Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's a Thanksgiving tradition... at Zigster's River Rat Retreat.

Every Thanksgiving, somewhere around noon, wherever we are, whatever we're doin, we pause for 18 minutes and 30 seconds...give or listen to Arlo.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


  • all
  • the
  • cool
  • kids
  • are doin it...

    And frankly, I got nothin else today.

    Things I've Done

    1. Started your own blog

    2. Slept under the stars

    3. Played in a band

    4. Visited Hawaii

    5. Watched a meteor shower

    6. Given more than you can afford to charity

    7. Been to Disneyland
    Disneyworld. Same thing.

    8. Climbed a mountain
    Yea. Riiiiight.

    9. Held a praying mantis
    Hey...I grew up in the country. No playmates within 2 miles.

    10. Sang a solo

    11. Bungee jumped
    See # 8.

    12. Visited Paris

    13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
    Well, the storm was at sea...I was on da beach.

    14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
    But I guess it depends on whatcha consider "art".

    15. Adopted a child

    16. Had food poisoning
    Salmonella's good for the soul!

    17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

    18. Grown your own vegetables

    19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

    20. Slept on an overnight train
    But it's on my "Bucket List"

    21. Had a pillow fight

    22. Hitch hiked
    Hey, I was a hippie-chick. It was like...a rule

    23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
    Oh, gawd forbid! Never! (cough)

    24. Built a snow fort

    25. Held a lamb

    26. Gone skinny dipping

    27. Run a Marathon
    Just to the buffet table.

    28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

    29. Seen a total eclipse

    30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

    31. Hit a home run

    32. Been on a cruise

    33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

    34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
    Sweden's on my bucket list, too, yah.

    35. Seen an Amish community
    Funny...I couldn't find a bar anywhere.

    36. Taught yourself a new language

    37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
    Hey, if there was ever really enough, there'd have been a lot more things on this list that would have been highlighted.

    38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

    39. Gone rock climbing

    40. Seen Michelangelos David

    41. Sung karaoke
    But let's not talk about that, 'k?

    42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

    43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

    44. Visited Africa

    45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

    46. Been transported in an ambulance

    47. Had your portrait painted

    48. Gone deep sea fishing

    49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

    50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

    51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

    52. Kissed in the rain

    53. Played in the mud

    54. Gone to a drive-in theater

    55. Been in a movie

    56. Visited the Great Wall of China

    57. Started a business

    58. Taken a martial arts class
    Two years of Karate. Seriously.

    59. Visited Russia

    60. Served at a soup kitchen

    61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

    62. Gone whale watching

    63. Got flowers for no reason

    64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

    65. Gone sky diving
    Not in this lifetime...or the next, buddy.

    66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp

    67. Bounced a check
    I believe the proper term is "kiting".

    68. Flown in a helicopter

    69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

    70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

    71. Eaten caviar

    72. Pieced a quilt

    73. Stood in Times Square

    74. Toured the Everglades

    75. Been fired from a job

    76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

    77. Broken a bone

    78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

    79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

    80. Published a book

    81. Visited the Vatican

    82. Bought a brand new car

    83. Walked in Jerusalem

    84. Had your picture in the newspaper

    85. Read the entire Bible

    86. Visited the White House

    87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

    88. Had chickenpox

    89. Saved someone’s life
    I'm an old ER nurse, remember?

    90. Sat on a jury

    91. Met someone famous

    92. Joined a book club

    93. Lost a loved one

    94. Had a baby

    95. Seen the Alamo in person

    96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

    97. Been involved in a law suit

    98. Owned a cell phone

    99. Been stung by a bee

    100. Read an entire book in one day

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    A picture's worth a thousand words

    It's time for the

    to take a

    I'm pretty sure we'll do some

    and a lotta

    and a little

    and more

    and even some

    If we win a lotta

    we might even do a little more

    We've been tryin to organize this trip for...oh...maybe 3 months or more, but scheduling conflicts and family commitments have kinda thrown us for a loop. Ya know what they say...The best-laid plans of mice and fat ladies.... Or somethin like that.
    But it finally looks like we're gonna get 'er done.

    And I'm not gonna forget the camera this time!

