Showing posts from January, 2016

Nippon Sharyo Factory In Rochelle

I've long wondered why we see so many non Chicago-area transit cars on our rails around the western suburbs, but on a drive to Iowa recently, I think I've finally figured it out.  There's a HUGE Nippon Sharyo factory in Rochelle, Illinois.  I snapped this photo of one of the massive buildings as I drove by, but there were *at least* two of them with track laid right next to the building.  They call it 'rolling stock', which I think means everything but locomotives.

The Metra cars are marked with Nippon Sharyo and I'm guessing so are these MTA North line cars that I spotted on the Union Pacific West line back in 2012.

Vintage Swedish Party Chimes

Saw these Party Chimes - which appear to be a metal set of bells that hang above taper candles - at an antique store recently.  Kind of like a German Pyramid but with music, I guess?  The heat from the candles causes some part of the metal to move and strike the bell it appears.

These didn't come home with me, but now you know that $10 is the 'going price' if you come across them again.

Huzzah! Crunchy Rice Rollers Back At Costco

For a certain segment of our house ( really is the entire household but me), this is a big deal:  These Crunchy Rice Rollers from Bamboo Lane are back at Costco.  I took the King of the Ball Tossers to the Melrose Park Costco over the weekend and we stocked up.  I think he ate three on the way home.

Put A #FlatRonnie On My Door At Work

He joins the cast that includes a Dilbert or two and some other random web-weirdness.  This can't hurt my reputation around the office, right?  #FlatRonnie

Elmhurst 255 Apartments Going Up Fast

Back in July, I took a photo of the demo on the site of the new massive apartment complex being built on the west side of York Street, just south of Panera.  The City of Elmhurst has been calling this the "Hahn Street Project" for years, but Morningstar, the developer, is calling it Elmhurst 255.

That crane out front has been lifting sections of this development into place for the past few months and now it looks (from the sketch in this pdf) that at least this section of it has topped out.  Let's call it about half of the building is up.  The entire first floor, which will be retail and maybe parking(??), is up, but I think they're going to build a bit more out closer to the street/sidewalk area when it is done.

192 apartments.  Seems like a lot, right?  But, if it works, won't it be nice to have even more foot traffic for downtown?

My Clifton Strengthsfinder Signature Themes

As part of my work with a new client, I - as well as my entire team - took a survey to help everyone understand each others themes of talent.  As you can see above, my #1 strength is positivity.   Yes....seriously...positivity.    Thought that was really interesting and something that Nat will tell you she doesn't agree with most of the time.

This was a useful exercise and something I'm going to have to share with the team this week as I meet more and more people.  Placing it here so I can reference it and find it if I forget the order/importance when people ask me about it during my interactions with the client team over the coming weeks and months.

Along with the delivery of my themes, I also received little snippets on each one.  There are tons of themes and while I only inspected the five that were selected for me, I think they reflect accurately how I fit into an organization and how I can best leverage my talents in building a team and delivering strong outcomes.


Sheldon and Leonard and Penny's Cheesecake Factory In Pasadena

That right there is the Cheesecake Factory in Old Town Pasadena.   CalTech is located in Pasadena.  That makes this the place that Penny from Big Bang works, right?

At least, that's what my father-in-law says.   So, of course, I couldn't walk by it without taking a photo.  Alas...while Pasadena was pretty great, we avoided this place and instead spent our lunchtime at Slater's 50/50 and had some very excellent Vampire Dip.

Silver Beach Pizza Upstairs Expansion Complete

Just a bit over one year ago, I posted a photo of the new expansion at Silver Beach Pizza in St. Joseph Michigan here on the blog.  They were said to be adding 70 new seats to this place that is ALWAYS packed.

On our trip earlier this year in January up to Coloma, we - of course - made a trip to St. Joe's for a little Garlic Greek goodness. While there, I took some time to peek up at the new upstairs addition.  It is a 21-and-older area, which...I'll be honest...I'm not sure what it means.

As I said, this place is always packed.  Tuesday afternoon.  There's a wait.  Saturday night.  There's a wait.  So, the new 70 seats will certainly help, but I'm uncertain of the impact on us.  And..since this is *my* blog, this post needs to be about me, right?

Well, since it is a 21-and-older section, that means we're not going up there.  We're only ever at Silver Beach Pizza with our kids, so we're not allowed.  But, I'm hoping that the hostesses at the …

Club 33 At Disneyland

When we were at Disneyland, we made a stop in for lunch at one of the restaurants in New Orleans Square.  While waiting for our table, Nat and I took turns going to the bathroom while the other watched the kids.  Nat went first and when she came back, she pointed out that the infamous Club 33 door was on the way between where we were sitting and the bathrooms.  Of course, I had to investigate.

