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Toledo is only about two hours from Cleveland, so we stayed at the same La Quinta we'd been in upon arrival in Ohio. The next day after another fabulous lunch at The Rail, we decided to pay a visit to the A Christmas Story house!

(all photos of the house are courtesy Jameson)

Jameson is a big fan of the movie. I think I've seen it maybe once! But I still enjoyed seeing this amazing house, which has been restored and refitted to look EXACTLY like the movie set!



During the tour we were encouraged to try on the infamous pink bunny suit, and to hide under the sink. Jameson also recreated a bathroom scene and posed with the infamous Red Ryder BB gun (if you've seen the movie you'll know what I'm talking about, if not...go see the movie :P).




We also learned a great deal about the making of the film from our tour guide. I was surprised to learn that all of the snow in the outdoor scenes was fake, because Cleveland got NO snow during the year of filming! They had to hire a ski resort to make fake snow, and also used soap and potato flakes. Wow!

This was a fun visit. Highly recommend if you're ever in Cleveland!

After we'd hit the gift shop, we drove to the train and found a rather unpleasant surprise waiting for us.



Some jerkoff graffitied our car, and car 39.
I mean, you wouldn't want to come home to this on your house, right?

It might surprise you to learn that although like 95% of freight trains sport graffiti, the circus train rarely gets tagged. Why is that? Because in the street art/tagging community, there's an unspoken rule that you don't tag the circus train. If you do, your fellow taggers will likely either turn you in or publicly shame you.

This photo was spread around social media, and I'm sure the tags will be recognized in the Cleveland area, so hopefully these jerks will be called out by their peers. In the meantime, it looks like we'll be sporting these monikers going into Chicago :/

Anyway, we unpacked and prepared to enjoy two whole days off!
On the first day I didn't do much, just cooked and cleaned and relaxed.
The next day I made some Oreo truffles to bring in to work (CLICK HERE for the recipe). Many people don't know this: I used to work at a candy store and learned to dip and decorate chocolates there. In other words I was spoiled by the wonderful candymaking equipment available to me at that job. After fussing with the microwaved "melting chocolate" for way too long I was able to get the truffles dipped and decorated. They're not store-worthy, but hey, they tasted great!



After that it was time to prepare some pumpkins for carving! Unlike last year's crazy pumpkins, this year's were normal pie ones with normal, uniform seeds for roasting. Yessssss.



When the pumpkins were gutted and the seeds rescued, I called Jameson over for our third annual pumpkin carving!


Mine (on the right) is supposed to be a jumping spider. Didn't really work out, but it looked pretty with a candle in it anyway :P Jameson also carved the third and smallest pumpkin:


After that I was pretty well exhausted, so cleaned up and took a dinner break. I roasted the seeds and they turned out quite good!

The next day was opening day. After rehearsal Brett took us to Tony Packo's for chili dogs. This place is apparently famous because a M*A*S*H character mentions it several times throughout the series. I was starving and scarfed my dog down without taking a picture. It was pretty darned good, with sweet chili, mustard and chopped onions. This place also has a thing for pickles...they came with everything!

The opening show went well, though it was underattended (We'd been warned about this. Toledo is struggling economically). Asia the elephant is back with us! And she's brought a friend...April, a young elephant around Mable's age. During rehearsal we tried to incorporate the two new elephants into the Manage act. Asia was right at home, but April was quite nervous, so she'll be sitting out until she's settled in. At times like these I'm always awed by the elephant crew's display of patience and knowledge. There is going to be a lot of elephant shuffling in the near future, but I think our people will do everything possible to keep the animals comfortable in transition.

Friday was another one show day. The weather was pretty lousy so I didn't do much during the day. The show went well although there was a lot of weirdness...just random strange things happening, sound surges and missed lines and stuff. It's gotta happen sometime! It was also the one year anniversary of Slick's death. I miss him.

Saturday was Halloween! And we only had two shows!!!
After the first show Adria (elephant handler) invited Jameson and I to come onto the floor and take pictures of Mable...dressed as Wonder Woman!!!


(photo courtesy Adria)

With help from Wardrobe, elephant crew, and some resident artists, Adria made this costume herself! During her "photoshoot" Mable was acting silly and excited from all the attention, just like a kid in a Halloween costume. Absolutely adorable!


Meanwhile, on the Blue Unit...

(photo courtesy Brad C.)

I have no words. Oh wait yes I do. COWABUNGA!!!

Sunday was a two show day. I'm really grateful that we only had five shows this week! It felt nice to have a little break :) After the second show Jameson and I will be driving to his parents' condo in Chicago. Just a heads up, we're going to eat lots of delicious food, so prepare for some pictures and know that I'm wishing y'all could eat it with me!!


Other stuff:

Rome's photo of Mable in her Wonder Woman costume.


Our clowns performed at a local children's hospital and made the front page of the Friday paper. Wonderful job y'all!

(photo courtesy Chris S.)

Rebecca's Halloween decorations will be coming down this week. They were fun while they lasted!

(photo courtesy Rebecca)