Showing posts from March, 2016

#TBT To The Time I Was A Two-Time Pie Eating Champion

This photo - which like last week's was rescued from my old, abandoned Flickr archives is from September of 2005 when I was a Village Trustee in the Village of Frankfort and I was about to dominate the annual pie eating contest.  Yep...two time winner is *this guy*.   I don't remember if I won in 2004 and 2005 or 2005 and 2006.  But, as you can see by the kid next to me, it wasn't super top-notch eating talent.  And, if there's one thing I can do well, it is eat fast.  That's nothing new.  It was just being in a position to eat banana cream pies in a competition that brought out that talent.  I remember smelling banana pudding for a long time after these things.  I also remember the winning award:  a year's worth of pies from Enrico's.  Natalie and I used to go in there once a month, pick up a pie and bring it to my folk's house.  My dad loved those banana cream pies!

CAA Cherry Circle Bar

Back a couple of weeks, I met my childhood friend Neil at the Chicago Athletic Association building for a few beverages and some what-have-yous.  We got the full tour of the place from the drawing room to the game room to the new rooftop place called Cindy's.  We didn't however, get into the Cherry Circle Room.  It didn't open until 5.  

The Cherry Circle is a place that I've been before.  In fact, it was likely one of my few times when I was served in a bar before I was 21.  My oldest sister was married back in the 90's at the CAA and I remember spending time with her soon-to-be-husband and his wedding party in the Cherry Circle the morning of the wedding.  I really like what the new owners of the place have done with the place.  They've kept everything that was wonderful with the old CAA and breathed a lot of new life into the place.  It is funky and weird, but not so off-putting as a place like the Ace Hotel in DTLA is for me.  I'd gladly go back and s…

Haunted Mansion Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Pin 2015 Version

I was going through some of the pins from our trip late last year to the Disney Parks recently when I came across a batch of pins that are all from our visit to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  This one, is marked 'Limited Edition', but I don't really know what that means.  Limited Edition in that only people who go to the parks during the party limited?  Or like a certain number of them are made limited?  Either way, this one was a must-buy for me.  It will go on one of the girls' pin boards once those are set-up.  Combining Christmas with these Haunted Mansion ghosts?  There's room for 999 more pins on that board, right???

A Boy And His First Bat And Ball

I swear we've done nothing different between the three kids in regards to sports and balls.  But The King of the Ball Tossers is really living up to his name:  he's drawn, almost magically, to sports balls of all kind.  Here he is, strapped into his car seat with his ball and bat.  He wouldn't let me take it out of his hands!

Vintage Tinsel Christmas Tree Angel

A few weeks back, Nat and I stopped into Affordable Antiques in Naperville to just poke around.  On that day, we came home with exactly nothing.  But that's not because there wasn't some interesting things to see there.  There were.  I think that we just weren't in the mood to actually buy anything.  Between the housing situation and the numerous unknowns ahead of us, it just isn't a time in our lives to be able to bring home treasures.

One of those treasures that I came across was this lovely vintage Christmas Angel tree topper.  I've posted about other Angels that we have here.    This one priced at $36 seems pretty steep to me, but she is pretty awesome.  She's in great shape, but has had her 'cone' under her tinsel skirt rebuilt, which for purists might be a problem, but is totally fine for me.  She has the usual pipe cleaner-arms, but it is her skirt that makes her shine.  She's not destined for our tree, but I'm sure she'll find a ho…

Canadian National O-Gauge Boxcar From Menards

Menards has been doing a really great job of churning out some interesting O Gauge rolling stock over the past few years.  This car above is from the Canadian National and if you look closely has a little mark to the right of the door that says 'Built by Menards 2015'.  My oldest sister has been working in the railroad industry for a long while.  First for the Chicago and Northwestern.  Then the Union Pacific.  And now the Canadian National.   She keeps a few O Gauge cars in her office.  Have to think that this one would fit in well.

