Showing posts from December, 2018

Happy New Year - 2019 - Via 365 Blog Posts

As another year comes to an end, I figured I'd mark the moment of hitting 365 posts this year.  Once again.  This is the sixth year that I've hit a post-a-day and the fourth year in a row.  Due to a variety of circumstances, I've been fortunate to been able to keep posting here in my diary everyday and while I know there are some of you guys out there that are reading these, the point of this isn't to grow my audience but to flex my writing/creating/posting muscles and to chronicle some small moments/items/places/things in my life while filling up the funnel of my online life. 

The years that I hit a post-a-day:
2016 (366 posts due to Leap Year)

I'm looking forward to 2019 and to spending the year posting here on the blog.  There will be plenty of changes but some things will be certain:  we'll chronicle our gardening, pizza-making and vintage finds.  I'm also trying a new resolution that I hope will carry me through all 52 weeks o…

Frixion Ball Clickers - Christmas Haul 2018

I was gifted two of these seven-packs of clicker pens for Christmas and they immediately went into my work bag to head to the Aon Center.  Erasable - yes.  Refillable? I guess so.  But who's refilling pens?

Christmas Amaryllis Post-Christmas No Bloom - 2018

The last time we checked-in on our Christmas Amaryllis, I was hopeful that we'd see a Christmas flower.  Alas, Christmas Day has come and gone and we're still staring at a bud with no flowers.  But, what is most interesting is that this is a 'short' bulb.  I've been - basically - poisoning the bulb with a 8% dilution of alcohol in an attempt to keep it from getting too tall.  It appears to be working.  But that doesn't change the fact that our bulb isn't going to flower any time soon.   

A Bald Cypress At Christmastime - December 2018 (Not my Tree)

On Christmas Day, we visited Nat's folks house out in Naperville as we do every year.  And, as I do every year, I ended up taking a little walk to get out of the house.  The weather was quite nice, so I wandered around and took in the neighborhood.  I went out one way and then doubled back to end up in the front yard of the house.  (If you know the house and the orientation, this would all make sense.  Those of you who don't, just trust me that it makes sense.)

And out front I noticed that they have a medium-sized Bald Cypress planted near the sideyard that was striking in it's winter beauty.  You can see it above.  Plenty of the needles have dropped.  And all of them have gone orange.  But, plenty of them remain on the limbs.  The reason for posting it here is because our little Bald Cypress - that we planted near our driveway late this Summer - looks similar. 

I was concerned that the clinging of the needles to the tree was a bad sign, but based on this species above, I…

Delaware & Hudson Boxcar - Mantleburg Line

This is a car that runs on the Mantleburg line.  Built in 1999 by Lionel, it doesn't have a box and is very heavy.  The yellow and blue look sharp on the tracks.

Bringing it all back home

Marking it down.  Owned.  And let go.

Kirschbaum's Bakery - Christmas Eve

One of my annual Christmas-related traditions is getting to Kirschbaum's Bakery in Western Springs on the day (that they are open) before Christmas - usually Christmas Eve.  This year, I arrived first (!!!), but because I wanted to stay in the car as long as possible, I waited until someone else got out of their car to get in line.  It always is someone who arrives like fifth who wants to get out of their car and start the line.  Then we all have to get out, bundle up and wait for the 45 minutes or so to open.

I ended up with #2.  Not too bad.  Last year, I was #6.  I was in-and-out in less than ten minutes this year.

Merry Christmas Eve

Best day of the year?  Yeah.  Sure is.  Hope you spend it with the ones you love.  I know I will be.  I'm grateful for my family and I'm most grateful for Nat. 

Today is the last day we get to spend with our elf Goldie.  I'm grateful for his visits.  And the little bit of magic he shares with my kids.  See you in 11 months, Golide.

And, is there a Tree?

No.  Instead there's a pole.

Happy Festivus to you and yours.

Is this little tree going to make it?

I'm posting this photo of this tiny tree to see if I can document if it is, indeed, dying before my very eyes.  This is something that we had originally planted out in one of the girl's fairy garden this Summer.  It was an expensive plant (like $12), so before the frost hit, I thought that I'd bring it inside to see if we could overwinter it.  I *think* it is getty more brown everyday, but I'm unsure.  So, this post will serve as a guidepost for me when I revisit this thing in January. 

The top looks just fine, right?  But look at that bottom part.  Almost orange. 

*Fingers crossed* for survival. 

