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Showing posts from July, 2015

60 Years Ago Today: Casey Jr. Circus Train Opens at Disneyland Resort

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Before the month gets away from us - and I have to turn over the wall calendars to August - wanted to call out this little Disneyland history nugget.  60 years ago today - July 31st, 1955 - the Casye Jr. Circus Train ride opened at Disneyland.

That's exactly two weeks after the park opened.  Wonder why the train wasn't ready?

As a side note, we've been to the Disneyland Resort three times and have yet to ride this thing.  Check out this POV video from MouseSteps:

My Boy's First Sox Game

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Getting him started right with the Good Guys on the South Side - as any good Dad would do, right?

He'll have no memory of this night we spent together, but I will never forget it.



Life Pro Tip: Use WD-40 To Remove Crayon Marks from Plastic

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We have one of those plastic kid kitchens.  You know the type.

Ours was, unfortunately, scrawled with crayon marks from one of the coloring rages that The Bird is prone to do.  Scribble here.  Scribble there.  Mark the fridge door with purple crayon.  Scribble in the microwave with red.  A real art-ist!

Anyway...here's a tip for you:  spray a little WD-40 on wipe it with a paper towel and it comes clean in a second.  For some, this may be old news, but not for me.  Also...to be clear....I'm not the first guy to figure this out, just check out the ole' Google for other folks' take.

Gasp!?! A Selfie Here On The Blog? Only For A Jungle Cruise Shirt

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What is this, the blog of a tween who has a ridiculous Instagram name and uses 12 emoji's per post?  
Nope, just that of a upper-thirty year old suburban Dad who's wife gave him a limited edition Disneyland Jungle Cruise t-shirt.  

First selfie taken and posted anywhere.  Let's not get too used to it, mmmmkay?

Mickey The Mouse At The White Sox Game

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You can't send us to a Sox game and not have us seek out the big Mickey Mouse up by the Fundamentals level out in left field.  That's what every family does, right?  
The Bird here can't read so the big 'please keep off' sign didn't stop her from posing with her guy all dressed up in White Sox colors.  
We arrived about 45 minutes before the first pitch and did a tour around the lower bowl concourse before settling into our seats.  It was hot.   Like sweaty hot.   And we lasted about 1/3rd of an inning before one of the girls started to complain about being 'bored'.  Seriously.  1/3rd of the FIRST inning.

Pumpkins Growing - 2015

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In the garden, we have about six of these pale green pumpkins/gourds of some sort growing on the vines.  These were part of a white pumpkin seed packet that we planted earlier this summer.    They're about the size of a 16" softball currently.

As they grow and fatten up, I'm thinking they'll get brighter white.  But...I'm not sure they'll be a part of *our* Halloween festivities this year.


Vintage Disneyland Art

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Back on Wednesday, I posted about the wall calendars this month.  The image on the Disney D23 calendar was worth a closer look.  If you're at all into Disneyland, click on the image and zoom in to see how Disneyland was *supposed* to be built.  Plenty of changes were made when it came time to build starting with the castle!

A Return Trip to the Original Pequod's in Morton Grove

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Back in 2011, we discovered the 'original' Pequod's Pizza up in Morton Grove.  I posted about it here on the blog.

Nothing has changed at the place.


But, plenty has changed on our side.  We went from a family of three to a family of five.  And we arrived in style in our minivan.  Yeah...that's right.  A van.

I went with the usual sausage and pepperoni combo and it was delicious.  I have no idea what Nat and the kids ate because I was so focused on my part of the order and shoveling this tasty stuff into my piehole.

Those of you who have been to the Pequod's in the city wouldn't be surprised by the pies dished out in Morton Grove.  They're basically the same.  But...for those of you who like to make pizza pilgrimages (like me!), the OG Pequod's is worth the trip.  Just to say you've been to the place where it all began.

Look at that beautifully caramelized crust.  Burnt?  Not one bit.


It wouldn't be a pizza post without the requisite "…

Finished View Of New Elmhurst Parking Deck

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I *think* this is the parking deck topping out over on Addison Street in the Elmhurst City Centre.  I was walking down Schiller across from the Jewel and took this photo as I walked up to the light.

When I say topping out, I think this is the total height of the new structure.  But there's still plenty of work left to be done to finish the construction.

Here's a post from June of this year showing a different angle.  And here is a post showing the beginnings of the construction back in early May 2015.

Wall Calendars Turned Over To July 2015

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For shame.  It wasn't until yesterday - July 21st - that I finally remembered to turn the wall calendars in my office over to July.

On the left, the D23 Disney calendar is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the opening of Disneyland.  On the right, the University of Illinois Alumni calendar has a photo of the plaza of Harker Hall.  (Not too shabby for the #9 ranked public university in the country.  What what?!?!)