    Saturday, November 22, 2008

    Delusions of grandeur

    They've got a glitzy
  • website
  • . And a catchy little logo...

    From the PJStar:

    PEORIA —
    When Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation this week allowing Peoria County residents to decide whether they're willing to pay a small sales tax - and require the same of others who spend money in the county - to help finance the Peoria Riverfront Museum, it was another in a long series of hurdles crossed.

    The cost of the project, including the Riverfront Museum and the Caterpillar Experience visitors center, is $136 million. The museum's cost is $77 million, the visitors center is $41 million. The remaining $18 million in expenses includes shared development of the property and the $10 million cost of the land donated by the city of Peoria.

    Fundraising has and will continue to occur on two tracks: public money from governmental bodies and private donations from people and corporations. Caterpillar and the collaborative group have decided that the project will seek $78 million in private funds and $58 million in public funds.

    Soooo...lemme see if I have this right...

    They want 58 million bucks in public funds. "Public funds" means taxes.

    The world economy is in the shitter. The City of Peoria can barely afford to keep it's essential services goin. People right here in Peoria County are losing their jobs and their homes. The local food banks are runnin outa food because people can't afford to feed their families. And these morons wanna add yet another tax to help pay for a lah-de-dah white elephant/Temple of the Great Golden God that no one will be able to afford to go see? Mmm'k.

    Ok, so Peoria will have a "cultured" riverfront that features
  • The Gateway Building
  • , with it's "grand ballroom" and "exclusive caterers" that no one can afford to rent, a museum built on the backs of the county's taxpayers, a Joe's Crab Shack and a Hooters.


    Meanwhile, East Peoria's riverfront is growin by leaps and bounds. Which, of course, is mostly because of the gamblin boat. Which't want.



    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Awwww...go eat a hamburger

    I've always been somewhat of a fan of Cate Blanchett. She's got an interesting face...not your "traditional" beauty, exactly...and I think she's a very talented actress.

    I thought she did a great portraying another in
  • The Aviator
  • .

    I loved her in both
  • Elizabeth
  • and
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • .

    I loved Notes on a Scandal.

    So, anyway...I liked her. Until today.

    I caught the tail-end of Oprah (ok, so I was waitin for the local news) and she was a guest, along with Brad Pitt. People were "Skype-ing" in on their computers and the Big O was lettin 'em ask the celebs all kindsa questions.

    One of the questions was, "What's your favorite meal?"

    After much humming and hawing and making the statement that she no longer eats red meat (isn't that special?), she finally replied, "I think I'd have to say a bowl of rice."

    A. bowl. of. rice.

    Um...oh, too, Cate.

    Except I want my rice drowned in gooey Cheese Whiz and cream of mushroom soup and baked up with some onion and broccoli thrown in...ya know? For a little fiber?

    Or maybe as a nice, bland accompaniment to a thick, rich, spicy seafood gumbo.

    Or maybe as a base for that yummy Chinese Garlic Chicken?

    Or like in rice pudding...with lotsa brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins? With thick, sweet cream poured over it as soon as it comes outa the oven. Of course, that'd be dessert after a 2 pound, rare sirloin steak.

    How 'bout that Catie-poo, you skinny, affected bitch?

    A fucking bowl of rice.

    Kiss my great big, fat ass, Cate.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    I guess the pointy hat and white sheet are extra

    A special way to say Happy Holidays!

    Nothin...and I mean nothin...shows yer reason for the season like a flamin cross on yer front lawn!

    And for only $81.85! Plus shipping and handling, of course.

    You can get one
  • here
  • "America's Pro-Family Action Web Site!"

    I'm not exactly sure what family they're "pro"...maybe La Familia? No, wait...that's a dead fish, ain't it?

    Good gawd! Kill me. Kill me now.

    (Found at
  • Wil's
  • .)

    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    Embracing the ersatz

    Normally, when given the choice between fake or real, I'll have the real deal, please. If you're gonna kill a cow for food, why let that hide go to waste? I'll choose leather over vinyl any day. Gold filled? Nah. 14 carat's my game. Genuine gemstones vs. some "created" rock? No. Well...ok. I have been known to purchase a piece or two of Diamonique jewelry...set in 14K, to be sure. Hey...even on a budget, a girl's gotta have her bling, right?