Turns out, there isn't much there.  Just this ornate doorbell/intercom with the number '33' on it.  The story of the Club is of course, interesting.  And, while everyone's imagination goes wild all around the Disney Parks, this secret place that so few get to go ilicits so much ooo-ing-and-ahh-ing from the savvy Disney park visitor.  For everyone else...they probably walk by the non-descript door and not think twice about the shrimp cocktails and manhattans that are being consumed upstairs will the great unwashed devours our Monte Cristo sandwiches at the New Orleans Cafe.  Hey…

So Long, 830 Overlook Court East

I wrote back in December about how my parents moved out of our home.  The only home I've ever known.  They moved in there - after building this place - in 1976 (I think.  Might have been 1975?  Either way...before I was born.).

That's me and my three sisters along with my Mom and Dad taking one last photo in front of the 'house on the hill'.  My sister Vic wrote a very nice post on the Facebook about her memories that I can't top, but this milestone is hitting me with a long drip of melancholy.  It wasn't a full blast of sadness/memories when they sold and moved.  But now?  The idea that my parents have parted with their house keeps cropping up in my mind.  Perhaps it is because we're going through the house purchase/finding side of things ourselves.  Thinking that where ever we end up is going to be our 'forever house'.  This *was* my parents 'forever house'.  And it was a good one.

The house holds many memories.  From holidays to workin…

Beware The Valet Lane At The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles

If you're ever looking to risk your life when arriving at a hotel stay, then look no further than the Valet pull-up at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.  Or...DTLA as they're saying these days.

I took that photo after getting out of the front seat of our rental car minivan while attempting to unbuckle one of the kids from their carseat in the back seat.  There's about 18 inches of space once the sliding door is open between the light grey area of pavement and the line of traffic on Broadway that zooms by at pretty decent speeds.

The drivers on Broadway don't give much bother to you, so you're basically taking your life into your own hands when you're valet parking at the Ace Hotel in DTLA.

So Long, Plass Appliance In Downtown Elmhurst

If you head over to Downtown Elmhurst today, you'll find this enormous hole in the ground at the site of the old Plass Appliance building on York Street.  It appears that the plan for the "York Building" - which includes condos upstairs and retail on the first floor is moving forward fast.

With the Plass building down, it sure does make that building that holds Nu Crepes look better/more accessible, right?  Hopefully, the design of the new York Building will make that walkway/alley a bit more pedestrian friendly. the new garage back there should mean more foot traffic.

Found In My Old Trunk - Lemax Animated Saw Mill Building

A week or so ago, we cleaned out the trunk of Nat's old Honda Accord, which has been sitting in the alley at Equation Boy/Man's house for the past 8 months.  It is being transitioned to a new owner who will be able to utilize the car and we couldn't be more happy for that.   But, one of the happy by-products of cleaning out the car and getting it ready for the new owner was discovering some long-lost treasures.  One of them was a bouncy horse that needs a few springs to get back operational.

But another was this Lemax Animated and Exterior Lighted Saw Mill from Menards.  I must have bought this two Christmas'es ago.  Maybe it was post-Christmas when they go on sale?  I can't recall, but I know that I usually won't add a new building to Mantleburg unless it is either awesome or super cheap.

Mantleburg didn't come out this year because of our housing situation but once we figure out where we're going to end up, I'm certain that we'll have a nic…

Vintage Enesco Santa Chimney Planter - 2015

That's Santa sliding down what looks like a handle protruding from a chimney adorn'd with a wreath.  There's a lot going on there, eh?  I added this little Enesco pot to the collection and I'm thinking this was a florist piece back in the day where someone would send an arrangement in this pot with a handle.  For us?  It'll probably become a candy cane holder.  But, in order to see the light of day, we have to figure out housing situation out for 2016.  That's an emerging theme.  Can you tell?!?!

BTW...this appears to be the final post about this vintage Christmas haul from 2015/2016's trip to Michigan.   Lucky you guys, right?

Spaghetti Trim Vintage Santa Candleholder

At some point, I had a focus on spaghetti-trim'd Santas and was diligent about trying to add them - and only them - to the collection.  But that quickly goes out the window when I see a garage sale find that I can't pass up.

But, when I *do* come across a spaghetti-trimmed Santa like this candleholder, we just *have* to buy it.  He's marked nicely with a 'Japan' sticker on the bottom and he likely had a partner that didn't make it over the years.  I'll be watching to see if we can ever find his partner so we can end up with a proper set one of these days.

