Jillt how long will you be in chicago for and will you be downtown?
I just got the message now because I walked in the door and it showed a new post. My sister lives in the NW suburbs so since I lived my whole life in the area we rarely make a trip downtown anymore. Pics to come soon. Are you in the loop? HA, that could be taken two ways LOL!
On the drive to Chicago, we stopped in Seymour, IN. This is John Mellencamp's home town.
“That dude can ROCK!” said Duffy. When I told him I saw John Mellencamp years ago in Milwaukee’s Summerfest he got all excited and asked me 20 questions about the show.
Of course, they had to queue him up immediately on the pawpod after that.
“Now I can say I visited Indiana,” said Shellie May.
“Yup, so we can glue that puzzle piece on at the end of the year,” agreed Duffy.
There was a hellacious storm on the way up to Chicago. I ended up pulling off the road because even going 30 mph it was like night and raining so hard the water could not run off the road fast enough and my windshield wipers could not keep up with it, plus thunder, lightning, and my car sounded like it was getting pelted with bullets although I did not see any hail. I figured I could get it under a gas station cover or something. Da bears had their ears covered and were wailing in the back seat. Well, what just happened to be at that exit but the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. I was there in the 1990’s with my friend who now lives in the Phoenix area. It was great and we both enjoyed it as adults. I got spoiled because it is the only children’s museum that holds my attention as an adult. Well, it had been so long since I had been there that I decided to check it out.
The only 2014 appearance in the United States of the Chinese terra cotta warriors is at this museum! Shellie May was dismayed, though. “Oh, no! Why didn’t we invite Zhu Xiong? She will be so sad to miss this!”
“Yeah, why did you leave her at home?” asked Duffy.
“I didn’t know we were stopping here and I didn’t know their focus was on China now.”
Da bears trudged along but their enjoyment was partly tampered at having to explain to Zhu Xiong why they got to see the Chinese terra cotta warriors and she didn’t.
As we waited to get our ticket we saw the bumblebee Transformer.
Then a Dino greeted them. "I don't like the way he held me," said Duffy. "He was sort of clumsy and rough."
After we got into the museum, Shellie May immediately saw the souvenir shop. “We can get Zhu Xiong a present as a consolation prize for not being here with us,” she advised me.
“Okay, but it’s customary to visit the site first and then go shopping so you have a better idea of what to purchase.”
“Oh,” she said, as I took her paw and continued up the ramp.
We toured the Chinese terra cotta army.
The Terracotta Army or the "Terracotta Warriors and Horses" is a collection of terra cotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.
The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi province. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Current (2007) estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits nearby Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in other pits and they include officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.
Next we happened upon the Take me There China exhibit, but Shellie May noticed a case with samples from the gift shop. “Maybe Zhu Xiong would like this handbag?” she offered. “Every girl likes purses.”
Knowing that Shellie May would not relax and enjoy the museum fully until that was resolved, I took da bears to the museum store before we did anything else.
“Hmmm, I didn’t know pandas liked to read,” Shellie May said. “We could get Zhu Xiong a book!” she said.
Inside the gift shop, Duffy pointed out the books on trains. “How about these?” he asked enthusiastically.
“I was thinking more of a book on CHINA,” Shellie May emphasized.
“Oh, good point,” agreed Duffy.
“How about some STICKERS about trains then?”
“Hello, Duffy, Zhu Xiong is CHINESE!” Shellie May said.
“Oh, yeah,” said Duffy.
“Oooo, I bet Zhu Xiong would like this book,” Shellie May said. “Maybe we can read it together.”
“I found STICKERS about CHINA!” proclaimed Duffy proudly.
So I got both of those for Zhu Xiong and Shellie May’s relief was apparent.
“Hey, you could get me some magic tricks and I might be able to work better magic next Friday the 13th,” suggested Duffy.
We learned a lot about life in China from the Take me There China exhibit.
"Oh, no! Is Zhu Xiong in danger?" Duffy asked. "
No, it's okay. She's safe in Tennessee," I told him.
"Oh, WHEW!" he replied.
Duffy put aside his guitar to play the Chinese guitar.
Da bears have been collecting state signs so we took a different route into Illinois so they could get their photo taken at the Illinois welcome sign.
Once at my sister’s, they greeted their cousin, Snuggly Duffy, who was leading the life of leisure with his remote in the recliner.
Duffy showed him his guitar and Shellie May gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Next they went over to say hi to Rockgirl. Duffy and Rockgirl jammed on their guitars.
My sister baked Hello Kitty sugar cookies. “Those look good enough to eat!” Shellie May proclaimed with approval.
To even it out, my sister said that Duffy could listen to her new UB40 CD even before she got a chance to listen to it herself. “Thank you!” said Duffy.
So da bears explored the rest of my sister’s music collection. "We're only here for 5 days? So much music, so little time," they told me.
“Your sister has good taste in home décor,” said Duffy next to her guitar lamp.
“Here is a stack of CDs she left for us to listen to,” said Shellie May. “UB40 is right on top.”
“Look at this giant CD,” said Shellie May, holding up a Shaun Cassidy LP. I had to stifle my laughter as I explained, “Those are record albums. It is a music format before CDs were invented. You got 5 songs on each side and you put it on a turntable with a needle on an arm that would play the music in the grooves.”
“Huh? I don’t get it,” said Shellie May.
“Hey, look at this record album. It has a hole in it,” said Duffy. “Ooo, this band looks like it can rock; do you see the guitar on the cover?”
