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Friday, June 26, 2009

Chicago Gay Pride Weekend 06/26 - 06/28

Chicago's 7th Annual Gay Pride Fest is Friday, June 26th, 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM and Saturday, June 27th, 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM. If you're not familiar with the Fest, it's at Waveland & Halsted Streets and is just a big excuse to party and buy rainbow chotchkies, watch Drag Shows and listen to some great music. And let's not forget, the most awesome people watching!
Chicago's 40th Annual Gay Pride Parade is Sunday, June 28th 12noon - 6pm. Alexandra Billings, actor, teacher and activist is the Grand Marshal this year.

If you've never been to Chicago's Gay Pride Parade...GO! It's a must see and everyone is welcome. Yes there are lots of gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transgendered, Drag Queens, Drag Kings, but there are also gay couples with their children and straight couples with their children. It's not the nekkid wild party of old. (Although in parts, it can be. More on that later with my most recent Pride story.)

My first Pride story comes from 1988 when I first moved to Chicago. I wasn't out to myself then (not a clue), but I just happened to move in one of the gayest neighborhoods in Chicago. I had just moved in 2 weeks before, and knew nothing about the parade. I was driving home from Targhay and I could not get near my neighborhood. I drove for at least 2 hours looking for street parking, gave up and drove into a Lake Shore Drive high rise's parking lot. The lot attendant asked me if I was "one of those", meaning, was I gay? I was practically in tears at this point, showed him my driver's license proving I lived around the corner and begged him to let me park there.

My second Pride story comes from the June after I came out. I went to Girl Bar on Halsted (sadly, it's no longer there) the Friday before Pride. I was fairly newly out, hadn't really dated and I'm sure my newbie'ness showed. A blonde with spikey hair kept looking my way and finally hollered across the bar to introduce herself and her girlfriend. When a seat closer opened up, they motioned for me to take it. They were both from out of state, different states. They met up each year for the weekend at Chicago's Gay Pride weekend. I'm not really good at judging this, but it seemed like blondie was flirting with me. She came over and gave me a back massage and a neck rub. Later blondie invited me to join them at their hotel. Yes she did! I was wondering if this was some kind of initiation or something. I swear she only asked to see me pee myself, from sheer nervousness at even being asked. I responded with 'no, but thank you for asking', downed my drink and quickly walked out of the bar and hailed a cab. Yes, I did too say 'but thank you for asking'. I'm all polite like that. Lol!

Third Pride was on my motorcycle. A friend and I each rode our bikes to the parade and then walked to Halsted & Belmont to watch the parade. If you have a motorcycle, this is THE way to go because it's so much easier finding a parking spot for a bike.

Last Pride was with Anastasia, before we moved to the burbs. We walked to the parade route and went into a bar on the corner for a cold one and ended up staying for the whole parade because we could sit in air conditioning, have an adult beverage AND see everything from their windows. We got to see the parade, and 2 private shows. Yes! Two! There was a drunk guy in a wrestling outfit (showing off his shortcomings) and taking photos with everyone. The other show was just outside the window. Someone turned a trash can upside down by the traffic light pole and a woman climbed on top of it and started dancing...topless dancing. After all the shows ended, we walked down Belmont to Mi Tierra, and had lunch and a pitcher of margaritas.

Wish we could go this year, but we have previous plans. If you go, keep an eye out for blondes with spikey hair and dudes in wrestling outfits.

Lola's Diner

Huge dose of mortality for teens of the 70's

If you're like me, and you were also a teenager in the 1970's you got a huge does of mortality on Thursday.

I'll be 48 years old in July. About a month ago when I found out my Uncle had quadruple bypass surgery and my bff from grade school's mother passed away I started to feel it. When I discovered her passing, I looked up some other names from the old neighborhood in my hometown's obituaries and found 3 other deaths. It made me shiver just finding out. This is what it feels like to get old. This is what happens. I am checking the obituaries. I have become my parents.

