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Showing posts from July, 2016

Ember Pizza And Wings: "Yes" On The List/App

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A few weekends ago, we stopped at a place called Ember in Harwich Port, MA and despite billing themselves as a coal-fired pizza place, I can tell you that we've added this place as a 'yes' on the Should I Get the Wings? list?   Come for the well-done pizzas, stay for the wings.

Oh...and I know that the list is super short right now, isn't it?  Yeah....I've been meaning to update it more - not to mention building the app!!! - but it keeps dropping down on my priority list!

Here's a look at the oven they have located right in the middle of their dining room.  It throws off quite a bit of heat:

Mr. T and Me: The Best Bike Ever

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Last weekend, I posted about the vintage Golden book that showed some sweet 1970's cars but above is another book that I picked up at the very same garage sale that is part of the "Mr. T and Me" series called The Best Bike Ever.

From Awful Library Books, you can see the synopsis:
The plot concerns a girl who spends more time washing and polishing her bike than riding it. When Mr. T makes an appearance at a local mall, her older sister steals the bike and dents the fender on her way to see him. To the younger sister’s horror, Mr. T grabs the bike and rides around gleefully, then lectures all the kids on honoring god rather than their possessions – I love how intently the kids are listening! Mr. T pops the dent out, lesson learned, everyone goes home a little wiser. The girls will love Mr. T, won't they?  #IPityTheFool

Gussied Up For A Cape Cod Wedding - Photo Booth Time

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Earlier this month, we got all gussied up in tuxedos and fancy dresses for a wedding and I gotta tell you:  there's nothing I like more than a good wedding reception photo booth.  We had one at our wedding a while back, and I try to make sure we pose for a few sessions whenever we come across one.  This wedding was no different, so we spent some time (well....I actually spent *more* time in there than Nat!) doing our thing.  I don't wear a tuxedo very often (gasp! I know!), so photos please!

Btw...for those keeping score at home *this* was my wedding tuxedo!  We're coming up on 8 years of marriage, so having this thing fit (everything!  The pants, the shirt, the jacket) was a nice thing and made me feel good about myself for a minute or two.  Also...this helped me amortize - in my mind - the cost of owning the tuxedo across at least another event.

Oh...the wedding?  It was pretty awesome.  Lots of tasty craft beer was served at various locations throughout the weekend an…

View From My Office: Lollapalooza 2016 Edition

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Welp, it looks like the festival is in town.  Over the next few days, tens of thousands of brave souls will hit these parks to take in a lot of great music and get sunburned.  We've been hearing the bass-lines warming up and testing the PA equipment all the way up on the 64th floor the past few days. and it has been fun to watch the stages unfold and the activity ramp up.  Alas...I'm no longer a festival guy and, once again, won't be in attendance.

I posted a photo of the Lolla 'aftermath' here on the blog last August.

But, I'm not a total went blanket.  I *do* have a history with Lollapalooza.  We went (twice, I think?) to the 'tour' version back in the Mid-1990's when it hit the World Music Theatre in Tinley Park when the Beastie Boys were involved and I was smuggling in food in the venue in my underpants.   Ah yes.  Those were the days.

Collecting Disney Lego Mini Figs

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I'm a sucker for Disney stuff.  And with our two girls getting into Legos and being totally addicted to anything in a 'blind bag', there might not be something that is more addictive in our house than these Lego Disney Mini Figures.  There's a set of 18 different Disney characters in what I think everyone is presuming is the first edition of multiple editions that came out earlier this year.

We've been picking up blind bags here and there, but I also went on eBay and bought a dozen bags.  The girls have begun to go through them, but we're no where near the full set.  No Ariel so far.  And like three Captain Hook's?!?!

But, we did get Ursula that you can see down below.  She's pretty great!
The whole Disney Vinylmation thing ran it's own course and we stopped buying them, but these feel different.  With a Mini Figure display in the works, these seem like something that the girls can get after.  If a second edition/season comes out (which...it jus…

Our New Fruit Press

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Well...we don't actually have it on hand, but I've cut a deal and my Dad is picking it up this week while he's in Coloma.

That's right, we're the proud owner of that beauty of an apple press.  I found it at a yard sale up in Coloma and after passing on it initially, we went back later in the afternoon only to find it closed.  The woman told me that they bought it from a farmer back in the 1970's but she had no idea how old it was.  It has two parts: a grinder in the box (that's the wheel on the side) and the 22 lb press on top (that's the handle on top).

Fortunately, the house was for sale, so I took a shot and emailed the agent with my story about wanting to reach the owner of the house she was selling to try to buy their apple press.  Well...a few days later a lady calls me and....yada, yada, yada....we now have an apple press.  (Or...we will have it this week when my Dad comes home from Michigan!).

And...yes...I yada-yada'd over the good part.

