Showing posts from April, 2016

Here You Leave Today And Enter The World Of...

Where in the World is this?   If you guessed it was right at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, you'd be wrong.  This is a replica that is set up in One Man's Dream inside of Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.  Don't mind if I do.

Cross Stitch Disney Pins Featuring Pooh, Stitch, Dumbo, Mickey

The Babe picked out this set of 'Cross Stitch Booster' pins down at the Magic Kingdom earlier this year because she thought they were 'Minecraft' pins.    It is a nice set that she wore on her lanyard for most of the trip.  For those of you who are uninitiated (or just don't care), there's Mickey the Mouse, Dumbo, Pooh Bear and Stitch.  They each have 2 pinbacks on each of them.  The Pooh Bear one is the biggest and the best one, imho.

We've started to put some of the girls pins on a corkboard in their room, but since we're not settled, that is just a stopgap measure.  But, even though it is just temporary, these pins are prominent on that board.

3 Silhouettes of the 3 Kids

We've had these silhouettes done of the kids over the years and the same woman who did the first ones of just the oldest two, did these three.  If you know the kids in real life (Is this real life?!?), you'll note that these are *really* good.  How 'bout those 'lashes?!?
We had these done down in Florida earlier this year and I shared them on our family blog a bit back, but figured I should post them here for diary-keeping sakes.

How these are done is pretty amazing.  The kids sit for a woman who uses some tiny, super-sharp scissors and she looks at the kid for maybe two or three minutes while she cuts.  And in no time, she pulls one of these beauties out and we're all amazed.  We had the old set hung up in our house, but...since we have no house...these are sitting in a pile of stuff awaiting our next move.  Life on pause is great, isn't it?

NFL Draft Town 2016 Edition

That's the view from my office this week as the NFL has arrived and Chicago has rolled out the red carpet for them in the form of the second year of Draft Town.  
Here's my post showing the setup from last year in 2015.   They seem to have shifted the bulk of the activities towards the lake with the biggest tent area right along Lake Shore Drive and a few other tents and what look like broadcast booths scattered around Buckingham Fountain.  They also (if you look closely!) added a Ferris Wheel.  Which is weird, right?  
Last year, all the action was confined east of Columbus with the biggest tent right on Michigan Avenue.  That's where the team representatives sat and talked on the phones.  They then 'walked' the picks across the street to the Auditorium Theatre.  Not sure if that's part of the schtick this year?  
I think it is great to have this event here in town.  I'm sure that we - the taxpayers - are footing the bill, but I think that events like this…

Giant Hostas - Long, Strange Trip 2016

I've written about the hostas at our old house a few times here on the blog in the past and being part of our shade gardens, they're one of my favorite things to tend to.  Perhaps it is because I grew up down in Frankfort on a heavily wooded lot that just about only allowed my Mom to have shade gardens?  Or, that they're mostly the domain of perennials that come back each year and there's something magical about those?  I dunno. way or the other, I like shade gardens.

We had a really nice, maturing set of shade plants on the north side of our old lot.  We had ferns, astibiles, and plenty of hostas.  All sorts of hostas.  Some, like these, I picked up at Menards.  Some, were left overs from when the wicked lady moved out of the house and she *thought* that she plucked every last perennial out of the gardens only for us to discover the next year that SOME came back including some hostas.  And a special plant that came from my sister Sharon's house in Hin…

Links and Photos - Over By Dere

As if you didn't get enough of my drivel on a daily basis, right?  But...for *some* of you, there's a new place to keep up with things that I read and places I go and photos I take online.  It is my newish link/photo home on the web.  You can find it here.

It is called "Over by dere".  Which, if you speak Chicagoese, you know roughly translates to:
Over by dere. i.e. "over by there," a prolix way of emphasizing a site presumed familiar to the listener. As in, "I got the sassage at da Jewels down on Kedzie, over by dere.' For now, it is a home to things that I come across on the web that are somewhere in between re-Tweets and blog posts here on the blog. I haven't totally figured out what will be up there and how often, but there's enough that I've put up there that I figured it was time to share.  Besides...part of the reason for it is me thinking about vanity SEO and having this post up with inbound links to Over By Dere by Jake Parri…

Peregrine Falcon At Sea Island

That right there in the photo is the *only* child of mine who was brave enough to go up and touch/pet this Peregrine Falcon that was on patrol at the Beach Club down at Sea Island.  The Bird - as we call her - wasn't afraid to touch this bird that is part of the falconry program at Sea Island.   Her older sister?  Not interested.