“That’s a 45 rpm, Duffy. It goes around at 45 revolutions per minute and there is just one song on each side.”
“All that space for just one song? What a waste!” said Duffy.
“That song is on your pawpod if you want to listen to it,” I informed him. “Yes, it is a rockin’ song.”
When my sister arrived she put on a record album so da bears could see for themselves how the old school music was played. They both agreed that they like CDs and their pawpod even better. “Our whole library to carry with us,” they showed my sister. “Yes, I have a sony MP3 player; I know exactly how that works,” she agreed.
Shellie May discovered my sister’s keyboards. Duffy and Rockgirl came over and they made a bear band. Shellie May was reaching from one octave to another, and Duffy was rockin’, and Rockgirl was belting out the lyrics on her microphone. My sister’s cat ran for cover.
Shellie May got fancy and mixed in various sound effects.
One day we went to the Jelly Belly factory in Pleasant Prairie, WI. In 1869, Gustav Goelitz, 24, opened a candy business in Belleville, Illinois, and set the family on its sweet destiny. Eventually his sons took over. In 1965, a flavor breakthrough was made when the Mini Jelly Beans were infused with flavor in the center. In 1966 Goelitz Mini Jelly Beans were discovered by California Governor Ronald Reagan. "We can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing the jar of jelly beans," he wrote in a letter to the company in 1973. In 1976, the breakthrough recipe of the Mini Jelly Bean inspired the first eight flavors of Jelly Belly beans: Root Beer, Green Apple, Licorice, Cream Soda, Lemon, Tangerine, Very Cherry, and Grape. In 1986 new company headquarters were built in Fairfield, CA, and free public tours begin soon after. In 2001, a second public tour opened in Pleasant Prairie, WI. The Jelly Belly Express takes fans on an indoor train ride to discover fun candy facts. Unfortunately, we could not take any photos once we entered the tour area. It is basically a ride around the perimeter of the warehouse, with videos displaying how the jelly bellies are made, and jelly belly fashion dresses and artwork mosaics on display. We did not actually see the kitchen behind glass.
We each got a bag of jelly bellies as a thank you for taking the free tour. There is also a sample bar.
"What is tabasco?" asked Duffy as he reached out his paw for a sample.
Well, that didn't go over too well.
"I'll stick to flavors that taste like ice cream," said Shellie May after seeing the expression on Duffy's face after eating the tabasco jelly belly.
Of course da bears were on a sugar high after this. “Look, another store,” said Shellie May, who loves to shop. I told her that basically any sightseeing activity involves a souvenir/gift shop. “Oh, what a brilliant idea!” Shellie May said. Yeah, a brilliant marketing idea, I thought LOL.
On the way home we stopped at Build-A-Bear in Greenwood, IN (a suburb of Indianapolis). Da bears are on their second pawsport. I merged the two together.
“Ooo, this is pretty. I can wear it next New Year’s Eve,” Shellie May said as she pointed out a glitzy dress.
“You would look beautiful in that, Shellie May!” agreed Duffy.
“Oh, and what do you think of this Hello Kitty dress?” she asked.
“Pwfffft, pft,” said Duffy as he tried to cover his mouth with both paws unsuccessfully, laughter escaping before he could.
“Oh, okay, maybe not,” agreed Shellie May.
“I like these Hello Kitty pajamas. Ooo, and look, matching slippers!”
“Gotta have slippers; I agree,” said Duffy, who would live in shorts and slippers if he could.
o I made a purchase for Shellie May. “Don’t you see anything you like today, Duffy?” I asked. I like to treat da bears equally.
“No, I’ll just take Steam credit please,” said Duffy with a big grin as he saw me pay $34.24 for Shellie May’s items. Steam is a website that sells video games for the PC. “Fair enough,” I told him. “Just remember to let Bearami have a turn.”
“Oh, absolutely. We shop together. Two heads are better than one,” he said.
Upon arriving home, they told Zhu Xiong of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and why she wasn’t invited. “We didn’t know we were going or that they had a Chinese exhibit, but we would have stowed you away if we could,” said Shellie May.
“Yeah, that’s a bummer,” said Zhu Xiong. She is a laid back, somewhat space cadet, flake case, in a jovial way, bear. She and Peace Hippie have made fast friends due to their mellow personalities.
“But here, we got you gifts to make up for it,” said Shellie May, presenting her with the book, with Duffy right behind her showing her the stickers he picked out.
“Hey, these are really groovy gifts! Thanks man,” said Zhu Xiong. I rest my case; Peace Hippie is her bestie! She put a sticker on Peace Hippie.
And of course, shared with Duffy and Shellie May.
Shellie May and Zhu Xiong started reading the book together.
I think all is forgiven.
Then Shellie May went over to Adelaide. "Vamoose. Time for me to reclaim my throne, Adelaide," she said.
"Well, it was fun while it lasted," said Adelaide.
"I come from Earth, a planet of outlaws. My name's Peter Quill. There's one other name you may know me by: Star-Lord." May May happily quoted one of Peter Quill's lines from the "Guardians of the Galaxy" trailers, as she, my friends, and I anxiously awaited the 7:00 PM screening of "Guardians of the Galaxy" on Thursday, July 31, 2014. We all had our SDCC-exclusive Guardians of the Galaxy gear, and May May had created her own Guardians of the Galaxy shirt.
The front of the shirt features "[the] thief, two thugs, [the] assassin, and [the] maniac."
May May wanted to pay homage to the original four Guardians, so she featured Martinex, Vance Astro, Yondu, and Charlie-27 on the shirt's back.