel safe to drive. I told her I was glad that she was smart enough to call me she should never be afraid to call.

I got there and went to the bar to make sure that it was ok to leave Anastasia's car. Then I met up with her. Anastasia is a fun drunk. Thank goodness! I don't know why I wouldn't think she would be, she's so much fun sober! Never having seen her drunk before I didn't know what to expect. Before she got in my car I told her that I had 3 rules she had to promise to abide by. They are:
1. No yelling. (I've seen way too many drunks yell and be loud and I wasn't familiar with the area and wasn't going to tolerate yelling while I tried to navigate our way home.)
2. No crying. (There is nothing worse than a crying drunk.)
3. No pukin on the leather seats. (Ok, there is something worse than a crying drunk.) If you have to puke, even if you get the slightest feeling, tell me right away so I can pull over.
I thought Anastasia was going to wet herself from laughing. I was completely serious.

Anyway, we started heading towards home and Anastasia insisted I stop at a McDonald's drive thru because she hadn't eaten. Hmm, could that be why she was soooo drunk? She asks me to order her a quarter pounder and a Fruitopia drink. Uhh, no freakin way am I ordering you a Fruitopia. A drink that is red and sugary when you are drunk and have an empty stomach? Red stains. No freakin Fruitopia for you. You'll be having a Sprite.

It was a long ride home from Oak Brook. There was much laughter, no crying. The next day she had quite the hangover. We woke up the kids and everyone got dressed and we headed out to go get her car. We used it as a teaching lesson for the kids about drinking and driving. I told them if Anastasia or either one of you call me to come get you because you have been drinking I will come get you and I will not yell at you. It is about being SAFE. It's not about bothering me or taking me away from what I was doing. I have to say that I think the whole event made quite an impression on the kids. It's just too bad that Anastasia had to deal with that nasty hangover to teach them the lesson.

To this day anytime we see Fruitopia Anastasia and I laugh our arses off, remembering that night. No freakin' Fruitopia for you!

If you go out to celebrate on St. Patrick's Day or any other day designate a driver. If you've been drinking, don't drive. Phone a friend, family member or a cab. You might think your friend or family member will be angry with you, but if they are good people they will be glad you called. I'm not saying they won't be angry with you the next day, but at least you will have gotten home safe and everyone in your path will have as well.


Lola's Diner

Friday, March 13, 2009

Virtual Girls Night Out!

I stumbled across Ann Again... And Again's Virtual Night Out - St. Patrick's Day Edition when I was over at I Am Harriet. Since I am Irish and it's likely we won't be doing anything 'social' for St. Patrick's Day, I thought this would be fun.

Party Game! From Virtual Night Out - St. Patrick's Day Edition

The Shamrock 3

Name 3 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now:
1.) A date anywhere with Anastasia, without the kids. (We love them, but because of visitation issues they have been with us all the time since July 4th, save for 1 weekend when my son was at his Dad's. And prior to that we could never make plans because there were always problems with the visitation.) Anastasia and I figured out a few weeks ago when the last time was we had a date with no children. It was when we went to see "Wicked" in Chicago and ate dinner at Big Bowl after the show. That was February 2007!
2.) Ireland
3.) Vegas baby! Maybe Anastasia and I would get lucky and win a few bucks!

Name 3 Things You Will NEVER Drink Again:
1.) Spoiled Soy milk in coffee. In fact when I go to a coffee shop I can't bring myself to order it since the last time I ordered Soy milk in my coffee it was spoiled.
2.) Any of those weird Mountain Dew flavors. What's wrong with regular Mountain Dew? Why do they have to funk it up with those other colors and flavors?
3.) I can't really think of a third. But I know what number 1 on Anastasia's list would be. Chocolate Martini...with nachos. Beer with nachos Yes!, Chocolate Martini with nachos, let's just say it wasn't pretty. Oh I just thought of something else I won't drink. I don't know if they have it all over the United States, or just in the Chicagoland area, but there is this green soda that you can get at the grocery stores here called Green River. It's green and it's nasty! It tastes like a green safety pop. Blech!

3 People You Would Like To Pinch (for not wearing green of course!):
1.) My neighbor from across the street when I was a kid. She was Polish and always wore ALL orange and made sure she came out of the house so my Dad (who of course was wearing all green) could see her. She flaunted the orange. To this day no one I have mentioned this to gets the significance of orange on St. Patrick's Day. I don't either, but my Dad took it as an insult. So, this would be a mean pinch, not an 'I think you're hot pinch", just to be clear.
I think I'm good with just the 1.

I wonder what your Shamrock 3 will be?