As Nat will tell you, I have a fascination with all-things birds of prey.  When we're driving, I will always point them out when they're soaring above the highway or sitting on fence posts.

Sea Island keeps their falconry program for two reasons.  The first is for hunting.  That part is something that I'm totally unfamiliar with, but it seems that you can 'hunt' for squirrels and such with these hawks.

The other way these Peregrine Falcons are used is what you see above.   They have a guy who is in their Falconry program standing watch in the pool area of the Beach Club.  After talking to him, he said that the mere presence of the …

2016 WDW Annual Passholder Pin #2 Featuring Figment

We picked up this Limited Edition Annual Passholder "Commemorative Collection" Pin.  This was released on April 1st and is the 2nd in the quarterly series that Disney puts out for Annual Passholders.  The back says that this is limited to 3000 total pins and I'm not sure how they distribute these to the various locations in all four parks plus Disney Springs.

This one features Figment and Epcot and has "Est. 1982" on a shield behind Figment.

We found this one at the Frontier Trading Post in Frontierland. is kinda on the way to Frontierland from Liberty Square.

We were in that store trading pins with the girls at the end of March when a crazy-pin-person in front of us in line asked the cast member in the store if the Annual Passholder pins were in yet, and the cast member said they'd be getting them on the following day.

I didn't even know that these AP pins were a *thing*, but then once I did, I made it a mission to get there early in th…

This Year's Sunflower Seeds

Continuing the tradition of being gifted sunflower seeds for my birthday each Spring, these three above are the varieties that are sitting on my desk right now.

Here's a look at last year's packet.
Here's the post showing off all the different varieties I planted last year in 2014.
Here's the post showing off some of the 2013 sunflowers already growing.'s a post from 2011 showing off some of the blooming flowers.
Every other year, I knew right where these were going to go, but now that we're living down the street in Equation Boy/Man's place, I'm not quite sure where to put these.  I'm thinking that it might make sense to put them on the back fenceline?  The packets say to wait until May to plant them, so we'll know soon enough and as long as the birds/squirrels don't get to the seeds, hopefully we'll see some photos of them standing up strong this summer.

Carousel of Progress Vintage Poster

If you pause for a moment as you go under the elevated train tracks as you enter the Magic Kingdom and look to your left or right, you'll come across some vintage posters hung up that represent various rides around the parks.  This one, featuring Carousel of Progress - was one of about four that I spied on our last trip.  *This one*, however, was worth the stop and photo.  Why?  Because..."It's a great big beautiful tomorrow..."

What's that?  Oh...nothing.  Just one of my favorite experiences at the Magic Kingdom.  Sure, the last 'scene' needs updating, but with the oncoming rush of various VR headsets in the news these days, dare I say that what is old is new again?  Could they just update the clothing and claim the thing that the kid and grandma are wearing on their heads are just Virtual Reality headsets from Samsung?

The little plaque below the poster reads:
The carousel of progress first premiered at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.  The show…

Disney Resort Hotel Bathroom Survey - What Will The Future Shower Arrangement Be At Disney Resorts?

The folks at Disney are always conducting consumer research on a wide variety of topics.  Everything from parks experiences to transportation to hotels and amenities.  In fact, earlier this year, a big part of the online Disney community was up in arms because of a few survey questions that probed on the consumer's willingness to pay for things like in-room Wi-fi and the Disney Magic Express bus transportation from MCO to the Disney Resorts in Florida.  
We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel earlier this year, but have also stayed at the Poly and Bay Lake Tower in Orlando at Walt Disney World in the past months, so I am not sure which visit this specific survey is tied to, but it focused on 'amenities'.  
The survey opened with questions about how important things like coffee makers, refrigerators, a digital safe, hdtv, usb plugs, night lights, open shelving vs. drawers, etc.  They asked on a scale of 'not desirable at all' to 'extremely desirable'.  There wer…

So Long, Goalie's Goodies

Downtown Elmhurst just lost another business with the closing of Goalie's Goodies on the west side of York Street, just one block south of the tracks.  If you walk by it today, you'll see this brown papered-up window along with this small sign that says they're moving to River Forest.  Sad news for Elmhurst.
I covered the opening of Goalie's Goodies here on the blog back in the end of April of 2013.  So, she made it for just under three years in Elmhurst.

