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Showing posts from October, 2018

Two More Disneyland Roses - Planted Fall 2018

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Last year, Nat's Mom gifted us a Disneyland Rose for our anniversary and this year she did the same thing, but gave us two of them.  They arrived recently in a box from Jackson & Perkins that you see above.  Here's the post showing the rose plant from 2017 and includes the description of the variety.  I revisited our Disneyland Rose in June when it came back for the year and produced some small, but spectacular blooms.  I ended up planting the first one underneath the kitchen windows amongst some hostas and grasses.  I think that ultimately, I'm going to have to transplant it next year to a different spot, but for this season, it did well.

Below you can see the two new Rose plants that were shipped in the container.


I ended up planting them on the south side of our house - on either side of the window well that is out there.  Again, I'm not certain that this is where they're destined to go, but it is pretty much a blank canvas out there and these things needed…

Checking In On My Office Succulent - Fall of 2018

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It was just a little bit over a year ago that I last posted a photo of my office succulent - a Burro's tail - that I keep on the ledge by my window in the Aon Center.  That photo is here.  And here's the post from August of 2016 - just over two years ago - that shows it in its youth.  Tracking the changes over the years shows the growth of not just the main plant, but you'll also notice in this year's version, a series of other growths. 

As for the primary pot, you can compare last year to this year and see that it is still going strong with a few long shoots and a full pot.  But, you'll also note two other experiments.  The first is the container on the far left that shows a bunch of new cuttings that I took from the main plant and put in a smaller pot.  They have taken off and begun to make their own 'tails' as it were.  Also, in the center of the photo, you'll see a clear plastic cup that I've tossed some succulent bits in that broke off the mai…

Mid Century Modern Men's Valet - One That Got Away (Sold)

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I bought this Men's Valet from an Estate Sale in Elmhurst about five years ago for like $5.  It was cheap and I bought it on a whim.  It has sat in our closet since we moved in, but I never really *used* it like it was supposed to be used.  It is a really adorable piece of furniture, isn't it?  I mean, who wouldn't want a valet?  And look at those lines?

Recently, Nat moved it out of our closet and it ended up in the garage.  So, off it went to Craigslist to find a happy home.  And sure, enough, it didn't last long.  Someone came and picked it up.   I took these photos out on the driveway before we parted ways.

So, I'm filing this one under 'one that got away', but this time it was on purpose.  I sold it.  For a profit, too!

Did I adore this thing?  Yeah.  But, say it with me:
It is enough to enjoy the existence of things without possessing all of them. Take a look at the valet features, though.  Tray for a nice watch or your wallet or change or mints or s…

2018 Potato Harvest - Container Growing

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Back in June of this year, I planted two different fingerling varieties of potatoes in containers and placed those out back in an area of full sun.  They bloomed with flowers later in the Summer and most recently I noticed that all of the growth had died back.  That meant it was time to harvest.  I pulled the five big containers all the way to the back of our yard (where we keep most of our garden waste) and with the help of the Bird we sifted through the dirt and came away with a bagful of spuds in varying shapes and sizes. 

I've harvested potatoes over the years and posted the pics on the blog.  Here's a 'partial' harvest from 2016 of fingerling potatoes.  And here's a huge harvest of potatoes back in 2013

We brought this year's haul inside the house, put them in a paper bag and didn't bother cleaning them.  Everything we read on the Web says to not wash the potatoes until right before we're set to use them, so they're a little dirty, but they&…

Thanks for the Carrot Paw, Trader Joes!

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Inside of a bag of baby carrots from our dear friends at Trader Joes was this weird carrot paw.  The kids got a kick out of it and you can see that we kept it on the counter for a few days admiring it while it dried out.  This seems to certainly count as a novelty in the baby carrot game, right?

We aren't in the "imperfect produce" world, but I would think this might not have made it past their folks?

Christmas Lights Installation at Daley Center - Chicago 2018

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The lighting of the trees around City Hall and the County Building happen every Fall and I've been documenting it on my walks to work for the past few years.  Here's the lights going up this year in the photo above.  I took this photo more than a week ago, so despite me posting it on the 26th, they technically started the lighting the trees in mid-October. 

Here's the post from 2017 showing the lights going up on October 27th.
In 2016, the lights went up in early October.
And in 2015, the lights went up in September.
This raises the age-old question about Christmas Creep when it comes to holiday decorations:  Is this genuine Christmas Creep?  Or is it just good planning?