Vintage Santa Ornament - 2015

This Santa is both an ornament AND something that could be a tabletop decoration as someone has put a little base with green 'feet' on the bottom of his glass ball.  I really like this guy as he's kind of a mash-up of Santas with felt bodies + Santas with pipecleaner arms + a vintage glass ornament.

He, too, was bought up in Michigan at the first of the year.

He'll look great next to the rest of our Santas next year.

Vintage Nativity Christmas Ornament

Another day, another vintage item from the Great Lakes Antique Market.  This time, it is a vintage plastic nativity scene ornament that has what looks like a 'wise man' and his camel.  We have a few of these plastic ornaments with cut-outs on our tree and I really like them - both for their look, but also because they can handle a bit more abuse than a normal vintage glass ornament can.  The kids are savages when it comes to handling the tree every year.

Hold Howard Vintage Santa Coffee Pot

Take a look at this Santa beauty from Holt Howard.  It is an electric coffee/tea pot that is being sold on Ebay for $120.00.  Let's just say we didn't pay *that* much.    His face is faded, but other than that, he's in great shape.  His top - which is a Santa hat - is there, but the plug isn't.  Don't think that's too terrible of a thing because we're never going to put him into service I would think.  We have some Santa mugs that we've picked up at various garage sales that seem to match him, so maybe we'll end up collecting a 'set' as it were.

I can't wait to get our house/home so we can start to think about what Christmas looks like next year.  That's my northstar right now:  get our program going on the house/home so we can have Christmas to look forward to in 2016.

Say Hello To The Vintage Pirate Snowman Ornament

Maybe my favorite item from this year's post-Christmas vintage haul is this guy here:  a pirate snowman.  I mean...guys....who doesn't adore a vintage pirate snowman.  Complete with eyepatch and gold ring in his year.  And that swasbucklin' belt?  Perfect.

He's marked "Made in Japan" and will be a welcome addition to our tree next year right next to these two vintage beauties.

Kurt Adler Vintage Santa Yo-Yo

Every year, we spend NYE up in Michigan and one of the things that we regularly do is to head to the Great Lakes Antique Market to gobble up some Christmas savings.  They normally have some of the booths marked down (sometimes 50% off) for Christmas stuff.

We've picked up pots and planters and other stuff in years past.  If you look in January of 2015 or 2014 or 2013, you'll always see a string of 'vintage Christmas' posts.  And this January will be no different.

Consider this the first of a few 'haul' posts showing what we picked up this year.  Starting...with this - which is a first for us - a yo-yo.  He was just too cute to not buy for $0.50.  He's marked 'Kurt S. Adler INC, New York, NY Made in Hong Kong'.

The yo-yo is kinda like the little Santa pin we bought last year.  Doesn't quite fit in with the normal collection, but irresistible (and priced right!) so we couldn't pass it up.
How could he not come home with us, amirite?

So Long, Accord (And My First Foray Into Sirius!)

Over the weekend, we finally handed over Nat's Honda Accord and as part of that process, I had to clean it out.  I'd be the one who most recently drove the car, but it hasn't been regularly used for a number of years.  We bought our first larger car back in the fall of 2009 and that's when this car became the '2nd car' and we got rid of my very first car - my Toyota Camry.

When we got the van last year, the Accord got parked and stayed there until this weekend.

Amongst the things I peeled out of the car was this Sportster Sirius radio.  I still remember how Natalie gave it to me for Christmas back in December of 2004 when Howard Stern was about to make the move to Sirius.  It spent some time suction-cupped to the dashboard of my Camry, then quickly was relegated to the cupholder.  Once I upgraded to the newer Accord, the Sportster came with me.

Lots of laughs were had with this thing.  But now, it's time has passed.  Between in-car Sirius and the mobile …

Mickey Waffles and Mickey Mouse Waffle Maker

Well, well, well.  Look at what Nat whipped up for breakfast.  While they're not quite as fluffy/big as the ones we can get at Captain Cook's (and that's mostly because of shape of the waffle maker wouldn't allow for it), but they were quite good.  Feels like a small piece of the pixie dust be sprinkled at home and the kids sure loved 'em.

Best Stocking Stuffer Ever?

Walking down York Street earlier this week, I found this torn-open package for some XL Fart Bombs.  I can imagine the delight this young lad had when Santa delivered these to him in his stocking and while he and his friends figured out who they could deliver the 'mega-stinkiness'. be ten years old again.

