One Thing Off My Bucket List...

Many people have major items on their bucket list (skydiving, climbing mountains etc.) but mine is very simple. Be happy, healthy and productive but hopefully in three years once mortgage #1 is paid off not work quite as much. After that, it is basically US cities I would like to visit and dining spots I would like to try.

On Friday afternoon I went down to Burr Ridge to a potential estate sale meeting and as soon as I got out of the meeting Kuochun called. He asked if I could pick him up some lunch somewhere and I told him I was only 5 minutes away from one of our favorite spots, Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket in Willowbrook.  We have made the trip from Mount Prospect quite a few times for their homestyle food and cozy atmosphere. However life has changed for Kuochun and fried food is off the table for him at this time. He told me to just get him anything that was not deep fried. I found that they have roasted chicken so I headed their way. It was about 1:30 PM, we normally went for dinner in the past but I always wanted to try their lunch buffet. Even though I was alone, the timing was right and I decided to go for it.

Once I entered the dining room I saw several folks eating alone so I did not feel so bad. Kuochun's roasted chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans was made to order and took 1/2 hour so it was a perfect time to try the buffet for $15.99. I have always enjoyed their old fashioned salad bar and chicken dumpling soup (which is a broth soup, not creamy which I prefer.) They definitely did not disappoint! On the buffet was their famous fried chicken as well as two kinds of fried fish, a vegetable medley, cheese pizza, rigatoni with marinara sauce, garlic bread, corn fritters and biscuits. Unfortunately the chicken was not up to par, it is way better when it is freshly made. However I enjoyed the pizza, rigatoni and garlic bread. For dessert there was chocolate cake with a red jelly filling and sugar cookies, they were good as well. I am glad I was able to check this one off my dining bucket list. I do not think I would drive up from Mount Prospect specifically for the lunch buffet but would go again if I happened to be in the area.

My Phoenix area dining list is way longer than my Chicago area one. What a difference when you can dine outside in beautiful weather with great views and no bugs any time all winter! Arlington Alfresco has opened up for the season which means street closures on Vail, making it more difficult to get to Mother's house. This week it is doubly challenging to get to her with the railroad tracks closed at Central and Northwest Hwy. I know Arlington Alfresco is very popular with the restaurant owners and patrons but there is no view to speak of. They are just doing the best they can with what they have to work with. There was talk about making it a more permanent fixture and I actually think that would be a good idea, even if it meant closing off Vail. The plastic construction barriers everywhere are really unattractive.

Kuochun just loved his roasted chicken dinner from Dell Rhea's and was able to make two hearty meals out of it. I should have taken a photo! I am very proud of him, he is giving thought to everything he is eating and is even looking up certain foods on the internet to see if they are heart healthy. This surprised me but he found online that gyros are OK to eat. Olympus Gyros has been down the street near Central and Northwest Hwy as long as I can remember and I think we had only eaten there once in all these years. Now he has been there twice to pick up gyro sandwiches but no fries! He has had a few potato chips a handful of times but no other fried foods at all. The extra Seattle Sutton meals are on the menu for most of his dinners. Unfortunately Mother is tired of the food and was starting to waste it so I put her subscription on pause. She was giving too much to Vivi and she is gaining weight! I can always tell by how her harness fits. I am sticking with Seattle Sutton though, there is no way I would eat this much variety including fruits and vegetables on my own. It is also a big timesaver and is awesome to eat fresh healthy food all the time with no waste. I have to admit that going from no vegetables to tons of vegetables is a challenge, it is difficult for me to eat large quantities of cooked vegetables especially so I enlist Margot's help once in a while, but only dog-friendly ones. The difference with Margot is she can eat like a truck driver and not gain an ounce. It is ironic that as soon as we paused Mother's subscription, they are introducing 20 new meals. I am looking forward to seeing what they came up with.

