Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Wonder What the Going Rate Is?

I saw this article this morning:

Accused Heroine Dealer Behind Bars
Reported by: WMBD/WYZZ News
Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 @07:40am CST

WMBD/WYZZ – PEORIA -- A drug bust lands a Chicago man behind bars in
Tazewell County.
Eddie Davenport was arrested Tuesday after police officers
found more than four grams of heroin in an East Peoria home.
Davenport is
charged with possession of a controlled substance and intent to deliver.

I wonder what the going rate on the street is for heroic women? I hope it is pretty high because brave women who display courage in the face of danger are in great demand right now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I took my daughter to have her hearing tested yesterday. She has a history of ear infections and we wanted to be sure she doesn’t have any hearing damage. (I can guarantee she can hear just fine . . . selective hearing, but fine.) Of course, the first thing she said to me yesterday morning was, "My ear hurts, Mommy." Great. We are going to get your hearing tested and you have an ear infection. Fabulous.

On our way to the audiologist, I called the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. Naturally, the first available appointment that didn’t cut into lunchtime, naptime, or my previously scheduled and re-scheduled dentist appointment was 4:15 pm. I gave her some Motrin and walked into the audiologist’s office.

While I was filling out paperwork, the audiologist called my daughter’s name. She went back with the woman and I could hear her talking. The woman said, "What’s your baby’s name?" My daughter answered, "Bella." I could hear a few more exchanges before I entered the room. I was glad she was talking to the woman.

You see, my daughter talks CONSTANTLY if she is awake. The mouth never stops - she has a constant commentary on life and everything around her. However, she is shy in certain situations, particularly when meeting new people in a strange environment. Then she clams up until she feels comfortable. I consider this a fairly normal three-year-old behavior. Apparently, the audiologist does not agree with me.

She asked my daughter and I to have a seat in the "box," which contains a chair and two speakers on each side. It is kind of weird looking and is about the size of a really small closet. I wasn’t comfortable at all and neither was my daughter. And it didn’t help when the audiologist got in my daughter’s face and said, "You need to say these words after I say them. Say AIRPLANE."


The woman repeated herself, but closer, "Say AIRPLANE!" My daughter made a face and turned away from her. This woman has probably been told to "get down to their level" when dealing with kids. However, someone needs to explain to her that getting down to their level is different than getting in their face. Because NO three-year-old I know responds well to a stranger making commands at them nose-to-nose.

The woman tried a different (and dumbed down, I must say) tactic, but in the same military style. "Can you point to your nose?" More dirty looks and turning away. "How about your hair?" Nothing.

The woman let out an exasperated sigh. "Well, I guess we are just going to have to try a different way. The way we use with newborns who aren’t verbal." I tried to explain my daughter’s behavior to this clueless woman by saying, "I’m sorry. She can be a little shy when she is in unfamiliar situations with new people. She can talk and hear just fine. She just a little shy at the beginning." The woman was not persuaded and replied, "It’s fine if she is shy . . . but she must actually TALK for me to test her appropriately."

I gave up. Clearly this woman was not going to change her way of dealing with children. I can’t imagine my daughter was the only child who has been in her office who is non-compliant. I just wanted her to hurry up so we could get the hell out of there.

Well, the woman messed around with a couple of other machines and couldn’t get a reading. Finally, she pulled out her ear-scope-thingy and looked into my daughter’s ear - the one I told her I thought was infected.

"Well! Here’s your problem! Her ear is COMPLETELY blocked with wax build up. I can’t even see the eardrum. There is no way I’m going to get a decent reading from THIS ear." Thanks lady. My daughter has always had ear wax issues and we use drops frequently to flush her ears. I thought I had it under control. Now I feel like a terrible parent because she can’t hear anything because her ears are so dirty.

The woman takes readings from both ears anyway. One is normal, the infected one has no activity whatsoever. The woman explains that this could be because of the wax, the infection, or because she is deaf in that ear. WTF? Now I’m completely flipped out.

I spend the rest of the day being depressed about my lack of parenting skills and ear cleaning abilities. At the end of the day, at the doctor’s office, I tell her doctor the whole sordid tale of the audiologist. The doctor rolls her eyes and takes a look in my daughter’s ears. She says, "There’s not much wax build-up . . . I can see both ear drums clearly. Sure, one is infected, but there is no way this child is deaf."