For those of you following along, you'll remember that Goalie's Goodies took the spot of the short-lived Bleeding Heart Bakery.

We shopped - what I'd call - regularly at Goalie's Goodies.  We'd buy packs of their corn for my Dad or for other gifts/parties.  And the girls just loved the stuff, so often times we'd have dinner at Pints or somewhere else, and we'd end up at Goalie's Goodies for a few tiny bags of Cheese corn.

On her website, Debbie (who I think *is* the Goalie!) has a li…

So Long, Mimmo's In Elmhurst City Centre - Closing?

If you walk by Mimmo's pizza place on York Street in the Elmhurst City Centre today, you'll see the front window covered in black plastic wrap.  Are they closing?  It is pretty odd because they have a 'Drivers Wanted' sign still up in the window and the menu and other promotional posters all hung between the glass and the black plastic.

Anyone have the details?

(**Update on 4/19/16:  Heard from a source who is in the know that it looks like Mimmo's is being bought-out by another 'smallish family-owned pizza chain'. looks like this place will keep serving pizza and salads and such.  That's good for the City Centre.  Once it reopens, I'll be sure we give it a shot!)

I don't think it is a remodel because the place was gutted and cleaned up right before they opened not all that long ago.  Unfortunately...we've NEVER been there.  Yep...maybe that's part of the reason for the black plastic.  Blame people like us who never patronized…

Zootopia Monorail Wrap At WDW

Spotted this Zootopia wrap on the Orange Monorail down at the Walt Disney World Resort in late March.  Having talked about this with Nat, we're both *so* happy that this movie was good AND that it is doing so well.  Often times, you don't get both.  Good on Disney for promoting the movie on the Monorail around the Magic Kingdom on the resort line.

And, while we're talking about Zootopia, if you have 45 minutes, watch this documentary on the making of the movie.  (update on 4/19/16...this movie has been switched to private. doesn't work any more!)

Rey & Rey From Star Wars Force Awakens

That is both girls all doll'd up in their Rey costumes using bubble wands as faux-light sabers down in Florida a few weeks back.  Since The Force Awakens movie came out and we went to see it, but girls have been asking for Rey costumes. Easter, the Easter Bunny delivered!  There were arm wraps and boot covers, but because we were in Florida, it just didn't make any sense to wear them at that point.  More importantly...check out the hair-do's that Nat put on both The Babe and The Bird?!?  Pretty rad, right?  They couldn't have been more excited to wear the costumes. least until they started to get A LOT of attention and that's when The Babe - the older one - started to wear out a bit.  She doesn't adore the spotlight that's for sure.  
The costumes have been a novelty ever since and have been making appearances pretty reguarly around the house.  Here, below, is The Babe along with one of her friend's little brother who both decided t…

Wall Calendars Turned Over To April 2016

Took this photo last week on April 7th, where I turned over the Pixar calendar to Ratatouille and the Illini one to a photo of students lounging on the Quad.

7 days is pretty good.  Here's a reminder of what happened with these calendars so far this year:

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 April. new net days. -3 days net in terms of improvement, meaning I've shaved off *at least* 3 days from last year's turns.

Stout Beer Tasting Over The Weekend

Last weekend, we had some friends over and had a little pizza party and beer tasting.  The husband of the pair, is a crazy beer guy.  I totally a beer guy.  As big of a craft beer expert as I've seen and that says something when you think about Nat's two brothers who are big craft beer guys. turns out that Natalie likes stouts.  Me?  Not so much.  But...I'm always up for a tasting in a little glass of just about anything.  Above are three of the (I think) five or six stouts that they brought and we drank.  Did I love them?  Nah.  But they were all unique.  And all interesting.

On the left is Prairie Pirate Bomb.  Which has a 98 on Beer Advocate.
In the middle is Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout.  Which has a 100 on Beer Advocate!
On the right is Perennial 17 Mint Chocolate Stout.  Which has an 89 on Beer Advocate.