    In general though, I'll usually flip off the faux, scorn the simulated and spurious, pass on the pretend, eschew the ersatz, blow off the get the idea.

    Having said all that, there is the rare fake that I really don't mind Christmas trees. Now, don't get me wrong...I love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree. I'd prefer to have a fresh Christmas tree. Unfortunately, decorating said fresh Christmas tree is nearly impossible for me. See, they make me itch. Every needle that pokes me causes a big, red, itchy welt. They're messy, too. And I'm lazy, ok?

    But this post isn't about the new pseudo pine that I recently purchased.

    I know, I know. Gimme a minute. I'm gettin to the point.

    Our little River Rat Retreat is cozy and homey. Though it wouldn't be my first choice in decor, many of the interior finishes scream rustic vacation cabin!...a loft with a ladder...knotty pine paneling...cutting board countertops...rough-cut beams. Lemme tell ya...tryin to mix my own personal eclectic style with all this...wood...can be a challenge.


    Every rustic vacation cabin needs a fireplace, right? We don't have a fireplace...for a couple of reasons. We don't own the place. Yet. And there's really not enough room for a fireplace.

    Enter....the ersatz...

    Cute, huh? And the spray-painted piece of PVC that we used for a "stovepipe" kinda completed the whole look.

    Jeeezus...I used an awful lotta words to say "We got a fake fireplace", didn't I?

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Don't happy

    Another little doodad for Mr. Sidebar.

    I'm flattered that
  • Jen
  • thinks I'm "kreative".

    I like to think of myself as such, of course. But my personal creativity comes in fits and starts. Kinda like a nearly-empty conditioner bottle...ya think ya've got enough to get the job done, only to find out halfway through the process that ya don't. Ya hafta get outa the shower, drip across the hallway and rummage through the closet for that new bottle.

    By the time ya find it, get it open and climb back in the tub, you're all like...awww..what the hell...ya really don't give a shit if yer hair frizzes or not.

    Aaaaanywho, the rules are thus:

    (1) List six things that make you happy.
    (2) Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers.
    (3) Link back to the person who gave you the award.
    (4) Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.
    (5) Request scantily clad photos of your blogger friends of the opposite sex.

    Good gawd...where do I start? What makes me happy?? I don't know as I can list just 6 things. Lotsa things make me happy. Howz about I just ask for the scantily clad photos?

    No? Well...ooookk...

    1. I don't plan to get all sappy here, but da Zigster takes the number 1 spot. He makes me happy in just about every way a husband/best friend/lover/cohort in crime can make one happy. He makes me
  • laugh
  • like nobody else can.

    2. Laughing. Laughing makes me happy.

    3. Hangin wit' my bested bud, J. We talk. We laugh. We eat. We smoke. We laugh some more. (See? Again with the laughing.) Sometimes we drink. She makes me...well...happy.

    4. Our little River Rat Retreat here. This place...this little home along the river that Ziggy and I have made makes me happy. Every time I come home, it's like...."aaaaahhhhhh...I'm home".

    5. Jules and Karsin. They make me happy. I'm very proud of my two "princesses".

    6. Being happy. I know. Duh. Being happy makes me happy? You betcher ass. It's been my only...goal in life. I've worked damned hard at it...and I've pretty much accomplished it.

    Now, ya just know I can't stop at six, right? In no particular order, more things that make me happy: Garlic. The cats. Books. Rare steak. Feeling good. Cooking. Clean sheets. Surprises. Orgasms. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Challenging authority. Vacations. Old movies. Creating something. Shopping. Custard pie. The ocean. Going barefoot. Lobster. Blogging.

    Aye. Now comes the rub. I'm gonna be a horse's ass and not tag anyone else.
    Wait. See that list of bloggers over there on my your right ----->? Well, they're all there for a reason. They're all there because I think they're "kreative". They all deserve this little award, too. So go check some of them out, 'k? About those scantily-clad photos.....

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    The birds here at Zig's River Rat Retreat...

    ...have a feeding frenzy...

    ...and a morning swim.