I've done this 'will it make it?' thing with larger trees out in yard.  Here's the same type of post from our first Dawn Redwood.

Pre-Christmas Firewood Consumption Check-in - December 2018

The last time I posted in the [firewood consumption] diary was back in the very beginning on November of this year.  At that time (post here), I had not touched the two 'indoor' racks (indoor meaning inside the screened porch) and had worked my way through about half-way of the outdoor third rack.  Today, I'm documenting where we are right ahead of Christmas.

In today's post there's only two photos of the inside racks.  That's because we've totally consumed the outdoor rack in its entirety.  And we're working against the two indoor racks. 

The top photo shows where we are in the smaller rack - with about half of that wood consumed.  The bottom portion remaining is Cherry. 

Below, the second photo shows the full 'big' rack that shows we've mostly NOT touched this rack with Cherry on top and Birch on the bottom. 

Feels like we've gone through about 'half' of the wood, doesn't it?  Last year, we had a Face Cord arrive in early …

A Christmas Story Dept 56 Chop Suey Palace - Mantleburg

A few years back, Nat gifted me this Dept 56 building from "A Christmas Story" line that was part of Mantleburg.  It was the only A Christmas Story (it is difficult to continue to insert that "A" in the name of the buildings, but I'll continue to do it.) building that we have as part of Mantleburg.  And, if you have been paying attention over the past few years, you might know that things have slowed down in Mantleburg.  We haven't added or annexed any new buildings into the Village of Mantleburg for the past few seasons and have seen some of Mantleburg be de-annexed (via Craigslist) and re-annexed into other neighboring communities.  And that's ok.  We're trying to simplify things around Christmastime and we're focusing on the Mantleburg line.

This fall, I posted some photos and posts about the various Lemax structures that Menards is carrying this season.  All would be nice, but having my mantra in mind, it is enough to know this exist and I …

My Wilt-Pruf Over-Winter Rhododendron Experiment

In the photo above you can see both of our Rhododendrons that flank the stoop out the back door of our family.  In April of last year, I showed the landscape plan that specified these two plants to be placed in the beds on either side of the rear stoop and then in June, I got around to actually planting them.  And they bloomed beautifully this Summer.  They're a really interesting plant/shrub because they have an almost tropical appearance but also are winter hardy here in Zone 5B.  They keep their leaves on all winter, but that doesn't mean they can't use a little bit of help in fighting off the harsh cold and ice.

And that's where something called Wilt-Pruf comes in.  Wilt-Pruf is an Anti-transpirant.  That means it helps protect plants from drying out.  We bought the concentrate version and mixed up a batch to put on some of our plants/trees.  I sprayed our Weeping Cedar in the back.  And the little boxwoods that I added near the foundation behind our kitchen.  And…

Marx Tin Plate Pre-War Caution High Speed Trains Sign

One of my Christmas traditions is going to the annual Dupage County Train Show with my Dad, my nephew and my kids.  I've posted about it the past few years and have done a little show-and-tell in posts of the items that we've added to the Mantleburg line.  Last year, I posted photos of the Plasticville Drug Store, a Schlitz Beer Lionel Billboard, an American Flyer Lackawanna Bridge, and a 70's or 80's era Lionel Flag Pole.  In 2016, we added an operating car or two

This year, I ended up buying just one thing:  this Marx Tin Plate Pre-War trackside sign.  It was just $2 and I liked the looks of it, so I made the deal. 

It doesn't operate or animate and it isn't exactly in line with the kids Mantleburg line (with our FasTrack and all), but that's just fine. 

I've added it to our Christmas Train layout and I think it adds a nice, vintage touch.

One of the things at the show that I was talking to my Dad and Nephew about was the fact that I'm pretty s…

Tin Merry Christmas Vintage Banner

Back in September, Nat and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  10 years.  Holy cow.  I find it so hard to believe how lucky I've been.  Although I failed at *some* of years in terms of delivering to her the 'traditional' anniversary gifts, I've tried to stick to the plan. 

For instance...nine years is pottery.  So, I got her both a flower pot and a glazed tile. 

Ten years?  The traditional anniversary gift is tin or aluminum

That one had me scratching my head.  I try to buy something vintage for these gifts and all my searches turned up housewares (platters or toasters or serving utensils) and I knew those wouldn't work. 