Lola's Diner

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Compliment Guys Give Free Compliments

Purdue 'Compliment Guys' Can't Get Enough Of A Good Thing. Have you heard about the 2 guys giving out compliments "From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. every Wednesday, they stand outside the chemistry building in the shadow of the university's Bell Tower with their "Free Compliments" sign. They're there in the rain. In the snow. And this week when the windchill made it feel like 10 degrees."? They claim they are not part of a psychology experiment, and they're not trying to pick up girls.

Brett Wescott, one of the young men in the duo says that "Just overall, making people's day is really satisfying. ... Not enough people do nice things anymore."

Who could argue with that?

Considering the state of our economy, the overall on guard, depressed state that everyone seems to be in because they are wondering if they are next to lose their job, wouldn't it be great if this idea spread?

Lola's Diner

Get Off My Lawn/Busted Part 2

Remember my post Get Off My Lawn/Busted? This morning when I heard a lot of barking at about 8:55am. I looked out the window, saw the dog off leash on a neighbor's property and went to retrieve my camera. When I returned to the window at 9am an Animal Control van had already pulled up.

Seems like Anastasia and I are not the only ones fed up with this dog/dog owner. Within minutes another Animal Control van pulled up in the opposite direction. Both vans were nose to nose. At one point the dog owner came out, but never put the dog on leash. Apparently Animal Control van #1 was writing up citations.

The dog was running between and around the vans, jumping up on Animal Control van #2's driver door and just plain flaunting his/her off-leashness. At one point a mom in a mini-van tried to pass the 2 Animal Control vans blocking her lane and the dog started prancing around in front of her in the road. She had to stop several minutes and wait for him to move. At no point did Animal Control make the owner put the dog on leash and at no point did they remove the dog. WTF? The dog could have been run over had the mini-van driver not been paying attention. Maybe that's what they're hoping for? This neighbor has gotten citations at least 3 times (that I know of) in the last 10 days. One would think that would be expensive and would make one more diligent about keeping ones dog on a leash or tie-out.

At least it's good to know that we aren't the only ones calling, though I'm sure the owner probably did see me in one of my front windows trying to snap photos. I managed just one, but because the window screen makes the photos so blurry, there's wasn't much point to taking them. That orangey brown blob to the right of the front of the van is the dog.

After the 2 Animal Control vans left the guy put his dog on a tie-out by the tree and and in true drummer boy (aka Metallica-head) fashion, he started playing his drums, ear bleedingly loud. How do I know this? Because I was in my house, with all the doors and windows shut tight, and I had headphones on attached to the laptop watching a dvd. Yes! Headphones on, inside my house, with the doors and windows shut and I could still hear his dang drums from across the street. By the time I got my Flip camera he had stopped playing. Maybe next time, then I'll have an excuse to learn how to upload videos so you too can enjoy his drumming. LOL!

Lola's Diner

My Children Are Going To Starve On Their Own

Every now and then, I enlist my two teenagers to make a simple meal, or a side dish. Granted, my son has learning disabilities and my daughter is bipolar, but one would think that between the two of them they could figure out how to read a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and successfully make it without incident. How wrong could I be?

The directions are simple. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add macaroni, cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the noodles. Add 1/2 a stick of margarine, letting it melt with the hot noodles. Add 1/4 cup of milk. Add the powdered cheese packet and stir until the powder is completely mixed in.

Several months ago I enlisted my daughter to make it and she put the water in the pot, then added all the ingredients except the cheese packet. I happened to walk past the stove and see what was in the pot and catch her before she dumped in the cheese packet. I managed to strain the noodles out, start a new pot of water to boil and saved our side dish, but the margarine and milk were wasted.

Thursday night the two of them were trying to fix the mac & cheese. My son kept bringing the box to me and asking what to do next. (It's on the box, isn't it?) He measured out the water, made me double check it was the right amount. Put the pot of water on the stove and then I heard him dump in the macaroni. much for reading the directions. I told him to turn the stove off, strain the noodles, hold them in the strainer and start with a fresh pot of water and wait until it boils. Just for good measure I gently reminded him that the rest of the ingredients were for after the noodles were cooked and strained. It turned out just fine and he was quite proud of himself.

It makes me wonder though, when they are on their own what the heck are they going to eat if they can't follow the directions for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese? Ramen noodles get boring after awhile. I'm just sayin'...

Lola's Diner

Lady Java's Lounge Blog Makeover Giveaway

Lady Java over at Lady Java's Lounge is having a Blog Makeover Giveaway to help celebrate her 40th Birthday, which was March 9th and her 9th Anniversary which is March 25th. (So if we want to be technical, Lady Java has been married 8 years, and roughly 11 and a half months.)