    Compare and contrast

    A "regular" squirrel

    One of our "blondies"

    Saturday, November 08, 2008

    No. No you can't put the toothpaste back into the tube

  • Dax
  • hit the ole nail right on the head.

    I've been thinkin about
  • this very thing
  • for weeks now. I thought it'd get better, once the election was over. But it ain't.

    "I really liked her Blog too. She was funny and witty and posted clever video clips and stories. Then Palin was picked as running mate and everything seemed to change. I never really thought of her Blog as political…at all. However, every post sometimes 4 or 5 a day just slammed conservatives and republicans, but most of all Palin. There was no more humor or sidewalk pictures anymore…only hate. Now that that genie has been let out of the bottle, I know that I’ll never view that Blog the same way again. It will always be “that left wing wacko” site first, then the clever witty Blog. Maybe not even that. Somehow I don’t think the toothpaste can be put back into the tube."

    He put it far more clearly than I could. But I'd just add that the door swings both ways.

    Dire predictions of what will happen to our country...our freedoms...our economy...hell, it's the end of the world as we know it. Coming from bloggers on both sides of the fence who I'd previously thought of, like Dax, as clever and witty. It's like this...thing...that's taken over...that's grown completely out of control. Like Audrey, the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors.

    And the thing is, if the election had turned out differently...well...I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have changed a damn thing as far as the Audry effect goes.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go try to put that toothpaste back into the tube. An exercise in futility, I'm sure.

    Friday, November 07, 2008


    Ya know they liked it when ya bring home an empty bowl.

    At our office, we have a "treat day" for almost everything. Each month, we have a big birthday party for everyone who's birthday falls in that month. We have wedding showers and baby showers and treat days for those that leave us and for the newbies. And then there's the holidays.

    "It's always something" - Roseanne Rosannadanna

    The "treats" run the gamut from fresh veggies or fruit salad to chips and salsa to homemade cupcakes to Krispy Kreme donuts. I usually try to bring something homemade and/or reasonably healthy. Just to offset the Krispy Kremes, ya know? And, because we have so damn many treat days, I try to make something different each time. Which is always...challenging.

    Today, we celebrated the single November birthday. I know the gal loves anything lemony, so I dug around and found an old recipe for a lemon jello salad...except I changed it around so much, it didn't really even resemble the original. So I renamed it and claimed it as my own. heh The neat thing about the recipe is that if you don't care to use the sugar free or low fat stuff, you can substitute the real deal...and it'll taste just the same. Same with the jello...if ya don't like lemon, then use whatever damn flavor ya want.

    Almost Guilt-Free Lemon Yummy

    2 packages (or 1 large) sugar-free lemon jello
    2 cups hot water
    2 8 oz. blocks low-fat or fat-free cream cheese (I used low-fat) - softened
    2 cups Sprite Zero or other diet lemon-lime flavored soda
    1 20 oz. can no-sugar-added crushed pineapple - drained
    3 teaspoons Splenda
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup chopped pecans

    Getcha a big bowl and dissolve the jello in the hot water. I softened up the cream cheese in the micro for a couple minutes, then chopped it up into small chunks and added it to the jello. Use a whisk to blend the cream cheese and jello liquid until it's all incorporated well. Add the Splenda, vanilla, pineapple, pecans and Sprite and mix together well. Pour into whatever serving dish you like and chill overnight.

    When it was set, I garnished it with some thinly sliced fresh lemon.

    I swear ta tasted like lemon cheesecake. I bet if you'd use lime jello and add a squirt or two of lime juice, it'd taste like Key Lime cheesecake. Yum!

    The rest of the girls musta thought it was pretty tasty, too...they scarfed every bit.

    Blondes do have more fun

    Blonde squirrels do, anyway.

    We have a small family of blonde squirrels that live in our neighborhood. They're not albino...not a red eye in the bunch...they're just...blonde. There's a marked difference in color as compared to a "regular" squirrel.

    This is mommy, "Marilyn"...for obvious reasons.

    And this is "Baby Marilyn"...or maybe it's "Tab" (as in Hunter)...we're not sure.

