Toy Collection — Do you remember Raggedy Ann?

Dolls, how many people are familiar with “Raggedy Ann?” When my mother grew up as a child in Italy, she didn’t have a doll. She must have longed for one, because when we were young she was ALWAYS looking for Raggedy Ann dolls.

When we walked through antique shops, she always found one. There were different sizes and styles as the doll kept evolving over the years. You can see in the YouTube video, this woman has quite a collection. I noticed the original dolls had orangey hair, not bright red and the doll is known for her triangular nose.

As I researched, I found that Johnny Gruelle (illustrator from Illinois) was the creator of Raggedy Ann. His daughter Marcella brought him a old rag doll, he drew a face on the doll and named it Raggedy Ann. His daughter loved her doll, so he created a book/doll combo (got a patent in 1915) and started selling in 1918. First dolls were delivered to Chicago! Many books followed.

Finally, Chicago is known for more than Al Capone / gangsters. I had no idea!

This is interesting, 75,000 handmade dolls were made between 1918-1926 by a toy company in Michigan called, “Unbreakabale Toy Company.” In 2018, the town of Muskegon celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Yes, Raggedy Ann eventually had a brother, Raggedy Andy.

In 2002 Raggedy Ann was voted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. In 2007, Raggedy Andy, her brother, joined her.

My Mom will be so surprised to hear that her beloved Raggedy Ann was the creation of a man from Chicago.

And as Paul Harvey would say, “And now you now… the rest of the story.”

Chicago dreaming…

View of Lake MichiganTime to visit Chicago. Look how beautiful the view is. We’ve had a mild winter (knock on wood); however, that is about to change. Temperatures have dropped and tomorrow we are supposed to have snow.

When I see this view I think Harry Potter is going to be flying by soon.

A perfect view to spark a writer’s creative thoughts!

Imagine in July when the Blue Angels are flying by. It’s spectacular!

Can you tell I am getting ready for Spring?

Chicago – Art display on Michigan Ave

Owls in Chicago 1I was walking down Michigan Ave rushing in the cold weather to an appointment. Suddenly, I came across these adorable owls. I had to stop, smile and take a photo. I’m not sure who the artist is, there was no sign, but certainly this is a winning art display.

I share this with you, hoping it makes YOU SMILE TOO!

If you are writing for NaNoWriMo, keep at it! We have the weekend to catch up on our word count!

Have a great day!

Feeling hungry, look for the CUPCAKE truck in Chicago

905F0F75-5893-4FB3-930D-252D005604A2Look what I found at lunch recently. “A.Sweets Girl,” cupcake truck. I asked the lady if I could take her picture, she was cute and smiled beautifully as you can see. Turns out the University had hired the cupcake truck to come at lunchtime and give FREE cupcakes to their post doctorate researchers as a “thank you” for hard work.

EAD00C2E-FD2D-46D3-9696-CA8CB6B8A2F4So, passerby’s got good photos, while researchers got their choice of cupcakes!  LOL

Anna Wu, founder and creator of “A.Sweets Girl,” is an experienced pastry chef who decided to bring her cupcakes to the streets of Chicago. Her truck is beautiful and easy to spot. She can be hired for events and supports a lot of community causes.

I’ll be on the lookout for her, so I can try one of her cupcakes. If you see me chasing after the truck, you’ll know it’s “Brilliant Viewpoint,” trying to get a cupcake, so I can do a follow up review!

Chicago: Busts salvaged from Garrick Theatre demolition

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I was walking around Chicago and came across these interesting head sculptures called, “busts.” I took these photos and did some Google searches to find out more about them.

Apparently, back in 1891, the Schiller Theater Building opened, designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan of the firm Adler & Sullivan. The theatre was funded by publisher, Anton C. Hesing and German investors to be used for German language operas and cultural events. However, it seems that the German investors pulled out, not clear why, and over the years the theatre changed names/investors several times. Final name was Garrick Theatre.

Sadly, the theatre had been in decline for many years. By 1960 the Garrick Theatre was torn down and turned into a parking lot. This was the tallest building in Chicago at this time, a beautiful building. One man, Richard Nickel, took on the mission of photographing and salvaging as much as he could of the building during the demolition.

The busts in the photos I took were saved, who these men are is unknown. Four busts on The Second City theater building have been identified as famous German men.

Wow — a simple walk turned into a walk rich in Chicago history!

Digital technology + clothing = Jet Suit

7F567F57-2375-4FCA-84CF-7A9A13AA6EEBAnyone want to fly in the air? The time is coming. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a new exhibit called, “Wired to Wear™.”

If you go to the museum’s website there is a video that shows the gentleman in the photo “flying.” YES, he is “flying” in his Jet Suit. I’m grinning, when I was a child we always watched “The Jetsons,” an animated cartoon sitcom on TV. The Jetsons lived their life in an utopian future flying wherever they needed to go.

As a child, of course, I thought this was a great way to live, but I also knew this was “fantasty,” OR SO I THOUGHT. Fast forward to 2019, and if I go to this exhibit, I’ll be able to see that flying to work myself one day might not be too far off. Technology has really taken off.

