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Friday, July 3, 2009

TGIF VGNO! - And...Go Vote For Me!


Time For A Question

Since this is a holiday weekend I would like to know how you are going to celebrate Independence Day?

I have no idea what we are doing. I bought a pork loin that I'm going to marinade, then put on some Famous Dave's Rub and put on the grill with some hickory chips. But first I must go get a propane refill because when I marinaded a chuck roast earlier this week the tank went empty on me after I browned it off and set the grill to cook it on indirect heat. Drat. I had to finish it in the oven. It was good, but would have been so much better on the grill. So first thing on my list is getting that refill.

Anastasia want to go to our community's fireworks, so weather permitting we'll be out with the masses.

So, what are your 4th of July plans?

Oh, after you tell me your plans, be sure to stop over and vote for me in Lin's Duck and Wheel With String First Official Dork-Off Contest. All you need to do is click on the link, Duck and Wheel With String and post a comment that you are voting for me, Lola. Here is my no doubt award winning photo:

Thank you!

Lola's Diner

weekly blog hop - intro

***At Lola's Diner we'll be sharing recipes and conversation across the virtual lunch counter. Topics will be varied and can include current events, politics, parenting, and GLBT topics.***

MckLinky Blog Hop

Lola's Diner

art is everywhere - think outside the canvas

Yes, these are ordinary styro-foam coffee cups. I found these on Flickr.

Aren't they fun pieces of art?

Most of the 161 pieces of art shown on Boey's Flickr page are for sale. (Some have already been sold.) Prices range from $120-$300 and include a display case. The display case measures approximately 4"x4"x 5".

This is what the art looks like in the display case. From the artist's notes on Boy Obsolete's Flickr Page, "They come in a case, with a hand cut name tag and cork base. Oh yes, because I am still very 1985."

More from the artist, Boy Obsolete:
"Drawing on cups is a challenge. Unlike a flat canvas, you have to consider compositions from all around. Which is what I spend most of my time doing off the top of my head.

I don't do initial drafts on the cup. I do that on paper, but even that is rare, most of the time it's a straight shot. Part of the fun is not messing up...and that can happen anytime...sometimes, 95% into the work.

How do I mess up? It's styro-foam, it charges up easy. Lint can stick to it, so can tiny hairs. When it gets caught on my sharpie, and I am not aware of it, a fine point can suddenly become a broad stroke.

If I mess up, I drink out of it."
You can't say that about paper, or canvas, can you?

I really think this is an awesome change of pace for art. Don't you?

To view all of the styro-foam art click Boy Obsolete's Flickr Page.

Lola's Diner

Thursday, July 2, 2009

google reader/friend connect isn't working

To those of you who managed to find me today, YAY!

Google Reader/Friend Connect is not working. Mine says I'm not following anyone. Ack! Where are my blogger pallies? I hope they resolve this soon. Here is what it says on the Blogger Help Known Issues Page:
Friend Connect is experiencing degraded performance this morning which is affecting many Blogger blogs. This results in several known issues:
  • Your Blogger dashboard will report you are not following any blogs.
  • Recently created blogs will see an error in their Followers gadget which indicates "Community not found".
  • Managing followers from your Blogger dashboard is currently not working.
  • Adding social gadgets to your site will generate an error when the gadget attempts to display a preview, and you will not be able to complete adding the gadget.
  • Following a site by entering the URL into your Blogger dashboard will not work.
The Friend Connect team is aware of the issues and is working on fixes. Your followed blogs will return to your dashboard when Friend Connect operation resumes. We apologize for the disruption.
You can also go to that page to report an outtage.

Lola's Diner

If I Could Blog Back Time Thursdays - Fourth of July Memories

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: Fourth of July Memories
As a kid we always attended the Oak Creek 4th of July celebration. From grade school thru high school I even marched in the parade. I marched with my grade school. Students that were in band played instruments, the rest of us basically just followed the band members. Yes, we were that lame. But we had to do it to get to have first dibs on the ice cream cups and bottles soda. You really wanted first dibs because you didn't want to get stuck with the Red Cream Soda that was left at the end. My Dad and our neighbor Tim dispensed the ice cream and soda so we didn't have to worry about quantity, but we did want to avoid that dreaded Red Cream Soda.

I'm not a big fan of parades, but when my kids were little we packed up the car and drove back to my hometown so they could have my 4th of July experience. We lived in Chicago at the time and I wasn't a fan of Grant Park so we definitely weren't doing that. Instead of walking in the parade I was a spectator. (Did I say I wasn't a fan of parades?) It was really great to watch my kids enjoy the parade. Our son especially enjoyed the antique fire trucks and the antique cars the city officials rode in. We still got to partake in the ice cream cups and soda afterward, but had to deal with the long lines after the parade participants.