New Year, New Wall Calendars At The Office

Thanks to my mate Russell, I'm now the proud owner a a Pixar wall calendar that goes right along with my annual University of Illinois calendar.  I got in the office on Monday and I think these went up on Wednesday, so let's mark it as the sixth.

Here's all the posts showing the epic wall calendar updates from last year.

On the left is A Bug's Life art and on the right is a snow scene showing Green and Sixth Streets.  Here's a close-look of the title of the page below.  What is most interesting to me is that this 'place' is so foreign to me.  I've been gone 15 years (with mostly annual visits for Football games), but the amount of development that has taken place on Campus along Green Street is pretty amazing.

Tonight: Downtown Elmhurst Plan Review

Looks like tonight is your chance to get a look at the new Elmhurst Downtown Plan and provide some input.  According to the City's site, there will be both some review of the plan/open house followed by a presentation at 7:30 pm.
What is the Elmhurst Downtown Plan? The Elmhurst Downtown Plan will serve as the City’s official guide for land use and development in the Downtown area over the next 10 years. It will act as a “road map,” detailing a long-term vision and policy agenda for important issues such as land use, parking, and circulation. Ultimately, the Plan update answers “What should our Downtown look like in 10 years and how do we get there?” The consulting firm that the City of Elmhurst hired has posted the draft plans on their site, so even if you can't get to the meeting tonight, you can still check it out here.

Saugatuck Brewing Co - Coaster Collection

Add this front/back to the Coaster Collection here on the blog.  It was just late last month when I posted the Ted's coaster featuring a John Wayne quote.   This is the second or third time that we've been to the brewery and the beer and food were great.  I got the wings - and have added them to the [YES] column for my new app (more on that later.  Maybe.  Just maybe.) and we shared the hot pretzels, which were delicious.  We drank a flight of beers including one cider and the kids misbehaved as they always do at restaurants, amirite?!?

Twenty Eight & Main - Disney Gear For Dudes

Nat gave me a pair of pajama pants on Christmas Eve as part of her/her mother's annual Christmas Pajama tradition.  I have some pretty strict requirements as it relates to pajama pants.  I don't like fleece ones.  I don't like thick ones.  I don't like cuffs on the legs.  I like a thin pair of pants.  I won't wear them if they're more like sweat pants for the most part.  
So, when she gave me this pair, it was perfect.  They were thin, but they were also from this line called Twenty Eight & Main.  The 28 is from 1928 - the year Mickey Mouse debuted.  And the Main part is from the iconic Main Street USA in the parks.  
Here's the pants on the Disney Store.  And here's all the items from the 28 & Main collection.    The tags are pretty cute and old-fashion'y.  I'm not sure any 'discerning gentleman' would every find himself in a pair of pajama pants with a vintage Jungle Cruise logo on them, but let's not nitpick, right?

Back At It For 2016: View From My Office

Man-o-man.  The train was packed this morning and the office was full of people when I arrived at 815 am today.  Either people had cabin fever and wanted to get back to their regular schedule or people are like me and fired up to get started.  Let's sell some HR software, amirite?!?!

Here's the view from my office back in late November on the first snow.  Looks pretty similar. Aside from the lack of glisten in the eye of all the little people buzzing around getting ready for Christmas.  Now, the people in the photo above are just mindlessly milling around trying to get to their first cup of coffee to get the year started right.

So Long, Hamilton Lane (For now!)

...And thanks for all the fish.

And - frankly - for the hospitality for my family on and off over the past few weeks.  We're glad to get resettled, but I'll admit, I'm a bit sad about leaving this place.

At our current place, we rarely walk Maisy, rather, we just let her out into the back yard to 'do her business'.  But on Hamilton Lane, I put her on a leash and walked her down the block a few times a day.  And the best time was always at night when it was quiet and we could take in the lights of the neighborhood.

Thanks to the Inn Keepers at Hamilton Lane for welcoming my nomadic tribe with welcome arms.

Rebel Potato Chips - From Michigan

Due to there being a general disdain for any kind of potato chip in our household, I wasn't able to add these Rebel potato chips to the list of Michigan products that I'm now willing to purchase on our trips up to Coloma.  That list includes some soap, ice cream, hot dogs and sugar.  But I did, give it quite a long thought and wondered if I could sneak it by the Warden.
These are made in Wyoming, Michigan which is just outside of Grand Rapids.  Maybe next time?

Old Political Sponsor Sign - Found At My Parents House

As they were moving out, I came across this poster from one of my 2006 fundraisers when I was a Village Trustee in Frankfort.  Hard to believe that we're coming up on the 10 year mark of this time in my life.