Ugh. Professionalism and good bed-side manners must be dying art forms.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jesus Called Me a Twat!

I have a new addiction - Facebook Quizzes. Really. I can't stop taking them and everytime one of my friends takes one, I have to take one too. Mostly, they are really silly, which is probably why I like them so much. But I have a few favorites . . . .

Which type of woman are you? Lovely Lady - "Another problem is that you don't say your opinion when it's right and important to say it." (Yeah, right.)

Which kitchen utensil reveals the true nature of your sexuality? Wooden Spoon - "Over time, you may become a little warped but will always be adored by those who know you intimately."

What personality disorder do you have? Obsessive-Compulsive - "You can actually function quite well in society, except for the fact that your personality often makes your friends, family, and coworkers want to kill you!"

Who were you in high school? The stud - "Your locker smelled like dirty jocks, breath mints, and beer."

My prison bitch name is "Lips"

Which of your Chakras is most open? The Third Eye - "You value the opinions of those around you, but you'll always have the last word."

Which Beatles song are you? Maxwell Silver Hammer - "You are the real maverick. You are extremely energetic and have a quick mind. You have a strong business sense and desire power. Avoid the tendency to become ruthless and impulsive."

Which serial killer are you? Ted Bundy - "You definitely like the ladies, and nothing will stop you, even if it means going the extra mile by wearing a fake cast, or brandishing a puppy to gain the sympathy of an unsuspecting nurturing victim. You don't mind rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands a little dirty. You leave your mark everywhere, even if it is a bite mark!"

Which drug are you? Heroin - "you are pretty fucking and will stop at nothing to get some of your junk" (Part of the draw of these quizzes is the funny spelling and grammar errors . . . .)

What does Jesus think of you? Jesus thinks you’re a selfish bitch - "He just thinks you should stop being such a twat."

And my personal favorite:

Which crazy bitch are you? Sinead O’Connor - "You are one fierce bitch. You are very independent and will take no bullshit from anyone but your personality is actually sort of quiet and shy. You are a natural beauty and you are very comfortable with your femininity. You don't feel the need to overdo it or go out of your way to fuss over your looks. You don't want to distract people from what you stand for and the talents you possess. You are very idealistic and will go to any extremes to stand up for what you believe in even if it creates controversy and people don't understand. Relationships can be hard for you sometimes because men feel threatened by you but time again they come running to you and realize that you are actually very sweet and motherly . . . until they cross you."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why I Will Never Be One of the Cool Kids

My dad recently sent me his first (and thus far, only) text message after getting his new iPhone two weeks ago. The message said, "Hello. Papa." It probably took him half an hour to write that. As much as I laughed at him, I’m probably a lot like him in the texting department. I don’t often use text "slang" and when someone uses it with me, I have to ask what it means.

So, my text messages are very much like my emails - fully formed sentences, punctuation, and correct grammar. I don’t even really like using contractions when I'm writing and once apologized because I texted "your" when I meant "you’re." (I KNOW - the HORROR!!)

I've gotten to know some of the more common text words like OIC and OMG and K, but if I’m writing it, I almost always write Oh, I see and Oh my god and OK. I don’t even use the words "kinda" or "wanna" or "gonna" that often. I’m a little bit uptight in that way.

A friend of mine sent me an online language dictionary so I could learn to be more cool. I reviewed the list of abbreviations and I just don’t think it is going to happen. I think there is just too much possibility of me miscommunicating using these words. Plus, it would take me so much longer to read anything that was written in such slang. For example . . . .

I think that any "abbreviation" that has five letters or more probably isn’t worth the effort, such as:
AFAIK: as far as I know
IANAL: I am not a lawyer (that one is pretty funny, I have to say . . . )
IAWTC: I agree with this comment
IFSFWI: If the shoe fits, wear it!
IMNECTHO: in my not-even-close-to-humble opinion
IMNSHO: in my not so humble opinion
LMIRL: let’s meet in real life
MMORPG: massive multiplayer online role playing game
NALOPKT: not a lot of people know that
NIAGW: not in a gay way
OMGBBQWTF: oh my god, bar-b-que, what the fuck
PLZKTHX: please, ok, thanks
WIBNI: wouldn’t it be nice if
WYSIWYG: what you see is what you get
YTMND: you’re the man now dog

Then there are several that freak me out. If I ever saw one of these, I would be glad I didn’t know what it meant. Unfortunately, I now know and would have to close that chat window immediately:
GYPO: get your pants off
IPN: I’m posting naked
IWSN: I want sex now
NIFOC: naked in front of computer (why? why would you do this? Think of the . . . stuff that would get on your desk chair!)
TDTM: talk dirty to me
WTGP: want to go private?

