Showing posts from May, 2016

Pair Of Vintage Drum Major Christmas Ornaments

These pair of merry guys with pretty nice mustaches were found up in Coloma at our usual haunt.  They're Christmas ornaments and were sold in a pair for just fifty cents.  The one on the right with the red hat is missing a pearl pin in the center of his hat on the front, but otherwise, these things are in pretty great shape.  Especially for being decades old.  Hard to believe that someone kept them for all these years only to let them go for just a quarter a piece?

They'll go great with the rest of our vintage Christmas stuff, won't they?

Google Local Guide Level 4 Achievement Unlocked!

Well...Thanks Google!  Look at what they sent me recently for being a participant in their Local Guides program:  Free Google Drive Upgrade to 1 TB.  Granted, it is only for 2 years, but still a nice little perk for being a Local Guide Level 4.

See below for the current state of my usage of storage at Google.  I'm currently at 38 GB of storage used.  And now with my 1.1 Terabyte storage allocation, I'm using a paltry 3% of the available storage.  Great googly moogly!

That's a lot of photos and documents and videos.    

Before this upgrade, I was on the $1.99/month 100 GB plan and I was using almost 40% of that.  I think I can cancel my $1.99/month now, right?  Lose that .1 in the number?

Wonder how the renewal works.  Do I have to maintain my Level 4 status somehow?  According to the storage page, the 1 TB/month plan costs $9.99/month, so let's call it almost a $250 gift.


Vintage Bliz Spray Snow In The Can

Found this at an Estate Sale in Elmhurst along with some 70's era Shell Oil/NFL themed drink glasses and couldn't pass it up.  It is still full and how about those graphics on the front of this can?!?!
If I'm being honest, this can isn't quite a perfect fit with our other vintage Christmas stuff (mostly Santa figures), but it will look cute in our china cabinet along with the other vintage holiday/Christmas stuff, won't it?  And, it was just $0.25.

And, you guys know that I have a soft spot for things that I feel like I am rescuing.

Meaning...rescuing them from the dumpster.  If *I* didn't buy this old can of spray-on snow, I'm thinking nobody would.  And it would have disappeared.  Maybe one of my kids will have an affinity for it as they grow up - and they'll value and be attracted to some old things like Nat and I are today.  Or...maybe it will end up in a dumpster eventually anyway.

No matter.  It has at least a (temporary??) new lease on life …

Our Welcome Sign - Four Years Later

That's our 'Welcome' sign as it sits today in a kind of nook on the side of our temporary home at Vic/Equation Boy/Man's house.  It is around the side of their front porch on the driveway side.  And I planted it there right after I took it out of our yard when we were leaving our old house.  And it has stayed there ever since.

Here's a post showing the same sign over four years ago when we got it.  Kind of poetic, isn't it?  That the same sister who gave me the sign has given us her home while they're gone?  And the sign basically came home?

And thanks to Google Photos, here's a collage photo of them both together:
The sign has aged a bit and has some rusting/pitting on the front of it, but otherwise has stood up pretty well to the conditions.  It has spent all four seasons planted outside.  Hoping, once we figure out what we're doing, it'll come with us to our new home and find a spot in the front to welcome our future guests there.

Confirmed: We Have Ostrich Ferns

That screenshot of an email, above, is the note I received back from "The Master Gardener" at the University of Illinois Extension office in DuPage County., I think we can put this mystery to bed:  we have Ostrich Ferns.  Confirmed.

Yesterday, I posted a few photos of them at my mother-in-law's house and those are the photos that I supplied to the Master Gardener.

No more guessing about Cinnamon vs. Ostrich ferns for all the ferns that I have in Naperville.  But, what about the one I bought at the plant sale this year?  It was marked as a Cinnamon Fern, but could the gardener who brought it in be confused like I was?  Time will tell.  But, that one is planted in Elmhurst at our temporary home, so it won't be transplanted anywhere else to get confused going forward.

I feel good about this.  And, I feel really great about the Master Gardener.  What a resource!  I'm going to use it whenever I have a gardening question going forward.  And you should to!…

The Ferns - In Naperville

That's a shot of Nat's Mom's backyard where she has a - now - pretty sizable stand of ferns.   They look really great.  But, what *exactly* are they?  Take a close look at the fern fronds below:
They look A LOT like these that are called Ostrich Ferns, don't they?

But, what about these? They're labeled as Cinnamon Ferns.  They look pretty right on, too, don't they?