In 2009: Bob May, Clint Ritchie, Ricardo Montalban, Ron Silver, Bea Arthur, David Carradine, Ed McMahon, John Calloway, Farrah Fawcett and now Michael Jackson. With the exception of Fawcett and Jackson my first thoughts on seeing recent photos of the rest were "they look so old". My parents said that all the time. I have become my parents.

Unfortunately, Farrah Fawcett's passing was inevitable. It doesn't mean the loss is felt any less, it's just that we all saw it coming. And I'm sure many of you, myself included, said now she can be at peace, she isn't in pain anymore.

I was shocked at Michael Jackson's death. In fact when my sister told my daughter and she relayed it to me I told her she was mistaken. Our son chimed in with "Mom, isn't he YOUR age?" Oh Christ on a cracker, now you have to put THAT in your sister's fragile head? What could I say? I said I thought he was a couple of years younger. Way to go Lola! Then I tried to recover saying 'maybe he had some illness or had drug problems like many celebrities do. In any event, I'm sure an autopsy will be done and it will be announced what he died of.' That's what I said, I hope it was enough to stop the wheels from turning.

We watched the Dateline special. One hour on Michael Jackson, one hour on Farrah Fawcett. Both my teens were glued to the tube for the Michael Jackson portion. I watched it and the memories just flooded back. The hair, the clothes, the shoes, the variety shows. I grew up with The Jackson 5 posters on my walls in my room. I watched The Jackson 5ive Tv Series 1971-1973 (Saturday morning animated cartoon), and all the television specials in the 70's and 80's. I remember watching the "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" music videos on MTV.
From 1972 Jackson 5 Television Special:

Put a quarter in Lola's Jukebox for another Michael Jackson memory from the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.

I'm feeling all melancholy now. Gosh I hope Anastasia's Mom doesn't call me looking for her Friday. Anastasia is going to the Cubs/Sox game with a cousin. (Only 2 tickets. Drat!) Whenever Anastasia goes out without me her Mom calls me wanting to know why she's not answering her phone. (Umm, hello? I'm not with her. And in this case it's because she's at the game!) Me being the polite quasi-daughter-in-law answers and tries to be helpful. If she needs something, I'll run to the store and run it over to her. I'm the "good" not quite daughter-in-law that way. Anyway, never ask Anastasia's Mom how she is, because she's 70 something years old and she'll tell you "I'm dying". Then she'll tell you all her maladies. I don't need that on Friday.

And if you can spare it, I need something to make me feel not so damn old!

Bonus points if you knew who Bob May or Clint Ritchie were without googling them.

Lola's Diner

Thursday, June 25, 2009

If I Could Blog Back Time Thursdays - First Pet

Come join me for a very special edition of If I Could Blog Back Time Thursdays! We'll be taking time out to share some memories. We'll Blog Back Time with possible ways to right past wrongs or about how times have changed. We'll share childhood memories, school/work memories, family and friend memories.
Today's topic is: First pet
This week's topic comes courtesy of Stephanie B @ Ask Me Anything where she answers questions people pose to her. If you've got a question, click on I Need Questions to submit yours. Since I'm using the question she submitted, I am awarding her 50 Entrecard Credits. Want to join in the fun? Click my post I Totally Suck Eggs to submit a comment with your idea. If I use it, I will award you 50 Entrecard Credits.

Growing up we didn't have pets. I got my first pet right after I moved into my 2nd apartment in Chicago. June 1989, I went to Let's Pet in Chicago. I looked at a litter of what looked like Cocker Spaniels. They were Terrier and Spaniel mix. Four of them were golden, one was black and white. When the clerk went to open the cage, the black and white one stayed at the back of the cage, while the others clammored to meet me. The shy act won me over. I had to have the black and white one. I named him Max.

After Max was trained I let him have the run of the kitchen and living room. One day I came home to find a blizzard of foam bits in the living room. When I checked the sofa cushions I found that the zipper was unzipped, there were no rips. I threw away the bits, re-zipped the cushions and put them back. Next day, came home from work, another blizzard. Checked the cushions again, no rips, they were unzipped. Very skillful puppy! On the weekend I went to Jo Ann Fabrics and purchased new foam and installed it inside the cushion covers. For extra precaution, I sewed the zipper pulls to the end of the cushions after I zipped them up. After that, I never came home to a blizzard. Lol!