Finally, there are many abbreviations that could lead to huge misunderstandings because, according to the dictionary, they have multiple meanings:
FTW: for the win or fuck the world or for the world
GFY: go fuck yourself or good for you
GG: gotta go or good game
LOL: laughing out loud or lots of love
POS: parent over shoulder or piece of shit
WTF: what the fuck or where’s the food

So, I may sound like an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy when I text or chat online, but I would prefer that over the alternatives. But if you know how to use these words, GFY.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just Your Average Dinner with My Parents

Cousin S: So, how was dinner with your parents and your boyfriend on Saturday night? Everything go OK?

Me: Yes, everything went really well. Just normal parents stuff. You know . . . my dad assumed we're getting married and told my boyfriend I had "sibling issues," and my mom talked about a book she had seen at Borders that day about how to live with a huge penis. Oh, and my boyfriend told my parents I didn't like to talk about poop. Pretty average dinner with my parents.

Cousin S: Well, your mom emailed me that she really liked him, so that's good.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I just filed my federal and state tax returns electronically. I actually kind of enjoy doing it since online calculation and filing became the norm. It is kind of like taking one of those facebook quizzes, you answer a whole bunch of questions and at the end, you get a fun result! And getting a tax return is much more fun than knowing which literary character you are, which Sex and the City character you are, which author you are, and what color your aura is.

I can almost hear all of you collectively moaning while reading my declaration that I like doing my taxes. Sorry, but I do. Granted, I'm almost guaranteed to get a return every year and, generally speaking, my taxes are fairly easy. I don't own my own business, I'm not self-employed, I'm not married, I don't have any income other than my bi-weekly paycheck, I don't own any land or other real property other than my own home, I don't have any investments other than my retirement accounts, and I don't have outrageous medical expenses or any other expenses that aren't reimbursed to me.

It took me about two solid hours to do the online work, after I had gathered all the information I needed. Not bad at all. I've never seen the point in hiring someone to do my taxes, really. Before I went to law school, my taxes were really simple. The state where I went to law school required all law students to take an Income Tax Law class. And after that, I would feel kind of like an idiot if I didn't do my own taxes. There may come a time when my taxes are too complex for me and I might change my mind.

My only regret this year is that I didn't buy my car a week earlier, when it still would have qualified as a 2008 purchase. Oh well . . . there is always next year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Here’s a Really Good Way to Piss Me Off

So, I had to call this other lawyer today who used to represent one of my clients. I need some of the materials he used while representing this client to assist in my representation of him. I’ve called and left about four messages in the last two weeks and, this morning, I finally got him on the line.

(To protect the idiots, I will call him Bob Lawyer. This isn’t actually his name.)

Bob Lawyer: (answering using the speaker phone) Bob Lawyer.

OK - I just have to stop here. I hate it when people answer the phone using the speaker phone. I hate thinking that I am speaking to a room full of people when I first get on the phone. It’s rude, particularly when I might be talking about something confidential. You know, us lawyers tend to discuss confidential things . . . every once and awhile.

Me: Yes, this is Ms. PH and I’m calling about Mr. XYZ, who is a former client of yours.

Bob Lawyer: Oh. Yeah. Well, I’m right in the middle of something . . . hold on.

I’m figuring he’s going to mark his page in a book or save something on his computer and get right back to me. Notsomuch.

Bob Lawyer’s computer: Tap. Tap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap, tap, tap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Taptap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tappity. Tap. Tap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap, tap, tap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Taptap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tappity.

What is he typing . . . a freaking novel? I’m on the phone! Hello! I would have hung up, but since it had taken me so long to get him on the phone, I couldn’t risk losing him.

Bob Lawyer’s computer: Tap. Tap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap, tap, tap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Taptap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tappity. Tap. Tap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap, tap, tap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Taptap. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tappity.


Bob Lawyer’s cell phone: Ring, ring.