I'm starting to think that we do, indeed, have Cinnamon Ferns after all.  This map shows where Ostrich Ferns are present in Illinois.  I think this indicates wild versions, but my hunch is that if they're that 'rare' in terms of presence, we don't have them.  But, at the same time, when I look at the photos of Cinnamon Ferns as they grow, they don't look like what we have.  Weird, right?

And over at Dave's Garden, it sure seems like we have Ostrich Ferns after all?  Might need to bring one in to the University of Illinois Extension office for clarification?  Do they do …

2 Rools Are Better Than 3 @ Sushi Nest?

I don't know about you, but I love me some rools.  Almost as good as some gardiner.   But, we should probably get takeout because we have to get home to run our O Gage trains, right?

You can get this sweet deal in the Elmhurst City Centre on the west side of York Street at the Elmhurst Sushi Nest.  See you there, dudes!

Peggy Guggenheim, Art Addict - June Art @ York Film

Coming on Wednesday, June 8th to the York Theatre in Elmhurst is the film 'Peggy Guggenheim, Art Addict' as the latest in the Art @ York series.  You can see all the history of the Art @ York series here on the blog.  This one is a documentary. doesn't (like last month) feature one of my favorites:  Rachel Weisz.  Too bad.

From the Classic Cinemas' site:
This documentary is a portrait of a patron of the arts extraordinaire who transformed a modest fortune into one of the premiere collections of twentieth century modern art.

Planted: Creeping Phlox Candy Stripes

The girls and I planted these Phlox in a couple of pots that my sister had laying around her yard over the weekend.  We, of course, had to go out and add some 'thrill' and 'spill' to them, right?  So, we picked up the old standy-bys of a Spike in back and a Sweet Potato Vine dangling in front.  Not super creative, but we checked all three boxes of your typical planter setup.  They're perennials, but I'm not sure they'll over-winter in the pots?  Maybe if I pull them into the garage?

These Creeping Phlox call for full sun, so we put them on the driveway right on either side of the big garage door.  The girls now both have watering cans, so I'm thinking they'll get well watered this summer.

Carol Burnett Played the Chicago Theatre

Saw this as I walked by the Chicago Theatre this week on my way into the office.  While I know she's a legend, it was her stop on the Stern Show that made me think about her.  So...seeing her selling out three shows at the Chicago Theatre just made me smile.   Glad she's still be appreciated and that *she's* still creating.

Hosta Venusta From Plant Sale

Yesterday, I posted about the Cinnamon Fern that we picked up at the Elmhurst Garden Club Plant Sale that I planted at my sisters house but today I'm sharing the details of another plant that we bought:  the Hosta Venusta.

This one, however, isn't going to go in the ground in Elmhurst.'s fate is destined for Naperville where we can tuck it in next to our other orphans like the giant hostas that we transplanted last year.

Here's a better look at the Venusta Hosta plant.  It is classified as a 'miniature'.
Based on the  reviews of the ladies selling these things in Elmhurst, this sounds like one of the very few miniature hostas that you can actually plant in the ground and it *will* come back.  Around the web, you can find people commenting that they're 'very hardy' and 'spread just like bigger hostas', so that's good.

So, this weekend when we're out and about, we'll make a stop in Naperville and get this thing plant…

Cinnamon Fern Planted - At Vic/Equation Boy/Man's Place

The Cinnamon Fern that I mentioned in yesterday's post about our trip to the Crestview Ladies Garden Sale in Elmhurst has found a new home: on the southside of the yard of our current place. I put it right next to a few hostas that my sister has planted and just past their hammock setup. It is a pretty shady spot and based on what I *thought* I knew about Ostrich and Cinnamon Ferns (which....based on this being a Cinnamon Fern, I may know NOTHING!), I know they like to stay pretty wet and out of the sun.
When I planted this after work, it was totally shaded and based on the trees overhead, I'm thinking this will be in the shade most of the day.  Look at those hostas behind it:  they don't seem to be drying out/burning out in the sun.  So, I'm thinking we're safe.

In the past, these ferns have multiplied pretty rapidly.  I would have one set of shoots come up and by the end of the season, there'd be two or three more.  Planting this one in mid-May, I'm not…

Elmhurst Garden and Plant Sale 2016

Over the weekend, we stopped by the Crestview Garden Club Annual Plant Sale on St. Charles Road by York High School and despite the weather (it was cold!) we wandered through the selection and picked out a few plants.

I wrote about the same plant sale three years ago here on the blog.

This time, shopping was a little different because we don't have our own house right now.  So...we were there to buy some plants, but with a mind of either planting them to add something to my sister's yard or something that we can plant in Nat's Mom's garden with the hope of being able to transplant them next year or beyond.