Meet Lucky - Our Family Goldfish

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Along side Ariel and Flounder, that orange and white fish on the left is our new pet: Lucky.  Well...his name *might* be Lovie because the Savage calls her that, but everyone else calls her Lucky.  She's been living in this two gallon bowl for the past few weeks after being 'won' (can we call it that?) at the Naperville Rib Fest.

This new 'pet' has, ummmm, been a source of disagreement around the family.  I've taken on the bulk of the burden of keeping her tank clean - which hasn't been super easy - but getting her at a carnival is a sort of 'loophole' that was exploited that I don't think was appreciated by senior leadership.  Add the fact that we've been out of our temporary home for five weeks and the burden has been shared across generations.

Over the next few days, we'll transition her back to Elmhurst and if she survives the multiple water changes, the car ride and the change of locations, then she's far hardier that I expec…

H-E-L-L-O From Whirlpool in St. Joe's

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Earlier this month, we spent some time up in Coloma for our annual July visit and as we normally do, we went out to St. Joe's for some Silver Beach Pizza and what-have-yous.  On this trip, we went a few times and spent time both down below the bluff and up on top in town.  I covered one of the stops earlier this week with our visit to Silver Harbor Brewing Company.

St. Joe's always has public art and this year is no different.  The theme is 'beach bugs' and there are lots of little statues/art that kids can climb on and have fun, but one of these bugs is a bit different.

It is a caterpiller that was built by a team at Whirlpool named H-E-L-L-O.  You can read more about the bug here.  It was built by a cross-functional team at Whirlpool.  The team that built this thing can be found here.

So...while it it *is* public art, this is interactive public art that takes your photo and then allows you to save it on your device.  There are instructions on the statue that tell …

Vintage Golden Book: My Little Book of Cars And Trucks

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Just like the Mr. T bicycle book I posted earlier this week, I picked up this sweet vintage Golden book for the kids at a garage sale for just $0.25.  The vintage cars and trucks alone made this un-passable.  If you look at the 3rd photo down, you'll see the 1973 date in the edition.  The cars are pretty sweet, but the work trucks and jeeps make this a keeper and worth adding to the 'vintage books' tag here on the blog.


Look at those rides?!?!?










Soldiers?  Criminals?




Silver Harbor Brewing Company - St. Joe's Michigan

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I have to tell you:  something just *had* to give in terms of St. Joe's Michigan restaurants.  I mean...the wait at Silver Beach Pizza sometimes gets to be like 2 hours on non-holiday weekends and sure...the pizza is great(!!!), but it also tells me that there's a huge unmet demand for eats in town.

Couple that dynamic with the craft beer movement and what pops out the other end is the new Silver Harbor Brewing Company that has opened recently in Downtown St. Joe's.  Silver Harbor has a taproom that opened up in a 100 year old building and is located on the 'other side' of the main drag through town.  You can comfortably park anywhere in town like near the bluff and still walk to Silver Harbor.  

We decided to bring all three kids and give this place a try on a Friday night.  They have a system of texting you when your table is ready, so we were given a 45 minute wait and we went to town to walk around and check out the public art.  Once we were texted, we were s…

Le Celle In Cortona - St. Francis Cell

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On our trip to Italy earlier this summer, we made a journey back to Cortona where we had spent some time a few years back.  It was interesting to be in a place that is so foreign, yet somehow feels familiar.  We hit up some of our old haunts, hung out in the two town squares and even took the kids to see Le Celle - a Franciscan Covenant that was started in 1211 and housed St. Francis of Assisi.  It is a pretty special place and once you arrive there and take it all in, you can quickly realize why people - even a long time ago - thought his place was special and magical.

This place had a big impact on Nat and I when we went the first time and (I think because of that!) St. Francis has a special place in our lives now, so taking everyone back was worth the effort.  If you find yourself in or around Cortona (which....I gotta tell you...just do it!), take the time to go to Le Celle.

The photo above is a Google Photosphere picture that I took of St. Francis' cell (his room) that is a…

July 2016 Wall Calendars Update

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Another month, another turn of the wall calendars at my office.  On the right, the University of Illinois calendar features the ACES Library (which, I think was built after my time) and on the right, one of the best animated movies of all time yet this list has at #11?!?!).  Looking at my Google Photos auto-upload library, I see that I took this photo above on the 8th of July, so even though today is the 20th of July, let's call this one turned on the 8th.

And a big swing here!  Last year, it was July 22nd that I turned the calendars a net of -14 days.