After several years I got tired of the driving and the expense of hauling all the way to my hometown, so several years we went to the Skokie 4th of July Parade. (Got to love those Shriners mini's!) Then when I worked in Glencoe we went to the their parade.
Now we kind of avoid the whole parade thing, but we do go in for the fireworks displays because Anastasia loves them. The first year we moved to the burbs we parked in a lot near the display and watched from inside our car. I even opened the sun roof of my SUV so we could watch them overhead. It was very crowded and we failed to bring lawn chairs, but we ended up having the best seats. Last year we sat in our backyard and watched our neighbors' displays. They were actually quite impressive.

This year is still up for grabs. So what are you doing for July 4th?

Please post your "Fourth of July Memories" 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, July 1, 2009

this just in...Michael Jackson...

Yup, still D E A D.

How low of a journalist (and I use that term loosely) do you have to be to look into whether a deceased person's children are really their biological children? Seriously. The man was childlike, he loved children, he wanted a family in whatever configuration he chose to have. (Don't many of us have non-traditional families?) What business is it of the general public who the father or mother of his children were? He was legally their father, regardless of paternity.

Back to what the media isn't concentrating on, the allegations that Michael Jackson was a pedophile. How quickly they forget don't they? No mention at all of the Jesus Juice in any reports I've seen. And frankly, I've seen too many. I'm about ready to put a moratorium on MJ media coverage in my house. One interesting thing I did see in my traipsing through the blogosphere today was a number of blogs addressing the alleged molestations, calling out to those alleged victims saying "WE BELIEVE YOU". Interesting.

Isn't it interesting also that this nurse/nutritional counselor/friend has come forward to say that June 21, she was contacted by a member of Jackson's staff. "He called and was very frantic and said, 'Michael needs to see you right away.' I said, 'What's wrong?' And I could hear Michael in the background. . . . 'One side of my body is hot, it's hot, and one side of my body is cold. It's very cold,' " Ms. Lee said. "At that point, I knew that somebody had given him something that hit the central nervous system," she said. Hmmm, Ms. Lee, if that conversation actually happened and you felt that he should go to the hospital, why did you do nothing and contact no one else? Were it true, why didn't you contact a member of MJ's family?

Why is the media still feeding on this? They barely covered Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett's funerals. They barely mentioned Fred Travalena's death on June 28th. He was a celebrity impressionist genius.

Karl Malden died today. How much have you heard about that? He had the longest marriage in Hollywood history, but I bet you won't hear about that. Because that's something positive. The media is only out for the negative. He was also a member of the United States Postal Service's 16-member Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, which meets to review recommendations for U.S. commemorative postage stamps. But that won't sell thousands of copies of US Weekly and People magazine. It's too bad celebrities need to do something scandalous to be recognized in death.

How about waiting for the autopsy results? How about stop reporting on your speculation? How about leaving his children alone and stop trying to dredge up their parentage?

Oh, and in MJ's Will Diana Ross was named as an alternate if his mother predeceased him or was unable to care for his children. Doesn't that mean that the kids would be back with Michael? I mean, since all the plastic surgery Michael has had, have you ever seen the 2 in the same room? Oh wait, is that LaToya. Or Janet. Or any of the 3? Hmmm...

Lola's Diner

it's that time of the year...

Summer means picnics and bbq's and that means potato salads.

One of the things that frustrates me endlessly since I moved to Illinois is the fact that you cannot get German Potato Salad at any grocery deli.
A nice cold, tangy German Potato Salad with just the right amount of real bacon. Mmmm. I remember every Sunday after church we'd go to Sentry Foods and get hot ham, rolls and German Potato Salad. When we had family parties we could order it in huge gallon pails. In Wisconsin, German Potato Salad is a staple.

Even when I lived in Chicago, I could not find it in a grocery store deli department. Yes, can get "Grandma's German Potato Salad" in a teeny tiny package. Maybe 4 ounces for $4.99. Meanwhile every other kind of potato salad comes in practically a gallon size drum for that price. So, were I wanting to purchase the German Potato Salad I would need to purchase maybe 60 for a party? I'm not even going to do the math. What is up with that?

Noooo, I don't want to make my own German Potato Salad. I tried that once. I couldn't get the vinegar right. I want to buy it.

I don't want American Potato Salad, Mustard Potato Salad, Dill Potato Salad, Amish Potato Salad or Macaroni Salad. Ok, the Deviled Egg Potato Salad isn't bad, and I do enjoy Dill Potato Salad, but it's not German Potato Salad! What the hell makes a potato salad Amish anyway? To me it just tastes like Mustard Potato Salad.

Why can't I get a pound, or a family size tub of German Potato Salad around here?

Are they rationing it here in Illinois?

Can someone hook me up?

If my sister comes for the 4th of July I may ask her to smuggle some across the border. I wonder what the penalty is for getting caught smuggling deli salads across state lines?