I went there seeking out a fern that I could plant here in Elmhurst and came away with two ferns:  one for my sister's yard (the one on the right) and one that we'll plant in Naperville (on the left).  The one on the right is listed as a 'Cinnamon Fern'.  Which...I think I've confused with Ostrich Ferns!  This is a pretty profound moment here f…

How To Build A Better Home Book

Whether you decide to build or buy, this book tells you how and why.  That's the promise form Howard H. Morris in this book that I found at a barn sale up in Coloma.  What's a barn sale? is kinda just like a garage sale, but inside a barn.  There was lots of junk, but a few interesting items like this book.  Since we're *kinda* in the market for housing, this one jumped out at me.  Too bad the guy wrote [50 cents] on the cover in Sharpie, because he kinda ruined the cover.  Bummer.

This is the second vintage book that I've posted about here on the blog.  Other one here is a vintage Red Cross text book and manual.

Silver Beach Pizza Added To Coaster Collection

This one goes to eleven.  As in...the eleventh coaster added to the online Coaster Collection here on the blog.  The last one posted was at the beginning of May and it was from Sea Island.  This one is from Silver Beach Pizza in St. Joe's and has had many a Schooner rested on it.  Or...for us, the little 12 ounce beers or ciders.  On our last trip, Nat had a cider and I had an Arnold Palmer to wash down our Garlic Greek.  

Full Coaster collection found here on the blog tag page.

Volunteer Lettuce

That right there is a tiny lettuce plant growing in a crack in the asphalt on the driveway.  It is the same variety that my sister Vic tells me that she planted last year in her raised bed garden.  I took this photo and sent it to her and asked her if it looked familiar and she said 'yes!', it was the same variety. appears that we have some Volunteer Lettuce, folks!

What's Volunteer Lettuce?  It's a bonus plant.   From Wikipedia in the Botany section:
In gardening and agronomic terminology, a volunteer is a plant that grows on its own, rather than being deliberately planted by a farmer or gardener. Volunteers often grow from seeds that float in on the wind, are dropped by birds, or are inadvertently mixed into compost. Unlike weeds, which are unwanted plants, a volunteer may be encouraged by gardeners once it appears, being watered, fertilized, or otherwise cared for. The action of such plants – to sprout or grow in this fashion – may also be described as v…

Trying Sanfratello's Pizza (Chicago's 'Other' Pizza)

Earlier this year, I came across this story in Full-Service Restaurant Magazine (yes...I occasionally read pizza trade outlets!) that spoke about how Sanfratello's was expanding in the Chicago area.  What struck me was that that this place that calls themselves the 'original Southside pizza' was crowing about how they were expanding to the 'Northside'.  The problem?  The new location is in Naperville.  Not *exactly* what I'd call the 'Northside', right?  Anyway...from the story:
Sanfratello's Pizza, Chicago's original Southside pizza since 1969, announces its first north side location. The fifth location is company-owned and is celebrating its grand opening on March 30 at 1299 S. Naper Blvd. in Naperville.

To celebrate the company's venture to the north, Sanfratello's is giving away two styles of Southside pizza—tavern style thin crust and pan. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on March 30, all carryout guests will receive a free small cheese thin-…

The Stairs Of My Dreams

Nat and I have been through a lot with the ups and downs (mostly downs, frankly) of our house search over the past year.  Actually....about a year and three months, but who is counting.  I'm hopeful, that we're getting close to a resolution in terms of having a 'direction' (but not a definitive answer yet, however), but we likely won't know for sure for almost a month.  We've been through a lot including looking at building a new house, buying a beautiful old house, and building a new/old house.

During part of the process, when we were talking about building on a particular lot, we went looking for some salvaged old house parts.  And that lead us to the Reuse Depot in Maywood.  Inside a warehouse building, you'll find so much awesome.  Everything from old doors to windows to mantles and cabinets.  Some of it is plain.  Some of it is extraordinary.

Including these stairs.  They were harvested out of a Queen Anne Victorian in Hinsdale that was built in the…

Wall Calendars Turned To May 2016

For those of you keeping track of these things at home, today is Friday, May 13th.  I actually turned these over to May yesterday, so let's call it the 12th of May.

On the left is Monsters, Inc.  On the right is Illini Hall. a total mystery to me.  Having spent four years there (including the summers), I'm not sure I ever stepped foot into this place.  Looking it up on the UIUC map, it shows Illini Hall right on Wright Street, just south of Green.  Kinda across Wright from Altgeld.  The "Department of Statistics" is in there.  That *might* explain why I didn't go there...

The full archives of the enthralling wall calendar tracking project (you just can't get enough, can you?!?!?) can be found here.

