While I didn't get to 365 posts here on the blog for 2014 (this will be post #94 for the year), I did write almost 1000 posts on a different blog and 33 more posts on the family blog. So...I did leave a mark online in plenty of places. I figured I'd flex those blogging muscles on this new year's eve so I can hit the ground running quickly tomorrow and try to get back on track for 365 posts for 2015. The last time I did that was 2011 and 2010 when I wrote a post every day. I got to 30 posts in January of last year but then with the primary election I quickly lost steam on this personal blog when my other writing (can we call it that?!?) picked up. We're going to be celebrating the way we celebrate every year with ice cream sundaes, but this time we'll have a fifth participant. Well...he won't exactly be participating, but he'll be here.
Showing posts from 2014
Found this 'alternate footage' on YouTube this am of The Last Waltz. Sound is pretty great. Keeping the tradition alive. This is the 10th year of 'documenting' it via this here blog. Well...not 10 posts, but the first one was back in 2004, so this is the 10th year of sorts. Looks like this makes 8 of 10 years. Not too bad. Here's my post from 2013 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2012 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2011 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2010 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2007 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2005 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2004 on The Last Waltz .
Along with all three kids, a Grammy, an Aunt Sisi and one nephew, we went down to the Randolph Street Market to score some vintage Christmas stuff this weekend. (and yes...we did take the Swagger Wagon, thank you very much.) I'll document the new additions to the Christmas gallery later this week once they get set up into spots.
We picked up these guys (and Rudolph!) at Menards over the past few weekends. They each have a belt buckle that you can push and make them say their catchprashes (like..."now....this won't hurt a bit."). There are four of them in total that you can purchase: Hermey, Rudolph, Yukon and Santa. We had three, but not Santa. The issue? Inside each of the boxes is a 'puzzle piece' that you put together and get a special order code for a exclusive Bumble figure that you have to mail away to receive. Think of this as kind-of a new-age "D-R-I-N-K Y-O-U-R O-V-A-L-T-I-N-E". We *had* to get the Bumble. *Had* to. So...off to Ebay I went. Found a Santa for a bit more than they sell them at Menards and I pulled the trigger. We're waiting on him to arrive (hopefully today!) and then the girls and I will assemble the puzzle and see how we can get the Bumble.
I am the KING of stripped screws. Putting screws in. I strip them. Taking screws out. I strip them. We're getting some painting done and I had to take down some bookcases. I took out a bunch of the screws, but encountered one last one: and it was awfully stripped out. But...fortunately...I had this little kit on hand called "Speedout" . See that screw in the top photo? That's AFTER I finally got it out of the wall. Thanks to the Speedout . The Speedout is a series of 2-sided bits. You pop the "a" side into your drill/drive and you bore a slightly bigger 'hole' into the screw head. Then, you flip the bit over and use the 'b' side to 'grab' the screw out. I received the Speedout from my in-laws for my birthday earlier this year and I had not used it before this weekend. Now? I'll keep it in my work-bucket and use it all the time. Watch this video. I swear...this was my exact experience.
I was walking through City Hall this morning and came across this Mayor Jane Byrne memorial set-up. On each of the end tables there was a book and nice pen where people can leave greetings for the Byrne family. In the minute or so I stood there, a handful of people walked up and checked out the book, but none of them signed it.
These three little music-box carolers were too neat to pass up. They play 'Jingle Bells' as they turn and they came in their original box (see it below). Someone - back in the day - bought this at LeeWards in Elgin for $4.49. It is a bit delicate, but since it is a music box, it seems like these guys need to be 'out' and not tucked into the glass cabinet with all the other treasurers so folks can hear the tune and see them spin.
It wasn't all felt and cardboard that we bought last weekend in the latest binge on vintage Christmas stuff. We also bought some pottery - which is what the bulk of our collection is made of currently. These little guys have a nice Japan sticker on their bottom and are all smiles as they carry a big present away to their next Christmas party.
We also picked up this little guy over the weekend from AA in Naperville. He's not a Santa (which I give preference to), but he is awfully cute. With arms made out of pipe cleaners and bedazzled in glitter, he'll look great right next to rest of our vintage Christmas finds like that Christmas Tree lighter .
We picked up these two little guys over the weekend as part of a big vintage Christmas haul from Affordable Antiques in Naperville. They're, unfortunately, not destined to have a permanent home in our place. Nope. I bought them with someone very particular in mind as they kinda remind me of something from my childhood Christmases past. I think they'll make a nice St. Nicholas' Day gift...
Menards comes out with a handful of Lionel O-Scale train cars each year. They typically are Menards-related like flatcars with a Menards pick-up truck on it or a car with roof trusses on it or something. But...this year...they came out with a new military-themed car. It had a tank on it. And...they even included a backstory. I guess these aren't really meant for kids (the whole train thing is for middle-aged and older dudes like myself?) but the politicizing ('the vast military background' of the President) seems strange? I don't mind it, and guessing.....the majority of Menards' shoppers don't mind it, but....seems odd, right?