Despite the scores, I *think* I liked the Mint Chocolate Stout from Perennial the best.  It tasted like - and smelled just like - Fra…

1967 Purdue Rose Bowl Memorabilia

Yesterday, I posted a few vintage Purdue and Notre Dame football covers from the 1960's, and today comes another photo from the very same estate sale.  This stuff is just pretty amazing to me.  It is all associated with the 1967 Rose Bowl game that Purdue played against USC.  There's two different kind of bumper stickers.  The "Pasadena-a-do-do" ones are pretty rad if you ask me.  Then there's the various/different Rose Bowl pins.  And...that thing on the right says "Purdue University Rose Bowl 1966-7".

It is from Conlin-Dodds Travel Service in the Memorial Union Building in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Says it is the 'Official Student Tour'.

I didn't get my hands on it (it was kind of in this display case), so no idea what was in there, but guessing it was a full set of docs that included things like bus tickets, game tickets, hotel arrangements, etc.

I didn't buy this stuff, but I'm sure hoping *someone* did.  This deserves a home…

Vintage Purdue Football Programs

In the same pile as the Student Power Magazine that I posted yesterday, there were also a bunch of football programs all from Purdue University.  Above is one against Notre Dame that features Neil Armstrong - a Purdue Alum.  This estate was chock'ed full of Purdue sports stuff.

Below, is another Purdue vs. Notre Dame program from September 30, 1967 that features the returning 1966 National Champion Fighting Irish with South Bend being highlighted in the 'middle' of the 'D' and West Lafayette in the 'middle' of the 'P'.  Cute.  As you can see scrawled by hand is what appears to be the score:  Purdue 28.  ND 21.

Also were a few other interesting ones:  This one directly below is from the 1967 Rose Bowl Game featuring Purdue vs. USC.

And this was the only one featuring the Illini.  That's Bob Griese, too!  Which is pretty neat.  This Illini vs. Purdue program is the earliest from October 29, 1966.
With us being in total disarray house-wise, I d…

Estate Sale Find: Student Power Magazine From 1967

Amongst a bunch of other Big Ten-related memorabilia (more on those later), I came across this Student Power magazine form November of 1967.  You can see the cover photo is of a protest and this is a "FREE Magazine for Students in the Big Ten Universities Exclusively".  This was in a pile of football programs from Purdue University.

If you open the front cover, you find this interesting box full of enrollment data.  Look at Northwestern.  They dropped 3K students from 1966 to 1967?  That seems crazy.
Alas, I didn't come home with this artifact, but I'm hoping that someone else picked it up and it didn't end up in the dumpster.

Vintage Sea Island: Catch of the Day Circa 1940

What's not to love about this photo of a crew of five men and three women and their line of fish caught at Sea Island?  The car.  Awesome.   The clothes?  Awesome.  The fish on the line?  Awesome.  As you walk around the second floor of The Cloister at Sea Island, you'll come to find a bunch of these framed vintage photographs.  I'll post a few more over time.

Milk Thistle @ Epcot Flower And Garden Show

If you ever come across Milk Thistle, don't - as I did - reach down and try to feel the leaves.  They sure look interesting, don't they?  Well...they're covered in little, super-sharp thorns.  Lesson learned.

This was one of a bunch of plants/flowers that they had set up in a little medicinal garden during Epcot's Flower and Garden show.

They also had pineapples!  Yeah...look at this little cute tree/plant that has a big pineapple coming out of the top of the thing:
You can spot the Milk Thistle in the upper right corner of this photo for placement in the medicinal garden.

Shelly The Sea Turtle At Sea Island

When you check into The Cloister at Sea Island and you have kids on your reservation, you are greeted with this warm message and bath toy in your room that my kids totally fought over.  We had to tell the guy who was helping with our bags to score us another one so that the girls wouldn't go to battle mode over who, exactly, *owns* Shelly.

The note reads:
My friends at The Cloister hope you'll take me with you when you leave, as a happy reminder of your time at Sea Island.  Just as a mother sea turtle returns to the same area each time she nests, we hope you will return again soon! If you'd like to read more about my bigger brothers and sisters, called loggerheads, please see the other side of this card.With warm Sea Island wishes,
Shelly the Sea Turtle
I mean...come on.  Couldn't be cuter, right?  And the idea of 'returning'?  Don't mind if we do!