Bob Lawyer: (into cell phone) Bob Lawyer. Yeah. Hmm. Uh-huh. OK. No, I’m not available at that time. Right. Yep. No. Sure. OK. Bye.

OK, so he has time to talk to someone on his cell phone, but not to me? Now I’m really pissed and just about ready to hang up, when . . .

Bob Lawyer: Ms. PH? Hi. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Now, the blahs aren’t what he actually said. What he actually said was this long drawn out story about how he had been screwed in this case and lost money on it and was really pissed about it and how he didn’t think he could send me the materials, etc. etc. etc.

Me: Hmm. Well, here’s the thing. I need those materials and here is the address where you can send them.

Click. (He hung up on me.)

See . . . this is what happens when you piss me off. I actually know how to fix the problem he complained about regarding the reason he felt he was screwed. And, under ordinary circumstances, I would have shared my knowledge with him. I just didn’t feel so much like telling him after he kept me waiting on the phone while he typed an email and chatted on his cell phone.

Amazing how simple courtesy could have saved him a couple hundreds of dollars and yet . . . Bob Lawyer choose another direction. C’est la vie.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Review of Two25

I was one of the bloggers that was not only invited to take part in the Blogger Dinner at Two25, but one of the few who actually attended. Never to be outdone, I actually ate at Two25 two Thursdays in a row, but this was based primarily on a miscommunication of my usual proportions, in addition to corresponding with people using two different email identities, and the general persistent clutter in my head.

Anyway, I was quite glad to eat twice at Two25 because it provides a better basis for my review. (In case some of you are wondering, I actually paid for my dinner the first time - I did not scam two comped dinners off of the joint.) Initially, I had wanted to eat the first week as an incognito restaurant-goer, but Katie blew my cover. I really liked the idea of comparing the food, service, and atmosphere when I go as a regular person and when I go as an invited potential food critic. However, unlike some bloggers who couldn’t be bothered to attend a free meal because of their "journalistic integrity," I never pass at a chance to eat out, whether I’m paying for it or not. And I’m sure that after you finish reading this review, you will know that I was not inappropriately swayed to gushing praise simply because they paid for one of my meals.

When I was first asked by Shane to come to the dinner, I asked him if he knew what he was getting into by inviting me to this dinner. I meant that in two ways; first because I have what some call a acerbic nitpicky way about me; and second, because I have a very different dining background that the average restaurant goer. I won’t expound too much on either one of those, except to say that the things that I noticed about Two25 that may be construed as criticisms are things that most average diners would not notice or care about.

And away we go . . . .

To make my evaluation complete, I ordered similar items both nights, but most not completely the same. So, at each dinner I had a before dinner drink, appetizer, salad, a glass of wine with dinner, entree, and dessert.

Service. The service was good both nights, but far superior at the "official" blogger dinner. Of course, that night, they had their "best man" Sam on the job and he did his job very well. I was also told that Sam was instrumental in choosing the wine list, which I was very impressed by, particularly because it included three Ridge wines. My only complaint about the service on the first night was that, even though I had ordered a glass of wine to go with my entree when I ordered the entree, the waitress did not bring the glass of wine to me until I was more than halfway done eating my entree. Wine goes with food and really becomes quite pointless if it isn’t there.

Before Dinner Drink. This is actually more a test of the bar than the restaurant and was one of the things I found lacking at Two25. I ordered a Cosmo the first time and a Gin and Tonic the second night. It is pretty hard to screw up at G&T, so that was fine. The Cosmo on the other hand, was not great. It arrived in a stemless glass (the wine was also served in stemless glasses, which is fine for a liquid that is not meant to be cold) and it was barely cool when I received it. Cosmos should be ice cold - the very best of them having a thin layer of ice floating on the top. Of course, the stemless glass didn’t help because the heat from my hand quickly eradicated any cold the drink possessed before it got to the table.

A Cosmo is a fairly common drink and easy to make. The bartender’s failure to make one appropriately speaks to either lack of experience or lack of good training. The next time I eat at Two25, I will probably skip any drinks other than wine.