Half Acre Chicago - Added to Coaster Collection

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Here comes #31 in the [coaster collection] on the blog.  This one is from Half Acre Brewery in Chicago and is part of a series of local breweries in the collection.  The first one in the collection from the local brewery collection is the Saugatuck Brewing Company in January of 2016.   Then one from Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, and then most recently Alter Brewing Company in Downers Grove.   I haven't been to Half Acre, but like all of you guys, I've had plenty of their beers including some of their more popular ones like Daisy Cutter.   Glad to add them to the collection here to keep the coaster part of the online archives.

Happy Fern in Deep Shade - Teardown Fern 2018

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Ferns are shade lovers.  And, as you know, I'm a shade gardener.  This is a big fern that I harvest out of Nat's sister's yard earlier this Summer and it is happy in this photo.  I took this earlier this month on one of my after-work walks as things started to head into their Autumn state and the plants start to die back.  This fern weathered the transplant shock and is now thriving with new growth.  It is very different than our Ostrich Ferns, but I'm not sure what variety it is quite yet.  I ended up tossing it into the ground all the way in the back and you can see it mixed in amongst weeds - for now. 

Next Spring, I'll see how big this clump comes up and maybe I'll be able to split it into two ferns - and think about putting one down as part of the garden walking path that I've sketched out in my own mind somewhere along the northern fence line.  In my head, next Spring (of 2019) was going to be the season of building out more hardscape surfaces (walkw…

Macy's State Street Christmas Windows Prepping For Reveal - 2018

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Looks like Marshall Field's Macy's is once again prepping their annual State Street window display, but this year, it seems that they're ONLY going to be using windows *on* State Street.  And that means that they're NOT going to be using the theme for this year's story on the windows on Randolph Street.  Here's my post including a photo of the 'reveal' windows at the State Street store - but you'll note that the window in the photo is actually on Randolph Street.

The folks at Macy's already have the three windows on Randolph Street dressed up for the holidays - in a tinsel-strewn vintage-inspired way, too.  Which is really nice, right?  We always make a trip down to the Walnut Room, so with our three kids - who will press their noses up to the glass - we'll be sure to take them in.

Can I guy dream about an Uncle Mistletoe-themed story this year?  Please?

Aon Center - out of Legos

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Recently, we joined our kid's cousin at his birthday part at the Lego Discovery Center up in Schaumburg where they have a couple of rides a show and other assorted Lego-related things.  The first room you enter is a LEGO layout of Chicago and includes some signature members of our skyline including the building I work in:  the Aon Building. 

There are a few touchscreens around the layout that give you the details on the various buildings.  Here's the screen for the Aon Center:


91K bricks.  Holy moly.

Spotted: Vintage Passenger, Baggage and Observation Cars in Union Station Yard

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Over the years, I've posted a series of photos of various, interesting train cars that I've come across on my rides on Metra.  The first one was this MTA Metro North car from New York that I saw on the Union Pacific West line in 2012.  Then in 2015, I saw these neat passenger cars from Union Pacific sitting in the Proviso Yard

Today, I'm adding a bunch of interesting cars to the collection here on the blog.  And all of these were in one long line sitting in the yard just south of Union Station.  They are all passenger cars starting with the two you see at the top:  a Pennsylvania passenger car called the "Frank Thomson" and a The Milwaukee Road baggage (I think) car. 


Here's a closer look at the car from The Milwaukee Road:


You can see in the photo above another passenger car with a maroon horizontal strip in line next to The Milwaukee Road baggage car, but I didn't get a better picture of it. 

Also note that these photos are taken through the Metra tra…

WWF LJN Jake "The Snake" Roberts MOC

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All of the childhood feels with this one.  I've posted other LJN World Wrestling Federation Wrestling Superstars here on the blog.  Here's a Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake one that is mint-on-card, too.  And another of Nikolai Volkoff that my kids now play with as part of their toys.

This one is of Jake "The Snake" Roberts and isn't one that I played with as a kid, but do have as an adult.  Weird, right?  This one has French (I think?) on it, so it was sold in Canada, maybe?

Off you go to a good home.  While collectors like me have disposable income.  Don't want to become the Model-T of action figures, right?

A Visit to Pepe's for New Haven-Style Pizza

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I mentioned in my post about our visit to Louis' Lunch - the home of the hamburger sandwich - that we also hit up another foodie-important stop while we were in New Haven.  That was Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana.  Or "Pepe's" as the locals call it. 