And that might be the best use of these Menards cars, in my opinion.  Looks.  The couplers kinda suck.  They roll really nice and once you have them set up and connected, there's very few problems.  But, they're NOT high-quality couplers and NOT Lionel couplers.  They sell these cars pretty cheap.  Like $20 for each one and less if you buy 6 of them or something like that.  Can you imagine having a layout that would allow for your train …

Hilarious/Sad Dog Parade Headline

Listen...before you tell me I'm evil, I have to tell you that we have a dog and are totally dog people.  We were there with you crazy people buying our dog fancy collars and bowls and what-have-yous.  Right up until we had kids.  Then Maisy...who I adore...just took a backseat.

So...with that out of the way, can we all get a little laugh out of this headline from the local paper?  Dog Flu cancels the Dog Parade?!?  Kinda funny, right?  And the second year in a row?!?!

Carry on with your dog-loving self.

#TBT - Hizzoner At The Cell

A week or so ago, I came across this story on Wired entitled: "How to get your photos off Flickr (and where to put them)" that made me try to figure out how to get into my long-ago-abandoned Flickr account.   Once I gained access, I found that I had a few thousand photos there that I'd long forgotten about.  Ranging in dates from January of 2002 all the way up until October of 2008.  

Flickr has made it *somewhat* easier to pull them down.  You can batch download them, but if you get too greedy and select too many photos to download at a time, it gets flaky and the whole thing grinds to a state of constant stalling.  But, after a few trials/errors, I found a good groove of pulling down a few months at a time, unzipping those folders, then using the Google Photos Uploader to put each batch up to Google Photos.  There's a bunch of stories that go with the photos that I've unearthed and because what the kids are doing these days are #Throwback Thursdays, I figure …

Chicago Athletic Association Menu

I'm pretty sure they changed the logo.  Could the Rickett's have drawn a line in the sand??

More about this place soon.  I did post about the cider I had there, though!  But...just wait for the full story.

Macy's Flower Show Takes Over State Street Windows

If you wonder by Marshall Field's errrr  Macy's on State Street today, you'll see some pretty cool windows being displayed that celebrate the Macy's Flower Show that takes place on the 9th floor.  Gotta be honest...if the windows are any indication, the show must be spectacular.   The window above is on the Randolph Street side (right around the corner from State) and focuses on the American Southwest.  Pardon the glare, but if you look closely, you'll see a bunch of cacti and succulents in a wide array of shapes/sizes.  It made me stop in my tracks to peek at.

And below is the northern-most window on State Street that highlights 'The City' and features a little rooftop balcony scene with pots and a bunch of tropicals.
They've created these 'cards' on their site that show the 8 different areas.  Here are three of them to show you how well they're done.  The Pacific Northwest Wonderland.  The Vast Southwest.  And the Shining Northeast Shor…

Vander Mill Blue Gold Cider

I had one of these tasty cans of Vander Mill Blue Gold Michigan Cider last week and it was a tasty combination of apples and blueberries.  Both from West Michigan.  Vander Mill looks to be from close to Grand Haven on the west coast of Michigan.  Further up the lake than Coloma/St. Joe's is, so I'm not to familiar with them or the place.  I've been drinking more and more ciders and based on the menu expansion, I'm not the only one.  I had this one over ice and that's the way I normally roll with ciders.  Maybe that's why I'm into them?  Can't have a craft beer on ice and not get sideways looks from the waxed mustache'd crowd.  But ciders?  Nobody bats an eye.

Pretty Sure My Busia Had One Of These

This.  Yes...This.  Weird spaghetti trim poodle thing.  Somewhere rattling around the back of my brain is a memory of something like this sitting on the floor of my Mom's Mom's house when I was a kid.  In fact, I think there were a pair of them together.  I don't have a focused memory of them, but just when some sort of connection to them.  When I passed these by in the antique store, I just *had* to pick them up.  Drawn to them.  No...not for our house.  But just to travel back to my youth for a moment to be back in 'Da Boosch's" house.  Sitting on her plastic-covered furniture.  Eating little ice cream treats.  And staring at these weird dogs.  Yes...weird dogs.