Appetizers. The first night, the table had sauteed mushrooms and the second night, we had escargot. Both were good, not spectacular, but certainly good. The flavor of the mushrooms was nice but the presentation was lacking - it was really just a pile of mushrooms on a plate. The escargot were not in their shells, which I found odd, but were covered with a good sauce, toasted breadcrumbs, and bread. I thought the sauce was too garlicky (and I like a lot of garlic) and a little heavy-handed on the salt. I tasted another diner’s calamari and it was very, very good . . . not chewy at all and full of flavor. The calamari will be my appetizer next time.

Salad. I actually had the same salad both nights and I was glad I did for the sake of this review because something happened that is one of my pet peeves about salads. I had the Pear Salad, which is mixed greens, blue cheese, sliced pears, walnuts, dried cranberries, and strawberry vinaigrette. The first night, this salad was exceptional. Everything was fresh, the greens were dark and healthy, not a single chunk of iceberg in the bunch (iceberg lettuce should be the death of any restaurant charging more than $10 for an entree). I ordered it again the second night because it was so good.

Ahh . . . the old bait and switch. The same salad was horrible on the second night. The pears were too old, had dark spots, and had gone gritty. The greens were about half "real" greens and the other half emaciated iceberg, as if they had run low on real greens and tried to "pad" the salad with filler. Yuck. In my opinion, if you can’t make something up to the standards you aspire to every time, you should take it off the menu.

Entrees. The first night I had the Pan-Seared Duck Breast with a Lingonberry Chambord reduction, baby carrots, and potatoes au gratin. This was good, I ate the whole thing, but I’ve had much better. The duck breast was a little tough and chewy, although it had a nice crust of fat on it. The Lingonberry reduction was way too sweet, which must be pretty hard to achieve since lingonberries are fairly sour naturally. I like the interplay between sweet and savory, but this was too heavy on the sweet. The carrots were good, not overdone which is very important. The potatoes were also good, but lacking in salt or other flavor.

The second night I had the Rack of Lamb with red wine demi glace, steamed asparagus, and the potatoes au gratin. The lamb had very good flavor, although it was a little fattier than most rack of lamb I’ve had. The potatoes were exactly the same. I love asparagus and this was good asparagus, perfectly cooked so it still had crunch. The demi glace was minimally important to the plate flavor-wise. My biggest complaint was that the meal had clearly been plated for a long time prior to the lamb being added and sat under the heat lamps because the sauce had a faint skin on it. It didn’t destroy the good flavor of the meal, but it did put me off a little knowing my dinner had not been timed appropriately.

One of the best things about both entrees is that I asked for medium rare and I got medium rare. This is the make-it-or-break-it test for me and restaurants. Yes, I mean medium rare and when I get it, I am happy.

Desserts. The first night I had creme brulee, which in its most basic form is pretty hard to screw up. And this was good creme brulee - it had the requisite "break" when I tapped the sugar with my spoon. However, it was an exceedingly small portion made to look larger by placing it in a wide, but very shallow custard dish. I also tasted the chocolate mousse, which was passable. The second night, I had the caramel apple pie which was OK.

I have the following general comments about the experience.

First, the bartender needs to practice. The wine list is wonderful and the beer choices are probably the best in Peoria for this type of restaurant (too often fine dining restaurants eschew beer as some low-class drink. This is not so and I am glad Two25 understands this.)

Second, they need to get a better meat supplier. The duck and the lamb were both only OK, not great cuts of meat. The veal and steak I tried were also just OK. If you are going to charge between $24 and $42 for meat, you’d better back it up with some good meat.

Third, the menu is too long and trying to do too much. It should be considerably shortened and become focused on what the kitchen can do well. (As a side note, I noticed after writing this review that since we were there a week ago, the menu has been changed significantly. I hope a lot of thought went into this change.)

Fourth, they need a real pastry chef. The dessert menu screams "I was created by a professional chef who either can’t make desserts, doesn’t like desserts, or who didn’t take the pastry course in culinary school!!" There are chefs who are good at the dinner experience and completely lacking in the dessert experience. This chef is one of them. All of the desserts offered are things I could buy from the deli counter at the grocery store or make out of a box. Dessert is the last impression most diners get of a restaurant. I would hate to think these desserts are being used as that final message.

In conclusion, I think that most average restaurant-goers will have a good experience at Two25. Most people will not notice the things that I did and will come back again. I will certainly come back again, perhaps when they work out some of the kinks. It takes time to make a quality fine dining restaurant, particularly in a town like Peoria.