For those keeping track like I am:
January took 8 days to put up the calendar. I don't think I was tracking January last year. So let's call it a wash. (+0 Days)February took 16 days to put up the calendar. In 2015, I turned it over on the 17th. (-1 Days better)March took 8 days this year. In 2015, I turned them on the 10th. Posted on the 11th. So...that makes it -2 days better.April took just 7 days. I didn't post last…

Rothaus Coaster Added To Collection

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This Rothaus coaster that we used in Triburg, Germany is the 12th coaster in the Coaster Collection here on the blog.  We enjoyed a Rothaus Pils (which has a 91 on Beer Advocate) in the Black Forest right before we went off and checked out the cuckoo clocks all around tow.  We actually came away with one (or...we'll eventually have one), but I'll share that in a separate post later this week.

Full Coaster Collection here on the blog.

Santa Made In Occupied Japan - Garage Sale Find

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If you look closely at the mark on the bottom of this sled, you'll see the words "Made in Occupied Japan" and that's the very reason why I couldn't pass this Santa and reindeer by at a garage sale in Elmhurst a few weeks back.  I've posted many a time about the vintage Christmas stuff we've collected at garage sales, estate sales and antique stores here on the blog, and MOST of them have a little sticker on the back of the figures that reads 'Japan'.  But, this is the FIRST piece we've ever bought that says "Occupied Japan".

This story says that items marked this way were made in between 1945 and 1952 when the Allies 'occupied' Japan and to encourage the growth of the economy, we imported items during those years as long as they were marked thusly.

This is, I think, called celluloid and it is pretty delicate, but it still works.  When you roll this forward, the wheels under Santa move and ding a bell every time they roll a…

Mister Fantasy As Walt Disney's Italian Moniker?

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Spotted this font and logo treatment for "Mister Fantasy" on the side of the vending machine that was spitting out Italian Serie A Soccer balls in the main Plaza in Cortona.

Looks familiar, doesn't it?

Peroni Doppio Malto - Gran Reserve

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While in Italy, we had one of these bottles of Peroni at lunch on a recommendation from the waiter.  It was served in this very fancy beer glass:
And...it was really great!  But...the snobs over at Beer Advocate only gave it a 75.

2016 Silver Beach Carousel Tokens

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At the top of the photo are the front and back of the 2015 edition of the Silver Beach Carousel tokens that feature the lighthouse in St. Joe's.  And...on the bottom are this year's tokens featuring "Marcie" the lead horse on the carousel.

We were up there recently and took the kids on a few spins of the horses as we waited - as you do - for our table at Silver Beach Pizza.  The pizza is really good.  But two hours of waiting good?  I'm not so sure any more.  Thinking we might end up moving to takeout?

Adding this to the /coins tag page here on the blog.

Western Flyer Bicycle Found in Switzerland

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I came across this Western Flyer bicycle outside of a restaurant in Schaffhausen Switzerland at the beginning of July and I just *had* to stop to take a few photos of it.  It has a very retro feel to it, but was in remarkable shape for a bike that appears to be that old.
Poking around the web, I came across this listing for a Western Flyer Reproduction from the 1980's that looks awfully similar, so I'm thinking this one might be a reproduction, too?

Frankly, I don't care that it's a reproduction, I'm still in love.  Too bad that eBay listing is 'pick-up only' in Virginia or else I'd be tooling around town on this beauty before the summer ends.

Rhein Falls Schaffhausen

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Hey kids, look!  Rhein Falls!

The largest 'plain' (whatever that means) waterfall in all of Europe.  And it happens to be in (or very near as far as I can tell) the very town that my sister and Equation Boy/Man are living.  My sister took us out there for a bit and we had quite the time.  We went on the little, flat bottomed boat and it got a bit hairy (at least for me) as the captain turned the boat sideways right INTO the current.  I could have sworn we were going to capsize and I held on for dear life.  I was quickly doing the mental math of which child to grab and as I looked around figuring out where the kids where, I quickly realized that all the rest of the tourists were acting naturally, smiling, taking photos of the grand falls.  And it was, sadly, just me freaking out about...apparently....nothing.

Taking The Ferry on Lake Como

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Welp, we didn't see George and Amal, but we did see these sweet boats in Varenna and had a great meal in Bellaggio.  We stayed in Menaggio in a house that was called the White Villa, yet was a super bright orange color.

Seems that Lake Como is a lot like Hawaii in one regard:  it is *everything* that everyone tells you it is.  Just a very special place on earth.

Italian Soccer Balls In Their Vending Machines

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That right there is a foam-ish miniature soccer ball.  And it came out of a vending machine.  In Cortona, Italy.  Yeah...kinda neat.  No gumballs.  No chiclets.  But a soccer ball.

This one is from SSC Napoli - which is a club out of Naples that plays in the top league in Italy, but we tried the machine a few times and got other teams like AC Milan and Roma.


We have a ball-crazy boy in our house these days so this was a perfect fit for us during our visit.

But, it has me wondering if this is a chicken-or-the-egg-thing?  Meaning...are they soccer...errr....sorry football crazy as kids because they love it or is the culture make them football-crazy because it is pushed at them like with these vending machines?
Either way, the Boy was happy!