Village of Frankfort Is Getting A Movie Theatre

According to this piece by Patrick Guinane of the Chicago Tribune Daily Southtown, Mayor Jim Holland and the Board of Trustees in Frankfort have approved a new upscale movie theatre to come to town and occupy the now-vacant Dominick's store on LaGrange Road.  From the story: The Village Board voted 4-0 to approve Emagine Entertainment's proposal to build a 10-screen theater inside the former Dominick's grocery store at 19965 S. LaGrange Rd.The vote came after a silent public hearing on a long-term plan to borrow $60.5 million to modernize the village's sewage treatment system, which could get a final vote at the March 21 board meeting.The luxury theater, which will feature online reserved ticketing, powered reclining seats and beer and wine, drew rave reviews from Frankfort officials."It's been a long time since a project has garnered this much interest," said Trustee Cindy Heath, who expressed hope the theater would bring more showings of independent fil…

Magnolia Tree Budding - 2016

At our old place, one of our neighbors had a big Magnolia tree that would bloom in early Spring and provide some very pretty flowers.  Now that we're down the block at Equation Boy/Man's place, we get to enjoy one of these trees for ouselves.  These fuzzy things are the emerging buds of their well-groomed Magnolia bush.  Spring continues to be full of nice little sneak peeks of what is to come around this house.  It also has me thinking about fall bulb planting and the planning that comes with it.

Symptom Of The Larger Problem For The Republican Party In Illinois?

On Tuesday, this is what the backside of my ballot looked like for the race for Precinct Committeeman.  We're in York Township and as you can see above, there wasn't anyone on the ballot for Precinct Committeeman.  Nobody even wanted the job.  It probably takes ten signatures to get on the ballot.  Really says something about the York Township Republicans, doesn't it?  I don't know if this is/was an isolated incident, but I'm guessing it wasn't.  And that other precincts had no one on the ballot for Committeeman.  I've run for Precinct Committeeman down in Frankfort Township.  Three times, I think.

And it really is a thankless job.  The Township Party organizations meet like once a month and it is of varying degrees of usefulness.  When done right, a Precinct Committeeman can be the connective tissue between candidates and his/her neighbors.  They're the ones who can deliver a sample ballot, some materials and be the one who can source yard sign locat…

Suffragette - Art @ York Theatre For April 2016

This month, it was Trumbo starring Bryan Cranston for the Art @ the York Theatre showing.  But, if you walk past the Theatre today, you'll see that they're already advertising for the April showing which will be the film Suffragette.

Suffragette will show on the 2nd Wednesday of April:  April 13th at 1 and 7 pm.  Make sure you get there early for the organ music.  Seriously.

I'll tell you that while I had heard of Trumbo before the Art @ York showing, I've never heard a peep about Suffragette.  From the York Theatre's site:
This stirring story centers on Maud, a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she is secretly recruited to join the U.K.'s growing suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst, Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life. When increasingly aggressive police action forces Maud and her dedicated fellow suffragettes underground, they engage in a dangerous game …

View From My Office: Up In The Clouds

Here's what things looked like out my office window yesterday in the early am.  As a reminder, if you click here, you'll see all these posts that show what is lurking underneath those clouds.

Seems that the whole cooler by the lake thing in action, right?

"Worlds Colliding"

My buddy Adam sent me an email last week with a screenshot of this Tweet and the subject line of "Worlds Colliding".
Adam couldn't have been more right.  This Tweet makes me so happy. I read it like noine times.

Milk Glass Motherlode @ Estate Sale

I stopped at a few estate sales on Saturday and at one of them, I had to call Nat to bring her out to check out all the milk glass.  These five pieces were just a small fraction of what they had, and while we came away with a few new pieces, none of them are pictured here.  I tried to get Nat to take this two piece butter dish that has the hobnail pattern on it.  But...she passed.  Of the pieces she did pick out, most of them were of pretty unique form factors.  Most, we had not found before.