But then I found this Merry Christmas banner.  It is tin.  Or maybe aluminum.  Not sure.  But it *is* metal and super thin and foldable/bendable/creaseable.  It was broken at the time - cut into four segments.  But the price was right - $5 - and I figured I could use some brads and a hole puncher to reassemble it back together. 

Sure eno…

2018 Amaryllis Update - A Bit Behind Last Year

Back in November, I posted photos of the Amaryllis bulb I planted (Double Flowering Nymph) and about a week in, I shared what was then the first sign of life emerging from the bulb.  Last year, I posted a photo of our bulbs on December 16th and remarked how I was hoping it would emerge in time for Christmas.  Turns out, it was *right.on.time*.  This year?  Different story. 

The photo up top shows how one of the stems has begun to emerge, but it is just that:  barely emerging from the bulb.  The other one - a little bit further ahead is all bud and no stem. 

Compare them to December 16th last year.  Maybe eight inches of height difference. 

With nine days left before Christmas, I'm thinking this is more New Year's Amaryllis vs. Christmas flower.  That's the bad.  The good? It appears that we're going to get two stems with big buds on them as the second one continues to catch up with the first one.  You can see a better look at both of them in the photo below.

View From My Office: Winter Sunrise

Most mornings I get into the office a little before seven am.  And when I walk over to the coffee machine, I'm drawn to the East side of our building to take this in:  the Winter sunset.  There aren't too many more mornings left in this working year, so it feels appropriate to stop and pause and reflect on the year at Edelman.  Our business is not run on the calendar year, so it isn't the annual finish line, but January feels like a good time to renew our collective efforts.  And December feels like a good time to look back and be grateful for what we've built. 

I work on a great team full of smart, strong, talented professionals.  I'm grateful each time I see this sunrise that they're walking with me into battle each day.

Union Station's $22M Skylight

I go through Union Station everyday that I'm downtown for work, but I very rarely go through the Great Hall.  Most of Union Station is gross, but it is slowly improving - starting with the unveiling of the renovation to the Great Hall.  I took this photo last week showing off the new (costly!) skylight and you can see a little bit of scaffolding in the upper reaches of the Hall. 

From the Tribune:
Union Station’s Great Hall, a stopping point for millions of travelers since 1925, is a lot brighter this holiday season, thanks to a $22 million renovation of its skylight and decorative walls and ceiling.  The centerpiece of the Great Hall is the 219-foot-long skylight rising 115 feet above the floor.  For almost a year, the skylight has been obscured by a suspended working deck as Berglund Construction and architect Goettsch Partners repaired it and added another modern, protective skylight 5 feet above the original. Natural light in the Great Hall has now increased by 50 to 60 percen…

Celebration Series Lionel Santa Fe Operating Horse Car and Corral 6-19895

Just yesterday, I posted about with the kid's Christmas Train (the Mantleburg Line) set up in the basement, we're using more of our cars that we've picked up in the past few years while the trains were in storage.  The operating barrel car that I shared yesterday was, as I noted, in a weird color gold and brown box from Lionel

In that post, I showed the components of the operating car - including the barrels, the car and just the simple tray to 'collect' the barrels once they're pushed out of the car.  We run FasTrack from Lionel, so *that* setup is easy to use. don't need to modify any of the track/trackside in any way.   The little tray just sits next to a segment of operating FasTrack and the car simply "works".  Nice and easy - especially for us with the kids at the controls. 

Today's post is about a different operating car:  The 3356 Santa Fe Operating Horse Car and Corral.  Lionel part 6-19895.  The car is listed as bei…

Lionel Operating Barrel Car: 6-9290

With our Christmas Train (The Mantleburg Line) set up down in the basement for the first time in a few years, I've been able to go a little deeper into the archives of Lionel O Gauge cars and accessories than before.  One of the cars that I picked up over the years is this Operating Barrel Car.  It is in this weird gold and brown Lionel box listed as "Limited Edition Series".  This is the only car that is in *this* style of box.

It runs on the Union Pacific line and is Lionel #6-9290.

Inside the box is the car.  Along with six barrels and the little tray that the barrels land in when you operate the car.

In the most ideal situation, you wouldn't use that little tray, but instead have a barrel loader accessory (which we don't have!).  To give you a sense for how it would work together, here's a video showing the operating car (that we have!) along with the loader.