It sounds like there is more to the exhibit than just the Jet Suit, they have other wearable clothing. For example, clothing that expresses your emotions. That sounds a bit robotic. I’m trying to imagine this.

First, I go into my closet and find my Jet Suit. Then I look and think, “TODAY, I am going to wear my jacket that expresses emotions.” I dress up and head to work.

Since flying was exhausting, I don’t have to talk to people, because I have my jacket on that expresses emotions. If someone comes by my office, do I just press a button and let my jacket do the talking. This sounds bizarre, I’m trying to visualize it. I guess this is why I have to go to the exhibit. I want to see first hand, what this is about.

I’m thinking, if this is our future life…

Do I want to be like Star Trek or Star Wars!

I’ll give you a hint, I like fast paced adventure!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from CHICAGO!

8BF7374E-9223-490E-B952-5BC3D488D751For those of you not in Chicago, you can see we take St. Patrick’s Day very seriously! Every year, they turn the river green. It’s a site to see!

I wanted to share with you some photos of the river from different angles. We were lucky and had wonderful weather. Fun to see people dressed in green. The Irish are a lively bunch.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Chicago: Below zero temperatures, Polar Bear was happy at the zoo

4EDAB912-2017-4E62-BC73-BA2875FD89F2This has been a COLD winter in Chicago. In the 20s Fahrenheit, not bad, but below zero temperatures are tough. For those of you who have never experienced below zero wind shield factors, I can tell you that your eyeballs hurt. I highly recommend staying in your warm climate and visiting Chicago in the Spring or Summer.

Yesterday, I took a walk at the zoo. I got a great photo of this polar bear swimming. I believe this was the female, the male was much larger and grumpy. She was trying to coax him into swimming, but he was not interested, so she had the pool to herself.

Here you see the BIG SPLASH when she dove in. Then she was swimming toward me, did her swimmer’s flip, turned around and re-circled the pool. After all this exercise, I could tell she was going to sleep very well.

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Next, I saw the penguins. These three were charming. Looked like a child trying to convince his Mom/Dad to let him go out and adventure, the father saying, “ABSOLUTELY NOT, and the mother winking to the child and working her magic on the father to let the child go.”

I must tell you, penguins do waddle in a very cute way. I also noticed that they each have a “distinct” waddle and some jump a lot while they walk, others do not.

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Finally, the lion. He was out. I went inside the lion building and it was SO HOT, I think he must have come outside to “cool off” from the unbearable heat inside.

I hope this makes you smile!

It’s March, the birds are chirping, Spring is ALMOST here!

Visit Atlas Obscura -> An adventure guide to hidden wonders in the world.

Travel the worldLast week I was going through my Junk folder on Outlook. As expected most of it was junk; however, I came across an email from, “Atlas Obscura.” Normally, I would not open an unknown email, but the subject header said, “You can spend the night in this formerly abandoned Scottish village.”  This piqued my interest, I want to visit Scotland one day.

Before opening the email, I decided to research “Atlas Obscura.” Turns out it is an online magazine created in 2009 by Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras. They wanted to create an atlas / guidebook for people to learn about and explore obscure places around the world. They certainly have done that.

If you sign up for their weekly newsletter, you’ll be amazed at the different places you can explore. On their website, you can choose a country (Germany, for example) and you’ll be brought to a map of Germany where they have pointers you can click on with stories for that particular area, i.e. the world’s largest cuckoo clock, the oldest Jewish Cemetery in Worms, the “floating railway” to name a few.

On Eventbrite, I noticed they have Atlas Obscura Society Chicago. For the remainder of February and into March, they have some interesting events going on, i.e. learning about volcanoes and the birth of the most precious stones, interactive history of comics, murder mystery soiree, scavenger hunt, roller skating in the movies, immigrant stories and connections. I wrote to one of the field reps to see what the age range was for people attending. Have not heard back yet.

If you enjoy traveling and you’re getting bored with the normal tourist attractions, I highly recommend visiting “Atlas Obscura’s” website. You’ll definitely find obscure things to explore on your next adventure.

Did you know Tootsie Rolls are made in Chicago?

4808E90E-6DE6-4429-A5C0-6D35C99382C0This week I got the biggest surprise. My daughter and I were entering the freeway when she yelled, “Mama, LOOK, it’s the Tootsie Roll truck.” As I was driving I couldn’t take a look, so I said, “Quick, take a picture, my blogging friends will enjoy seeing this.”

As you can see, she was quite the photographer, she got a GREAT shot of the truck. Then one night she was “behind” the Tootsie Roll truck and got a picture of the Owl and the famous saying of “How many licks in a tootsie roll pop?”

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Why the smiles and excitement? With our changing world, it is nice to know there are a few things from our childhood grade school days that still exists — AND — that is the Tootsie Roll, which has been produced in the United States since 1907.

Oh, and Leo Hirshfield (an Austrian immigrant) created this candy for his five year old daughter whose nickname was “Tootsie,” and there you have the name “Tootsie Roll.”

American soldiers ate tootsie rolls as field rations during WWII, because of the hardiness of the candy in different environmental conditions.

So, if you are ever in Chicago, keep your eye out for the Tootsie Roll truck. When you see it go buy, you’ll have to smile and THINK, “How many licks ARE THERE in a tootsie roll pop?”