Max was a great dog and a great protector. When the kids were babies he would sleep under their cribs. If I came in to check on the baby and startled Max, he would growl at me, then realize it was me and go back to his nap. But that growl was mean!

Max was a special buddy of our son. Our son loved to give Max kisses. Yes, open mouth kisses. EWW! It was so gross and every time we scolded the both of them our son giggled like mad and went in for more kisses. Yes, I have photos, so when he starts dating I'll be sure to let his date know where his mouth has been. Lol! Our son also liked to "try" to ride Max like a pony. Thankfully Max had a playful spirit and wasn't mean when he'd had enough 'horse play'. He just ran off to another room.

Max wasn't the kind of dog you'd have for security. He would jump up and offer kisses to anyone. He was a cuddler and a great dog. We all miss him.

Please post your "First Pet Memory" on your blog. Then come back to Lola's Diner and leave the actual post link here. Please grab the html code for If I Could Blog Back Time Thursdays! Badge HERE.

Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!



Lola's Diner

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

yup I did it!

What about you?

Lola's Diner

Monday, June 22, 2009

tag, I'm it!

Susan @ Secrets Of A Suburban Soccer Mom has tagged me.

Here's how it works. Go to your first photo file and choose the 10th photo. Then post it!

Here's mine:
This photo is my daughter from our Mother's Day golf outing. It was her first chance to try out the new clubs she got for Christmas.

Now to tag five more lucky players, in no particular order:
1. John @ Gay Dads In Munchkin Land.
2. Auntie E @ At Home With Auntie E.
3. Patricia @ Subjective Soup.
4. Lin @ Duck And Wheel With String.
5. Kelley @ Kelley's Casa DeChaos.

Lola's Diner

Sunday, June 21, 2009

lolapalooza Saturday

Saturday started off as usual, a late start, so we split up to get more done. I hightailed it to the local Farmer's Market less than a 1/2 hour before closing. Due to the late time, parking was excellent. We purchased cucumbers, 1 red bell pepper, 2 green bell peppers and tomatoes. We also visited the Salsa guys and got another jar of their Key Lime & Garlic Salsa. Just as we were about to visit the tent with all the wonderful canned goodies, baked breads and focaccia, Anastasia called saying she had a flat and she was still in our driveway.

I hightailed it home and filled the tire using the air compressor in my car. We went to ~~~~~~ Tire because, well, it was close and because it had "tire" in it's name. We ran errands, then came back to find out the tire was not fixable. Ok, fine, how much for a new tire? We don't have your size tire in stock. Really, "tire" is in your business's name and you don't have the most popular size tire in the planet in stock? They refer us to NTB, but Anastasia wants to go to Discount Tire, so I ask to borrow the phone book from ~~~~~~ Tire. I copy some phone numbers and we start making calls in my car. The number for Discount Tire is disconnected.

We decide to go to NTB. The guy gives us a quote, not his cheapest tire, the next cheapest. 4 tires, installed, balanced, out the door with tax and about 4 b*llsh*t fees, $659. WTH? She drives a Monte Carlo, not a monster truck! Anastasia begins hyperventilating at the price. The NTB guy, ever the salesman, begins giving her the no money down credit pitch. LMAO! Dude, no job, no credit. More laughter. Then the salesman begins his pitch on me. Dude, no job dude. We were laughing so hard as we walked out the door that we forgot that we left the kids in the waiting area. I had to go back and get them. No, I'm not even kidding!

Next we are off to some sketchy tire place in J-town that sells used tires. They only have 3. Anastasia needed 4. They looked bad anyway, but the more Anastasia and I waffle about them, the lower the price becomes. We decide to see if Discount Tire is still in business and drive there.

It's in business! We talk to the salesman, and tell him our experience at NTB, complete with the price quote and the Dude, no job dude. The 3 of us are laughing our asses off. When the guy gives us the quote he quotes the same price as NTB, then he starts laughing more, just kidding he says! This dude's a comedian. Then he quotes the real price, which is reasonable, so we tell him to get started.