I was shocked to find that our current Riverwoods sale had wonderful Native American jewelry to sell. I know that my current selling method reaches tens of thousands of obsessed Native American jewelry fans so I asked Mike to set aside all of the best pieces so I could make a lot to show them. I also had several wonderful Native American cuff bracelets from our recent Des Plaines estate sale so I combined everything into the lot above. The pendant necklace, turquoise nugget necklace, two chip inlay pendants and all of the rings except for one at the upper left sold, the remaining items are available. But the current selling method is just the first step, I will continue to sell these pieces so I can get top dollar for our clients. It is rare to find a squash blossom necklace with any matching pieces and a lucky person has the opportunity to have a matching cuff bracelet as well. These pieces are real classics from the 1970s and the other pieces are all very unique. I have put together another unique lot of Native American jewelry including a few pieces from my personal collection and I will be posting that lot Sunday evening.

I like to include vintage costume jewelry in the caravan for spring and these past two weeks I have been very pleased with the sales. I put this medium size case together for our recent Downers Grove sale and was very pleasantly surprised to see a good 40% of the case sell. I am not artistic by any means but it was actually quite pleasant to work on this case in the breezeway, pulling interesting and complimentary pieces for it. I have had some of these pieces since our store days so selling them was like losing my babies but I am glad they went to good homes. We have a sale in Oak Park next week and this area was always wonderful for costume jewelry in the past so I am going to fill this case up the same way and see if I can let some more of these babies go.

It was a challenging week with six sales and both Melinda and I are looking forward to things settling down a bit with the estate sale schedule. Melinda has been helping put together the sale for her friend who just purchased a home in her neighborhood. They are in good shape, almost everything is staged and photos will be taken soon. Then it will be my turn to put up the advertising. I will have my caravan at the sale but the challenging part is to get updated photos of the jewelry. I am going to put together a box of Southwest Style jewelry to send out there, even though it has been a while since the estate sale company has had a sale the area the customer base is basically the same and it would be nice to show them something new. The company is close to landing a job in a huge $4.2 million home with a full-size park playground once owned by a major league baseball player. He sold it to the current owner who does not want what was left behind. Fingers are crossed that they get the job and will allow the jewelry to be presented, this could be an amazing opportunity to sell a lot of my higher-end pieces. I am very grateful for the opportunity but would like to branch out to areas beyond the Sun City communities. The big sale may not take place for a few months which will put it in the super hot time of year but if it all comes through maybe I will fly out there with all my Native American jewelry.

In the meantime I am still going to put the Native American jewelry collection in online sales, starting first with the vintage pieces and then a separate sale with the new Tucson Gem Show finds. I actually took a couple of hours to work on it over the weekend, starting with pieces that were already written up in my online store to be sure they are also posted on eBay and Etsy as well. I was going to try and improve some of the older photos at the same time but it proved to slow down the process. I decided to first complete the initial group (some were only on eBay, some only on Etsy and some on neither) and then only put the items I need to write up in the online store. I only need them to be in the online store to do the online sale. Sometimes my touch of OCD kicks in and my need for everything to be perfectly consistent slows me down. These are things I notice but I am sure no one else does. But I always want everything I put my name on to be the best that it can be. The goal will be to get the vintage collection posted to the online store before the end of May and have the online sale launch Memorial Day weekend. Summer is not the best time for online selling but anything I can sell would be a bonus and at least everything will be good to go for the holiday season. I can always launch another online sale at that time.

The summer plan is to steadily keep working on all the jewelry. I am wishing for the day when I no longer have a backlog of jewelry that needs to be polished and priced. I have a helper queuing up items for me to launch in the online store, she has been creating items to the best of her ability and taking many photos. I am going to switch gears a bit with that and have her continue to queue up items but only do the modeling photos. She has several of my surfaces and props that I miss using, plus I can do the closeup photos of the jewelry. Many of the pieces do not fit me but fit her plus it is difficult for me to shoot them myself so I think if I contribute with the photos that will help speed things up.

It feels like it has been a long time since I have had a pop-up sale to talk about, early March was out of the question this year. I will figure out the best way to get the furniture and accessories that need to go to Arizona out of the garage, have a pop-up sale the first weekend of October and then head to Arizona once the weather starts to change. I have a weight goal that I would like to hit by then and then I can feel good about working on that Phoenix dining list!