There is a style in New Haven and there are a series of places that you can choose from.  According to Eater, this is serious business.
There is pizza, and then there is apizza. New Haven-style pizza is the latter; a hotter, crispier, and dirtier descendant of Neapolitan style pie. What ribs are to Kansas City, cheesesteak to Philadelphia, and crabcakes to Baltimore, pizza is to New Haven. Why New Haven?  Again, Eater:
At the turn of the twentieth century, New Haven became a popular town for Italian families who settled in the United States during the country's diaspora. Neighborhoods such as Wooster Square became home to many displaced southern Italian families primed with palates that appreciated the thin-cr…

Fall Bulb Planting - Front Yard Tulips and Allium 2018

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About ten days ago, I shared a photo of a set of fringed tulip bulbs that I expected to get in the ground.  You can see that post here.    They're called Crystal Beauty and are a reddish-pink in color.  I ended up buying two packages of them and put them in the spot you see above.  Along with these other "double late" Orange Princess Tulip bulbs.  All-in, there are now 50 little bulbs in the ground in our front beds in between the large Maple tree and our hostas and from the sign post you see in the photo above and the edge of the bed.

Here's the packaging of the Orange Princess bulbs, but note they're called "Double Late".



What's that mean? From Gardenia.net: Award-winning Tulip 'Orange Princess' is a lovely peony-flowered tulip featuring light nasturtium-orange petals, flushed with reddish-purple and glazed lightly in warm pink. Its chubby bowl-shaped flowers are also tipped with green on the outer petals.  ...Because of their shape, Dou…

Benet Football Game - 2018

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Recently, the five of us went over the Lisle and took in a Friday Night Lights Benet Game at Benedictine University.  This is shaping up to be a tradition as here's last year's ticket stub from a similar Benet Football game.  We also went to see a playoff game between Benet (Nat's Alma Mater) and Lincoln-Way East (*almost* my Alma Mater) a few years back, too. 

She's clearly been working on all of us with this whole Benet thing. 

Normally, they put together a solid squad.  But the game we saw?  They were dominated and utterly outclassed.

Wood Storage and Clamp Rack of My Dreams

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On a Sunday morning recently, Nat packed us all up into the Swagger Wagon and took us out to Homer Glen for a trip to one of her friend's/acquaintance's barn where she was liquidating her inventory of vintage furniture and props and what-have-yous from a cool vintage rentals business.  There was plenty of stuff that Nat was drawn to (glasses, furniture, etc), but the barn and the workshop was what I was mostly drawn to.  Just look at that wood storage above.  Heavy duty racks.  And lots of different lumber types and sizes.  Cool, right?

Well, the shop just got better.  First, it was immaculate.  Not a speck of dust around.  And things were organized.  How organized?  Just peep at this clamp rack.  What a show!  Big clamps, little clamps.  A whole bin of clamps!


And then there's the *other* lumber storage system.  This one in the bottom floor of the barn.  What kind of man keeps this kind of inventory laying around?  I'll tell you:  a real man.



Look at the racking syst…

A Visit to Louis Lunch in New Haven

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I found myself in New Haven Connecticut recently and had a little bit of time to take in some of the local flavors.  That meant two stops for specific foods.  The first of which is Louis Lunch - which the Library of Congress states is the place of the first hamburger in America.  The other is another New Haven spot, but I'll post about that on a different day.

I've seen this place on the Food Network and you probably have come across it too, if you watch food-related television.  This is the place with the upright, cast iron broilers.  Here's a clip from Man vs. Food that shows off all the details.


Alright...now that you're acquainted with the place, I'll tell you the story of our visit.  
We were staying at a hotel on the edge of the Yale campus and it was raining so we hopped in an Uber and pulled up to the front of this place about 1:30 pm.  After the lunch crowd.  I think both the rain and the time of day worked to our advantage because when we walked in there,…

Farm Security Administration Desk Chair - Garage Sale Find

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A few weeks past, I posted a photo of a couple of soda pop bottles that I picked up for my Dad at a garage sale down the street.  In that post, I mentioned that I bought a desk chair, too.  This, is that desk chair.  It isn't destined for my desk, but rather for my office as a chair the kids can sit in while they're in there with me.  The chair was priced right and didn't require any haggling, so I snatched it up and put it in the back of my car.  It is well worn, but still rocks and spins and seems to be very solid. 

After I got it home, I noticed a few tags on the lower parts of the chair that tell the chair's story. 

Check out the tags below.  First one says:  U.S. Department of Agriculture.  F.S.A. Farm Security Administration.  It appears that the number for inventory control has been scratched out. 


On another leg, there's another Department of Agriculture FSA tag with the letters "U" and "S" on either side of the tag. 


Of course, I went o…