I - L - L...

Anyway...back to the calendars.

Here's the history so far this year:
In June, I nailed it.  Turned on June 1st.
Here's the post from May with the calendars. Took me until the 12th.
March's post - where I turned them on the 11th.
February post introducing the concept. On the 17th.

Spotted These Union Pacific Passenger Cars Just West of Elmhurst

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I tried to whip out my phone as fast as I could to try to snap a photo of these beautiful yellow and red Union Pacific passenger cars.  Those are them in the middle of the photo just behind the locomotive.  If you want to see them closer, click on the photo and I *think* a larger version will show up so you can zoom in a bit.

These were in Berkeley and were sitting there north of the commuter tracks.  I haven't seen them before nor since, so it was a nice little treat to see!

Based on snooping around the UP site, it appears that these might be part of the historical equipment program and based out of Lake Bluff.  There's a set of sleeper cars based there.

From their site:
No other railroad in this country has retained its historical equipment and honored its past like the Union Pacific. The preservation of its fleet speaks to the high value UP places on its heritage and its role in America's history. The fleet itself dates back to 1912, but most of the passenger cars are …

Pear Tree Fruit and Growth - 2015

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Our little 'pear tree that could' is back this year with a plentiful bounty on it's limbs.  Here's a look at just some of the fruit that is hanging pretty low.  The branches are droopy with the weight of fruit clinging to them.

Last year, I didn't post any shots of the tree or the pears because I *think* it didn't produce anything?  Do pear trees take the occasional year off?  Those of you who have been following along for a while might remember that this is the same tree that snapped in half back in a big storm in 2010.  Check out this photo showing how skinny it was and how it - at basically chest height - snapped the top off.

And now it is this big, healthy, vibrant tree!  Pretty cool to see it come back to life.  Here's what the tree looks like today:


Here's a post with a photo of the tree from 2013.    Not sure how much it has grown, but it is filled out a bit.  Hopefully the tree will pay dividends for some new folks for years to come.


Indigo Rose Tomatoes Coming In - 2015

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One of the varieties that I planted this year (that I've never tried before) is this Indigo Rose.  I posted about it back in May when I put them in the ground.  The first fruits are starting to be produced it it shouldn't be long before they're harvestable.   The bottoms have to turn from green to red, but the tops are looking a beautiful purple!

Blueberry Harvest Time - 2015

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Our little blueberry bush is starting to throw off fruit this summer.  Mind you...not A LOT of it, but a handful of berries are ripe now and more are coming in soon.  The plant isn't doing as well as it did last year - see the post here - but I think the birds have gotten to some of the fruit this year.

This year has been bad for just about all of our garden.  I haven't been tending to it as close to other years, but I've noticed that while the pumpkin vines are going crazy, the tomatoes are struggling.  Anyone else feel like their tomatoes are lagging behind other years?  Is is the lack of heat?

Sorry Folks. Come Back for Cider Donuts In The Fall

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When we were up in Michigan, one of the little traditions I have with the girls is an early morning trip to pick up some donuts and cups of ice.  We typically go to the Wesco gas station.

But the last time we were in Coloma, Nat had the good idea for us to head out across the highway to Grandpa's Cider Mill where we have devoured apple cider donuts.  That usually happens in the fall and is coordinated with a trip to either Crane's or some other orchard for some picking.

Grandpa's Cider Mill instead of the gas station?

As Vince Vaughn said in "The Breakup" about lemons for the centerpiece:  What my baby wants, my baby gets.

Thus....off we went.  Only to be 'Wally World'd' by this sign.

Sorry folks.  No donuts for you.  Come back in August, September or October.

We sulked back to the gas station and picked up a few long johns and apple fitters and went on our way.

Next Art @ The York Showing: Little England

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Back in June, I posted about the new "Art @ The York" film series at the York Theatre in the Elmhurst City Center.  Their first film was the Bansky movie "Exit through the Gift Shop".

Walking by the theatre on my way to the train this am, I noticed they're advertising the next in the film series:  Little England.

It is set to show on August 12th at both 1 pm and 7 pm.

From the York Theatre's site comes this synopsis of the movie:
One home, one secret, one man, two sisters. The 20 year old Orsa is madly in love with the lieutenant Spyros Maltabes. As a closed character she won't reveal her secret to anyone. Her little sister, Moscha, dynamic and full of dreams wants to leave Andros, to escape the fate of the women of the island that marry sailors that are always away or drown at the sea. For their mother, Mina, wife of a captain who prefers the Atlantic Souf than his home, love means only big trouble and pain. Leaving aside the feelings of her daughters…

Found In The Wild: Bazooka Gum

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We were at a wedding over the weekend and as part of the candy bar, the bride and groom had a bunch of blue-ish candies including these bazooka bubble gums.