A Vintage Valet

I picked up this valet from an estate sale a few weeks back for $5 with big dreams of both reupholstering the base and updating it with at least one 'built-in' charging cord for my mobile device.  This one has those sleek, tapered legs that come with most mid-century modern furniture and that delightful little seat to sit on when you're putting your shoes on.  Once we get our house situation figured out, I figure this will find a home in my office or closet and it will once again find a home and a user who can extend it's life for a while.

Spring Flowers Budding Out Front

Back at our old house, I usedtodocumentthevariousstagesoftheperennialsthatwehad scattered across our lot and landscape beds each spring.  I used to love being able to go out and peek at the peonies or ferns poking through the mulch.  But, now that we're gone from that special house and staying at my sister's/Equation Boy/Man's place down the street, I am treated to a whole new set of spring experiences.  Just this morning, I was taking the trash outside to the curb when I came across these green shoots poking right through the grass surrounding a big tree in the parkway out front.  Thinking that they are tulips, right?  Based on the leaf shape and the curl?

There are plenty of frustrations about not being settled into *our* house, but sometimes the little things like this keep me positive.  I know that this weekend, I'll spend some time puttering around the yard checking out what else my sister has planted and see what is coming in.  Spring seems to be right around t…

Wall Calendars Turned Over To March 2016

These were turned over earlier this week, but I'm just posting about them on the 10th of the month.  So...let's call it Tuesday the 8th for March.

On the right is the University of Illinois Wall Calendar with a beautiful photo of Altgeld Hall and the spring flowers blooming.  On the right, the Pixar calendar is featuring the movie 'Up'.  On the top is a drawing of a dog in the tree that I *think* is supposed to be Dug.  And on the bottom is a stylized drawing of the house tied up with balloons heading towards Paradise Falls.  On the bottom is a black/white drawing of the house in the mist right up on top of Paradise Falls.  No Russell or Carl Fredrickson or even Kevin anywhere in them.

3 months in, here is where we are for 2016.

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)…

Lifebreath Heat Recovery Ventilator

Recently, I went to check out the model at the Nitti Development on the site of the old Elmhurst Hospital.  Wanted to see what was going on with the homes, find a few ideas and just generally poke around.  One of the things that jumped out to me - besides the actual houses(!) - was this system they had set up in the basement.  It is called a Lifebreath Heat Recovery Ventilator.

Check out the description from the little sign they posted on the wall below:
"Fresh air is continuously circulated through a Lifebreath Heat Recovery Ventilator, which draws stale air out of your home while tempering and cleaning fresh incoming air.  The Energy Star-certified system recovers up to 81% of the energy from exhaust air that would otherwise be lost to the outdoors."

So...anyone know what *exactly* that means?  Are these things good ideas?  Mandatory today?  Do you have one in your house?  Should a family install one of these things?

Brass Critters: Candlestick Holder Edition

There isn't a brass critter that we spot at an antique mall or estate sale that doesn't make me pause.  There's someone in our life that has a small menagerie.  This pair of deer with candlestick holders on their backs didn't meet the imaginary threshold for purchase.  Could have been the price or more likely was the very thing that makes them unique - the candlestick holder - that made us pass.  Oh well.  Hopefully, another owner came along and snatched them up and put them in their proper spot in their home.

New Day for My Illini: Lovie Smith As New Head Ball Coach

This whole thing isn't just about the new coach.  It is about a new moment.  One where the Fighting Illini aren't being discussed in the news for scandals or embarrassing moments.  But for making a bold and decisive decision that is the first step in a long journey back to relevance.  Thanks, Josh Whitman. — Josh Whitman (@IlliniAD) March 7, 2016

Miles From Tomorrowland Disney Pin

One of the girls scored this Miles from Tomorrowland pin on a trip to the parks in Anaheim recently.  I don't recall if this was traded for or purchased, but based on how 'new' this seems to be in the mix for trading, I am guessing that we bought it?  Have you heard about Miles?  He's pretty cute and a nice way to bring the land in the parks a bit closer to the kids on Disney Junior.   Now, if Miles and his family can convince my scaredy-cat daughter to go on Space Mountain?  That'd be something.