We're going to get this car up and running on the Mantleburg line tonight, so I'll try t…

Vintage Kool-Aid Print Ad From Walt Disney Comic

Right at the end of November, I posted a photo of a Walt Disney Comic book featuring Donald Duck on the cover that I had bought for a buck at an antique mall in Wisconsin.  Inside the back cover of that book was this rad Disneyland View-Master ad that featured the discs from the five realms of Disneyland.  Today is the third post all from that same Disney Comic book - this time another advertisement.

Inside the front cover - in glossy stock - is this Kool-Aid ad.  Featuring that crazy-looking clown and the "Tell Mom You Want Kool-Aid" call-to-action.  It also features the value line of "5 Cents makes two quarts".

A quick Google search reveals that this clown ad was commonly run over the years.  I'm guessing that this clown was also probably in their tv ads?  I grew up in the 80's with the Kool-Aid man running through the wall, so by then, they had retired this (frankly...scary) clown.   

Also...Root Beer Kool-Aid?

MTH Burlington Line Reefer - Added to Mantleburg Line

For my birthday earlier this year, I was given this MTH Burlington Line Steel-sided Reefer Car.  It is marked "Way of the Zephyrs" and has the vintage "Burlington Line" rectangular logo on the side.  Those of you who read the blog and follow along with the Mantleburg line model train posts (ummm...there can't be *that* many of you, right???) might be confused about this box and the mention of MTH.  This isn't a Lionel train, but is from the competing challenger brand:  Mike's Train House or MTH for short. 

This is the third (I think) MTH train car that we have on the Mantleburg line.  The first one was a caboose and the other one is a Santa/Snowman handcar. 

This Burlington line car is kinda neat because everyday now I ride the BNSF line on the Metra. 

Tigger Pin - Traded For And Acquired in 2018

Another post about a pin that I found in my office closet is up for today.  And the reason for posting this one, like the Easter Egg Star Wars ones is because this pin is part of a set that I've already posted about.  Tigger, here, on a circle is a part of the set that includes this Pooh Bear pin that I posted in April of this year.  This one, was certainly, traded-for by the Bird - our Pooh Bear SuperFan.

This is the fourth Pooh Bear-related Disney pin that I've posted on the blog over the years.  The other three are:
Most recently was this circle Winnie the Pooh outline oneA safety pin Pooh Bear oneThis cross-stitch Winnie the Pooh one that is part of a set of four

It Be Gold I'm After - Goofy Disney Pin

About a week ago, I posted a couple of recently unearthed Disney pins that I found when I was cleaning out my office closet.  Here's another one that I'm posting mostly because based on the edges and back imprint, this is almost certainly NOT a scrapper. 

Featuring Pirate Goofy and a line from the ride Pirates of the Caribbean, this one too is going up on the pin board in the garage.

Lionel 6-9852 Miller High Life Billboard Reefer Boxcar - Mantleburg Line

Just yesterday, I posted a couple of photos of a boxcar that I picked up over the years at the annual Christmas Train Show in Wheaton.  It was from Hamm's Beer.  Today is another beer-related boxcar: one from Miller High Life.  It features the classic tagline: "The Champagne of Beers" and was made two years earlier than the Hamm's one - in 1973. 

Similarly to the Hamm's car, this Lionel O Gauge 6-9852 billboard reefer car comes in the 1970's era Lionel Trains box and has the printed label on the side.   This Miller High Life one also has an orange price sticker that the price scratched out but says "Sporting Goods".  Not sure if that was the name of the store or the section of the store.  Either way....kinda strange. 

I have a draw to vintage beer-related Lionel stuff.  In addition to these two (The Hamm's one and *this* Miller High Life one), I also run a Schlitz boxcar that I'll have to capture in a photo and post.  I also have this vinta…

Lionel Hamm's Billboard Reefer 6-9862

We were setting up the kids Christmas Train (the Mantleburg Line) in the basement and I came across a some rolling stock that I've picked up the past few years, but have not been run on the line due to the lack of operations.  Mostly because of our up-ended Christmas (moving between Elmhurst and Naperville) the past few years, the Mantleburg Line hasn't run, but this year, we picked up the foam boards from my parents house and I set up the train with the kids.

There were a couple of beer-related boxcars that are still packaged up in plastic that I think I bought at the annual Christmas Train Show out in Wheaton one of the previous Winters.

This one is from Hamm's and is called a "Billboard Reefer".  Lionel 6-9862.