I have been wanting to have a Blog Makeover for quite some time now. I've been doing some research at the public library on how to do it myself, but unfortunately I have not been able to find the right books to develop the mad skills to do a Blog Makeover myself. Since I am on a very limited income due to disability and my partner lost her job, something as self indulgent as a Blog Makeover (though totally and completely necessary for a blogger) it is just not in the budget. My teenage son, (read bottomless pit, thinks 4 sandwiches is an after school snack, eating machine teenage son) just wouldn't appreciate my spending part of the food budget on my blog. I want to clean up my sidebar by adding some tabs near the header for stuff like awards, recipes, etc., widen my blog post column, and really pimp out my blog in a totally Retro Diner style. I've been blogging for 4 months now and have managed to meet some awesome blogger friends. I have steadily increased my traffic beyond what I ever would have thought I could have accomplished in such a short time. I feel it is time to tjuz my blog a bit. Winning the Blog Makeover would freshen up my blog and my spirit.

If you want to enter Lady Java's Blog Makeover Giveaway here are her very simple rules:

1. Tell Lady Java her birthdate.
2. Tell Lady Java how many years she has been married.
3. Put that information in a blog entry also telling Lady Java why you think you want and deserve this blog makeover.
4. Link to the entry in your blog entry and leave Lady Java the url of that post in her Mr. Linky on her website.

So, Happy Belated Birthday Lady Java and everyone wish me luck! And best of luck to everyone who enters!

Lola's Diner

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This And That

My kitty Sophie was on kitty krack yesterday. She has a knack for finding my daughter’s pony tail bands, which is funny, because my daughter never wears them and couldn’t even tell you where they are. Anyway, Sophie finds them in her room, then brings them downstairs to the living room and does a kind of kitty Cirque du Soleil. Yesterday she entertained me through the entire Oprah show. After the kids came home from school Sophie decided to come out of her nap space behind the end table. Not too unusual, however, instead of going her normal route behind the leather sofa, she decided to jump over the table, nearly knocking the lamp over, didn’t quite make it and slid back down behind the end table. Too bad I didn’t have the video camera handy, it was a hoot.

So what do you think of Drew Peterson’s stepbrother in the news today? Peterson's Stepbrother finally Tells His Story. Anastasia and I were talking last night when they kind of teased the Sun Times headline on the news. We came up with a new theory. What if Drew had his stepbrother, Thomas Morphey kill Stacy and they came up with this blue barrel story as a cover and that allowed Morphey to go to the FBI and get immunity? Morphey was given immunity shortly after Stacy’s disappearance. In any case, it’s very sad to take advantage of someone with the problems that Morphey had. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Anyone have any thoughts on when charges will be filed? I’m guessing it’s going to be near the 2 year anniversary of Stacy’s disappearance.

Yesterday drummer boy (aka Metalica-head) was at it at 9am. Yup, 9am. Anastasia was furious because she went to bed rather late. We had all the windows and doors closed and we could still hear the drums as though they were be played in our living room. So far the dog has not been off leash. So far...

Can I say the rain here needs to stop and take a vacation somewhere else? I swear I am going to have a nervous breakdown if the rain doesn’t stop. Our sump pump is groaning. I don’t know how much longer it can take all this water. I awoke in the middle of the night to hear the rain coming down in torrents. I couldn’t get back to sleep because all I kept thinking about is all the laundry in the basement and our new freezer down there. No more rain, please.

When did Good Morning America get so loosey goosey? They’re all goofy and almost too familiar with each other. I find it annoying.

Lola's Diner

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chicken Curry With Cauliflower And Carrots

We rarely eat out anymore due to our finances. Our family enjoys a wide variety of cuisines. One of our favorites is Indian. This recipe uses very little chicken, in fact if you wanted, you could omit the chicken and still have a great dish. It serves 6-8 quite well, unless you have a teenage son. (He ate 2 heaping plates!) We still had plenty of leftovers for lunch.

Chicken Curry With Cauliflower And Carrots

Lola's Diner

Kentucky Anti-Gay Adoption Vote & Rally Tuesday

I received an email today from Family Equality Council about Senate Bill 68 in Kentucky.

"Kentucky's anti-gay adoption ban, Senate Bill 68, got pushed through committee late last week without so much as a single witness brought in to testify against it. The Kentucky bill will likely be voted on in the full Senate tomorrow.
Live in Kentucky?
Call the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 right now. Leave messages for your Senator (find yours here) and Senate Leadership (find them here) saying you oppose SB 68.