Over the weekend, we picked up this "North Pole Communicator" for the girls. Add another 'activity' to the list of daily Christmas-related things during the month of December. And...I'm not unhappy about that. The story with this thing is: you set the internal clock to the date/time. Then...each day the girls can try to tune into the right frequency and 'communicate' with the elves each day. There's a cartridge in the bottom that contains little sound snippets. The trick is that it only plays ONCE each day (when you tune in that day) and doesn't go back or forward. Think of it as kind of an advent calendar of sorts. The 'stay tuned' message that gets played right now (until December 1st) is cute (but loud) so I'm hopeful that the full month of messages will be interesting and worth waiting for...
Took this photo as I walked by this morning. Even though I refuse to call this place Macy's, I still get excited to see the windows get all decked out for Christmas. Brings back all sorts of warm/fuzzy childhood feelings... For the past few years, we've taken the girls down to the Walnut room and then spend a bit of time pressing our faces up against the glass to see what they've cooked up. Even though I refuse to acknowledge Macy's and still call it Marshall Field's, I have to admit they have done a nice job with the windows since the acquisition. Here's hoping they keep it up!
This year's total: 308 trick-or-treaters. That's down from last year's number of 326 . (the numbers in parenthesis are last year's numbers) As you can see, the 'neighborhood kid' number was up 7 from last year, but the 'non-neighborhood kids' number dropped by more than 10%. Have to believe that's because of the weather. In 2013, we had 326 total . In 2012, we had 327 total. In 2011, we had 269 total . In 2010, we had 236 total . In 2009, we had 184 total .
On Thursday night, we packed up all three kids and drove over to Carol Stream where a family has set up a pretty incredible Halloween set-up. It is called "Canyon Trail Cemetery" and...they live on a street named Canyon Trail. The yard is chocked full of pneumatic-driven creatures that pop out at you. The details are here on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CanyonTrailCemetery . The folks who own the house sit out front and don't ask for anything to check it out. There is a place for canned food donations and cash donations to a Dalmatian rescue fund. They couldn't be more nice. We asked how long it took to set up and the guy said he starts the last week in September and then takes a full week off of work to get it going. Pretty incredible stuff. (Like Richard Kristie...) They really, really, really love Halloween.
On Tuesday, I'm asking you to join me and Natalie in voting for Tom Cross for Illinois Treasurer. I said this about Tom Cross back in March right ahead of the Primary and it still holds true : Natalie and I have had the pleasure of knowing Tom for more than a decade and having worked directly for him for about half of that time. Head over to his website to learn more about his campaign. Or check out this graphic to see what else others in Illinois politics have to say about Tom Cross. But know this: there isn't a more hardworking, honest or loyal man on the ballot. The State of Illinois needs help from good people and while we're all tired of hearing the negative ads, the end is near. To get there, we need to support - now more than ever - leaders who are willing to work together and get real results. Tom Cross is an unique leader in that he's bucked his party, charted his own course and has done what he believes is right. And that's why he's
We've lost six or so pumpkins (that we grew ourselves!) on our front porch to critters this year and after the girls had carved their pumpkins last night, I figured we had to find a way to make them last until Friday. First....I filled a spray bottle with bleach and hit every 'cut' surface. We'll see if that does anything to stop the mold? Then...as you can see...I took out a little bit of fencing and wrapped them up. You can't eat what you can't get to, right? Come and try me, squirrels. I dare you.
Another loss in Downtown Elmhurst as Leonard's Fine Mens Clothing store is 'quitting business forever'. Have to admit that I've never stepped foot in the place, so I'll take some of the blame, but this is another open storefront in the City Center and one less reason for some folks to head down there. Sad for the business. Sad for Elmhurst.
I've tried growing pumpkins for a few years and either mold or critters ruin the fun. This year, I saw a few promising 'fruits' that had blossomed and I decided to try to keep the critters away with some fencing. This is the biggest pumpkin that I've ever grown that doesn't have a single nick in it from squirrel teeth. Gnome for size reference...
We've been picking one or two strawberries off our little plants almost every other day the past few weeks. This morning, I went out and peeked at the blueberry plant and it had some ripe ones that came off the branch so easily. I planted this bush just about a year ago and it started to pay off in this small amount this year. I had to put a small fence around the bush as it kept getting eaten by rabbits (the bush) and that was causing it some stress. The berries last year were all picked away by birds, so this year the fence helped big time. Nat wants more, so I'm going to see if I can find another few bushes and plant them - permanently - in the garden.
In addition to the Jack-O'-Lantern seeds that I planted over the weekend , I also put in these Big Moon seeds right in the same area. From the look of the seed packet, these are supposed to grow big but have a neat shade of orange on the flesh that give these a bit more romantic look to them. I've put in 2 different 'hills' of the seeds, so once the seedlings emerge, I'll thin them down to 3-4 strong growers and hope to stay on top of them as they grow. I'm thinking I should invest in some of these pedestals for these guys this year.
I put these seeds in the ground this weekend. They list 110 days until maturity which would put me right around the first of October. That's a tad early, but I've always seen my pumpkins lag behind as the temperatures start to drop in September. Will this *finally* be the year that we grow enough big pumpkins to carve ourselves? Every year I think I've figured it out and every year we go to Sonny Acres to buy pumpkins come October.
Saw three of them flying south from my office window on Monday. One peeled off to circle around the lake. The other two landed in the parking lot just south of Soldier Field right north of the black McCormick Place building. Has to be related to the First Family, right? There wasn't anything on the news about the President or First Lady being in town, but what else could it have been?