Jungle Cruise Skipper Canteen Coaster Added To Collection

This Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd Skipper Canteen coaster is now the 3rd Disney-related coaster in the collection here on the blog.  The other two are both here and are broadly parks-related.  I took another photo or two from the Skipper Canteen and will post those soon along with more details about the place and the menu.

This coaster is just out of the box and has just a little bit of a glass 'ring' on it that you can see curling right through the 'i' in Skipper.   That faded font choice is purposeful and looks good on the coasters.

I have a few more that I'll post from our recent excursions, but I think this one is the best of the bunch.

Rekordelig Strawberry-Lime Cider

I ordered this Rokerderlig cider off the menu last week and it arrived in this lovely can.   11.1 ounces instead of the usual 12?  That's weird, right?  But...Strawberry-lime hard cider sounds nice, right?

And anything that is 'made from pure Swedish Spring Water'?!?  What's not to like.  As I usually do, I ordered my cider with a cup full of ice.  Crack this baby open and pour over the ice.


But you know what?  That didn't turn me off.  I loved the stuff.  And the whole dude drinking a pink drink?  Normally, I'd shy away from them.  But at the pool?  No problem at all.

How Railroads Serve

Found this on the walls of a Cracker Barrel somewhere around Indianapolis.  Trains and railroads have always fascinated me and when you throw in a little bit of vintage-ness in the poster, you have a perfect combination for capturing my attention.

They tell me everything is gonna be all right...

Six years ago, I wrote a post here on the blog about how (in my opinion) Bob Dylan might end up going down as one of the best songwriters for female performers.  In that post, I linked to an Adele cover of a song called "Make you feel my love", which if you've been paying attention is a song written by Bob Dylan and released on his record 'Time out of Mind'.    There are other women covering Bob's songs that are (arguably??) better than the originals by Bob.  Take a listen to Cat Power's "I believe in You" or Sophie Zelmani's "Most of the time".  Or Norah Jone's take on "I'll be your baby tonight".    There's Sheryl Crow who covers "Mississippi" - and I use 'cover' loosely because her version came out BEFORE Bob's did.  In fact, he wrote it for her!  Then there's maybe the best performance at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary concert (let's leave the 'My Back Pages' mega-per…

Monorail MagicBand Sticker From MyFantasyBands

Doesn't matter how many MagicBands that I get.  They are all the same color:  orange.  But, on each of our last few trips, we've been using these 'covers' or stickers from   I've had Woody one one.  Last time, I had Chewey on mine.  This time, I'm going with a four-piece sticker of the Monorail.  The two individual pieces on each side allow for the band color to 'show through', thus (in this case) making Monorail Orange.  Which, if you read this story, it turns out there *is* indeed a Monorail Orange down in Orlando.  I've never paid that close of attention to the color of the stripe on the side when they pull up.  But maybe on this trip, I will?

I'm the kind of guy who orders the same thing at restaurants a lot.  We go to Egg Harbor for breakfast almost every week.  And guess what?  I order the same thing:  Old-Fashioned Oatmeal.  With a side of bananas.

So, with as I said...I stick with the orange bands.  But with these …

2 More Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Pins - 2015 Edition

Earlier this week, I posted a photo of the Haunted Mansion version of the 2015 Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party pin, but when I found that one in a bag, I also found these two.  On the left is what I think is the 'standard' or common Very Merry pin.  On the right is something called a "Passholder Exclusive".  Mickey, Minnie and Pluto grace the normal one.  That's the young duck boys with Santa on the right.  Huey, Dewey and Louie.  (I had to use The Google to find out how to spell those, for the record!)

Latest Sign Of Getting Old - Vision Testing

Never-you-mind my back that aches most mornings or the step or two that I've lost on the tennis court or the fact that I can't eat pizza the way I used to, but this mailing reminder from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White really hit home for me that I'm (sadly) indeed getting old.

I've renewed my drivers license at least five times and not once been asked to do any sort of screening.  In fact, on a couple of occasions, they've sent me that shiny sticker that you put on the back of your license that extends it past the expiration date.  (BTW...when I was younger, that sticker was always a hassle, wasn't it?  You were in a place in your life when you were dealing with doormen and the like and they'd always look at the expiration date and say "Dude...this is expired".  To which you'd have to tell them to turn it over.  Round and round you'd go.)

But to stay on the road now?  They're going to make me get my eyes checked.  Which, if …