May took 12 days in 2016.    Last year it was the 7th.  That's a +5 day jump.

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 th…

Dammit, Google Now! You Figured Me Out...

Nothing to be embarrassed about in my Google Now, is there??  Stinkin' Google Now figured me out as a bit of a Gilly.  What with Nat being all-in on the show and the Gilmore Guys podcast (like...seriously...all-in), and me being a Melissa McCarthy fan (She does the Stern Show!), how could I not get sucked in?  You can't blame me, right?

Chocolate Sprinkles Cherry Tomato

We have two containers on the driveway that we're planting tomatoes in this year - instead of the usual raised bed garden that we had at our old place - and this is one of the varieties:  Chocolate Sprinkles Hybrid Cherry Tomato.  
An heirloom, this isn't.  
We picked them up at the Home Depot on North Avenue and let the girls pick out their own plants.  One of them picked these.  Guessing it was the name.  
From the Bonnie site, it says this is new for 2016: This cherry tomato has it all: good looks, great flavor, heavy yields, and disease resistance. Bite-sized, cherry-type fruits are beautifully colored — red striped with dark green — that explode with rich, robust flavor. This highly productive plant forms its fruit in clusters, and starts bearing early in the season. We'll report back on the harvest through the season, but I'm hoping that they'll survive the driveway conditions.

Guac-N-Tacos Coming to Elmhurst City Centre

It was just back in April that I chronicled the closing of Goalie's Goodies on the east side of York Street, just south of the tracks in the Elmhurst City Centre.  Well....there's some good news:  if you walk past the site today, you'll see this brand new awning up that welcomes a new business:  Guac-n-Tacos.  They have a new site up, but there (currently) isn't any info up there yet besides their new logo - which I've included below.

Think this will be a great addition to the City Centre.  The place isn't big, so it won't be a full sit-down place, I don't think?  Probably a counter to order and maybe a counter to eat facing out the front window?

We have a Chipotle in the core of the City Center and The Salseria nearby and those two seem to co-exist with Chipotle being the quickserve that (increasingly!!) seems like it is being overtaken by Teens/Tweens/E-Coli???? and the Salseria, which is a full-service sit-down place.

Where will Guac-n-Tacos fit …

2016 Orange Bird Disney Pin

Add this cute little Orange Bird 2016 pin to the collection here on the blog as he was picked up earlier this year down in Florida.  There's a lot to like on this one and that starts with Orange Bird.  I posted about him about a year ago here on the blog.  Then...look at the vintage Walt Disney World logo at the bottom of the pin?  Pretty awesome.  The AP Figment pin that I posted in April was the first of the 2016 pins, but this Orange Bird one isn't the last.

New City of Elmhurst Website

Thanks to Alderman Dannee Polomsky who posted this above on her public Facebook Fan Page, I stumbled onto the new City of Elmhurst website.

At first blush, it appears to be a pretty big improvement in terms of pure looks, but they've also added some nice functionality and elevated the 'search box' to speed up the user experience and get people where they want to go faster.  Also...they've made the new site responsive, so when you are heading there on your mobile device - as we are all wont to do more and more these days - the site responds to your device size and presents you with a format that works on mobile.  That *would* have been a big miss in this redesign if they didn't get right, imho.

The photography they're using on the page is neat - as there's a few drone shots showing a pretty unique perspective to town and they've done a good job of highlighting the town.

Also, you can see some highlighted items across the main part of the site includi…

Mother's Day - 2016

I'm posting this on Saturday - the day before Mother's Day - because the emails go out the next morning and I figure that's the best way for Nat to see this.

Happiest of Mother's Day to the best, most wonderful Mother (and partner in life) around:  Natalie.  That's her above on an adventure she took me on over the weekend where we went to (randomly) Rivers Casino for some chow at Hugo's Frog Bar and where she won on a slot machine!

She's going to hate me saying, this, but here goes:  Natalie does it all.  And does it all with such grace.  She's a mother to three terrific kids.  And I know that they're turning out the way they're turning out because of her.  She tends to them, nurtures them, and makes them stronger and smarter and more caring each day.  *She's* the reason why they are caring, unique kids.  *She's* the reason why I couldn't be more proud of my family and of calling her my partner.

I couldn't do what I do during …

Hello Bacci Pizza! Welcome To The Elmhurst City Centre

Just a couple of weeks ago, I posted about the apparent closing of Mimmo's in the Elmhurst City Centre here on the blog.  Mimmo's was in the spot just south of Starbucks on the same side of York as the York Theatre.  

At the time, it looked like Mimmo's was closing, but it was rumored to be slated to be replaced by another Italian eatery.  Turns out...that rumor was pretty close to being right.