Contribute to the Fairness Campaign and Kentucky Fairness Alliance, the lead state organizations opposing SB 68. These two organizations are taking aggressive action to stop the bill, including a rally at the Capitol tomorrow.
Don't live in Kentucky?
First, contact everyone you know in Kentucky. Call and tell them to dial the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 following the instructions above.

Second, tell everyone else you know. You may not have a strong network in Kentucky, but your neighbor might. Tell them about the 7,027 children in foster care whose chances of finding a loving home will be reduced. Tell them about the 630 foster children who may be removed from their current placements because of SB 68. Tell them about the $5.3 million additional foster and adoption costs Kentucky will face should this bill pass.

Third, contribute to the Fairness Campaign and Kentucky Fairness Alliance. The struggle against anti-gay adoption bans does not begin and end in individual states."

There are just too many children in the foster care system that will miss the opportunity to have a loving family if legislation like this continues to pass. If you live in Kentucky or know someone who does, please get involved to stop SB 68.

Lola's Diner

A Caregiver's Caregiver

It's been difficult to figure out how to follow Saturday's post Today's Post Is Dedicated To My Mother, but I've had this idea for a post rattling around in my head since Anastasia started her part time job and since reading these really horrible headlines:

Former Itasca Nursing Home Worker Arrested.

Death of Man Found Duct-taped To Chair Ruled Homicide.

Anastasia has found a part-time job as a caregiver. One of the people she cares for is a 91 year old woman who is in a nursing home. The woman has dementia and is a frail little woman, but feisty. Her family, from what Anastasia has learned so far consist of 2 daughters. The daughters take turns, daily it seems, to be with their Mother at lunchtime and now Anastasia is with her at dinnertime and bedtime. Part of Anastasia’s job is to give some respite to these women who were also juggling the dinnertime and bedtime visits. Anastasia gives full reports to the sister whom she was hired by. After the first weekend on the job this woman just cried tears of joy at having found someone caring who could give her some breathing space. Taking care of a parent while trying to keep up with your own responsibilities is a challenge.

The nursing home appears to be a higher end facility and for all intents and purposes seems to be a nice facility. One would ask why would these daughters feel the need to be there at lunchtime, dinnertime and bedtime? These daughters want to insure that their Mother eats and has a pleasant bedtime experience. It is fairly common for the elderly, especially at such an advanced age, to not eat enough to maintain their health. This is especially true for those who are unable to feed themselves. They also want someone there to insure her safety at bedtime.

It’s really a sad commentary about our society when we need a caregiver to oversee the caregivers we hire for our elderly. This is just about what it amounts to. The nursing home is supposed to insure safety, insure the elderly are well nourished and insure that they have activities that they enjoy.

Anastasia helps this woman eat her evening meal because she no longer has the manual dexterity to handle feeding herself. She talks with her, reassures her when she has confused thoughts or has an episode where she reenacts past conversations. Anastasia also does activities with her and reads to her. Sometimes the woman remembers her, sometimes not. Sometimes the woman is so happy to see her she just grabs Anastasia's hand and kisses it over and over, almost as if to say I haven't had a visitor in ages and I really love to have you visit. Of course in reality her daughters are there every single day.

Anastasia has seen what bedtime is like for this elderly dementia patient and it can be quite disturbing. The staff members change her diaper, remove her clothing and put on her pajamas while only explaining what they are doing once. The first night a staff member remarked, “this is when she gets out of control”. That’s the time that this frail little woman fights back by hitting, kicking, punching and screaming. Anastasia was horrified. She went to school for psychology and she could not understand why the staff members were not calmly and repeatedly stating what they were doing. Something like “ok Jane, we’re going to get ready for bed now, we’re going to get ready and take off your blouse, now we're going to take off your pants, etc. Jane we’re going to get ready for bed now, we’re just going to get into our pajamas, etc.” Imagine how much more calm the bedtime ritual would be to calmly and peacefully explain what you were doing, repeatedly, while you did it? Anastasia said, for all this poor dementia patient knew she was going to be raped. Think about it, they are taking off her clothing, removing her diaper. If you didn't have all your faculties, what would you think? How much more effort could it take for the staff at this nursing home to just speak in a kind voice and explain over and over as they got their patients ready for bed? How much more pleasant could that make it for both the staff member and the patient?

Lola's Diner

Thank You Everyone!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my Saturday post Today's Post Is Dedicated To My Mother.

To all of you who have lost a parent, you have my deepest sympathy. To those of you who are fortunate enough that your parents are still living, hug them and love them and enjoy your time together. To those of you who are caregivers to your ailing parents I admire you so much. It can be a very difficult, but rewarding time.

Lola's Diner
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