We spent the entire day trying to get the tire issue resolved. Anastasia and I traded bodies again, like that movie with Jaime Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan (Freaky Friday (2003).) (Hint - Anastasia is normally the happy go lucky, silver lining person, and I'm the grumpy, why does everything bad happen to me person.) But we switched, so I'm seeing the bright side and she's mad as all get out. We actually even recreated that moment when the 2 discover they've swapped. The "Ahhhhhh". Yes we did! Cause we're weird like that. Because if we're not going to have grocery money for this week, dammit, we're going to have a good laugh and have a good time anyway! Cause that's how we roll.

Anastasia got no errands run and we were all exhausted by the time we got home. Anastasia had to call her client to cancel work for that night because we were at the tire place late. Anastasia started to make dinner and sent me to the store for a milk and bread. I splurged and got this:
And I was bartender all night. Yes I was!

Oh, and yes, I'm fully aware that I misspelled Lollapalooza as Lolapalooza. It's a play on words. Lola, Lolapalooza, get it? Got it? Good! Next time I do a Lolapalooza post, I hope it's about something more fun. And if it isn't more fun, at least let it be less expensive!

Lola's Diner

Today's Post Is Dedicated To My Father

This post is dedicated to my father. He would have been 78 this Halloween. He passed away 19 years ago. I had a very different relationship with my Father, than with my mother. (Lola's Diner - Today's Post Is Dedicated To My Mother).

I have my Father to thank for my handy, DIY skills. Whenever my Dad had a project, either in the house, or in the garage, I was his assistant. I resented that I was always his assistant, but my sister couldn’t remember the names of the tools (perhaps on purpose?) whereas, I always remembered. In the winter I froze my butt off handing him tools, bringing him beverages and basically standing around and listening to him swear. Lol! At least that was the case when he was working on the car. He insisted on doing his own oil changes. For all the aggravation he went through I always wondered if he wouldn’t be better off paying the gas station $9.95 (or whatever it was at that time). When my Dad got into a project that was over his head, he would send me across the street to get our neighbor. It was usually under the guise of borrowing a tool. Both my Dad and I knew if he sent me, the neighbor would bring it over himself and see if he needed any help.

When times were tough he always found a way to get things done, whether he did it himself or enlisted the assistance of a neighbor. I never recall him hiring a plumber. At the time I did not at all appreciate that time I spent with him in our garage. Of course now I appreciate it, having learned about tools and the time we spent together. When I got my learner's permit he had me rotate the tires on his car so I would know how to change a tire. At the time I really grumbled about it, but that lesson proved invaluable. I can't tell you how many tires I've changed flats.

I built on what my Dad taught me about tools. I think he would be incredibly impressed at my tool collection and the set of DIY mad skills I’ve learned. I still have his Circular Saw and use it often for projects. I laid ceramic tile in both bathrooms of my previous home, installed new toilets, sinks and vanities and replaced the kitchen cabinets.I've even replaced the gutters on my old garage and repaired the soffit and fascia.

When my Mother passed away my Father clearly changed. For the longest time he was just lost. He still went every Friday night to his favorite haunt and would go out to lunch at a local restaurant frequently. My Dad didn’t cook much, so since I was living at home, I started doing the cooking. During the summer he would occasionally grill out. That usually meant his famous “steak and nothing” meal. If the name isn’t obvious enough, it’s a meal of a big ass steak, and nothing else. No starch, no salad, no sides. Just steak in all of it’s glory! When my sister and I would come home from work (we worked at the same office) and smell the grill as we parked our cars, we’d look at each other and snicker “steak and nothing?” We would always be right.

There are times when I look at my kids and think, how much my Dad would have enjoyed this or that with them. Whenever I have projects to do around the house I do just as he did. I have one of my kids be my assistant. I'm hoping he's looking down and watching over his 2 beautiful grandchildren and proud of all the things he taught his daughter.

Happy Father's Day.

Lola's Diner
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