MagicBands: Out With The Old...

And, in with the new?  Yeah.   But we're not talking about it.

Those four above were from a trip we took last year.  They each have a cover from which I really like adding to our bands.  Mine was Chewie on the left.  The Babe had R2D2, The Bird had Belle and Nat rolled with the blue Cindy one.     We've bought a bunch of these covers over the years and each time we get new bands, we change them up.

There's a bunch of folks who, I think, keep these bands.  And while my nature is to hold on to stuff, after I took this photo, these went in the trash.  Can't become a horder in my sister's house, amirite?!?

Boarded Up: Corner of York and 1st Street

If you walk down York Street by the train tracks today in the Elmhurst City Centre, this is what you'll see:  a boarded up building on the west side.

There's a transformation of sorts taking place there.  Check out this post that shows how they're creating a unified exterior over those 3/4 previous store fronts.    What was once a combination of a super-weird nail salon, Meeder Industries, Polay's Interiors and a kid's clothing store is now going to be just two spaces:  Suite 100 and 101.

Last I heard, there were rumors of a Rosebud restaurant coming to the space.  Have no idea if that is real or not.  They have an outpost in Naperville's downtown, so it isn't totally unrealistic to think that they'd come to Elmhurst.  We do, however, have A LOT of Italian places up and down the restaurant spectrum.  From full-service/higher end places like Pazzi di Pizza and Francesca's to fast casual places like Mimmo's and dozens of pizza joints from Rober…

#TBT Downtown Elmhurst In The Spring of 1975

From the Elmhurst History Museum Facebook Page comes this photo above of the Elmhurst City Centre in the early spring of 1975.  Besides the cars, there's a bunch of details that come to life when you look closely.  First...there appears to be a signal just north of the tracks.  See those three cars sitting north of the Union Pacific West train tracks while the yellow car crosses First Street?  That just feels like an accident waiting to happen.   Also, see the lack of gates/crossing gates on the north side of the tracks and by the sidewalks?  'Just go ahead...walk across!'

On the right looks to be Stones Shoes where you could buy 'Nunn Bush Shoes' where the LW Reedy Real Estate office is on the corner.  And two signs north, the red sign on the east side of York Street reads "Chop Suey" where I think the York Furrier location is today.

Also, check out the banner hanging across the street up where the Plass Appliance building is (was!) today.  Kind of ni…

Estate Sale Find: Kids Step Stool and Bench

Among other items, I picked up this wooden step stool/bench/seat at an Estate Sale over the weekend.  On it, it reads:  "To brush my teeth or watch tv, this little stool was made for me".  It folds over on itself and is pretty small.

I was so proud to bring it home thinking that it would be perfect for the girls.  It *could* replace the cheap IKEA ones that we currently use in the bathroom and kitchen.

I bring it in to show off to Nat thinking that she was going to love it.  And guess what?  She said..."nope".  Not for us.  Sad Trombone.

So, knowing that my dad is always looking for things to do, I gave it to him and told him to sell it on eBay or Craigslist.  I paid just a few bucks for it, so who knows???  Maybe we'll make a profit!

Smart Screen Gutter Protection From Mike Holmes At Menards

While at Menards this weekend, I spotted this display for the Smart Screen Gutter Protection System that appears to be either endorsed or created by Mike Holmes.  You know him, right?  The 'Make it Right' Canadian guy.  I like watching his show - but he does come off as a know-it-all sometimes.  But, still...I can respect a contractor for wanting to make things right and doing things the right way.

These screens, which you can find more information here on the Smart Screen site, are $19.99 for 20 linear feet.   They have both front and back fastener systems (back has a screw) that makes them a bit different than most.  I've put gutter guards on our hold house that basically 'click' into the gutter and then get slid under the first row of shingles.    The normal ones are white and come in two varieties:  with a screen or without.  I think the ones with the screen work slightly better, but both work pretty well.

Those are plastic, and these from Mike Holmes are alu…