Today we visited Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Highland Park IL, just 20 minutes from here. The 250-acre preserve is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline at the site of the former Fort Sheridan army base. The area features rolling terrain, bluffs, ravines and trees set against the shoreline. There are a few scenic trails that wind through the preserve to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, providing the first official public access to this section of shoreline since the Fort’s military operations began in 1887.
Amy’s dad told us about this the other day and we didn’t believe it, but it’s true: in the 1930s and 1940s shoe stores used to have an x-ray shoe-fitting fluoroscope to see how new shoes fit! Customers would stick their foot in a hole in the bottom of a wooden cabinet and when you looked through a viewing port you could see a fluorescent image of the bones of the feet and the outline of the shoes. It wasn’t until 1949 that the danger of the fluoroscope was revealed and the machines were quietly phased out during the 1950s. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!
Just five more days and it will be 2009. We’ve had a busy year. We had a couple of short holidays, we ran around Holland to see things before we left, we spent months packing up our stuff and emptying our house, said goodbye to our Dutch family, on September 21st made the big move to Chicago, in October our cat Alex died and in December we bought a new car. Here are some pictures of our year:
Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas! The following picture from December 2004 shows our cat Alex with a Santa hat. Alex died in October this year.
It’s been snowing here all day and the forecast is more snow until 6pm tomorrow. Not so great for all those people that still have Christmas shopping to do! The roads around here were a mess today. When we got home we found hundreds of little bird prints on the porch. Looks like they had quite a party while we were gone.
Okay, this is a very old video on YouTube and more than four million people have seen this already, but this is incredible; the fainting goat is a breed of domestic goat whose muscles freeze for about 10 seconds when it is startled. Younger goats usually collapse on their side, but older ones learn to spread their legs or lean against something when startled. Why have I never heard of this? It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen:
Here are my favorite 5 websites of the year 2008, in random order:
- Hulu – Free streaming TV shows and movies
- Mint – Free personal financial planner
- Netflix – DVD mail service + streaming video
- Flickr – Online photo management
- Google Reader – News and RSS aggregator
Arby discovered a small group of Common Starlings perched on a wire close to the house. The temperature outside is hovering 0 °F around so the birds are probably huddling close to the house for warmth.
When Arby gets really excited he chatters. It’s like he’s trying to talk to the birds. Here’s a short video of him chattering:
The Big Picture has the most incredible photographs of the year up on their website in three parts: 1, 2 and 3. Unfortunately a lot of the 120 pictures of 2008 are about violence, destruction and natural disasters, but there’s a lot of positive ones too. Here are some of my favorites.
Construction site of the new China Central Television HQ building in Beijing. Check out those large cranes on top of the building! Reminds me a little of the leaning towers in Madrid.
Everything outside is beautifully white and quiet from the 20cm blanket of snow that fell this morning. The normally busy road outside the house is much more quiet as fewer cars are carefully driving on the slick roads. I don’t think that I have seen so much snow since our trip to Evenstad in 2002.
We just made a fun walk to our nearby grocery store. What follows below is a series of photographs with highlights from that same walk this morning:
Not so busy road