If you look closely at the photo at the top of this post, you'll see that it has a 1975 built date and is in this box that is of that era.  Those of you who know Lionel Trains Corporate history may know that in 1975, Lionel Trains were owned by Gen…

TommyKnocker Brewery - Coaster Collection #33

Here's another 'vintage' coaster that I've added to the online [coaster collection] here on the blog.  This one comes just a week or so after the Contemporary Resort one that I found in my office closet when I was cleaning things out.  This one is from a brewery in Colorado (Idaho Springs, to be precise) that we went to more than five years ago. 

This is also the second 'vintage' coaster - along with the Half Acre one - that I've added in recent months from breweries. 

I have a vague memories of being at this brewery, but I'm not exactly sure why this coaster came home with me and why it went into storage in my closet for all these years.  But, now that is memorialized into the collection here online, it will get used on my home office desk for a bit, then tossed.

Our Green Room Christmas Tree - 2018

We have a room in our #newoldfarmhouse that goes by a bunch of names:  the front room, library, green room, quiet room.  It is your normal formal(ish) living room.  But...Whatever we call it, it also is home to our more 'formal' Christmas tree.  And is a nice little tree to experience.

I posted a photo of our Family Room tree yesterday.  That tree is big, gangly, colorful and full of ornaments of various shape and kind. 

This tree?  It is understated.  Short (like seven feet tall), white lights, nicely-shaped and has all of our vintage Christmas ornaments on it.  It fits perfectly into our Green Room. 

Like last year, it is a Fraser Fir and glows from the front window

I've posted about our Christmas trees since 2010 including yesterday's tree.

Here's our family room tree from this year (2018) that I posted yesterday.
Here's v1 of our 2017 tree - our first in Downers Grove. 
Here's v2 of our 2017 tree - the one in our family room.
Here's our 2016 tree - our…

Our Christmas Tree - Family Room Tree - 2018

Oh Christmas Tree.  Oh Fraser Fir Tree.  This year, we went back to the Fraser Fir for our family room tree.  Or at least we *think* it is a Fraser Fir.  This tree is just about ten feet tall and just barely clears our ceiling.   Here (below) is a photo of me installing the tree into the stand (the Krinner XXL stand) to give you a sense for the scale of the height of this tree. 

Just like last year, our Christmas tree sits in our Family Room - in a corner near our patio doors. 

Also like last year, we have two trees this year again, but I'll get to the other tree in a separate post. 

I've posted about our Christmas trees since 2010.

Here's v1 of our 2017 tree - our first in Downers Grove.
Here's v2 of our 2017 tree - the one in our family room.
Here's our 2016 tree - our last one in Elmhurst.
Here's our tiny tree from 2015 at Equation Boy/Man and Vic's house.
Here's the tree in 2014 at our old house.
Here's the post of our 2013 Tree. We kept it in the…

Vintage Disneyland View-Master Advertisement - Inside Back Cover of Disney Comic Book

A couple of days ago, I posted a photo of #188 Walt Disney Comics and Stories book featuring Donald Duck and his nephews.  Inside the book were stories about Donald Duck, The li'l Bad Wolf, " and of course Mickey the Mouse in "The Case of the Hungry Ghost".  I haven't read any of them yet, but will get to them soon (I hope!).  In the meantime, I flipped through the book and came across the advertisement you see above at the top of this post for Disneyland "View-Master".

The photo at the top of this post is via Google's Photoscan app.  The one at the bottom of the post is just directly from my phone.  There's pros/cons with each one.  Here's a link to the photoscan version on Google Photos that is full-size that you can zoom in/around on if you want the details.

There are a few other ads worth sharing, but for now, let's focus on this Disneyland one.  This is from May of 1956 - just ten months after the July 1955 grand opening of the pa…

Two More Star Wars Easter Egg Pins

Back in March of 2017, I posted a photo of a Storm Trooper Easter Egg-shaped Disney pin that one of the kids traded for on a trip down to WDW.  In that post, I mentioned that the Storm Trooper was one of six pins in the set.  Welp, recently, I was cleaning out my office closet and came across a little bag of Disney pins that included these two:  Darth Vader and Chewie egg-shaped pins. 

That puts us at 50% of the set and gives us some new targets on our next trips:  find the rest of these:

1.  R2-D2
2.  C-3PO
3.  Boba Fett

If you look closely, I'm pretty sure you can figure out that the Vader one is a scrapper.  The enamel is a little low in spots and that silver post on the left side of his mouth (our right) is standing out from the pin. 

For now, I'll put these two on the pin board in the garage and keep a mental reminder of the other three.