Lola's Diner

June top commenter winners!

Wow! Super close this month, but Lin won again, by 1. Congrats Lin, you get to go EC Ad shopping on me again! 2nd Place was a tie so being the super nice blogger that I am, I awarded 500 EC to both 2nd Place winners.

Here are the results:

1st Place - Lin @ Duck and Wheel With String 750 Entrecard Credits.
2nd Place - Harriet @ I Am Harriet 500 Entrecard Credits.
2nd Place - Auntie E @ At Home With Auntie E 500 Entrecard Credits.
3rd Place - Stacie @ Super Mommy To The Rescue 250 Entrecard Credits.

Congratulations to the winners! Entrecard Credits will be in your accounts shortly.

Don't forget, I will be awarding my Top Commenters in July!

Let the comments begin!

Lola's Diner

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

follow up - IL budget crisis

Many of my readers may recall my recent post IL Budget Crisis 50% Doomsday Budget. I actually got an email from my representative, before I had a chance to contact her. Here is the email:
Dear Friend,

The Governor’s doomsday budget talk has created real panic in the lives of people in our communities and throughout the state.

Recently, I met with parents who are terrified that their autistic son will not receive the services he needs. I have spoken to an elderly mother who does not know what she will do if her adult child can no longer live at the independent living center which serves persons with developmental disabilities. There are endless stories throughout this state of families whose lives will be utterly devastated if the Governor honors his threat to cut funding to social service providers by 50%.

And these families have all been told that their ONLY SAVING GRACE is for the General Assembly to pass a 50% increase on the state’s income tax….or it’s doomsday for those agencies who serve the state’s most vulnerable residents.

But Republicans and Democrats agree that increasing the income tax during a collapsing economy is not the ONLY answer.

This week in Springfield, the General Assembly will consider a proposal to issue pension notes as a way to generate approximately $2.2 billion. This is an option I will consider, but there would have to be accountability to guarantee that the money would be used to honor existing contracts with community care providers, leverage more fed funds and social service agencies.

There are other proposals that would help the state reduce its debt without raising taxes on families.

We can start cost-cutting by reforming our Medicaid System. In the past six years Medicaid costs alone have increased 7.8% per year (47%) while the population of Illinois remained stagnant. During that same six year period, Medicaid has skyrocketed from representing about 30% of our $50 billion-plus budget to more than 40%. 2.5 million Illinoisans currently receive Medicaid, nearly 1/6th of the total population; some qualifying at 400% of the poverty level. Yes, that means a family making more than $80,000 per year could qualify. You, the taxpayers, pay $27 million a day for Medicaid.

Some other proposals include:
* A 4% to 5% across the board cut of all state spending, starting with our salaries.
* Open negotiations with AFSCME (state employee union). One union official reportedly told a human service provider recently that they may forego their scheduled 4% pay increase if asked-ok, we’re asking.
* Immediately institute a two-tiered state pension system. New hires must come in under a less expensive system.
* Request furlough days
* Freeze new programs
* Freeze hiring
* Freeze travel
* Work at consolidating our current 870 school districts in Illinois. As a former school board member, I recognize this won’t be easy, but it at least merits discussion.
Good ideas? Don’t they at least merit discussion?

I will continue to keep you updated on the state’s budget issues, as well as any progress that is made in Springfield this week.

For those of you who have Illinois American Water.. As many of you know, Illinois American Water filed for a rate increase (docket number 09-251) in April to pay for infrastructure improvements. The second rate increase, which would increase your rates by 30%, was filed in May and will receive a docket number during the Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) session on July 8. The ICC will have 11 months to review the case.

I urge you to participate in the rate case proceedings, by calling the ICC’s toll-free number at 800-524-0795. Public comments can also be made online at under the docket number and the non-docketed Illinois American Water cases. Customers should comment on both cases.

I will also personally be contacting the ICC to request a public forum in my district regarding the proposed rate increase. The ICC should hear from the people whose bank accounts will take a hit. I will urge Illinois American Water to decrease costs in these hard economic times, not raise rates. We have all had to tighten our belts, and Illinois American Water should too.

As always, do not hesitate to contact my office at (708) 479-4200 with any questions or concerns.

Renée Kosel
State Representative- 81st District
I responded back with my personal story and my concerns about the 50% Doomsday Budget.

Here is Representative Kosel's response:
Dear Lola,

I did not vote for that 50% budget nor did any Republican in the house or senate. Then the governor sent letters like that out before it was even pass to his desk. How much do you think it cost for him send that letter to everyone? Was that a good use of state dollars in hard times? How many Dr appointments would he have been able to pay for with the dollars he spent on that mailing? I am so sick of people down here playing with people lives and then changing things during the 11 hour. When will the majority party start to be about the people not the power or the party? I appreciate your thoughtful response Thank you


I sent a quick email back clarifying that the letter I received was not mailed, but offered to me when I went for services. Isn't it cool we're on a first name basis?