You remember Bazooka, right?  The ratty gum that is usually hard and chalky with a comic inside?  I sure do.  This time around, the gum was pretty good.  It was blue raspberry (I think), but there wasn't any comic.  It was something *else* in there that was the same size as the old comics, but it was some sort of little prank sheet.

'Baroque Hoedown' Is The Song from Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade

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Anyone who has been to Disney World has heard the song from the Main Street Electrical Parade.

You know the one.  It either drives you crazy or makes you starry-eyed.

It makes me smile just thinking about it.

But, I had no idea that it was a *real* song - as in - it exists OUTSIDE of the gates of the Magic Kingdom.  It was/us a real song.  I came across the name of the song on a Disney message board.  It is called 'Baroque Hoedown'.

It is a creation of Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gerson Kingsley back in 1967.  Here is video below of Perrey playing it at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood back in 2006.  The guy who posted the video calls it "possibly one of his most recognized songs of the twentieth century."  One dude.  With a Moog synthesizer plays this whole thing?!?


From Wikipedia:
"Baroque Hoedown" was created by early Moog synthesizer pioneers (and frequent collaborators) Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley (Perrey-Kingsley) in 1967.  It was containe…

Tried A Pop-In At Burt's Place: Nyet!

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We found ourselves up in the northern suburbs last week and made a spur of the moment decision to give Burt's Place a try.  After trying to call them ahead of time (per the rules) and getting a strong busy signal (thinking Burt just pulled the phone off the hook once he had enough orders for the night), we just 'popped in' and asked if they had any availability that night.

The guy who greeted us at the door turned and asked Burt, with his long grey beard, slung in a back booth, who said:  "Nope.  Not tonight."

We thanked them and said "we took our shot".

Off to Pequod Pizza we went.  (That's for another post).

We went to Burt's back in 2011 and I wrote a post about the experience here on the blog.

Cellar Door Acadian Driftwood Soap From Michigan

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Nat and the girls brought me back some vegan soap from their adventures in Michigan and this bar hits a soft spot in my heart.  First...it is a bar.  Have we talked about how I like/prefer bar soap?  I've been converted to the 'body wash' stuff by the body wash industrial complex - complete with the whole loofa things.   
But I've always preferred bar soap in the shower.  
And, Nat knows how to pick 'em.  Acadian Driftwood?  One of my favorite songs from the band that was belted out by all the Canadians at The Last Waltz?  Don't mind if I do!
Just check out this description and tell me you don't want to take a 'nude soapy' with this bar.  (that 'nude soapy' reference is for those of you - who like me - spent your summers at Valley View Pool in Frankfort and snickered every time you saw the sign in the locker room that commanded you to take a 'nude soapy shower' before entering the pool...)

Sadness Has Entered Our Life...

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It can't all be Joy, amirite?!?  After watching the Disney - Pixar movie Inside Out, the Babe wantedwantedwanted Joy the doll.  So...we got Joy the doll.  She had her arm broken off by a restaurant chair incident and that caused all sorts of pain and agony and handwringing.

But, we promised the Babe that we'd replace Joy.  But being a savvy terrorist, she up'd the ante:  she not only wanted a new Joy, but she also wanted Sadness.

Sadness was - besides BingBong the #2 character in the film.  (Don't ask about our family and  BingBong and his cotton-candy-smelling-belly....)

Being a softie, I picked up a new Joy and at the same time bought a Sadness doll and hid her at home.  It took...maybe....45 minutes before the Babe figured out where she was and got her little hands on her.

So....now, emanating out of the top bunk in the girls room as they fall asleep, we get to hear Joy AND Sadness having little funny conversations back and forth.   Isn't movie marketing gra…

Simpsons Lego Mini-Figs: Hans Moleman and Willie

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The girls are really into 'blind bags'.  You know...those toys that come in little packages and are part of a series but you don't know which one you'll get until you open it.  Between Shopkins (which I've talked about here) and My Little Pony, they like to open the little bags and get surprised.  Kind of like toddler gambling or toddler toy roulette.

Recently, we were at the Toy Store in Elmhurst and they spotted these Simpson mini figure Lego blindbags.  The Bird got Hans Moleman.  The Babe got Groundskeeper Willie.

They've quickly fallen out of grace in favor of ponies and unicorns with both girls.  Too bad for them.  Good for me I guess, as they're now adorning my desk.

I was saying "Boo-urns....".

So Long, Pauli's. Hello Elmhurst 255!