If you walk by the location today, you'll see these new signs in the windows announcing:  Coming Soon:  Bacci - Home of the Jumbo Slice.  If you go to the Bacci site, you'll see that they really play up the Jumbo slice angle.  Over there on the site, you'll also see a listing of 11 locations at the bottom.  One of them already is Elmhurst!

I've been to Bacci before and I don't have a strong memory of the place other than it was a slice shop.  I was working on a campaign out in Aurora for Bob O'Connor for Illinois State Representative.  And right near the c…

#TBT To That Time We Stayed In A Hollywood Star's Pool House

In another of the continuing series of #Throwback Thursday moments that are here courtesy of the migration of my old photos from Flickr to Google Photos, here is this photo of me and Joel Murray and one of his kids.  This is from 2004 or 2005, so it is 12 years ago.  (The date didn't stick with the Flickr download for some reason.)

Joel Murray is a working actor.  And he's a super great dude, too.  We have a relation to him through my sister and her husband.  Won't go into the whole thing, but that's how we ended up here.  Nat and I - before we had kids - stayed in the Murray's pool house for a few nights in Los Angeles.  I have a very vivid memory of this trip with Nat.  It was pretty early in our relationship and this was that cemented my feelings about her and made me fall deeper in love with her.  I still remember that trip - this being one of those stops and how it fueled our relationship by building up that shared memory bank of ex…

Youth - Art @ York May Movie

That photo above with all the terrible glare that comes from my morning walk to the train shows the movie poster for the Art @ the York Theatre monthly film 'Youth' staring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz - who, Nat can tell you - I have a little thing for.  And Michael Caine?  He's awesome, right?  But, now that the guys on the Stern show are doing phony phone calls with someone who does his voice as "British Actor Michael Caine", I can't keep a straight face whenever I see/hear his name.

The film is being shown a week from today: May 11th.  1 pm and 7 pm central.  I continue to promote these showings because I think they're great for the community.  Good on Classic Cinemas for continuing to push forward on the Art @ York series.

Here's what the movie is about:
YOUTH is about two longtime friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps. Oscar winning actor Michael Caine plays Fred, an acclaimed composer and conductor, who brings along his daughter (…

Two Fingerling Potato Varieties For 2016

Over the weekend, me and the two girls cut up the seed potatoes that came in these two sacks:  Magic Molly I's and French Fingerling I's.  They were the two most striking varieties that Menards carries and the Magic Molly ones are particularly beautiful.  In cutting up the seed potatoes, the purple almost bled off the knife.  We're going to plant these in these new-fangled 'tubs' that Nat bought me for my birthday from Gardener's Supply earlier in April.  They're driveway-dwelling containers that are easy to move.  I don't want to crowd them out, so we might just put a few seed potatoes in each one and put the rest in my sister's garden raised beds.

The last time I posted about potatoes was back in 2013, so I'm thinking that might have been the last time we had a harvest?  I *think* I planted them last year, but we moved out before they could come in.

These fingerlings won't produce as heavily as the varieties that I've planted in yea…

Transplanted Ostrich Ferns Coming Up - 2016

Last week, I posted about the giant hostas that we transplanted over at Nat's parents' house during our move and mentioned that we also moved a few other items at the same time.  One of them is pictured above peeking out of the mulch:  my ostrich ferns.

I dug up a few of these clumps of ferns and brought them over late last summer and Nat's mom found a nice shady spot for them to hang out.  I've split up these ferns in the past and had given a few to Nat's mom in the past, so having these come back and survive wasn't our top priority because I knew that we could always split up some of hers.

But...when we were over there recently, I spotted the little green parts starting to poke through.  Here's a bunch of the posts about these same ferns over the years here on the blog and you can see how they kind of un-curl as they grow.   These things spread out and multiplied like crazy for me at 274, but how we got them is an interesting story.  Either the old, wi…

Sea Island Coaster Added to Collection

The unofficial/official online Coaster Collection here on the blog continues to grow.  Adding this one from Sea Island to the pile of coasters that have been documented here from our trip down there earlier this Spring.

You can see the entire Coaster Collection here.  It might not seem like much, but it *is* growing, right?  This Sea Island one gets us up to ten coasters.

1.  Illini Coors light one featuring the 'new' I.
2.  Ted's Montana Grill with quote.
3.  Bell & Harbor out in the Hamptons.
4.  A different Ted's one.  
5 & 6.  Two coasters from Saugatuk Brewing Company.
7 & 8.  Disney coasters from both coasts.
9.   Jungle Cruise Cantina from inside the MK.
10.  This one.