Lola's Diner

My Eighth Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge

Wow, just getting this in under the wire for the month of June!

Some of you may recall my previous posts on the 10 Month - 10 Lives Challenge.
Join The Impact says “Join us in a challenge over the next 10 months that will make an IMPACT. 10 months - 10 lives changed. Everyone in this movement must help keep the conversation going.
"We are asking each and every one of you to engage in 10 conversations with someone who does not understand our struggle and help them to see our point of view. We are not asking that you try to infringe on or disrespect their beliefs. Change can not occur with insult, it will only occur with respect. If all of us work hard to positively affect 10 lives, we can change this entire nation!"
If you missed my original posts, be sure to click on each to view them:
My 5th Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge.
My 6th Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge.
My 7th Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge.
It's time for my Eighth Conversation of the 10 Month - 10 Lives Challenge. One of the things that married couples take for granted is that your spouse can inform medical professionals about your health history, allergic reactions to medications and make informed medical decisions for you when you are incapable of making them for yourself.

As glbt couples who cannot marry, many of us go to attorneys and have legal documents drawn up to approximate some of the civil rights we are denied by not being allowed to marry or have a marriage equivalent.

Hospital Discriminated Against Lesbians - The Advocate. In Fresno, CA Community Regional Medical Center denied Rowe access to Orbin "despite having paperwork naming her as Orbin's health care agent." Orbin was given a drug that she as an allergic/bad reaction to because Rowe was unable to convey this information to medical staff. It makes me shudder to think what would have happened were the drug that was administered caused a fatal reaction.

"According to a joint press release from the ACLU and NCLR, Teresa Rowe and Kristin Orbin were participating in the "Meet in the Middle" rally for marriage equality in Fresno on May 29 when Orbin, who has epilepsy, collapsed in a seizure. Rowe accompanied Orbin to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where Rowe was refused entry into the emergency room and repeatedly denied access to Orbin and the medical staff, despite having paperwork naming her as Orbin’s health care agent. Because of the separation, Orbin was given the drug Ativan, which Rowe tried to tell doctors causes her unnecessary pain.

Legal documents, paperwork naming a person another's health care agent, medical power of attorney aren't worth the paper they are written on if hospital staff choose to ignore them.

Married couples aren't required to submit any legal documentation, other than perhaps to show identification.

Thank goodness Ms. Orbin's reaction to the drug was not fatal.

Lola's Diner

Monday, June 29, 2009

weekend words - fried, crispy...

That would be Anastasia I'm talking about. Friday Anastasia saw the Cubs beat the Sox at the Cell. She rode in style with her cousin in a Corvette Stingray with the top down. When they drove in people where high fiving them thinking they were celebrities. She said it was too funny.

I don't know why she needs reminding, but redheads do need more than 1 application of sunscreen. In fact, if you can get a constant spray of sunscreen, that may not even be enough. She came home fried. Did you know you can get from Harlem and I80 to the cell in 20 minutes if you drive a Corvette like a madman? (She said she didn't see a thing because her eyes were closed the whole way and she lost track of the number of Hail Mary's she said.)

Saturday we went to our local Farmer's Market, but we made no purchases. It was a quick run in and out just before closing. Sadly the produce didn't look good this week. Hopefully next week it will look better.

Sunday we went to Cedar Lake, Indiana. It was just about a knock down drag out fight to get our daughter to go. She claimed we sprung it on her. No, we told her the day we knew that Anastasia had her day off confirmed. I finally had to threaten her with 'I never get to go anywhere and do anything, if I have to stay home because you refuse to go, you're not going to like me.' That was the gist of it, give or take a few words. I closed it with the classic 'Mom is totally serious and not foolin' look'. Suddenly she got her butt off the living room floor and out the door.

It was just under an hour drive. What a beautiful scenic drive! I was so glad we opted to take back roads instead of the highway. It took less than 10 extra minutes and it was definitely worth it. Corn fields, wheat fields, beautiful trees. Nice drive.

06/28/09 Cedar Lake, IN
Gorgeous lake, but it was a bit too choppy for my liking. Anastasia's brother took her and our son on a pontoon boat ride for several hours. Anastasia claimed it wasn't that choppy once you got going. If you say so hon. Anastasia went without sunscreen, so now she's double fried. Hello redhead? Get a clue! I sat in an adirondack chair drinking Snapple and enjoying the breeze. It was actually nicer outside than in the club. Oh yeah, and my daughter was like glue stuck to my side. I still enjoyed it anyway.

I got a 'delayed burn'. Around 11pm my face started to feel real hot. I thought 'oh great! more hot flashes!', but no, I went to look in the mirror and my face and neck were sunburned.

Lola's Diner

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