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If you drive down York Road towards the City Centre these days you can't help but spot the big demolition job taking place on the west side just south of the CVS/Panera.

Coming down are Pauli's gas station and a few other random buildings.  And in their place?  Something called the Elmhurst 255 built by Morningside USA.   From the listing on their site:

192 luxury rental units in downtown Elmhurst, two blocks from the Metra station12,000 sf of new retail space available Spring 2016, with 150 public parking spaces and outdoor cafe seating. Divisible 1,400-6,000 sf. Click for more information.Public event plaza with bandshell A public bandshell?  That's pretty cool.  The City Center lacks one important feature that all downtowns *should* have:  a gathering place.  Think place to light the town Christmas tree (I know, I know...we do one down by the police station, but...that's not quite right.), have free concerts, show movies, etc.  This may solve that?  If so, I'm…

Coloma Michigan Was Dickerville which Was Shingle Diggins

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Learned something from the new restaurant up in Coloma last week.  (More on the restaurant in a different post).

From the back of the beer menu (plus a few commas):
Dickerville was the name for Coloma from approximately 1836 to 1850.  Coloma was called Shingle Diggins prior to Dickerville.  It was home to lumber mills that hand split more than one million shingles.  After the lumber was all gone, the industry died and most people moved on.  Money was no good there due to the lack of industry so one had to dicker (barter) for goods and services.  This is when  the town took on the identity of Dickerville.  In 1850, the town was to be added to a national registry and receive a post office.  Not wanting to be known nationally as Dickerville, they decided on Coloma after Coloma California.  

Congrats to WUSA and Former Illini Coach Jill Ellis

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I'm clearly a day late here, but have to tell you that I was so excited to watch the euphoria that the Womens' team wore all over their faces and play on Sunday night.  I was texting Nat and the girls all throughout the game.  #PlayLikeaGirl

But, yesterday I found out little nugget - via Oskee Wow Wow Today - that makes me like the outcome even more:  Head Coach Jill Ellis is a former member of the Fighting Illini family.  She coached the womens' team in their inaugural season back in 1997.

Go Illini.  Congrats to Coach Ellis and whole team.

Permission Granted: Bugles for *This Guy*

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Hey....Nat can't complain about me cracking into this delicious bag of Bugles when we're up in Michigan, right?  I mean, it just *flat out* says that being a blogger grants me the right to devour these things.

There are certain things that 'remind' me of being in Michigan.  They're usually foodstuffs Bugles lead the pack.

Garage Sale Find: Vintage Christmas Tree Angel

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At one of the garage sales up in Coloma, I came across a tub of old Christmas stuff and as I usually do and dug out this tree topper angel.  She has a cardboard cone body and a porcelain head and is about 12" tall.  I picked her up and set her aside and kept looking to see if there was anything else in the tub worth picking.

When I set her to the side, the lady who was running the garage sale remarked "oh...I remember that angel!  My mom used to put that on top of our tree.  That brings me right back to my childhood.  We would put it up on our tree every year!".

I immediately thought...'ut oh.  She's sentimental about this thing, so she's going to either say that she didn't know it was in there and she doesn't want to sell it or tell a higher price like $10.'

So...I replied to her:  "Oh yeah.  That's neat.  So...how much do you want for her?"

Her answer?  "How about ten cents?"

A dime?!?  Seriously?  I ran to my car an…

Garage Sale Find: McCoy Coffe Cup Tree

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Found this $2 coffee cup tree with an owl on at at a Garage Sale up in Michigan and was surprised when I turned the mugs over and found this:  


There were four mugs and a little pitcher on the tree.  For two bucks!

But...alas....I passed.

Garage Sale Find: Crate of Horseshoes

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This whole crate of horseshoes was five bucks.  I've never come across a set of shoes like this with the leather on them and the spikes attached.  But....I passed.

Elmhurst Salt Creek Pottery Moving From City Centre?

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Spotted this "moving sale" sign hanging in the window of Salt Creek Pottery on North York Street in Elmhurst.  Salt Creek Pottery is (currently) located on York Street just north of where the Palmer underpass re-joins York by the Starbucks in the City Centre.  It is one of the very few businesses on the east side of the street between City Hall and the newish Yoga place on the northeast corner of Palmer and York.  The white-brick building is full of vacant store fronts and likely suffers from a lack of street-parking access that would encourage a lot more drive-up/walk-ins.

Anyone know where they're moving?  Another location in the City Centre?

Garage Sale Find: Vintage Baby Stork Cake Toppers

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These sets of blue and pink babies and storks were in a set of cake toppers that I came across at a garage sale  this week.  Two bucks for the whole set of them.  But...I passed.