    They're gettin pretty close to the same size now. I wish I'd have gotten a photo when we first saw the baby. Though the photos don't really show it, Marilyn is a little blonder than Baby Marilyn/Tab, who sports a bit more red on her/his? tail.

    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    Overheard conversations


    Me: "I know what I want for Christmas. I promise...I promise I'll use it."

    Ziggy: "............?"

    Me: "Really. I promise I'll use it."

    Ziggy: "Ok. What is it?"

    Me: "A bike."

    Ziggy: "..............." (trying valiantly to keep from grinning as a mental picture of me ridin a bike floats through his mind)

    Me: "Yea. I wanna bike. I need to exercise, but I hate walkin. I love to ride a bike. And we have the perfect place for me to ride. The street in front is nice and flat...and I can ride all the way to the end of it and back." (pointing in a roughly southerly direction)

    Ziggy: "I thought you wanted a gun for Christmas?"

    Me: "Oh. I do. I want a bike and a gun. Hey...I can ride down the street and plink at squirrels on the way."

    Ziggy: "How's about if I get you a bike and you can ride it back and forth on the street in front of the house...and I'll stand in the yard with the gun and plink at you as ya ride by...ya know? Like one of those carnival shootin galleries?"

    I laughed so hard I peed my pants.

    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    Just a few election observations

    *** Ok, so I can remember more than a few past elections. (ahem) I can clearly remember stayin up late and watchin returns and goin to bed not knowin who the next prez was gonna be. I can remember gettin up in the morning and still not knowing who won the election. Tonight? The polls closed here in Illinois at 7 pm CST. And a winner was declared by 10:30 pm. I know Obama won by a shitload, but...dang.
    I guess the days of cartin the paper ballots to the courthouse by horse and wagon and then countin 'em out by hand are over, huh?

    Ain't technology grand?

    *** I thought Obama's acceptance speech was quite...inspiring. And I thought McCain's concession speech was gracious as hell.

    *** I believe that 53.3 percent of Peoria County voters have completely dropped their baskets. They elected a
  • Democratic State Representative
  • who... a local school board member, missed about 40% of the school board meetings.
    ...doesn't have one lick of experience, other than as the above-mentioned school board member.
    ...just...didn't show a couple of her scheduled debates. Oh well. Lah de dah.
    ...out and out lied about having a college degree.
    ...and...get a convicted shoplifter.

    What. The. Fuck?? Incredible.

    Just goes to show ya...ya don't have to have character or integrity to be an elected politician.

  • Aaron Schock
  • definitely has some male pattern baldness goin on. I guess the mark will be a little easier to spot now. heh

    *** Soooo...if it "overcame racial barriers", why does the PJStar headline scream
  • Obama elected first black president
  • ?

    *** Joe Biden has an awful lotta teeth.

    *** Political pundits really love to hear themselves talk. Blah...blah...blah...yada...yada...yada...

    *** Love the results or hate 'em, tonight was pretty damn historical. And I think that's pretty damn special.

    Monday, November 03, 2008

    I exercised a Constitutional right today's the only exercise I've gotten recently.

    No, I didn't vote.

    But I figured it's a great time...a fitting apply for my FOID card.

    In fact, da Zigster and I both applied.

    See, I believe in the Constitution. I think that our founding fathers were a pretty sharp buncha dudes. I believe that they were doin what they believed to be the best thing for our country. Sure as shit not like today's politicians.

    I refuse to lay back and let some low-life, drug-addled thug rob me, rape me or worse. I'll be damned if I'll try to "reason" with 'im. They don't know reason. Yea, they might take my gun away from me and blow my brains out with it. But by gawd I'll have at least died tryin to defend myself.

    No, I'll not be goin off half-cocked here. No pun intended. My dad was an excellent marksman and he loved guns. He bought me my first .22 rifle when I was just a little shit...maybe 8 or so...and he taught me how to use it. He taught me to respect guns, but not be afraid of 'em. I don't know how many times he said, "Even if you know it's not loaded, never...EVER...point a gun at anything you don't intend to kill."

    I know I'll be rusty. I'll fix that with practice. But I'm goin into this with the knowledge and skill that Dad pounded into my head...I expect it'll be like ridin a bicycle. It'll come back to me.

    Guess what I want for Christmas?